Henry L Lazarus
4715 Osage Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Science Fiction for February 2020
by Henry L Lazarus
Science Fiction and Fantasy promise strange
worlds. When they actually deliver the invented worlds can be truly
A. K. Larkwood tells of a universe
of multiple worlds that are accessible through a dry endless maze.
It is a place of living worlds, dead worlds, and gods that give
magical power. Csorwe, an orphaned child is doomed to be the latest
child bride of a death god with The Unspoken Name (hard from
Tor). A wizard, Bethandros Sethannai convinces her to leave her post
and help him regain rule of his city. After being tortured and
almost losing a tusk, she accomplish that, becoming his agent. The
most important thing for her to find is a magical Reliquary. Along
the way she meets a sorceress whose people want her to meld with
four other people. There’s a deep secret in Bethandros’s past that
brings Csorwe into conflict when she tries to help a friend.
Justin T. Call starts a large
fantasy series about a boy with a prophesy who is destined to become
the great evil of his world. The Academy of Chaenbalu is in a hidden
city that kills any born with a defect like a missing arm. Annev de
Breth has hidden his missing left arm with a magical artificial one
that has not be detected during his training to join the avatars who
hunt magical objects. Helped by Sodar, a two millennian old
priest, he finds his willingness to help fellow students blocking
his rise to avatar ranks. Sent to kill a peddler who has somehow
found his way to the town, he cheats and some how is raised to the
rank of master avatar, as Master of Sorrows (hard from
Blackstone Publishing) and put in charge of a few of his rivals on
an expedition to steal magical objects. This promises to be a major
series and I look forward to future episodes.
James A. Cambias starts a series
about the Apkallu who rule the world through the demons and spirits
they call. Samuel Arquero had his wife and child murdered to a
demon attack. Then Lukas came to him and offered to help him enter
the society so he can destroy it from within. So Sam moves to New
York under an assumed name and soon becomes The Initiate
(hard from Baen) entering the ranks. Lukas encourages him to kill
one and then another higher ranked Apkallu, causing descent. While
it took Sam the whole book to discover who had set the demon on his
family, I felt it was obvious. This is an absorbing tale of revenge,
and I look forward to the sequel.
Elaine Ways’s physicist husband
was murdered after creating a way to visit the near Afterlife
(ebook from Zimbell House Publishing). Three months later someone
tries to drive her off the road and hshe loses her daughter,
Samatha, while trying to escape. The world is very different than
the reality she knows, but her skills in the martial arts help her
against the demons and the evil Lilit who is sticking kids to a
wall. Her only hope is to, according to the seeress, remember.
Meanwhile her sister Jessica uses technology to enter the afterlife
to find her daughter. I have a fascination with tales of the
afterlife, and J. K. Ishaya & Kenneth Mader satisfy it well.
Genevieve Cogman’s sixth tale of
the secret library is a fun heist tale. To retrieve a special
book, with The Secret Chapter (hard from Ace) from Mr. Nemo
for the Library, Irene and Kai have steal a huge painting from the
Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna on a world where the secret
police are chasing supernatural creatures like vampires. Even helped
by a dragon hacker wanted by the dragon rulers, and several fae
thieves, the task is almost impossible. Not only that but everyone
has their own motives to cheat, including Mr. Nemo. Even the
painting isn’t what it seems. Lots of fun for fans and those new to
Ben Aaronovitch latest
police-magical procedural has Peter Grant, detective and apprentice
wizard, give False Value (hard from Ace) as he pretends to
be fired from Scotland Yard in order to work undercover for an
American Tech millionaire who may be using magic. Also investigating
are two members of the New York Library’s magical detectives.
Harrassed by deadly magical flying drones, and demon traps, the
trail leads to a century old Mary calculating engine that produces
magic. Lots of fun.
Tessa Andrews helped the The
Late Great Wizard (paper) whose resurection had gone wrong
when his house burnt down and ended up with a magical Maelstrom
stone in her palm. Now she decides to help the Broadstone clan of
trolls find the missing, or stolen ruby called the Eye of Nimora
which can determine whether someone is lying. Along the way, with
the help of the Maelstrom stone, she becomes The New Improved
Sorceress (paper from DAW). Sara Hanover has more
adventures coming because Terssa’s father is still a ghost trapped
in the basement.
Lois McMaster Bujold returns to
her sharing knife world with a short tale of Knife Children
(hard from Subterranean Press). Barr Foxbrush made a mistake when he
was eighteen, using his lakewalker abilities to enjoy a young farm
woman. Two years later he discovered he had had a daughter.
Unfortunately Lily runs away at age fourteen because of her growing
lakewalker abilities. Barr finds her, and because of a series of
misadventures ends up in his home lakewalker camp, trying to explain
the daughter no one in his camp had ever heard of. This is a good
tale to enter this complicated world, and a nice addition to those
already familiar with the series. A warm family drama.
The tale of physician Miles Singer who hid his Witchmark(paper)
and his family ties until he had to help his sister, Dame Grace
Hensley, destroy the aethernet that used human souls to power the
city of Kingston, the capital of Aeland, got C. L. Polk the World
There was also a plot by the conquered Laneerians who were going to
use the souls of their dead to force Aerian soldiers mad. Now Grace,
despite under indictment, returns to the city because she hears the
Stormsong (paper from Tor) of a vast winter storm.
Unfortunately the Queen makes her Chancelor making her balance
between the needs of the kingdom, and the Grand Duchess of the
Amaranthines who can judge the kingdom. Then a princess of the
Laneeri is murdered in captivity is murdered before she had talk
about the Laneer treachery. Add in Grace’s involvement with a
reporter, and the attentions of the prince heir, and you get a
complicated plot that is a bit too complicated. It’s all too woke
for me to fully enjoy.
Aileen Erin has a romantic tale of
human and Aunare who are similar enough to interbreed. The
Aunare have spotted shapes, fao’ana, on their skin that glow with
emotions and for some can give super powers. Maité Martinez is half
-Aunare and trying to survive and get Off Planet (paper)
since Space Tech, the ruling corporation on Earth, broke treaty with
the Aunare and killed all Aunare visitors. After
escaping Earth and surviving the mines she was assigned to when
caught she finds her soul partner and future king of the Aunare
Lorne. But she is still Off Balance (paper from Ink Monster,
LLC) with her early memories wiped to help her survive her run. It
doesn’t help that Lorne’s father and King wants break the arranged
marriage contract. Heavily romantic and lots of fun. I’m waiting
eagerly for the third.
David Sosnowski is an interesting
author whose first novel is one of my favorite books. His current
tale is a dark Buzz Kill (hard from 47 North) in which the
ending is shown by the prologue. Sixteen-year-old George
Jedson had been hacking and living in the San Francisco public
library when he hacked the autonomous car of tech billionaire.
Because his hack actually improved the car’s software, he is hired.
The company is looking for a solution to the problem of its users
committing suicide on the platform. George thinks that AI bot might
be the solution. Pandora Lynch’s father does remote psychiatry from
Fairbanks Alaska. Pandora is very bright had also a hacker.
The two teens start collaborating. Pandora’s first reaction of
high school after being home-schooled is to throw sodium in the
boy’s toilets after they teased her. Her punishment is to visit her
Grandmother, who is slowing losing her memories. Somehow Buzz gets
created and becomes self-aware. I wish the ending wasn’s so dark,
because I was fascinated by the two teens.
In Beth Ovlermsyer’s strange
world, magic comes from The Goblets Immortal (hard from
Flame Tree Press). Aiden Ingledark knows nothing of the six goblets
until he barely escapes capture. Aiden can summon non-iron objects
to him or dissolve the into a nothingness that he can later retrieve
them from. He has always supposed he was responsible for his
parent’s deaths. Hunted by Lord Dewhurst he is almost trapped
by a friend who betrayed him. Then a witch, Meraude, come into
his dreams, asking him to retrieve one of those goblets. He rescues
a girl with powers from goblin witches, escapes capture by wraiths ,
he eventually has to break into Lord Dewhurst’s manor to find a map
to the goblet. I found the world interesting and look forward to
continuing the adventures and eventually finding goblets. Fun.
Noir detective tales work very
well in fantasy worlds. Luke Arnold’s The Last Smile in Sunder
City (paper from Orbit) is set in a world where humans dammed
up the magical flow. Vampires can’t feed and are slowly wasting
away. Werewolves have become half-human, half wolf, and Goblin
magical devices no longer work. This first book starts fetch looking
for two missing people; a Vampire turned teacher and one of his
students, a teenage siren who wants to sing professionally. So far
there’s no sign of foul play. I love this interesting world and
can’t wait to find out the next complications in this fun case.
Baen has reprinted the funny Gremlins Go Home
from Ben Bova and the late Gordon R. Dickson in trade. There’s a fun
collection of tales Straight Outta Dodge City(trade) edited by David
The Science Fiction Society will have its next
meeting on February 7th. The meeting starts at 8
p.m. at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church at 39th and Locust Walk
on the University of Pennsylvania Campus. Dina Leacock, horror
writer, will speak. 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