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Science Fiction for August and September 2016
by Henry Leon Lazarus

    Strong women have always been a factor in Fantasy and Science Fiction. There have been many tremendous women writers in the field.
Amber Farrell spent a decade in a black ops military, until she was bitten by the vampire who killed her unit and she cut off his head. Then she lasted three months as a police officer until she went in and took out three vampires holding a young girl. In the first tale by Mark Henwick, Sleight of Hand (paper) she discovers the world of living vampires, or  Athanate  as they prefer to be called. There are also werewolves, and magic using all adepts. She is turning into an Athenate, but also a werewolf.  They athenate don’t age, but need blood. The live in houses with kin who not only donate blood, but also don’t age. Over the next few books: Hidden Trump (paper); Wild Card (paper); and Cool Hand (paper). She helps deal with problems facing friends and kin using not only her new abilities, but the abilities honed in her years of dangerous service. The basic problem is that of emergence, the revelation of the supernatural to human authorities.  In the latest Angel Stakes (paper from Marque) she is in the middle of a major power struggle in the Athenate world, while discovering that the highschool senior who drugged and raped her had become a white slaver after some of her friends and new members of her kin. The series provides edge-of-the-seat excitement. I got the first one and kept buying until I reached this latest. Now I have to wait for the next.
Niall Teasdale has a neat series set in a world of super heroes and villains where New York was destroyed by a supper villain with a volcano. Penny Worthington is a secretary in New Millennium City She is Ugly (ebook) enough to work in the basement handling the hardest typing jobs when she is hit by a ball of light and turns into a powerful ultra human. When registering her powers she calls her new form Cygnus, and finds she can turn back into Penny.  She teamed with Twilight, a girl who could teleport in the shadows and found a boyfriend in another ultra who could also fly and trained ultras in fighting techniques. He’s murdered in the second book and so is Twilight, but she doesn’t stay dead but becomes powerful in the Shadows (ebook). In San Francisco villains are Hunting Mink (ebook) a powerful normal and Cygnus and Twilight get involved in rescuing her. Cygnus also learns that her powers came from an alien space ship. Frostburn (ebook) has them face to face with one killer who freezes his victims to death and an arsonist. KI really enjoyed the series and am waiting for more.
E. L. Speare was Made For Sin (ebook from Random House LLC) in Las Vegas because he has a demon that can erupt Hulk-like if he doesn’t commit a sin every so often. As Stacia Kane tells it, he works as a P. I. and is called in by is mob boss uncle when one of the uncle’s enforcers is murdered by a demon blade and his arm chopped off. Ardeth Coyle is a thief who may know where the blade was procured, but starts helping him when other bodies are discovered. It is all the fault of a mad wizard raising a demon who needs the body parts to provide a body and Speare’s head is the final ingredient. This is a nice start to a solid noir fantasy series.
Rjurik Davidson borrows from the French Revolution in the Caeli-Amur. It’s been a millennium since a high-magical civilization destroyed itself in war. It’s a strange world with a few minotaurs and gorgons. The city is trying to run itself with committees, and is killing rebels with the new bolt machine. Kata, a former assassin, is a member of the moderate party and starts finding her friends murdered. Maximilian picked up the mind of one of the god-like mages and goes off the mountains to find an ancient power source to remove his passenger. Former house administrator, Armond. goes to a neighboring city for help and finds himself a political prisoner set to work in the mines. The Stars Askew (hard from Tor) fells like the middle book of a fascinating trilogy.
Melissa F. Olson tells a tale of the FBI fighting Nightshades (paper from TOR), One of the shades is locked up in a super prison, proving their existence, Then the Chicago branch of the vampire hunting division (BPI) is wiped out. Enter Alex McKenna, son of the director, who is determined to make a name for himself. He finds a Shade in hiding, Lindy, and with her help faces a Shade with truly evil plans for children.
Blake Charlton has a strange world with powerful magic in words able of modify the world. Nicodemus was a dyslexic Spellwright (paper) who has become quite powerful because he can disrupt magical working. His wife, Francesca is a magical dragon who we met in Spellbound (paper). Thirty years later, their daughter, Leandra Weal is trying to survive the auto-immune problems brought on by being half human and half textual. She is also a powerful Spellbreaker (hard from Tor) caught between the league,which wants more disruptive magic to create both gods and neodemons who sometimes can be dangerous, and the Empire which wants more coherence so that neodemons and gods can’t exist. In the Empire only spellwrights have power. The Empire attacks Leandra’s city to destroy her when her past is revealed. But both the League and the Empire lead to horrible futures. Fun and a good conclusion to the series.  
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller have one of the best of their Liaden tale. Clan Korval has had trading partners arrested and goods seized because of their justified attack on Liaden. Now their enemies are working behind the scenes to make things worse and making it difficult for Korval to find an Alliance of Equals (hard from Baen). Master trader Shan Yos’Galan and is daughter and apprentice Padi run into all these problems and have to find a way to attack their enemies while Padi deals with the arrival of her hidden talents. As usual, story arcs started in previous books continue making it a difficult place to start this excellent series.
    Baen books have reprinted Michael Z. Williamson’s fun tale of GI’s lost in time, A long Time Until Now in paper; and have the Volume II of The Best of Bova in trade.
    The Science Fiction Society will have its next meetings on, August 12th  2016 where Steven H. Wilson is the guest speaker and September 9th  the noted literary agent Joshua Bilmes is the guest speaker. Both meetings start at  8 p.m.  at International House on  the University of Pennsylvania Campus.  As usual Guests are Welcome.
    Dr. Henry Lazarus is a local 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.