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swynn

swynn

Joined March 2018

Librarian - sf/fantasy addict - runner - germanophile - he/him or they/them
review
swynn
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Pickpick

(1965) In ep. 221, the Terrans sent a team of undercover agents to contact the Maahks, who are building an invasion force. This episode follows their negotiations, which seem to go well for a little while, until the final chapter, when the Maahks reveal a surprise tactic -- which would be more surprising if it weren't right there in the title. (Oh no! Doppelgängers! How could I have guessed?) But still, I'm digging the story, so...

review
swynn
Sing Me to Sleep | Gabi Burton
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Mehso-so

(2023) It's a YA fantasy about a siren finding her way in a walled city where sirens are outlawed. Saoirse uses her magical man-killing powers as a freelance assassin, but then gets a job as the prince's bodyguard. Which gets awkward when she has to investigate a murder she herself committed. And more awkward when she falls in love. It's a little too YA for me (The angst! The super special specialness! The luuurve!) but others have loved it.

Jari-chan I really like the cover, but reading your review, I know it's not for me😅 3d
swynn Hope I didn't scare you off a book you'd enjoy, but you know your tolerance for YA and this is very. It's a good book, but for a different audience 3d
34 likes2 comments
review
swynn
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Pickpick

(1965) The Maahks seem to be assembling an attack fleet in the Horror-System and Terrans are desperate for intelligence about it. They hatch a plan for undercover agents to infiltrate the Maahk defenses, but the mission will almost certainly be a suicide one. Who to recruit for the one-way mission? How about agents with a terminal disease who don't expect to live beyond the next couple of months anyway?

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swynn
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Pickpick

(1965) "Death from the Stars"

In episode 219 three teleporters sabotaged a Maahk fortress then escaped into deep space. When they fail to connect with Terran support ships, the teleporters must quickly locate resources to survive. Then they stumble on a sinister alliance between the Maahks and their old foes the Akonen and things get really dangerous.

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swynn
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(1965) "Attention Teleporters!"

The Maahk fortress ship reaches the Milky Way Galaxy, where it threatens the Terrans fleet. Three teleporters -- Gucky, Tako Kakuta, and Ras Tschubai -- jump to the Maahk ship in order to sabotage it. But the Maahks quickly capture the commandos and suppress their teleporting powers, complicating their mission and their escape ....

review
swynn
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Mehso-so

(2008) Sometimes a book sits so long on your TBR that by the time you get around to it, its moment has passed. I feel like that's what happened with this book, which argues that little attention has been paid to the ways that human evolution has made us vulnerable to certain flaws in reasoning. But recently there has been no shortage of books doing just that, and sometimes doing it better. Maybe if I'd read it in 2008...

review
swynn
The stone weta | Octavia Cade
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Pickpick

(2020) In the near future, governments respond to climate change by outlawing data that document its effects. An underground network of women scientists respond by caching illegal copies of authentic climate data against the day that it can be studied. I loved this, from its scary-plausible premise, to its unusual narrative structure to its feminist, queer, and colonial themes, to its effective character drama. Highly recommended.

45 likes2 stack adds
blurb
swynn
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And here's my #BookSpinBingo card for September.

Thanks @TheAromaofBooks !

TheAromaofBooks Yay!! Looks fabulous!!! 4w
35 likes1 comment
blurb
swynn
Sing Me to Sleep | Gabi Burton
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I got a couple of YA adventures for #BookSpin and #DoubleSpin this month: a recent fantasy and a science fiction story so vintage that its blurb calls it "rip-snorting." (Um, whaddya say we don't revive that expression, yeah?)

Thanks for the early release, @TheAromaofBooks !

TheAromaofBooks I do love the cover for the rip-snorting adventure 😂 4w
MegaWhoppingCosmicBookwyrm I‘d probably have picked up that book entirely based on the rip-snorting blurb. 🤣😂🤣 4w
swynn @MegaWhoppingCosmicBookwyrm The blurb, the art, the whole thing just screams “Gee whiz!“ doesn't it? I love this stuff. 3w
34 likes3 comments
blurb
swynn
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And here's my #BookSpin #DoubleSpin #BookSpinBingo list for September

Good luck everybody!

And thanks, @TheAromaofBooks !

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 4w
28 likes1 comment
blurb
swynn
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My August #BookSpinBingo card is the closest I've been to a blackout for a long time. (Mostly thanks to short books.) I also finished both my #BookSpin and #DoubleSpin reads.

Almost ready for September: just have to post my list.

@TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Yay!! Fantastic month!!! 4w
24 likes1 comment
review
swynn
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Pickpick

(2009) I'd have read this sooner, but I knew it mostly as the book that started the barefoot/minimalist running movement, which never appealed to me (the minimalist runners I knew seemed to have the same injuries as everyone else). My loss: yes, there's the boo!-shoes stuff, yes the tone is hyperbolic, but its heart is an engaging account of running, evolution, kindness, joy, and people who run very very well -- a pleasure front to back.

MegaWhoppingCosmicBookwyrm I‘ve never gone running barefoot, but I do a lot of hiking barefoot. I need to look into this one! 4w
swynn @MegaWhoppingCosmicBookwyrm Hat off to you for hiking barefoot! I think you'll like this one. 3w
MegaWhoppingCosmicBookwyrm Thanks, my fellow hiker friends think I‘m crazy. 😅 3w
37 likes1 stack add3 comments
review
swynn
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Mehso-so

(1722) Aubin recycles the plot of Count De Vinevil for this novella about rich Europeans who get captured and enslaved by evil "Mahometans" and how they escape. This one cranks up the bizarro, tho: STG there's a scene where the evil emperor is about to ravish a character and she *removes*her*eyeballs* and throws them at him. So that's the ride you're in for. Not so much a thumbs-up or -down as a WTAF!?!

MegaWhoppingCosmicBookwyrm You had me at eyeballs. 🤣😂 4w
swynn @MegaWhoppingCosmicBookwyrm It's a trip. Hope you like it if you get around to it! 3w
29 likes1 stack add2 comments
review
swynn
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Mehso-so

(1968) Tenth in the "Three Investigators" mystery series, this one has the boys investigating a mysterious moaning cave on a ranch owned by family friends of Pete's. It's okay, but fails to tie off all its plot threads.

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swynn
Thing in the Snow | Sean Adams
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Pickpick

(2023) A small group of workers is isolated at a polar research station where nobody is doing research (or not *supposed* to be) and are given repetitive make-work tasks to pass the time. Then through a window they notice something in the snow. It's part Kafka and part VanderMeer, a touch of psychological thriller and existential angst, with a heavy dose of office satire. I liked it much.

batsy I really enjoyed it too! 1mo
38 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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swynn
Bang Bang Bodhisattva | Aubrey Wood
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(2023) It's a cyberpunk noir mystery with lots of queer characters, and it's a hoot. Kiera is a trans woman in a polycule trying to make rent and save up for surgery, so she leases her skills to Herrera, a racially adjusted ex-cop PI. The mystery is just okay, but the setting and attitude are spot on, the generation-gap dynamic between Kiera and Herrera is fun, and the themes of transformation are thought-provoking. Looking forward to a sequel.

MegaWhoppingCosmicBookwyrm My TBR pile is multiplying quickly while I play catch up on your posts. 😅 4w
swynn @MegaWhoppingCosmicBookwyrm Heh heh. My evil plan is working. Hope you like the ones you get around to! 3w
MegaWhoppingCosmicBookwyrm Lol! My TBR will definitely outlive me, so one can only hope. 🤣 3w
36 likes3 stack adds3 comments
review
swynn
Patriot Games | Tom Clancy
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Mehso-so

(1987) Testosteroney, sometimes ridiculously so, and starry-eyed about royalty. But it promises thrills and then delivers them. If this is the kind of thing you like then you'll like it pretty well. On balance, I liked it better than expected.

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swynn
Viper of Milan; A Romance of Lombardy | Marjorie 1888-1952 Bowen
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Mehso-so

(1906) Marjorie Bowen's first novel is a sort of Ruritanian romance set very loosely in 14th century Italy. The dukes of Milan and Verona battle for control of Lombardy through diplomacy, treachery, and force of arms. Bowen was sixteen when it was published, and her inexperience shows in a frenetic pace and kitchen-sink plotting; but it also has charming energy, a sharp eye for scenery, and a willingness to flout expectations.

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swynn
Bang Bang Bodhisattva | Aubrey Wood
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The big idiot‘s robot fist plowed into Kiera‘s face like a bullet train splattering a little baby bunny. As evenings go, this was a net loss.

#FirstLineFridays
@ShyBookOwl

Suet624 😳😳😳 1mo
29 likes1 comment
review
swynn
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Pickpick

(1965) "Focus Point Twin"

Perry and the crew of the CREST II have escaped from the trap-planet Horror and returned to the Twin System, where there is a transporter that can return them home to the Milky Way Galaxy. But now they face battle with an army of Maahks over controls to the transporter. Lots of explosions in this one.

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swynn
Below | Laurel Hightower
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Pickpick

(2022) Here's a creepy novella about a woman on her first solo trip since her recent divorce, driving through ice and snow of a West Virginia winter and about the things she met there. It's part Mothman, part The Descent, part girl power. I'm not sure now what it was all about, but it was pretty effective in the moment. Someone oughtta make a creature feature.

Bookwomble "Creepy" was the word I thought when I saw that cover! Isn't it great? ? 2mo
swynn @Bookwomble Right? It's by Trevor Henderson, who does terrific work: https://trevorhenderson.com 2mo
mandarchy Along with Godzilla, my son is obsessed with Mothman and follows Trevor Henderson - he often makes clay Hendersonesque creations and they are creepy to find around the house. 1mo
41 likes3 stack adds3 comments
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swynn
The Gods Abide | Thomas Burnett Swann
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Pickpick

(1976) In Constantine's Rome, Christianity is ascendant and the old gods in retreat. A few creatures of pagan myth, like Nod the corn sprite and Dylan the roane, remain in a world increasingly hostile to their existence. It's about found family and seeking safety from weaponized religion: it could have been written yesterday except that its sexual ethic is, um, very nineteen-seventies. Sweet and squirmy and strange, it's very Swann and I dug it

43 likes2 stack adds
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swynn
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Pickpick

(1965) "Danger from the Past"

Following events of last episode, the CREST II have recovered radio equipment, but only use it once when they are attacked by a giant wheel-shaped alien battleship. The ship captures the CREST with a tractor bream, and when Atlan sees the alien crew he recognizes Maahks, methane-breathing warriors who nearly destroyed the Arkonide Empire 10,000 years ago. It's another good one, and finally gets Perry off Horror

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swynn
Follow Your Arrow | Jessica Verdi
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Pickpick

(2021) CeCe and her girlfriend Silvie are influencers, and when they break up the drama is as big as the Internet. But the breakup also gives CeCe a chance to meet herself, meet someone new, explore her bisexual identity, and ponder her relationship with social media. It's very angsty and way too obsessed with social media for this old dude. But thumbs up for bi representation in YA, and especially for pissing off the haters

Read #BannedBooks !

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swynn
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Mehso-so

(1696) Toland argues that there are no mysteries in Christianity, though he does it by defining "mystery" very narrowly. Toland's real target seems to be the accumulated philosophical and ceremonial baggage of Christian tradition. He pissed a lot of people off in 1696, but this feels very innocuous to me, very "sola scriptura." Of course this isn't the seventeenth century and I'm not in its target audience, so I'll seek out some of his critics too

swynn I should have added: This was not only banned but burned in Ireland in 1696, and the author had to flee the country. Read #BannedBooks , y'all. 2mo
29 likes1 comment
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swynn
Captain Vampire | Marie Nizet
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Pickpick

(1879) Ioan Isacescu is a young Romanian soldier in the Russo-Turkish war, with a grudge against a Russian officer who insulted Ioan's father and menaced his fiancée. Boris Liatoukine is the officer's name, but he is known as Captain Vampire for his rumored ability to return from the dead. It's a curious book with some effective scenes but also kind of a mess structurally.

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swynn
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(1965) "Departure of the Old-Timers"

The CREST II is stranded on planet Horror, its crew shrunk to the size of gnats. Its radio equipment is too weak to warn ships in orbit so the ship sent to rescue them last episode has instead joined them. To warn the next ship, they have to retrieve unshrunk equipment left behind on the red level (in ep. 208). Difficulties are encountered and peril met. It's a good one.

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swynn
Some Buried Caesar | Rex Stout
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(1938) Sixth in the Nero Wolfe mystery series. In this one, he and Archie leave the brownstone, crash a car, run from a bull (well, Archie does because Wolfe? Run? Please.), and solve murders. It's a good one: the mystery is quirky, the banter is fun, and Archie meets a love interest as snarky as himself.

Bookwomble The title "Some Buried Caesar" caught my eye as it's from one of my favourite Khayyám quatrains ? 2mo
37 likes1 comment
blurb
swynn
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And here's my #BookSpinBingo card for August. Have a good month, everybody,!

And, thanks @TheAromaofBooks !

TheAromaofBooks Yay!! Looks fantastic!! 2mo
28 likes1 comment
blurb
swynn
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BookSpin picks should be easy this month: #BookSpin is the next volume in a manga series about high school students trying to kill their monster teacher; and #DoubleSpin is a T3I mystery.

Thanks @TheAromaofBooks !

TheAromaofBooks Yay!! Enjoy!!! 2mo
26 likes1 comment
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swynn
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TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 2mo
36 likes1 comment
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swynn
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Four bingos for July in #BookSpinbingo. It's been a pretty good month.

Thanks @TheAromaofBooks !

TheAromaofBooks Yay!! Fabulous month!!! 2mo
29 likes1 comment
review
swynn
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Pickpick

(2020) More hockey, more baking, more relationship drama: Eric and Jack figure out how to support each other and represent their relationship to their teammates, families, and -- since Jack is now playing pro hockey -- the world. It's a satisfying continuation of v.1

The first volume has been banned in some libraries. I haven't seen reports that this one has been challenged, but rest assured it's everything the first was. Read #BannedBooks y'all

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swynn
Astrix - Astrix et Cloptre - no6 | Ren Goscinny, Albert Uderzo
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Mehso-so

(1965) Astérix, Obélix, and Panoramix go to Egypt to help build a temple that will settle a bet between Cleopatra and Caesar. Hijinks ensue, but the usual fun is soured in this one by some racist caricatures that should really stay in the 1960s.

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swynn
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Pickpick

(1986; selections 1723-25)

It's a collection of four novels of Eliza Haywood, each of which involves disguise and mistaken identity. I think I've mentioned that "amatory fiction" reads to me like sex comedy from an alternate dimension, and these confirm that impression. It's hard to rate because I don't know what standards apply. But all four titles engaged my attention, sometimes my bebafflement, and made me laugh inappropriately. So thumbs up.

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swynn
The Daughters of Ys | M. T. Anderson
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Pickpick

Here's a gorgeous fantasy graphic novel based on French folklore, about a legendary city built and maintained by sea magic. It took me several pages to warm up to the expressive art, but by the end I was won over completely.

Also, it's banned from schools in the Kirkwood (Mo.) School district, probably because of a few panels with nekkid people.

Read #BannedBooks like this one y'all

This was my #DoubleSpin read for July

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swynn
Lone Women: A Novel | Victor LaValle
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Pickpick

(2023) It's weird west set in an underrepresented corner of American history (centering single women homesteaders), with themes of family, justice, and monsters-but-who-is-the-monster-really.

I now have an inaugural favorite book of 2023.

This was my #DoubleSpin read for July.

Chrissyreadit i‘m so hoping to get this at the national Book Festival 2mo
ChaoticMissAdventures This is sitting on my TBR. I hear such good things, glad you enjoyed it! 2mo
SamAnne I loved this one! Still thinking about it. 2mo
46 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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swynn
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Mehso-so

(1984) I tried this once years ago and bounced off. I remember hearing Clancy's work described as "thrillers for people who find 'Jane's Fighting Ships' thrilling," and that matched my experience. But this time I pushed, let the jargon slide by, and ... It wasn't bad. There's a submarine duel near the end that was thrilling even for this guy who likes "Jane's" only for pretty pictures. Still not my thing but this time I get its appeal

Leftcoastzen Think it might have been the only novel originally published by Naval Institute Press . 2mo
swynn I think it was the first but that there have been others. Stephen Coonts's "Flight of the Intruder" was another. Pretty impressive choices, even if only from a business standpoint. 2mo
35 likes2 comments
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swynn
The Murders of Richard III | Elizabeth Peters
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Mehso-so

(1974) Second in Peters's series of mysteries featuring librarian Jacqueline Kirby. In this one Kirby attends a meeting of cosplaying "Ricardians": scholars and history buffs interested in correcting the reputation of King Richard III. Someone takes the game too seriously, staging non-fatal but disturbing "accidents" based on murders attributed to King Dick. It's fun and I love Kirby, but the premise is too precious to make it a favorite

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swynn
Time Bomb | John Patrick
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Mehso-so

(2023) A time-traveling agent is sent from an environmentally damaged future to 1943 Los Alamos to sabotage the Manhattan project and seduce a scientist suspected of passing secrets to the Soviets. But the plan goes awry, and the agent falls in love...

It's a fun premise, but the time agent makes so many clumsy mistakes and bad choices he's hard to take seriously.

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swynn
Time Bomb | John Patrick
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Archer and I were searching for the perfect spot to detonate an atomic bomb.

#FirstLineFridays
@ShyBookOwl

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swynn
Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds | Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle, M. de (Bernard Le Bovier) Fontenelle
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Pickpick

(1686) I picked this up because of a passing reference to Fontenelle in Eliza Haywood's "Love in Excess." It's a book on astronomy, written for a popular audience (especially for women), claiming that the planets are inhabited and that each star has a solar system like ours. It's dated, obviously, but its conversational tone, imagination, and humor make it surprisingly readable even today. It is easy to see why it sold so well in its own time.

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swynn
The Handmaid's Tale | Margaret Atwood
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Pickpick

(1985) Here's another in my list of books-I've-sometimes-pretended-to have-read-already. It's brilliant, chilling, and holy dystopia Batman it feels more relevant now than I imagine it would have done in 1985.

dabbe “Holy dystopia Batman“ ... perfection. 🤩🤩🤩 2mo
56 likes1 comment
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swynn
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Mehso-so

(2015) Memoir of an Olympic runner who became a Vegas escort. She presents her choices through the lens of bipolar disorder, and her sex work as an extended manic episode. But with minimal reflection on mental illness and even less on recovery, the message seems to be that illness is fun and treatment sucks. Which makes the book feel less like a product of recovery than an artifact of her symptoms, and reading it feels uncomfortably voyeurist.

fredthemoose Great review 3mo
thegreensofa What a brilliant review! 3mo
40 likes3 comments
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swynn
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Mehso-so

(1965) "Terminal of Horror"

The ANDROTEST II, the Terrans' newest and longest-range spacecraft, flies to planet Horror to reinforce Perry and the crew of the CREST. But the crew of the ANDROTEST don't know that since their last communication, CREST and crew have shrunk to a thousandth of their former size and are stranded on the planet's surface. Not a great episode -- there's a strong ending but too much filler to get there.

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swynn
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Mehso-so

(1947, selections originally published 1931-1941)

Eleven stories by David H Keller, an MD and author for pulp magazines like Weird Tales and Amazing Stories. Some stories have a fantastical charm, and the prose is admirably clear and direct; but Keller's antifeminism and other prejudices undermine his strengths.

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swynn
Renegade of Kregen | Alan Burt Akers
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Pickpick

(1976) Thirteenth in Kenneth Bulmer's sword-and-planet series featuring Dray Prescot, an eighteenth-century adventurer transported to the planet Kregen. In this one, Prescot is disgraced and far from home, disguised as an officer of the enemy's army. The series is prone to episodic, Mary-Sue-ish narratives, so this volume is one of my favorites: its plot is more coherent than usual, and Prescot faces significant loss.

dabbe Love the price and the cover! 🤩🤩🤩 3mo
swynn @dabbe Right? Oh, for the days of buck-and-a-quarter paperbacks ! (Cover artist is Michael Whelan, one of my favorites) 3mo
Bookwomble @swynn I like Whelan's cover art, too, though my personal fave is Bruce Pennington. ... I've never heard of this series or writer. Perhaps one that didn't make it over to Britain, of just my personal blindspot. I do enjoy a good sword and planet yarn 😊 3mo
swynn @Bookwomble I definitely love Pennington too. If you like sword-and-planet stories then the Dray Prescot series is worth a try. If you can find them ... 3mo
28 likes4 comments
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swynn
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Pickpick

(1972) First in Peters's series featuring librarian detective Jacqueline Kirby. In this one, set among young academics in Rome, Kirby investigates the death of an unpleasant looney-fringe scholar and a series of attempts on the life of a friend. I liked this one: the mystery is satisfying, the setting is intriguing, and Kirby herself is appealing.

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swynn
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Mehso-so

(1720) The third (and last) book in Defoe's series about Robinson Crusoe is a book of essays, purportedly authored by Crusoe in his waning years. Other than an occasional allusion to events in the first two books there is little connection to the rest of the series. It is ... what it is, and mostly interesting for its 18th-century perspective on the topics it treats (solitude, honesty, polite conversation, and religion).

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swynn
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Pickpick

(1965) "The Battle for the Pyramids"

Meanwhile, back in the Milky Way, Terrans have launched a massive search for the planet Kahalo, which Perry Rhodan visited in episode 187 but hasn't been able to find since. On Kahalo is a control Station for the transmitter that stranded Perry in intergalactic space. But when a scout ship discovers Kahalo, it meets an incoming wave of Andromedan battleships determined to keep Kahalo out of Terran hands.