Henry L Lazarus
4715 Osage Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Science Fiction for April and May 2018
Mystery and Science Fiction and Fantasy fit well
together. A murder mystery set in the strange backgrounds adds real
K. R. Richardson introduces us to
the corporate owned and very corrupt planet of Gattis. The planet
was terraformed by three genetically adapted peoples; red, yellow
and blue. The Blue run the world and the Ohba and Drihleen have
become second class, denied an education and hope and they are ready
for revolt. Eric Matheson is anew cop, an off-worlder with only two
weeks on the job. He and his Training Officer discover a gambling
den with all sixteen people there murdered. He is assigned to help
J. P. Dillal who is recovering from experimental cybernetic
enhancement surgery. He is the new Chief Investigating Forensic
Officer and is half Ohba and Drihleen. Driven to solve the case,
Dillal’s might kill him if he pushes himself too hard. The
Corporation just wants to find someone, anyone to blame and is
willing to use troops to put down any riot. Blood Orbit
(trade from Pyr) sends the two deep into the darkest parts of the
Capitol city, Angra Dastrelas and to a labor camp on the other side
of Gattis searching for the truth. I hope this wins some awards.
Drew Hayes writes of a an Earth
with Supers, people with special abilities. There are also powereds
who can’t control their abilities. An experimental process has
allowed five powereds to have enough control to enter the hero
certification program, a four year college degree from which only
ten will graduate to become the heroes who fight evil supers. In Super
Powereds: Year 4 (ebook) the fifteen remaining seniors face
harsh testing after testing while powerful heros on the run,
try to prove the corruption that led to one hero’s murder. Of course
there’s a massive fight at the end worthy of any comic book movie.
This is partially a college tale, partially a tale of athletic
abilities, and of course a tale of powerful superheroes in the
making. Over the four book all the characters grow and form an
indelible memory. Highly recommended.
Tessa Gratton adds magic to a
Shakespeare tragedy, giving some of the characters the ability to
work magic by talking to trees. But it’s not the King that’s the
center of the tale, it’s the The Queens of Innis Lear (hard
from Tor) and their husbands and lovers that for the center. Yes
Lear demands profession of love, and disinherits Elia (Cordelia in
the play). Then he is rejected by the other daughters and ends up
lost in a storm aided only by his Fool. This tale is far more
complex and introducing Husbands and lovers, witches and queens. The
trees of the island want only one Queen and get what they want. I
expect and award nomination for this tale.
John Scalzi has a fun sports
murder mystery. People, called Hadens, who have suffered a polio
like plague connect to the world with robot bodies called threeps .
In the sport Hilketa, one of the defending players is
designated a goat and the opposing team has tear the threep’s head
off and then run Head On (hard from Tor) to score a goal with it.
When one of the players dies a real death, FBI agents Chris Shane
and Leslie Vann have to deal with the case which soon includes a
suicide of a major league representatives. The league which is
trying to go international has a problem with Russian business men
and money problems from a change in law. Chris has one threep
burned in an arson fire and another run over as they get closer to
the person responsible. Fun.
Sophie is a dressmaker with the
ability to sew working charms into her dresses. It has brought her
to the attention of a nobility worried about a Torn (paper
from Orbit) revolution. It doesn’t help that her brother Kristos is
heavily involved with the growing revolution and that the leader of
the revolution blackmails her into putting curses on clothes for the
Queen. But luckily there’s a handsome noble willing to help as the
uprising begins. Rowenna Miller has a nice fantasy romance. I’m
looking forward to the sequel.
There’s the classic tale of a mob
boss who hires a hard-drinking noir detective to find his missing
daughter. In R. S. Belcher’s The Night Dahlia (trade from
Tor), the mob boss is an Elf Lord, and the detective Laytham
Ballard, is a notorious wizard. With all sorts of demons and
monsters to stop him, including the half-human knight he’s supposed
to work with, Laytham returns to the dark side of LA, especially the
porn industry, filled with old friends and enemies. Not only that
but his case is tied to a still unsolved serial murder case which he
had worked on as a magical cop. Unbelievably there’s actually a
happy ending. Fun.
Josette Dupre, captain of the
airship Mistral, has attained hero status because of her exploits in
Robyn Bennis’s first two tales. A meeting with the King allows her
to suggest that troops be sent to recover hometown of Durum now
occupied by an enemy winning the long war. So the Mistral has to
fight By Fire Above (hard from Tor) under a new first
Lieutenant while Josette along with Lord Bernat go into the town to
raise a rebellion. Lots of fun and a great series. I can’t wait for
Cass Morris’s version of the Roman
(Aven) Republic with magical powers, take place after the death of a
dictator and the politics of returning rule to the Senate and
Consuls who have to face election. Iberian tribes have begun a
revolt, threatening Aven colonies on what will become Spain.
Sempronius Tarren is an ambitious politician hiding his Shadow
abilities what would disqualify him for office. He proposes sending
Aven Legions to Iberia to put down the revolt. Latona of the
Vitelliae, who held in her abilities in Fire and Spirit under the
dictatorial rule, now finds herself losing control From Unseen
Fire (hard from DAW) in the emotionally charged political
campaign. Never fully trained, she needs the training that the
Priestess of Juno withholds. Even though marries, she is attracted
to Sempronius. This is light look at an interesting world and
I’m eager to read more.
In the latest RNC tale, Daniel
Leary and Adele Mundy are secondary characters. Instead David Drake
introduces us to Roy Olfetrie who had to quit the academy when his
father committed suicide when his fraud was discovered. After hard
times, Roy joins Daniel’s crew as third officer only to be
shanghaied and sold into slavery when that ship was captured by
pirates. Luckily they put him in charge of the main computer. Roy is
prepared to return Though Hell Should Bar the Way (hard from
Baen). He also rescues a kidnaped heiress from the Admiral’s harem.
Add in some space battles and it’s a fun, exciting read.
It’s Typhoon Time (paper
from WordFire Press) as Ron S. Friedman sends a Russian nuclear
submarine through a wormhole to 1938. Eric Sobol, a
billionaire like George Soros, has hired the boomer in an effort to
stop the Holocaust. One of his aids is secretly there to help the
Nazi’s and manages to steal a nuke. It helps that the sub can launch
communication satellites and that one of the men stealing the nuke
gets the clap. Our heroes race from Washington to Munich while the
sub faces Uboats and German destroyers. Lots of fun, even though
Einstein suggests that they may of just created an alternate time
line instead of changing their past.
K. C. Archer borrows from
Harry Potter but with millennials in her School for Psychics
(trade from Simon and Schuster). Whitfield Institute is part
Quantico and part training in ESP for people with powerful
abilities. Teddy Cannon had been using her lie detecting abilities
at Poker until the casinos banned her. She is recruited for the
school when she gets in trouble with massive gambling debts. She
doesn’t know the background of her real parents who died when she
was young. At the school she makes friends, and increases her
abilities. People are hunting her and her friends that has
something to do with her real parents. This is only the first year
and promises to be an exciting series.
I think of some books as palette
cleaners. They’re light, and impossible to read without a
smile. Lizzie Brown was a normal preschool teacher
until, on turning 30, her grandmother showed up on her Harley to
tell Lizzie she was The Accidental Demon Slayer (paper but
free on Kindle ). Not only that but a demon is hunting her. Her new
powers give her the ability to talk to her dog, and she starts
working with biker witches, and Dimitri Kallinikos a were-griffin.
Eight books later, after marrying Dimitri, the question is: What
to Expect When Your Demon Slayer is Expecting (ebook from
Season Publishing and Moose Island Books) It turns out there is an
evil creature trying to steal both herself and her twin daughters.
To fight the creature, after her powers have been taken,
involves going into a special place where imagination is real.
Eventually I’ll read the other books in the series.
D. J. Butler returns to his lush
nineteenth century America, Witchy Eye (paper) with
an American Empire established by William Penn and based in
Philadelphia. It’s a Witchy Winter (hard from Baen) as Sara and
friends ride to the kingdom of Cahokia knowing that she is the heir.
Unfortunately That choice is up to the Serpent Goddess, a real
goddess. Nathaniel, her twin brother, has his own travails until his
witchy ear is released. But an indian, Ma’iingan, has come to rescue
him so that he can cure his new baby. There are other
claimants to the throne; Beastmen attacking human settlements; a New
Orleans rich in Vodoo nmagic,;and even a few zombies. There’s more
coming is this exciting series.
The void witch, Mars Xi, is back. She can destroy starships
and block bullets with her mind. In Killing Gravity(paper)
she found a group of friends who rescued her in their salvage ship
when her ship was destroyed. MEPHISTO came after her and in
the process one of her friends, Mookie, was captured. The only way
to rescue her is to go into a Void Black Shadow (paper from Tor) and
let herself be captured by the empire and sent to a prison world
outside of explored space; The Homan Sphere where millions populate
the inside. Doing the impossible is only possible because the
Empire wants to recruit her. According to Corey J. White that’s a
very bad idea. Fun, but I couldn’t believe the bad guys would be so
Drago Appleroot, a three-foot tall
gnome, makes a good living in the city of Fairhaven as a bounty
hunter. Then a fight between goblins and elves over A Fistful of
Elven Gold (trade from Baen) ends with the death of most of
his competitors. Helping the city watch as bait, ends with him
caught in the middle. Alas there’s nothing else to do but go up
river and somehow sort things out about a missing elf queen, and an
active gold mine. Alex Stewart has a fun, but routine tale. I
suspect that sequels are coming.
Baen has reprinted The Span of Empire by
Eric Flint and David Carrico; Charles E. Gannon’s fifth Caine
Riordan tale Caine’s Mutiny in paper. They also have
reprinted the late Gordon R. Dickson’s Sleepwalker’s World
in trade. He used to be one of my favorite authors.
The Science Fiction Society will have its next
meeting on May 11th. The meeting starts at 8
p.m. at International House on the University of
Pennsylvania Campus. Author Naomi Novik , who’s Temeraire series
about dragons in the Napoleonic war will speak. The series has
been nominated for a Hugo. 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 a simpler way to
achieve fusion generation.