Phive

June 21, 2017

Greenings Thirders

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 nalien morningot 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 inbear and nightingale 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 enjoyeradiated 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 Lunamiddle, 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.

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Fore

June 3, 2017

Greenings Thirders

We have recently been spending time closer in to your star.  We thought we had detected a perturbence in the force and wanted to confirm our sighting.  Turns out it was nothing more than the Xarbed taking their GGlGGlG for a drink.  The Xarbed have developed a biomechanical transwarp engine that lives and needs to replenish itself by sipping at solar coronas every so often.  Sure it takes some time off the life of the star but most species do not outlast their star to begin with so it’s not that big an issue.  And, at the rate you guys are going, we could open a filling station for GGlGGlGs and still have plenty of star stuff left.  We used to be concerned about telling you things like this but we have noted that you ignore everything not related to your immediate needs so we’re putting our concerns to the side for now.  Perhaps you’ll change but more likely this system will be just one more place where a potentially intelligent species could have developed.

The Family Plot, Cherie Priest, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-7824-8, $25.99, 365 pgs.

Certainly one of the things that we study are your units of habitation, how you develop your offspring, and the inter-relationship of beings that share genetic components.  Hey, wait, you are going to say, those are three things.  Yes, we know but we used the connective to tie them all together into a single mass which makes them one thing.  Anyway, we got involved in this telling of a family business that sells used house things.  They get their used things when people no longer want them and decide to sell them off.  In this case it is a house full of stuff.  Not the contents but the familyplothouse full itself—the wood, the lights, the wainscoting (we had to look that one up), the doors and windows, the stairways, and all of the rest of it.  Unfortunately, in this case, the house also contains a few spirits.  In charge of this demolition is Dahlia Dutton and a small crew of family, close family and others.  No sooner than they arrive than they start having strange encounters.  These encounters get stranger and more personal as time goes on until everything comes to a head during a big storm.  We liked it although we have yet to see any proof of these spirits that you all seem to believe in.  We’re not sure if they are metaphors or allegories or something else because no known species believes in life after ending.   Get it yourself and enjoy it as well.

Starcraft Evolution, Timothy Zahn, Del Rey, ISBN 978-0-425-28473-5, $28.00, 355 pgs.

Okay, so this is a history based on a game that apparently has no purpose other than to tie up large amounts of band-width on your computer systems.  But, hey, what else would you do with itstarcraft?  It’s not like you are seriously trying to figure out fusion or develop hydrogen power converters.  Anyhow, this is about the savage Zerg, the Protoss (who are like elves) and humans.  We have never heard of the Zerg or the Protoss (it’s almost like you are making this stuff up) but it is a big universe.  We’re just not sure how you know of species we do not.  So, the Humans and Protoss join up to meet the Zerg who have discovered how to do something wonderful. However Zerg do not trust humans who do not trust Protoss who do not trust Zerg and so what should take five minutes instead involves fighting and munitions and treachery and explosions.  You can tell this is related to your species, right?  We found it interesting albeit in a linear, ducks in a row kind of way.  If you have spent bandwith in the past you will probably enjoy.

The Night Ocean, Paul La Farge, ISBN 978-1-101-98108-5, $27.00, 389 pgs.

This one leaves us wondering.  It is, essentially, a fiction of the truth.  We know that, lately, this may seem commonplace, but it was not when this was produced.  Thenight ocean key person in this story is H. P. Lovecraft although he does not tell the story.  No, the story is told by one Marina Willet, the wife of one Charlie Willett, who has become fascinated with H. P. Lovecraft and has disappeared.  Her attempts to find him and to unravel what might have happened to him are what make this up.  And, we are assured, the facts of the matter are indeed the facts of the matter.  We wanted to go through this because of the relationship of Lovecraft to the Dark Ones.  And, since they refused to talk about him, we decided to see if he would talk about them.  Him being dead did stymie us for a bit but then we found this, which we enjoyed.   If you find yourself stymied then perhaps you should also find this.  Or maybe you just want to know more about Robert Barlow.

The Skill of Our Hands, Steven Brust and Skyler White, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-8288-7, $25.99, 348 pgs.

We liked this, let us say right up front so there will be no misconceptions.  This is about your present day, could be yesterday, could be tomorrow although tomorrow would technically be the future and we did not see much future in this but definitely a lot of the skill of our handstoday.  In any case, there is this group of humans who are immortal, although they are immortal in an odd kind of way that involves taking over the existing body and spirit of other humans who kind of volunteer for this.  But that does not matter so much as that they have a kind of long range plan to do good—at least as they define good, which is always the problem, right?  How that actually plays out of course is interesting and this is what makes up the body of this work.  We find the premise wonderful and interesting and fascinating and while we think we would enjoy more in this vein this one may just have been enough.  You should definitely get your own copy.  This Brust fellow is worth following and while White is new to us he may be worth following too.  Best of all no robots so Klaarg enjoyed it as well.  Oh, and this is a second book.  We did not read the first and seemed to have no trouble getting to the end but you should know this.

Once again you’ve ruined another cycle reading this.  About this, your President would tweet—Sad!  We  will say no more.  And now we are off to the outer limits just because we can.  We control the vertical.  We control the horizontal.  Well, the navigator does, more precisely, but let’s not quibble.