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 and 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 sandwiches. 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 worst 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 continuity 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.