tuwinteafyeve

December 4, 2019

Greenings Thirders

We write to you using the best words.  Well, not really true, since the Zelnexctl have the best words and they refuse to let any other species use them.  We meant, of course, that we use words that you can understand.  While that does limit our ability to communicate, it is okay as we have been trained to work with species at the dim side of the continuum.  So, everything is good!!  We are excited this time around as we are going to be able to report on a number of very interesting works.  This is the kind of thing that scholars will repeat and dissect for generations if not for the entirety of the next solar cycle.  Do make a point of trying to be around for that to happen, yes?

The Stone in the Skull, Elizabeth Bear, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-8014-2, $18.99, 383 pgs.

We liked this one.  We know we usually wait until the end to let you know this kind of thing but we thought you should know this right off.  This is the first of three, we think, although we have only two at hands.  It is a story of conquest and defense, of gender andstone in the skull sacrifice, of war and turmoil, of obligation and death.  Sounds like you, yes?  It involves a few princesses, a poet, a dead man, a mostly dead wizard, and a mechanical being, among many others.  If the above is not enough to make you run out and grab three or four copies then we do not know what will.  Oh, wait, maybe if we tell you that this is incredibly well put together and very, very engaging.  We’re not sure anything can actually be very, very but if it can it would be this.  We think this might be your past.  Unless it is your future.  It definitely is not your present, unless you are very good at hiding almost dead wizards and mechanical beings.  Get yourself one for the present. It is that time of year.

Knight, Timothy Zahn, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-2967-7, $24.99, 330 pgs.

This is a second entry in a story about a giant spaceship, which, by the way, we must point out, is a human thing.  No one builds giant spaceships.  Not efficient.  You build just to the job you expect and no more.  Think of spaceships like your underwater hero knightsandwiches.  Room is at a premium and while it might be nice to have a huge holo deck or four, it’s not efficient and wasteful.  But, besides that, and besides the fact that the builders and/or flyers of this giant ship are nowhere in sight, it’s a pretty good story.  We like the protagonist who, surprise, surprise, is an earthling girl.  She has spunk and is pretty good at getting things going.  There’s a mystery to what is going on and she’s figuring it out–with help and hindrance from the others on the ship.  We’re not sure about some of the other races mentioned since we have never met any of them, excepting you, of course.  We expect that there will be at least one more in this grouping to come out in the future.  We will read it.  We read this one.  We read the first one.  We have liked them so far.  Klaarg too. No robots.  Get yourself one for the holy day.  The story, not a robot.  There’s too many robots already.

Unfettered III, Shawn Speakman, Ed., Grim Oak, ISBN 978-1-944145-23-1, $30.00, 749 pgs.

We should note that all of the profit that comes from this goes to pay off medical debt incurred by artists.  Unlike many species that generously support their cultural artists (most really, except for the Buluurg who hate art) your species tends to treat them worstunfettered III than second class citizens, requiring them to struggle to survive because you somehow believe this makes their art better.  As if struggling instead of arting makes any kind of sense at all.  Anyway, this is a very big effort.  Not only in the end result but in the actualization.  There are 28 different pieces here, provided by some of your species best short pieces creators.  We could list names but what would be the point of that since it’s the content and not the content creator that is most important here.  Besides it is easy enough to find out on your own so that our listing 28 names seems to be next to the point, or on point or maybe just besides it.  We’re in the ballpark anyway. So, let us say the content is excellent stuff ranging all over the realms of the fantastic from high to low.  We liked it pretty much in total.  We expect you will as well.  And even if you don’t you should be reconciled that your action went toward a cause which should create additional content, some of which you might love.  It is, as you say, a no snooze, no lose proposition.

The Red Stained Wings, Elizabeth Bear, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-8015-9, $27.99, 384 pgs.

This is the continuation of the first effort we told you about (see above) and it is as good as the first.  We thought it started off a bit slow, which we found oddly puzzling since that kind of cored stained wingsntinuity should not be an issue, even with second entries in three-parters, which are typically meandering.  We still liked all the characters and what they were doing, even though everyone was under siege so tied, more or less, to a single place.  We enjoyed the progression of both the situation and the ones involved.  We liked the twists as this is reflective of life (and Klaarg’s navigating although you did not hear that from us).  There is one more coming, or so we believe, and we will look for it.  We expect big things and so far our expectations have been surpassed.  If only we could say the same for you.  Highly recommended.  We give it four stars with none of them being blue dwarfs.

It seems that you have re-produced once more.  Something your species spends far too much time thinking about and doing to be for your own good.  In all cases you have wasted your time here instead of working to end hunger or at least make sure everyone’s got a cheeseburger.  Anyhow, as one of your philosophers was wont to say, nano, nano.  Words to live by for sure, even if you don’t.  Nano, nano indeed.  We’re off for the holidays as we’ve run the numbers and the odds of your creating a light in the sky for some other species to be guided by is fairly high.  If you somehow do not, we’ll be back.  Until then, eyes to the skies and fingers off the button.  Tis the season to be and even you should be able to succeed at that.


Twinteefor

November 15, 2019

Greenings Thirders

We have recently been spending time studying your zombies.  We have watched them shuffle and moan and generally end up creating chaos wherever they happen to wander.  If the shortest distance between two points is a straight line a zombie will never take it.  We do wonder why they don’t just put down their phones and use the internet when they get where they are going as they are wasting everyone’s time with their current behaviors.  And another thing.  We have noted that while you use these devices of communication almost nonstop, that you are rarely actually communicating.  We have noted a great deal of what we would call parallel monologuing taking place.  While we are sure this is productive occasionally, we do wonder whether it’s all just one more reason why you have no idea what’s going on around you.

Inspection, Josh Malerman, Del Rey, ISBN 978-1-5247-9699-0, $27.00, 387 pgs.

Intriguing is the word we would use for this one.  And interesting.  The premise is: would males advance better if they were raised in a society that not only had no feinspectionmale contact, but which had also had any mention of women or girls erased from it?  And, if you then challenged this group, both physically and mentally, could you expect great things from them?  But how would you build and then enforce such a thing?  And that’s the basic idea here.  We need to say that there are a few holes in the thinking process where logic seems to have taken a bender, but you can keep shoving that aspect to the back of your mind as you follow along. It will come bite you at the end but, hey, many positive things come with a sting.  The other thing we enjoyed about this is that it is not just laid out in front of you but presented as a reality that you join in with, so you discover as you go along.  This makes the journey much more interesting.  We liked it, except for maybe the ending which seemed a bit too constructed for us given the pieces that had already been played.

Fate Of The Fallen, Kel Kade, Tor, ISBN 978-1-250-29379-4, $25.99, 352 pgs.

It is a rare story that begins with the death of the protagonist.  And yet that is what seems to happen here.  Ambushed, beheaded, and killed (not quite in that order) before the fate of the fallenjourney even begins.  And then found by his best friend who was coming to join but got there just a few minutes too late.  Of course, the protag is not really absent since his friend is tasked with bringing his head to the king who commanded the quest be done as proof of his death so revisions to the quest can be made.  And death may be too light a word since the protag seems to be communicating with his friend as they journey.  It’s still a strange device–and a misleading one to say the least given how these things are structured—reluctant hero and all that.  And it turns out the now dead protag is the absolute only one who can save the world, or land, or wherever this is taking place.  Even though there are powerful wizards apparently everywhere.  All that being written, we did enjoy the way it unfolded and the way the group that is going to undertake the hero’s journey comes together and, of course, this is just the beginning of the story and not the complete story so there’s a lot more to come.  But, as a beginning it’s pretty good.  We liked it.  You might too.

The Cruel Starts, John Birmingham, Del Rey, ISBN 978-0-399-59331-4, $28.00, 412 pgs.

This takes place in a part of the universe that we are not familiar with.  It also involves a lot of other races that we are not familiar with either.  Except for the humans, but you put yourselves in everything as if the universe revolved around you instead of you being stuck out on the end of a fairly insignificant arm of an unremarkable spiral galaxy.  Anyway, this is about how five disparate people come together to work as a group inThe cruel stars order to thwart the second coming of a group of humans known as the Sturm.  See, even when you are fighting other aliens it turns out that they are you.  The Sturm are kind of like the Borg but just in terms of philosophy and without all the robot parts.  Only the Sturm are worth going on, evolutionarily speaking, and this means you either become a Sturm or they take you out.  Those who have no wish to be Sturm (the Sturm are not really a happy folk) and who also would prefer not to be taken out, must fight back.  Which is fine until you consider the size of the galaxy and even solar systems and how hard it actually is to get the right things to the right places at the right time for them to be useful.  If only for that, we really liked this book and Klaarg felt especially empathic towards that aspect, as well as the lack of robots, although they did have AI which somehow, he is not bothered by.  We like the whole thing.  You will too if you would like to know more about true interstellar combat and logistics.  We realize that does not make this sound like a page turner, but it is.  Find out for yourself.

A People’s Future of the United States, Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams, Eds., One World, ISBN 978-0-525-50880-9, $17.00, 406 pgs.

Twenty-five individuals are gathered here, each with their own vision of what the future of the United States might be.  We should note that, being human, many of these visions peoples future of the USare depressing and dark for that seems the way of your species.  Not all, of course, for there are always a few who don’t get the program.  It is a delicate thing to write about a future that is one step ahead without falling into inadvertent parody.  Trust us on this one.  It is also hard to base your future on things that exist today but might be gone tomorrow.  Such is the nature of involving politics in, well, anything.  Consider these as thought exercises rather than thought out exercises and you will be fine.  You’ll enjoy if political extrapolation is your cup of tea and, if you are a coffee drinker, then not so much.  For us?  After spending this much time with you we are hitting the bourbon.

Meh, you have done it again, pissed away all that time reading this instead of trying to figure out the secret of chilly fusion.  And, as one of your famous cooking show persons said, “You should only butter one side.”  We’re not sure of the relevance of that but it seemed a deep and meaningful thought.  Onward and upward.  Us, not you, who seem perfectly happy in the mire you have created.  We’ll return.  Unless we don’t. No, we kid, we have a few time periods to go before we can announce success and vamoose.  Eyes to the skies, silly humans.


Tuinteathrea

September 25, 2019

Greenings Thirders

The moon has a dark side.  And don’t we know it.  Having just dumped a lot of stuff there.  We hope the Chinese rover doesn’t have problems with any of it.  Everything should be fine once it hardens.  A few weeks in vacuum should take care of that.  It’s not our fault.  We had to.  Our interociter was acting up and we needed to take it to pieces to see if we could affect a repair.  Boy, if you have ever been pecto deep in an interociter you know what we are talking about.  The manual for that thing is minimal to say the least.  But we think we got it working again.  Just to be safe we are not going to linger here.

The Passengers, John Marrs, Berkley, ISBN 978-1-9848-0697-0, $26.00, 340 pgs.

This is a story of the near future.  Or maybe the near past.  It’s hard to say.  Anywho, it involves driver-less cars.  You have those right now, right?  It’s hard for us to tell as we are not as adept at identifying variant forms of ancient technology as we would hope to be.  And you just have too much of it.  But we speed ahead.  This is not so much about Passengersdriverless cars as it is about being trapped in one.  An individual has managed to hack the programming on a number of driverless vehicles which have passengers in them.  The are trapped and being moved, from different points, to a single, convergent, place.  At relatively high speed.  Need we even say that those inside these vehicles are less than happy about that.  Of course, they are even less so when the hacker starts whacking them off.  Audience to all of this is the group that had been gathered to make determinations around who was at fault regarding accidents involving driverless cars.  Now, they are being asked to make choices that have immediate and lethal consequences.  And to make it worse, the hacker is posting the whole thing live to the internet.  The interplay is between the two groups—the diverse decision-making group and the diverse set of passengers and the way that the hacker manipulates the entire situation using social media and the parsing of information.  We think it’s horrifying enough to be trapped in a vehicle that you have no control over and even more so to think that your most intimate failings are going to be put on your facebook.  We found the entire exercise interesting.  If you want to be terrified of getting into a driverless car then you should definitely pick this one up.  Klaarg reminds you that there are no good robots.

Sisters of the Fire, Kim Wilkins, Del Rey, ISBN 978-0-399-17750-7, $27.00, 446 pgs.

This is the second entry in this series.  It continues what began in Daughters of the Storm and will continue at some point in the future.  It’s the same group as before.  A bunch of sisters, daughters of the king, all in various states and situations, physically and sisters of the firementally.  The central sister is once again Bluebell, the ferocious warrior who dutifully serves as heir to the kingdom.  Sister Rose has been cast out by her husband and is in exile with her aunt.  Sister Ash wanders the moors looking for dragons while sister Ivy now rules, somewhat badly, over a seaport.  Sister Willow is not quite right in her thinking and is making pacts with bad actors to get revenge.  All the sisters end up in the same place along with the dragon, a bunch of raiders, a niece with unusual powers (we kind of left this part out but it’s in there, along with the forest people), a bunch of unhappy villagers, and the king.  It’s an interesting story with a lot of moving parts that works very well.  We liked it and we look forward to the next offering as we are sure there will be more as this story is not yet complete.  Klaarg points out that there are no good robots involved.  We remind Klaarg that there are no robots involved at all.

An Informal History of the Hugos, Jo Walton, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-7908-5, $31.99, 574 pgs.

This is a big un. And, unlike other histories that compile the works in question, this instead, collects writings about those things.  So, completely different.  Jo Walton, who wrote a series of posts for Tor.com, looking at each year’s finalists and winners, from the beginning up to the year 2000, is opinionated and knowledgeable about the subject informal history of the hugosmatter.  Wait, she has not written since the beginning but has written about since the beginning.  And, we are happy to note, this is not done in an academic style which, we think, makes it something for everyone and not the occasional scholar.  Also, because of the nature of this, one post a year, it is possible to watch the change over time since this volume covers 47 years.  It’s a commentary that is as much about your changing and shifting culture as it is about the works themselves and the writers who have put them together.  And, to make the whole thing much better, it includes reactions and responses to the posts that were posted.  Often the posts are as interesting as the initial commentary.  To quote a friend of ours, “fascinating.”  One of the more fun things for us was to just see how many really good things there have been to read over this time period.  We greatly enjoyed this and will be citing it no doubt. You should too.  Enjoy, not cite, although feel free to do both.  Buy your own.  Or buy two.  Why not?  Klaarg has to warn you that there is more than one or two discussions involved robots, good and bad, within.  He’s right, although we’re not sure how he knows such things since he refuses to have anything to do with robots.

The Fated Sky, Mary Robinette Kowal, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-9894-9, $15.99, 384 pgs.

This is a sequel to the first one which was called The Calculating Stars and is part of the Lady Astronaut series.  The lady astronauts do laundry, clean, and bake things they are fated skybest known for, all while having time for a career in space although some of this one is set on the moon and not in space, and not on the dark side, thank goodness.  This is one of your alternating histories, and it is indeed a bit depressing to think that women, who make up a bit more than half of your species, are still considered not the better half, even though the evidence is clearly there for all to see.  We’re just going to leave it at that since we don’t want to rile too many of you up as this leads to war, environmental pollution and the burning of forests, and there is far too much of all of that going on anyway.  We did enjoy this just like we enjoyed the first one and we believe you will enjoy this too, unless you are one of those who think that women are best seen and not heard, in which case you will hate it. Klaarg liked it too. You probably already know why.

Well, another period of time passes and you have once again spent it here instead of looking for that planet killer asteroid that is heading your way.  And, as the host of one of your numerous late night shows says of our work, “Can you believe they’re getting away with this?”  Hmmm, might be time to schedule that one for a probing.  No, we kid.  Probing was completed just 4 months into our 5 year mission when we realized we had all learned everything there was to know about your species.  We’re heading back to the dark side just in case that rover gets too close.  We’ll be back.  Or we’ll be on rover tv!  You can watch for us there, or just look up.  Eyes 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.


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.