the Little Red Reviewer

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Y’all are posting SO MUCH wonderful Vintage SciFi posts, I can barely keep up! And I love you for it!

As always, my apologies if I missed your post in this link up.  Feel free to add you link to the comments, and/or tag #VintageSciFi on twitter.

 

 

It wouldn’t be Vintage Month with out a Star Trek book!  Jean at Howling Frog reviews The Entropy Effect by Vonda McIntyre, and she also takes a look at the 1954 Best From Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine and a really, really vintage science fiction story, The Blazing-World, writte in 1666 by Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle

 

Galactic Journey is quite literally 100% Vintage by volume,  they are making their way to the future, one day at a time, 55 years behind the rest of us.   On Jan 16th, they received the March 1966 issue of Worlds of Tomorrow, and talked about the fiction within.

 

AnnaBookBel reviewed something that looks right up my alley – Monday Starts on Saturday by Arkady and Boris Strugatksy

 

J.G. Ballard is popular this year – Bookforager reviewed the cosy catastrophe novel The Crystal World, and Reißwolf reviewed his dystopian story The Voices of Time

 

AQ’s Reviews has a review up of Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein,  and Philip K. Dick’s Now Wait for Last Year.

 

Kristen Brand talks about her favorite vintage comic book heroines, Mysta of the Moon

 

Over at SciFiMind, John is discussing The Shape of Things to Come by H.G. Wells, a story that thinks it’s a past dream, out of the future.

 

Kaedrin enjoyed the “twisty espionage thriller” Worlds of the Imperium by Keith Laumer

 

Lydia Schoch found some gorgeous Vintage SciFi artwork to share

 

Infinite Speculation reviewed Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, one of those books that every time I read it, I enjoy it more!

 

Eclectic Theist found that Robert Silverberg’s The Stochatic Man is more than the sum of it’s parts.

 

Over at Black Gate Magazine, James Davis Nicoll has fantastic suggestions for Vintage Science Fiction about Patrolling Space

 

Distorting the Medium reviewed Nightmare Journey by Dean R. Kootz. Friendly dog? check. Smart-ass kid? check!

 

Lynn’s Book Blog has a cover art gallery of one of my favorite vintage titles, The Moon is A Harsh Mistress by Heinlein

 

Everyday Should be Tuesday enjoyed Space Cadet by Robert Heinlein, but still thinks Have Spacesuit: Will Travel is better.  He also reviewed Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

 

Joachim Boaz has an in depth review of Of All Possible Worlds by William Tenn, along with a ton of cover art

 

Calmgrove offers a beautiful and soothing review of Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Lathe of Heaven

 

 

As always, I am sure I have missed posts.  you can tease me on twitter about it. . .but in the meantime, please leave you posts in the comments!

In 1932, Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote the first of what would be five Venus novels, starring Carson Napier.  Napier had thought he was navigating towards Mars, but one wrong calculation took him to Venus!  Called Amtor by the natives, the planet is covered in a thick cloud cover. Napier’s adventures on Venus include earning the love of Princess Duare, piracy, getting involved in politics, rescuing people, dealing with classism, daring escapes, and generally having as many adventures as can possibly be crammed into a sword and planet pulp novel.

There were only five Carson of Venus novels. . .   until now!

 

The Edgar Rice Burroughs Universe is relaunching the Carson of Venus series!  The pulping characters from yesteryear, written , well, today!   Carson of Venus: The Edge of All Worlds by Matt Betts will be available this spring.

I realize this isn’t strictly Vintage Science Fiction, since Betts’ book is being published now. But? I was SO CURIOUS to know how and why Betts wrote this! And how in the heck would a contemporary writer write in the style of pulp fiction from the 1930s and 1940’s?   So, like any good blogger, I asked him.  You can learn more about Matt Betts at his website, or by following him on twitter @Betts_Matt. Check out all the Edgar Rice Burroughs Universe books and comics here.

Wanna know if you need to read the original Carson of Venus stories to enjoy this new one?  Wanna know about Betts’ adventures in writing canon in someone else’s world?  What about the stickier issues of modernizing pulp fiction?  Of course you want to know! read on!

Little Red Reviewer: Who is Carson of Venus, and how did you get involved with writing in the Edgar Rice Burroughs Universe?

Matt Betts: Carson Napier is a character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs for a series of novels that were first published in 1932. Burroughs originally wrote four novels and a novella with the character, and started another book but abandoned it with the outbreak of World War II, when he became a war correspondent.

Carson is an earth man that built a rocket to fly to Mars. Unfortunately, he miscalculated one vital factor, which throws him off course and eventually lands him on Venus, or Amtor as the inhabitants call it. Carson is a little different from other pulp heroes of the time in that he isn’t infallible, and is a little more thoughtful in his plans.

I got involved through the new Director of Publications, Christopher Paul Carey. I’d submitted some work to him when he was with another company, and he remembered my writing. When he was hired on at ERB, Inc., he contacted me and discussed his ideas to continue some of Burroughs’ stories. This was exciting enough, but the plan was to make these canonical additions to Burroughs’ series. The idea of being part of these worlds was really too interesting to pass up. We discussed how the series would start and decided Carson would be a wonderful launch for the new series he had planned.

LRR: What went through your head, as you started reading ERB’s original Carson of Venus books, and comparing his writing style to yours?

MB: It was daunting to be sure. I mean it’s one thing to say I’d love to write a Edgar Rice Burroughs book, but sitting down to actually do it is a whole other matter. There’s a lot of expectation riding on new work in an established series by a pulp legend.

Reading ERB’s work was a big part of preparing to write the book. I read the Carson books first, of course, to get a feel for the series and the characters, but I also read most of the John Carter of Mars books and a few others to really get Burroughs’ style. After that, I read the Venus books again (and again.) While they didn’t ask me to emulate Burroughs exactly in my book, I did have a few directives from ERB, Inc. that included sticking to Burroughs’ point of view for the series, keeping to their spirit, and his storytelling conventions.

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Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964) Directed by Byron Haskin, written by Ib Melchior and John C. Higgings, starring Paul Mantee, Victor Lundin, and Adam West, 110 minutes long.

 

I really wasn’t sure what to expect with Robinson Crusoe on Mars.  I knew this movie was from the 60s,  I knew it was a modernized/scifi version of Defoe’s 18th century novel Robinson Crusoe, and I knew this movie filmed and released before we actually knew what the surface of Mars was really like.  And that’s all I knew. 

 

 

I wasn’t expecting a good movie. 

 

And you know what? Compared to movies that came out in the last ten years, well, yes, Robinson Crusoe on Mars sucks.  BUT. like many classic works, you have to adapt your lens, to see it the way people at the time may have seen it.   Once I realized this movie wasn’t about about being stranded on a realistic Mars, but a movie about a man who was stranded somewhere inhospitable, and what he went through to survive, the movie and the story gets far more enjoyable. And the special effects were pretty darn good for the time! So check your 2020 expectations at the doors, folks.

 

Did you read Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe in high school? I didn’t, and had to look it up on Wikipedia.  The big plot points of the original are fairly straightforward – experienced sailor gets shipwrecked and makes it to an island where he believes he is alone. How to survive if no one comes looking for him because no one knows he’s alive? Yeah, anyway, he finds that cannibals are using this island to kill their prisoners. One of their prisoners escapes, and he and Crusoe become allies. Not being able to understand the man’s language, Crusoe names him Friday and starts trying to convert the guy to Christianity. Friday is viewed as a loyal servant. They save more of the prisoners and kill the cannibals.  Eventually they are rescued.  

 

Knowing the plot of the original Robinson Crusoe makes plot moments in this movie make SO MUCH MORE SENSE, I’m just sayin’! 

 

What Robinson Crusoe on Mars does very, VERY well, is showing the desolation and loneliness that Kit Draper is facing on Mars.  With only the friendly monkey Mona for company, Kit has to stave off the fears that no one knows how to find him, and that he may never hear another human’s voice again, or see another human again, and there’s a very high chance that he will die alone and far from home.  The scenes of him just walking, and walking, and walking, on desolate plains that are completely devoid of life were quite effective.  The hobbies he invents, to cope with all the nothingness, were relatable in this current day and age of social distancing.

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All Y’All Vintage SciFi Month-ers have been BUSY!  I am IN AWE!  So many posts have gone up, the @VintageSciFi_  twitter feed has gone wild, and it is only the first week of January!

 

Here’s links to SO MANY wonderful Vintage Scifi Month posts!   I’m doing my best to keep up with people who have commented here, linked back to Little Red Reviewer, tweeted to @VintageSciFiMonth_ on twitter or used the hashtag #VintageSciFiMonth.  if I missed your link, I apologize,  and feel free to leave your links in the comments either in this post or in the “Vintage SciFi Month” tab up at the top of the page.

 

We’ve got a lot of folks already talking about The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin. Grace LaPointe brought our attention to her acclaimed essay on the novel (spoilers!) that was presented in 2009.

Howling Frog enjoyed the detective/spy adventure (in spaaaaaace!) book Watchers of the Dark by Lloyd Biggle Jr.

Reißwolf reviewed Sailing to Byzantium by Robert Silverberg and New Rose Hotel by William Gibson (aw yeah cyberpunk!)

Lexlingua enjoyed the far future / mythology / secret technology 1968 Hugo winning novel Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny

IzzyReads picked up Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick a book that opens in January 2021.

Jim at Classics of Science Fiction has a seemingly never ending list of suggested Vintage Sci Fi short stories for anyone who isn’t sure where to start their Vintage journey

Joe at Eclectic Theist is now finally able to read Anny McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern books in order! He’s up to Dragonflight.

Michael is getting a kick out of his Ace Doubles.  it’s a two-fer, literally!

Classic movie fan? Cinemashrew enjoyed the vintage scifi/horror flick Invisible Ray, starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi

Did you know that The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is one of Elon Musk’s favorite books? Me neither! Hullabaloloo decided to give it a try and see what all the fuss was about

Need more classic scifi movies? Warren Watched a Movie has an indepth write up of The Day The Earth Stood Still directed by Robert Wise

 

 

apologies if I missed anyone, please throw your links in the comments so everyone can find your link.

 

 

Will the person who mentioned this story to me please stand up?  Someone recommended or mentioned Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost, either on their blog or a comments section somewhere or on twitter, or maybe I read about this on tor.com or somewhere else, and I want to know who recommended this to me, so I can thank them.

I’m not sure if this story qualifies as vintage science fiction.  It was written more than 100 years ago, so it’s certainly vintage, but it isn’t very SF-y or even fantasy-y. It is a humorous ghost story.  In a round about way, i guess Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost is an ancestor of light hearted urban fantasy, non-horror ghost stories, and maybe even Casper the Friendly Ghost type stories?  It might also be an ancestor of another ghost story, but I’ll get to that one later! 

 

The Canterville Ghost isn’t very long and you can read it over at Project Gutenberg and there’s a free audio version on LibriVox as well.  Published in 1887 in the magazine The Court and Society Review, this story was Wilde’s first published fiction (he’d already published plenty of poetry).  The gist of the story is pretty straight forward – An American family is getting ready to purchase an English Country house.  The American father, Hiram B. Otis, isn’t pushed off when told that the house is haunted, he’s happy to buy the home, the furniture, and the ghost!

Mr. Otis and his family of Mrs. Otis, their oldest son Washington, their daughter Virginia, and their younger twin sons,  promptly move in, and are greeted by the ghost’s famous blood stain on the living room floor. 

 

What follows is a laugh out loud story of the ghost, Sir Simon, and his old fashioned attempts to scare away this decidedly modern American family.  Mr and Mrs Otis take every opportunity for product placement,  the twin boys play hilarious (and kinda mean) tricks on the ghost, and poor ghostly Sir Simon is so out of his league he literally can’t even.  

 

Sir Simon tries the classic trick of rattling chains in the middle of the night.  He’s greeted by a disgruntled and sleepy Mr Otis who tells the ghost to stop being so loud because people are trying to sleep, and oh by the way here is some branded oil for your chains, have a nice evening chap.   When Sir Simon screams and  groans all night, he’s approached by a helpful Mrs. Otis, who offers him a branded tincture to help with his sore throat and supposed indigestion.  I’m not describing it well, but it is hilarious! 

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Welcome to Vintage Science Fiction Month!

 

 

Right out of the gate we have some excellent reviews and blog posts:

 

John at SciFi Mind posted his Vintage Month reading list, I’m most looking forward to John’s reviews of Ursula K. LeGuin’s Lathe of Heaven, and C.L. Moore’s Northwest Smith stories.

H.P. at Everyday Should be Tuesday got started a few hours early with a fun review of the time travel romp Lest Darkness Fall, by L. Sprague de Camp. Double entry accounting? really?  (I tease!)

Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog has a truly gorgeous cover art gallery of   Be sure to grab her January schedule of themed cover art tags.

John at WikiFiction has a fantastic review of A Case of Conscience by James Blish. I had no idea Blish was a biologist, i love learning new things!  Alien biology, evolution, and religion? that’s a firm YES from me!

Starship CoffeeCake (what a great twitter name!) has plans to reread Larry Niven’s Ringworld. I hope they live-tweet their reading adventure!

If you’re still building your January TBR, GW recommends Galactic Sybil Sue Blue by Rosel George Brown.  She’s a mad, mod heroine!

Joseph’s first read of the month is Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock, a title and author I’m not familiar with, so now I’m even more curious to read Joseph’s thoughts on this book!

And if you’re looking for some issues of Astounding Magazine, where you can read famous stories in their very first printing, Astronaut LeTigre offered the perfect link to the Internet Archive’s section on Astounding.

 

We’re only ten hours into Vintage Month and the party is already hopping! If I’m able to hop online later tonight, I’ll update this post with more links as I find them.

I’m knee deep is some Henry Kuttner stories, and working on a review of R.U.R.  Stay groovy my friends!

 

 

2020,  don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out, m’kay?

This is not a list of 2020’s best books,  because I hardly read any new stuff this year.

This not a list of “the best books I read this year!”, because let’s be honest, I hardly finished any books at all this year.  My attention span went on strike this year, and I’ve already forgiven myself.

With all that in mind, this is a list of the books that brought me joy this year.  to be frank, these were the books that got me to stop doom-scrolling.  Some of these, I didn’t even review.  oops.

I’ve linked to my reviews, and if these look good please consider getting yourself a copy through Indiebound or Bookshop.org.

 

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin – one of my favorite comfort reads. Great story, hella fun characters. Mythology that is alive and well. Really excellent sex scenes.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir – I did not expect to laugh my head off so much while reading this!  If you ever want a deep dive in my wacko sense of humor, read this book. I also really dig the formality of the face paint.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing  by Hank Green – what an absolutely ridiculous book! And I couldn’t put it down! I loved the dichotomy between the fast paced social media world that seemed dark and always raining, and the dream world where it was silent and whatever pace you wanted and sunny all the time.  And I might have cried at the end.


Ration by Cody Luff – I don’t even know what genre this is. is post-apocalyptic horror a thing? It might be that.  Typically this kind of book would be too dark and too scary for me, but man, Ration hit me in the sweet spot.

Machine’s Last Testament by Benjanun Sriduangkaew – We created an AI who would help us become better people, and then abandoned the AI. That AI grew up and now runs a planet where humans gotta behave really, really well to earn citizenship. What could possibly go wrong?  Never read Sriduangkaew? this novella is an excellent place to start.


Hexarchate Stories by Yoon Ha Lee – Jedao and Cheris’s youth? mouthwatering meals? Jedao learning what he likes? Orphans, loyalty, and long simmering anger? OMG YES PLEASE.

The Twice Drowned Saint by C.S.E. Cooney – I loved this novella. it is over the top in the absolute best way, it feels like an old timey candy store. the writing is. . . luscious. Yes, that’s the word, luscious.

The Tyrant Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson – I was tempted not to put this book on this list, because this is gut-punch of a book with oh, so many triggers wasn’t exactly joyful to read, but? I really needed to know what happened at the end and Dickinson’s world building is just so. damn. good.

Star Trek: Collateral Damage by David Mack – who’s the jerk who really enjoyed this book and didn’t review it? me.  Oh noes, poor me, I’ll have to re-read this highly enjoyable book again next year and review it then! I also need some rec’s for Star Trek books that are as good as this one.

 

I also watch a whole lotta Star Trek Deep Space Nine this year.

 

What books brought you joy this year?

 

 

What better time to close out Deep Space Nine season 3, than with the close of the calendar year?  And? there’s now a DS9 Rewatch page at the top with links to all my previous posts! neat!

(also, I have ulterior motives. There’s a very specific S4 episode that is a MUST WATCH during Vintage Scifi month!)

I zipped through the last 6 episodes of the season, so these are going to be fairly short episode summaries. Unless, you really do want to read 3000 some words of me talking about how much I love Avery Brooks? We ah, can totally do that!

Anyway!

The Die is Cast (ep 21) – This is part two of “Improbable Cause”. Odo and Garak are embroiled with Enebran Tain, the previous leader of the Obsidian Order. Tain has welcomed Garak back with open arms and imprisoned Odo. In the interest of time, let’s get right to the scene that this episode revolves around. Tain needs information out of Odo about the location of the Founders, and Garak is going to get the information out of him, one way or another: through torture. At first, Odo laughs off Garak’s attemps, because he doesn’t feel pain or hunger the way humanoids do. So Garak brings in a machine that stops Odo’s ability to change into a liquid state, and he just sits there and waits. How long can a shape shifter go, without reverting back to a liquid state to rest? No one knows. I kept expecting this scene to give me Babylon 5 Londo torturing G’kar vibes, but Garak and Odo are not and never have been friends, so it was more a Sand dan Glokta scene. Odo stuck it out, and what he did reveal to Garak wasn’t what Garak expected. And me? I feel betrayed by Garak, even though I should have seen that betrayal coming right from day one. Garak has the ability to be nice, but he is a horrible human being. I don’t know how to feel about him, I feel very betrayed. I know it was make up and special effects, but I can’t bear to put up an image of Odo being tortured, so here’s a pic of the two of them, pre-torture. I’m a sensitive soul, ok?

Odo, you have no idea what’s coming, do you?

There is a whole ton more big plot stuff that happens in this episode – Enebran Tain teaming up with the Romulans, their fleet going through the wormhole to attack the Founder’s homeworld, the Jem’Hadar defending the planet, Sisko bringing the Defiant in to try to rescue Odo, and a fantastic twist/betrayal that I didn’t see coming. The closing scene of the episode, Garak apologizes to Odo, and the two of them seem to reconcile. Well, I don’t feel apologized to. I’m still pissed at Garak, on behalf of Odo.

Explorers (ep 22) – A much needed light-hearted episode after the heaviness of The Die is Cast! Sisko has learned of the blue prints of an ancient Bajoran light-ship, that supposedly used solar sails to fly from Bajor all the way to Cardassia. Needing a creative outlet, Sisko decides to build the ship, and hopes that Jake will go along with him on their adventure. At first, Jake is reluctant to go, but eventually agrees to the trip. Meanwhile, Bashir is intensely nervous, because he’s about to come face to face with Dr. Elizabeth Lense, who was first in their class. Bashir would have been valedictorian if it hadn’t been for that one wrong test answer! He both loves his assignment on DS9, and is also jealous / resentful of Dr Lense’s opportunities.

is that a gorgeous ship OR WHAT

Sisko builds the light-ship, and O’Brien keeps telling him this hunk of junk will never be spaceworthy. It looks like a beautiful outer space sailboat, in my opinion! Sisko is insistent on flying the light-ship, and if they run into trouble they can just beam back to the station, or someone can come get them. And off they go! It’s a beautitful scene to watch the sails unfurl, and to see Sisko and Jake finally have some uninterrupted family time. Jake has news for his father! He’s been accepted into a college level writing program! But if he goes, he worries his father will be all alone. And yes, the light-ship runs into problems, just like the ancient Bajorans likely ran into. They get caught in some kind of techno-babble storm, lose their communications and navigation array, and are welcomed into Cardassian space. The Cardassians are forced to admit that ancient Bajorans were technically savvy enough to fly on solar sails to Cardassian space! And Bashir does meet with Dr. Lense. She’s proud of what she does, but also kinda bored, and she’s a bit jealous of him, since he had the opportunity to work directly with epidemiology on Bajor, and truly help save lives. I hope we see Dr. Lense again, she seemed to be a positive influence on Bashir’s recent downiness.

Family Business (ep 23) – hoo boy is this episode problematic! An auditor shows up at Quark’s bar, says he’s in deep shit for something his mom did, and Quark better financially clean this up, right now. What did his mom do, that was so terrible? She ran a business and made money, and in the Ferengi culture, it is illegal for women to have money, own property, own businesses, and wow does it get worse. Quark and Rom head off to the homeworld, to knock some sense into their mother, Ishka. What greets them is horror upon horror, not only is Ishka speaking directly to a man she’s not related to (the auditor), but she has the gall to wear clothes. Yes! In Ferengi culture, women do not wear clothing. Or, I assume, leave the house? But, thanks to computers and her brain for business, Ishka has managed to amass a small fortune. And as punishment for her crime, Quark has to pay back all the profits she earned. There’s explanation and “it’s our culture, we were raised this way”, and that Ishka has a great head for business, but wow, I couldn’t get past the problematic-ness. In later seasons, Ishka literally saves the Ferengi economy, but will she get any respect at all for it? I guess we’ll see.

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Happy Solstice!

Happy Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction!

Happy Holidays!

Hey, so you might remember that I when I’d put some books on hold at the library, I thought I was getting the first Tamsyn Muir novel, and OOPS, I put the 2nd book in the series on hold instead.   Following the advice of literally everyone who said “for the love of anything that is holy, do NOT read these books in the wrong order!”, I bought a copy of Gideon the Ninth, and binged the shit out of it, before reading the sequel, Harrow the Ninth.  And who is  awesome, and managed to read both of these before Harrow was due back at the library? Yep, this girl!

I suck, and didn’t have time to write a formal review, let alone two. So, here is some random thoughts about these two books.  There’s approximately eight billion reviews out there for Gideon the Ninth, so I kinda didn’t feel obligated to write up some formal, stuffy review.  Since I’m talking about both books here, there (eeeek!) might be some mild spoilers.  Also? since these books are snarky and sweary, so are my thoughts on them!

some random thoughts on Gideon the Ninth

  • I’m more than a little in love with this cover art.
  • ooh, Scif-Fantasy, I love it already!  the Ninth house is kinda a shithole? but damnit, it’s their shithole, and they love it. and like, um, how come there is plenty of grown-ups living there, but like, no kids? That one sentence explanation doesn’t explain enough. There better be more explanation later.
  • This book is 100% my sense of humor. Like, if you ever wanted to know what kind of jokes I like, just read Gideon the Ninth.
  • so, um, is this The Hunger Games (but with snark) in space?
  • Ummm. . .  this book is making me want to do a lot of push ups. (I can do ten in a row now! up from zero a year ago!)
  • blah blah blah, hunger games stuff. and then THAT SCENE.  I don’t mean the “I wanna fight that thing!” scene, I mean the scene with the room that she’s gotta walk across. All she has to do is walk across the room, get something at the other end, and walk back, and OMFG I GET IT NOW. All the hype? That was the scene in which I understood all the hype!
  • yo, bone magic is fucking cool.
  • I love how Muir describes things! the unexpected adjectives, the sharp and spiky metaphors, SO FUN! SO EMO!   I fucking LOVE IT.  I am dying laughing because Harrow talks in a fashion that is totally normal to her and her family, but everyone else like “why are you talking like you’re in some 1920’s vampire movie?”
  • omg, the memes!  the references!  I shouldn’t love them, things like this are supposed to throw me out of a story, but all I LOVE ALL OF THEM! they just made the scenes and the dialog even funnier!
  • Teacher is kinda weird?
  • Gideon and Harrow’s face paint is very cool. I love how much their face paint is “a thing”.
  • Seriously, can I have babies with this cover art. Unrelated, I haven’t laughed this hard in ages!
  • Ah, I get it, I think. They can work together and share knowledge, or hoard all the knowledge and keys for themselves. Which is better? sharing what you know and letting people be your equal, or being more powerful because you have knowledge that someone else doesn’t have?
  • I LOVE how drastically different all the houses are!  and their necromancy is different, I freakin love all this world building!
  • I’m getting a kick out of how queer everyone is. Like, people can have crushes on whoever they want, who cares what gender someone is. Very cool. I really like how Muir describes people – their eyes, how they move. their eyes. seriously, the eyes have it.
  • I really dig the sparing scenes.
  • I love that Gideon just does whatever the hell she pleases. Like, she answers to NO ONE.
  • Harrow, you did what?? Srsly, why the hell did you do that??? and now you have feelings for who?
  • Harrow, your parents did WHAT?  i actually can’t tell if that is awful/disgusting, or genius, or falls into doing what you gotta do so you can do what you gotta do.
  • OMG THAT END.  THE COST! I super can not wait to reread Gideon the Ninth next year, because since I know what’s going to happen, I can actually focus on the day to day in the story, and find all the nuggets that I was reading too fast this time to catch.
  • Yeah, the annoyance of having to learn to fight with a rapier, and leave a broadsword behind? Yep, i get it now.  Pretty. Fucking. Genius.
  • Dude! the cost for that IS EXPENSIVE, as it should be, right?  Things like that should cost you, and I deeply appreciate that everyone involved in the transaction understands the cost. or at least, they claim to.  Tanstaafl, you know?
  • um, I think I might have cried a little at the end.

totally unrelated, but I’m going to use a chicken carcass to make chicken broth. I’m using a dead chicken to make something. . . is that necromancy? hen-omancy?

LOL, confused yet?  I tried not to spoil too much.  Let’s move on to Harrow the Ninth!

  • where are all my fave characters?
  • I’d gotten so used to Gideon’s voice, that it’s strange to read a story from Harrow’s point of view.  I personally, feel rather parallel to Gideon’s inner monologue and general attitude towards life, and I don’t relate as well to Harrow.
  • Andrea! focus! this book is NOT from Gideon’s point of view! get over it!
  • 2nd person perspective? really? ok, I’ll give it a whirl. better be worth it.  Also, what the fuck is going on?
  • So, Harrow is hanging out with a fellow necromancer, the two of them are hanging out in the other girl’s over-decorated apartment, and I LOVE how Harrow describes the apartment, it was a perfect description of visual sensory overload, which I can totally relate to!
  • Awww, Harrow is such a cute little nun! She really has drank the Ninth House kool-aid, she really does believe in everything she’s supposed to believe in, she really is a prudish little nunlet who is grossed out when grown ups kiss each other, and that makes her even more adorable!
  • Seriously.  This isn’t how it happens. What the fuck is going on?
  • John, you gotta explain this. all y’all grown ups can not keep hiding behind closed doors and not be explaining shit to the kids.
  • Still kinda annoyed my fave peeps haven’t shown up yet.
  • All the different ways to paint your face have different names and different religious meanings? Harrow I’m sorry I thought you were a silly little nun because i’m loving the symbology and communication through face paint, tell me everything about all the different ways to paint your face! I NEED this appendix!
  • Harrow, what the fuck did you do to yourself, and why would you do that to yourself? Can you please not be a stubborn idiot for five whole minutes at a time?
  • Yeah, that’s not how it happens either. try again.
  • why does that guy keep trying to kill Harrow?
  • hahahaha! that was a really good yo-momma joke!
  • Sorry blondie, she’s just not that into you.
  • um, I don’t really get all this river stuff? Maybe it’ll make sense later.
  • WAIT. WHAT? back up, you’re going to have to explain, or I’ll just have to read this passage a few times, because this is super insane and cray-cray and holy shit!
  • Huh.  looks like someone hoarded their knowledge.   I bet they would have been the jerk who wouldn’t share any of their keys.  What a jerk!
  • yep, the eyes have it.  Also, this book wins for best dad joke possibly EVER.

In the end, I think I enjoyed Gideon the Ninth more than I enjoyed Harrow the Ninth. That doesn’t mean Harrow is bad (far from it!), it just means I preferred the narrative voice of Gideon.  That said, in Harrow the Ninth, there is a whole ton of “what the hell is really going on here”, that broke my brain in the most wonderful way!  And all that explanation, it needed to be in the second book. If all that had been revealed in the first book, everything that happens in the first book wouldn’t have been anywhere near as effective.

hey, so when does the third book come out?  I hope that book has a lot of bones in it.

Omgosh, it’s nearly January!!  that means there is still plenty of time to put up your holiday decorations, plenty of time all winter to make cookies and pies and breads, AND that means it’s almost Vintage Science Fiction Month!

 

What have I got on my TBR for January? I’m happy you asked. 🙂

so far:

R.U.R., a science fiction play by Czech writer Karel Capek (thanks Gutenberg.org!)

Robinson Crusoe on Mars, a 1964 movie

At least one vintage scifi magazine from the Luminist Archive

I’ll probably reread Clifford Simak’s Way Station because I just love it so darn much

I might cram a Vonnegut in there, because he’s so enjoyable to read

And there’s a good chance I’ll flip through the beginning of the Big Book of Science Fiction and the Big Book of Fantasy, edited by the Vandermeers, to see what catches my eye.

 

“scientifically authentic!”

 

 

Wondering where to link your reviews to? There is a big ‘ole chaotically beautiful comments section on my Vintage SciFi Not-A-Challenge tab. Just leave your link in the comments and everyone will be able to find it (and I’ll easily be able to tweet it to the masses!)

 

Looking for my previous Vintage Scifi blog posts and reviews? on the word cloud over to the right, click “Vintage Scifi” and get ready to have your TBR explode.

 

Want to hear me and Red Star Reviews talk about Vintage Science Fiction month? We did a podcast!

Are you interested in hosting guest posts, or writing a guest post for another blogger? uhh. . . couple options here, since I’m not quite that organized. Leave a comment in this post that you’re interested in hosting a guest post and/or writing one, and if you’re on twitter, tweet with #VintageSciFiMonth that you’re interested in hosting a guest post and/or writing one, and we’ll cross our fingers that writers can connect w/hosts and vice versa.  We’re on twitter as @VintageSciFi_ (underscore at the end)

are you here to have fun and talk about science fiction and fantasy that’s older than we are? HELL YES.

(yes, fantasy counts. Yes audio books, plays, radio plays, movies, TV shows, e-books, and any other media count)

 

The only rule of Vintage Month is it’s gotta be older than me (written in 1979 or earlier), or older than you. You choose which.

 

looking for a badge or an image you can use in your Vintage Scifi Month posts?  Scroll back to the top of this post and grab that beautiful red and yellow “Red Alert for the Interstellar Patrol!” badge.

 

See you soon!

 

 


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.