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Science Fiction for January 2018

    A satisfying conclusion to a long series, in Fantasy and Science Fiction is as important as the first tale that set events in motion.
Django Wexler concludes his The Shadow Campaigns tales that use Napoleonic war technology in a world where magical powers can be conferred by uttering the name of a specific demon. The Beast, which has the ability to absorb other minds, will eventually take over every human mind. It was stopped once before in the ancient past. It has absorbed Janus bet Vhalnich who has somehow been allowed to stay independent   Queen Raesinia Orboan goes to a kingdom previously hostile (the England to her France) for assistance against the armies besieging her kingdom. General Marcus D’Ivoire is intrusted with defense of the Kingdom against the The Infernal Battalion. (Hard from Ace)Winter Ihernglass, who has the demon capable of devouring other demons, has to cross half the kingdom while being chased by agents of the Beast. Very exciting and a worthy ending.
The Liaden Universe was settled by people running from something evil in another universe. Tinsori Light is an artificial intelligent space station that still exists in both universes. If the intelligence fails, and it is failing, then the Neogenesis (hard from Baen) might be destroyed. Sharon Lee and Steve Miller wrap up the story lines of the eleven books in the series published by Baen and save their universe at the same time.
W. Michael Gear takes us to the furthest Outpost (hard from DAW) in human space.  Donovan is a world humans can survive on, rich is metallic wealth. But filled with deadly preditors. Ninety percent of the colony has died when the Turalon , first ship in seven years arrives with a Corporate Supervisor Kalico Aguila and five hundred new colonists. With Marine Captain Max Taggart and his men she plans to bring order. Talina Perez is one of the three people running the colony after its governor died. She is recovering from a Quetzal attack.  Five other ships had never arrived. One of them, the  Freelander arrives after apparently spending over a century in transit. Its crew all died of old age. Max and Talina crash an airrcar on a small trip and have to survive in Donovan’s wilderness. This is a solid look at planet filled with wonder and danger and the first of a series. I really liked it.
Christopher Nuttall ends Emily’s schooling in the fourteenth novel of the unnamed world that Emily was brought by a necrormaster looking for a child of destiny. Getting to Graduation Day (ebook from Twilight Times Books) has been especially since her friend, Frieda, was infected with soul magic and went nuts. Now Fulvia, matriarch of House Ashworth id demanding Fried be turned over to her where she can be sentenced to death. Emily may have lost her position as first girl, but she still has friends. There’s an inquest on Frieda’s attack on another student. Emily has to deal with the new first girl who is overusing her power, and with the politics of the inquest while still somehow keeping up in her courses. The series borrows from Harry Potter and well as A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. I gobble each one when they come out.        
Foodies will love Lola Dodge’s tale of baker, Anise Wise who cannot get into any community college because she is a witch, and they don’t allow magic users. When her great aunt Agatha invites her to be her apprentice at the magical bakery in Taos, she jumps at the chance. It didn’t help that her mother had been exiled from the Vortex in Taos that gives witches more power. Or that the previous apprentice had disappeared. But the community of witches remember her as a baby and the community college is happy to admit her. Unfortunately there’s a Warlock gunning for her so she as to have a body guard, then she has to survive several Deadly
Sweet (ebook from Ink Monster LLC) attacks. I look forward to her second adventure.
Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series takes place in a multiverse with dragons of order controlling one large group of worlds and the Fae of Chaos another huge group. The Llibrary tries to stay neutral. The Dragon Queen of the Southern Lands  has set two of her subordinates on a quest for a certain book, the winner to be promoted. Unfortunately one of them kidnaped the daughter of a young librarian.  Irene Winters and her assistant Kai, who happens to be a Dragon, have to find the missing librarian. The problem of The Lost Plot (paper from ACE) is keeping the Library neutral. So they have to find the man in a variation of Prohibition-era New York. Deal with gangsters as well as dragons and somehow save the kidnaped daughter. This is easily the best of the four adventures so far and loads of fun. I’m eagerly waiting for the next adventure.
Marko Kloos’s tale of a future soldier Andrew Grayson, now a captain and a veteran in both of the Martian wars is an exciting tale. He and his wife Halley, both now captains, are assigned to the new Earth ship, Ottawa with powerful weapons designed to finally match the powerful Lanky  ships that had destroyed the Martian colony and resettled Mars with their own people. The Ottawa is on a shake down cruise when news comes of a colony under attack light years away. Points of Impact (paper from 47 North) is the latest in a fun series with a Starship Troopers feel.
    The Science Fiction Society will have its next meeting  on January 5th The meeting starts  at  8 p.m. at the Rotunda  on  the University of Pennsylvania Campus. This is an annual election meeting and typically a hoot.
    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 a simpler way to achieve fusion generation.