Blast from the past, a comic series from the 70s…

Yoko Tsuno: TWO-IN-ONE: Unterirdische Begegnung / Die Orgel des Teufels
by Roger LeloupHarald Sachse (Translator)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Two issues collected in one softcover edition, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the German comics publisher Carlsen, translated into German from the original French.

Roger Leloup is a Belgian comic strip artist, novelist, and a former collaborator of Hergé, for whom he created drawings for The Adventures of Tintin. He is most famous for the Yoko Tsuno comic series, which was first published in 1970. (info transcribed from Wikipedia)

The first issue, Yoko tsuno le trio de l’etrange (CROSS OVER, was published in 1972. Yoko Tsuno and her colleagues get sucked into an underground world while scuba diving and meet aliens living in a subterranean colony. It‘s an SF adventure story with quite a lot of action and conflict. The story was not my cup of tea, I skimmed through the last few pages.

The second issue in this collection is L’Orgue du diable, first published in 1973. Katz Castle, a real castle towering above the river Rhine, and its surroundings are the place of action for this one. This part of the Rhine Gorge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I have come past this particular stretch by train many times, trying to catch a glimpse of the Lorelei from my train window. The first frame of this comic gives a realistic view of the setting…

(Photo at the top taken from Wikipedia)

Here is the text of Heinrich Heine‘s poem Die Lorelei with an English translation:
https://www.ogn.ox.ac.uk/sites/defaul…

Anyway, back to Yoko Tsuno! Another mystery, this time a less speculative story, about a massiv pipe organ. I liked the artwork depicting real settings. But generally, as mentioned above already, this type of comic is not really my thing. Not bad, but I won‘t pick up any other issues of this series.

It’s not a date 

The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Six 

I will update this anthology as I go along…

– YOUR BOYFRIEND EXPERIENCE by James Patrick Kelly — Dak’s boyfriend Jin asks him to go on a date with a playbot that Jin designed. I wouldn‘t call this romance, although Dak‘s relationship with Jin plays a major part in the story. It‘s more about Dak‘s self-discovery with the help of an AI. He ends up in a difficult position. 
The ending had a very ominous and creepy vibe for me. I could imagine this turning into a horror scenario, but that‘s just my imagination running wild, I think. Good plotting and pacing, well developed characters for a short story. Well done. ★★★★★

– LONE PUPPETEER OF A SLEEPING CITY by Arula Ratnakar — probably not bad, but I couldn‘t work up any interest for the story. ★★☆☆☆

Holy timeline!

Under Fortunate Stars by Ren Hutchings

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Holy timeline! There are two of them, right from the start. Or is that one timeline plus flashbacks? Three timelines? And four POVs. But it all makes perfect sense, trust me. There are smugglers and mathematical and physical geniuses, undercover activists, a war in space, aliens, genetic modification, love, heists and more. That‘s all I am going to give away, read the blurb if you want more! Anything else would diminish the fun of finding it out by yourself!

“We could even be completely outside the flow of time.“

You don‘t say! Smart idea to tell the story by jumping back in time by increments and slowly revealing pertinent information to the reader for consecutive chapters. With the odd surprising twist strewn in.

Jereth‘s shaking hands showed up a bit too often for my taste. Other than that I was quite happy with the writing, although I would have preferred more action and faster pacing, especially towards the end. Some bits could have done with less telling and more showing. 

There was quite a lot of navel gazing, which I tend to dislike, but here it fit nicely into the plot and was an integral part of the story telling. The characters were believable, distinct and varied.

Great concept, a love of history and screwy timeline shenanigans. No idea if the science was solid, it worked for me. Satisfying ending with a nice plot bunny. As a debut novel this is excellent.

There are two Q&As about the book on the authors‘s blog here: https://www.renhutchings.com/blog

I would read more by the author and recommend or gift this to others.

I received an advanced copy of this book from Rebellion Publishing through NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I was not required to give a positive review.

I just remembered why I don‘t like the Mirrorverse…

Star Trek: TNG: Mirror Broken #0 by David TiptonScott TiptonJ.K. Woodward (Illustrator)

Rating: 1 out of 5.

The titular story is only 19 pages long, pretty short. The other 20 pages are teasers of several other Star Trek comics. So not even half of the content is what it says on the cover.

The storyline is the usual Mirrorverse, aka assassination attempts, slavery, silly outfits. Plus I never liked Barclay and don‘t care…

The artwork is iffy, aka the human anatomy is off. Heads are sitting at unrealistic angles, arms are on steroids and out of proportion to the rest of the body, it‘s not pretty.

Seriously, that arm looks as if Data borrowed it from the Hulk…

Not recommended. I will definitely not get another one of these.

You gotta bleed…

Saga #58 by Brian K. Vaughan (Author), Fiona Staples (Illustrator), Fonografiks (Letterer)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Is it me or do the single issues feel shorter and shorter?

What do you have to do to become really good at something? 

And how do you deal with the loss of a loved one longterm? And everybody trying to get you?

I am so glad that someone told me that the words in blue are in Esperanto! And that I can get translations online!

Make a link, find a way…

The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Six

THE BAHRAIN UNDERGROUND BAZAAR by Nadia Afifi

“Most people my age never installed the NeuroLync that retains an imprint of a person’s experiences—including their final moments.“

Another short story where the MC connects to another conscience, but here it‘s not a piggy-back experience of a living mind. It‘s an immersion into the recording of another person‘s death. And the subsequent quest of our MC to understand that one particular person and herself. ★★★☆☆

A little more about the story by the author

Taxi service for body and mind…

The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Six // Clarkesworld Magazine #163, April 2020 

I will update this anthology as I go along…

AIRBODY by Sameem Siddiqui — renting the body of someone else via shared consiousness, nice idea with lots of possibilities. ★★★☆☆

I stand in front of the mirror as I clip the AirBody headset to the backs of my ears. It whirs on automatically—it doesn’t actually whir, but I imagine that’s the microscopic sound it makes as the violet light pulses. It authenticates my identity and says “Hello, Arsalan. Your AirBody guest is in the waiting area. Are you ready?”

Winner of the 2020 Clarkesworld Readers Poll
2021 Finalist for the Theodore A. Sturgeon Memorial Award

Can be read for free here // Author‘s website

Some fanfiction as a palate cleanser…

Tangled Destinies by Keira Marcos

Rating: 5 out of 5.

One of my favourite fanfics. Star Trek AOS, Spirk, alternate storyline with Kirk and Spock meeting for the first time on Earth as 16-year olds. Kirk is part Betazoid, which leads to all kinds of telepathic shenanigans. There is also a lot of drama. Well written and a lot of fun. I tend to re-read it every now and then. This is the first story arch. There were plans for two more, but sadly they never happened. Still, good fun.

167.854 Words


I used to read a lot of fanfiction — Star Trek, Sherlock Holmes, Stargate Atlantis, LOTR, The Hobbit, Avengers… for a while I read almost nothing but. It was really addictive and I could not stop. But eventually it didn‘t satisfy me anymore and I returned to reading published novels, etc. Every now and then I pick up one of my old favourites, but I do not really go online to explore new stories. I don‘t want to get hoked again. Isn‘t that weird?

Top Ten Tuesday — Adjective In the Title

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

http://www.thatartsyreadergirl.com/top-ten-tuesday/

This week‘s topic / March 22: Books With an Adjective In the Title

Tricky topic. Lets see what I can did up on my shelf. For variety‘s sake I‘ll start with the books I added to my shelves last and work backwards…

Under Fortunate Stars by Ren Hutchings — my latest NetGalley addition: Two Ships. One Chance To Save The Future. Fleeing the final days of the generations-long war with the alien Felen, smuggler Jereth Keeven’s freighter the Jonah breaks down in a strange rift in deep space

The Art of Cursive Penmanship: A Personal Handwriting Program for Adults by Michael R. Sull — A practice guide to improve one‘s handwriting. We start with a discourse on the history and technicalities of handwriting. There is instructions on the correct sitting posture, how to place the paper, how to use your writing implement, on fountain pens and so on. Chapter 5 is the beginning of the practical part. That‘s roughly where I am right now. Haven‘t started with the exercises yet…

Ancestral Night (White Space, #1) by Elizabeth Bear — not quite sure why I added this one to my stack: A space salvager and her partner make the discovery of a lifetime that just might change the universe in this wild, big-ideas space opera from multi award-winning author Elizabeth Bear.

Dying Earths: Sixteen Stories from the Ends of Times by Sue Burke and others — sounds depressing, but I want to read Sue Burke‘s story: The writers and contributors to the little corner of the web called SFFWorld.com have brought together a collection of stories about a dying Earth. 

Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes — this was a buddy read that I skipped. Everybody really liked it, so I got it after all: Titanic meets The Shining in S.A. Barnes’ Dead Silence, a SF horror novel in which a woman and her crew board a decades-lost luxury cruiser and find the wreckage of a nightmare that hasn’t yet ended.

An Easy Job by Carrie Vaughn — short story, read it already… Carrie Vaughn is worth mentioning again.

The Black Coast (The God-King Chronicles, #1) by Mike Brooks — another buddy read that I skipped and my reading buddies all loved it: When the citizens of Black Keep see ships on the horizon, terror takes them because they know who is coming: for generations, the keep has been raided by the fearsome clanspeople of Tjakorsha. Saddling their war dragons, Black Keep’s warriors rush to defend their home only to discover that the clanspeople have not come to pillage at all. Driven from their own land by a daemonic despot who prophesises the end of the world, the raiders come in search of a new home . . .

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim — I like the original fairytale and the cover is pretty, so I couldn‘t resist: Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control.

Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days by Alastair Reynolds — two novelettes set in Revelation Space. And the blurb of one of them is something aquatic. I had to get it: In the seas of Turquoise live the Pattern Jugglers, the amorphous, aquatic organisms capable of preserving the memories of any human swimmer who joins their collective consciousness. Naqi Okpik devoted her life to studying these creatures—and paid a high price for swimming among them. 

Digital Divide (Rachel Peng, #1) by K.B. Spangler — not quite sure why I picked this one. Genre bender with cyborgs: Rachel Peng misses the Army. Her old life in Criminal Investigation Command hadn’t been easy, but she had enjoyed it. Now, as the first cyborg liaison to the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police, Rachel is usually either bored senseless or is fighting off harassment from her coworkers.

Yes, not 100% certain that those are all adjectives… *shrugs*

What interesting reads have you added to your shelves recently?

A pretty grim visit to the Pelted Universe…

Even The Wingless (Princes’ Game #1) by M.C.A. Hogarth

The blurb reminded me just a little of Foreigner. That is where the similarities end. 

It is great fun to be back in the world of M.C.A. Hogarth, with more space elves, although this is a much, much darker and more violent part of her Pelted Universe. Very intense, very violent. Strangely compelling, despite the pretty horrific plot. And I feel weird and embarrassed for liking this so much—have a look at my content warning below—I pretty much inhaled the second half in one sitting.

Lisinthir, space elf and empath, is the new Alliance ambassador to an empire of two-legged dragons and a society of brutal and violent male dominance and slavery. His job is to gather intelligence and free potential slaves kidnapped from the Alliance. And to survive. To do that, he has to go down a pretty dark and violent path.

Content warning: slavery, physical violence, frequent rape, sexual abuse, torture. None of it is graphic, but it is one the page almost constantly.

Princes‘ Game Series:
The books of the Princes’ Game series tell the story of the Chatcaavan war and the part the Eldritch played in it.

This universe contains books that are quite different in tone. I started with Her Instruments and liked that series quite a lot.

The Pelted UniverseList by SeriesList by Internal Chronology