Greyfriars Bobby – Eleanor Atkinson

When a Skye terrier’s companion dies, he sleeps on the grave, and is cared for by a mixed group of friends for the rest of his life. I first read this book as a child. I remember it as being moving, if on the sappy side. That’s true, but the book also has flaws I didn’t remember at all. The language is stilted and overwrought. That’s especially evident in the slow, slow start, which seems…

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Clockwork Phoenix 2 – Mike Allen

Clockwork Phoenix #2 An anthology of speculative fiction edited by Mike Allen. I didn’t care much for the first Clockwork Phoenix. While some of the stories were good, others felt forced. Overall, they all sounded similar. This second collection is more varied, though few of the stories really stand out. There’s less ‘grotesque for the sake of grotesquerie’, but more pretentious and more experimental work. At least two of the stories were thoroughly irritating in…

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Unquiet Land – Sharon Shinn

Elemental Blessings #4 Leah, once a foreign spy in Malinqua, has come home to Welce, dominated by the Five Families and the magic powers of the primes. She plans to reunite with the daughter she once abandoned, but also misses the close friend she made while away. When the Welce regent asks her to keep an eye on some foreign visitors, Leah finds herself drawn back into intrigue and danger. I like Sharon Shinn’s work…

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Three Men in a Boat – Jerome K. Jerome

Three Men #1 Three men and a dog take a boat vacation on England’s waterways, with amusing results. I’ve always confused Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat with the nursery rhyme “rub a dub dub, three men in a tub”. Knowing little of either, it took me years to realize they were different things. I thought I should make the effort to actually read the novel, once I realized there was one. The…

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Magus Rex – Jack Lovejoy

Far in the future, Magus Rex is the most powerful sorceror who has ever lived. Valorius is far from a match, but has dared to fall in love with the great wizard’s daughter Zenobia. When he presses his case, Magus Rex takes his daughter far back in time, daring Valorius to follow them, and risk being stranded in the past forever. The setting of Magus Rex will be familiar to any fan of Jack Vance…

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Earth for Inspiration – Clifford D. Simak

Simak Complete Stories #9 A collection of mostly science fiction stories by Clifford Simak. Sadly, Earth for Inspiration is largely uninspired. With a couple of exceptions, these are not stories that will stick in your mind, and while some start well, they tend to fade toward the end. The inclusion of two of Simak’s westerns, both pleasant but formulaic, thins the quality even more. Simak wrote many of his short stories between the 30s and…

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