Friday, April 28, 2023

Bitter Medicine, by Mia Tsai

Tachyon Press, ISBN 9781616963842, March 2023

Chinese traditional magic, European fae magic, and the magic of other cultures exists alongside the non-magical world.

Elle is a descendant of a Chinese medicine god. She's got considerable magical talent, and was supposed to be a doctor.

Instead, she's working in a magical calligraphy shop, masquerading as a person of relatively modest power and careful to do nothing that would expose the truth, making magical glyphs for agents working for the agency that runs the magical side of this world. She has a regular client, Luc, whom she tells herself she regards as only a "business friend." It's just impossible for her to have any deeper feelings for him, because she can't risk exposing who she really is.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

The Heart Ladder, by Sibby Spencer

TRM Publishing, March 2021

Faith Anderson arrives in England, six months pregnant, having inherited her aunt's home in a small English town. It's the early 1970s. Her boyfriend, Jacob, was drafted, and and has been declared missing in action in Vietnam. She's a bit lost and confused, missing Jacob, certain she'll never see him again.

Thirty years later, her son Dan is working in a bookstore, when a man walks in and says he's Jacob, Dan's father.

Faith never told Dan much, or really anything, about his father, except that he was drafted, and then lost in Vietnam. Dan has always wanted to know  more, of course, and even though he's very skeptical of this stranger, he's still very, very curious. And there is a resemblance between them. They start meeting and talking.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Elysium Fire (Prefect Dreyfus Emergency #2), by Alastair Reynolds (author), John Lee (narrator)

Audible Audio, January 2018

The Glitter Band is a collection of 10,000 city-state habitats orbiting the planet of Yellowstone, existing in near-perfect democracy, with that democracy guarded by Panoply and its prefects. Prefect Tom Dreyfus has faced crises before, and overcome them.

There's a new crisis building, an outbreak of strange, unexplained deaths. People are suddenly dying of the malfunction and overheating of their neural implants. There are seemingly no connections, no similarities, in the victims to point the way to the cause. While the deaths are few and scattered at first, the deaths are rising exponentially. Rumors are starting spread, risking an even more deadly outbreak of panic.

Friday, April 14, 2023

At Witt's End (A Spade/Paladin Conundrum), by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

WMG Publishing, October 2018

Spade is back and this time the problem he faces is conducting a memorial for a recently deceased BNF (Big Name Fan) who never wanted any memorial, along with auctioning off the man's fabulous collection of science fiction fandom memorabilia, in a part of the country that doesn't have large enough conventions to be good fits for auctioning off such a large collection.

This fan, who like Spade went by just one name, Witt, is also the second fan this year, of Spade's general age, state of fitness, and diet, to die of diabetes. Spade is very resistant to changing his lifestyle and diet, and hasn't been diagnosed with diabetes yet, but he's starting to get the message. That, as much as losing an old friend, is making him depressed and cranky. And that's before another fandom detective, Paladin, pull him out of the room, and tells him the extremely valuable (within fandom), absolutely unique set of fanzines, has been stolen from the adjoining room, where Spade has set up multiple security cameras and made the fanzines really hard to notice.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

The Bangalore Detectives Club (Kaveri and Ramu #1), by Harini Nagendra (author), Soneela Nankani (narrator)

Blackstone Audio, ISBN 9798200990108, May 2022

Kaveri Murthy is the young wife of Dr. Ramu Murthy, in 1921 India. Legally, they've been married for three years, but Ramu and his father don't believe in child marriage, and Kaveri's own father (though not her mother) supported her wish to finish her education at the elite secondary school she was attending. Now she is in Bangalore, living with her husband, and learning the art of being a wife. Cleaning is necessary but annoying, and cooking is a challenging skill to master.

She's still secretly studying math, but she leaps at the chance to go to the Century Club to swim with some of the other women she's met. It's her first exposure to the idea of a swimsuit, rather than just tying up her sari to be practical for swimming. The next evening, attending a dinner at the Century Club with her husband for the first time, she gets caught up in the investigation of a murder.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

The Hanging Tree (Rivers of London #6), by Ben Aaronovitch

DAW, January 2017

Apprentice wizard PC Peter Grant gets a call on a case that at first doesn't appear to be Folly business. A young woman has died of a probably accidental overdose, during a party at a very fancy address. No apparent magical involvement.

But Lady Tyburn's daughter was also at this party, and she wants her daughter kept out of the case. Peter owes her a big favor, and Lady Ty is calling in the favor.

All is looking good for keeping the daughter out of the case, until she says, in the middle of an intentionally low-key interview, with Peter and others, that she supplied the drugs.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Uhura's Song (Star Trek: The Original Series #21), by Janet Kagan

Pocket Books//Star Trek, September 2000

I'll admit upfront this is a nostalgic favorite. I think it's also very good.

Early in her career, Lt. Uhura met a young diplomat from the world of Eeiauo. The two women bonded over music, singing, and the songs of their respective peoples and cultures. The graceful, catlike Sunfall of Ennian even shares songs with Uhura, and the Old Tongue they are sung in, that are not to shared except with other bards, 

Years later, Uhura is now communications officer on the USS Enterprise, which is on a mission of mercy to Eeiauo, where a terrible plague has broken out. The infected individuals become weak, their fur (or hair, as they make the unhappy discovery it also affects humans), become stiff and achy, fall into comas, and die. One of those dying is Uhura's old friend, Sunfall.