Henry L Lazarus                                                                                                                                                            HOME
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Science Fiction for February 2022
by Henry L Lazarus
    I’m hoping by the time this column comes out Omicron is over and Fantasy and Science Fiction  has returned to normal.          
Daniel Abraham, one of the writers of The Expanse, tells of the magical darkness under the city-state of Kithamar during the Age of Ash (hard from Orbit). At the heart of the tale are two girls from the poorest section of the city, and a magical knife that a ruling religious group will stop at nothing to hold. Set during the single year reign of the prince of the city, it is the tale of Alys whose brother was murdered and had obtained that knife. Trying to discovery why her brother was murdered leads het to the heart of conspiracy. Helping her is Sammish whose ability to quietly avoid detection leads her to a woman searching for her kidnaped son. This is a fun introduction to in fascinating world and I look forward to more.
Glynn Stewart is one of the best military Sf writers today. In his latest there are two warring star empires. The Federation has crippled the Commonwealth with a suprise attack destroying the communication stations that allow instantaneous communication throughout the Commonwealth. Rear Admiral James Tecumseh is second in command of the fleet stationed in Dakota System. Unfortunately his superior officer goes suicidal after watching his family killed just before communications are cut. That leaves Admiral James Tecumseh in command of a fleet. Earth is a month’s travel away. Then, after helping the local’s set up temporary government structures, he is called to assist the Marshal of another system attack the Federation. Unfortunately something seems off with the new Marshal, and he has only his Admiral's Oath (ebook from  Faolan's Pen Publishing) and his wits to protect his ships and his crew from treachery. Lots of fun.
A decade ago five college students found a way to travel through the alts, discovering a pervasive rot creating horrors that are pervading out Earth. At the  Last Exit (hard from Tor) they confront this rot, losing one of their own. Zelda was the only one who kept fighting against the rot, mourning the lost of her lover. Then she sees Sal in the clouds and sends for  Ish, Ramon, and Sarah to return for a final fight. Aided by Sal’s cousin June, they are chased by a cowboy in a white hat who can warp local people into aiding him. Max Gladstone sends his travelers deep into the heart of alternate horrors to face their worst fears. This is very intense.
Chris Coppel has a very cute Santa tale. Holly Hillman was found under a family’s Christmas tree as a young child. Forty years later she is the CEO of a huge Logistics (paper from  Troubador Publishing Ltd ) trying to buy a large Chinese firm despite rumors of horrible working conditions. Then the sellers demand DNA tests and that sends Holly to a completely independent lab in northen Norway.  A second trip because her DNA proved unique got her introduced to her father. I like the way that Mr. Coppel uses science fiction to explain Santa Claus and completely avoids any religious element. Guaranteed to leave a smile. This would make for a great Christmas movie.
Essa Hansen has the second in her trilogy about a future with multiple universes, each with different physics. Caiden had trapped Threi, one of two dynast rulers of the Unity, the original universe before the god-like Graven started creating bubble universes, in a dead-end universe. A decade later, he is attacked by a mechanical avatar of his lost childhood friend Leta. The other dynast Abriss has adapted seven of twenty-nine partial Graven hybrids, to these avatars. Like the movie Avatar, they can alternate between these mechanical beings and their own. Somehow Leta is able to lure Caiden to the capital of Unity to rescue her real body. Of course it’s a trap, and in escaping, Caiden has his ancient Graven ship, Azura Ghost (paper from Orbit) destroyed. Then Abriss, seeking to rebuild the Graven, releases her brother Threi and starts a war between them. Caiden and Leto are caught between their feud. Caiden brings in old friends to help. This is a tale of living with treachery in worlds of crazy physics. Very exciting.
Arthur Mayor has an exciting superhero series about Ryan, a teenage boy living with his mother who has a common super ability to learn physical skills quickly. Trained as one of Raptor’s Sidekicks (paper) as Raven, he is fired on the same day that Raptor and the rest of his team are murdered. He and his friends put together a new team of ex-sidekicks and start figuring out who murdered their mentors. Somehow along the line he moved in with his rich father’s new family and spends his nights fighting super-villains. He’s smart enough to punch (literally) far above his natural abilities. Each book continues his adventures. The seventh tale starts with his father framed and arrested, his mother gets kidnaped by a rich villain who wants Raven to rescue his own family.  Then the super-powerful Purge (ebook) wants revenge because Raven let his his son die. Very exciting with fight after fight. I really enjoy this series.
Beth C. Greenberg concludes her fun, but silly tale about Cupid sent to earth from Mount Olympus as punishment. Helped by Pan he has fallen in love three times only to find that the people weren’t his soul mate and he had to help them find their soul mates. After using Dr. Mariposa Rey, an on-line psychiatrist, he finds himself on a The Quest for Psyche (ebook from Isotopia Publishing) that takes him all the way to Lake Tahoe to find his true love. Nice romantic ending.
Lina Rather contuues her tale of Sisters of the Vast Black (paper) three months after the nuns went to help a dying colony and discovered that the deadly disease was created by Earth Central. The Sisters of the Forsaken Stars (paper from Tordotcom) have a new live ship and are hiding their experiences. Unfortunately survivors from the colony they helped save have not compunctions and and tales are starting to provoke rebellion against Earth Central. There’s more to come in the tale.
    Mythic Delirium Books has five novelettes from World Fantasy Award winner   C. S. E. Cooney about Dark Breakers in hard cover.
    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.