September 16, 2017

Greenings Thirders

Another day another probing, at least that’s how the Zelnar look at it.  We don’t probe ourselves…wait for it…we probe you!  Ha, we made a funny.  But seriously, probing is so last century.  We note that many of you made a great hub bub about the fact your moon moved between your planet and your sun.  We’re not sure why as this happens all the time.  You all gathered outside as if you were afraid it would not come back.  Trust us, this is normal for planets with moons.  Yes, yes, we know you tell yourselves that you are truly unique in that your moon is just the right size to blot out your sun.  But, look, this is nothing more than stellar dynamic physics.  Every planet with moons suffers through this.  It is no big deal.  The big deal is when your sun gets between your planet and your moon. That one you need to watch out for.

A Conversation in Blood, Paul S. Kemp, Del Rey, ISBN 978-0-553-39200-5 $27.00, 260 pgs.

This is a story about two guys, one a thief and the other a priest.  Together they wander around having adventures.  You would think this pairing would not work out so well but conversationin this case it does.  The two of them are chased by an evil that is barely describable although Kemp makes many attempts.   This evil is not just evil for the sake of fun but revengeful evil.  And why is this so?  Well, one need look no further than the thief who has stolen golden plates.  Not the kind of plates that you eat off although you could certainly have like a burrito off of one of these. No these are more the kinds of plates that are used to illustrate an event or hold a saying—kind of like a very expensive fortune cookie.   Any case, the two guys run and the evil follows.  They run some more but the evil follows.  They stop for a break but the evil finds them.  They climb a tower and the evil climbs faster.  Finally they think they have figured it all out but it involves the destruction of the world and we better not say any more than that.  We liked this, albeit we wondered about the world destruction thing.  You, being the violent species you are, will no doubt find this enthralling

The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss, Daw, ISBN 978-0-7564-0474-1, $9.99, 722 pgs.

Holy Frihote (sorry to take in vain one of your gods), but 722 pages for the first bnameook in a three book set?  And this is assuming it actually is just three books.  Still, this one came highly recommended so we figured what the hay.  Turns out 722 pages was actually a bit short, or maybe just right, but definitely not too long.  This is the story of Kvothe, a wizard-minstrel sort of.  It’s hard to know the full thing when you are just at the beginning of the thing and we figure this is probably going to be the shortest of the three books.  This kind of telling has to be delicately done since it is the older version telling the story so any suspense about whether survival is at issue is kind of gone right at the get go.  Even given that we found the story fascinating and enthralling and even Klarg loved it (no robots in fantasy tales).  We have the second one right here and we are diving in.

The Wise Man’s Fear, Patrick Routhfuss, Daw, ISBN 978-0-7564-0473-4, $29.95, 994 pgs.

We have good news and terrible news.  No, the terrible news is not that this book, the second one, has 994 pages.  No, we will save the terrible news for the very end.  This is a wisecontinuation of the story of Kvothe.  We have to admit we worry about middle books.  They are like middle children, lacking the drive of the oldest and the cunning cuteness of the youngest, they seem to mostly exist just as a placeholder.  No offense meant to all of you maintaining that gap, but we were very excited to discover that this was not the case.  No, this one was just as good, if not better than the first.  We liked the story, we liked the framing, we liked the way it was written, we liked everything.  This is a great work, a wonder, one of those that will keep you turning pages because you want to discover what comes next.  Yes, we mean that.  It is that good.  However, do not go out and buy a copy.  Why you ask?  Why would you praise a thing but then keep it from us?  Have you been studying religion, you will no doubt ask?   Why, yes, yes we have in fact.  But it has nothing to do with the reason you should not buy this or the first book.  No, this is the terrible news we started with.  The terrible news is this.  These two books were written many, many cycles ago, back in your numberings of 2011.  That is many solar passings and yet there is no third book, no continuation.  The writer says maybe soon, maybe not.  Really?  These are not good answers.  We say time to chain this one to a pencil and no food or water until words flow.  We recommend these two books but definitely do not buy them until you can actually get your hands on the ending as well.   You are not a happy species as it is.  This will just piss you off more.

Pawn, Timothy Zahn, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-2966-0, $25.99, 347 pgs.

So much of this work rings familiar with us.  It is about humans who are surreptitiously captured and taken aboard an alien space craft.  The more we read the more we expected to see us.  But it was all for naught.   We recognized none of these species and pawnthe entire concept of others traveling to Earth to steal humans so they can work to repair the ships they are on is very amusing.  We thought it had been many cycles since we had read such a good comedy. Then we realized it was not a comedy.  Perhaps , we thought, it was written by someone with a brain injury who was juxtaposing the smart species for humans. Then we realized that no, it was just one more time you humans needed to see yourselves as the superior and special group.  We would tell you it is not so but why keep stating the obvious.  Anyway this is about a group of humans who end up on an alien ship only to discover how special they are. They solve all the problems, save all the days, and go on to become masters of the universe or something.  We do not know if this last thing happens as this effort kind of ends before the actual ending.  So, we are sure there will be more of these coming assuming enough of you believe it.  And why should you not?  Are you not special?  That was rhetorical.

Well, again a cycle has gone away and you have frittered.  As one of your notorious politicians said, when shown pictures of his naked grandmother, “Fake Nudes!   Fake nudes!  It’s all just fake nudes.”  You can’t make that stuff up.  Honest.  For now we are off to Planet 9.  We know where it is.  You do not.  Perhaps we’ll show you pictures when we return.  Probably not though.



August 31, 2017

Greenings Thirders

The Ckickitick have been asking a lot of questions about your species generation of power.  Essentially they are baffled why you have not yet harnessed the almost unlimited power of your own star and instead chew through natural resources like a narcissist on crack.  We really had no explanation for them other than that you seem to be a bit developmentally disabled, operating at an emotional level far below your chronological age.  Why if the Tlarians had not intervened in that missile thing you were involved in a while back you most likely would be back sharpening sticks on concrete rubble.  Those of you who survived that is.  It’s a good thing the Tlarians like rum.  Regardless, off we go.

Ninth City Burning, J. Patrick Black, Ace, ISBN 978-1-101-99146-6, $16.00, 536 pgs.

Okay, so this appears to be set in your far future after your world has been ravaged ninthby the attacks of an alien race (we did not recognize them) which left very few of you left.  However, you have managed to find certain individuals of your species who are able to harness the power the aliens use and you have been fighting back.  We have to say, if we were ever going to attack a planet, and we are not sure why we would since planets are everywhere and most are uninhabited, but maybe this is something to do with your needing to feel like you are the shiny penny in the universe, that we would just finish the job and not leave anyone left.  In any way, this is about how you fight back against insurmountable odds even though you don’t understand much and barely have two sticks to rub together.  It was okay done but not something that we would bring with us anywhere.  You are so warned.

Waking Gods, Sylvain Neuvel, Del Rey, ISBN 978-1-101-88672-4, $28.00, 324 pgs.

This work is a follow up to Sleeping Giants.  We liked Sleeping Giants.  We liked this one too.  It is about giant robots so we had to send Klaarg shopping—to Ix—for snacks.  Many Good snacks on Ix.  Wwakinghile he was gone we read through this.  While there are many species that build and use robots, none of them do so in a giant fashion.  It’s just not efficient.  Even the giant species do not do this.  But this is not about what is real it is about what you believe.  It is almost as if you have to believe one unreality thing a day.  So, sure, giant robots.  This time the giant robot that you have discovered and learned how to work has company.  More giant robots.  From space, at least that is what you believe since they just kind of appear.  And they don’t do anything, at least until you surround one with tanks and your military and then things go south.  We are not quite sure we understand the genesis of this going south but sure, giant robots.  The robots fight and one of them wins and then more giant robots show up.  It’s a feedback loop apparently.  Any case we enjoyed this all the way through and thought that the presenting of information was done in a very deft and entertaining fashion.  You should see for yourself.

A Lit Fuse, the Provocative Life of Harlen Ellison, Nat Segaloff, NESFA Press, ISBN 978-1-61037-323-4, $35.00, 448 pgs.

We have to say right now that we enjoy everything that NESFA Press makes.  We now have to let our bias free and let you know that we know the author in question. No, not Segaloff although the Segaloff species is known for its research and scholarly attention to academic minutia, yet we are pretty sure that Nat, while a Segaloff is not a Segaloff.  No, litno, the other one is the one we know.  Any ways, this is a biography written by someone who was given full access to materials and to the person.  We have to note that this Ellison fellow is quite well known and of some repute.  You may have heard about him.  Half of what you have heard is simply not true and the other half is stuff you have not heard yet.  We do have one goat to sacrifice here and that is that Segaloff (the human not the species) makes note of many battles and yet rarely gives any opposing views so we are left believing or thinking that this Ellison fellow may have been on the right side of things most of the time.  Hard to know when you only get one piece of it.  In the end it matters not since this is a telling of a life fully lived, if by fully lived you mean at the edge of creativity, which has always been associated with madness and foolery.  We did enjoy this as we have enjoyed all of the other things that NESFA Press has produced.  We would like to say we have a deeper understanding of the man behind the image and perhaps we do.  But there is a lot of complexity here that would probably require a literanalyst to get to the bottom of.   Get one and find out for yourself.  A copy of the book not a literanalyst.   Your opinion, after all, is the only one that counts, regardless of what Segaloff (the species not the human) says.

The Dreaming Hunt, Cindy Dees and Bill Flippin, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-3515-9, $28.99, 462 pgs.

Okay, stick with us.  The Urth, a planet, albeit not your planet, which is, if we remember correctly, called Earth, was once green and full of beings.  Then the Kothites came.  None know from whence.  And not the men, nor the elves, nor the other creatures who existed knew either.  This makes things a bit unpleasant for all of those who are alive.  But there dreamingis hope, there are rumors that a Sleeping King exists, a powerful Elf elemental who is trapped in a spell, who, if he can be found and awakened, may bring Urth back.  A group of very young adventurers sets out to find this King and set things aright even though they are young and a bit clueless.  But hey, this happens all the time.  Well, perhaps only here as other species tend to rely on trained professionals for the most part, and hired mercenaries for the remainder.  But, what the heck, this is Urth and not Earth so why not.  This group is chased willy and nilly, up and down, across and whatever the opposite of across is.  They find clues, they fight, they nearly die, they find more clues, and it all comes together just enough so that you are able to realize that the end is not in sight.  At least not in sight of this particular tome.   We finally realized that this is based on a game, one of those role playing games.  You know, the kind that goes on and on and on.  We fear.  Yes indeed we do.  And you?  We cannot say.  We liked the first one.  If this were a trilogy we might say this suffered from secondopia, but it’s unclear so we remain unsure.

Well, one more cycle has passed and you’ve wasted part of it with us.  As one of your famous politicians said, “Russian?  We’re not Russian anywhere.  Honest.”   We’re off to the nether regions.  Keep an eye out.  We’ll be back.  Unless we are not.  Who can really say for sure?


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.


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.