Henry L Lazarus                                                                                                                                                                                                                       HOME
4715 Osage Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19143

Science Fiction for March 2021
by Henry L Lazarus

    War tales can be fun in Fantasy and Science Fiction. Whether massive fleet action, or small operations, the stress always pushes characters to bring out their best qualities, and discover their inner self.
Colin Alexander kept up up late reading Complicated : The Interstellar Life and Times of Saoirse Kenneally. Centuries from now, the discovery of worm hole technology has allowed humanity access to many livable worlds. On one world, Daleko Baltckie, a highly addictive drug that makes its users eventually mind-dead, is found naturally.  Saoirse is such an alcholic that her  rich family has disowned her. A judge offers her the choice of volunteering for the Social Planet Off-Planet Personal because of her hacking skills. Surprisingly she makes friends in basic and learns she is a dead shot with a rifle. After graduation she becomes defacto sysadmin for the Solar System port at Titan where she stumbles on a Zombi drug smuggling operation and finds a way to stop it. The drug people send gangsters to stop her permanently, so she forges papers to send her as an new lieutenant to Daleko Baltckie with the Peacer troops keeping order and trying to stop the drug. Eventually that puts her in the eye of the storm between corrupt officials and settlers trying to survive. Lots of fun.
Near the end of the current century people use numerous drugs to compete with bots for jobs. According to  S.B. Divya there are so many protests against the drug company executives that body guarding them is reality television with multiple bot attacks stopped by sell dressed guards who get paid in tips from the viewing public. Welga Ramirez had left special forces to become an elite guard, and is near retirement, when Machinehood (hard from Gallery / Saga Press) uses integrated human/bot beings to actually kill the executive Welga was guarding. Then they destroy communication satellites throwing the heavily connected world into chaos. Welga is brought back into Government, but soon realizes they are on the wrong track. Crippled by a bad reaction to the drugs she needs, her only hope is the very terrorists who are crippling the world. This is a very exciting run, and a solid look at a well defined future. Excellent.
Kali Wallace has a nice tale of a  Dead Space (paper from Berkley) murder.  After the Earth-Mars war, a few centuries from now, Hester Marley was an AI expert on an expedition to look for life on Titon. Unfortunately terrorists destroyed her ship, and she barely survived with replacement limbs that that hurt. Working for an Asteroid mining company in security, she learns of the murder of a friend from her expedition who had been working with the AI in a small mine. She asks to be assigned to the investigation. Then she and her fellow investigators are attacked to help hide a huge secret on the asteroid. Lots of fun and very exciting.  
According to Marshall Ryan Maresca, Ziapar is a mult-conquered city with a controlling caste system. Poorer areas frequently don’t get access to food and The Velocity of Revolution (paper from DAW) is increasing. It’s a crowded city where motorcycles are easier to use than cars.  There’s also a mushroom that allows close connection to other people. Wenthi Tungét is asked to go undercover to expose the heart of the growing revolution and connected via a special mushroom to a minor member of the revolution so that his police background would be hidden. There are wheels within wheels and Wenthi finds his loyalities mixed and discovers the true tale of his father who died before he was born. Very exciting and hard to put down.
Adrian Tchaikovsky has a fun time travel tale. After a major time war that leaves the past in shards, one man has created a wonderful world for himself at the end of time, killing all time travelers that find their way forward and erasing the past that created them. There’s no way to say, One Day All This Will Be Yours (hard from Rebellion) in this situation. One day he’s visited by people from his future, and everything changes. Lots of fun and a big giggle.
Charlie N. Holmberg has a fun Victorian Romance duology about a Spellbreaker (paper) ,Elsie Camden, who has illegally hid her talents help the Cowls to help commoners.  Caught by Spellmaker (paper from 47North) Bacchus Kelsey breaking one of his spells, he first uses her talents. He came from the Barbados for a spell to help him when his diagnosed Polio gets worse. Then someone starts killing Spellmakers for their spells and it turns out that the Cowls are not what Elsie thought they were. By the second book the villain has been revealed to our heroes, but not to the police. Of course there’s a wedding, and the villain caught. Light, melodramic fun and quite enjoyable.
Arkady Martine continues the story started in her Hugo winning  A Memory Called Empire (paper).  The Lsel Ambassador, Mahit Dzmare, who had helped the Teixcalaan empress to her throne, goes home to problems. At the same time the Teixcalaan Empire is facing alien attack, aliens who will not communicate. In A Desolation Called Peace (hard from Tor) the aliens finally broadcast a message. Fleet Captain Nine Hibiscus sends for language help. Three Seagrass, who gets the message, decides that Mahit Dzmare is the perfect person to help her the problem. Thats when eleven-year-old Imperial heir Eight Antidote decides to get involved. The Aliens are truely alien. The political problems seemingly insurmountable. This is a worthy successor to the award winning first tale and will find itself on some award lists.
Michael Kingsman had been on trial for killing the king of The Kingdom of Liars (paper) but got free by joining a mercenary company. He now has to help one of the Mercenaries, a man known as Dark who can fabricate knives out of darkness, to find a serial killer called Heartbreaker because he cuts the heart from his victims.  This is a world in which magical fabricators pay for their magic with memory loss, and where immortals are created by people surviving their death by having enough desire to complete a task. The serial killer may be one of those immortals and impossible to kill. It doesn’t help, that the Queen in waiting is the princess Michael was bonded to at birth.  Serena is known as The Two-Faced Queen (hard from Gallery / Saga Press) and she is so convinced that Michael killed her father that she will do anything to get him killed. Unfortunately she is one of the targets of the Heartbraker. This is an excellent and I eagerly await the next part.  
Angie Fox concludes her fun tale of a M.A.S.H. surgeon in a unit treating soldiers from a war between the elder gods and the young gods seven thousand years old. This time her problems include: the truce ending, a were-dragon and her ex needing to be hidden, and Medusa’s  delivery of a child supposed to create doom (according the fate who are guests at the wedding shower.) The seers have prophesied that Dr. Petra Robichaud will somehow end the war.  I don’t know what the Werewolves of London (ebook from Moose Island Books) have to do with everything but this has been a giggle of a great series and the ending is worth it.
Beth Overmyer continues her tale of The Goblets Immortal (paper). Five wizards ruled the world until they were killed and their blood was used to make six goblets that give abilities for short periods. However, a cult was formed that used the goblets by pregnant women to produce children with these ability. Unfortunately there are Holes in the Veil (Hard from Flame Tree Press) as two sets of adventurers seek the Questing Goblet.  One group has Aidan Ingledark, who can call objects to him and store non-living things in nothingness, and  Slaín who can fly and is cursed not to leave her master. They have a map. Jin and her less intelligent twin Quick can foresee futures and are hunting for Aiden. This part of the story brings to two groups together, ready for what promises to be a fun conclusion. I can’t wait.
Over the decades, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller have nurtured their Liaden universe, weaving in stories and twenty plus novels to a coherent whole. Traders Leap (hard from Baen) is about the trading ship, Dutiful Passage, and its eventual trip to the world recently accessible because it left the dust cloud that marooned it for three centuries. Clan Korval still has problems trading with some ports,  but the breakup of their enemies in previous tales, are opening up opportunities. Master trader Shan is recovering his healing abilities hurt in a previous tale. His daughter Padi is in need of training for her growing psychic abilities.  What they don’t know is that the gods, from previous tales, have their own motivation for sending the ship to the new port. Light fun, but a bit complicated for new readers of this long and very enjoyable series.
Sarah Zellaby, an alien telepath descended from wasps, was kidnapped by others of her kind in Imaginary Numbers (paper) has somehow taken her friends and part of the college campus to another world of three suns an giant insects. Now, as Seanan McGuire tells us, she has to take Calculated Risks (paper from DAW) to get everybody back, including taming a giant spider. Light fun and it obviously works out in the end.
Two centuries ago something horrible happened to small group of settlers in the mountains around Northern California and Marrok's pack purchased the land to keep others away.  Recently some white witches, fleeing black witches tried settling there and created an illegal town Wild Sign (Hard from Ace). Unfortunately they have disappeared. Alpha and Omega werewolves, Charles Cornick and Anna Latham, along with their friend Tag go to investigate and discover the tale of a monster “singer” who can remove memories to get what it wants. This is a nice addition to  Patricia Briggs’s Alpha and Omega series of supernatural problem tales.
    Baen has Freehold Resistance (paper) edited by Michael Z. Williamson and new tales of first settlement on another planet with The Founder Effect (trade) edited by Robert E. Hampson and Sandra L. Medlock. Baen has also reprinted Monsterhunter Guardian by Lasrry Correia and Sarah A. Hoyt in paper, and Wil McCarthy’s Lost in Transmission in trade.
    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.