Friday, April 29, 2022

January Fifteenth by Rachel Swirsky


I first heard of Rachel Swirsky when reading Camestros Felapton’s Hugosauriad (which was, as he explained, “a dinography of the Hugo Awards — tracing the history of the awards via the medium of dinosaur stories”).  That is where I learned of Ms. Swirsky’s short story If You We’re a Dinosaur, My Love, a lyrically beautiful story that touched me deeply. I have always kept my eyes open for more work by her, so I was very excited to see a new novella by her on NetGalley. 

January Fifteenth is set in a near- future USA that has enacted a Universal Basic Income. The story examines a slice of life of four women on the titular day when they get their UBI check. We see each of the protagonists throughout the day from morning til night - a woman on the run from her abusive ex wife, a reporter raising her orphaned younger sister, a spoiled rich college kid, and a pregnant fifteen year old FLDS kid. We see many of the good and the bad changes wrought on society by a UBI. This book gave me a lot of food for thought, but the best part is the characters - they all feel very real and well rounded. This book was excellent and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is nominated for a Hugo and/or Nebula next year. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

The Star Trek Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel

 So disappointing! I was really hoping for a modern update to the original Trek cookbook, which included both in-universe recipes and recipes solicited from the actors of various Trek shows, interspersed with notes on how prop foods were made on the various shows. This book doesn’t even have cellular peptide cake (with mint frosting)!

Monday, April 25, 2022

The Long Game by K. J. Parker


A few months ago I read an eARC of A Practical Guide to Conquering the World by K.J. Parker and loved it! It was grabby (in a can’t put this book down kind of way) and it was thoroughly enjoyable. I said I’d be looking out for more books by K. J. Parker and I was thrilled when Subterranean Press granted me an eARC of the Long Game in exchange for an honest review. This was a delightful book! The unnamed protagonist was a scoundrel and not unlike the protagonist of A Practical Guide to Conquering the World. The magic system involving demonic possession was pleasantly reminiscent of Bujold’s Penric books. This novella was a treat from beginning to end!

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

The Assassins of Thasalon by Lois McMaster Bujold

I was late to the Lois McMaster Bujold party and only discovered her when she was nominated for Best Series for the Vorkosigan saga. I think it was the Baen book covers that turned me off. But I’m on board now! When I was getting close to the end of that series I began to despair, so I decided to give the Penric novellas a try. I was hooked instantly and binged my way through the series. Thankfully, Ms. Bujold is still writing more Penric stories. 

I was thrilled to get a copy of this new Penric book - and it is the first novel in this previously novella-only series! Thank you, Subterranean Press, for the eARC. There is a bit of a tune jump in this one, and you see Penric’s delightful home life before a sorcerer/assassin goes after his brother-in-law! This new character adds some fascinating dimensions to the world, and it brings Penric finally to the capital city of Thasalon of which we have heard so much. We get to see some fan-favorite character recur and the party sequence was just wonderful. I hope we keep getting more Penric books! I’ll keep reading them!