September 16, 2017

Greenings Thirders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



August 31, 2017

Greenings Thirders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


June 21, 2017

Greenings Thirders

We’re been out in the Oort cloud trying to figure out which of the pieces of rock out there will take out your planet.  We have not found it yet but we’re pretty sure it’s there.  While we were out there we did find an ion trail.  We followed it, said hi to ion and then continued on with our search.  You would say this is like looking for a needle in a haystack.  But only if your hay was interstellar emptiness and your needle was a planet killer.  Not a very apt analogy on your part.  But, then, you are like that.  Not apt we mean.  Not the haystack or needle thing.  Just, never mind.  We’ll move on.  Next month we probe Uranus.

Alien Morning, Rick Wilber, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-3290-5, $25.99, 300 pgs.

This is a book about aliens and, hey, we think we know these guys.  Finally.  After all this time a species we recognize although they are from the other side of the traackst nebula.  This is a first contact report, or could be or might be.  We need evidence that you are nalien morningot just making shit up all the time.  This is about a guy and his brother who get pulled into being representatives of the S’hudonni (not their real names).  This goes well for one brother but not for the other.  One becomes a deranged terrorist and the other an apparent tool of alien invaders.  We’ll let you figure out which one gets the happy ending.  This is actually quite well done and, we believe, based on the writings of Zuun Tzooo, who famously said “The best victory is waiting for your enemies to boil from radiation while you snack.”  Or something like that.  We are not military academics so some of the finer points of this stuff eludes us.  Any cases, you will enjoy this one if you like to learn about first contact situations.  We know a lot about first contact as well as close encounters of all kinds and we enjoyed it.  You would enjoy it even if you’ve never been probed.  Probably.

The Bear and the Nightingale, Katherine Arden, Del Rey, ISBN 978-1-101-88593-2, $27.00, 323 pgs.

This is one of your fairy tales which means it is allegorical and symbolic all at the same time.  This one is inbear and nightingale Russia, or the old Russia, before the Putins took control and enacted their 500 year empire.  Wait, has that happened yet?  Yes, yes, we see that it has so no need for us to worry about giving things away.  This is basically about the conflict between the old and the new and, as is often the case with you people, religion is driving things.  Truly, you will be much happier once you……wait, that has not happened yet so no more from us.  In any cases, Vasilisa, a young woman sees the old and is scorned for it by those who believe that only the new can save them.  Well, in this case that is not the truth and by casting aside the old they are putting themselves in peril.  This is also about the move from dirt roots to star roots and the loss that involves.  Truly, in space there is no dirt.  But you have many journeys to go before you understand that and many of them will involve exactly the conflict laid out here.  This is very well done and we enjoyed every word except for the final two.  You will do the same no doubt.  For sure.

Radiate, C. A Higgins, ISBN 978-0-553-9448-1, $27.00, 317 pgs.

Everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Even things that last just a particle of a cycle have these things.  Some would try to extoll the virtues of beginnings while others would try to convince you that endings are the best.  We prefer the totality of a thing.  We can not explain those who believe that the middle is the place to be.  We enjoyeradiated the first offering of Higgins and we did wonder at the middle work, noting then that it appeared a bit fluffy, like ice cream with more air content than necessary.  Now that we have finished the ending we have to say, meh.  We watched two galaxies come together once and we came away with the same feeling; great fanfare, a few collisions and gravitational warping but, in the end, just a lot of stuff moving through space.  We felt that way with this offering.  Much motion but to what end?  We also struggled a bit with the time displacement.  Give us an interesting premise and give it to us straight we say.  The more you fancy about with the format the more we wonder whether you are doing so due to weak content.  This does move the story along to an end point but by the time we got there we were just happy it was over and cared little for those caught up in the movement.  We believe your time can better be served in other spaces and we have come to regret that ours was not.  Spa Fon indeed!

Luna: Wolf Moon, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-7553-7, $27.99, 382 pgs.

Let us end on a high note, albeit we are stuck in the middle and one always wonders (see above).  This is the second book in this series.  We are not sure how many there may be.  No one may know this.  So, it is hard to judge whether it is a middle or a beginning Lunamiddle, or an end that will lead to side efforts.  This is about your moon, or Luna, as none of you call it, preferring instead to just use a descriptor, although you do call it The Moon as if it were the king of moons somehow.  In any hows, we liked this one.  It’s about people on your moon, different factions, sort of like if the mafia had developed a space program and gotten to the moon first.  Each faction is doing its own thing although since it is the moon, they are all dependent on each other, at least until one decides that they are not.  This is a complicated one and we enjoyed it for that.  Because there are humans involved, things inevitably go horribly wrong.  And that’s the tale here.  We liked it, almost all of us.  We are sure you will like it too.  We can’t say if there are more of these coming.  Maybe yes, maybe no.  Live in the now and just enjoy.

Well, your moon, The Moon, has swung through it’s cycles once more and you’ve just wasted part of it here.  Will you never learn?  We’re off to Neptune and perhaps to the Twilight Zone as they are pretty close to each other.  Until then try to stay out of trouble.  Ha.  We made a funny.


June 3, 2017

Greenings Thirders

We have recently been spending time closer in to your star.  We thought we had detected a perturbence in the force and wanted to confirm our sighting.  Turns out it was nothing more than the Xarbed taking their GGlGGlG for a drink.  The Xarbed have developed a biomechanical transwarp engine that lives and needs to replenish itself by sipping at solar coronas every so often.  Sure it takes some time off the life of the star but most species do not outlast their star to begin with so it’s not that big an issue.  And, at the rate you guys are going, we could open a filling station for GGlGGlGs and still have plenty of star stuff left.  We used to be concerned about telling you things like this but we have noted that you ignore everything not related to your immediate needs so we’re putting our concerns to the side for now.  Perhaps you’ll change but more likely this system will be just one more place where a potentially intelligent species could have developed.

The Family Plot, Cherie Priest, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-7824-8, $25.99, 365 pgs.

Certainly one of the things that we study are your units of habitation, how you develop your offspring, and the inter-relationship of beings that share genetic components.  Hey, wait, you are going to say, those are three things.  Yes, we know but we used the connective to tie them all together into a single mass which makes them one thing.  Anyway, we got involved in this telling of a family business that sells used house things.  They get their used things when people no longer want them and decide to sell them off.  In this case it is a house full of stuff.  Not the contents but the familyplothouse full itself—the wood, the lights, the wainscoting (we had to look that one up), the doors and windows, the stairways, and all of the rest of it.  Unfortunately, in this case, the house also contains a few spirits.  In charge of this demolition is Dahlia Dutton and a small crew of family, close family and others.  No sooner than they arrive than they start having strange encounters.  These encounters get stranger and more personal as time goes on until everything comes to a head during a big storm.  We liked it although we have yet to see any proof of these spirits that you all seem to believe in.  We’re not sure if they are metaphors or allegories or something else because no known species believes in life after ending.   Get it yourself and enjoy it as well.

Starcraft Evolution, Timothy Zahn, Del Rey, ISBN 978-0-425-28473-5, $28.00, 355 pgs.

Okay, so this is a history based on a game that apparently has no purpose other than to tie up large amounts of band-width on your computer systems.  But, hey, what else would you do with itstarcraft?  It’s not like you are seriously trying to figure out fusion or develop hydrogen power converters.  Anyhow, this is about the savage Zerg, the Protoss (who are like elves) and humans.  We have never heard of the Zerg or the Protoss (it’s almost like you are making this stuff up) but it is a big universe.  We’re just not sure how you know of species we do not.  So, the Humans and Protoss join up to meet the Zerg who have discovered how to do something wonderful. However Zerg do not trust humans who do not trust Protoss who do not trust Zerg and so what should take five minutes instead involves fighting and munitions and treachery and explosions.  You can tell this is related to your species, right?  We found it interesting albeit in a linear, ducks in a row kind of way.  If you have spent bandwith in the past you will probably enjoy.

The Night Ocean, Paul La Farge, ISBN 978-1-101-98108-5, $27.00, 389 pgs.

This one leaves us wondering.  It is, essentially, a fiction of the truth.  We know that, lately, this may seem commonplace, but it was not when this was produced.  Thenight ocean key person in this story is H. P. Lovecraft although he does not tell the story.  No, the story is told by one Marina Willet, the wife of one Charlie Willett, who has become fascinated with H. P. Lovecraft and has disappeared.  Her attempts to find him and to unravel what might have happened to him are what make this up.  And, we are assured, the facts of the matter are indeed the facts of the matter.  We wanted to go through this because of the relationship of Lovecraft to the Dark Ones.  And, since they refused to talk about him, we decided to see if he would talk about them.  Him being dead did stymie us for a bit but then we found this, which we enjoyed.   If you find yourself stymied then perhaps you should also find this.  Or maybe you just want to know more about Robert Barlow.

The Skill of Our Hands, Steven Brust and Skyler White, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-8288-7, $25.99, 348 pgs.

We liked this, let us say right up front so there will be no misconceptions.  This is about your present day, could be yesterday, could be tomorrow although tomorrow would technically be the future and we did not see much future in this but definitely a lot of the skill of our handstoday.  In any case, there is this group of humans who are immortal, although they are immortal in an odd kind of way that involves taking over the existing body and spirit of other humans who kind of volunteer for this.  But that does not matter so much as that they have a kind of long range plan to do good—at least as they define good, which is always the problem, right?  How that actually plays out of course is interesting and this is what makes up the body of this work.  We find the premise wonderful and interesting and fascinating and while we think we would enjoy more in this vein this one may just have been enough.  You should definitely get your own copy.  This Brust fellow is worth following and while White is new to us he may be worth following too.  Best of all no robots so Klaarg enjoyed it as well.  Oh, and this is a second book.  We did not read the first and seemed to have no trouble getting to the end but you should know this.

Once again you’ve ruined another cycle reading this.  About this, your President would tweet—Sad!  We  will say no more.  And now we are off to the outer limits just because we can.  We control the vertical.  We control the horizontal.  Well, the navigator does, more precisely, but let’s not quibble.



March 27, 2017

Greenings Thirders

Welcome to the eyes of March.  We understand they are smiling.  We’re not sure why.  This is one of those periods that is just packed full of cultural significance.  There are murders, parades, ashes, green beer, bunnies, cross hangings, little  people with pots of gold, resurrections, and lots of chocolate eggs.  We honestly have no idea how all these things are connected although we are sure they are.  Sometimes we wish you would just go back to the old festivals as things were much easier to understand then.  The other thing is that, evidently, this period comes in like a liar and goes out on the lam.  While that sort of makes sense we don’t see the social relevance.   Frankly, we are looking forward to April, a time period where you celebrate weather and what it does.

Killing Pretty, Richard Kadrey, Harper Voyager, ISBN 978-0-06-23731-06, $25.99, 387 pgs.

We’ve noticed a trend in that your species spends a great deal of time writing about hell and other places where you believe you will be sent to be punished for leading a less than pure life while actually on the planet.  And, yet, the lives you lead while on the planet are not even close to adhering to the tenets that would keep you from being sent to such places.  And no one killing prettyembodies this more than Sandman Slim, an individual who was cast into hell, fought in the hellish arena, killed to get out, killed once out, killed until he became the ruler of Hell, killed to get out of that, killed one of the manifestations of Gods, possibly killed Elder Gods, and definitely killed any number of vampires, ghouls, ghosts, demons, witches, warlocks, and assorted bad guys, including a few insurance salesmen.   We like Sandman Slim.  We think he is the best thing to come to civilization since the quantum disintegrator.  And remember, just because we say a thing does not mean it can be a thing.  Think of Romulan Ale.  The only thing better than the Sandman are his friends and he seems to have a lot of them and most of them are not human. We’ve been to LA a few times but never when the stuff that is going on in these books seems to be taking place.  Still, we like it as well.  We’d say more but that would be telling.  Go out and buy yourself a copy or two.  You will thank us.

The Perdition Score, Richard Kadrey, Harper Voyager. ISBN 978-0-06-237326-7, $25.99, 375 pgs.

Okay, we’re telling.  This is more in the way of Sandman Slim.  This time though he’s got Angels perditionon his hands.  And not happy Angels but the pissed off kind.  We’ve never seen an Angel although we are pretty sure we’ve come through Heaven once or twice on the way here.   So, this is a complicated one, involving, black liquid, powerful sorcerers, goons, a group that bets on everything, insurance for the dead or about to be dead, vampires, and personal intrigue related to romance.  We still liked it.  This Kadrey fellow, who looks like he just barely missed the cut in a hell’s angels movie, has a way with words.  We’re not sure we’re believing that he’s had all these experiences though.  We believe that he is conflating his own and many other’s experiences and labeling than all as Sandman Slim’s.  This is fine. Less people to keep track of.  Especially since so many of them die.  We enjoyed the whole thing and would like to have more.  We think you will agree.

Cold Welcome, Elizabeth Moon, Del Rey, ISBN 978-1-10-18873-18, $28.00, 431 pgs.

You write about a lot of planetary systems we have never heard of.  Sure you call things funny names but we’ve been checking the star positions and there’s not much there where you say things should be.  Maybe you are just off.  It does not take much we understand.  Any hows,cold this is all about the planet Slotter Key (see what we mean by the name thing?) Slotter Key is the home of the Vattas.  This is important because Space-fleet commander Kylar Varra is returning home to do some family business.  Unfortunately, she is sold out and the shuttle she is on crashes into the cold ocean near a continent that is uninhabited for apparently mythical reasons.  She survives, along with most of the crew and passengers of the shuttle and manages to make landfall.  But, the question is, are those who set up her crash still with her?  And what about the secret base they discover?  Sure, it keeps them alive but those who built it could return at any moment. And, while she is a commander, she is a space commander and not necessarily a land commander.  The intrigue all plays out as the group tries to stay alive in the hostile environment.  We liked it.  We like most of this Moon person’s work.  You will probably like it too.

A Night Without Stars, Peter Hamilton, Del Rey, ISBN 978-0-345-54722-4, $32.00, 702 pgs.

Hey, there are a lot of pages in this one.  Purely on a page per penny cost ratio it’s a steal.  Of course if you steal it the ratio goes way down.  This is a novel of the Commonwealth.  No, not Massachusetts, but the one in space. It was a while before we figured this out for ourselves so we give you this now so you won’t have to go through the wondering.  The Commonwealth is evidently a big place.  And yet it is a place we are not familiar with.  But, the universe is large night without starsand we have not seen all of it.  The action this time is set on the planet of Bienvenido.  Not that it matters since everyone who finds a planet gives it a different name.  Except for the Zilph who just number everything.  Somehow, this planet, which has been inside the Void, has been expelled and is now roaming the universe on its own.  This has not changed the conflict between the two inhabitants of the planet however—the humans and the Faller.  The Faller are trying to get rid of the humans and can mimic pretty much any living organic creature, which comes in handy when you are trying to infiltrate a species.  The humans do what they do best—destroy things.  Into all of this comes a baby.  But not a normal baby.  This baby grows at an incredible rate and contains much of the knowledge of the Commonwealth.  The humans who have her believe she will lead them to victory against the Fallers.  The humans fighting the Fallers believe she must be destroyed as she endangers their way of life. Since she is human, more or less, the Fallers want her dead.   Just another day on Bienvenido evidently.  We have liked this Commonwealth stuff and would like to see Hamilton’s original notes so we could go visit a lot of these places.  You probably would like that too.  In the meantime you can read about it and yearn.

The Final Day, William R. Forstchen, Forge, ISBN 978-0-7653-7673-2, $36.99, 348 pgs.

The world is a mess thanks to an EMP that has laid waste to most of the elthe final dayectronics on the planet.  Initially we scoffed at this since any race soon out of the electronic box learns to protect against this very thing since if you don’t any wandering electromagnetic space whale can burp in your vicinity and take you right out.  But, we discovered that all of your electronics are not shielded in any way.  Oh well.  This is obviously a cautionary history since we can travel the planet and see that none of this is actually happening.  That being the case we forgive the few things that did not really ring true to us.  Then again a lot of your behavior does not really ring true so who are we to say anything about that.  We enjoyed the premise and we think it is a foreboding warning about a potential future for you.  A grim future.  Just the kind you seem to enjoy.  It is also a follow up on a previous work that detailed the immediate effect of the aftermath of the EMP.  We liked that one too.


One (Sort of)

February 27, 2017

Greenings Thirders

We have decided many things.  We will share one with you.  For the many of you who follow us, please, stop.  We do not like being followed and we are not going to lead you to anything and even if you did manage to find something out it would only end in a probing which only one of the parties involved would enjoy.  No, we are talking about our sharing information with you in a more formal way.  As many of you know, we have used multiple venues for our sharings with you.  We have, in the past, tried to use your own communication vehicles since it lends a certain amount of camouflage.  Now we are trying something new.  We are forging off on our own to see how it all works out.  We believe it fits quite nicely with the tribal arm of our study of your species.  But, we will see and only time will tell.  Actually, time will not tell you anything.  It’s just there.  Constant.  Moving forward at the same pace as always.  You can go quicker but time will not.  You can stop.  But time will not.  Time was here before everything else.  We probably should not have said that.  But, what the heck.  Consider it part of the experiment.

The Devil’s Detective, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Doubleday, ISBN 978-0-385-53934-0, $25.95, 289 pgs.

Your species seems stuck on always wanting something different, which you oftdevils-detectiveen think of as better.  Instead of enjoying what you have, you need what you don’t.  This has led to the proliferation of your religions and drives much of your politics.  Even when you develop systems that are supposed to be for everyone you get it wrong.  So, it is no wonder that so much of your written history revolves around these alternative existences.  Such is the case here, where Unsworth (and we are sure this is a penname that has symbolic meaning related to the topic) has shared his knowledge of how Hell operates.  Unsworth tells us about Thomas Fool who is an information man in hell, an investigator with a never ending supply of cases and a demon boss who does not think all that highly of him.  But then someone is found murdered, which you would not think is all that uncommon an occurrence in hell, but evidently it is.  Fool investigates but gets nowhere.  Then more murders happen and Fool is under pressure to get things figured out and fast.  The problem is, while Fool is an information man, he is not a detective since there is no crime in Hell, or there was not until the murders.  Or there was but it was not really crime but expected behavior and so not crime.  We don’t know, we got confused on that part.  So, Fool has no idea, nor does anyone else, about what to do.  Essentially he’s learning as he goes.   Must we say that things get complicated?  It’s Hell, of course things get complicated.  And we have not even spoken yet about the angels.  We liked it although we are still not clear on which came first, Hell or politics.

The Devil’s Evidence, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Doubleday, ISBN 978-0-385-53936-4, $26.95, 481 pgs.

Yes, it’s Deja Thoris all over again.  Once more we are being told about Thomdevils-evidenceas Fool, investigator in Hell.  Only this time Fool is not in Hell but in Heaven.  Due to Fool’s rise in fame, he has new enemies in Hell.  And new crimes to solve.  This time it’s fires, which, again, you would not think of as a problem in Hell but there you go.  But, right in the middle of his investigation, Fool gets tasked with being part of a delegation sent to Heaven.  While there, he ends up investigating an impossible murder.  Needless to say, things get complicated, what with a Hell based detective asking questions in Heaven.  And, while Fool is running around Heaven, things are going to hell in, well, Hell.  But, what’s a fool to do?  More importantly, what’s this Fool to do?  Why, figure it all out, of course, and that’s were Unsworth shows his skill in letting things play out at their own pace and in their own time.  We liked this one as well as the first one, in case you could not tell.

Company Town, Madeline Ashby, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-8290-0, $24.99, 285 pgs.

We looked at many maps and could not find any New Arcadia, which is the location of this work.  We could not find any Old Arcadia or Used To be Arcadia either.  Must be a pseudonym.  Maybe for Chicago.  We hear that city is called many different thingcompany-towns.  Anycase, this takes place in New Arcadia and since the trappings are futuristic we figure it is allegorical.  So, back to New Arcadia and Hwa who lives there and is a natural human, meaning that she does not have any enhancements.  In fact she is the only one without any.  She’s also a hired bodyguard.  She also ends up as bodyguard to the youngest member of the most powerful family in New Arcadia.  She’s also connected to a series of murders that threatens the city.  This is a lot for one un-adapted woman.  Oh, yeah, the murders seem to have been done by a serial killer.  And an invisible one at that.  So, Hwa wanders through New Arcadia, bodyguarding the youngest member of a powerful family while a serial killer invisibly stalks nearby.  Just another day in paradise.  We liked it.  We liked Hwa.  We did not get the parable.  Maybe not Chicago after all.  We’d like to see more if we could.  That’s not up to us though.  Did we mention that Hwa has issues with her mother?

Slow Bullets, Alastair Reynolds, Tachyon Publications, ISBN 978-161-696193-0, $14.95, 192 pgs.

Imagine a huge ship, wafting its way through space. Imagine the ship filled with soldiers from a war, from both sides of the war.  Imagine the soldiers are in some kind of sleep.  Imagine something happens to the ship, taking it off course, slow-bulletsdisabling it and slowly, very slowly, the soldiers begin to wake.  Imagine what would happen as the two sides come together.  Well, no need to imagine any of that because Reynolds has evidently beat you to it.  Not only that but he’s added in war criminals, a crew that is literally stuck in the middle, and a universe that wants nothing to do with the ship and those on it.  Interesting is the best word we could come up with.  We’re not sure where in the universe this takes place as we recognized none of the descriptions but that’s neither here nor there.  Literally.  Enjoy it.  We did.

The Lyre Thief, Jennifer Fallon, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-8079-1, $27.99, 445 pgs.

This is part of the Hythrun Chronicles.  It is also War of the Gods Trilogy: Book One.  There are a number of volumes that make up these Chronicles.  To which we wonthe-lyre-thiefder: can you not complete your wars within a single volume?  Evidently not.  As a species you seem to enjoy dragging things along for years if not decades.  In fact we read a while ago about a hundred years war.  That’s a long time to be fighting.  If you ever manage to develop particle weapons you are going to be sorely disappointed since wars using those tend to last just weeks.  Princess Rakai and her slave half sister Charisee switch identities when Rakia is sent off to be the wife of a doddering old fool as part of a trade agreement.  Turns out Rakia is not really a princess after all since her mother had an affair with a guard captain.  And the whole thing would have gone south if not for the intervention of the Demon Child who calls the God Death to make a deal.  Complicated?  You bet.  But your entire species lives this way.  Well, except for the intervention of the gods thing because there are no gods but you did not hear that from us.  We enjoyed the intrigue even though this is yet another listing of places we have never heard of and which do not appear on any of your historical maps.  Time for your species to fix that.

Altered Starscape, Ian Douglas, Harper, ISBN 978-0-06-237919-1, $7.99, 373 pgs.

We enjoy that you think the first response to most unknowns is marines.  In this case space marines.  But, still.  Also, black holes are not transportation hubs.  You can get energy out of them, yes, but if you try to travel through one you just increasaltered-starscapee the amount of energy available for the black hole and do nothing for yourself, unless your goal was annihilation by black hole.  In that case everyone wins.  Lord Commander Grayson St. Clair is, supposedly, sucked through a black hole and travels not only in space but in time as well.  And, sure, all travel involves distance and time but this guy and his ship traveled light years and 4 billion year units in time. We suppose if you are going to screw with the laws of the universe you might as well go big or go home.  In this case, neither is an option and so they do the next logical thing—call out the space marines.  In this case it does seem to be warranted since they seem to be facing a nefarious enemy that appears to be all powerful.  This is the beginning of a new series.  We do not know how many books are in it since, evidently, Douglas is making it up as he goes along.  Not the way history, even future history, should work.  Still, we liked it, even if we did not recognize any of the other species involved.  But, like we have said before, you are way out on the end of one of the spiral arms—a place no one goes—so, who is to say what’s out here besides you?  Get your own copy and enjoy.

The moon is falling, the moon is falling

April 24, 2011
Artist’s impression of how the surface of Plut...

Image via Wikipedia

We watched with some amusement the recent furor you raised among yourselves when your moon appeared larger than normal. Not that your moon appears even remotely similar in size from night to night due to atmospheric and distance vagaries, but who are we to point out a flaw in your logic systems? Regardless, as Klaarg pointed out, so long as it’s big enough to see it’s big enough to steer around. But that is neither here nor there, Klaarg just likes to point things out using navigator references, as if to constantly remind us that he is the only one with the spaceship license. Not that the rest of us can’t drive the thing, we just need to find the manual so we know which buttons to push at what sequence. It surely can not be that difficult.

Back to the moon (which is something that your species will apparently never do). You Earthers seem particularly enamored of the big dusty thing. You seem to think it rules your sanity as much as it rules your oceans. And speaking of which, just because you are almost 78% liquid (78.5% on Fridays during happy hour) does not mean that the moon has any influence over you at all. The internal magma of your nickel iron cored planet exerts much more influence on your bodies than the moon ever will. Well, unless it comes crashing down, then it will exert a huge influence, albeit for only a brief span of awareness. But, back to the moon. It does not have any influence on you. Criminy, the next thing you know you’ll be thinking that Jupiter or Saturn is somehow influencing you in your houses, or that the stars themselves somehow have some significance in what you do or who you are. Perhaps you should study your films like we do to better know about yourselves. Did not your famous philosopher, Aristophanes say, I watch, therefore I see? We thought so.

Let’s face it. Moons are everywhere. Your own system has hundreds. Even some of the moons in your system have moons. There is even Pluto, which you have decided is not a planet. Therefor it must be a moon of the sun. In fact the darn things are everywhere you look, in every system you pass through, in every galaxy we have been to. And we have been to more than one or two, we will have you know. Klaarg, says three. We have been to three. They all had moons. Lots of them. Big ones, small ones, round ones, elongated ones, lumpy ones, icy ones, liquid ones, whipped cream and cherry ones. No, we made that last one up. But the rest all exist.

We had planned an extended discussion of the lunar influence on your movie cycles but Klaarg, who is usually pretty reliable when picking up videos (barring run ins with robots) was unable to go this time due to cellular reconstruction and restitution. So, Ssthpppithicarssus, or Slippery as we sometimes call her, went in his stead. Slippery has a rare genetic disorder, and, in fact, should have been vaporized at birth but somehow managed to slip through the cracks in the birthing chamber and survived. This disorder sometimes randomly reorganizes the cellular structure of her memory centers. This is typically a harmless condition, unless she is out getting groceries in which case you never know what she will return with, or videos, which suffer the same end result. So, without saying anything more, we begin our discussion of your culture, your species, and your particular place in time and space.

Dinoshark is a documentary about two things: global warming and spring break, at least as far as we can tell. Evidently this prehistoric (look, there was history then too, just not many historians) shark became frozen in the arctic and global warming freed it just in time for a long swim to South America where it began eating people. Why it didn’t decide to just stick around Iceland or some other large island near where it got free is never really adequately explained but we are sure there were good reasons. There was a lot of swimming in this movie, both on the part of you humans and the shark itself. We’re not quite sure what the message is except don’t swim in water with giant sharks. The global warming piece seemed to get lost amid the bikinis and blood.

Mongolian Death Worm is another tale of environmental warning. This time it is the desert, where you are drilling for oil by pumping water into the Earth. Only your species would think this is a good idea. We can only ponder how dry your oceans would be in you had decided that hydro-fusion was the way to go to power your vehicles instead of using petroleum. So, you pump all this water into the desert which almost immediately angers the death worms living there. They then feel a need to come up and teach you a lesson. Of course if they knew how destructive humans are when it came to other species they would have gone in a different direction. Needless to say, humans win, death worms lose–if you can call remaining dependent upon petroleum winning.

I Am Number Four which leads us to reply, yes, but we really wished you had been number one. What more can we say. The only explanation was that the moon was full and the creator of this thing was thinking of something else. If only those thoughts had been filmed instead.

Well, we have once again not been able to discuss all of the videos that we had hoped to discuss. Of course we didn’t get to actually watch any of the videos we really wanted to watch anyway so maybe it’s a wash. Until next time, Spa Fon and always taste the Spooze before purchasing.