We know that you believe you are the center of everything and that we often point out how wrong this is. However, this may be true for one upcoming event. You see, you are on a path that a number of other species has already trod. And, sad to say, none have survived it. Now, granted, you have gotten to where you are much quicker than any of those previous species so who knows. But the odds are against you. Your willful destruction of the very thing that sustains you is interesting only for the speed at which you are constantly accelerating that destruction. Species that have taken this path before you, at this point in their evolution, were scrambling to try to reverse what they had done. A number of them self destructed during this process, taking themselves out through a variety of methods—nuclear destruction, gravity bombs, solar pulse cannons and things you have not even imagined to date. While we hope you manage to pull out of it (we have a lot of research time invested) we also have our bags packed and the saucer idling.
Bad Man, Dathan Auerback, Blumhouse, ISBN 978-0-385-54292-0, $26.95, 320 pgs.
Ben is in the grocery store with his three year old brother Eric. Seconds later Eric is gone. Like vanished. Disappeared. This, as you would imagine, is a life changing event for both of them. Ben looks for Eric, and looks, and looks. But Eric is not to be found. The event destroys the family and Ben ends up needing to get work and the only place he can find work is in the very grocery story where Eric vanished. So, this story is about Ben working in a grocery store while continuing to search for Eric amidst the rather strange collection of people who also work in the store. Unfortunately, this story meanders between the aisles bouncing from weird thing to weird thing but without any real cohesiveness. We struggled to get to the end and now we are not sure why we did so.
Into the Fire, Elizabeth Moon, Del Rey, ISBN 978-1-101-88734-9, $28.00, 462 pgs.
This is the continuation of the saga begun in Cold Welcome. Some time has passed after Ky Vatta managed to get her people off the mystery base on the uninhabited continent. But things have not gotten better. Her people have been split up, institutionalized, and Ky herself is under scrutiny as an illegal alien. To make matters worse, all the documentation related to the previous episode has gone missing. When the pieces all start to come together, Ky discovers that the conspiracy against her family is bigger and deeper than imagined and still operating. She pulls together her friends and comrades and begins planning the best ways to get her people free, keep her family alive, and survive the experience. We liked this although we are always concerned when everything revolves around a single character and they are capable of not only figuring it out but taking all the actions. We knew Captain Kirk, and you, sir, are no Captain Kirk. Still, it is an enjoyable journey from one end to the other. Do you need to have all the information from the previous telling? We would say yes to that. We would also say yes to going out and getting yourself a copy of this one.
Jagannath, Karin Tidbeck, Vintage, ISBN 978-1-101-97397-4, $16.00, 161 pgs.
This is a collection of short stories by a Swedish author so one might be concerned about immigrant status and green cards as well as cultural references that slip right by. We can speak to the last in a positive way and let you know that it will not be a problem. There are thirteen stories in this collection and they are all unusual and interesting. We would describe them but the problem with short stories is that in describing them you often give them away. So we will not do that but we will do this. Now that we have done that we can say that we think you should track this one down if you enjoy the short form of chronicling. There is something here for everyone and while the Swedish to English transfer is fine, particularly as it is done by the author herself, there is an atmosphere left that lends an extra sense of odd to everything. Buy it with Krona to take advantage of the favorable exchange rate.
Medusa Uploaded, Emily Devenport, Tor, ISBN 978-1-250-16934-1, $15.99, 320 pgs.
Oooh, a deep space generation ship. Deep space is actually redundant since you would not build a generation ship to run around your own system. This one has a rather stratified society with disposable workers and an elite class, although even the elites throw each other out the airlock on occasion. This is the story of Oichi, survivor of the other generation ship (the one that blew up, or was blown up) and the advantage she has thanks to her parents (okay this is one of the weak points but lets ignore it) and a Medusa unit which wraps around her as she is blown out an airlock. Oichi survives to exact not only revenge but to be force of change on the last remaining ship. And there’s a lot more going on: rebellion, betrayal, murder, assassination, mysteries to unfold, a place to come from that was most likely imaginary and a place to go which is like right there. We’ve heard of generation ships and while we have never run across one of these (we understand the inbreeding gets things going downhill pretty quickly which leads to repairs not being made which leads to a generation ship becoming a cemetery ship, but that’s a whole different reality) we understand the concepts. We enjoyed this one. We liked it from beginning to end. And it did end. We think. Go out and get copies for yourself and your friends.
Once more you have made bad choices and squandered your time here instead of solving world hunger (which is really not that hard to do, you just don’t want to). As your most recent precedent says “Putin on the Ritz,” or maybe it was a Hilton. It’s hard to follow. We’re off to Mars. We hear they need women. We’d like to see what for. But we’ll be back, and then some. Watch the skies.