Henry L Lazarus
4603 Springfield Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Science Fiction for November 2016
Fantasy and Science fiction was named by Hugo
Gernsback who created the first pulp magazine, Amazing Stories in
1926 devoted to tales like those of Jules Verne. Edgar Allen
Poe and H. G. Wells. Current tales are very different from
what he published, and are constantly changing and getting better.
by Henry Leon Lazarus
Ashes is a fourteen-year-old, con-man,.
thief who's lived in Burroughside since he was found there at age
three. He's perpetually in trouble with Mr. Ragged, the
governor of the slum. Candlestick Jack discovers him when he changes
the face of a card in three-card monte, a change possible only for
those with magical abilities. Ashes learns Artifice in return for
helping Jack with his thievery, but has an agenda of his own. He
wants to use his new ability to get rid of Mr. Ragged. Chandler J.
Birch sets the difficulty higher because of R. Ragged's contacts
with the ruling class, making The Face-Fakers Game (trade
from Simon 451) even more complex, especially since Jack suspects
Ashes is a spy for someone important. This is a fun introduction to
what promises to be an exciting series.
Rysa Walker has an exciting beginning to
a new series about The Delphi Effect (paper from Skyscape)
Anna Morgan’s ability to pick up ghosts caused her parents to
abandon her along with most potential foster parents. She has some
control now as she is almost ready to graduate college, especially
with the help of her adopted brother Deo when she picks up the
spirit of Molly, a murder victim iof the Delphi group that is
investigating psychic abilities, especially in the children of
people who participated in CIA experiments and were given a drug
that enhanced their abilities, and passed the abilities on
genetically. Molly forces her to contact her ex-cop grandfather.
Alas his attempt to verify her information brings her to the
attention of the Delphi group. She gets help from other people with
abilities working against the group and her Psychologist.
Pulse-pounding action follows, especially when they capture her and
kill people to see if she can absorb their abilities. Solid ending
with enough open threads to make me eager for the next volume.
Sharon Shinn has a tale of Leah, a member
of the five families, who had been spying for the regent and five
years later returns to this Unquiet Land (hard from ACE).
She had left a baby behind, being raised by one of the four primes
who can work the elements when she left.Mally had been a body double
of the princess heir, but when the princess heir proved to have
mental problems, she is now being raised openly. Leah only wants to
reconnect with her daughter even though she regrets leaving,
Chandran, a good friend behind. The regent, soon to be king, wants
her to set up a store in the city to help get gossip about the
Karkan embassy, a group trying to get allies in their quest for
freedom from foreign domination. The problem is that the Karkans
believe any sin can be bought off with donations to charity and
their nobility has a truly horrible vice that is causing the death
of poor Kingdom children. I always enjoy Sharon Shinn’s work and
this tale of romance and adventure is hard to put down.
Genevieve Cogman returns to a universe of
parallel Earths ranging from utter Chaos ruled by the Fae, and Order
run by Dragons. The Invisible Library (paper) tries to find
stability by collecting rare books that could effect worlds. Irene,
now resident in a Victorian world is collecting books with her
apprentice, Kai—a dragon of royal descent, when one member of the
Fae decides to force a war between Dragon and Fae by kidnaping Fae
and taking him to an alternate Venice, The Masked City
(paper from ROC) where he will be auctioned off. Fae magic tends to
force the world into melodramatic tales – making Irene’s ability to
rescue Kai with the help of her Great Detective friend, even though
the prison is hidden in dark magic and the only way home is to free
a captured train that can travel through the worlds. Lots of fun,
and of course melodramatic on purpose. This series is growing on me.
Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor tell a fun
Castaway Odyssey (hard from Baen) In which four kids, ages 8
through 16 join Seargent Morgan Campbell in Lifeboat drill on a
shuttle when their starship explodes, leaving they lost in space.
They have to fix their ship, and hobble to the nearest G star which
luckily has a livable, green-hued planet they call Emerald. Survival
on a strange planet requires extreme caution especially since there
are real surprises that are barely survivable. Fun.
Mercedes Lackey began her career in 1987
with a fun tale of a magical land of Valdemar with its heralds
riding magical horses called Companions who talk telepathically to
their riders. In the latest tale, the city of Haven and the Palace
are beset with nasty letters attacking women with careers. Then
women who own shops have their shops attacked. Herald spy Mags and
his wife, Amily, the King’s own, have to keep information Closer
to the Chest (hard from DAW) while dealing with suicidal
trainees and upset women, before the women-haters start
attacking people. Fun.
Marshall Ryan Maresca has become an
author I await eagerly. An Import of Intrigue (paper from
DAW). Detectives Satrine Rainey, and Minox Welling, an
uncircled mage, have to deal with the death of a trader of noble
background in the Little East quarter of Maradaine, where foreigners
of many Eastern countries live, all with crazy customs. Minox has to
deal with problems with his abilities. While Rainey has to deal with
riots as the various Eastern cultures come into conflict. Alas the
solution had a ‘Butler did it” effect.
Finally we have two novelettes from Jeff
Somers that are prequels to intense tale of blood magicians, We
Are Not Good People. Lem Vonnegan and his huge sidekick
Mags are magicians who have resolved not to use other people’s blood
for their magic the way the master mages do. The Stringer
(ebook from Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc) is about a
master mage determined to destroy civilization and bring back
mage power by demon possession. Last Best Day (ebook) tells
how Lem is kidnapped and Mags has to get him back by using a spell
that gives information about anything, but will kill him if he asks
too many questions. Both tales are very noir and as intense as the
Baen has reprinted in paper Charles E.
Gannon’s fun Raising Caine’ and the second volume of
David Weber and Joelle Presby’s fun Road to Hell as well as
David Drake’s tale of Patriots written 20 years ago in
trade. Operation Arcana is a collection of fun tales edited
by John Joseph Adams in paper. They have also acquired Susan R.
Matthews tale of a doctor turned torturer. The first three are
available in trade as Fleet Inquisitor. I plan to reread
them before newer tales I haven’t read appear.
The Science Fiction Society presents Philcon 2016
at the Crowne Plaza Cherry Hill on November 18-20. C.J.
Cherryh is the Prinicipal Speaker, Dave Seeley the Artist Guest of
Honor, and L.E. Modesitt, Jr. As the Special Guest. Adults are
$55 for the day rate. This convention may have been the first
science fiction convention in 1936.
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