July 2020 Wrap-Up

My July 2020:

BR novels:
– Limit, BR with Dennis, TBR challenge, ongoing & carry-over into August
– The Traitor Baru Cormorant, BR, ongoing & carry-over into August

– Dragonflight, as part of The Dragonriders of Pern, ★★★★☆, in the beginning there was a queen‘s dragon egg… Who wants to continue with this series?
– The City We Became, June SF GR, audible, ★★☆☆☆, not for me.

Solo reads:
– Lullaby for a Lost World, short, ★★★★★, magic comes at a high price. Vengeance!
– Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, HarryPotterAtHome, read by various actors (https://www.wizardingworld.com/chapters), TBR challenge (most reviews/highest ratings), ★★★★☆, #HarryPotterAtHome
– Dwarf Stars 2020, poetry, ★★★★☆, SF poems of 10 lines or less.
– Grace Immaculate, short, ★★★★☆, first contact via SETI, alien aliens…
– Wohllebens Waldführer: Tiere & Pflanzen bestimmen, das Ökosystem entdecken, nonfiction, ★★★★☆, easy guide about 250 species of plants and animals in central Europe.
– David‘s Head, in Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 156, ★★★★☆, short story about a roadtrip with an AI
– 2389, ★★★☆☆, space horror brain candy.
– Das Seelenleben der Tiere: Liebe, Trauer, Mitgefühl – erstaunliche Einblicke in eine verborgene Welt, nonfiction, ★★★☆☆, the inner life of animals, pop science.

Comics, aka my guilty pleasure:
– Skyward #13, ★★★☆☆
– Skyward #14, ★★★☆☆
– Skyward #15, ★★★½☆, the end!
– Ascender #6, ★★★★☆
– Ascender #7, ★★★★½
– Sea of Stars #1, ★★★½☆
– Black Science #1, ★★☆☆☆, Lost in Space, travelling other dimensions.

Wanted to read, but didn‘t:
– Unconquerable Sun, BR, wasn‘t that interested anymore
– Ascender, Vol. 2: The Dead Sea, #8, 9 & 10, plan to read it eventually…

Skyward #13 by Joe Henderson Skyward #14 by Joe Henderson Skyward #15 by Joe Henderson Ascender #6 by Jeff Lemire Ascender #7 by Jeff Lemire Sea of Stars #1 by Jason Aaron Black Science #1 by Rick Remender 
Dragonflight (Pern Dragonriders of Pern, #1) by Anne McCaffrey Dwarf Stars 2020 by Robin Mayhall Grace Immaculate by Gregory Benford Wohllebens Waldführer Tiere & Pflanzen bestimmen, das Ökosystem entdecken by Peter Wohlleben 2389 by Iain Rob Wright Lullaby for a Lost World by Aliette de Bodard 
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling Das Seelenleben der Tiere Liebe, Trauer, Mitgefühl - erstaunliche Einblicke in eine verborgene Welt by Peter Wohlleben Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 156 by Neil Clarke 

Plans for August:
I am in the middle of several things that I need to finish. Plus there is a vague committment to read Shark Week related stuff… 😝

„Mamaborg’s Milk and the Brilliance of Gems“ is forthcoming in Clarkesworld!

I am happy to announce that my short story, „Mamaborg’s Milk and the Brilliance of Gems,“ is forthcoming in Clarkesworld! —with thanks to Neil Clarke…

„Mamaborg’s Milk and the Brilliance of Gems“ is forthcoming in Clarkesworld!

Just in case you are following this author… I am struggling to pin down, what I have read already. One story that I did find was this:

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 147
by Neil Clarke

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

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: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/dluze…

————
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: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/robso…
Or at the author‘s website: https://kellyrobson.com/two-year-man/

————
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: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/zhang…

————
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: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/pacot…

————
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: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/castr…

„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: https://eleannacastroianni.wordpress.com

————
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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More than survival

Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 145Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 145 by Neil Clarke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review for When We Were Starless by SIMONE HELLER, 13204 words, ~29 p., ★★★★☆

“When we set out to weave a new world from the old, broken one, we knew we pledged the lives of our clutches and our clutches’ clutches to wandering the wastes.“

Bipedal lizards living in a post-apocalyptic, lost world. A possibly human race has left behind remnants of their technology. Nomadic tribes just barely manage to survive in a bleak, dangerous and hopeless world. A meeting and forbidden aquaintance changes the world.

Not easy to get into, as the world is only explained in brief strokes and the aliens are, well, alien. A story about hope and about wanting more than the status quo and mere subsistence.

I liked it, I think—I am still mulling it over. The ending and last paragraph was a bit too abrupt and brief for my taste.

2019 FINALIST: THEODORE A. STURGEON MEMORIAL AWARD, 2019 FINALIST: HUGO AWARD FOR BEST NOVELETTE, 2019 FINALIST: EUGIE FOSTER MEMORIAL AWARD

Can be read for free here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/helle…

The author‘s German blog: https://www.simone-heller.de/epiblog/
And her English blog: https://missnavigator.com

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Seeing is believing?

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 50 (Clarkesworld Magazine, #50)Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 50 by Neil Clarke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review for SEEING, GENEVIEVE VALENTINE, ~12 p., ★★★★★
After it was over, they pulled her from the sea.

I was very confused at first. Something pre-apocalyptic? Maye a dystopia? I felt the urge to go and study astrophysics, to understand what was going on. It took a moment, but I ended up really liking this. Not an easy story.

I think this is a story you need to read twice to make sense of it. Layers upon layers. In retrospect, skimming the story a second time, I am upgrading this to 5 stars. A lot going on for a mere 12 pages!

Can be read for free here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/valen…

About the author: https://www.genevievevalentine.com/ab…

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Hang a left after Neptune…

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 85 (Clarkesworld Magazine, #85)Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 85 by Neil Clarke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

THE SYMPHONY OF ICE AND DUST, JULIE NOVAKOVA, ~18 p., ★★★☆☆

It’s going to be the greatest symphony anyone has ever composed,” said Jurriaan.

A story within a story. Exploration and discovery at the edge of our solar system. It was ok. I learning something about Neptune and trans-Neptunian objects.

The narration framing the actual story was not very satisfying. The character set-up and the symphony idea sounded interesting, but were so perfunctory, they were barely more than a plot bunny. I liked the story at the core of this.

Nerds-R-Us: I think it hasn‘t been determined yet, if Sedna is in fact a dwarf planet. And if you were wondering, MITEE stands for Miniature Reactor Engine.

Can be read for free here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/novak…

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Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 147

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 147 by Neil Clarke

I decided to try out a subscription of this magazine, to give them a little support and say thank you for all the free stories they publish—not that many of this particular magazine, actually. But I wanted to give it a try. And I might switch to other online magazines and give them a shot, too. Maybe a little project for 2019?

Anyway, updates of each story will follow, as I read them:

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.



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And another Naomi Kritzer story

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 100 (Clarkesworld Magazine, #100)

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 100 by Neil Clarke

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer

“I want to be helpful. But knowing the optimal way to be helpful can be very complicated. There are all these ethical flow charts—I guess the official technical jargon would be “moral codes”—one for each religion plus dozens more. I tried starting with those. I felt a little odd about looking at the religious ones, because I know I wasn’t created by a god or by evolution, but by a team of computer programmers in the labs of a large corporation in Mountain View, California.

Another AI story. Can she look for a flat for me? Frankenstein is an AI… Interesting.

For free online here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/kritz…

Locus Awards and Hugo Award Winner for Best Short Story 2016



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More Naomi Kritzer

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 126 (Clarkesworld Magazine, #126)

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 126 by Neil Clarke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


“Waiting Out the End of the World in Patty’s Place Cafe” by Naomi Kritzer

“I ran out of gas in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, just two hundred miles short of Pierre, my goal. Pierre, South Dakota, I mean, I wasn’t trying to get to someone named Pierre. I was trying to get to my parents, and Pierre was where they lived. I thought maybe, given that the world was probably ending in the next twenty-four hours, they’d want to talk to me.“

End of the World. Nothing else needed to make me read this. Nice. Relationships, family, should you fulfill the usual expectations, just because it‘s the done thing?

Can be found for free here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/kritz…

About the Arecibo Oberservatory: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Areci…

Internal soundtrack, while listening to the podcast: GoldenEye by Tina Turner (because of the Arecibo Observatory—watch the movie, if you haven‘t yet, it‘s great).

Quirky podcast. At one point she took a break to drink something. That was a first!



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