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Science Fiction for January 2019
    Long ago when I ran out of Fantasy and Science Fiction, I reread books from my ever increasing library.  Today there are so many inexpensive ebooks available, I rarely run out.
Jeffery H. Haskell has a neat six book series about Amelia Lockheart, a twenty year-old paraplegic, whose parents were kidnaped in the same accident that broke her back.  In a world of super heroes, she’s convinced that joining the local superhuman team, the diamond backs is the best way to find her parents, and since she’s a genius and rich from selling some patents, she has to build a ironman type suit, and join the team as Arsenal (paper from Molten Press). Perky and very capable, the tale is a joy to read. I’m eagerly awaiting the seventh tale.
When Officer McKenna Largo is called to a bank robbery where the robbers have their guns of kid hostages, and she suddenly turns into a cougar, she has No Choice (paper from Bad Ash Publishing) but to kill the robbers. It doesn’t help that the change was caught on video, making her an internet sensation. Aliens, according to Mel Todd) are responsible for turning 2 percent of humanity into shifters. It could have been worse. They were supposed to be permanently locked into animal form until aliens come and collect them to become their soldiers. Most of this first tale is how humanity deals with the change, and how McKenna and her partner deal not only with those issues, but also with a drug deal kidnaping her and a bunch of shifter children.  There is one other novel and three novellas in the series so far and I can’t wait for the next tale.
Debra Dunbar and J. P. Sloan add pinching magic to Prohibition and rum running in Baltimore. Hattie Malloy, who can pinch sight and create illusions, has been hiding from the Mob all her life, user her talent to help run illegal liquor along the Delaware river. Even though she is indirectly working for the Mob, she keeps herself and her family free. Vincent Calendo, who can pinch time, has been owned by the mob in Baltimore his whole life. His boss wants another pincher. Wooden Nickels (paper from Amazon) throws the two together as Vincent’s boss Vito wants another pincher and Hattie needs to find a magical water pincher who can make something to save her father’s life. There are three more books in this fun series which capture the era perfectly.
Dmitry Donskoy won Battle of Kulikovo freeing the Rus from the Tartars and eventually leading to Modern Russia. According to Katherine Arden he had help from his cousin, Vasya in the summer that was The Winter of the Witch (hard from Del Rey). In the tale started in the excellent The Bear and the Nightingale (paper) where Vasya locked up the Bear to save her family with the help of his brother Morozko, the winter-king whom she grew to love. In stopping evil in The Girl in the Tower (paper) she left Moscow on fire. Now the Bear is free and wants to destroy Moscow with fear.  Barely escaping being burned as a witch, she runs through the land of Midnight to rescue Morosko. In the end she will actually need her worst enemy to aid Dmitry in the battle against the Tartars. Fun ending to a good historical fantasy.
In David Mack’s universe, sorcerers can achieve super powers by yoking specific demons or angels, each with its own power. The Midnight Front (paper) showed the fight between sorcerers in the height of World War II. It’s now 1954 and the powers-that-be are after The Iron Codex (hard from Tor). A group of ex-Nazi’s have found a way to harness a hydrogen bomb to power an awful result on the Bikini Island. Trying to stop them are Briet Segfrunsdóttir who now works for America because of a pardon for her Nazi years;   Anja Kernova whose been hunting Nazis in South America; Cade Martin, who is now part of MI-6; and Father Luis Pérez a white sorcerer working for the Vatican. This a very exciting tale and impossible to put down.
Matt Doyle has a neat future with tech-shifting, suits that give a person animal shapes; techno werewolves. P.I. Cassandra Tam’s third case involves a different sort of suit. LV48 (ebook from NineStar Press) is a suit that gives the wearer vamperic abilities in order to collect blood samples. Cassie is attacked, but the blood sample is broken in the fight to defend herself. Since the ‘vampire’ left a tracking chip, Cassie is drafted by the police as bait to lure the attacker in. Many of the victims have a relationship to New Hopeland City’s gangster family, adding to the fun puzzle. I had a lot of fun, even though I never read the first two books in this series.
Katherine Lundy In an Absent Dream (hard from Tor) finds a magical doorway to the Goblin Market where people who do not give a fair deal are slowly turned into birds. Seanan McGuire sends her at age eight into this magical land where she meets another girl her age, Moon who becomes a good friend, and the Archivist who helps her adjust. Twice more she returns for adventures before facing the horrible choice, at age 16 she must choose which world to stay in permanently. Enjoyable.
Tracy Townsend continues her tale about a world whose creator watches the world through the activities of The Nine (paper). With humans, Lanyana (mobile trees), and Aigamuxa (giant apes with eyes in their feet) sharing the world, the discovery of a book magically noting the activities of the nine, mean that the Creator might be induced to favor one of the three species. The Lanyana decide that wiping out the other species is a good idea. Meanwhile Rowena Downshire, who has been working for the Alchemist in the eight months since the previous tale, are sent with Anselm Meteron and the translator of the hidden language of the book, Reverend Doctor Phillip Chalmers, by Airship  to the Grand Library of Nippon to examine previously filled books and make some sense. Beset by Lanyana on the way, and caught up the various schemes the make their work almost impossible, they still discover something. The Fall (trade from Pyr) is filled with lush writing, interesting characters, and fun action scenes. I can’t wait for the final volume.
Kevin J. Anderson’s tales of Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.; Services Rendered (paper from WordFire Press) has been reissued with two new silly tales.
    Baen has reprinted in paper Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s 30th year anniversary  Agent of Change, the first Lladen tale, and David Drake’s fantasy The Spark.  and Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson’s fun Hokas Pokas! In trade. Both were big names in the 70's.
    The Science Fiction Society will have its next meeting  on January 11th The meeting starts  at  8 p.m. at International house  on  the University of Pennsylvania Campus. If not canceled by snow, this is the annual election meeting.  As usual guests are welcome.
    Dr. Henry Lazarus is a retired Dentist and the author of A Cycle of Gods (Wolfsinger Publications) and Unnaturally Female (Smashwords).Check out his unified field theory at henrylazarus.com/utf.html that suggests fusion generation requires less energy because only one frequency is needed rather than a full spectrum.  It also explains dark matter, the proliferation of subatomic particles, and the limit of light speed for matter.