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Science Fiction for November 2022
by Henry L Lazarus
    Science fiction and Fantasy are filled with strange creatures.
Julie E. Czerneda is always interested in unusual alien biology and that forms the heart of To Each This World (paper from DAW). Before radiation destroyed Earth (for unknown reasons) six sleeper ships were sent to different stars. The humans of New Earth have formed a duality with the Kmet, an alien species with the technical ability to make portals to instantaneously travel from star to star. The Kmet refuse to believe that Humans might have settled other planets, until a message probe arrives from another settled planet. The Kmet insisted that humans are only safe on New Earth, and an expedition be mounted to save them all. Arbiter Henry m’Yama t’Nowak, working with pilot Killian m’Lamarr t’Brown, has to visit the various worlds and get the inhabitants to agree to be transfered. Unfortunately nothing the Kmat has said is truth and there is a biological imperative driving them. Fascinating puzzle with the fate of humanity at stake.  
Travis Baldree tells a tale of Viv, an orc adventuress, who retires to set a coffee shop called Legends & Lattes (paper from Tor). This pleasant tale has her meeting friends, overcoming adversity. This reprint has a new short story addition. It left me with a grin.
Kenneth Johnson was a major television producer a few years ago. His latest book Holmes Coming (hard from Blackstone Publishing) feels like a pilot for a 90's tv show. Sherlock is bored after defeating Moriarty uses suspended animation to arrive in today’s world where works with a new Watson, Dr. Amy Winslow. Amy is a pediatrician who occaisionally works in an ER where one of the victims of a crime lord dies as she tries to save him. There’s a kidnapped police detective at risk, and Sherlock out-of-water in today’s world. Since the  Elementary tv show ended a few years ago and Sherlock is on hold, I can see someone buying for one of the major networks.
'K. J. Parker has a shaggy god tale about Pulling the Wings Off Angels (paper from Tordotcom). Actually it’s one angel. The protagonist’s grandfather, at the behest of Salonius, had locked thr angel up in a room God couldn’t see into. Because of gambling debts to Florio, the hero is forced to reveal the location. Florio bargains for a kingdom, easily granted. Then the mobster starts on his plan to get out of hell when he dies. It’s that silly, but I enjoyed it.
K. Eason returns to tell of the Nightwatch over Windscar (hard from DAW) a continuation of the excellent hard magic tale Nightwatch on the Hinterlands (paper). I am in awe at how K. Eason makes magic seem like high-tech. For instance Gaer, an ambassador from the vakari technically uses arithmancy to modify powerful attacks, but it is really just sorcery. In this universe, an armada used demons called Bloom to power their ships, causing a rip in the universe called the weep which divides the planet Windscar. The Templars are a group that fight the Bloom that ooze out of the weep. This time Captain Iari and crew go investigate ancient, subterranean ruins used by wichu separatists. They are attacked by monsters, leading to an alter that can create a portal when powered by blood. This is an amazing series and I look forward to more.
I have loved  P.C. Hodgell’s Kencyr tales since the eighties when God Stalk first appeared. Baen has the tale available in The God Stalker Chronicles (paper). It tells the tale of Jamethiel Knorth who stumbled out of the wild lands into Tai-tastigon where she is fascinated by the local gods. Her own Three-Faced God has used the Kencyrs in their fight against the Perimal Darkling for three thousand years and the Kencyr have retreated across worlds. Treachery has weakened the Kencyr because of Jame’s father who wanted to live forever. In the tenth tale, Jame is set as emissary to find out why the  king of Badshti is refusing to pay for his Kency mercnaries.  What she finds is that Mordaunt is using all his money to build a temple to his grandfather who has become one of the city’s Deathless Gods (paper). Add in a spoiled heir who wants to prove himself against Jame, and a city on the edge of revolt, and you get a fun adventure that has elements as good as the amazing first book in the series.
Cherie Priest has a second of her mysteries about Leda Foley, a travel agent whose real psychic abilities led her and detective Grady Merritt to solve a murder. In Flight Risk (hard from Atria Books) Grady’s daughter’s dog went missing in Mount Rainier National Park. When he returned he had a dead man’s leg in his mouth. At the same time Leda agrees to help locate a missing woman. When it turns out that the missing woman was married to the owner of the missing leg, the two work together to find both people. Properly silly.
Glynn Stewart continues his tale of James Tecumseh, Admiral of the fleet of the Dakotan Confederacy, that had been formed after the destruction of the ftl connunication centers; a destruction that had isolated most of the settled galaxy. Two dictators, Kaleb Periklos of the Stellar League and James Calvin Walkingstick of the Earth Commonwealth, want the Dakotan Confederacy and James’s fleet is far weeker than either. He does have some help, but mostly has to rely on his wits for his ships to survive. James Tecumseh has To Stand Defiant (ebook from  Faolan's Pen Publishing) to save his confederacy. Mr. Stuart is a master of starship warfare, and this tale doesn’t disappoint.
    Tor has reprinted  Gene Wolfe’s classic The Fifth Head of Cerberus in hardcover;  Three Novellas about two sister planets, Saint Anne and Saint Croix. Baen has Dave Bara’s Trinity about a star nation’s first ftl starhip, and Simon R. Green’s tale of Jekyll & Hyde Inc. In paperback.
    John Joseph Adams and Rebecca Roanhorse present The Best American Science Fiction And Fantasy 2022 (paper from  Mariner Books)
    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.