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Science Fiction for September 2022
by Henry L Lazarus
    History, Science Fiction and Fantasy all suggest we are in a decadent period in which common sense seems to be tossed out, and replaced with nonsensical beliefs. Usually these periods don’t end well.
Olesya Salnikova Gilmore takes a benevolent look at the Russian witch who lives in a house with chicken legs. In this version Baba Yaga still mourns for the goddess mother she lost at age 15, and though she has been around for centuries dispensing magical and mundane healing, she hasn’t aged since turning 30. Then Anastasia, queen to Ivan the Terrible, comes to be cured of poison. That sends her to court and the interaction between The Witch and the Tsar (hard from ACE) begins. One of the goddesses wants souls to eat so she can come to the world of the living, and Ivan with his secret police and paranoia in adversely helps her. Sixteenth century Russia is a horrible place. This is a marvelous look, a great read. I hope it finds itself on an award list.
Brian Trent takes a dim view of humanity, believing our passion for destruction will never been sated.  His Ten Thousand Thunders (hard) takes place a thousand years after humanity practically destroyed the Earth and then grew civilization again with the ability to back-up brains and regrow bodies. Redspace Rising (hard from Flame Tree Press) starts at the end of a civil war on Mars against an authoritarian government. Harris Alexander Pope is brought back to life. He had been fighting for the Partisans but he was really a mole of the opposition, and his real beliefs have been restored. He destroys the last Partisan hideout on Phobos, only to discover the leaders have fled into other bodies, leading him an a mission of revenge. His quest leads him to Ganymede where the characters from the first tale have a broad plan, and the evil leaders of the Partisans plan to corrupt it. This is very exciting and impossible to put down.
The city of Bezim is the only place in the world where the other four planes of reality can be entered. Alchemists use materials from these worlds to make their magical potions. Siyon Velo, member of one of the Bravi gangs, earns a living collecting the materials and hopes learn enough alchemy to become certified. Then he somehow uses this illegal magic to catch a fellow Bravi who slips from a clock face. That makes him a Notorious Sorcerer ( paper from Orbit). According to Davinia Evans, the magical planes are out of alignment and the world is at stake. Lots of fun and a sequel is promised.
Lilian Horn has an exciting tale of the Perils of Sea and Sky (paper from Rising Action ) on a world that discovered an anti-gravity material used in flying ships.  Rosanne Drackenheart captains a ship that does some smuggling on the side, flying into the fog of the uncharted Grey Veil.  Then Nelson Blackwood, a lawyer blackmails her into finding his father’s lost warship, The Retribution of the Royal Aero Navy, that the Navy has given up as lost.  But the Red Queen not only finds the missing brigantine, but also the pirates that it had been chasing. Barely surviving the ship drifts to the center fo the Gray Veil, a land where monsters dwell. Very exciting.  
Ava Richardson starts a fun tale of an interesting high school girl, Ophelia Monroe, who likes to punch bullies. Kept late after school, she spots the impossible, a dragon. As she gets closer, she finds a man trying to kill the dragon. Defending the dragon somehow gets the whole dragon soul in her head. Prince Corrin of the Fae had tricked the Dragon to our Earth so that he could bond with the dragon and become true king of the Fae. In his mind Ophelia is the true queen of the Fae, despite being human. So he brings her to the fae realm and crowns her with The Bone Crown ( paper from Relay Publishing). Alas the other Fae dispute her rule, and she is soon on the run with Corrin. Nice beginning.
Rachel Gillig starts a tale set in the Kingdom of Blunder where legal magic is practiced using magical cards. However it is possible to be infected by magic and usually put to death. In One Dark Window (paper from Orbit) Elspeth Spindle has been hiding her infection. Inside her head a monster talks to her and can make her stronger when needed. If one can collect all the magical cards, the magical infections can be cured, and a group of nobles need only a few. But all magic has it’s price, and Elspeth, in helping them, is slowing paying an impossible price to her mind. Good beginning.
Walter Williams has completed his second trilogy in the Praxis universe. Humans were determined to be too dangerous and the other aliens attempted to wipe them out. Imperium Restored (hard from Harper Voyager) details the final battle of the war and the difficulty of winning the peace. Fans are going to be very satisfied with this ending.
David Hair sets his tale of The Tethered Citadel on a world where magic started an ice age five centuries before  Raythe Vyre, following a stolen map, has taken three hundred people up the river on the Map's Edge (ebook) across the frozen plane to a heated area inhabited by the  Tangato who have found a way to live without war and lack gun powder. Stuck in the city that was the capital of the former empire, the World's Edge (paper from Jo Fletcher Books). His people are there to find a magical ore that is taboo to the Tangato. But both Raythe and the Queen of the Tangato try diplomacy, but soon face deadly treachery. Only the secrets in the floating citidel can save both of their people. They have to be prepared for the army of the Bolgravian Empire that will arive in the final book. Lots of fun.     
Jeff Wheeler ccontinues his tale of The Dawning of Muirwood with The Hunted (paper from  47North)  Eilean trying to get the ancient book she received translated. She is hunted by Captain Hoel Evnissyen who attacks at the worst possible time. The high seer is corrupt and will drag  the kingdom down. More to come in this fun series.
    Tony Daniel and  Christopher Ruocchio have a nice collection about World Breakers (trade from Baen) giant intelligent tanks.
    Tor has reprinted the late John M. Ford’s adventure about Growing Up Weightless and coming of age on the moon in hardcover. Excellent writer.  Baen has reprinted in paper Travis S. Taylor and Les Johnson’s Saving Proxima about a multigerational trip slower than light, and Larry Correia’s last monster hunter book, Monster Hunter Bloodlines.
    Way before The Boys there was collection of novels about people infected by a wild card virus that gave a very few survivors super powers. Full House (hard from Tor and edited by George R. R. Martin) is a collection of stories set in that universe and previously published by Tor.com
    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.