Henry L Lazarus                                                                                                                                                                                                    HOME
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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.