Author Archives: Barbara Howe

The Rogue and the Peasant

Esme is destined to be a queen. At least, that’s what her mother has always said, and Esme doesn’t doubt her, despite living like a peasant in a small village all her life, where she plays—and fights—with the miller’s children, … Continue reading

Posted in Fairy Tales, Kiwi author | 1 Comment

Middle Distance: Long Stories of Aotearoa New Zealand

Middle Distance: Long Stories of Aotearoa New Zealand is a recent anthology of stories around 10,000 words each, shorter than a novella but longer than the typical short story. For me, these long stories (novelettes?) were a nice change of … Continue reading

Posted in Kiwi author, LGBTQIA+, New Zealand, Short stories, Speculative fiction | Leave a comment


Aftermath: Stories of Survival in Aotearoa New Zealand is a collection of about two dozen stories, poems, and images, set in post-apocalyptic New Zealand. The disasters represented range from the quite possible (catastrophic climate change, nuclear war, earthquakes, pandemics, …) … Continue reading

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The refuge in Sanctuary, by New Zealand author Andi C Buchanan, is a many-roomed house dating from the 17th century. Once a mansion, it is now in a state of disrepair, tended to by residents with inadequate funds for its … Continue reading

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Beyond Magenta

I read Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin, for this year’s Banned Books Week, since it has popped up in the American Library Association’s Top 10 Challenged Books list several times since it was published in 2014. … Continue reading

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Banned Book Week 2022

It is, once again, Banned Book Week: the American Library Association’s yearly campaign to draw attention to efforts to remove certain books from classrooms and libraries. Their current list of the most frequently challenged books is here. As far as … Continue reading

Posted in On Reading, Politics | Leave a comment

The Hands of the Emperor

I am conflicted about The Hands of the Emperor, by Victoria Goddard. I’m giving it three stars on, a compromise between five stars (It’s wonderful! You have to read it!) and two (meh). Let’s start with the part I … Continue reading

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A Trio of Short Reviews

A trio of books, all by New Zealand authors: Ten Acceptable Acts of Arson: and other very short stories, by Jack Remiel Cottrell, is a collection of flash or micro fiction; the longest stories are a page and a half, … Continue reading

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The Quicksilver Pool

This was a pleasant surprise. The blurb on my copy of The Quicksilver Pool by Phyllis Whitney paints it as a somewhat cliché gothic novel. When I paid a couple of dollars for this vintage (1955) novel at a used … Continue reading

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Winter’s Orbit

Irresponsible Prince Kiem isn’t ready to be married. But his cousin, Prince Taam, died in a crash, tearing a hole in the carefully arranged structure of alliance marriages binding the seven-planet Iskat Empire together. Someone has to salvage the situation … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA+, Space Opera | Leave a comment