Henry L Lazarus                                                                                                                                                                                                        HOME
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Science Fiction for August 2021
by Henry L Lazarus
    Reading Science Fiction, Fantasy, and, of course, History is a way of discovering tropes echoing from basic human nature, which hasn’t changed since civilization began.
James L. Cambias tells the tale of Daslakh, and AI born at the end of the human/AI war two thousand years from now. Six thousand years later, shaped as a spider, it is working in an Ice mine with a young man, Zee. Zee is a bit depressed and the local mind puts an imaginary love story in Zee’s mind. Unfortunately Zee gets it in his head to go to Uranus to find Kusti Sendoa, the fantasy girl. They end up rescuing another girl from thugs. Unfortunately that results in Zee and Daslakh blown out into space where they are rescued by Kusti. The first girl, Adya is hunting for the Godel trigger, a program to shut down AI’s. Kusti, Adya, Zee, Daslakh and the two goons who might have been working for Kusti, end up on oneof jupiter’s moons trying to steal a box that contains the location of the trigger. The Godel Operation (trade from Baen) is a fun melodrama with double and triple crosses. The mcguffin is, of course, not as expected. Lots of fun.
Detective Zaniel Havelock left the College of Angels where angel speakers are taken from their parents at five and trained to serve.  Angel feather at a crime scene is a clue that the rape and murder victim was killed by something more than human, something demonic.  Laurell K. Hamilton’s fun new fantasy/murder series gets off to an exciting start with  A Terrible Fall of Angels (hard from Berkley).  Havoc is dealing not only with the murderer who has made a special deal with a demon, but also with the wife he has separated from, and an old friend from the College who he hasn’t seen since he left a decade before. Great beginning to an exciting series.
Anthony Ryan starts the tale of  Alwyn, born to a whore and raised by outlaws. Surviving the attack that kills most of the outlaws, he is sent to the mining pit, where he is taught to read and write by a falsely accused cleric who also helps him escape. Circumstances end with him joining an army led by a religious woman fighting under the church’s banner. The church in this world of The Pariah (paper from orbit) follows their holy martyrs and the testimony of their lives. This is a fun beginning to a sold tail with just a hint of magic, that promises to be greater in future episodes. I can’t wait.
Elayne Audrey Becker tells of a world wracked by the return of magic eight centuries before. Half of a small continent has been left to nature at the Giants request and is full of strange and magical dangers. The king of one of the three kingdoms is destroying those effected by magic in his kingdom and wants the other kingdoms to follow suit. Rora is a Forestborn (hard from Tor)  shifter with three animal forms and is able to mimic other people. She and her brother, Helos, survived their early years in the magical forest until crossing the river to civilization. A magical disease is attacking people and the only hope is a magical dust held by the Giants. So the two shifters, along with Prince Weslyn, brave the morphing forest to hopefully find a cure before war comes. This absorbing tale is not compete and I’m waiting for the sequal.
Linden A. Lewis returns to her future tale of The First Sister (hard), the head of the voiceless women ministering to the needs of the spacemen of her Gaen space ship. In the tale of The Second Rebel (hard from  Skybound Books) she has named herself Astrid, recovered her voice and is now the First Sister of Ceres. She travels to Mars to gain support to become Mother to the order.  Caught between the conflict between Icarii (Mercury and Venus) and Gean (Earth and Mars) are the generically modified Asters that are abused by both sides. Outside the conflict are the Synthetics composed of AI minds that are more powerful than humans in the solar system. Somehow the touch point to a potential war ends up on the Aster colony on Vesta. Very intense. I can’t wait for the concluding novel.
Peter V. Brett returns to the world where demons rise from the Earth’s core to attack people at night. Two young adults, affected by magic in the womb, are caught up in politics destruction when the demons return. Two eggs, male and female, were merged when Olive’x mother was fighting demons deep in the Earth. As a result Olive is actually both male and female, and the magic has made her super strong. Raised female, she is kidnaped to wed The Desert Prince (hard from Del Re)y because of a prophecy. But they think him male, and so he trained to fight demons with the same prince.  Darin Bales was also effected in the womb and has many demon abilities. He and some cousins cross the desert to rescue Olive, not realizing that that is the aim of the demon causing all the new problems. Sequels are coming.
Peter F. Hamilton and Gareth L. Powell tell a far future short tale about humanity not improving over millennia . Amahle travels from world to world in a thousand year cycle. The time is much shorter for her because her Light Chaser (ebook from tTOR) travels close to the speed of light. Her body, already thousands of years old, doesn’t age. On each world she drops off memory bands that store memories created to relieve boredom on high end worlds. One day she finds a strange memory on one of the bands that eventually leads to her destroying her ship to save humanity. I found the theory behind her actions a bit hard to believe, but the short tale is fun.
David Weber and Richard Fox have fun tale of far future war. Rear Admiral Terrance Murphy has been appointed Federation Governor (hard from Baen) of the fringe world New Dublin. On his way there, he rescues survivors from a League attack on another world and recognizes that New Berlin may be the next target. Despite resources going to the sixty year war between the Federation and the League, the League has built a huge attack fleet. Of course the main part of the tale is that attack, but there is also politics on both sides. There are also aliens trying to help humans kill eachother. Sequels are coming.
J. S. Dewes continues her tale of The Exiled Fleet (hard from Tor). The Sentinels that survived the destruction of most of their ships, now have to rebuild the jump drive of the last ship and somehow get back into the galaxy. A missing material can only be found in the settled part of the galaxy. Commander Adequin Rake and exiled prince Cavalon Mercer and a few others find a way to sneak past the barriers and into the heart of the Empire to steal what they need. Edge-of-your-seat excitement as our heroes face impossible odds to not only survive, but face their own demons. Great space opera. I can’t wait for the next installment.
Fergus, the Finder (paper), finds a piece of a key that when put back together opens a gate to The Scavenger Door (hard from DAW). If left alone the thirty-two pieces will come together, open the gate,  and let the Scavengers in.  Not only that but three agencies including and apocalyptic cult already have pieces and are desperate for more. Luckily Fergus has friends, human and alien, and a new found sister to help him do the impossible as he travels all over 25th century Earth and Mars. Lots of fun.
Marko Kloos continues his Palladium Wars series that takes place in a solar system with five settled worlds.  The latest episode (#3) Citadel (Hard from 47north) finds Commander Dunstan Park in charge of an experimental ship of the Rhodian navy,  Idina Chaudhary is caught in the middle of rebel attacks on Gretia. Aden Jansen’s crew mates are attacked because they turned over the nuke to the Rhodian Navy instead of delivering it to the rebels. This is an exciting series that has several more episodes to go, lots of fun.
Howard Andrew Jones concludes his fun tale of a fractured world of shifting realms. The world fractured when the Goddess that created it was fractured into magical hearthstones. The Queen of the Altenerai fled with a huge collection of these stones Elenai want to stop her. Unfortunately When the Goddess Wakes (hard from St. Martin's Press), she intends to destroy the world so she can build a better one. One of the Altenerai, Cerai, plans to capture the magic when the goddess. Our heroes,  in this exciting conclusion, not only have find the ancient weapons to destroy the Goddess to save their world, but also stop Cerai from becoming a new goddess. This is a fun conclusion to an exciting fantasy tale.
    Baen has reprinted in paper; three of lois McMasterBujold’s tales of Pendric’s Travels, Catherine Asaro’s latest Bhaajan tale about The Vanished Seas, and Jerry Pournelle’s final novel Mamelukes. They also have zombie tales edited by John Rigo and Gary Poole, We Shall Rise (hard)  ; and  a collection of Freehold Defiance (trade) tales set on the world created by Michael Z. Williamson.
    Tor has the second two tales of Gene Wolfe’s classic The Book of the New Sun collected in Sword & Citadel (hard)
    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.