Henry L Lazarus
4715 Osage Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Science Fiction for November 2019
It’s not necessary to understand the politics of
today by reading Fantasy or Science Fiction. Politics is always
violent and democracies rarely last more than a few centuries.
Generation ships brought humanity
to a series of worlds orbiting a red dwarf. Unfortunately the
previous inhabitants went extinct but left deadly weapons. Centuries
later, each of the worlds distrust each other, but luckily the
Kaiser family-run-ship, Fortuna (paper from Orbit) has
siblings born on separate planets except for the second oldest
Scorpia who was born in space. Her older brother, Corvus, enlisted
in the civil war on Titan, the coldest planet. Scorpia is hoping to
impress her mother with side deals on Gaia, the most earth-like
planet, but succeeds in getting the family in trouble. But her
brother is coming home and Gaia has a shipment of Primus weapons to
be delivered. Unfortunately the weapons prove far more deadly than
expected, killing Fortuna’s captain and mother of the siblings,
leaving them trying to survive and save their ship. Kristyn Merbeth
has a nicely drawn series of planets and a plucky family able to
handle both planetary authorities and pirates. Lots of fun. Luckily
a sequel is coming.
Echoes have been genetically
engineered to seem human, but they resurrect when killed, usually in
a younger form. They came to Earth in the eighteenth century, but in
the 2060's some of them tried to conquer the Earth as Wardens.
According to Cheryl Campbell, Dani resurrects as age 10 with no
memory of her previous lives. Each time she gets herself killed, her
brother Jace raises her. Living as scavengers (brigades), they avoid
the war between the Wardens and the Commonwealth CNA soldiers.
She dies trying to save brigades trapped in the war for Portland
Maine, and is re-raised by her brother in Bangor. But the third
time’s the charm in this Echoes of War (trade from
Sparkpress) after she saves the life of the son of a lover in her
previous life. She decides its time for the brigades and the CNA to
work together to recover Maine. This is a well-limned look at a
war-torn future. I enjoyed it and look forward to the continuing war
against the Wardens.
D. J. Butler and Aaron Michael
Ritchey tell a tale of magic set in the depression. There’s a coal
mine closed because of fights between the three heirs to the missing
owner. Monsters have been spotted in the mine, but the real problem
as beet farmer Hiram Wooley discovers when he volunteers to drive a
truck full of food to the mine, is the starving workers who owe too
much to go running. Luckily The Cunning Man (hard from
Baen), and his adopted son, have enough magic to fight not only the
monster already killing people, but also a witch with his own ax to
grind. I read the tale with a smile on my face, and look forward to
more of Hiram’s adventures.
C. M. Waggoner has a pleasant tale
of a world where Trolls and humans coexist. Someone needs Troll
deaths for Unnatural Magic (paper from ACE) and is not afraid of
starting a war between the two species. Tsira is a half-troll living
independently from her clan, even though her mother is its Chief.
Then the growing attacks leave a soldier, Jeckran, at her feet. She
nurses him to health and decides the fighting between human and
troll make the area too dangerous. So she and Jackran move to the
nearby city. Oona Gebowa is a mathematical genius, a talent that
works especially well for magic. The local college of magic is so
overawed by her demonstration of illusion, that they refuse to
accept her. So Oona sails to Hexos, where she becomes the apprentice
to the Lord-Mage. When Tsira’s mother is murdered, she and Jackran
sail to Hexos chasing her murderer where they are helped by Oona to
solve the serial murders. Lots of fun and a great smile-bringer. I’d
like to see more.
Cariad Corcoran is The Menace
from Farside (paper from Tor.com) all because her mother is
re-marrying and she is getting a new sister. So it makes sense to
her to bring the new sister and two close friends (all pre-teens) on
an adventure to take a picture next to Neil Armstrong’s footprint.
Going on a tour just wouldn’t do it, of course. But using an aunt’s
credit card, borrowing a lunar rover, and other high jinks get them
there. But having their power stolen, and a solar flair emptying a
lunar city being built, put them all in deep peril. Ian
McDonald has a fun tale of future Goonies living on the Moon.
Fountains Parish is a city of
magic with a sharp divide between rich and poor. Coppelia survives
on the streets with her puppet shows, and her friends, Made
Things (paper from Tor.com) These tiny beings were originally
created by a great magician, and escaped his tower when he died.
Coppelia, whose parents were taken by wealthy magicians, helps
them by making bodies for their children, and allowing their small
colony to grow. Then thieves discover a large manikin in a hidden
room deep under the city, and Coppelia is forced to join an
expedition. Of course all goes wrong, and she can only survive with
the help of her tiny friends. Lots of fun.
In For the Killing of Kings
(paper) Howard Andrew Jones showed off his world of stable
continents and the mutable lands between them that are constantly
changing. The Naor hordes, a cross between Nazi’s and the worst of
Islamic terrorists, had invaded the country of Darassus. The city of
Vadessus had been saved from invasion by N’lahr long thought to be
dead. The city of Alantris, however, has been conquered with
the help of dragons. Only a small resistence force remains in hiding
deep under the city in hidden tunnels. Many citizens have
already been sacrificed for blood magic. Another army is coming
against the capitol city of Darassus. The Queen is engaged on a
quest of her own to revive a dead goddess, and in her mind, create a
utopia. Upon the Flight of the Queen (hard from St. Martin's
Press) the war comes to the city and the heroes have impossible
roles to play to save the city. Pulse-pounding action defines this
fun trilogy and this tale ends with a promised destruction if the
Queen actually succeeds. I can’t wait for the final act.
Mirah Bolender returns to Amicae,
a walled city in a world with magical infestations so dangerous that
the lands outside the city are difficult to cross, and, inside the
city, sweepers are used to put down infestations. Amicae was a
City of Broken Magic (paper) because its city council lied
that infestations were under control, and a single sweeper remained
to protect the city. Laura Kramer was his first apprentice in years.
When he was killed, and infestations ran rampant, she, and the other
apprentice Okane, had to protect the city until sweepers from other
cities arrived to help. City council considers her too young to be
head sweeper and hires Juliana MacDanel of Puer. Unfortunately
Juliana and her brother are corrupt and Amicae’s magic ends up in The
Monstrous Citadel (paper) of Rex. Laura has been fired and
accused to attacking Juliana. She and Okane must somehow travel to
Rex, retrieve the lost magic, and then return to Amicae, and protect
it from Rex’s attack. There’s a bit too much coincidence that allow
Laura and Okane to succeed in their quest, but the tale is fun and
I’m awaiting Laura’s next adventure to save her city.
Thanks to the help of the magical
cup and his own bravery, Guillot dal Villerauvais managed to
slay the dragon that had killed his village. The prime minister
desperately wants that cup, and will do anything to achieve his
aims. He also wants his gold order to get credit for the work of
the Dragonslayer (paper) who is a Knight of
the Silver Circle (hard from TOR) the last of the ancient
order known for killing dragons. Three dragons however have recently
hatched and are attacking the farmers of the city of Trelain. Duncan
M. Hamilton tells a fun second book of his trilogy, adding an
ancient dragon that can turn human. I look forward to the final book
in the trilogy.
Baen has reprinted Tim Powers tale of magic along
Alternate Routes (paper). It also has volume one of Larry
Correia’s tales of a Target Rich Environment (paper), and The
Chronicles of Davids (traded and edited by David Afsharirad)
with tales by authors named David.
Black Spot Books has a collection of Yuletide
whimsy set upon A Midnight Clear (paper) with tales by Sam
Hooker, Laura Morrison, Laura Morrison, and three more.
Philcon this year is November 10th through 12th
at the Cherry Hill Crowne Plaza Hotel. Principle speaker is Tim
Pratt, Artist guest of honor is Stephanie Law, Musical guest of
honor is this Way to the Egress, and the special guest is Heather
Shaw. Admission is $65 (35 for students) for the weekend.
Dr. Henry Lazarus is a retired 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 fusion generation requires
less energy because only one frequency is needed rather than a full
spectrum. It also explains dark matter, the proliferation of
subatomic particles, and the limit of light speed for matter.