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Science Fiction for January 2020
    It is easier to read Fantasy and Science Fiction and flip pages to find out how cultural changes will end, then it is in real life. I hate waiting till November to find out if Democrats use of Impeachment will help or hurt them and what it will mean for the future.
In the 2060's the troubles began and Leif Grettison survived seven years fighting in the harsh war zones. As a civilian, he’s living quietly, working as a technician in a hibernation lab and as an EMT for a team flying out of a hospital.  After the troubles, various nations have worked together to send a small expedition to a nearby star that might have a livable world, and Lief won the lottery for an extra space on the starship. The problem is that between hibernation and time dilation, thirty years will pass on Earth while he lives one. Colin Alexander has a fun tale of a Starman's Saga (ebook from  Alton Kremer). It’s a journey that starts with someone trying to blowup the antimater facility supplying the ship fuel. The crew is mainly academics and separate into national groups. Lief is seemingly the only one with common sense, and that helps save lives on the planet with breathable air and water that also has deadly life forms. The only other person with a sense of mission is Yang Yong, the Chinese pilot who had piloted the plane that had killed the rest of Lief’s unit in the war. This one kept me up till 2:30 in the morning.
Jennifer R. Povey tells a tale of Earth’s second starship, sent out not knowing that the first starship, the Atlantis,  had found alien ships and managed to crash land on an icy planet. José Marin, a veteran of the Earth Mars war with ptsd from having to kill children on Mars, joins the second ship the Endeavor.  Labeled a filthy Araña (paper from Aitune Press) because of the webbing inside him that gave him extra strength and speed, he’s an odd fit among the scientists on board. However he can link to hyperspace because of his webbing and is added to the list of navigators. The endeavor rescues the crew of the atlantis, but in hiding from the ships that almost destroyed the Atlantis, finds a world dying because one of the huge outer planets in their system somehow moved near that planet’s orbit. Despite being hunted, the Endeavor decides to find a way to help these mole-like intelligent aliens leave their planet. Lots of fun and apparently tied to an earlier book that tells of Earth’s direct contact with aliens while this tale is taking place.
Deep in the Louisiana swamp is the last surviving dragon. Once known has Lord Highfire (hard from Harper Perennial), Vern has his television, whisky and breakfast cereal and is just as happy to avoid humans who killed all his relatives three thousand years ago. Into his life comes fifteen-year-old Everett Moreau, known as Squib since blowing off one of his fingers.  He got there being chased by Regence Hooke, a crooked constable, who had just murdered Squib’s potential employer. As boy and dragon find ways to get closer, Hooke spies on the dragon and thinks to use him to attack his enemies, a plan that involves kidnapping Squib. Vern is a very old and crotchety , but even he can come to care for the young boy. Eoin Colfer tells a tale that rooted in the deep south and lots of fun.
Patrick Chiles suggests that in 1991 the USSR improbably sent a ship to Pluto using atomic bombs for thrust. For some reason the cosmonauts stayed in Frozen Orbit (Trade from Baen) and the USSR, now breaking up, decided to keep the mission secret.  Forty three years later NASA sends mission out to find out what happened. The trip goes as expected with some technical problems, and political ones at home. This is a solid hard science tale, though I wasn’t happy with the ending.
S. K. Dunstall has a fun melodrama in the far future where people can be put into slave contracts and corporations run most planets. The corrupt Justice department provides the police for those worlds.  Stars Uncharted and Stars Beyond (both paper from Ace) together.  Nika Rik Terri is a famous body modification artist who, whose accidental discovery of a way to temporarily take over another person’s body, got an assassin to use her body to murder someone. On the run, she ends up on the Hassim, whose captain, who hasn’t aged in eighty years, and  is dying and only she can save him.  Her apprentice Bertram Snowshoe is on the run from the crew of a mercenary ship, whose captain will stop at nothing to recapture and crew who flees. Then there’s Alistair Laughtron, a Justice Agent who had taken a few years off to help mine the very rare transurides, and barely gotten away from a company trying to steal their load and sell their contracts. The Ort aliens on the planet he had been mining need Nika’s expertise to help cure their plague. Another agent, Leonard Wickmore wants Nika’s body stealing technique and will stop at nothing to get it. What follows is lots of shooting, near escapes, and pulse pounding excitement with a heavy dose of coincidence. Fun.
Deborah Teramis Christian tells a tale of the far future Sa'adani Empire in which fast cloning with memory transfer is available to the rich and used by the Army to create soldiers. Hinano Kesada (kes) is the Winter Goddess, a dominatrix in a guild sex house with rich clients.  One of her clients, Janus who is a triumvir of the Red Hand Cartel is marked for death by Ilanya Casini Evanit the Emperor’s right hand. Ilanya decides to use an experimental cloning technology called Splintegrate (hard from Tor) which will destroy the subject and create three clones with differing personality aspects, one of which might kill Janus in his session. Kes is treated by the process without her consent of knowledge of what is going on. The process works correctly, but nothing else goes as expected. There’s a hidden AI in the research station trying to excape, two of Kes clones who shouldn’t exist, and a scientist robbed of his research. Add in members of the triad with their own needs and the result is a fun tale of dark political ambition. Fun.
Seanan McGuire’s fifth tale of doors that send children to horrifying worlds, returns to the tale of Jack and Jill, twin sisters who found their way to the world of the moors. Jack had apprenticed to a mad scientist who can bring the dead back to life. Jill was being mentored by the master vampire. The new question is which sister can Come Tumbling Down (hard from Tor). Jill was reanimated after her death and thus not able to be turned vampire. So the Master Vampire switched Jack and Jill’s bodies. Jack opens a door to our world at Eleanor West's School for Wayward Children to get allies to help her get her body back. This whole series is very dark, but still fun.
    Baen has collected the first three of Lois McMaster Bujold’s fantasy tales of Penric’s Progress in hard cover.     
    The Science Fiction Society will have its next meeting  on January 10th  meeting starts  at  8 p.m. at the Rotunda  on  the University of Pennsylvania Campus. This is the regular election meeting.  As usual guests are welcome.
    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