Henry L Lazarus
4603 Springfield Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Science Fiction for April 2013
One of the fun part of Fantasy and Science Fiction is
the discovery of secrets. The type of secrets that effect lives and can
really change things if discovered. Think of this type of tale as similar
to a mystery with a lot more moving parts.
by Henry Leon Lazarus
Howey tells how survivors of a cataclysmic destruction live in a hundred
and forty-nine story silo deep in the Earth who have the Wool (hard
from Simon and Schuster) pulled over their eyes for generations. Only criminals
leave the silo to clean the camera screens and they die. First the sheriff’s
wife discovers their might be a lie in that and is sent out as a cleaner,
and then, three years later the Sheriff follows. So a new Sheriff is picked.
Juliette is a mechanic deep in the lower floors, and she is picked by the
mayor over the objections of the powerful IT department head. The mayor
is poisoned on the way back and Juliette, after only a week on the job
is sent out as a cleaner. That sets off a revolt inside. The silo feels
very real, and extremely oppressive. The tale is impossible to put down
and may be up for an award.
Clines has blown away the haunted apartment building concept. The
Kavach Apartment building is a bit weird, as new tenant Nate Tucker discovers
upon moving in. It had a great location in Hollywood, great views, and
no parking. It also had seven legged cockroaches that never ate anything,
odd sizes for every apartment and other odd elements. Room 14 (paper
from Permuted Press) for instance was padlocked shut. Nate gets interested
in the building and soon has other tenants, working with him to find out
why the elevator never worked and why no power lines enter the building.
The other tenants, an artist who likes to sun bathe nude on the roof, a
retired publisher who know more about guns and picking locks than you’d
expect, a carpenter and his wife, and Veek, a computer hacker soon find
tunnels under the building that go down thousands of feet. The final surprise
is mind-blowing and will cost several of the tenants their lives. Wow!
Huff has a very interesting world where technology is at the Napoleonic
era and the growing Empire decides to attack Aydori, a small country ruled
by werewolves and their women mages. Insane soothsayers have predicted
that six mages could break the empire and five of them are captured. The
sixth, Marian Maylon has no idea of her potential because she has not been
able to specialize beyond one of the six paths. But the magical tangle
of gold that keeps the other women contained has no power over her. It
seems only right to try to rescue her fellow mages. Joined by Thomas, a
young werewolf who has seen many of his kin and friends killed by The
Silvered (hard from Daw which I got from the library) Imperial weapons.
The dark and dangerous walk to and across much of the Empire to the Capital
city has her discovering just how powerful she is, and also discovers the
consequence by almost going blind. The final confrontation proves
that interpreting real predictions frequently prove their lack of worth.
I really enjoyed this tale which is complete. However I enjoyed the world
enough to hope for another tale.
Hobb has a silvery magical metal at the heart of magic in the final book
of her Rain Wilds Chronicles. In which the stunted dragons have found their
way to the lost city of Kelsingra which had wells of the silver that is
found in the Blood of Dragons (hard from Harper Voyager) that
provided all the magic. Here is the tale of the excitement of getting
the dragons across the river to bathe in the city baths to change into
full strength dragons. Here also is the hard work of cleaning out the well
and finding the seam of silver that the dragons need for full health. Finally
we have the conflict between The Duke of Chalced who has sent his minions
after dragon parts to recover his health and will stop at nothing to get
it. This is a must read for fans of Robin Hobb which answers all
the questions of how magic works in her strange world.S
R. Brown tells us that there is a tribe of werewolves on an island off
of Costa Rica. Bernard Henderson captures on and kills the rest before
setting up first a fight club for werewolves and then selling the monsters
chipped to stay in wolf form, as pets. What he’s actually doing is taking
homeless men to be turned and then Tamed (ebook form Rhemalda Publishing).
Things start falling apart when an EMT, Christine Alt is attacked by a
pet gone mad and swallows enough blood to turn. She is helped by Aiden,
a killer of rogue werewolves who doesn’t realize he is killing people,
and hunted by the people from the Werehouse trying to keep the secret.
Alpert looks at the opposite of the ideas the late Martin Caidin created
in Cyborg which became The Six Million Dollar Man And also
at the modern view of artificial limbs. In the near future Jim Pierce
builds replacement limbs for soldiers, limbs that are a bit better than
the ones that came natural. He uses computer chips hooked to the brain
to motivate them. Then his hacker, and estranged daughter, Layla, gets
information from China. Chinese are willing to attack Jim in their attempt
to find her. It seems that the Chinese have been experimenting with computer
chips that turn human beings into modules of a computer and that computer
plus hookups has become self-aware and wants the Extinction of humanity
(hard from Thomas Donne books which I got from the library). After incorporating
its maker and learning the techniques to create other modules, it starts
growing turning leaders People’s republic into its modules. Soon Layla
and her father are on the run, using every trick they can to not only survive,
but also to stop this monster. This is an edge-of-the seat thriller, impossible
to put down.
Robert Cargill has a modern tale of the fae lifted from fairy tales. The
fae need a sacrifice once a year and prefer to take a human child and turn
them fae by eating their food. Ewan would have lived his short eight years
The changeling survived because he caused Ewan’s human mother to commit
suicide. Colby Steven’s was eight when he met a Djinn in the woods and
wished to see everything supernatural. The two boys meet in the Hill country
just before Ewan’s scheduled sacrifice. When he learns of the sacrifice,
Colby asks Yasser the Djinn to turn him into a wizard so he could save
his friend. These things of Dreams and Shadows (hard from Harper
Voyager) fourteen years later when Ewan’s lost love arrives from the Hill
country and the changeling seeks his revenge. This tale is a very dark
view of the world of the fae but is a fascinating look at what the creatures
of ancient myth might look in our real world.
Douglas continues his star carrier series twenty years after the last trilogy
ended in a truce between humanity and other alien species. Something new
is coming and the Sh'daar group wants to destroy humanity before it has
to face this new enemy from Deep Space (paper from HarperCollins
Publishers) . At the same time the European heads of the Confederation
want control of the United States of North America and Alexander Koenig,
the former Navy commander, now President of the USNA has to find a way
for his nation to survive. As usualy exciting space warfare dominates the
tale. This however is a set up for the next book which will have humanity
and alien species facing a far-advanced technologic species. Fun
and I can wait for what happens next.
been enjoying Laura Resnick’s tales of actress Esther Diamond, an actress
with no supernatural powers whose various jobs put her into danger from
the supernatural. She works with Manhattan's resident mage, Dr. Maximillian
Zadok who, because of alchemic potion that no one has been able to duplicate
looks only seventy but is 350 years old. Probably the worst place for a
secular Jew to work is at a huge department store Christmas display. The
one at Fenster & Co takes up a whole floor and has a singing tree and
a Karaoke bear that attack her at the same time that Detective Lopez, Esther's
former almost-boyfriend is investigating heists of Fenster’s trucks. It
doesn’t help that other seasonal employees are disappearing with no explanation.
So it’s a case of Polterheist (paper from DAW that I bought electronically)
with demons and gothic witches. I find this series addicting and impossible
to read without a giggle or three.
Ellen Datlow and Terri Wilding have collected Queen
Victoria’s Book of Spells (trade from Tor) filled with all new steam
punk tales from major authors.S
The Science Fiction Society will have its next meeting
on April 12th at 8 p.m.at International House on the University
of Pennsylvania. Campus. Gordon Van Gelder, editor and publisher of The
Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction will speak . As
usual guests are welcome.
Nebula nomineers include: Throne of the Crescent
Moon, Saladin Ahmed (DAW; Gollancz ’13); Ironskin, Tina Connolly
(Tor); The Killing Moon, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK); The
Drowning Girl, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Roc); and Glamour in Glass,
Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor). and 2312, Kim Stanley Robinson
(Orbit US; Orbit UK). I’ve only read one of them
Dr. Henry Lazarus is a local Dentist and the author
of A Cycle of Gods (Wolfsinger Publications) and Unnaturally