Under Fortunate Stars: Book Review

A time travel fiction concept that definitely falls under the category of “things I didn’t quite realize was a sub-sub-genre” until recently is the “Don’t Meet Your Heroes” story (with the alternative addendum of “Or do, I’m not your parental figure”). Basically, a story where the main characters travel back in time, either intentionally or unintentionally, and end up meeting someone (whether a singular person or multiple people) who are on the eve of doing some thing instrumental to the timeline, and who one or multiple of the protagonists idolizes, with the grand reveal being that they aren’t quite the kind of person that history has remembered them as being. Under Fortunate Stars by Ren Huchings – March’s Sword & Laser book club pick – is a really great example of this kind of story.

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The Jasmine Throne: Book Review

With The Jasmine Throne, by Tasha Suri, I’m finally getting back to being caught up with the Sword & Laser Book Club picks – more or less (November’s pick is Six Wakes, which I read a while back, so I’m using this month to catch up on some other books). While I liked the novel, my thoughts on The Jasmine Throne are complicated in ways that somewhat intersect with my views on She Who Became The Sun, and in ways that don’t.

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Book Review: Amongst Our Weapons

Lies Sleeping, the seventh book in the Rivers of London series, left a lot of open questions about the world of the setting while it wrapped a bunch of the threads around the Faceless Man. Probably the biggest one was around the Sons of Weyland – a group of practitioners who were also powerful magical craftspeople – having made various battle staves, along with the magical wards in and around The Folly. On top of that – The October Man also built up some more groundwork for various magical practitioners and organizations outside of England. Well, Amongst Our Weapons decides to pick up both those threads and runs with them. There will be some minor spoilers below the cut.

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Book Review: Game Wizards: The Epic Battle for Dungeons & Dragons

Previously I have read and reviewed Playing at the World, the book about how Dungeons & Dragons came to be. Game Wizards: The Epic Battle for Dungeons & Dragons, is one of two follow up-books by Jon Peterson essentially about how Roleplaying Games went out of the hands of Gary Gygax & Dave Arneson. In the case of Game Wizards, it’s about how Gary & Dave lost their control over the game, through hubris and arrogance.

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She Who Became the Sun: Book Review

This weekend is Worldcon, and several weeks before the convention (basically the week before I got COVID), I finished reading the last of the novels that were up for Hugo Awards that weren’t part of a series that I hadn’t already started reading – She Who Became the Sun by Shelly Parker-Chan – a novel inspired by wuxia fiction, inspired by the rise of the Hongwu Emperor. It’s an… interesting book, but one which had some points that I stumbled over.

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Light from Uncommon Stars: Book Review

There is some discussion as to whether there needs to be a clear dividing line between the genres of Science Fiction & Fantasy, that a work needs to be one or the other. As someone who encountered Shadowrun during my formative years of Middle School (shortly after Dungeons & Dragons), I’ve ultimately become someone who has come to realize that fantasy and science fiction are like chocolate and peanut butter. So, when Light from Uncommon Stars came up as a book pick for the Swords & Laser book club, as I’ve attempted to get caught up on my book reading I decided to put it on my list – even more so when I saw that it was nominated for the 2022 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

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