Henry L Lazarus                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Home
4715 Osage Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19143

Science Fiction for July 2021
by Henry L Lazarus

    For as long as I’ve been reading Fantasy and Science Fiction, the destruction of Civilization was twenty years in the future. Maybe it seems closer now because of the decadent culture we live in.
According to the church that grew up after civilization fell, the creatures known as Kakuy were responsible for the fires that wiped out most of humanity. As a child, Ven saw one burning when his village was almost destroyed by a huge forest fire. Working for the church, Ven learned to read the Notes from the Burning Age (paper from Orbit) which were found on old hard drives. We meet him when he has left the church to sell secrets from the past. Recruited by the Brotherhood that wants to return humanity to its heights, he is soon at the heart of the war against  the rest of civilization devoted to living in harmony with the earth. The Brotherhood builds tanks from ancient blueprints, despite the pollution it causes and rapidly gains territory. Claire North has a thoughtful look at a rebuilding civilization that has echoes of the classic novel A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. I hope that this tale finds it way to many awards.
David Kobalt tells of a near future where designers can create living dragon eggs with a specialized 3D printer. Noah Parker got into genetic research because his brother has a genetic disease. He took the job with Reptilian Corperation, hoping to use their computers to help his brother. They need his help in Domesticating Dragons (hard from Baen) as a market to replace dogs who had gone extinct in a plague. Before long he has his own pet mini- dragon that he designed, and a girl friend he met geo-caching. He also has found a deadly secret at the heart of the company. Lots of fun.
Larry Correiaa and John D. Brown’s tale of a Gun Runner (hard from Baen) contains all the cool excitement readers enjoy, like a planet filled with giant monsters, mechanized warriors fighting it out toe to toe, and an evil warlord. There’s even a small fight between two starships. Jackson Rook had been a mech pilot and hero until the enemy used illegal viral programs to turn him against his friends. Rescued by the Gun Runner ship Tar Heel, he helps steel a top-of-the-line mech fighter to be delivered to Swindle, a world of giant monsters. The Warlord turns out to be evil, the rebels plant a bomb on jack’s spinal cord, and his only way out is to steal back the mech fighter. There’s a lot of this universe I’d like to see more of. The characters are fun and the action edge-of-your-seat. This is much better than I expected.
Mark A. Ciccone’s tale of Discarded (ebook from Unbound) golems. The tale reminded me a bit of Dark Angel, one of my favorite tv shows. There’s a nuke attack om Seatle that causes the golems to leave government service and go underground. The turmoil that follows weakens government attempts to find them.  The drugs, they had been taking, removed their memories of their creation. Greg and Leah are sent to retrieve a hidden canister that may have information about the Golem formation and are chased agents intent of killing them and retrieving the canister. Some of the agents seem to be a more advance form of Golem and are nearly impossible to kill. Cat and mouse attacks continue until they reach the radiactive Seatle area where secrets are finally revealed. Lots of action and fun.
David Hair starts a tale of small town leaving their homes in a search for riches at the Map's Edge (paper from Mobius Books). Traces of istariol, a mineral that enhances magic, has been by a Bolgravian Empire expedition and hidden by its cartographer. Dashryn Cowl, who fought the evil empire and has been hiding as a physician. He is the one the expedition takes the wounded cartographer to, and he ends up killing the rest of the expedition and recruiting the rest to the town to cross hundreds of miles and eventually mine the mineral. Facing both natural problems and attacks by  Bolgravian troops, they make their way to the heart and discover something asounding. The second half will be out soon.
Brian Staveley starts a second trilogy following the fight for the Empire in Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne. This starts in the time of The Empire's Ruin (hard from Tor). Gwenna Sharpe managed to lose the last of the giant kestrels trying to rescue some of her troop, and is sent to the poisoned continent to get more eggs. The expedition is headed by an Admiral who quickly locks her in the brig and things go worse from there. Ruk after literally been raised by blood thirsty  local gods, has gone to the city of Dombâng and become a priest to a goddess of love. Unfortunately his temple is destroyed and he is chosen for a gladiator forum celebrating the gods who raised him. Things get even worse. Akiil was a Shin monk whose temple was destroyed. Raised as a thief, he decides to con the Empress that he can teach her to enter the Kenta gates that kill most who try. Very exciting and I can’t wait for the tale to continue.
Buc and Eld are back! They are on the board of the Kanados Trading Company after successfully defeating the ghost pirate queen in the exciting The Sin in the Steel (paper). In the process Buc picked up a shard of a Goddess that gives her super powers and a being who wants to connect back to the goddess. Ostensibly hired by the Doga of Servenza to find out who is trying to assassinate her, the path leads to a woman trying to cause rebellion. Quickly allies become enemies, and the young runners, the pair use to aid their investigation, are frequently murdered. Is there The Justice in Revenge (hard from Tor)  Ryan Van Loan is asking.  Everyone is trying to use the ancient enmity between the priests of the  Dead Gods who use blood to change their shape,  and the Sin eaters under direct control of their goddess. Very exciting and I can’t wait for the final book of the trilogy.
D. J. Butler and Aaron Michael Ritchey have a new Cunning man tale. This time Hyram and his adopted Indian son Michael come to Moab Utah, town known today for its rock formations that have been seen in many movies. Hyram has been asked to dowse for a well by the local Morman Bishop. During the height of the depression, Hyram is glad to offer his services for free. He then meets a ghost of a murdered boy seeking his murderer. What he doesn’t expect is the murder of the richest man in town by a special blade, the the man calls The Jupiter Knife (trade from Baen).  There’s a dark secret in 1934 Moab, a secret that kills some men and makes others very rich. I really like this series.
The fun of the Junction series by Daniel M. Bensen is exotic biology that somehow works and yet is nothing like anything on our Earth. That’s because the planet Junction is covered with portals to other worlds. The one on Earth has been hidden in the Indonesian jungle for at least 40,000 years. This time biologist Anne Houlihan and Daisuke are part of a trip to a howling mountain that may contain an Interchange (hard from Flame Tree Press) between the gates in orbit around Junction and the planet side. Financed by billionaire Farhad Irevani, and including physicist Dr. Moon both with their own agenda. Where Anne is concerned about the destruction of the unique ecologies, Dr. Moon starts by destroying one of the portals and things soon go from bad to worse. Lots of fun especialy when Anne and  Daisuke use the space suits brought along to actually float in orbit.
Aileen Erin continues her tale of Amihanna di Aetes.  She has gone from a teenager on the run hiding her half-Aunare talents from a totalitarian Earth government, Space Tech,  determined to destroy  Anuria. She is now the future high queen determined to stay On Mission (ebook from Ink Monster, LLC) despite being poisoned by space tech and having to go to another world with her future husband, to get allies in the coming war with Space Tech. I’ve had fun with this tale, and look forward to the final part.
    Subterranean Press has The Best of David Brin in hard cover that covers shorter works of his long career. They also have reprinted and expensive hard cover edition of Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Physicians of Vilnoc about Penric handling a plague. I missed it when it came out last year.
    Baen has reprinted in paper three tales of  Pendric’s Progress, Patrick Chiles tale of a journey in the near future to the Frozen Orbit (paper) of Pluto, and an older David Weber tale of The Apocalypse Troll in trade,  Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Steven Barnes Starborn and Godsons, that concludes the Heorot series, and a collection of tales Straight Outtta Dodge City edited by David Boop.
    Air and Nothingness Press has new tales of  Upon a Twice Time (paper)  edited by Todd Sanders
    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.