Henry L Lazarus
4715 Osage Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Science Fiction for September 2020
When background, characters, and plot all merge
successfully, Fantasy and Science Fiction soar.
by Henry L Lazarus
Christopher Paolini’s venture
into science fiction is a gloriously wonderful space opera. To
Sleep in a Sea of Stars (hard from Tor) tells the tale of
exobiologist Kira Navarez. She is part of a team certifying a
moon as safe for colonization three centuries from now when humanity
hadn’t discovered other alien species, and only found ancient ruins
of a previous civilization. Kira literally falls into a hole, and
discovers the burying place of a nanotech symbiote that promptly
attaches to her. A human warship shows up and promptly arrests
her. Then aliens humans call Jellies attack and she barely leaves
the system in a lifeboat. Months later she arrives in another star
system to discover it under attack. Rescued by the Wallfish, a
ship with a crew that doesn’t ever fit in (think Firefly), she and
the crew are soon in hot water. The skin suit bonded to her, whose
name, she discovers in dreams, is Soft Blade, suggests a world of
ancient technology that might have a weapon to save humanity. From
there everything gets more complicated and the Wallfish face not
only human authorities, a rebel Jelly group, and corrupted
aliens fighting both. What makes the tale work so well is the well
defined background, the nuts and bolts of a universe that feels
real. I hope this wins some awards.
Natalie Zina Walschots takes a
look at being a Hench (hard from William Morrow) in a world
of Supers. Anna Tromedlov is a data processor. When working for Eel,
she ends up in the field and is almost killed by Supercollider.
Recovering from her injuries, she starts figuring the cost of
superhero rescues, starts a website, and then is hired by the super
villain Leviathon to ruin the lives of superheroes through social
media. The techniques she uses, unfortunately, could be used on any
celebrity and are truly horrifying in their consequences. Part
office politics, part comic heroics, this is an amazing tale and an
author to watch.
Khidr is a coast guard like space
ship with a crew of twenty-five. Under Fearless (hard
from Flame Tree Press) Captain Ellisa Shann it patrols space between
Earth and Mars to assist ships in problems. The problems start when
a a distress call from the freighter Hercules is suddenly cut off.
Then sabotage kills a technician under the 5 G burn to reach the
freighter. That’s when everything goes wrong. The Khidr is soon
fighting for its life and the life of its crew because of politics
Captain Shann never heard of. Allen Stroud tells a hard sf tale with
white knuckle stress that doesn’t let up till the end. I want
Griffin Barber and Kacey Ezell
start a fun future P I series. Humanity has scattered after aiding
the Monitors in a galactic war that got Earth destroyed. On Last
Stop Station, Ralston Muck works as a bouncer. He lost his A. I.
angel that controlled his modifications when he was framed for war
crimes. Siren, a singer at the club, is kidnaped and her Angel
separated. Angel should have died but instead finds her way to
Ralston who has a Second Chance Angel (hard from Blackstone
Publishing) . Together in one body they start looking for Siren,
finding treachery on Last Stop Station. On another world they barely
survive the destruction of their ship, only to discover a major
corporation doing something illegal. Lots of fun and I’m looking
forward to future adventures.
D. J. Butler has a fun tale of two
rogues on a world with a thousand races of humanity. In the ancient
city of Kish, a large policy on the life of Ilsa without Peer. Ilsa
is an ugly opera singer with a combination of pheromones and
magical voice that can enchant an audience and make individuals very
suggestive. Indrajit, a bard who has memorized his people’s epic but
can’t read, and Fix, who digs for knowledge, have been hired as
secondary protection of the singer, only save her life on the stage
In the Palace of Shadow and Joy(trade from Baen). Multiple
attacks follow. There’s a weave of treachery so deep, that Indrajit
and Fix can’t go more than a few chapters without facing impossible
odds. Light fun with future adventures promised.
On the colony on Europa a robot,
812-3, killed a human and was convicted of murder. Aiya Ritsehrer, a
lawyer, meets the bot and decides that even An Unnatural Life
(paper from Tor.com), especially since the human prisoners want to
kill the bot. This is a dark gray tale with a lot of moral
David Mack tells of the hidden
Magickal past. Lee Harvey Oswald’s bullet were magickally designed
to break the wards protecting John Kennedy. The Shadow
Commission (hard from Tor) behind the assassination is
also attacking other mages including Cade and Anja who have worked
together since World War II. Soon their friends and students are
dying. Magick works by invoking demons to give super powers, and the
tale is filled with super fights in which our heroes barely survive.
Lots of light fun.
Jeff Wheeler left Bingmei on a
quest to the Phoenix Shrine where she is supposed to die. In the
final book of The Grave Kingdom, she learns that death is not final
and she learns some of The Immortal Words (paper from 47
North) that will help her defeat the immortal dragons and bring
resolution back into her world. Very exciting and a solid ending to
Emma Bellamy is doing rotations
through various police departments in order to become a detective.
Then, when assigned to the Supernatural Squad that mediates between
London’s werewolves, vampires, and other creatures, she is murdered.
She discovers she is Brimstone Bound (ebook) and not quite
human when she comes back to life. Then her partner is
murdered. Helen Harper has a nice mystery tale and a
promise of future cases. Fun.
CAEZIK SF & Fantasy has a collection of new
tales And the Last Trump Shall Sound in paper from Harry
Turtledove, James Morrow, and Cat Rambo about a future Pence
presidency after the Donald finishes his next term. Travis S.
Taylor, Timothy Zahn, Michael Z. Williamson, Kacey Ezell, and Josh
Hayes have short tales based on Battle Luna (hard from Baen);
Larry Correia and Kacey Ezell have collected Noir Fatale (paper
from Baen) tales; and Tom Kratman has tales from others set in his Terra
Nova (paper from Baen) universe.
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
(Tor) has won the Hugo award.
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.