Henry L Lazarus
4603 Springfield Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Science Fiction for July 2015
by Henry Leon Lazarus
I love space operas. Some of the best borrow
heavily from the classic Napoleonic war tales of C. S. Forester.
Tactics are three dimensional and weapons are very different,.
The feel of British Officers facing the enemy with a full crew can
be duplicated and provides lots of fun for the reader.
H. Paul Honsinger introduces us to
Captain Max Robichaux of the USS Cumberland . It’s his first
command, and the previous captain overly insisted on rules and ran
away from battle. To Honor You Call Us (paper from 47North)
sends the Cumberland hunting for merchants suppling the rat-evolved
Krag. The Krag want to destroy the human based Union for religious
reasons. There are other neutral human empires in this universe, as
well as other alien species. Mas has one major ally on ship, his
physician Dr. Dr. Sahin who had worked with his family of
merchants in the sector while growing up and knows who to contact.
One of the more interesting aliens are the Vaach who are more
advanced than the other species but tend to stay out of other wars.
By the end of the tale, morale is way up and the Cumberland has seen
battle and won.
I really like the way H. Paul Honsinger
takes time to show the crew in action, There’s a little
eight-year-old midshipman, Park, who saves his crewmates by sealing
a breached compartment during a battle. For Honor We Stand
(paper from 47North) has the Cumberland, especially with Max and Dr.
Sahin working on their own, responsible for beginning a peace treaty
with the neutral Allied Emerates and helps destroy a Krang attack on
their unprotected war ships still powering up. Then he is assigned
to a small group of ships protecting an envoy to a conference.
Unfortunately the flag captain has never seen battle, and picks a
route that can be easily ambushed. I’ve already pre-ordered the
third tale, due out by the time you read this.
Blaze Ward has two star empires at
war. Jessica Keller is assigned command of a small flotilla
headed by the Auberon (ebook from Amazon) to make trouble in the
outskirt systems of their enemy. While the systems are lightly
defended, they have to make enough noise to cause a stir in that
empire. Luckily she has some smart people working for her. Edge of
the seat excitement with some neat mischief ploys to bring a laugh.
Add in politics and you have a wonderful S. K. Dunstall has a future based on a
technology looted from an starship adrift. The lines allow FTL
travel and also supply power to the ship across the void. A
relatively few people have the psionic powers to shape the lanes and
only fifty that can call themselves a level ten Linesman
(paper from Ace). Almost all of those are investigating a strange
ball of energy called a convergence. Ean Lambert is the only
linesman who hears the songs of the lines and sings to them and he
is considered crazy. Then the Emperor-of-the-Alliance’s daughter
buys Ean’s contract to take him and another ten to a newly found
starship whose defenses destroy any ship attempting to come close.
The Gate Union, a growing political power wants that ship too, and
has no qualms at kidnaping the princess to get it. Add in an
eleventh line somehow generated by the ship that only Ean can hear,
and a potential war. News ships add to the complication, especially
when they are somehow dragged along on every jump. Fun, with a
Scott Jucha takes a slightly different
approach to space war. It seems that Earth send out a number of
colony ships before the human-caused apocalypse. New Terra had a
harsh time of surviving but has returned to space. Alex Racine has
invented a better way to collect water asteroids and is traversing,
by himself, in a small ship, the outer edges of the planetary system
when he spots a ship coming in from out of system. The ship is a
Liner from another system colonized by humans, Méridiens. They are
advanced over the New Terrans. Very peaceful, they had barely
survived an attack by The Silver Ships (paper from
S.H. Jucha) The Rêveur survivors have been in hibernation for
seventy-two years and the ship run by a A. I.. Alex helps revive the
crew, make repairs and get the ship to New Terra where the problems
of the impact of its technology have to be considered. The ship is
repaired and enlists New Terrans to fill its crew while it returns
home to discover what havoc that silver ships may have wrought.
Enjoyable start to a fun series.
In the near future, James L. Cambias
thinks that Helium 3 will be mined on the moon for energy. That
invites a whole new form of piracy, hijacking the unmanned cargo
vessels using drone space ships controlled via the internet from
fancy hotel rooms. David Swartz practically invented type of theft
and his Corsair (hard from Tor) drones have made him rich
enough to retire. Then he gets talked into one more theft. Opposing
him is Air Force Captain Elizabeth Santiago who had been his lover a
decade ago. Add in Ann Rogers who is sailing on her own boat off the
Florida coast and somehow gets sucked into the mess the second
highjacking goes south, sending David on the run. Lots of fun.
Marshall Ryan Maresca returns to the city
of Maradaine with its circles of mages. He’s starting a new series
about to inspectors with characters who think like the characters in
Elementary. Minox Welling is a brilliant detective with untrained
mage abilities who keeps losing partners because of his reputation
as a Jinx.Satrine Raine is a former intelligence agent who fakes her
way as an inspector after her Inspector husband is left in a
coma. This case of A Murder of Mages (paper from DAW) who
are killed ritually has a potential to start a war between different
rings of mages leaving our two inspectors against a deadline. More
cases are coming. Lots of fun with solid characters in a well
Hope Schenk-de Michele, Paul Marquez with
Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff intruduce us to Lucinda, the Devil’s
Daughter (ebook for Bird Street Books ) born of
Eve. Lucinda has a pawn shop for magical items that tend to warp
their owner; like a pen that corrupts lawyers. The devil uses these
items for his nefarious schemes, all designed to destroy humanity.
Lucinda pretends to help her father, but actually works against him.
In this first tale she finally finds love and tries to stop her
father’s most horrendous scheme since he succeeded with Hitler. Lots
Jon Sprunk puts Horace, his wizard hero,
through Storm and Steel (trade from Pyr), continuing his
adaption to his new foreign land. Horace had been a smith who put to
sea when his wife and children died. Somehow he became part of a
western invasion of the desert Akeshian empire, and ennobled when
his magical talent was discovered. In the first tale he saved his
queen from the cult of the Sun God and helped chase the cultists out
ofthe city state of Erugash. Since the empire is made of several
city-states united under the Sun God’s cult, it makes sense
that three of the cities would send armies. At the same time a
Horace is sent to put down a slave revolt, despite his sympathies
for the cause. But there’s evil in the heart of Erugash and it
doesn’t take much for Horace to be captured. All is lost by the end,
but the next tale should set things right. Exciting.
According to John Birmingham, Dave was the
wrong person to become a superhero. He never sends his alimony
check, spending his bonuses from his job of Safety Engineer on a
oilrig on prostitutes. In Resistance: Dave vs. the
Monsters (paper from Del Rey) he finds a lawyer and lazes
with girls in a fancy Las Vegas suite until the monsters attack. A
bureaucratic government agency sends to capture russian
spy Karin Varatschevsky, who has picked up similar powers.
Apparently killing the right demon gives a human superpowers.
In Ascendance: Dave vs. the Monsters
(paper from Del Rey) Dave has to learn to work with Karin who
can somehow read his mind. The problem is that the professor
Compton who rubbed Dave the wrong way was captured and his brains
absorbed by an empath demon. The Demons, with their medieval weapons
may not be able to fight a human army, but Compton has war-gamed
ways for them to destroy civilization. There's an exciting finish at
Dave's ex-wife's home. More books are coming in this exciting
After death, according to an author with
the pen name Better Hero Army, people are either lost souls,
ghosts or gargoyles who fight ghosts. Girlgoyle (ebook from
Storyteller Press, LLC) is the tale of Tiffany Noboru murdered by
the ghost Bones at age fourteen. She has to learn to fly with her
new wings, light up her weapon with joy. and work with a
mentor to fight Bones. Bones has been around longer than any ghost,
and has plans to attack the gargoyle city of Hollow Mountain. She
still misses her parents and is the first gargoyle in a long time.
Learning to fly is easy, landing is the hard part but her new
friends and mentor help her adjust. There are also wonderful
pictures to illustrate this light, fun tale.
At a time when humanity's two empires are
at war, a temporary peace sends five hundred refugees to one of the
station. According to Margaret Fortune, one of them.has a bomb
inside her primed to go Nova (trade from Daw). The human
bomb calls herself Lia Johansen and is convinced she is artificial.
Her timer misfunctions, giving her time to learn why she had
volunteered to die, and also to fall in love. Very intense and
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller have been
writing about the Liaden clan Korval since the first tale was
printed in 1988. Korval, the Dragon in Exile (hard from
Baen) has left Liad and settled on the lawless port world of
Surebeak bringing law and calm to the gang-ridden world. However
there are consequences. Old debts supposed to be erased can bring
deadly Liadens bent on revenge, as do amateurs trying the protection
racket, and others trying to return to the chaos that existed before
Korval arrived. Add in the captured Agents of Change who have been
brainwashed so throughly that they must be killed. I don’t
recommend starting the series with this tale, but some of the early
tales are available in ebook form for free. I enjoy the series and
look forward to the next tale.
Sixteen-year old Lady Samantha, the only
heir to the powerful Duke of Haywood is told that she has to get
married so, of course, she runs off, pretends to be male, and enters
training to be a Paladin (hard from Perfect Analogy
Publishing) Sally Slater sets her tale in a mediaeval world beset by
demons and Paladins are there to protect the citizens. As Sam she is
assigned to Tristan Lyons who takes her and another trainee, a
half-demon boy Braeden. Tristan never seems to catch on that his
small trainee is the heiress he had saved from demon attack a few
years earlier. In fact he thinks nothing of trying to improve Sam’s
manhood by sending her to a bordello. Lots of demon attacks later,
some nasty secrets come out. There’s more to the story coming, and
I’m looking forward to sequels.
J.R. Rain and Rod Kierkegaard Jr. have a
new case for their vampire detective, Samatha Moon. A missing
persons case sends her to New Orleans to face werewolves, vampires,
and voodoo queens. Every one of the vampires remembers her from the
1860's in spite of the fact that she’s only been a vampire for
a decade. Then an attempt to rescue one of the victims, gets her
caught in a spell that sends her to the past. In a south on the edge
of the Civil War, it is her job to make peace between vampires and
werewolves and find the vampire murdering woman at a music school. Moon
Bayou (ebook from Curiosity Quills Press) Light fun, and the
details are well researched. This is only the first of
Samatha Moon’s adventures in the Antbellum south.
Baen has reprinted David B. Coe’s fun tale
Spell Blind about a weremyst who used to be a cop chasing a
serial killer in paper.
Baen also has two collections in trade, the
Years Best Military SF & Space Opera edited by David
Afsharirad and new tales set in Multiverse: Exploring Poul
Anderson’s Worlds which is edited by Greg Bear and Gardner
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer (FSG
Originals; Fourth Estate; Harper Collins Canada) won the Nebula
Award from best novel. I haven’t read it.
The Science Fiction Society will have its next
meeting on June 17th 2015 at 8 p.m. at the International House
on the University of Pennsylvania Campus This is the annual
Hugo Nominee Review Panel. There’s a lot of politics in the
selection this time..As usual Guests are Welcome.
Dr. Henry Lazarus is a local Dentist and the
author of A Cycle of Gods (Wolfsinger Publications) and Unnaturally
Female (Smashwords). Check out his non-formula unified field
theory at henrylazarus.com/utf.html