Henry L Lazarus                                                                                                                                                                HOME
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Science Fiction for December 2021
by Henry L Lazarus
    2021 has been a memorial year for Fantasy and Science Fiction.      
JAK037 is the last surviving warbot of his model. Built for the war between Dalrea and Carthia on the planet Mervos using human technology, he knows his days are numbered. Then Dalrea makes peace with Carthia in order to attack the human settlement for more of the technology. After the first attack he is ordered to kill the local human ambassador, but he refuses to kill the man’s seven-year-old daughter. Then when his Mervon  friend Harb finds a way to remove the inhibitions that make he obey orders, He decides to take Hannah across the continent and across the water to the human island.  Michael Drakich’s Requiem For A Genocide (ebook ) is a wonderful tale of an impossible quest.  Sometimes helped by Mervans and sometimes hindered, he slowly falls apart, determined to use his finals hours to help the girl get to her people, Wonderful.
Charlie N. Holmberg has an odd romance on a world with real gods. Because her fiancé loves another Ceris Wenden volunteers to become a Star Mother (paper from  47North), impregnated by the Sun, her child will replace a dead star in the sky. She expects to die at the birthing  and go to the star mother heaven. But she doesn’t, and on returning to the human world, discovers that seven hundred years have passed.  She decides to find her decedents who have moved to another city, and along the way is helped by a godling who has escaped his chains. In the skies above the Sun and Moon are at war, which sometimes can damage human settlements. Very nice tale. 
Druadaen was orphaned at 9 and raised in an archive. Working as an outrider in the Concentium of Dunarra, he starts finding that parts of This Broken World (hard from Baen)   don’t make sense.  Charles E. Gannon has a fun tale of Druadaen’s quests he tales  along with a few  soldier-of-fortune types including a magician. The Bent come out in hordes from their deep caverns every decade despite lack of enough food. Then there are the giants who are too big to even move, The dragons who fly with relatively small wings, and even a continent that appeared suddenly withing the historic record. I really enjoyed this tale of exploration and can’t wait for the sequel that may provide the answers to the questions.
In 1928, a decade after a bunch of European countries invaded The US from Canada over a stolen microbe that allows telepathy, Liam Mulcahey is working for a very rich family as a mechanic and is close friends with the son. He doesn’t remember being one of the Devil's Henchmen who used the microbe to work together in their exoskeleton machines. The whole population of the US has been infected with a mild form of the microbe, allowing the creation of illusions. Unfortunately there are evil plans afoot. A friend, Grace, helps release his memories with a drug added to Absynthe (paper from DAW). Brendan P. Bellecourt tells an exciting tale in which solutions lie under layers of deceit. Very exciting and I hope for more from Mr.  Bellecourt
 David Bara tells of Jared Clement, a Robert E . Lee figure whose Rim Worlds rebellion from the 5 Suns system was over food and corruption. The five suns had been settled with generation ships from Earth three centuries before and was now suffering from over population. Nine years later,  his former lover and second-in-command, Elara Devore, requests him to command the first faster-than-light ship to Trinity (paper from Baen). is  She had risen to Admiral in the 5 Suns fleet and fears economic collapse. Trinity has resources to prevent that. So with a small crew and the weapons he demanded before accepting the job, he sets out expecting an unhabited solar system with three livable worlds. That would have been boring. There are lots for fun ship to ship action, treachery, and enough unanswered questions to allow a sequel. This fun tale is complete in itself. Recommended.
Tom Kratman, Justin Watson, and Kacey Ezell wonder what would have happened if Germans at the end of World War I decided to send a small expedition of rearmed Russian prisoners to rescue the Tsar and his family before they were murdered. The Romanov Rescue (hard from Baen) involves a spare Zeppelin, a bunch of captured arms, and a lot of daring. The tale is well researched and feels as thought it might have been real.
Genevieve Cogman may have concluded her fun tale of a multiverse ruled on the chaotic end by the Fae and on the Order end by Dragons. Separated from the multiple worlds is the Invisible Library whose agents keep the balance by collecting rare books. Irene Walker, working with her dragon prince lover Kai, and the great detective Vale, she has to face the Library’s greatest foe, her father Alberich, and find out why the ex-librarian turned against it. The reason is The Untold Story (paper from ACE) of the Library’s creation. Worlds are being destroyed and something is taking control of Librarian’s minds. The answer to both problems lies in the very heart of the Library where ancient beings will do anything to stop her. This is the usual fun melodrama the defines the series.
Mark Jager concludes his duology about Stratus, who learned he was really a dragon in Infernal (hard). The worm king had tortured him for centuries and his agents are killing thousands to create necromantic magical weapons to conquer Krandin. Fighting zombies and horrifying collections of body parts, he slowly is transformed from human to his original form of Firesky (paper from Rebellion Publishing Ltd) .  Intense, exciting,  and very bloody.
M. A. Carrick return to Nadežra, the cursed by The Liar's Knot (paper from Orbit) city of canals. Ren’s identity of Renata has become officially the heir to House Traementis, after the events of The Mask of Mirrors (paper). She also has a magical mask that transforms into the Black Rose.  She, Grey Serrado, police captain and secretly the current incarnation of the outlaw The Rook, and Derossi Vargo, one time smuggler and now newly nobeled, have to deal with a conspiracy of cursed medallions and a secret society dedicated to bringing the medallions        Benedict Jacka’s 12th tale of the mage Alex Verus is faced by horrible Risen (paper from Ace)  complications. His love, Anna, has been taken over by an ancient Jann and threatens the magical world. An enhanced object is slowly destroying his body. He has to use it to improve his divination powers. He also has to work with the magical council that tried to kill him in the last few books. Then there’s his enemy Richard Drakh who may be a friend. This is the final exciting tale in the series and ends with a bang. The whole series is highly recommended.
Tor has reprinted Wild Cards XII: Turn of the Cards (paper) edited by     
George R. R. Martin and written by Victor Milan. In the 70's a group of writers created this hard look at super powers. A virus from Takis dropped on Earth in 1945 radically changed our past. Mark Meadows is also known has Captain Trips because his special powders let him become one of his four special friends with super powers for one hour. In the nineties he is chased to Vietnam where he gets involved in a revolution. I enjoyed rereading it.
Rysa Walker completes her tale of Chronos Origins with complications of Bell, Book, and Key (paper from  47North).  Saul Rand thinks he is playing a game of Temporal Dilemma that has messed up the time line. CHRONOS historians Madi, Tyson, and Katherine are just trying to restore the timeline that has turned dark with witch hunts in the nineteenth century and during the Summer of Love in San Francisco in 1969. I found this a bit dry and the ending a mere whimper.  Fans of the series will still enjoy it.
Honor Harrington fans will enjoy her brief return in David Weber and Eric Flint’s To End in Fire (hard from Baen) The evil Mesan allience, responsible for genetic slavery,  has set up two bolthole planets. Until Honor is called out of retirement to lead a fleet in attack on one of them, numerous zoom meetings on both sides are necessary to set up that final battle. This is a must for fans of the Honorverse.
    Hank Davis and Christopher Ruocchio have a group of tales of Cosmic Corsairs (paper from Baen).  DAW has an anthology of Valdemar tales by Mercedes Lackey with Boundaries (paper)                                            
    Baen has Sharon Lee and Steve Miller last Liaden Universe tale Trader’s Leap in paper and David Weber’s fun In Fury Born in trade.
    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.