We’re been out in the Oort cloud trying to figure out which of the pieces of rock out there will take out your planet. We have not found it yet but we’re pretty sure it’s there. While we were out there we did find an ion trail. We followed it, said hi to ion and then continued on with our search. You would say this is like looking for a needle in a haystack. But only if your hay was interstellar emptiness and your needle was a planet killer. Not a very apt analogy on your part. But, then, you are like that. Not apt we mean. Not the haystack or needle thing. Just, never mind. We’ll move on. Next month we probe Uranus.
Alien Morning, Rick Wilber, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-3290-5, $25.99, 300 pgs.
This is a book about aliens and, hey, we think we know these guys. Finally. After all this time a species we recognize although they are from the other side of the traackst nebula. This is a first contact report, or could be or might be. We need evidence that you are not just making shit up all the time. This is about a guy and his brother who get pulled into being representatives of the S’hudonni (not their real names). This goes well for one brother but not for the other. One becomes a deranged terrorist and the other an apparent tool of alien invaders. We’ll let you figure out which one gets the happy ending. This is actually quite well done and, we believe, based on the writings of Zuun Tzooo, who famously said “The best victory is waiting for your enemies to boil from radiation while you snack.” Or something like that. We are not military academics so some of the finer points of this stuff eludes us. Any cases, you will enjoy this one if you like to learn about first contact situations. We know a lot about first contact as well as close encounters of all kinds and we enjoyed it. You would enjoy it even if you’ve never been probed. Probably.
The Bear and the Nightingale, Katherine Arden, Del Rey, ISBN 978-1-101-88593-2, $27.00, 323 pgs.
This is one of your fairy tales which means it is allegorical and symbolic all at the same time. This one is in Russia, or the old Russia, before the Putins took control and enacted their 500 year empire. Wait, has that happened yet? Yes, yes, we see that it has so no need for us to worry about giving things away. This is basically about the conflict between the old and the new and, as is often the case with you people, religion is driving things. Truly, you will be much happier once you……wait, that has not happened yet so no more from us. In any cases, Vasilisa, a young woman sees the old and is scorned for it by those who believe that only the new can save them. Well, in this case that is not the truth and by casting aside the old they are putting themselves in peril. This is also about the move from dirt roots to star roots and the loss that involves. Truly, in space there is no dirt. But you have many journeys to go before you understand that and many of them will involve exactly the conflict laid out here. This is very well done and we enjoyed every word except for the final two. You will do the same no doubt. For sure.
Radiate, C. A Higgins, ISBN 978-0-553-9448-1, $27.00, 317 pgs.
Everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Even things that last just a particle of a cycle have these things. Some would try to extoll the virtues of beginnings while others would try to convince you that endings are the best. We prefer the totality of a thing. We can not explain those who believe that the middle is the place to be. We enjoyed the first offering of Higgins and we did wonder at the middle work, noting then that it appeared a bit fluffy, like ice cream with more air content than necessary. Now that we have finished the ending we have to say, meh. We watched two galaxies come together once and we came away with the same feeling; great fanfare, a few collisions and gravitational warping but, in the end, just a lot of stuff moving through space. We felt that way with this offering. Much motion but to what end? We also struggled a bit with the time displacement. Give us an interesting premise and give it to us straight we say. The more you fancy about with the format the more we wonder whether you are doing so due to weak content. This does move the story along to an end point but by the time we got there we were just happy it was over and cared little for those caught up in the movement. We believe your time can better be served in other spaces and we have come to regret that ours was not. Spa Fon indeed!
Luna: Wolf Moon, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-7553-7, $27.99, 382 pgs.
Let us end on a high note, albeit we are stuck in the middle and one always wonders (see above). This is the second book in this series. We are not sure how many there may be. No one may know this. So, it is hard to judge whether it is a middle or a beginning middle, or an end that will lead to side efforts. This is about your moon, or Luna, as none of you call it, preferring instead to just use a descriptor, although you do call it The Moon as if it were the king of moons somehow. In any hows, we liked this one. It’s about people on your moon, different factions, sort of like if the mafia had developed a space program and gotten to the moon first. Each faction is doing its own thing although since it is the moon, they are all dependent on each other, at least until one decides that they are not. This is a complicated one and we enjoyed it for that. Because there are humans involved, things inevitably go horribly wrong. And that’s the tale here. We liked it, almost all of us. We are sure you will like it too. We can’t say if there are more of these coming. Maybe yes, maybe no. Live in the now and just enjoy.
Well, your moon, The Moon, has swung through it’s cycles once more and you’ve just wasted part of it here. Will you never learn? We’re off to Neptune and perhaps to the Twilight Zone as they are pretty close to each other. Until then try to stay out of trouble. Ha. We made a funny.