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Month in review

Reviews:
Angus and the Cat by Marjorie Flack
Another Life by Charles Oberndorf
Austenland by Shannon Hale
Castway Cats by Lisa Wheeler
Chicka Chicka ABC by Bill Martin Jr. and Lois Ehlert
City of Light, City of Dark by Avi
Clifford the Small Red Puppy by Norman Bridwell
Constellation Chronicles: The Lost Civilization of Aries by Vincent Lowry review copy
Day of the Dragon-King (Magic Tree House #14) by Mary Pope Osborne
The Digital Plague by Jeff Somers
Dino-Dinners by Brita Granstrom
Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Tree House #1) by Mary Pope Osborne
Don't Say Ain't by Irene Smalls
Do You Want to be My Friend? by Eric Carle
Emmaline and the Bunny by Katherine Hannigan
Esoteric City by Bruce Sterling
Evolution's Shore (aka Chaga) by Ian McDonald
Harriet and the Garden by Nancy Carlson
I Spy Fun House by Jean Marzollo
I Wish That I Had Duck Feet by Dr. Seuss
Jin Jin the Dragon by Grace Chang
Lizzi & Fredl: A Perilous Journey of Love and Faith by William B. Stanford
Logicist by Carol Emshwiller
Madeline and the Cats of Rome by John Bemelmans Marciano
The Mammy by Brendan O'Carroll
Minifred Goes to School by Mordicai Gerstein
Miss Pickerell and the Geigor Counter by Ellen MacGregor
The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood
Nightwings by Robert Silverberg
One Yellow Lion by Matthew Van Fleet
Opera Cat by Tess Weaver
Queen Vernita Visits the Blue Ice Mountains by Dawn Menge
Riding High by John Francom and James Macgregor
Sassy by Gloria Mallette
The Stars Down Under by Sandra McDonald
Strange Reading by Grant Uden
The Sunless Countries by Karl Schroeder
Tarot Cafe Volume 1 by Sang-Sun Park
Tepper Isn't Going Out by Calvin Trillin
Tiger on a Tree by Anushka Ravishankar
Vacation Under the Volcano (Magic Tree House #13) by Mary Pope Osborne
The West End Horror by Nicholas Meyer
Where Is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox
Yoko's Paper Cranes by Rosemary Wells

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for Esoteric City

FSFEsoteric City: 01/18/10

Back in October I decided to stop featuring a review from Fantasy & Science Fiction every Saturday. My schedule has gotten too busy to guarantee I'll have time to read and review a story every week. I have though been reading the magazines and writing the reviews as I do have time. The reviews are included in the master list from which I pick one or two reviews to post every day.

The final story in the August / Spetember 2009 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction is "Esoteric City" by Bruce Sterling. It is set in Turin, Italy, a city of wizards of black and white magic. It's also the city of the shroud, the grail and Dante's inferno.

Achille Occhietti by day is an engineer. By night he's a necromancer. He rubs elbows with Djoser, the mummified remains of a third dynasty Egyptian pharaoh. Djoser comes with a message, warning him that Lucifer has plans for him.

The bulk of the of story is the preparation for the show down with Lucifer. Djoser and Achille go on a quest through old Turin, layers of death right to Hell to come up with a plan. I loved Sterling's descriptions of Occhietti's walk through Hell and how each layer had its own timeline and its own populations.

After all the esoteric preparation Lucifer's meeting throws all the theories out. It calls into question what it means to be the Devil. It's a deliciously open-ended conclusion, perfect for this type of fantasy.

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