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Kelson Reads

Joined 2 years ago

Techie, software developer, hobbyist photographer, sci-fi/fantasy and comics fan in the Los Angeles area. He/him.

Mostly reading science fiction these days, mixing in some fantasy and some non-fiction (mostly tech and science), occasionally other stuff. As far as books go, anyway. (I read more random articles than I probably should.)

Reviews are cross-posted on my website at and I have a blog dedicated to Les Misérables at

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T Kingfisher (duplicate): Illuminations (Paperback, 2022, Argyll Productions) 4 stars

Madcap magical damage control in a family of eccentric artist-magicians.

5 stars

Similar to A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking, but a tighter story, with better-defined secondary characters and internal story logic.

Again there's a young apprentice with small, oddly specific magical abilities, who gets drawn into a caper, blamed for it, and finds herself as the only person who can resolve it, and has to both stretch her magic and convince the adults around to help her (and let her help them).

This time the magic is art. Paintings and drawings, if done the right way with the right details by by someone with the right ability, can become magical objects. Rosa was born into a family of Illuminators. A very eccentric family. Each with their own eccentricity. And that's before she encounters the magical talking crow (who is very taken with shiny objects) and the malicious creature he was guarding.

The stakes are more personal: the Scarling has it …

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Kelly Weinersmith, Zach Weinersmith: A City On Mars (EBook, 2023, Penguin Press) 4 stars

Earth is not well. The promise of starting life anew somewhere far, far away—no climate …

If a nation wants to convey to the world that they are the strongest and best, they can, of course just announce it at the United Nations. But it won't be convincing. Talk is cheap. Space programs are not. Very few nations can successfully fire a guy around the world at 7.8 kilometers per second, then land him and send him on a goodwill tour. Human spacefaring has little utility for the price, especially compared to things like military or commercial satellites, but what it does do is dramatically demonstrate wealth, organization, and technical competence. Throw in the fact that early space rockets were often literally the same as military rockets, and you have an excellent show of raw power that demands to be taken seriously. You of course never hear a politician say, "we choose to go to the moon, not because it is easy, but because it'll provide short-term geopolitical advantage," but something like that is a pretty solid explanation.

A City On Mars by ,