Henry L Lazarus
4715 Osage Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Science Fiction for November 2020
Fantasy and Science Fiction provide lots of fun
reading for the coming holiday period.
by Henry L Lazarus
E.E. Knight continues the very
enjoyable tale of Ileth, Daughter of the Serpentine (ebook
from ACE) a very poor girl at the Serpentine Academy who is now an
apprentice and unable to afford the sash for her uniform. This is a
world of intelligent dragons who are considered citizens of the
Republic. While I didn’t read the first tale in this series, I was
soon caught up in Ileth’s problems and friends, including some of
the dragons. The Republic’s trade has been destroyed by pirates. She
discovers this when Master Trasker assigns her a report on the local
problems, and she finds filed battle plans to deal with the problem.
Later Governor Raal of the North Provence has her pulled from her
duties because he claims her as his daughter. The raid eventually
happens and she loses some friends in the skirmish. I’m going to buy
the first book and wait eagerly for the next tale.
Voyager has reissued Jo Spurrier’s
fun tale of the The Blackbone Witches, A Curse of Ash and Embers
which I hadn’t read and enjoyed enough to buy Daughter of Lies
and Ruin the second book in the series. This tale of Elodie, a
young girl who thought she was hired as a maid and ends up a witch’s
apprentice is fun and absorbing. I’m eager for the next tale.
Mark de Jager tells the tale of an
Infernal(hard from Solaris) person, Stratus, who wakes up
paralyzed. He has no memory of his past and the vultures would have
eaten him except for his accidental discovery by a passing
caravan. He’s almost solidly black, very strong and eventually
discovers his sorcerous strength. He’s also amoral with no problem
eating people. Eventually he makes his way to Krandin, a kingdom
under attack by the Worm King who uses magical worms to raise the
dead. In addition to recovering his memory and discovering what he
is, Stratus has to fight the church warriors, the walking dead, and
wizards. Very intense and more of the story will come in the
Fourteen-year-old Caiden didn’t
know he was a slave, only that the cattle his people were raising
died, and the overseers promised his people a new world, except they
are deliberately fed to giant lizards and he is the only survivor.
He finds his way to an abandoned empty ship and somehow turns it on
enough to create a protective field, when the overseers come looking
for the Nophek Gloss (paper from Orbit) crystal he found in
the head of one of the lizards. What he didn’t know that a battle
was happening over head, until five spacers find their way to him
and help him get the ship off planet. Essa Hansen tells a fun tale
in a multiverse in which different universes, of all shapes and
sizes, have different physical properties. Caiden is soon aged
six years and finds himself working with Threi, a man seeking
revenge agains the leader of the overseers. This is a first novel
with some awkwardness, but the tale glimmers with originality and
and absorbing scenes. A sequel is coming and I can’t wait.
Nadia Afifi writes of a post war
future America divided between fundamentalist religious compounds
and the city of Westport that has several stations in space. Amira
Valdez escaped from one of the compounds as a teenager. She is
a newly graduated Psychologist adept at using a holomentic reader
that can create holographic images of The Sentient (hard
from Flametree Press) memories and dreams. She is assigned to
a high profile cloning experiment because the first two attempts,
using women who had escaped from the religious compounds, had led to
the deaths. Nadia finds that the third woman, Rozene, who had also
escaped from the compounds had had her memory altered, and that was
depressing her. Unfortunately there is far more going on. There’s a
conspiracy between leaders of Westport who have a cosmic theology
and leaders of the compounds. When Rozene is kidnapped, Nadia hunts
to find her both in space and in the empty wilderness of America.
Patrick S. Tomlinson has a fun
interesting beginning to what promises to be a fun series.
Tysson Abington, CEO of the Ageless Corporation based on the company
owned planet of Lazarus, finds his company under attack by
generically modified microbes on a mining camp and internal spies.
Captain Susan Kamala’s ship the Ansari is patrolling the outskirts
of a world being developed by the Ageless company and discovers it’s
drones are being desroyed by a ship from the insectoid XIR. It’s
been seventy years since the XIR-human war and the ZIR have a new
weapon to test. Nothing is In the Black (paper from
TOR) because of unexpected and fun twists. Allies are made from
enemies. I can’t wait for the next episode now that all the major
characters are together.
Elizabeth Vail has a cute mystery
set in the land of Naxos where gods are quite real. Iris Tharro
is a human agent of the Goddess of Justice. The murder victim
is a girl transformed into a kestrel and laid on the altar in the
Aestros windtamer’s temple. Andy Iriki, a demigod with mother
issues, somehow ends up her partner. Iris can’t be involved in a
case concerning the gods and this is clearly a case of Gods
& Lies (ebook from Serial Box) lot of light fun, and
probably more cases to follow.
The Mentak Coalition is collection
of planets ruled by pirates. Captain Felix Duval and the other two
crew of the Temerarious patrol some remote systems when Philip
Thales, a physicist in hiding, is kidnapped by a group of federation
mercenaries led by Amina Azad. Thales has been working on a device
to create artificial worm holes, and Duval’s leaders want him to
steal the missing parts and help Thales build the device. There’s an
engineer to be rescued and a experimental power system to be stolen.
The problem is that Thales is also looking for revenge and doesn’t
hesitate to kill those he perceives as his enemies. Amina Azad also
keeps chasing them, somehow getting other ships and people to follow
her. Tim Pratt tells a light tale that eventually leads to The
Fractured Void (paper from Aconyte Books). The tale was fun,
though a bit generic and I look forward to a sequel that sounds
In the eleventh episode about Alex
Verus, a diviner who can use his visions of potential futures to
dodge bullets, Benedict Jacka has his hero Forged (paper
from Ace) to a magical device that allows him to force a future.
He’s still on the run from the council, and his ex-lover Anne is
still bonded to a Jin, making her very dangerous. Levistus is
controlling the council through blackmail acquired by a magical
computer. This time Alex has to do the impossible and steal that
magical computer and also somehow deal with the Council death squads
after him. There’s more to come, but things are getting desperate.
Fun, as usual.
Neal Asher is one of the best
super-science writers, filling his universe with A.I. rules, and
characters with expanded mental computer access. The Human(hard
from Skyhorse Publishing) is technically the third of the Rise of
the Jain but really a culmination of the fifteen books of the Polity
universe. Ancient Jain technology has infected the Polity, and
has destroyed previous civilizations including the Jain. Then Jain
warship is released from a blister of space where time moved much
slower. The tale is of continuous battle that Mr. Asher somehow
keeps understandable and involving. Very exciting and a must for
Neal Asher fans.
Kalayna Price concludes her series
about P.I. Alex Craft who is also a grave witch, with a Grave War(ebook
from Ace) that starts with someone blowing up the gates to
Faerie. Then her father, The Governor, is murdered in front of
her. Finally earthquakes start rocking Faerie. To survive, Alex has
to take on new responsibilities and face an evil villain.
While this final episode is a bit generic, it provides a solid
ending for fans of the series.
Christopher G. Nuttall concludes
his Embers of War series with Debt of War(paper from
47North) with a Commonwealth Civil War that pits King versus
Parliament and puts Admiral Kat Falcone and her ex-comrade on
opposite sides. Unfortunately is soon becomes obvious to the reader
that one of them is on the wrong side, especially when that sides
decides on the war crime of destroying cities. This is a bit
disquieting as all civil wars tend to be.
Baen has reprinted T. C. McCarthy’s fun tale of a
cyborg Tyger Burning in paper and and early tale from Wil
McCarthy’s Collapsium series, The Welstone in trade. Hank
Davis and Christopher Ruocchio have collected an anthology of
Cosmic Corsairs (trade from Baen). Subterranean Press has a
collection of Joe R. Lansdale tales, Fishing for Dinosaurs
and Other Stories in hardcover.
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.