Twinteeone

June 8, 2019

Greenings Thirders

Your planet rotates.  No need to make a big deal of it.  They all do.  Some slower, some faster but it is sort of a constant.  And yet you act as if it never has and might never again.  You wildly react to each occasion of perihelion and aphelion as if you had something to do with it.  You don’t.  Granted if you stood on each other’s shoulders you would not only reach the moon but get about a fifth of the way to Mars (Go ahead and try it, we’ll wait) (That’s what we thought) and if you held hands with each other you would form a circle about as far from the moon as the moon is from the earth, but that does not make you significant.  It is not physics which determines a species worth but what that species does with physics.  So far you have made bouncy castles and set fire to large things in the desert.  Sure, you are on your way to filling your oceans with plastic, but this is not something you are trying to do so it does not count.

Persepolis Rising, James A. Corey, Orbit, ISBN 978-0-316-33283-5, $28.00, 549 pgs.

Unfortunately, still no Baby Lon but we enjoyed it wildly anyway. And this is the biggest one as well.  It is thirty years after the last one.  Everyone is older.  By thirty years or so factoring in relativity.  The crew of the Rocinante are still wandering around the cosmoPersepoliss although it appears to be time for the captain and his first officer to call it quits and settle in.  And time to pass the torch on to others who will take up the call of righteous interference.  They choose to do this at Medina station, way port to the gates that will take you everywhere.  As Holden and Naomi prepare to depart a giant ship comes through one of the gates.  Built with protomolecule technology it attacks Medina and is soon in control.  Well, so much for taking time off.  This leads to multiple complications pretty much for everyone.   And then it’s downhill from there.  Or as downhill as you can get in space.  We continue to enjoy this most accurate representation of what it is like to be outside the gravity well.  We are looking forward to the next one as well and we think you should too.  But not until you have read this one.  Go get it now, you can thank us later.

Recluce Tales, L. E, Modesitt, Jr., Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-8620-5, $15.99, 476 pgs.

Have you read all of the Recluce tales?  If you have not then this is for you.  More Tales.  Recluce TalesThere are twenty of them.  And they have been organized in chronological order so you can figure out where they slot into the whole shebang.  And these are genuine tales, not things cobbled together by strangers who just think they understand what is going on.  No indeed, these have been gathered or collected or constructed by the same person who did the originals.  So you know you are getting the prime, A#1 thing.  Really, what more can we say about this.  We have enjoyed the larger works but have run out of them, so this took care of our waiting time.  It should take care of yours as well.  Assuming you are a Recluce person.  If you are not, then it holds no meaning until you go out and get yourself properly oriented.  We should note that a couple have, indeed, appeared elsewhere but, for the most part, these are all original.

Semiois, Sue Burke, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-9136-0, $18.99, 333 pgs.

This is about a bunch of fun guys or maybe mushrooms or possibly intelligent geraniums.  Any case it’s about this place called Pax, which is supposed to be the new Eden, if you consider Eden to consist of things that are working to remove life from your semiosisimmediate future.  Colonists from Earth bail out on their home planet because it’s been ruined or is being ruined or is just not a good place to be anymore and jump a ship to the promised land.  There, they set up a kind of socialist/communist collective but only if it were put together by peace loving hippies who did not really pay much attention to politics.  The colonists soon run into trouble with the plant life, which, it seems, has a mind of its own and can decide to either be your friend and feed you or provide you with poison fruits instead.  On top of all this there is evidence that a previous intelligent species occupied the planet and communicated with the plant life.  Finally, we have to admit that for a group of hippies living on a planet called Pax, they are pretty murderous and deceitful.  But that’s kind of a species quality and, we realize, probably hard to get rid of.  We enjoyed the premise of trying to communicate with a true alien life form although we don’t think this was explored as deeply as it could have been, based on our own experiences with the Plurd, a space faring race that you might consider petunias.  Still, we found it interesting and worth getting to the end of.  We figure you will as well.  Unless the thought that your zucchini might be plotting your demise disturbs you.

The Moons of Barsk, Lawrence M. Schoen, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-9463-7, $26.99, 429 pgs.

This is the second offering.  Once again it takes place on the planet of Barsk, a place Moons of Barskwhere the sapient elephants have been quarantined.  So, this is really two stories, one from the outside revolving around how the elephants got quarantined in the first place instead of just killed off and what’s being done about it, and a story from the inside which covers things from more of a personal, cultural, and historical perspective, including the voice of a true outsider.  It’s convoluted and a bit troubling but also redemptive and a fine follow up to the first offering.  The characters involved are worth getting to know.  We enjoyed the entire thing, especially the way the story involved multiple viewpoints and perspectives.  We have to admit that we will look for more in the future as we got through this one so quickly.  Greatly recommended and no robots.

Well, another month and another period of time that you spent here instead of solving the cold fusion problem.  It’s all just a matter of temperature you know.  And who are we to complain as we are relegated to just watching your self-destruction.  Still, we suppose there are worse things you could have been doing—like solving the warm fusion problem.  And, as the head of your EPA said after reading the last one, “future?  What do I care about the future?  I won’t be there.”  Sadly, most of you won’t either.  In the meantime, we are off to take a look at the moon’s backside.  We’ll return.  We suppose.  We have so far.  Just don’t eat all the popcorn, we’re going to need something to munch on when the whole thing goes boom.  And, until then, eyes to the skies.

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Ateine

January 8, 2019

Greenings Thirders

It is good to finally be done with your Holy Days, although as we look at the calendar it does not seem that a week goes by without something that you celebrate by ceasing all work and progress, except for the negative stuff, that you manage to keep doing every second of every day.  We were out in the Oort again, just for the heck of it.  Lot’s of interesting stuff in the Oort.  You can tell a lot by the debris that surrounds a solar system you know.  Best of all the Oort is full of ammunition in case a planetary correction needs to be made.  We found any number of likely planet killer candidates.  But that’s a whole different discussion and most likely not needed since you are quickly turning your planet into an uninhabitable mess anyway.  Well, uninhabitable for you.  We’re sure many things will manage to survive.  And who knows, perhaps for the better in the long run.  Maybe some virus or sea slug will turn into a species that is not as self-destructive as you are.  It could happen.

Cibola Burn, James A. Corey, Orbit, ISBN 978-0-316-21762-0, $27.00, 581 pgs.

This story just gets bigger and bigger.  It is like the expanding universe.  This big yesterday but this big today.  We still like this a lot.  It’s like letters from home.  Not that anyone sends letters anymore.  But that’s a whole different thing.  This time the crew ofcibola the Roci are sent through one of the newly opened gates to mediate a conflict between authorized settlers and independent settlers for the same planet. As if this were not enough there’s a rebel underground and the tiny bit of goo from the protomolecule that is on the Roci manages to communicate with million-year-old remnants on the planet.  Oh James Holden what have you gotten yourself into this time.  We liked it.  A lot.  A real lot.  We think this is the best stuff out there right now.  Klaarg agrees and has been trying to figure out how he can sign up for a tour.  Not to be missed or ignored.  Read them all.  Do it today.  Who knows, tomorrow they might make a tv show out of it.

The Furnace, Prentis Rollins, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-9868-0, $19.99, 192 pgs.

This is a graphic novel, which is just another way of saying it’s a big comic book.  This is about a guy who gets involved in an experiment that ends up having a world changing furnaceimpact.  Basically, it assigns a shielded AI bot to a prisoner and the bot enshrouds the prisoner so that no one can see them (or be felt by them so far as we can tell).  This seems great and soon prisons are shut down and all prisoners have bots and all bots are run out of a single facility.  The problem is that prisoners tend to not last long under the bot.  None of this really matters except that it is the driving factor in a story that otherwise is pretty boring and mundane. Unless we missed something.  But between the text and the pictures you would think it would all be pretty clear.  We finished it, but, then, it was a big comic book so how hard could that really have been?  Can’t say we liked it.  Can’t say we understood it.  We did like the pretty pictures.  But the story needed to be assigned a prison bot.  We won’t comment that the title might be the most fitting place for this to end up.  Oh wait, we just did.  Bad us.

Welcome to Dystopia, Gordon Van Gelder, O/R books, ISBN 978-1-68219-126-2, $22.00, 406 pgs.

It’s quite possible that this book is the most fitting we have ever come across for your species.  The second title is, 45 Visions of What Lies Ahead.  What the title does not tell you, although you could certainly put it together for yourself, is that nothing good liesdystopia' ahead.  Nothing.  Nada.  Nuttin’.  The nice thing about this collection is that all of the stories are very short.  This means that if there is a dystopian future that you find personally insulting, it’s only a few pages until the next, and perhaps one which might warm your heart.  Contributors include a wide swath of names that should be familiar to all of you.  Kevin Anderson, Lisa Mason, Barry Malzberg, Madeleine Robins, Paul Witcover, Eileen Gunn, Ray Vukecevich, James Sallis, and the list goes on and on and on like the roll call of some vast suicide club penning their final dark thoughts before drawing the blade across the flesh.  We liked it as it met all of our expectations and thoughts about how things might end for you although we have to admit there were more than a few scenarios that even we had not anticipated.  Well done, albeit we are not sure you should try consuming it in one sitting.

Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie, Orbit, ISBN 978-0-316-24668-2, $15.99, 333 pgs.

This is the third offering in this grouping.  We enjoyed the first two very much and we enjoyed this one equally so.  It continues the story of the ship intelligence that ended up ancillaryin a human, kind of, and has been waging a vendetta against the pieces of the current ruler of the aggregate known as the Radch. Yes, pieces, as the person is literally at war with herself.  Needless to say this makes figuring out who’s side you are on very complex.  The former ship, now Breq, is on a station that has been cut off from known space due to the war.  The station is surrounded by potential enemies. To make matters worse the station is visited by an alien emissary of a powerful, if somewhat erratic race, the last emissary of which Breq killed.  And to make matters even more worse, a part of the fragmented ruler shows up.  Talk about trying to figure out which side of the bread is the butter on!  Into the mix are the AI’s who have been set free, the people who are pretending to be pieces of various AIs and beings who are extremely old trying to outmaneuver each other.  As we stated before all this, we enjoyed the machinations, as it were.  So will you no doubt, but only if you peruse it yourself.  Go.  Buy.  We’ll wait.

Here you are once again.  What can we say but wake up!  And remember, love is like oxygen, you get too much you get too high, not enough and you are going to die.  While you are pondering this let us remind you that an authority no less vast than the Washington Post had this to say after reading this: “Pinocchios!!!!”  We did some research into this and wooden you know it, he’s not even a real boy.  We’re back to the Oort for ice cream.  We’ll probably return.  Look to the skies.


Sevintene

December 16, 2018

Greenings Thirders

Holy Days, Holy Days, Holy Days.  We’re surrounded.  And more than slightly confused.  But much of what your species does confuses us.  Which is why we study your writing.  Typically, a species’ writing is a clue to its behavior and culture.  With humans, not so much.  Unless it is that you believe you are doomed to not survive tomorrow.  What kind of future is that to move towards?  We’re not sure as we are on new ground here.  But we have a couple of years left so we’ll just plod along and pretend we understand what you are up to.  Besides the planetary death wish thing, which is kind of evident to anyone who wanders anywhere close to your system.

Hollywood Dead, Richard Kadrey, Harper Voyager, ISBN 978-0-06-247417-9, $26.99, 351 pgs.

I believe we have read all of these so far and we have enjoyed each and every tale of Sandman Slim.  This time, Slim is dead.  He’s been dead before but managed to survive.  And, we have to admit, he is surviving this time too, although his long-term prognosis is Holywood Deadgrim.  Slim has been brought back by a necromancer working for Wormwood, a group hoping to get world power but splintered into at least two sections fighting amongst themselves.  One piece wants Slim to off the other piece and, of course, the other piece is not that keen on being offed.  This leads to multiple dilemmas and situations that put Slim and his friends at risk.  Worst of all, Slim is under a pretty tight deadline.  (Oh yes we did.)  Will he win out?  Does he survive?  It’s a series, yeah?  We liked this one very much and we hope to get more.  You will like it too, but get your own copy, ours got a little too close to the strassnesk sauce and needs to be decontaminated.

Abaddon’s Gate, James A. Corey, Orbit, ISBN 978-0-316-12907-7, $17.00, 539 pgs.

Hooya, this is another one that we just love.  This is so real to what it is like to be in space that one thinks it must have been written by those who have been there and not one of your own, dirt bound individuals.  We love this stuff.  This time it is all about a abaddons gategate sitting out at the end of your solar system.  The gate is a creation of the proto molecule (which we know nothing about so we think it might be a metaphor) and everyone has gone out to take a look—the Earth people, the Martian people, the belt people and the UN who are kind of the Earth people only different and we’ll leave that up to you to figure out.  Needless to say, you can’t put more than two humans together without getting a fist fight, fists being metaphors for any weapon of any sort, type or destructive ability.  You guys do like to blow each other up.  We enjoyed this one, even Klaarg since there are, apparently no robots in this universe.  Highly recommended.  Seriously.  Why are you not reading this right now?

The Calculating Stars, Mary Robinette Kowal, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-7838-5, $24.99, 432 pgs.

This is maybe one of those imagined histories since it bears no relation to actual events.  This is about lady astronauts and your planet being hit by a big rock.  The big rock destroys a chunk of your United States but, more importantly, tosses enough stuff into your atmosphere (not that you’d really notice) that it is going to change the climate to thecalculating stars point where you will have a hard time surviving.  Well, not you but the ones in the book.  Actually, you too but for different reasons.  So, your space efforts are accelerated because it is decided that you can move to Mars.  Now, we’re pretty sure this was not greatly thought out since the resources needed to survive on Mars probably far outweighs the resources that you would need to stay and survive on your own planet.  But this is not about that.  This is about lady astronauts.  And, this is a lady astronaut novel which implies that there are more coming so maybe you are going to populate Venus as well.  It was interesting barring the few holes in the logic.  But that should not stop you. Or at least it has not so far.  You’ll probably like it.  We did enough so that we’ll pick up the next one.

Starless, Jacqueline Carey, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-8682-3, $26.99, 587 pgs.

We have to admit that we grabbed this one for the title, thinking it has something to do with celestial navigation and Klaarg can always use some pointers with his driving.  But starlesswe were wrong.  Instead it is about gods, who were stars and who were cast down onto the planet (we don’t want to quibble, but someone needs to do some research on how many stars there actually are).  This is also the story of prophecy and about two individuals who are thrust together to fulfil it, along with a cast of characters that makes the journey even more interesting.  This is broken into three parts.  Part one is the training of the bodyguard.  Part two is the meeting between guard and guarded, and part three is the quest.  We have to admit that we enjoyed the entire thing.  It fairly buzzed right along.  Each section fit with the others and, we are pleased to say, there was an actual ending.  And a satisfying one at that.  If you are a previous fan, then you will be a current one as well.  If you are new, then you should stop fooling around and get a copy for your own.  We liked it a lot.  We highly recommend it.  And if you happen to have an extra copy of Celestial Navigating for Dummies, please let us know.

Here you are once again, wasting your valuable time.  While you were doing that we were in your Washington where your current commander in chief said after a quick read, “Great.  I’m really, really great”.  Enjoy your holy days before the comet comes and takes them all away.  If that doesn’t happen, we’ll be back.  Look to the skies.


Sics Tene

November 4, 2018

Greenings Thirders

We’re not sure why but this particular period of your calendar is just littered with religious observances.  There’s the holy day of the dead, the day of the dead, the day for the dead, the day with the dead, the day with a dead bird, the day when none work but the dead, the day where the dead go shopping, and the switch over period where you get rid of everything dead.  We’re not sure about this fascination with holydays.  It’s a uniquely human thing, go figure.  We particularly like the one where treats are free for the taking. We’re just not sure if you have to be dead to get them or dead to give them as we’ve seen it go both ways.

Only Human, Sylvain Neuvel, Del Rey, ISBN 978-0-399-18011-8, $28.00, 336 pgs.

We had to send Klaarg to the store for butter.  It’s not that we needed butter but this one happens to have, and be, mostly about, robots.  This is the third time that we have delved into this strange land where giant robots are first, put together, figured out, fight, travelonly human the stars, return, fight, and finally make a peaceful gesture.  It’s not quite that simple of course.  It never is when giant robots are involved.  In between the discovery and the peace there’s a lot of journeying and more than a little figuring out.  There’s also an entirely alien planet involved.  And a lot of discomfort on the part of the main people involved.  As well, your society manages to revert to a near barbaric state pretty much on it’s own.  And here’s the odd thing that we did not really notice until the second book.  There is no exposition here.  The entire story is told in dialogue, reports, diaries, and other forms of communication.  A fascinating device that does not get in the way of the story but makes the tale more unique for the process.  We recommend it.  But not to Klaarg.

Head On, John Scalzi, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-8891-9, $25.99, 335 pgs.

Hmmm, this is about taking people’s heads off and using them as game balls, something humhead onans have been doing since the Inca used them for soccer.  It’s also about moving human presence into autoforms, or, as Klaarg likes to say: ROBOTS!!!   This is a bit of a mashup with bits and pieces jumbled together to make up a more or less coherent whole.  There’s also a lot of unusual words that are used so you have to get used to things being named differently.  At it’s heart it’s a detective story with future trappings.  Somewhat juvenile although we are sure that fans of previous work will fall all over this one.  We did get to the end and we found ourselves mildly satisfied so there is that.  We expected and wanted more but got what we got.

The Girl in the Tower, Katherine Arden, Del Rey, ISBN 978-1-101-88596-3, $27.00, 362 pgs.

This is the second offering of three.  We enjoyed the first although we are not big fans of Russian writing or Russian-type writing or writing in Russian.  We might be okay with girl in the towerwriting in Russia but have not tried it so cannot say with any certainty one way or the other.  This is a continuation of the first while, at the same time, being a set up for the third.  Once again it is winter in Russia. Perhaps it is always winter in Russia.  Hard for us to say.  Vasya, who has fled her village, shows up in Moscow, being chased by raiders while carrying a group of children to safety.  She is pretending to be a young man, which creates some moments of confusion for her brother, the priest, when she runs into him.  It creates more difficulty for her sister who is married to a man who is oddly absent for the entire story, but whom is a high ranking personage in the Moscow Prince’s court.  It creates even more confusion and consternation when it is found out that she is a woman pretending to be a man, even though as a woman disguised as a man she proves herself more formidable than many of the men around.  As last time, she has a horse that understands her, a snow guy who is kind of in a confused relationship with her, and a demon who just wants her gone, or married to him, he kind of goes back and forth.  That’s a lot of stuff going on and it’s an interesting read because of it.  If you read the first like we did then you will like this as we did.  If you have not read the first then you should before this one.  Recommended.
If Tomorrow Comes, Nancy Kress, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-9032-5, $27.99, 334 pgs.

This is the second in this offering.  Seems like we are doing seconds this time around.  It’s a sequel as well as a prequel and continues the tale of the aliens who came for a cure and if tomorrow comeswith promises even though most of the promises were lies.  Your species tends to think this of the other.  Really, why would a more advanced species feel the need to lie to you?  Anycase, this one is set on the planet inhabited by the aliens who visited and the Earthers are in for a shock because, ba da bum, the aliens lied.  Pretty much about everything.  They live in a perfect society with regulated population, no unemployment, no poverty, no war, no bad stuff at all.  As soon as the Earthers land they decide they must go about fixing this.  At the same time the spore cloud is approaching and there is no cure and not much immunity.  To top it off the Russians have followed the Earthers to the planet, destroyed some stuff and then, apparently, just left, never to be seen again.  None of this will make sense unless you have fully encompassed the first one in this series.  Which you should because it is an interesting premise even if there are some holes here and there.  The writing almost makes you forget them though and so we end up thinking we should recommend this one.

Here you are once again, wasting your valuable time as if you don’t run away, covering your nether regions every time you hear that your Congress is launching a probe.  We’re off to Washington ourselves, hoping to pick out a fat turkey for the coming holiday.  But do not be concerned as we still have a few years left on our research project.   We’ll be back.  Keep your eyes peeled and your forks raised.


Phiv Tien

October 15, 2018

Greenings Thirders

Happy Hoo Ha Humans.  We celebrate with you of course and not at you.  It is the anniversary of things.  For too long there have been things and now it is time to celebrate.  So lift a mitt and grasp your flute and drown your sorrows for tomorrow is a new day. Yesterday was a new day as well but that is so old news that we hardly want to speak of it.  Forge ahead with gusto. Keep your eyes closed for who wants to see a future that contains only bad things?  Not you of course.  So, let us move on and never speak of this again.

Daughters of the Storm, Kim Wilkins, Del Rey, ISBN 978-0-399-17747-7, $27.00, 434 pgs.

The King is struck down by a mysterious ailment and the Queen, fearing the worst, should send for his eldest daughter but, instead, sends for her son.  She’s the newest Queen after all and not the first Queen, who died.  Word reaches the eldest daughter anyway, a mighty warrior, who sends word to her four sisters to join her in the capital of Almissia to see what they can do for their father.  They arrive to find daughtersthe Kind ensorcelled, and the Queen quite out of sorts.  They banish the Queen’s son, lock up the Queen, and sneak off with the King hoping to find a cure.  Of course this is mostly the plan of the eldest, warrior daughter and not any of the others.  They all go along because they are not warrior daughters.  They drag the poor, mostly unconscious King, across the countryside until a number of things happen, some foreseen, some not, which leads to a final conclusion.  Should you be concerned about any of this?  Sure, it’s well told albeit a bit of a stretch in places, but who are we to say.  Why an advanced species, that’s who!  But you care nothing for this.  We liked it, we enjoyed the interplay between the characters, although the King kind of sleepwalked through the whole thing.  Get it and enjoy it for yourself.

Caliban’s War, James S. A. Corey, Orbit, ISBN 978-0-316-12906-0, $17.00, 595 pgs.

This is 130 pages longer than the last one.  That’s about 30%.  So, we figure, 30% more better, yes?  In this case, yes indeed.  We do like this.  While it does not capture the true boredom of being in space, it does pretty much capture everything else.  We’re still not calibansure what happened to Klaarg’s squeeze ball the last time we had to maneuver to avoid hitting a sun, for example  This one continues the tale of the last one and if you have watched the Expanse on your siffy channel then you already know most of what happens here.  We have done both.  And we enjoyed both.  We watched first and read later.  We’d like to report on the opposite experience but can’t.  Want to know what happens here?  We’ll never tell other than to say it’s the kind of stuff that you should be following rather than the kind of stuff you most likely are.  Go out, get it, read it and then get some more.  There’s more out there for sure.  The best thing is that it kind of captures the human future that has the most likelihood of really happening.  Every 10 pages you humans are once more on the brink of self-extinction.  This is how you are and it’s nice to see that others also recognize this.  Highly recommended.  Stop reading this, find Wonder Woman and have her get her friends to put an order in for you.  On a final note we actually had to go out and buy our own copy of this.  Not the way it’s quite supposed to work, us being a more advanced species and all, and yet, there it is.

Salvation, Peter F. Hamilton, Del Rey, ISBN 978-0-399-17876-4, $30.00, 576 pgs.

Those of you who are fans already will know that this is the beginning of a stand alone trilogy.  Which means, we suppose, that it can not easily be placed within the universe of which Hamilton usually writes.  We hate to be the ones to tell you this but there is only salvationone.  It is huge, so many easily begin to think there must be multiples but if they would just stop and ask directions this kind of thinking would quickly stop.  Anycase, this is kind of a murder mystery wrapped in a technological envelope.  A bunch of bodies are found in different locations, clearly killed by multiple but different groups and, yet linked in some way.  A team is eventually assembled to head out to a far planet upon which a crashed space ship may hold the key.  On the ship are a group of disparate individuals who are all, more or less, linked to each other.  But one of them is not what they seems, or, rather, none of them are really what they seem but one is not what they are.  Confusing yes?  Well that’s why this takes more than 500 pages to explain.  You’ll enjoy it.  We did.  We enjoy most of what comes out of Hamilton’s head.  If you are already a fan then run out and get yours now.  If you are not yet a fan, and you will be, run out and get yours now.
Echoes of Understorey, Thoraiya Dyer, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-8595-6, $16.99, 350 pgs.

This is the second Titan’s Forest novel.  We mean to say that it is the second thing set in that place.  Well, we are really just repeating here since what do we know about these echoesthings.  We somehow missed the first one, meaning that we either went totally unaware of it or thought it might not be our cup of tea.  It’s possible we thought it was a Titan’s Quest novel and since we did not really care for that game we passed.  In any ways we did not pass this time.  The whole idea here is that the forest is everything.  There is the ground or the under forest, the mid forest and the upper forest.  There are layers and paths and ways and entire cultures based on being here in this place rather than there in that place.  There are ways to move on trees and between trees and ways to avoid the things that also do that but are bigger and meaner than you.  This is also the story of Imeris, sister of a goddess and one who wishes to be the best fighter in Understory.  She’s not doing all that well with that when she ends up being framed and banished and cast out then recruited to hunt a monster.  Oh yeah, it’s a divine monster to top it all off.  This is a chase and a quest and a redemption and a story of choices and places.  We enjoyed it muchly and will look for further offerings.  We find it hard to place this one in terms of category other than to say that it is well done and should be read by all.  That includes you.

Here you are once again, having spent your time in such a way as to make even Stormy Daniels say “More?  No thanks.”  We do have more but you, and Stormy, will have to wait.  For now we’re off to look for Planet 10 as we think it might be tied to some rogue comets and we’re all for that.  We’ll be back.  Try not to annihilate yourself while we are gone.  Then again, it might be the best time since we won’t be around.  Either way, we’ll be back.  Keep your eyes peeled.  Unless they already have been.


Phor Tein

July 20, 2018

Greenings Thirders

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.Bad Man  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.  into the fireBut 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 jagganathare 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 medusastratified 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.


Thurt Ene

June 25, 2018

Greenings Thirders

The cosmos says hello.  Well, not in so many words, but, yes.  You are all bits of the universe and while many would prefer that the universe find some way to just brush you off, like dog hair off a coat, perhaps into a convenient black hole, the fact remains that you belong.  We’ve been out in the Oort cloud, taking selfies, looking at comets, trying to figure out gravitational disturbance ratios and basically just eating popcorn and watching streaming video.   We did bring a pile of bathroom reading, some more useful than others, which we are going to share with you because, frankly, you need all the good advice you can get.  Not that you ever pay attention to any of it, but it makes us feel better for the giving.

Chariots of the Gods, Erich Von Daniken, Berkely, ISBN 978-0-451-49003-2, $24.00, 212 pgs.

We can ‘t do the little double period thing over the a when we are in space.  We just don’t have enough room for all the fonts in the universe.  So, just use your imaginations.  We know it’s hard but do it anyway.  It will be good practice for what is to come.  This is the original ground breaking classic.  We’re not sure what ground it broke and we are not chriotssure it is really a classic, but there it is anyway.  The basic idea is that aliens pushed humans to make all the monuments that they now wonder about, and it is this wonder that is supposed to feed the human search for alien life.  Talk about a circular loop.  There is supposed to be a giant spaceport in South America, an alien astronaut in a pyramid and more alien babies running around than you can shake a taser at.  This is all, according to the author, incontrovertible proof that aliens not only visited but directed and impregnated.  Look, we have had this discussion before.  You are not central to the universe.  You are at the end of a spiral arm in a galaxy that is not really near anything and that is not really visited by anyone.  And no one is all that interested about impregnating you.  Probing, sure, here and there, but that’s different.  Anyway, read this for the humor and the chuckles.  Unless you are a true believer in which case this book holds deep truths that you need to know.  Now!

The Aeronaut’s Windlass, Jim Butcher, Roc, ISBN 978-0-451-46681-5, $9.99, 751 pgs.

Okay, let us harken back to the good old days that never existed as we journey with the aeronaut’s across the spire reaches.  Klaarg loves this stuff.  He tried, three times, to outfit the ship with sails.  Each time they burned up the first time we hit atmosphere at aerospeed.  We’re pretty sure he’s not done trying though.  There’s just something about a ship moving through the ether that tugs at the…well it tugs at something, otherwise we’d be talking about something else entirely.

We enjoyed this and, yes, it’s been around for a while, but we don’t get sent all the new stuff and occasionally have to actually buy our own material and when we do we go cheap.  Anyway, we figure there’s a lot of you out there as well who might be looking for a good piratical, steam punky kind of adventure series and this fits that description to a T or maybe a P.  Besides all that, we like the way Butcher presents his material.  We are pretty sure you will too.  Space pirates, Aargh.

The Omen Machine, Terry Goodkind, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-2772-7, $29.99, 525 pgs.

This is a Richard and Kahlan novel (and we promise to return it to them the next time we see them).  Events here take place right after the events chronicled in Confessor.  This means it is part of the Sword of Truth series although not directly linked and you do not omenhave to have read any of the previous or following to understand what is happening here.  The focusing event is prophecy and how much it controls or does not control one’s life.  Prophets seem to be appearing in the land, the people seem to be flocking to them, and, in the palace a machine which spits out prophecy is found and activated by mistake or chance.  Or maybe it was prophetic?

Richard and Kahlan need to figure out what is going on, why this sudden interest and dependence on prophecy and where the machine came from as it looks like the palace was actually built around it.  It’s an interesting set of problems for them to wrestle with.  And there is more going on as well.  We enjoyed this effort and we know, if you are a fan of the series that you will as well.  If you have not read any then this is not a bad place to start if you can not find your way to the beginning.

The Military Science of Star Wars, George Beahm, Tor, ISBN 978-1-250-12474-6, $27.99, 318 pgs.

We worried that this was going to be some geek trying to explain why everything seen in Star Wars represented solid military science when the empire can’t hit the side of a barn militarywith the side of a barn.  Don’t they make their troops go through training?  Don’t those giant ships of theirs have computers?  They have sophisticated robots, don’t they have computers?  Why are they still firing weapons by having some schmuck (is that the right term) grab a trigger handle?  Anyway, that is not what is done here.  Instead the writer starts with current military tactics and training the way it should be done and uses them to critique the Star Wars efforts.  Most of the time the Star Wars efforts come out lacking.  But any 12 year old will tell you this.  We found the analysis quite enlightening and the reading well worth doing.  We enjoyed it all.  If you have any interest in military matters grounded in reality, then this is definitely the book for you.  The more we think about it the more we need to recommend it.

Silly humans, you have once more wasted your time here instead of solving your global warming issues.  In the words of one of your greatest minds “What, me worry?”  You really need to get better minds.  We’re heading to the sun to get rid of some contaminated plasma.  We’re not sure how the soy sauce got in there in the first place but it’s no good to us now.  We’ll return when we come back.