Welcome to the eyes of March. We understand they are smiling. We’re not sure why. This is one of those periods that is just packed full of cultural significance. There are murders, parades, ashes, green beer, bunnies, cross hangings, little people with pots of gold, resurrections, and lots of chocolate eggs. We honestly have no idea how all these things are connected although we are sure they are. Sometimes we wish you would just go back to the old festivals as things were much easier to understand then. The other thing is that, evidently, this period comes in like a liar and goes out on the lam. While that sort of makes sense we don’t see the social relevance. Frankly, we are looking forward to April, a time period where you celebrate weather and what it does.
Killing Pretty, Richard Kadrey, Harper Voyager, ISBN 978-0-06-23731-06, $25.99, 387 pgs.
We’ve noticed a trend in that your species spends a great deal of time writing about hell and other places where you believe you will be sent to be punished for leading a less than pure life while actually on the planet. And, yet, the lives you lead while on the planet are not even close to adhering to the tenets that would keep you from being sent to such places. And no one embodies this more than Sandman Slim, an individual who was cast into hell, fought in the hellish arena, killed to get out, killed once out, killed until he became the ruler of Hell, killed to get out of that, killed one of the manifestations of Gods, possibly killed Elder Gods, and definitely killed any number of vampires, ghouls, ghosts, demons, witches, warlocks, and assorted bad guys, including a few insurance salesmen. We like Sandman Slim. We think he is the best thing to come to civilization since the quantum disintegrator. And remember, just because we say a thing does not mean it can be a thing. Think of Romulan Ale. The only thing better than the Sandman are his friends and he seems to have a lot of them and most of them are not human. We’ve been to LA a few times but never when the stuff that is going on in these books seems to be taking place. Still, we like it as well. We’d say more but that would be telling. Go out and buy yourself a copy or two. You will thank us.
The Perdition Score, Richard Kadrey, Harper Voyager. ISBN 978-0-06-237326-7, $25.99, 375 pgs.
Okay, we’re telling. This is more in the way of Sandman Slim. This time though he’s got Angels on his hands. And not happy Angels but the pissed off kind. We’ve never seen an Angel although we are pretty sure we’ve come through Heaven once or twice on the way here. So, this is a complicated one, involving, black liquid, powerful sorcerers, goons, a group that bets on everything, insurance for the dead or about to be dead, vampires, and personal intrigue related to romance. We still liked it. This Kadrey fellow, who looks like he just barely missed the cut in a hell’s angels movie, has a way with words. We’re not sure we’re believing that he’s had all these experiences though. We believe that he is conflating his own and many other’s experiences and labeling than all as Sandman Slim’s. This is fine. Less people to keep track of. Especially since so many of them die. We enjoyed the whole thing and would like to have more. We think you will agree.
Cold Welcome, Elizabeth Moon, Del Rey, ISBN 978-1-10-18873-18, $28.00, 431 pgs.
You write about a lot of planetary systems we have never heard of. Sure you call things funny names but we’ve been checking the star positions and there’s not much there where you say things should be. Maybe you are just off. It does not take much we understand. Any hows, this is all about the planet Slotter Key (see what we mean by the name thing?) Slotter Key is the home of the Vattas. This is important because Space-fleet commander Kylar Varra is returning home to do some family business. Unfortunately, she is sold out and the shuttle she is on crashes into the cold ocean near a continent that is uninhabited for apparently mythical reasons. She survives, along with most of the crew and passengers of the shuttle and manages to make landfall. But, the question is, are those who set up her crash still with her? And what about the secret base they discover? Sure, it keeps them alive but those who built it could return at any moment. And, while she is a commander, she is a space commander and not necessarily a land commander. The intrigue all plays out as the group tries to stay alive in the hostile environment. We liked it. We like most of this Moon person’s work. You will probably like it too.
A Night Without Stars, Peter Hamilton, Del Rey, ISBN 978-0-345-54722-4, $32.00, 702 pgs.
Hey, there are a lot of pages in this one. Purely on a page per penny cost ratio it’s a steal. Of course if you steal it the ratio goes way down. This is a novel of the Commonwealth. No, not Massachusetts, but the one in space. It was a while before we figured this out for ourselves so we give you this now so you won’t have to go through the wondering. The Commonwealth is evidently a big place. And yet it is a place we are not familiar with. But, the universe is large and we have not seen all of it. The action this time is set on the planet of Bienvenido. Not that it matters since everyone who finds a planet gives it a different name. Except for the Zilph who just number everything. Somehow, this planet, which has been inside the Void, has been expelled and is now roaming the universe on its own. This has not changed the conflict between the two inhabitants of the planet however—the humans and the Faller. The Faller are trying to get rid of the humans and can mimic pretty much any living organic creature, which comes in handy when you are trying to infiltrate a species. The humans do what they do best—destroy things. Into all of this comes a baby. But not a normal baby. This baby grows at an incredible rate and contains much of the knowledge of the Commonwealth. The humans who have her believe she will lead them to victory against the Fallers. The humans fighting the Fallers believe she must be destroyed as she endangers their way of life. Since she is human, more or less, the Fallers want her dead. Just another day on Bienvenido evidently. We have liked this Commonwealth stuff and would like to see Hamilton’s original notes so we could go visit a lot of these places. You probably would like that too. In the meantime you can read about it and yearn.
The Final Day, William R. Forstchen, Forge, ISBN 978-0-7653-7673-2, $36.99, 348 pgs.
The world is a mess thanks to an EMP that has laid waste to most of the electronics on the planet. Initially we scoffed at this since any race soon out of the electronic box learns to protect against this very thing since if you don’t any wandering electromagnetic space whale can burp in your vicinity and take you right out. But, we discovered that all of your electronics are not shielded in any way. Oh well. This is obviously a cautionary history since we can travel the planet and see that none of this is actually happening. That being the case we forgive the few things that did not really ring true to us. Then again a lot of your behavior does not really ring true so who are we to say anything about that. We enjoyed the premise and we think it is a foreboding warning about a potential future for you. A grim future. Just the kind you seem to enjoy. It is also a follow up on a previous work that detailed the immediate effect of the aftermath of the EMP. We liked that one too.