Henry L Lazarus
4603 Springfield Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Science Fiction for August and September 2017
Surviving disaster is always a fun read in
Fantasy and Science Fiction because the background is so alien to
Travis S. Taylor and Jody Lynn Nye
tell a tale of teens surviving a disaster on the Moon that reminds
me of a classic Arthur C. Clark tale but adds social media. Bright
Sparks are specially selected teens working with Dr. Bright in his
laboratory at Armstrong City on the moon. Partially paid by a
reality show, the teens face scientific problems. Barbara Winton is
an Iowa farm girl new to the project. Her first project is setting
up a remote base for project Moon Beam (hard from Baen) which
involves smoothing a small lunar crater to make a huge telescope and
also making new living quarters for the astronomers who will
eventually live there. Barbara and three teammates successfully
overcome the small obstacles and then real disaster strikes in the
form of a huge solar flare. They have to protect themselves from the
radiation while insuring there air is breathable. Armstrong City is
also badly effected which limits rescue parties. Fun and great for
teens looking role models who think their way through problems.
Arabella and the Battle of
Venus (hard from Tor) occurs in a solar system filled with
air. Napoleon has escaped from the dark side of the moon and has
conquered a large portion of Venus. Arabella’s fiancé Captain
Singh’s ship has been captured. His crew has been put to work in a
steel-making facility creating steel for Napoleon’s secret weapon.
So So Arabella hires a privateer to take her to Venus where, alas
she and her companions end up in the same camp. Escaping takes
priority when the secret is discovered. David D. Levine tells an
exciting, fun tale in an interesting alternate solar system. I
look forward to Arabella’s next adventure.
Milo frequently remembers his past
lives because he’s had almost ten thousand of them. He also has
Suzie, his personal death and lover to enjoy in his times in the
afterlife. Unfortunately, according to Michael Poore, ten thousand
lives are the limit and unless he manages perfection in his final
five, Milo will disappear into Reincarnation Blues (hard
from Del Rey) at the same time that Suzie is disappearing because
she no longer wants to be Death. It doesn’t help that in one of
Milo’s lives he killed the Buddha. The tale is an exemplar of man’s
inhumanity, love, and what makes people ideal. This should be
recommended for awards.
Glynn Stewart has an exciting
fifth book in his tale of war between the Castle Federation and the
much larger Terran Commonwealth which wants to absorb all of human
space. Captain Kyle Roberts, the Stellar Fox has been given three
older carrier ships to deal with pirates in the Rimward
Stars (paper from Faolan's Pen Publishing Inc.).
The Commonwealth is helping the pirates in an effort to force the
Castle Federation to divert ships to their trading partners. Even
though horrified by the pirate rapine and murder on civilians, the
captain of the Commonwealth ships follows his orders. Alas the
pirates have their own industrial base in a conquered planet. Glynn
Stewart has a deft hand in creating exciting space battles that
leave the reader glued to the page. He is one of my must-buy
R. S. Belcher’s third book in his
tale of magic and monsters in the old west could easily be a
conclusion even as it widens its world. In 1721 The Queen of
Swords (hard fromTor) escapes from prison where she was to
hang for piracy and follows a magic box to a city of Bones in the
heart of Africa. In 1870 her great....great grand child Maude
returns to Charleston following her daughter Constance who had been
taken by her Father. All she needs is a good lawyer to get both her
inheritance and her daughter back. But the immortal Typhon and his
evil sons, along with the daughters of Lilith both want Constance.
The daughters kidnap Constance and want her sacrificed in the same
city of bones. I found the mythology a bit confusing and
contradictory here, but the tale is fun with super female warriors
and battling monsters, and magic ships.
Larry Correia continues his fun
series of monster fighting. This time its a Monster Hunter Siege
(hard from Baen) of a Russian Island filled with monsters to capture
a gate to another universe. Seven monster hunters had been trapped
in that world in the previous tale. Owen Zastava Pitt and hundreds
of other hunters are determined to use that gate to rescue their
friends, even though only Owen will actually be able to enter. Lots
of fun. It also sets up the next tale of taking down a real god.
Matrona lives in an ideal Russian
village where war and winter never come. But there’s an eerie reason
that she discovers when she discovers the dolls in Slava’s house.
Slava is the only person who can leave the village and the dolls,
one for each of the villagers, have magical properties.
The dolls are nested Russian Dolls. When Slava forces Matrona to
open her own dolls one by one, she discovers the truth of the
village after opening The Fifth Doll (paper from 47North).
Charlie N. Holmberg sets his real world shortly before the Russian
Revolution and the tale is difficult to put down.
Laura Bickle imagines a coal
mining town with a hidden dragon. Di Hoffman left college when her
father was injured in a mining accident. Her high school beau is
working at the mine and and gets her a secretarial job there.
Playing her violin in the wilderness brings Afakos, a black dragon
who has lived centuries on the mountain to her. The problem is that
the mining company is asking the EPA for permission to blow the top
of the mountain off for easier access to the coal, and that is not
in The Dragon's Playlist (ebook form Pronoun). Di is an
observer caught between the protestors who want to protect the
mountain, the mining company willing to falsify reports, her
father’s health problems, and of course the dragon. The background
is well defined and the tale is interesting.
Scarlett Bernard is a rare null
who can negate the magic of werewolves and vampires, turning them
human when in her range. The vampire head of Los Angeles asked her
to watch a special show put on by Arthur and Lucy Holmwood,
who once inspired characters from the original Dracula, for fear
that the show will reveal the reality of vampires. Her sister-in-law
thinks this is a belated bachelorette party. What Scarlett finds is
a number of missing vampires who may have been murdered, and
Jameson, a null who had once trained her. It’s a Blood Gamble (paper
from 47north) because things are even darker than she supposes.
Melissa F. Olson has an original look at vampires that kept me
Dru Jasper can’t get A Kiss
Before Doomsday (trade from Pyr) because her boyfriend
Grayson, who had become one of the four horsemen in the last tale,
has been captured by a nutty sorcerer who can create material that
turns dead bones into undead beings and who wants to flood the
world. She, her friend Rane, who can turn her body into metal, and
her shop assistant Opal have to find the right clothes to get into a
masquerade party the evil sorcerer is throwing in an abandoned,
fallout shelter. Laurence Macnaughton has a gift for mixing rom-com
elements with a tale of stopping an Apocalypse. Silly fun.
V. M. Escalada tells of a
Poity under attack by misogynist invaders from Halia across
the sea whose mages can change attitudes with their red
stones. They especially hate Those with the talent to learn
information via touch from people and objects and who provide
justice for the Halls of Law (hard from DAW). Kerida Nast
comes from a military family and had served two years as an NCO when
her talent and she was sent to be trained. Kerida escapes her
hall’s destruction and finds her way to caves filled with refugees
who had been persecuted by her Poity because they have other
talents. There’s also a prophesy about her talking to the gryphon
living in the caves. In the end, rescuing the last member of the
royality, forces her to face her abilities despite torture. Fun
beginning. I can’t wait till the gryphon grows enough so the Kerida
can ride him while flying.
Christina Henry looks at the
horror that is Never Never Land. Jaime was the first Lost Boy (paper
from Berkley Publishing Group) and over the centuries he’s buried
more than a few. Peter Pan keeps bringing others to replace them and
the fun of fighting pirates and diving with mermaids continues. Then
Peter brings Charlie who is too young and quite at risk that that
brings out the father in Jamie. As other lost boys are brought from
Earth Peter starts resenting Jamie and Jamie slowly starts growing
up. This is “The True Story of Captain Hook” at least for this dark
version of the famous tale and fascinating.
Mike Resnick continues his tale of
an impossible mission force, the Dead Enders, in the fortieth
century of the galactic era. In the first tale, A Fortress in
Orion (paper) they replaced an evil dictator with his clone. Alas
the clone has gone evil and has to be assassinated. He is located at
The Castle in Cassiopeia (trade from Pyr) on a planet he
controls in a star system he controls. As usual the obstacles are
easily surmounted by Pretorius and his crack team. Light fun.
Baen has reprinted one of my favorite books from
the sixties, Gordon R. Dickson’s Wolfling (trade) about a
human expedition discovering Earth is really part of a Galactic
Empire. They also reprinted in paper the last Monster Hunter
Memoirs: Crunge by Larry Correia and John Ringo. Two
collections include Straight Outta Tombstone (trade and
edited by David Boop) about monsters in the old west, and older
tales of Galactic Games (paper and edited by Bryan Thomas
The Science Fiction Society will have its next
meeting on August 4th 2017. Kellan Szpara, whose
short fiction appears in Lightspeed, Shimmer, and Glittership sill
speak. The September is on meeting on September 8th
2017. Both meetings start at 8 p.m. at
International House on the University of Pennsylvania Campus.
. 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 unified field theory at
henrylazarus.com/utf.html that suggests a simpler way to achieve