Wrap-up July

My July was of middling success. I really enjoyed Shards of Earth, it‘s one of my favourite reads of the year so far. I decided to DNF One Last Stop and Left Hand of Darkness for now, as I really couldn‘t work up any motivation to continue with either of them. Reading Volumes 2 and 3 of Ascender by Jeff Lemire was a lot of fun. The artwork is still stellar and the plot was enjoyable. And I watched some good movies in July.

Novels read in July:

Shards of Earth (facilitator), ebook, ★★★★★ Great fun!
Questland, ebook, Netgalley, ★★★¼☆ LitRPG, Tolkien meets Jurassic Park, not terribly exciting.
– The Voyage Of The Beagle, ebook, ★★¾☆☆, mostly skimmed through this.
One Last Stop (author of Red, White & Royal Blue), ebook, DNF at 19%, ★★¾☆☆, not interested enough to finish…
– Nightstalkers, ebook, ★★☆☆☆ Sharkweek. Bring on the crazy!
The Left Hand of Darkness, ebook, TBR pile, DNF at 20%, ★¾☆☆☆

Comics: (Mostly single issues of 25-30 pages each)
– Snow Angels #1Snow Angels #2Snow Angels #3Snow Angels #4Snow Angels Season Two #1, KU, ★★★☆☆, family in an ice trench. Dystopia. Hunting, blood, fighting and feeling…
– Ascender #8Ascender #9Ascender #10 ★★★★★+, TBR pile, fabulous conclusion to Vol. 2! 
– Ascender #11Ascender #12Ascender #13Ascender #14 ★★★★☆, fairly predictable ending.
– Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Vol. 2: Avengers of the New World, TBR pile, #ReadBIPOC2021, ★½ ☆☆☆ DNF at 68 pages, 23%. Missing a read thread and homogenous narrative.

Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Vol. 2 Avengers of the New World by Ta-Nehisi Coates Shards of Earth (The Final Architects Trilogy, #1) by Adrian Tchaikovsky Snow Angels #1 (comiXology Originals) by Jeff Lemire Snow Angels #2 (comiXology Originals) by Jeff Lemire Snow Angels #3 (comiXology Originals) by Jeff Lemire Snow Angels #4 (comiXology Originals) by Jeff Lemire Snow Angels Season Two #1 (comiXology Originals) by Jeff Lemire Ascender #8 by Jeff Lemire Ascender #9 by Jeff Lemire Ascender #10 by Jeff Lemire 
Ascender #11 by Jeff Lemire Nightstalkers (Meg #5) by Steve Alten The Voyage Of The Beagle (Illustrated) by Charles Darwin Ascender #12 by Jeff Lemire Ascender #13 by Jeff Lemire Questland by Carrie Vaughn Ascender #14 by Jeff Lemire One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin 

Movies watched:
– A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood ★★★★★ Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers.
– Once Upon a Time in Hollywood ★★★★★ Quentin Tarantino is a god.
– The Homesman ★★★★¾ Hilary Swank / Tommy Lee Jones, Western
– Blood Red Sky ★★★★☆ Unusual horror movie, vampires on a plane.
– Playing with Sharks ★★★★☆ National Geographic documentary
– The Tomorrow War ★★★½☆ Military SF, aliens conquering Earth, Chris Pratt does a good job in a CGI slosh-fest. Not brilliant, but entertaining.

September Wrap-up

Towards the end of the year my reading always seems to go down. Not sure why. Anyhow, I just finished one audio and will post the review later. And I am about to start the next audio. I have one credit left with Audible and yet again I am contemplating to cancel my membership. Sometimes I enjoy listening to audio, but most of the time it feels more like a chore to sit and listen. My listening comprehension is not as good as my reading comprehension and I do have to make more of an effort to understand and follow the stories.

There are a few notable exceptions. One exception are the Peter Grant novels—not because they are fun, but because they are so excellently narrated. And the Expanse novels by Corey were a fun ride as audiobooks. So there is at least one more audiobook in my future, for that I would revive my Audible—the last Expanse novel, Leviathan Falls, to be published sometime in 2021…

So, what did I read in September?

Buddy reads:
– Mindtouch, ebook, ★★★★★, pastoral SF, non-sexual not-quite-romance, finding your place in the world… Another one of Hogarth‘s offerings in her Pelted Universe.
– Emerald Blaze (Hidden Legacy #5), ebook, ★★★★½, all the Ilona Andrews fans go „Yay“. Enough said.
– Sourdough (zombie), ebook, ★★★★☆, techy San Francisco and a mystical sourdough starter. This made me bake.
– The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, ebook, ★★★¾☆, solitude, books, family, trivia and romance.

Comics, aka my guilty pleasure:
– Captain America: Sam Wilson Vol. 1: Not My Captain America, ★★★☆☆, Sam Wilson takes over as Cap. And turns into a werewolf. The bad guy is Donald Trump in disguise.
– Pretty Deadly #1, ★☆☆☆☆, weirdWestern, allover the place, no plot.

Emerald Blaze (Hidden Legacy, #5) by Ilona Andrews Captain America Sam Wilson Vol. 1 Not My Captain America by Nick Spencer Pretty Deadly #1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick Mindtouch (The Dreamhealers, #1) by M.C.A. Hogarth The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman Sourdough by Robin Sloan 

My bookish week

I am currently buddy reading this ebook:

Sourdough by Robin Sloan (Goodreads Author)

Good so far. I feel the urge to bake! Hermann came out of the fridge last evening for a feeding. I am going to feed him again tonight and commence with baking tomorrow, maybe… I‘ll see how my mood strikes me and if he sings!

My current Audible:

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones (Goodreads Author),  Shaun Taylor-Corbett (Narrator)

Very weird. I thought I had gotten a grasp on the plot. I made it halfway and something drastic happened and now I am lost at sea again. I am really slow with audiobooks, because it‘s not really my preferred medium, so it could be a while until I finish.

I keep thinking about cancelling my Audible subscription, but somehow I never manage to use up all my credits, even with taking the optional three-month-pauses.

And my current comic selection:

BLAME! Vol. 4 (BLAME! MASTER EDITION #4) by Tsutomu Nihei

I haven‘t made much headway with this yet. There is too little plot to hold my interest. The art is still good, but has become repetitive. Many fight scenes, where I find it difficult to understand what is going on exactly. We‘ll see how that progresses. I own the complete series and plan to read them all. Two more to come.

And I shopped at HUMBLE BUNLDE yesterday:

HUMBLE BOOK BUNDLE: DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: R.A. SALVATORE SHOWCASE

This series keeps popping up on my Goodreads feed, so I snatched up this opportunity. I got the smallest bundle, which is not much of a loss at 84 cents, if I don’t like the books. Unfortunately the books are only available as pdf or epub, which means I will read them on my iPad. Not my preferred reading device. But oh well, they came at a good price. Drawback #2, the books start in the middle of the series. I guess I will be adventurous and simply jump into the action midway!

Notes of the overbooked and overcommitted…

Would there be any interest in a read-along of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens for September? I will host it if there’s any interest. Please …

Interest in a September Read-Along?

Well, it looks as if I committed to a Charles Dickens read-along in November (September didn‘t work out). The ebook is downloaded, I took a note in my Goodreads calendar, I am ready and not quite as overbooked as in September!

My plans for September 2020:

Again a lot more than I had intended. It just happened. Next year I have to make more of an effort, not to committ to too many BRs… 

BR novels:
– Mindtouch, ebook started
– Emerald Blaze (Hidden Legacy #5), ebook started
– The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
– Sourdough 
– The Mother Code
– Axiom’s End
– Maybe The Only Good Indians

Solo reads:
– Something from Prime Reading (KU)
– maybe The Ippos King, To be published September 15 

Books I am looking forward to in 2021…

I try not to buy too many new books. Therefore I tend to avoid all these lists of upcoming books or just have a very quick glance at them, but refuse to add anything to my want-to-read-pile. I dream of the day, when I have no books piling up on my kindle or my living room table… Alas, I have middling success. Here are a few books I want to read in 2021. It’s a pretty short list, yay!

GRAPHIC NOVEL

Black Magick, Vol. 3: Ascension (Paperback)
by Greg Rucka

Expected publication: February 2nd 2021 by Image Comics

The black-and-white artwork of the first two volumes was excellent. Beautifully drawn, rich details, just very nice. The story was good and has lots of potential.

URBAN FANTASY

Blood Heir (Aurelia Ryder, #1)
by Ilona Andrews (Goodreads Author) 

Expected publication: January 12th 2021 by NYLA

From award-winning author, Ilona Andrews, an all-new novel set in the New York Times #1 bestselling Kate Daniels World and featuring Julie Lennart-Olsen, Kate and Curran’s ward. 

I refrained from reading this on IA‘s website, aka the weekly serialized chapters. In fact, I think that is still ongoing. The fact that there is no cover artwork yet makes me feel a little dubious about the planned publishing date of January 2021… And I am wondering if Julie will be as good as the original Kate Daniels stories.

Wild Sign (Alpha & Omega, #6)
by Patricia Briggs

Expected publication: March 16th 2021 by Amazon Digital Services

Mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham must discover what could make an entire community disappear—before it’s too late

I have been reading the Mercy Thompson books and this spin-off for years. It is still one of my favourite UF series, almost as loved as Ilona Andrews‘ Kate Daniels series. I actually spent the first few months of this year with re-reading all of these books in preparation for a new release of the main series.

SCIENCE FICTION

A Desolation Called Peace (Teixcalaan, #2)
by Arkady Martine (Goodreads Author)

Expected publication: March 2nd 2021 by Tor Books

An alien armada lurks on the edges of Teixcalaanli space. No one can communicate with it, no one can destroy it, …

I really liked the first book and I can‘t wait to find out what Mahit Dzmare and Three Seagrass are going to face in this sequel to A Memory Called Empire.

Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries, #6)
by Martha Wells (Goodreads Author) 

Expected publication: April 27th 2021 by Tor.com

Yes, the unthinkable is about to happen: Murderbot must voluntarily speak to humans!

What can I say… Instabuy! Although the last installment dragged a bit in the middle…

Untitled (The Expanse, #9)
by James S.A. Corey (Goodreads Author) 

The much awaited 9th and final installment of The Expanse series.

Oh boy, oh boy. No proper cover yet, no title yet and no publishing date… O.o <— that‘s my anxious face. It will be the end of an era… and if we‘re unlucky, it might not even happen in 2021… who knows!? Meep.

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

One Last Stop (Hardcover)
by Casey McQuiston (Goodreads Author) 

Expected publication: May 6th 2021 by Piatkus

From the New York Times bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue comes a new romantic comedy that puts a queer spin on Kate & Leopold.

I really liked Red, White & Royal Blue. And Kate & Leopold is a fun movie…

My M.C.A. Hogarth Backlist, Part 1

Here is my summary of Her Instruments by Hogarth.

Earthrise (Her Instruments, #1)
by M.C.A. Hogarth (Goodreads Author) 

This was a NetGalley ARC back in 2015.

Wasn’t so sure at first, if I would like it, but about a quarter into the book I was in love with all of the main characters. I adored Hirianthial, his psychic landscape was fantastic. The Harat-Shar are great comic characters and the bird-like Bryer is fascinating. The Flitzbe is like a more advanced tribble.

Throw in a classic run-chase-and-hide scenario with an asteroid field, and your swashbuckling space adventure is off to an entertaining ride.

I really liked the second part of the book. The swashbuckling comes to an abrupt stop, but it gives a great additional depth to the characters of Reese and Hirianthial. The changing POV between those two is very well done and flows smoothly. The setting is a nice bit of world building as well.

And after the nice interlude on the planet of the hedonistic furry people and lots of eyebrow action we’re back to the swashbuckling bit in part three of the book.

I am not sure, why this book resonated so strongly with me. Perhaps if I had picked it up at another time, it could have had the potential to bore me to death. But I really liked it. The characters were vibrant and their cultural misunderstandings, differences and moral codes felt real. I just wanted to hug them all and join the crew for a bitchfest about the injustice of life. And then I wanted to ravish the Eldritch. What a fab character. I laughed myself silly over Reese’s addiction to Eldritch romance novels.

Fun, well-drawn characters, interesting plot, snark, humour, eyebrows. We have a winner. Onwards to the next installment.


Rose Point (Her Instruments, #2)

Could be a bit spoilery, beware.

Kickass heroine falls in love with one of Tolkien’s elves, rescues and follows him home, when he needs some help after horrible things happen to him during a kidnapping (tentative non-con warning in a very non-graphic way).

No, not really. But in stretches it felt a bit like that. Although my elf looks a bit more Benedict Cumberbatch than Orlando Bloom.

Actually, despite this being Sci-Fi, it does have more of a classic fantasy feel to it than anything else, being mostly set “dirtside” on a planet with a feudal society and low technology level.

You definitely should read Earthrise first, before delving into this. It will make the team dynamics of our intrepid crew more plausible and enjoyable. They don’t get as much time on the page as in the first book. Here the story mostly revolves around Hirianthial, life and politics on the Eldritch planet and then around Reese. The UST between those two amps up some more and I really hope it will get resolved in the third book of this trilogy, otherwise I will pull my hair out. The really, really bad guys finally show their face in this installment as well and I am biting my nails to find out what happens next.

Great adventure yarn, great characters, good plot.


Laisrathera (Her Instruments, #3)

A well-written and fitting conclusion to this trilogy. No truly surprising plot-twists or epiphanies, but sound and entertaining story telling. I had withdrawel symptoms for a while, this world sucked me in so deeply.

I liked the addition of Val and Belinor, especially Val was a character with a lot of potential. The immediate connection between those two, with possible benefits, was a bit out of the blue, but worked and made me curious for more of their story.

Lesandurel was also an interesting character with story arch potential. And the whole crew of the Moonsinger, obviously. I think I saw on the author’s website that this will be the setting of a new book/trilogy (I never checked).

The book itself was a bit more sedate and introspective, compared to the previous two. But there was still plenty of action, great character development and our two heroes finally finding each other. My only, very small disappointment – I had expected a larger-scale conflict with the Chatcaavan and a overall darker and more angsty tone and found it all a bit too vanilla in the end. Nonetheless, bottomline, fun, great story, loved the characters.


A Rose Point Holiday (Her Instruments, #4) 

So saccharine-sweet and fluffy, it will give you cavities. Which is ok, as it was intended as holiday reading. Excellent feel-good material for Christmas/New Year or whatever holiday it is for you. It is also full of good ideas for another novel in this particular series or maybe the Pelted Universe as a whole. Should definitely be read after the Her Instruments trilogy.


For space opera, look no further among my works than the Peltedverse. This setting deals with the social implications of genetic engineering, the culture clashes between aliens, the frictions that lead to interstellar wars and of course, space elves and their royalty. The sprawling Pelted universe has been in continuous development since the early 1990s and it shows in the depth and breadth of the material. Constructed languages, artificial cultures, multiple alien species working together in harmony (or not)… if you want big, friendly universes full of growing pains, this is your stop.

http://mcahogarth.org/wiki/the-pelted/

At one point I actually considered reading all of the Peltedverse books and stories in chronological order. There s just so much! So in the end I decided to be less completist and OCD and just read what I am in the mood for, regardless of reading order. Yep, reading them out of order and I am not sorry.

If you want to have a go, follow the link below the quote above, it leads you to Hogarth‘s website. You are welcome. Or just start with Earthrise. This trilogy + extra holiday story all scored five stars with me.

HUGO AWARDS 2020 announced

The HUGO AWARDS have been announced and I managed to miss the live stream of the ceremony. Bummer. Here is the list of the winners.

I am pleased about these category winners, as I read and liked them:

BEST NOVEL — A Memory Called Empire, by Arkady Martine — looking forward to the sequel!

BEST NOVELETTE — Emergency Skin, by N.K. Jemisin — she‘s been hit and miss for me so far.

BEST SHORT STORY — “As the Last I May Know”, by S.L. Huang

BEST SERIES — The Expanse, by James S. A. Corey — this makes me want to re-read them or at least some of my favourites.

BEST RELATED WORK — “2019 John W. Campbell Award Acceptance Speech”, by Jeannette Ng — great to see that individual people can make a difference!

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM — Good Omens, written by Neil Gaiman, directed by Douglas Mackinnon (Amazon Studios/BBC Studios/Narrativia/The Blank Corporation) — loved it! Michael Sheen and David Tennant were brilliant. This was so much fun to watch!

https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/2020-hugo-award-winners

GRR Martin was the Master of Ceremony for the proceedings and apparently made a mess of it. It ran overly long, he mispronounced many of the winners’ names and seems to have come across as racist and misogynistic. I am refraining from linking more stuff in this post. But google it and you find a ton of blog posts about it. I can‘t really say yay or nay about it, as I haven‘t watched it. Dang it.


Link to my entry about the finalists

Link to my entry about the short stories

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… 😝

June Wrap-up

Here is my June 2020:

It might look like a lot, but if you ignore the comics, it‘s only 2 novels and half an audiobook. 
I did enjoy How To Be A Normal Person and Boundary Crossed though. That one was a surprise anyway. I picked it for my TBR Challenge, not really checking that closely what it was about and going in with very low expectations. Lo and behold, it was fun.
I am however really struggling with City We Became. Great concept, really excellent audiobook narration, but the story itself is not doing it for me.

BR novels:
– How to Be a Normal Person, romance readers, ebook, ★★★½☆, grumpy guy romances asexual hipster.
– The City We Became, SF group read, audible, started & carry-over into July. 60% done and getting there…

Solo reads:
– Tell Me It’s Real, ebook, ★★★☆☆, mm-romance, humorous, DNF at 23%, didn‘t hold my interest enough to beat the expiry date of my KU subscription.
– Boundary Crossed, ebook, TBR challenge, ★★★★☆, typical UF with witches and vampires. Enjoyable.
– The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, short, TBR challenge, ★★★★☆, ethical dilemma, what are we willing to give up or live with for our privilege? 

Comics, aka my guilty pleasure:
– Civil War, ★★★★¼, entertaining and suspenseful, similarities to the movie.
– Doctor Strange, Vol. 1: The Way of the Weird, ★★★★¼, grimmer than expected. TBR challenge: Judge That Book (cover)
– Skyward #11, ★★★★☆, still trying to bring gravity back.
– Skyward #12, ★★★☆☆, not really buying this.
– Ms. Marvel Infinite #1, short, ★★★☆☆, introduction, little substance.
– Black Panther Start Here!, short, ★★★☆☆, Black Panther previews.
– Faith #1: Digital Exclusives Edition, short, ★★☆☆☆, supersized, flying superhero. Mostly boring.
– Vampirella Issue #1, short, ★★☆☆☆, boring vampires.
– Dead Irons #1, short, ★☆☆☆☆, Wild West with a werwolf, vampire, zombie… messy, no story, did really not like it.

Tell Me It's Real (At First Sight #1) by T.J. Klune Ms. Marvel Infinite #1 (Ms. Marvel Infinite Comics) by G. Willow Wilson Black Panther Start Here! (Marvel Previews) by Various Faith #1 Digital Exclusives Edition by Jody Houser Dead Irons #1 (Dead Irons Vol. 1) by James Kuhoric Vampirella Issue #1 by Eric Trautmann How to Be a Normal Person (How to Be, #1) by T.J. Klune Civil War by Mark Millar Boundary Crossed (Boundary Magic, #1) by Melissa F. Olson The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin 
Doctor Strange, Vol. 1 The Way of the Weird by Jason Aaron Skyward #11 by Joe Henderson Skyward #12 by Joe Henderson 

Plans for July 2020:

BRs started:
– Limit, TBR challenge, started
– The Dragonriders of Pern (Dragonflight only), mid July, started already

BRs planned:
– The Traitor Baru Cormorant, mid to end July or August

Ongoing Solo reads:
– Hexarchate Stories, NetGalley, started
– Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, HarryPotterAtHome readings, up to chapter 10 with Whoopi Goldberg… (https://www.wizardingworld.com/chapters), TBR challenge (most reviews/highest ratings)
– Dwarf Stars 2020, poetry

Want to read, but probably no time:
– Unconquerable Sun, July 7, Buddy Read
– Ascender, Vol. 2: The Dead Sea, #6-10

2020 Hugo Finalists, the short stories

Here is what I thought of the Best Short Story finalists…


Rating: 3 out of 5.

Set in colonial India, during the Bengal famine of 1943. A revenge story with a magical twist. The story is harrowing and shows the brutality of colonial rule. However, the telling of it didn‘t really do much for me.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

“An alternate history short story looking at decisions and consequences, and what it takes to pull the trigger.“

I really liked this. What a barbaric idea, although I can see where they are coming from. Not a decision that should be taken lightly and that can be debated hotly.

Knocking off half a star, because I am somewhat unsatisfied with the abrupt and open ending. Still debating with myself, if I consider this special enough for an award? Does it really bring anything new to the table?

Pretty cover art.


Rating: 2 out of 5.

 A young girl, a slave in the South, is presented with a moment where she can grasp for freedom, for change, for life. She grabs it with both hands, fiercely and intensely, and the spirit world is shaken.

Odd. Very wordy, very bloody, with a faint touch of romance and hope at the end. The tale was unsettling and had no rewarding features for me. 


Rating: 2 out of 5.

Climate fic. About storms, wind, sisters and mothers. It went right over my head, couldn‘t get into it.


Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #270
(Beneath Ceaseless Skies #270)
by Scott H. Andrews (Editor)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

High fantasy, war, genderfluid characters. Death and blood and endless war. Loss, betrayal, hope.

Betrayal is a fearsome armor against love.

The world building was pretty good, but I did not connect with the characters. I liked the ending, although I did not really agree with the choices everyone made. It got me thinking though, so I can see why this is nominated for a Hugo.


Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

I listened to the podcast on the Nightmare Magazine website. Very odd story. I am using the word story loosely here. To have a male narrator was an interesting choice. A story about colonialism.

From the author‘s website

Possibly the structurally weirdest thing I’ve ever written; it’s in the form of an MLA bibliography and it’s about colonialism in academia, monstrous appetites, and oh yes, lesbian cannibals.

Another one that went mostly over my head. While the structure of the narrative was clever and somewhat intriguing, it didn‘t really work for me. But that‘s on me.


So, that was all of the short story finalists for this year‘s Hugo Award. Not a great average for me this time around. Leaning strongly towards Fantasy—maybe that is the reason. I am more of SF and UF fan.

Which of these stories was your favourite?