We have been struggling to try to figure out which of your holidays we should embrace. Purely as a study opportunity of course, and, after a great deal of discussion and no small amount of agitation (Klaarg was very vocal that International Robot day was not an option), we decided on 4. They all take place during this time period since selecting a holiday 8 cycles from now to celebrate seemed counterproductive. Two have passed and we submit that we succeeded quite successfully in our celebrations and two more are coming up. While it is most likely quite obvious which ones we selected, given that we most likely selected those which are also your favorites, in the name of science we feel obligated to full disclosure. Thus, it was that we participated in National Plan your Epitaph day as well as King Tut day. And we are planning big celebrations for Cremation Day (for when probing goes horribly wrong) and National Cupcake Day. We almost chose World Kindness day but why be hypocritical on a holiday. Next year we may select 4 different ones depending on which way the winds of choice and culture seem to be blowing. National Monkey Day looks pretty good from here.
The Man in the Tree, Sage Walker, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-7992-4 $26.99, 381 pgs.
We liked this one even though it kept putting us to sleep. Seems there has been a murder on a spaceship. We’re not really sure where this ship is. It’s either in orbit around your planet, on the way to Saturn, or heading off somewhere else. References to all three are throughout the text and confused us. But this is not the point. The main person here is horny Incident Analyst Helt Borresen who is tasked with figuring out why the dead man was killed and who did it. The ship is full of cameras, unfortunately the murder took place at a time when all the cameras were down for an hour. You would think someone would have anticipated this but evidently not. Anycase, Helt starts gathering facts and people and working his way through his process. We actually liked the writing of this a lot. It is very well written, expertly so–jJust not very exciting. It’s like a police procedural but done as a real police procedural so you get to see them filing papers, and moving documents and writing things down. Klaarg was captivated but we think it was more because of the robot free future than anything else. We recommend it for the writing but the plot needs a few more dead humans.
A Lot Like Christmas, Connie Willis, Del Rey, ISBN 978-0-399-18234-1, $17.00, 519 pgs.
At first we looked at this and thought, eh. Then we relooked at it and wondered if it might not be a valuable way to gain insight into your species apparent fascination with holidays and time off from being productive. Then we looked again and realized that Willis was not actually the editor but the constructor of the entire thing, and we thought, “Now that is indeed a fixation”. Sure everyone probably has a holiday story to tell, maybe two, maybe even something with robots in it or sentient trees or dangling balls that do unexpected things. But to produce enough content to fill this many pages? We read, we enjoyed, we still wondered about the fixation though. Still, if you are looking for something holiday like to make you drift from your reality, then this might be the perfect option. We suppose it could have been worse. Could have been arbor day.
The Waking Land, Callie Bates, Del Rey ISBN 978-0-425-28402-5, $27.00, 388 pgs.
We kept seeing this title as “The Walking Land” which we thought would be interesting but completely different. This is one of those coming of age things and you do have to keep reminding yourself that this is about pre-humans (13 to 18) and not humans themselves so you have to give some leeway. It is about Lady Elanna, who, for some reason, is devoted to the man who wrested her from her family and kept her hostage. But, when she is accused of his murder, things change and she is forced to flee back to her homeland and her family, whom she seems to hate. Once there she discovers she has powers and is betrothed to a king from another land who has no clue about ruling, and is also being touted as the savior of her land and people. Um, she is not the clueless king. All she wants to do is go to university and study plants. While it is not noted anywhere, this is not a complete story but the first of???? We found it interesting enough, although we did have to keep reminding ourselves about the age of the people involved here. If this is your kind of thing you will like it. If it is not you won’t. We can’t get any clearer than that.
The Book of Swords, Gardner Dozois, Bantam ISBN 978-0-399-59376-5, $30.00, 525 pgs.
We like swords, they hark back to a simpler time, when men were barbarians and women were , well, generally not well thought of. Looking at American politics it is amazing how little has changed. Anyway, this is a collection of wonderful tales from sixteen fantasists. We have to say we were involved from the first page through the last. There is even a Game of Thrones tale (although seriously, what collection these days does not have one of those?) We like these. We like them a lot. We have liked them ever since we stumbled across that Leiber fellow. These are as good, in some cases even better. And Klaarg likes to note there’s not a single robot in the entire thing. The contents page reads like a who’s who of current and recent stars. There is not a doubt that you will like this. Will you like it as much as we do? Hard to say. We like it a lot. Especially the Matthew Hughes, Ken Liu, and Garth Nix pieces, although the works by Scott Lynch, Walter John Williams, and Elizabeth Bear were close behind. Did we mention already that these are all original pieces? Go out right now and get a copy before it is too late. Too late for what? Hard to say but if it becomes too late you will be angry with yourself so go now.
Well, once again you’ve squandered your time here instead of putting the finishing touches on that fusion reactor. The Earth cycles and we need to be off once more. Watch out for that asteroid that’s dipping into your system. It’s not actually coming that close but there is a planet killer and it’s out there, as we remind you over and over. Keep a light on for us. Not that we need it, the ship’s got great headlights, but it’s the thought that counts.