Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind: a Review of Andy Weir’s Project Hail Mary

Andy Weir’s Project Hail Mary is about a man who wakes up to find himself on life support while being cared for by a not-very-bright AI. He has retrograde amnesia—he does not know where he is or how he got there. He does not even remember his name. What he does remember is a lotContinue reading “Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind: a Review of Andy Weir’s Project Hail Mary”

A Great Cosmic Sociological Thought Experiment: a Review of Liu Cixin’s Death’s End

I read this 600-page book twice in one year because I didn’t know what to make of it the first time I did. It was both impressively thought-provoking and infuriating at the same time. On my first ride around the block, I definitely didn’t like it as much as I did the two previous booksContinue reading “A Great Cosmic Sociological Thought Experiment: a Review of Liu Cixin’s Death’s End”

Spirited Away in 19th Century Malacca: a Review of Choo Yangsze’s The Ghost Bride

I was born on the 14th of July and growing up, my grandmother told me that if I was born on the 14th day of the 7th month (七月十四) according to the Chinese calendar, my birthday would coincide with the Ghost Festival when the gates of hell are open and ghosts would be free toContinue reading “Spirited Away in 19th Century Malacca: a Review of Choo Yangsze’s The Ghost Bride”

A Malaysian-Chinese Immigrant Speculative Fiction Story: a Review of Elizabeth Wong’s We Could Not See the Stars

When publishers or authors reach out to me to ask if I am interested in reviewing an advanced reader copy of any book, I rarely assent—not because I have anything against that but because I already have a mountain of backlogged books I have been studiously neglecting. I make exceptions sometimes though, and this isContinue reading “A Malaysian-Chinese Immigrant Speculative Fiction Story: a Review of Elizabeth Wong’s We Could Not See the Stars”

The Controversial Politics of Fantastical Wish Fulfillment: a Review of T. J. Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea

We used to have a rescue, a Siberian husky, whom we named Lucy. And it was quite apparent to all who met him that Lucy is a boy and because we live in a deeply gendered society, people naturally wondered why we named him that—and I, naturally a troll, enjoyed everyone’s bafflement so much thatContinue reading “The Controversial Politics of Fantastical Wish Fulfillment: a Review of T. J. Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea”

The Grandaddy of Vampire Stories: a Review of Bram Stoker’s Dracula

I have read little vampire fiction aside from Ms Kostova’s The Historian, the first Twilight book, and one of George R. R. Martin’s earlier published work, Fevre Dream, but vampires aren’t alien to me since they often pop up in other fantasy works as villains or side characters. Full disclosure: the Dracula I am mostContinue reading “The Grandaddy of Vampire Stories: a Review of Bram Stoker’s Dracula”

British Warlocks Vs. Nazi Psychic Super Soldiers: a Review of Ian Tregillis’ Milkweed Tryptich

Last year, I read Mr Tregillis’ alternate history fantasy series The Alchemy Wars which was fun romp through a world where Dutch horologists discovered the secret to building clockwork automatons which made them the dominant power in the world while the French (with their metallurgical arts) fight a losing war against them. Before Mr TregillisContinue reading “British Warlocks Vs. Nazi Psychic Super Soldiers: a Review of Ian Tregillis’ Milkweed Tryptich”

Empress in the FRANXX: a Review of Xiran Jay Zhao’s Iron Widow

The pitch for the regular person on the street is that this is “a Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid’s Tale reimagining of the rise of the only female emperor in Chinese history”. And even though that spoke to me, what spoke to me louder was the alternate pitch the author put out: it is moreContinue reading “Empress in the FRANXX: a Review of Xiran Jay Zhao’s Iron Widow”

A Fable of Auschwitz: a Review of John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Last year, John Boyne made the news for making the mistake of including ingredients from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild video game such as Octorok eyeball, hightail lizard, red lizalfo tail, and Hylian shrooms into his serious literary historical fiction novel, The Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom. It appeared that heContinue reading “A Fable of Auschwitz: a Review of John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”

A Warrior and Wife in an Upside Down World: a Review of M. L. Wang’s The Sword of Kaigen

I have never read a self-published book before and when I asked for recommendations, this one title floated above the rest. The Sword of Kaigen is a fantasy standalone book set in M. L. Wang’s Theonite sci-fi series, and all I knew about it going in is that it is a war story (as itContinue reading “A Warrior and Wife in an Upside Down World: a Review of M. L. Wang’s The Sword of Kaigen”

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