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Science Fiction for October 2019
    Many tales of Fantasy and Science Fiction start with an interstellar comet. Recently C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) was spotted by an amateur astronomer, Gennady Borisov. I keep thinking of the classic Rendezvous with Rama by the late Arthur C. Clarke, and wonder about alien visitation later this year.
K. Eason tells of the Kingdom of Thorne who invited fairies to the naming of the first daughter in centuries. This time the thirteenth fairy is invited and her gift is for the girl to see the truth in lies. This time the kingdom is spread over multiple planets. After the princess’s father and a neighboring king are assassinated, launching a war. To end the war the princess has to marry the surviving son, but his Regent has other plans – hoping to raise himself to royalty. This how How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse (hard from DAW) in an effort to survive the machinations of the Regent. Fortunately the destruction is only political. There’s a wonderful background here where magical technology allows for high tech devices that can be hacked by people with training and talent. I found the tale fascinating and eagerly await the sequel.
Jonathan French returns to the harsh Lots Lands  patrolled by half-Orcs riding huge hogs. The Gray Bastards (paper) have lost their base, their leader after helping to fight back an Orc invasion. Now they are the The True Bastards (hard from Crown) led by the half-elf Fetching, the only female leader of a Hoof in the Lot Lands. Times are horrible with food scarce, another Hoof willing to attack because they are led by a female , and the local castle which now has cannons and think the Hoofs are irrelevant.  That Fletcher can handle. The real problem are a pack of Hyenas and an Orc that can’t be killed. Eventually abandoning their home, Fletcher leads them to the elf lands, where they are expelled because of the Orc. The secret to winning lies in Fletcher’s mother, who has been reborn. Lots of Fun.
The Quantum Magician (paper) , Belisarius did the impossible by getting the ships of the Union home to fight for their freedom against the Congregate. He also stole the two wormhole time gates. Then the Garret, home to most of Homo Quantus was destroyed, forcing Belisarius to go back in time to rescue his people.  But he needs more information to find a secure base, and the only place that can be found is forty years in the past where the Union scientists had first found the wormholes. Together with Colonel of the Union,  Iekanjika,  he must travel to the planet where the people forming the Union are gathered, including Iekanjika’s mother who is pregnant with her. There’s also The Quantum Garden (paper from Solaris Books) of intelligent plants that fascinates Belisarius. Derek Künsken has a fun addition to his fun series. Though the  time travel elements are not as interesting as the rest of his universe. I look forward to future sequels.
iWil McCarthy has a fascinating, but improbable way of looking at the Antediluvian (trade from Baen) or pre-history era. Harv Leonel and his team have discovered that the Y chromosome is a quantum storage device for human memory and that it can be accessed using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Harv, experimenting on himself, retrieves memories of four individuals.  Starting with people escaping a flood with seven boats tied together, followed by people beset by trolls (Neanderthals), and two other earlier tales.  There are a lot of good ideas here.  
Despite saving the Parliament of Maradaine from a murderous attack,   Dayne Heldrin has still just a candidate in the Tarian Order, serving as liaison to Parlement. Election season has brought out crazed groups like suffragettes and people who want independence for the duchies. Some of them are not just protesting, but intend to attack the wagon trains bringing the votes to the capital city. The protect the city will take a Shield of the People (paper from DAW) like Dayne and his friends, to save the day. This latest edition to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s complicated tales of Maradaine is just as much fun as the rest, and is setting up a major event.
Lina Rather has an interesting short tale of nuns on a living starship. Providing medical help, and pastoral work like weddings for small colonies, these Sisters of the Vast Black (paper from Tor) have their own doubts and a mother superior going senile with a horrible secret relating to the war of forty years back. This a fascinating universe and I hope for longer works set here.
In the hidden world of mages, Alex Verus is a deviner, able to see probable futures and avoid being shot or just hit. Originally trained by the dark mage Richard Drakh, Alex and his close friend Anne, have risen in the Light Council government over the last nine books. Now he has Fallen (paper from Ace), wounded, and his friends chased away all because of the machinations of his old master who is vying for power over the magical world. To survive, he has to reach beyond his abilities. Benedict Jacka has another exciting edition to his long series. I can’t wait for the next.
When Sir Durwin, Enchanter General of England, discovers an ancient spell that shows him the death of Henry II in France, he hurries to tell his mother Queen Eleanor, and when the news is verified, names him Merlin Redux (hard from Night Shade)  Dave Duncan tells a fun tale about the times of Richard the Lion Hearted, sending Durwin and his son to the holy land and using the spell to show other turning points in Richard’s life. The villain, John, stays mostly off stage but there is a solid battle between Durwin and John’s enchanter. I didn’t need to have read the other two books in this series, and enjoyed this mostly historical look at turbulent English history.
In an alternate 1992, Eleanor Valentine, who can tell the future,  sends letters to group she calls Nighthawks (ebook from Brave New Worlds).  Shortly after, activists, supporting the growing number of children of Nostradamus, mutants with powers, blow up nuclear plants near Boston creating radiation zones. In 2032 Conthan is a rising artist whose pictures of his friend Sarah, who has been growing a shell, are captivating. Then an art show is raided and he discovers an ability to create holes in space. Jeremy Flagg puts the group together in a mission to stop the warden of a prison filled with children of Nostradamus who plans to use his ability to control minds to use the prisoners under his care. Very exciting and the first of a fun series.
I don’t often mention television, but Carnival Row (Amazon Prime) represents one of the best fantasy I’ve seen in quite a while, and it is completely original.  Detective Rycroft Philostrate is trying to find a murderer using a magical beast that shreds it’s victims. In a Victorian age city filled with refugees from a Fae continent. The Faries, Fauns, etc have to find a place among humans, sometimes as prostitutes or common laborers and never really accepted. One such fairy, Vignette Stonemoss had been Rycroft’s lover when he had been a sergeant in the army trying to save her city. This first season has all the details that would be found in the first book of a series and luckily a second season is on the way.
    Subterranean Press has a nice collection of Seanan McGuire’s shorter works of  Laughter at the Academy (hard).
    The Science Fiction Society will have its next meeting  on October 11th.  Madeline Miller author of Circe will speak.  The meeting starts  at  8 p.m. at The Rotunda   on  the University of Pennsylvania Campus. As usual guests are welcome.  Philcon this year will be on November 8th-10th at the  Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill.
    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.