Rating: 2.5

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Beyond the Barrier: The pieces just don’t add up

Beyond the Barrier by Damon Knight In Damon Knight’s 1953 novel entitled The Rithian Terror, the author presented his readers with a vaguely octopuslike menace, the titular Rithian; a spy with the ability to hide itself inside the body of any Earthling. But this was not the last time that the Oregon-born writer would give […]

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The Witch and the Tsar: Solid, but a bit flat

The Witch and the Tsar by Olesya Salnikova Gilmore “Solid” is the best description I can give for The Witch and the Tsar by Olesya Salnikova Gilmore, a debut novel that shows flashes of hitting its potential, particularly in its folkloric elements, but overall feels a bit flat and overlong. A retelling of the Baba […]

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Ralph 124C 41+: The Kramdens, they’re not!

Ralph 124C 41+ by Hugo Gernsback During the course of any number of my book musings here at FanLit, I have made reference to editor Hugo Gernsback, in whose magazine Amazing Stories – the very first magazine devoted to the type of writing that would one day be called “science fiction,” and which rolled out […]

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Out of Time’s Abyss: Quite the action-heavy affair

Reposting to include Sandy’s new review. Out of Time’s Abyss by Edgar Rice Burroughs In Out of Time’s Abyss, the last volume of Edgar Rice Burrough’s CASPAK trilogy, we learn what happened to Bradley, one of the adventurers we met in the first novel, The Land that Time Forgot. As we expected, Bradley has frightening […]

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The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein: A new spin on a classic horror story

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White We all know Frankenstein: the evil genius, the monster, the frozen wasteland etc. But in The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein (2018), Kiersten White offers a new spin on the classic, through an origins story that traces Victor Frankenstein right back to his childhood, through the […]

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The Bone Shard Emperor: A step backwards

The Bone Shard Emperor by Andrea Stewart Andrea Stewart’s debut novel, The Bone Shard Daughter, was an engaging beginning to a new fantasy trilogy, showing some originality in setting and magic system, introducing a few interesting characters, and incorporating several complex moral questions. While it also had its fair share of weaknesses (half the characters […]

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Night of Masks: A simple story on an infrared planet

Night of Masks by Andre Norton Nik Colherne lives in the Dipple, a planet-side slum that serves as the opening setting for a few of Andre Norton’s novels. Nik survived a fiery crash that left him orphaned and with a disfigured face that others find abhorrent. Rejected and friendless, Nik is targeted by the Thieves’ […]

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Stay Out of the Basement: Creepy but annoying

Stay Out of the Basement by R.L. Stine One of my kids loves Halloween – she starts celebrating in September – and, since she wanted to read some horror for children during October, we listened to a few of R.L. Stine’s GOOSEBUMPS books together. Each is a standalone short novel with a pretty hefty scare […]

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Spacecraft: Not exactly what it says on the tin

Spacecraft by Timothy Morton I’m sure there is an audience for Timothy Morton’s Spacecraft (2021), one of the OBJECT LESSONS series titles. Unfortunately, I wasn’t it. I’m also thinking that based on the title, a number of people might find themselves in my position, a problem perhaps more of expectations than substance. The OBJECT LESSONS, […]

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Victory on Janus: A weak ending

Victory on Janus by Andre Norton Victory on Janus (1966) is the sequel to Andre Norton’s Judgment on Janus (1963). The two novels make up the JANUS duology (Baen, 2002) which has recently been published by Tantor Media as an audiobook (2021). Gabriel Vaughan, the narrator, gives an excellent performance. In Judgment on Janus, we […]

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Eye of the Monster: Colonized crocs get revenge

Eye of the Monster by Andre Norton Tantor Media has published an audio version of Baen’s The Game of Stars and Comets (2009), an omnibus that contains these four novels by Andre Norton: The Sioux Spaceman (1960), Eye of the Monster (1962), The X Factor (1965), and Voorloper (1980). Each of these short novels stands […]

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Master of Poisons: A challenging book

Reposting to include Bill’s new review. Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairston Master of Poisons (2020) by Andrea Hairston is an epic fantasy set in an African-inspired world that is facing environmental devastation. Fertile land is turning into poison desert, and void-storms are a constant threat. Djola is called Master of Poisons because, when both […]

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The Tyrant Baru Cormorant: Really felt its length

The Tyrant Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson I’ll confess up front I’ve struggled mightily with Seth Dickinson’s series that started with The Traitor Baru Cormorant and continued with The Monster Baru Cormorant. I’ve found lots to admire in the first two books, especially intellectually, but I can’t say I actually much enjoyed them. So it […]

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Woven in Moonlight: A tapestry with some loose threads

Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez Woven in Moonlight (2020) is a lushly imagined YA fantasy based on Bolivian history and culture, and featuring a creative form of magic based on weaving. The plot is exciting, filled with twists and turns and betrayals. For me, though, I also found that it had some elements that […]

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The Iron Flower: Battling bigotry and oppression

The Iron Flower by Laurie Forest When Laurie Forest’s debut YA fantasy novel The Black Witch was published in 2017, there was a massive explosion of outrage in the Twitterverse and elsewhere online. Accusations of various types of prejudice — racism (albeit based on fantasy races), homophobia, white saviorism, ableism, lookism and more — were […]

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