Henry L Lazarus
4603 Springfield Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Science Fiction for November 2018
There’s a reality for that. If you believe in
supernatural beings, Fantasy and Science Fiction have volumes of
fiction that show worlds effected by divine beings. Others show
worlds where reincarnation, and life after death real and provable.
Kim Stanley Robinson even wrote a trilogy fifteen years ago that
shows exactly what Global Warming was expected to cause by now.
Mirah Bolender writes of a world
with 20th century technology, magic, and too many monsters. While
walled cities keep out the wilderness, broken amulets can infest the
house they are found and kill all the inhabitants. Only the sweepers
of the city, using weaponized magic, can destroy the infestation and
protect their city. Specialized pits are used to keep the broken
amulets quiescent. The City of Broken Magic (paper from Tor),
Amicae, pretends the monsters are the work of the mob and that the
city walls protect their population, though the leaders know the
truth. Clae Sinclair is the last of a family of sweepers and his
only apprentice, Laura Kramer, learned of the profession from books.
Her Aunt and friends wish she would find a more appropriate and
safer job, or just get married. Then a very rich man in charge of
sewage for the city decided to run a pipe in a way that conflicts
with the pits, and suddenly Laura and another newer apprentice have
to face the possible destruction of their city. This is a world well
limned with interesting details that make it quite real. Lots of fun
and I hope a return to this world is warranted.
Imagine if the Berlin was had been
erected out of pure magic. W.L. Goodwater creates an alternate
Eisenhower era, with all the politics the same. Karen O’Neil is a
research magician called in when the CIA discovers a Breach
(paper from ACE) in the wall. The soviets send their most evil
agent, Nightingale. A ex-Nazi magician who helped build the wall
wants to defect. Of course there’s a mole. But at the heart of the
problem is a deep secret, a magical book that one of the Nazi
magicians had hoped to end the world, and instead created a
dangerous area. Spies and magic during the cold war is a weird mix,
but fun adventure actually works very well.
Tasha Suri imagines a three
hundred year old Empire of Sand (paper from Orbit) where the
first emperor, Maha, uses the power of magical desert storms, which
come from dreaming gods, to insure the empire’s success. For that he
needs the power of Amrihi natives who can magically touch the storms
since they descend from magical Daiva who at one time mated with
humans. But the Amrihi suicide if captured and hide in the deep
desert. Mehr is the daughter of the Governor of the Amrihi provence
and an Amrihi mother. She has no defence when Maha’s mystics come to
wed to Arum, an Amrihi man under Maha’s control. The two have to
dance in the storms in order to change the world, and if they don’t
dance, the Gods could awake and destroy it. This is a solid romance
with interesting background. It drags the reader deep into its
drifting sands and absorbs all attention.
Dayne Heldrin believed in The
Way of the Shield (paper from DAW) and the Tarian Order. He
wanted to protect people with his sword and shield and mostly save
lives. But Parliament decides who will advance. He and his mentor
had been sent to rescue a kidnaped noble child. Alas the child was
hurt and his mentor killed. Returning to Maradaine, the city in
which all Marshall Ryan Maresca fun tales are set, the master of the
order informs him that he will never advance to adept. Then a group
of wannabe revolutionaries decide to try to kill members of
Parliament, and he and Jerinne, one of the initiates become involved
in trying to stop the plotters, whose real leaders are very high in
status. Lots of fun and very enjoyable.
Antony Johnston, whose made a name
for himself in graphic novels like the one turned into the movie Atomic
Blonde, sets his tale of a cat burglar with impossible skills
in a world with futuristic tech and magic. Nicco Salarum is down on
his luck, and takes a commission to steal a magical amulet from a
visiting governor. It’s an impossible theft, but the consequences
are so horrible that Nicco has to travel to the land that the
governor came from and steal back the amulet from the leader of the
revolution. He has to use his wits, when he doesn’t know the
language, and when crossing a swamp filled with monsters. Stealing
Life (paper from Abaddon Books) is a romp of action-adventure.
Brandon Sanderson has a tale of a
genius with a Legion (hard from Tor) of imaginary people who
help him with cases. Stephen Leeds considers himself perfectly sane,
even though he flies first class with extra seats for his imaginary
friends, and needs large cars to hold all the aspects who he needs
to solve the latest mystery. Like a missing camera that can take
pictures of the past, or a missing corpse with information encoded
in its cells. It’s a fun, but silly read.
For two decades and a book a
year, Neal Asher has been building aspects of the humanity’s
Polity worlds. With aliens, artificial intelligence, and humans
modified both with technology and with biology, his worlds and both
strange and filled with superscience. One species, the Jain, have
been extinct for five millennia. Their technology has destroyed
civilizations. Outside an accretion disc of the remains of an
ancient battle, the Polity has created a wall of battleships to keep
the technology contained. Then a collector of Jain technology
releases The Soldier (hard from Skyhorse Publishing). To
complicate things there’s an ancient, extinct species whose corpse
is revived, a woman, Orlandine, who can go from human to full AI
with a thought, and who designed the fortresses, and other odd
beings. Fans of the series will be glad to see old friends. Mr.
Asher has a gift of keeping his complex universe understandable to
readers. Highly recommended like all his work.
I have really enjoyed Jeff
Wheeler’s tale of a Harbinger, a dreamer of the future, set in a
Victorian society with magic. In the third book, Iron
Garland (ebook from 47North) Cettie Pratt has been managing
her family’s floating estate while sending her dreams to her adopted
father Fitzroy who is the admiral in charge of fighting the battle
with the other world of Kingfountain, accessible through a magical
gate. Sera Fitzempress, supposedly heir to the throne and hated by
her father, has been in house arrest. After a major battle, the only
hope her world has is for her to got to Kingfountain and marry their
prince after making a peace treaty. Two more books remain in this
fun series and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Ben Aaronovitch has a wonderful
series about policing the magical sides of London. Peter Grant, a
cop in London, demonstrated a talent for magic when he encountered
the mad spirit Mr. Punch in the first tale. He’s been trained by
Chief Inspector Nightengale, the last wizard in London. He’s also
been sleeping with one of the human spirits of the river, Beverly.
In the seventh tale, the problem is what Lies Sleeping (hard
from DAW) in the ancient past of London. The faceless man, Martin
Chorley, has a plan to bring back someone from the fifth century
using an ancient magical sword, a magical bell, and the energy from
killing Mr. Punch. He’s working with Peter’s old partner, Lesley and
all sorts of minions. The joy of these books come from descriptions
of odd, but very real parts of the city, and to the descriptions of
actual police work. Lots of fun.
I love fun tales of superheroes
and James Alan Gardner delivers in a second tale of Jools and
her friends who became super in a world with darklings like vampires
and demons and sparks. They Promised Me The Gun Wasn't Loaded
(ebook from Tor) tells of a bazooka possibly created by the
supervillain Diamond. Robin Hood and his gang want to steal the
device, and their capture of Jools, somehow puts her in the middle
of the theft. With lots of super fighting and impossible odds, Jools
confronts her addictions. I hope there’s more.
Dru Jasper, a crystal sorceress,
and her friends are convinced they have stopped the end of the
world. Bu there’s No Sleep till Doomsday (trade from Pyr)
once a magical amulet is stolen from her shop. The trail leads to an
irradiated empty town deep in the desert and a second demon car as
powerful as her friend Grayson’s vehicle. The action is non-stop and
the evil sorceress really wants to destroy the world. Laurence
MacNaughton adds another pulse pounding tale in this fun series.
Anise Wise has been working in her
Aunts magical bakery for a few months now, but her brush with death
imbued necromantic magic into her Sugar Spells (ebook
from Ink Monster, LLC by Lola Dodge) and everything she bakes.
There’s a strange being that can wants and can actually eat her
pastries and wants to pay in gold. It turns out her bodyguard is
basically a slave because of his contract. All she wants is to pay
off that contract, now that she’s no longer in danger. Alas there’s
a giant bad god lurking and waiting to capture her. Silly fun.
Twenty-one books ago, David Weber
introduced us to Honor Harrington, a star ship captain of the Star
Kingdom of Manticore. In a very settled galaxy, Manticore and it’s
enemy, the People’s Republic of Haven were tiny compared to the huge
Solarian empire base on Earth. Their wars with each other kept
improving their technology until they were no longer neo-barbarians,
but potentially far more powerful competitors. Unfortunately there’s
an evil cabal imbedded in Solarian bureaucracy that want’s war and
isn’t afraid of setting off hidden nukes. This final tale needs Uncompromising
Honor (hard from Baen) though millions including those close
to her were killed.
Baen has four collections; Straight out
of Tombstone (paper edited by David Boop) with weird tales of
the West; Target Rich Environment volume 1 (hard ) with
shorter tales from Larry Correia known for Monster Hunter
International tales; The Monster Hunter Files (paper) edited
by Larry Correia and Bryan Thomas Schmidt with tales by other
authors; and Forged in Blood (paper ) edited by
Maichael Z. Williamson and set in his Freehold universe.
Baen has also reprinted in trade Elizabeth Moon’s
Sheepfarmer’s Daughter, the first tale of The Deed of
Paksenarrion, and the first of Wen Spencer’s Elfhome series, Tinker.
The Alexander Inheritance about a modern cruise ship sent to
the Hellenic period has been reprinted in as a paperback. It’s
written by Eric Flint, Gorg Huff, and Paula Goodlett. So has P. C.
Hodgell’s The Gates of Tagmeth, the latest of Jame’s
The Science Fiction Society presents Philcon 2018
at the Crowne Plaza Cherry Hill on November 16-18. Steven
Brust is the Principal Speaker, Gary Lippincott is the Artist Guest
of Honor, and Marshall Ryan Maresca is a Special Guest. Adults are
$65 at the door. There are reduced rates for students and children.
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