Shorter lives

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 147Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 147 by Neil Clarke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Modern Search for the Fountain of Youth by DOUG DLUZEN, 2.561 words, ★★★☆☆

Non-fiction. About longevity and aging interventions.

Can be read for free here:…

Two-Year Man by KELLY ROBSON, 4.692 words, ★★★☆☆

Dystopian story. Bleak society, a lab growing babies, pretty depressing, little hope.

Can be read for free at Clarkesworld here:…
Or at the author‘s website:

Master Zhao: The Tale of an Ordinary Time Traveler by ZHANG RAN, 12.586 words, ★★★★☆

Exploration of the possible ways a time traveler can diverge from the main path. With sketches. Pretty interesting, unfortunately with an unsatisfactory ending.

Can be read for free here:…

The Names and Motions by SHELDON J. PACOTTI, 7026 words, ★☆☆☆☆

Frankly, I didn‘t get it. Not for me.

Can be read for free here:…

When We Find Our Voices by ELEANNA CASTROIANNI, 10080 words, ★★★½☆
„A race of bird-people is forced to save mankind from extinction. Contemplating gender, procreation, duty and intimacy through the eyes of an agender, asexual protagonist. Family, friendship, love, oppression and rebellion in a half-ruined world.“

Hm, odd. The Voices are something that is taken from the bird-people after birth. Voices provide energy. Nuclear fission? Not quite sure what to make of it. Interesting, uncomfortable. Not sure it all makes sense. I have a unscientific image of how the making of an egg could look like, but can‘t think of a way this could actually work. Worth reading just for the oddness of it.

Can be read for free here:…

„Eleanna Castroianni is a genderqueer writer, poet and oral storyteller from Greece. A cultural geographer by training, Eleanna tells stories from the margins of history and the far futures of the Anthropocene. They live in Athens, Greece with a number of string instruments.“
Author‘s website:

Bringing Down the Sky by ALAN BAO, 11088 words, ★★★★★
Climatefic. The world has turned grey, the rich live under domes, the poor struggle with acid rain and collect clean air from high up to earn a living. USA, China, politics… Very good!

Can be found for free here

Marshmallows by D.A. XIAOLIN SPIRES, 3430 words, ★★★☆☆
A world that has gotten so gruesome and dilapidated that people on their daily commute use visual and auditory enhancements to see a more appealing world. I did not like the storytelling much per se, but the idea was interesting enough.

She herself calls this her augmented reality holiday story at her blog

She also mentions being inspired by another short story. Although that one was even shorter, I liked it more for where it took me as a reader.

Can be found for free here

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Anderland: Die USA unter Trump - ein SchadensberichtAnderland: Die USA unter Trump – ein Schadensbericht by Ingo Zamperoni
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Interessant, mit nützlichen Denkanstößen und einigen neuen Erkenntnissen. Wenn man sich abseits der üblichen Berichterstattung über Trump, seine Politik und deren Auswirkungen informieren möchte, ist dieses Buch ein guter Anfang.

Nicht so packend, wie ich es gehofft hatte. Ein großer Teil des Buches war eine nicht enden wollende Aneinanderreihung von Anekdoten. Der Punkt, der da gemacht werden wollte, ließ oft ziemlich auf sich warten. Daher habe ich in der zweiten Hälfte des Buches relativ viel schräg gelesen.

Nichtsdestotrotz, interessant genug um vielleicht irgendwann ein weiteres Buch von Ingo Zamperoni in die Hand zu nehmen.

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Birds of New Zealand

Made for You (Love and Family, #2)Made for You by Anyta Sunday
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First person present tense, alternating between two POVs. Not my favourite.

Weird Fanta fixation (the bubbly yellow stuff).

Ben comes across as very immature. On purpose, I am sure. But how much can you really fail at life at that age, with a job and a child to look after? He gets a little better eventually, thanks to Jack…

Friends to lovers, family. Very, very slow burn. No drama, minimal angst, mostly fluff.

Easy to read, although the alternating POV was a little distracting and I had trouble at times to tell the boys apart. I learned a lot about the birdlife of New Zealand!

Low brain power, simple plot, nothing taxing. Comfortable. I would read more by the author.

3.5 stars, rounded up.

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My year in books

2019 on Goodreads2019 on Goodreads by Various
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read a massive amount of comics in 2019. One contributing factor was comiXology, the other one Kindle Unlimited. For Christmas this year I gifted myself with collected hardback editions of all volumes of Saga, Vol. 1 and Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening, but I also very much enjoyed the Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars series by Lemire.

My most anticipated sequel to a series this year was Tiamat’s Wrath and it did not disappoint, 5 stars! Children of Ruin and Storm Cursed were fun sequels as well.

Favourite novels were A Memory Called Empire—looking forward to that sequel, sadly only in 2021–and The Raven Tower, an author that has become an instabuy for me. Also unexpectedly good was Afterparty.

Other honorable mentions for novels:

Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy, #1) by Mira Grant

Witchmark (The Kingston Cycle, #1) by C.L. Polk

Semiosis (Semiosis Duology, #1) by Sue Burke

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1) by Becky Chambers

The Girl with All the Gifts (The Girl with All the Gifts, #1) by M.R. Carey

Best brain candy was The Cavern. Underwater horror stuff is my favourite!

My favourite novellas this year were Walking to Aldebaran and The Black Tides of Heaven—to be continued at some point.

Some excellent short stories were to be found in The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories.

Honorable mentions for short stuff:

Emergency Skin (Forward collection) by N.K. Jemisin

Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 145 by Neil Clarke

Articulated Restraint by Mary Robinette Kowal

Lightspeed Magazine, February 2012 by John Joseph Adams

The Best We Can A Original by Carrie Vaughn

Biggest disappointments of the year were Hollow Kingdom and Emily Eternal—this sounded so great, but was such a mess…

Also not for me were:

Inheritor (Foreigner, #3) by C.J. Cherryh

The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall

The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander

Randomize by Andy Weir

Phoenix Unbound (Fallen Empire, #1) by Grace Draven

All in all this was a good reading year. But I planned ahead a lot and committed to too many buddy reads. They were fun, but barely left me room for any mood reading. So the big plan for 2020: fewer buddy reads and a serious attempt at minimizing my TBR pile. Less planning, fewer statistics and more spontaneous choices…

Happy new year and lots of great books for all of us in 2020!

Authors stats 2019:

Male authors: 79
Female authors: 58
Non-binary authors: 4
Authors of color: 18

US-American author: 95
United Kingdom: 12
Canada: 6
Australia: 5
France: 4
Germany: 3
China: 2
India: 2

And the rest of the world:
Argentina: 1
Austria: 1
Belgium: 1
Chile: 1
Croatia: 1
Czech Republic: 1
Greece: 1
Grenada: 1
Malaysia: 1
Russia: 1
Singapore: 1
Unknown nationality: 2

Page Stats for 2019:

Total December: 2.281
Total November: 2.381
Total October: 2.662
Total September: 2.606
Total August: 1.855
Total July: 2.038
Total June: 1.797
Total May: 1.944
Total April: 2.530
Total March: 1.707
Total February: 2.389
Total January: 2.819

Monthly Average for 2019: 2.251 pages
Total page count for 2019: 27.009 pages

My Book Tapestry does not fit into this review, I posted it into the comments at the bottom of my profile page.

My year according to Goodreads:…

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Excellent continuation, pity about the artwork…

The Walking Dead, Vol. 2: Miles Behind UsThe Walking Dead, Vol. 2: Miles Behind Us by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The change in artwork is a little jarring. Pity that the artist changed, right now I‘d say I liked the art in the first volume more.

Getting on the road…




And I looked up Hershel’s, Dale’s and Andrea‘s alter egos from the TV show, to get a better feel for who is who… Carol looks totally different!

This volume made it clear for me that on the surface, yes, it‘s about zombies and the apocalypse. But, really, this is about relationships and about what makes us tick. Nicely done.

I really liked Hershel and his take on zombies. That scene on his farm, when they open the barn door—wow, that was really great. The suspense was superb.

Rick was a little wooden and one-dimensional in this. And , boy, did Allen go on my wick!

Excellent ending, looking forward to the next volume! Good afterword by Simon Pegg.

One star off for the change in artwork.

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Farseeing story

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1)Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“I’ll be teaching you the nasty, furtive, polite ways to kill people. You’ll either develop a taste for it, or not. That isn’t something I’m in charge of. But I’ll make sure you know how.“

Slow start, very detailed, a coming of age story. Just a few of the things I usually don‘t like in a book. This is done in a likeable fashion though and I even enjoyed reading about Fitz‘s youth.

Nonetheless the story dragged for me, it took a long time to get anywhere. And it was depressing. If Fitz‘s life continues like this, I wouldn‘t be surprised if he slit his throat at some point. No highlights, no redeeming events, just hardship and disappointments.

I finished the book, liked the plot, had my favourite characters (Burrich and Verity) and the preview into the next book was enticing enough. I might continue with this series eventually, just because it is supposed to be great and everything builds on another….? I would love to find a universe that I can love and get invested in. I am especially interested in the Liveship Traders…

2.5 stars, rounded up.

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Walking dead down under

Outbreak (Plague War #1)Outbreak by Alister Hodge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“There’s a bite mark on her left forearm that appears grossly infected. Before she became confused, a bat was mentioned – not sure if that’s what caused the wound.“
Fasten your seatbelts, because….

Well… this is pretty standard fare for a zombie book, nothing new. But good entertainment and well written. I had some pretty strong Walking Dead moments.

I read an underwater/cave horror book by the author before, The Cavern, and can recommend him for (trashy) horror fun. I would pick him up again.

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Walking the Walk…

The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone ByeThe Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Finally, finally reading this. Here we go!


I read Issue #1 some time ago and was fairly ambivalent about it. But since then I have read a lot of comics—good ones, fairly bad ones, prize winners—and this is very good! Great story telling and character development, good pacing, great artwork… I really enjoyed this first volume and I will definitely keep going.

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So far so good.

Blood Stones (Child of the Storm, #1)Blood Stones by Manuel Bichebois
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A hunter finds an orphaned baby and he and his wife adopt it and raise it as their own.


The child has a strange sensitivity to storms, which complicates their life and leads to danger. Fantasy setting, feudal touches, pre-industrial, some magic.

The artwork is nice enough. The characters look human, with animalistic features.

The story was not for me, it felt too YA for my taste and lacked interest for me. I will not continue.

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