Is the cost worth it?

Lightspeed Magazine, January 2018Lightspeed Magazine, January 2018 by John Joseph Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Court Magician, Sarah Pinsker, 7 pages, ★★★★☆

Read this when it was nominated for the Nebula and read it again now, after its Hugo nomination.

The question I see here in this story—what are we willing to sacrifice to gain a nicer life? And knowledge. Knowledge over all. Is the cost worth it? How far are we willing to go?

He craves that moment where the trick behind the thing is revealed to him, where it can be stripped of power and made ordinary.

Can be read for free here:…

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And so it starts… or continues…

The Tar-Aiym Krang (Pip & Flinx Adventures, #2)The Tar-Aiym Krang by Alan Dean Foster
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The beginning felt very similar to For Love of Mother-Not. For a while I thought I had mistakenly picked up that one. Which acts as a prequel and is the first Pip & Flinx book chronologically, but the fifth one written.

It is easy to read, although I confess to some skimming of various info dumps. They did not sit very well within the pretty light story. Some good ideas, but nothing was really fleshed out satisfyingly.

Same goes for the characters. They are all distinct voices, but they are also caricatures and clichés of the roles they play. Women are generally scantily dressed and sex-objects. Unless they are old and/or ugly. The only female character, the pilot, doesn’t pilot much and mostly concerns herself with her jealousy. Oh, and she cooks on occasion… *rolls eyes*. I kept picturing early Bond girls in Technicolor.

Technology is vague. Bran and Tzu’s exploration of the artifact for example was so vague that I found it highly irrelevant, when it should have ben a central part of the plot.

This is not hard SF, take it as a light read for the beach. The story can be seen as introduction into the rest of Foster‘s world, I guess. I would have liked more detail on the Aann and the Thranx.

The most interesting part for me was the flashback to Bran and Tzu‘s past as pilots. I think this is where I will redirect my re-read of Alan Dean Foster next—the Humanx Commonwealth and how Thranx and humans first meet in Nor Crystal Tears.


This is a re-read. However, I read this about 30 years ago and do not recall anything. I skipped some of them back then, so who knows…

Reading order for Alan Dean Foster is here or here:…


I am trying to find a specific Foster novel I read about 30 years ago. I can‘t remember if it was set in the Humanx Commonwealth or if it was something else. It might not have been Foster at all. There were humans and another race, which looked kinda elvish and could not deal with bright light and was in charge. The humans did not like them, because they were insufferably arrogant and looked down at humans. The story starts planetside and moves onto a starship and into space and a battle of sorts. Our MC transformed himself into an alien somehow, so he can pretend to be one of the other race and join one of their ship crews to find out something vital… His love interest, a human female, does not recognize him after his transformation and despises him because of his race, but eventually comes to love him despite of it. Ring any bells?

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