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Science Fiction for April 2021
by Henry L Lazarus

    Science Fiction and Fantasy tales can have lots of action.
J. S. Dewes tells of a sentinel ship, the Argus, located at the energy barrier at the edge of the universe, which passes near our Milky Way Galaxy. Commanded by war hero Adequin Rake, who did something to upset her superiors so much that she was promoted to her forgotten command. The rest of her command are the dregs of the Human navy.  Cavalon Mercer was once the heir to the human empire, and now is a new recruit on the ship. He pissed off his emperial  grandfather with an act to horrible, he also had to disappear. Then the edge on the universe starts collapsing, destroying the Argus and much of its crew. Looking for help the survivors of The Last Watch (hard from Tor)  discover the nearest gate has been closed, leaving the few survivors under attack. There is a way to save the universe, but the remaining Argus crew have to do the impossible to save not only themselves, but the whole universe. This is edge-of-your-seat excitement. A sequel is due out later this summer.
Heather Walter borrows heavily from Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty to produce a disturbing tale of Malice (hard from Del Rey). Briar is a very rich kingdom on the edge of Fairy. The royal family has been cursed for generations. Princesses (no princes are born) must kissed their true love by age twenty-one or die. Aurora is the last of three daughters and forced to kiss all potential suitors. Alyce is the cinderella. She lives in the Graces homes. The other graces  provide charms and blessings with elixirs made  from their golden blood.  Alyce is part Vila, the dark elves destroyed in a war. Her blood helps produce curse elixirs. One day, in a ruined castle, she discovers a trapped shape shifting Vila who starts teaching her of her true powers. Then Aurora comes to her for help in lifting the curse. One thing leads to another. It is obvious by the ending of this first half of the tale, that Heather Walter liked the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty. Fun.
Mirah Bolender completes her fun trilogy set in a world where misused magical amulets turn into monsters and sweepers fight the monsters and clean the amulets.  The hive mind that controls the monster has set its eyes on Amicae, attacking the Fortress of Magi (hard from Tor) where the city council meets. Laura Kramer has to fight it and the mob trying to take control of the city from its corrupt council. Great ending.
Ben Aaronovitch’s London is where the rivers are represented by human avatars. Now it is told  What Abigail Did That Summer (hard from Subterranean Press) in 2013 when she was thirteen. Some her friends, and other kids from Hampstead Heath are missing. Abigail Kamara, with the help of a group of talking foxes discovers the haunted house collecting them, and, of course, helps save them. Lots of fun and a nice side story to the major series.  
Dan Stout returns to the city state of  Titanshade built in the frozen north to supply oil.  This time police detective Carter has to face a buzzing Titan Song (hard from DAW) that make people so mad they murder the person nearest them. There’s a music festival at one of the abandoned rigs, a huge cave-in of the caverns under the city, and a pilgrimage of the huge Barekusu to the city. The Barekusu were the first known intelligences on the world and set the others on the righteous path. There’s also corruption and murder and Carter and his partner have to save the city from destruction. This is a noir detective series that keeps getting better and better.
Julie E. Czerneda’s universe is filled with truly alien,  aliens. Esen, the youngest of the web beings, can shift into any one of them. The latest problem brought to All Species' Library of Linguistics and Culture, that she and Paul established, is of missing starships. Unfortunately the monster destroying the ships and eating their crew is an ancient one that used to eat web beings as the flew between the stars eons ago. There’s also the Spectrum (hard from DAW) of politics to complicate what could have been a simple whale hunting tale. A new tale of Esen and her friends is always very welcome, and this is a good one.
Martha Wells has a new tale of murderbot, a security robot self controlled. No longer pretending to be an augmented human. He is asked to help solve a murder on Preservation Station. While the heart of the murder due of problems common to any port, the situation is complicated because of Fugitive Telemetry (ebook from Tor). This is a fun series and I look forward to new tales.
Subterranean Press has a fun sequel in  John Scalzi’s The Dispatcher: Murder by Other Means (hard) about a world where people return instantly after being murdered. This time there’s a missing dispatcher and a detective who wants Tony Valdez’s help.
    World Weaver Press has a collection of tales set in  Multispecies Cities (paper).
    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.