Creepy tunnels in space

Walking to AldebaranWalking to Aldebaran by Adrian Tchaikovsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A bit odd, a spacefaring novelette and starting it by stumbling through a cave system.

The backstory is well told and the slow reveal of how Gary got to the present point is well done. Fun scenes, interesting aliens, growing creepiness factor… loved the aliens! So imaginative! Loved the humour, the general screwiness, the Britishness. Devious. I would like to spend more time on… never mind. Anything else I want to mention here would be a spoiler. I think the less you know, the more fun this will be.

I got strong vibes of a famous poem. And I have proof in the text that it was on purpose.

Be prepared to be screwed with. I sat up and scratched my head once or twice. I am contemplating to read this again soon. What little clues would I pick up, knowing the ending?

Not what I expected.

I might have said this before—I will have to really work on Tchaikovsky‘s back catalogue. Oh, and I just added him to my list of famous people I want to go to the pub with. Sorry, Adrian, but Quentin is still in the top spot, followed by Ethan and Joel.

I received this free e-copy from the publisher/author via NetGalley and Rebellion Publishing, in exchange for an honest review, thank you!

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Depressing and almost unreadable

The Only Harmless Great ThingThe Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

DNF at 21%. I found this to be almost unreadable. It took me three attempts to just get past the opening paragraphs. Overly wordy and constructed.

I made the effort to find out more about the events that Bolander took and merged to make her own novelette. Links below. Utterly depressing and horrible.

That combined with the overblown prose results in this: Not my thing. Sorry.

Background of the real-life Radium Girls: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiu…

And details about the real-life elephant Topsy: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topsy…

Check out the details at Tor.com: https://publishing.tor.com/theonlyhar…

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Messy mess!

Bob Honey Who Just Do StuffBob Honey Who Just Do Stuff by Pappy Pariah
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

What the heck did I just listen to? Dear Audible, thanks for this freebie. But OMG! Very, very weird.

Dear Sean Penn, please stick to acting and/or voice-acting, which you did very well here. But please stop writing, this was a complete and utterly undecipherable mess! Political activism, et cetera, I get it. But this was painful.

Frances McDormand, I love you! Please read me your shopping list!

Recommended: to nobody!

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Everything else is extra…

The Black Tides of Heaven (Tensorate, #1)The Black Tides of Heaven by J.Y. Yang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

„HEAD ABBOT SUNG of the Grand Monastery did not know it yet, but this night would change the course of all his days.“

Promising start to a fantasy novella with a strong chinese flavour. The author identifies as non-binary and the main characters as well, at least until they reach their teenage years…

“Sonami had just turned fifteen, yet still wore the genderfree tunic of a child, their hair cropped to a small square at the top of their head and gathered into a bun. They bowed, hands folded in deference.“

It is strange at first, then becomes normal and when eventually gendered pronouns crop up, they seem just as strange. Well done!

We are told the story of twins Moko and Akeha, with the latter part told through the eyes of Akeha.

I wasn‘t sure I would like this, because my track record with fantasy has been poor lately. But once the story picked up speed, I found it hard to put down. The writing and plot were also a lot more accessible as I had expected, based on the blurb and some quick glimpses at it over on Tor.com.

So, very pleasant surprise, I enjoyed this a lot and I will very likely pick up the next novella. I haven‘t looked it up yet, but I hope that it will perhaps tell the story again from the POV of Moko (ok, I peeked, it doesn‘t… but it sounds even better…).

A little something from the author‘s blog/website—My suggestion would be to read this after reading Black Tides, to not spoil yourself unduly: http://jyyang.com/the-tensorate-series/

And, oh yes, something that confused me quite a bit at first but that I eventually just went with: “Welcome to Ea. A planet where extreme weather carves through continents and seas. Where the sun rises and sets six times a day. Where immense monsters grow in bands of low gravity.“

Yep, the sun raises and sets six times a day. That was unusual. So, because the days were so short, people decided to lump three of them together, to make a longer day?

The magic system is fascinating, I really liked the visuals through The Slack and the concept of the Mechanics.

‘Nuff said, off to find the twin novella…

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Dream novella

I just found an apparently unposted draft, so here it is!

TraumnovelleTraumnovelle by Arthur Schnitzler

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fridolin and Albertine are married with a child. One evening Albertine confesses to Fridolin that she had sexual phantasies involving a man she had seen during their vacation. That sets off Fridolin on an exploration into his life, his wishes and desires.

In 1926, when this was originally published, it was probably a pretty scandalous book. My thoughts were more along the lines of “oh, another guy exploring his midlife crisis!” Which is probably really shallow of me. Eroticism is only one aspect of this novella. It looks at our dreams, our wants and how we deal with them.

Go read some of the other reviews, they looked at this properly and made an effort to give you a well rounded and educated idea about this famous piece.

The movie Eyes Wide Shut is based on this novella, but I have never watched it, so I can’t say how it compares.

The delivery of the German audiobook I listened to was pretty wooden.

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Not so hidden legacy…

Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy, #3.5)Diamond Fire by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was good. Catalina doesn‘t sound particularly different from Nevada‘s inner voice, though. The main character was completely interchangeable for me.

A bit low on plot, not the full „IA-Experience“, as another reviewer put it. I don‘t think it‘s supposed to be that, though. It‘s more about moving the main story away from Nevada and Connor and establishing Catalina as the next main character for the coming books.

For genre I would place this in the Young Adult corner. However, I also recommend reading the main series, Hidden Legacy, first.

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In other news from Publisher’s Lunch Deals section:
Three more novels in Ilona Andrews‘ Hidden Legacy series, focusing on the emerging powers and personalities of previously-introduced House Baylor family members, for publication starting in fall 2019, plus a novella to bridge the gap, published by Avon Impulse in November 2018

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