November Wrap-Up

We are galloping towards the end of the year, potentially more lockdowns, increased social distancing, renewed distance education, a new Covid mutation, snow storms, and so on… but for now here is just another wrap-up for my November reading.

– Rovers ★★★★★ – audiobook, Of Men and Mice meets From Dusk till Dawn. Excellent. Highlight of my month! Potentially one of the best books I have read this year.
– Elder Race ★★★★½ – ebook, novella, another Tchaikovsky, Sword-and-Sorcery with a touch of SF and Horror.
– Fated ★★★★☆ – ebook, re-read, wizards, London, Harry Dresden meets Peter Grant and the Iron Druid. Buddy reading #2 in January.
– Relic ★★¾☆☆ – ebook, Alan Dean Foster, the last human in search of Earth. Meh.
– The Resurrectionists ★★½☆☆ – ebook, Netgalley, novella, TBR pile, graphic body horror, not for me.

– The Whale Library ★★★★★ eComic, Netgalley. Pretty story about a whale who contains a library.
– Dragonflight ★☆☆☆☆ paper, TBR pile, bad adaptation of Anne McCaffrey‘s first book of the Dragonriders of Pern.
– Cyber Force (2012) #1 ★☆☆☆☆ eComic, DNF after 8 of 24 pages, no idea what is going on.

Started, carry over into December:
The Quantum Magician, ebook + audio, ~60%. Around 3.5 to 4 stars right now. Ocean‘s 11 in space, post-humanism.
– Life on Earth, audio, TBR pile, ~30%. David Attenborough talks about evolution.

Movies & TV watched:

Nature Documentaries
– David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet ★★★★★+ Beautiful images, important story, fabulous Sir David!
– Our Planet — Behind the Scenes ★★★★★ The walruses, OMG!, and the calving ice shelf, wow!
– Our Planet — One Planet / Frozen Worlds / Jungles / Coastal Seas / From Deserts to Graslands ★★★★★
– Night on Earth: Shot in the Dark ★★★☆☆

Specfic Series
– Foundation, S1, Ep. 1 ★★★★☆
– Infiltration (Invasion), S1, Ep. 1-8 ★★★¾☆
– Wheel of Time, S1, Ep. 1-4 ★★★☆☆

Planned for December:
Leviathan Falls Expanse #9, the final novel, audiobook owned
Silent Blade Kinsmen #1, Ilona Andrews, re-read
Silver Shark Kinsmen #2, Ilona Andrews, re-read
A Mere Formality Kinsmen short, Ilona Andrews, re-read
Fated Blades Kinsmen #3, Ilona Andrews, the new one
– maybe Black Powder War, Temeraire #3
– maybe Dragonsong, re-reading Dragonriders of Pern

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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Don‘t bother

The Taste of Different Dimensions: 15 Fantasy Tales from a Master StorytellerThe Taste of Different Dimensions: 15 Fantasy Tales from a Master Storyteller by Alan Dean Foster
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The first story is an utterly forgettable piece about genies and the classic three wishes gone slightly wrong.
The second story is about dreams, what is real, how do our dreams affect our reality, how do I tell the difference… also nothing exciting.
Halfway through the third story I decided that this isn‘t doing much for me. So, DNF at 22%.
I am also not happy how women are portrayed. It feels a bit dated. Actually, the entirety of what I read felt dated, which is par for the course for a 70-year old author, I guess… And a bit like the author spooled off something by rote. Not sure why he bothered.

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

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Whale of a time

Cachalot (Humanx Commonwealth)

Cachalot by Alan Dean Foster

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As a teenager I read a ton of Alan Dean Foster. Almost all of the Humanx books and then some. Pip and Flinx stayed in my memory, the Icerigger books, a book that I can‘t remember the title of and can‘t find and this… I have an obsession with books set underwater anyway. So, a few decades later I decided to read some of them again, to see if I still like them.

Well, I just finished this. I realized two things—I remembered almost nothing of this book and what I thought I remembered didn‘t happen. So either I made it up or I was thinking of (yet) another book. Sigh.

So, how was it? Well, the language felt a little dated. But the book is almost 40 years old, so that is ok. The daughter was hugely annoying, her musical instrument was pretty interesting, sadly not really explored and pretty obviously a tool. The outcome felt morally pretty suspect and… oh well, it was ok.

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