Henry L Lazarus
4715 Osage Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Science Fiction for June 2021
by Henry L Lazarus
Totalitarian states occur frequently in Fantasy
and Science Fiction. I’m more and more afraid that the US will soon
Two centuries from now Neil
Sharpson tells of an idylic world run by three AIs. Most of the
population, including AIs, have uploaded to giant servers, The
exception is the Caspian Republic where people live in dread of
being accused of being a machine and taken out and shot. When
the Sparrow Falls (hard from Tor) tells of state security
agent Nikolai South who has spent his career trying not to be
noticed. When a writer for the propaganda bulletin dies in a bar
fight, his body shows signs of being the type of clone Ais use. The
AI had lived in the Republic for two decades. For political reasons,
the AI’s exwife, Lilly, is allowed to come to the republic and
identify the dead AI from his writings and effects. That puts Agent
South in the middle between the various internal agencies. In
addition he and his partner were working on a case to find who had
gotten the uploaded chips from people using this method to escape
the Republic. Lily might be the person who was going to smuggle the
chips out. This is a no win situation for someone just trying to
survive. I hope this gets nominated for an award.
G R Matthews tells a fascinating
tale of Seven Deaths of an Empire (hard from Solaris) and how
they lead to disaster. The first death is of the Emperor who died
with teenage heirs. Helping to guard the body on its trip from
the invading the northern lands is Apprentice Magician
Kyron and his master. Trying to keep the empire together and protect
the heirs against assassins is General Bordan. Kyron has to improve
his magical abilities as the Company is attacked by Northern tribe
warriors. Complicating measures for each is a powerful church.
Intense and gripping.
Stephen Aryan has a fun tale of The
Coward (paper from Angry Robot). At 17 Kell Kressia joined a
group of a dozen heroes headed to the far north to slay an Ice Lich
who was bringing the cold south. He was the only survivor. A decade
later, unrewarded for his actions, he’s been living a quiet life
convinced he used up all his luck in his survival. The cold is
coming back and his King wants him to go back. Of he’s going to take
the money and run. Somehow, instead, he acquires a motley crew
and finds it impossible to quit. Opposed by the local church that
send assassins and soldiers, and all the horrors of the far north,
it is an impossible trek that brings out the hero in all his crew.
Lots of fun.
Tasha Suri starts a fun tale of an
unlikely connection of a princess and priestess. The Jasmine
Throne (hard from Orbit) won its battle against the Ahranyi by
the sacrifice of its elite women in a holy fire. The Ahranyi priests
had dominated the continent before that with powers gained from
dipping into hidden holy waters. Malini , sister to the current
emperor, disappointed him by not letting herself be burned with her
handmaidens. So he sent her off to be imprisoned in the old temple
of the Ahranyi where she was kept drugged and out of contact. Priya
and her brother escaped being burned with the rest of the priests.
She had dipped in the holy waters only once and was hiding. Somehow
she becomes the maid, and only servant to Malini while outside the
temple a revolution has begun. This is a promising begining a fun
Carrie Vaughn has a fun tale of a
future theme park with its own island. In Questland (paper
from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, John Joseph Adams/Mariner Books)
visitors go on a generic fantasy quest in a place with real looking
dragons and unicorns. Unfortunately a force field has sealed off the
place. Literature professor Dr. Addie Cox, is recruited to help a
group of mercenaries invade the island, find the rogue
employee (her ex-lover), and, of course, drop the force field. Lots
Silvia Moreno-Garcia has a short
tale about The Return of the Sorceress (hard from
Subterranean Press). Yalxi’s lover had stolen the jewel she used for
power. The jewel contained the essence of the sorcerer who had
trained them, and who they had been forced to kill to save their
lives. Somehow she has to bring her lover to the swamp where the
dead sorcerer lies and fight him. Too short.
Katherine Addison returns to the
world of the award nominated The Goblin Emperor(paper) .
Thara Celehar, The Witness for the Dead (hard from TOR), has
the ability to read some memories from the dead. That enables the
Prelate sometimes to answer inheritance problems, and sometimes to
solve murders. In this tale he uncovers the murderer of an Opera
Diva, helps find a man murdering his wives for their inheiritance,
and goes up in the hills to end a ghoul. Very quiet and also
Kim Harrison has a new addition to
her tales of Rachel Morgan, a Million Dollar Demon (hard
from Ace) trouble for the new master vampire of Cincinnati who
thinks that fear will help her control the city. Rachael is
thousands of years younger than the older demons. If she had their
powers, the confrontation would have been easy. Unfortunately, her
demon allies are mad at her. Al even throws her into Alcatraz, a
prison for witches. Somehow, of course, with a help of a potion that
turns people into mice, Rachael prevails. Lots of fun, as usual.
Fans of Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar
series will be excited to read the tale of how the people of the
Duchy of Valdemar excaped an evil empire to gate to a
locations Beyond (hard from DAW) the borders. Duke Kordas
Valdemar, using the plans his grandparents created, has to somehow
do the impossible before the erratic Emperor decides to grab
everything in the duchy and throw its people into his latest war.
This before the companion talking horses arrived, but there is a
love for horses. Fascinating.
Tor has reprinted in hard cover the first half of
Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun; Shadow & Claw.
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.