Here is another Blast from the Past, zooming past at light speed…

I read this one in 2016…

Miasma (Star Trek: The Original Series)
by Greg Cox

Formulaic Trek with all the usual tropes, down to the amusing banter at the end.

I would have liked a little beforehand info, where to slot this into canon. Between Final Frontier and Undiscovered Country, maybe? Based on the hints given, I would suggest only reading this after at least having seen The Voyage Home, not earlier, to avoid spoilers. 

If I ever in my life should encounter a vehicle called Galileo, I will not be getting into that doomed deathtrap!

Despite the dire circumstances the crew finds themselves in after their crash landing, the story did not build up much tension for me until the second half of it. In terms of character and plot development this felt like a much shorter story. Nothing very exciting, nothing new or unusual, nice to have for any fans of the original series.

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


January 8, 2016 – Started Reading

January 9, 2016 – 10.0% “He had taken part in more Starfleet funerals than he cared to remember, including his own.

January 9, 2016 – 25.0% “Ok, here is my guess. Sentient fog? Don’t tell me!”

January 9, 2016 – 40.0% “One redshirt left to go…”

January 9, 2016 – 85.0% “Spock doing a Gandalf impression, nice.”

January 9, 2016 – Finished Reading

The Enterprise-A is transporting a party of diplomats when it picks up a mysterious alien signal emanating from a nearby world. The planet’s dense, impenetrable atmosphere makes it unclear if the beacon is a distress signal, an invitation—or a warning to stay away. Spock, Doctor McCoy, and Chekov are part of a team sent to investigate, but an unexpected catastrophe forces a crash landing. Now the landing party is stranded on a hostile world, unable to communicate with the Enterprise. While Captain Kirk and Saavik race to locate the lost crew, a badly wounded Spock struggles to keep McCoy and the others alive until they can be rescued, even if that means making an unthinkable sacrifice…

Goodreads blurb

Blast from the past with Kirk and Spock

Another old review, never before posted here, read in 2015…

Shadow of the Machine
by Scott Harrison

The story fits in well after the original Star Trek motion picture, the characters stay true to the original series. I liked the various plotlines, but this was too short to explore any of the themes in depth.

Spock and the Vulcans in general seem to be a bit emotional to me. And Sulu came along as pretty bland in my opinion. But I never really liked Sulu, so I might be biased. 

Generally nice character studies, with a little bit of action towards the end to liven it up.

I recommend this to fans of the original series, but it is really only a little filler and it does not add anything relevant to the Star Trek universe.

An e-novella set in the Original Series universe—taking place immediately after the events of the 1979 film Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

After its recent encounter with V’ger, the U.S.S. Enterprise has returned to dry dock to finish its refit before commencing its second five-year mission. The crew has been granted a two-week period of shore leave before preparations for their next voyage begins. Shaken by their encounter with V’ger, Kirk, Spock, and Sulu travel to their respective homes and must reflect upon their lives—now forever changed.

Goodreads blurb

Happy Lunar New Year 2023!

Yesterday the Year of the Rabbit officially started! 新年快乐! So, apparently, for us bookish people that kicks of the trend of reading books with rabbits on the cover. I can already see it—next time I‘m at my local bookstore, all these rabbits will be looking at me and whisper „buy me, buy me!“

Let‘s have a look at my shelf of owned books, aka the Rabbit TBR! The first rabbit on my shelf is a planned re-read:

Watership Down
by Richard Adams

I read this many, many times as a teenager, pretty much once a year for a long time. It‘s been so long, I don‘t recall exactly what I loved so much about this book, perhaps it is time for a reread. Perhaps it was the imaginative world building and the strength of the character developments. Plus I am curious—I only ever read this in the German translation, never in the original. So I got a secondhand paperback last year.

The Forest God
by Jamie Lackey

This is a 82-page novella and Netgalley, that has been on my shelf since August 2020. Yes, I am very late. I don‘t remember why I requested this.

The Forest God, incarnated into the body of hare, ready to die and live again. 
The Apprentice Witch, outcast and unwanted, unsure of her path. 
The Young Lord, frivolous and rootless, inconsiderate of his duties. 

Their three souls should be bound to a cycle of death and sacrifice, responsibility and rebirth. But the bonds lie broken and shrouded in mystery. The wood remains in precarious balance for now, but the village withers. 

Only together, can they set things right.

The Psychology of Time Travel
by Kate Mascarenhas

No idea. I added this 372-page kindle to my shelf in October 2018. About time, right?

A time travel murder mystery from a brilliantly original new voice. Perfect for readers of Naomi Alderman’s The Power and Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven.

That was it with owned rabbits… do you hve any bunnies on your shelves?

Great story, but odd writing style and pacing

To Each This World
by Julie E. Czerneda

The inhabitants of New Earth, the first Earth colony and home to Earth‘s surviving humanity, formed an alliance with the Kmet, an alien race. They receive news about the location of some of their own colony ships, sent out 200 years previously. Humans and aliens set out to find those colonists. Bad things happen. The true state of the human-alien partnership comes under question during the course of their expedition.

The writing style took some getting used to. Colloquial speech in writing, grammar be damned.

The pacing of this book was too slow, it took me forever to get past the first third of the story. Nearly gave up. There was a lot of idling. But I was also intrigued. Struggled onto the halfway point, still thinking about abandoning it. Muddled on. An low-and-behold, it got good! Great even! The action at the end made me happy. A bit too little, too late though. I appreciate all that world-building and set-up and character development, but I also wish the first half of the book had been half as long!

I cried at the end. Twice! I can‘t give it less than 4 stars, if I cry, right? Despite everything—what a slog.

Henry reminded me of Bren Cameron, just with less dress sense. The sandals were charming though. All of Henry was charming, really. Killian grew on me. And oh my goodness, those PIPs were adorable! And Flip! Loved him. It? Yes, the willy-bits were funny, too. And yes, I would get a sequel, despite the slog. I loved the construction of the portals. More portal mechanics would have been nice.

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

What’s the First Line of the First Book You’re Reading in 2023?

To Each This World
by Julie E. Czerneda

Beth Seeker cupped her hands to shade her eyes. Seared brown desert stretched to wavering distant lines that might have been hills, but you didn‘t use Human words for things in the Split.

Ok, that‘s two sentences, but the first sentence wasn‘t terribly exciting.

Why This Book: It‘s a buddy read of my favourite group on Goodreads. And I was lucky enough to get it through Netgalley. And it involves colony ships, aliens, communication—right down my alley.

The book blurb:

From an Aurora Award-winning author, a new sci-fi novel follows three intrepid humans caught up in a conflict that stretches across time and space.

Biologist Julie E. Czerneda’s new standalone science fiction novel, To Each This World follows a desperate mission to reconnect with long lost sleeper ships, sent centuries earlier from Earth to settle distant worlds.

A trio of Humans must work with their mysterious alien allies to rescue any descendants they can find on those worlds. Something is out there, determined to claim the cosmos for itself, and only on Earth will Humans be safe.

Or will they?

The challenge isn’t just to communicate with your own kind after generations have passed. It’s to understand what isn’t your kind at all.

And how far will trust take you, when the truth depends on what you are?

I am about 20% into the book now. I like it, the two humans that have been central so far, are great and likable characters. And the alien(s) is nicely wacky. However, the first few pages were a challenge. The writing style takes getting used to.

Prompt taken from Tor.com.

Roadtrip on chicken legs into the past…

Thistlefoot
by GennaRose Nethercott 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Here is the rare event of the cover drawing me to a book. Over the years I have met Baba Yaga in various mutations. Probably first through Kate Daniels or another UF series and lastly through the Witcher. The chicken-legged hut sealed the deal. A roadtrip in a walking hut? Sounds bonkers. I had fun looking at various images of chicken-legged huts online…

It started more sweet than horrible, until the bad guy showed up for the first time. Creepy. 

“In the tradition of modern fairytales like American Gods and Spinning Silver comes a sweeping epic rich in Eastern European folklore–a debut novel about the ancestral hauntings that stalk us, and the uncanny power of story.“

Anybody interested in Eastern European folklore has probably come across Baba Yaga and her chicken-legged hut before. So colour me intrigued, when I read about the Yaga siblings, their inheritance of a house with chicken legs and a road trip. I had to go along.

The siblings come across as amicable characters, when they are introduced—a wood-working sister and her trickster-like brother. The Longshadow Man though is frightening right off the bat.

Sometimes the plot moved along nicely, sometimes dragged a bit, getting caught up in descriptive prose and inner musings. A bit more plot progression would have been my preference, although the lyrical bits had something, too.

I expected something tenser, with a stronger horror element. After the Longshadow Man showed up for the first time, I thought there would be a growing sense of dread and urgency and of being chased. But the pace remained mostly pretty sedate, with the odd more active interlude. The mystery unravelled slowly, with frequent glimpses into the past of the main characters.

Unusual, different. Not as much horror as I thought. This is not a re-telling of a haunted fairytale. It‘s more a re-telling of horrible, past events. Or a remembering. Some events need to be retold, to battle all those people out there prone to repeat history. Let‘s call it magical realism with a strong dose of folklore and a dash of history.

The defining moment of Baba Yaga is one that has been told many times over for horrific events in history, where the many take it upon themselves to murder and exterminate the few. But I guess these stories need to be told again and again, when I look at the news and experience how stupid people still are, despite everything.

Bottomline, I liked this story. I struggled a bit with the pacing. The active parts were great and well written. The lyrical parts were just that, but they dragged and sometimes they dragged so much that I put the book down and didn‘t touch it for a day. I liked Bellatine and Isaac. What a twat he was. Thistlefoot came alive beautifully. I laughed at it‘s different origin stories. Baba Yaga‘s story was mostly dreadful and the ending is a bittersweet one. Please don‘t think that this novel is only about the past, Bellatine and Isaac live in the now and so do their friends. It‘s a very magical now though.

I would pick up something else by the author, if I liked the blurb.

Author‘s website: https://www.gennarosenethercott.com

And her Traveling Poetry Emporium — What a fun idea! I enjoyed reading about it and wish that I lived on a different continent, so I could visit.

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

Riverland stories

Into the Riverlands (The Singing Hills Cycle, #3)
by Nghi Vo 

The third novella in the Singing Hills Cycle. By now the cleric Chih has become a good friend. And Almost Brilliant, who had been missing in the 2nd novella, is back as well. They join an older couple and two young women on their treck through the riverlands. On the road they tell each other stories about the past, about emperors, fighters and bandits. Reaching their destination is a culmination of those stories.

This is probably my favourite of the Singing Hills Cycle novellas. Although I am pretty sure I missed some of the things the author was trying to tell me. I loved all of the major characters and the hinted-at relationships. I also appreciated the discourse into how stories are told, should be told and what points of view can turn them into.

I received an advanced copy of this novella from the publisher or author through NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I was not required to give a positive review.

Think of something cold….

Antarctica: Life on the Frozen Continent
by Conor Kilgallon

Rating: 4 out of 5.

East Antarctica, West Antarctica, Islands, Wildlife—each part of this book shows a different part on Antarctica, prefaced by a short text describing the specifics of that geographic region or chapter.

There are photographs of icebergs, sea ice, mountain ranges, ice shelves, quite a few penguins, seals and various signs of human exploration and habitation. Climate change makes a brief appearance as well, obviously. If the Ross ice shelf melts (the largest ice shelf in Antarctica), sea levels worldwide would rise by 15 meters. Scary thought. Generally this book focuses on the (still) beautiful aspects of our southernmost continent though.


My favourites were the photos showing wildlife, but there were a lot of stunning photos of icebergs, too.


A nice tabletop book for lovers of Antarctica and stark sceneries of ice, sea and sky.


I received an advanced copy of this book from Amber Books Ltd. through NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I was not required to give a positive review. I read a pdf for review purposes, only physical books will be sold.

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?

They only eat people sometimes

Ogres by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It’s always idyllic in the village until the landlord comes to call. Because the landlord is an Ogre. And Ogres rule the world, with their size and strength and appetites. It’s always been that way. It’s the natural order of the world. And they only eat people sometimes.

From the book blurb

The POV of this novella is very smartly done. We experience everything from the eyes of a main character that has a very narrow field of vision and knowledge of the world he lives in. So we also know very little at first of this seemingly pastoral and feudal world of humans in a society governed by ogres. We take every step of discovery with him. And it’s quite a stunning list of discoveries for him. Very little of what he believes to be true turns out to be real. 

I missed emotional expressions. The inner landscape of our main character was laid out in a pretty sterile fashion. I made no real connection to him and found it hard to like or emphasize with him, even during the truly horrible events of his life. Nothing seemed to have a real impact on him. However, the story as such was a very smart one.

The final head twister is a real bummer. Nicely done, Mr. Tchaikovsky!

PS: 2nd person narrative, ugh. I am not a fan of that. But I got over it.

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