Zen Sum: terse verse by punkgranny

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It involves the defendant standing on a board over the pit, who then must shoot a rope attached to a boulder that is pulling the board out from under him. The Doctor is given a crossbow. He must fire it at a precise moment to sever the rope without making him fall into the pit — the fate of the guilty. The Doctor succeeds, is proven a non-malign influence and freed.

He proceeds to examine some relics of the tribe and repair a disruptor gun. He also tells some of the tribe that the Sevateem are the descendants of a "survey team" from a Starfall Seven Earth colony ship. The Doctor and Leela go to examine the face in the mountain; they climb into it by scaling the Doctor's teeth. Neeva returns to his tent, where the voice of Xoanon tells him the tribe will be destroyed. The mysterious being shuts down the sonic disruptor , leaving the village open to attack from the invisible beings. These descend on the village, killing indiscriminately and crushing Andor to death.

Tomas uses the disruptor gun built by the Doctor to expose the true appearance of the invisible beings: ferocious, angry versions of the Doctor's face. Leela and the Doctor notice a figure in a spacesuit in the "mouth" entrance and follow it through a projection of a wall. Beyond this barrier is a rocket, which the Doctor recalls as belonging to the Mordee Expedition; his memory of events earlier in his incarnation are returning.

Xoanon has detected the Doctor. When he reaches the ship, the god-creature is ecstatic that "we are here" and also maniacally pledging that "we must destroy us". The Doctor and Leela meet three of the Tesh who serve and worship Xoanon. They are human too, but technologically advanced and possessing telepathic abilities. The Doctor deduces both Sevateem and Tesh are descendants of the same crew from the Mordee Expedition, with the Tesh or technicians involved in the same deadly eugenics exercise as the Sevateem.

The invisible creatures which attacked the Sevateem are also part of the same deranged scheme. Xoanon is a highly sophisticated computer, designed to think independently. The Doctor repaired Xoanon but forgot to wipe his personality print from the data core, leaving the computer with a split personality. The Doctor and Leela are soon imprisoned, then escape and find the device used to communicate with Neeva.


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The Doctor, speaking as Xoanon, instructs Neeva to tell Calib, who is now tribal leader, to lead the Sevateem survivors through the mouth of the carved face in the mountain. Calib accepts this instruction and leads them into the safety of the mouth, where the invisible beings cannot threaten the tribe.

With Leela keeping guard and holding the Tesh at bay with a disruptor gun, the Doctor ventures into the computer room of the ship to confront Xoanon.

He blames himself for creating the computer's maddened split personality. He now attempts to persuade it to shut down. Xoanon refuses and channels a vicious mental attack at the Doctor. As the Doctor writhes on the floor, Xoanon booms: "Who am I? Leela rescues the Doctor from the mental assault. As he recovers, he warns her of Xoanon's power.

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Moments later they realise the computer has electrified the walls to kill them. The Tesh become more purposeful in tracking them down in the spaceship. Jabel consults his Tesh acolytes.

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The Tesh also come under attack by Calib, Tomas and the survivors of the Sevateem, who reach the spaceship too. This diverts the Tesh while the Doctor and Leela return to the computer room. Xoanon briefly takes control of Leela's mind, as he does of most of the Sevateem. The Tesh and Sevateem soon converge on the computer room too and interrupt the Doctor as he tries to repair Xoanon.

The computer has triggered the countdown to an atomic explosion. Elsewhere in the ship Neeva is alone and crazed, his faith in Xoanon shattered. The ensuing blast kills Neeva but also interrupts Xoanon's control of its subjects, allowing the Doctor to resume and complete his repairs. Xoanon's circuits explode, knocking the Doctor out.

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Neeva attacks his god. Two days later the Doctor wakes up to find himself aboard the spaceship in Leela's care. She explains Xoanon has been quiet, and he interprets this as success for his extraction experiment. They visit the computer room and find Xoanon's identity and sanity restored. The computer confirms it was running a eugenics experiment and thanks the Doctor for his repair work.

Stolen Child

Xoanon is not a boring old megalomaniac. I made your people act out my torment. So a handful of intriguing ideas but percolating through four episodes that are stagnant at best and for the most part knuckle-gnawingly dull. Soji Shimada, trans. Rave Foreword Reviews Descriptions of the house and its location are particular and help to set scenes The tension rises as one impossibility follows another before an effective and dramatic reveal. Shimada combines fantastic crimes with a logical and fair solution likely to stump even the most astute readers.

Positive Kirkus The prolific Shimada deserves to have more of his work translated into English.


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  • He creates a delightfully intricate murder puzzle with retro charm, bound to tantalize readers. Linda Holmes. Rave Kirkus Holmes writes with an easy warmth about kind people who are trying their best but messing things up anyway. Characters speak to each other with natural but hilarious dialogue, making their conversations a joy to read. A warm and lovely romance, perfect for readers of Rainbow Rowell and Louise Miller. Believable, flawed characters are at the heart of this novel. At times deeply emotional yet sometimes extremely humorous, This is a satisfying crowd-pleaser.

    Jia Tolentino. Rave Kirkus In these nine stunning pieces, New Yorker staff writer Tolentino seamlessly melds together journalistic social criticism and revealing personal essays. To varying degrees of intimate context, she places herself within each narrative, reporting on broad social currents while revealing very specific encounters Tolentino offers a millennial perspective that is deeply grounded, intellectually transcending her relative youth. Exhilarating, groundbreaking essays that should establish Tolentino as a key voice of her generation.

    David I. Rave Publishers Weekly [Kertzer] brings to life an intriguing and unlikely alliance of two powerful individuals, using extensive primary sources from both sides. The reader is taken inside the papacy in incredible detail Craig Laurence Gidney. Positive PW This dreamy dark fantasy focuses on unraveling artistic ecstasy and obsession Readers prepared to be disturbed and unsettled will find this novel gripping and immersive.

    Natalia Ginzberg, Trans. From the beginning, you know how this story will end. Likewise, her prose seems at first to be arid, nearly parched. This slim, swift book—closer in length to a novella than a novel—was first published in Italy in , but it feels chillingly modern in its structure, subject matter, and tone Svetlana Alexievich, Trans.

    Anxiety, Learning, and Instruction

    As usual, Alexievich shines a bright light on those who were there; an excellent book but not for the faint of heart. This disturbing and inspiring literary monument to the human, humane spirit that survives unimaginable horror brings to life the devastation of war.

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    Sharon Marcus. Positive Kirkus Though there are instances of overly academic language To the shelves of works about Bernhardt, Marcus brings a singular take—richly illustrated throughout by reproduced drawings, paintings, and photographs—that fascinates as it explains her concepts of celebrity Marcus effectively breaks down her broad topic into considerations of intimacy, sensation, imitation, and other elements she sees as components of her subject Marcus ably shows why and how celebrities are not like you and me.

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    The Face of Evil ★★

    Mixed Publishers Weekly Testimony from surviving veterans provides gripping detail, but the minutiae of the operation recommended size of base camps, the number of weapons in a regiment are meticulously noted, nearly to a fault, which can make for slow passages and a lack of clarity about the larger context. Readers interested in granular detail of military operations and individual combat accounts will appreciate this most. John Taliaferro. Mixed Publishers Weekly The fourth book from Reines Despite these strengths, the poems in this volume occasionally traffic in abstraction, failing to ground vague concepts in sensory detail Kate Mosse.

    Positive Kirkus The exposition is somewhat heavy-handed as characters discuss political upheavals, military factions, and religious strife past and present—including the purge of the Cathar heresy.