Archive for the ‘Science Fiction’ Category

Cauldron of Ghosts-David Weber and Eric Flint

April 12, 2014

Cauldron of Ghosts
David Weber and Eric Flint
Baen, Apr 8 2014, $25.00
ISBN 9781476736334

Republic of Haven Foreign Intelligence Service operative Victor Cachat and Star Kingdom of Manticore agent Anton Zilwicki exposed the shocking centuries old plot of the Mesan Alignment that successfully manipulated the two former enemies into a debilitating war. Leaders of Manticore and Haven forge an alliance between them while creating new internal ones to counter the now known common adversary, but need more information about their foe. Thus, undercover, Cachat now assigned to the Foreign office, and Zilwicki, accompanied by Steph Turner, return to Mesa.

The two spies begin collecting data that stuns both of them as they learn more about the brutal opponent who will do anything to anyone to achieve its genetic BHAG. As the spies create havoc and help enflame a slave rebellion, Cachat and Zilwicki realize how diabolical the foe has been and still is.

The third Crown of Slaves Harrington sidebar science fiction (see Torch of Freedom and Crown of Slaves) is for the most part an exciting tale that requires readers to ignore logic and lacks depth into the home-fronts’ reactions to a seemingly unnecessary war. The fun in the storyline is the antics of Cachat and Zilwicki who both live up to the latter’s previous boss describing him as an out of control lion made even crazier by this partnership.

Harriet Klausner

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Illusion-Sherrilyn Kenyon

April 11, 2014

Illusion
Sherrilyn Kenyon
St. Martin’s Griffin, Apr 1 2014, $18.99
ISBN: 9781250002846

With his Malachai father’s death (see Inferno), Cajun-demon Nick Gautier inherits powers that frighten him. He feels haunted by what his former girlfriend Nekoda Kennedy admitted to him that her mission was to prevent him from becoming the Malachai who ended the world. Desperate to not harm his loved ones and just be a normal raging hormonal teen even also while thinking of Death’s warning to trust no one, Nick turns to friends to firmly create a safety control on his powers.

When Nick next awakens, he possesses no paranormal skills and lives in a different world. His parents are Cherise and Bubba; and demons and even his BF deity he knew in his previous life have turned into mortal high school students like he has become. Confused, Nick soon finds the mundane proves dangerous, but made more lethal by those he used to call buddies might be his deadly enemies and those who previously wanted him dead might prove his loyal friends.

The fifth teenage Chronicles of Nick (see Infamous, Invisible and Infinity) is a terrific action-packed fantasy as the protagonist struggles to survive what he wished for. Filled with twists especially due to the radical 180 degrees changes in the protagonist’s relationships with friends and foes that leave Nick bewildered as to who he should trust and what to believe. Series fans will relish this strong thriller as Nick obtains a powerful lesson that he fears his epiphany came too late about not dodging your responsibilities even those you loathe.

Harriet Klausner

Operation Shield-Joel Shepherd

April 10, 2014

Operation Shield
Joel Shepherd
Pyr, Apr 8 2014, $16.95
ISBN 9781616148966

On Droze, Cassandra Kresnov retired from the Federation’s military to work as a field operative for the Federation Security Agency. Sandy’s mission is to free android super-soldiers like she once was who were illegally created and are lethally misused by corporations as expendable pawns.

However, a clever adversary leads a vicious campaign naming her as a vile enemy of the GIs she tries to rescue. Complicating matters, the League takes away from her the three orphans she considers adopting. When a battle between the Fleet and the League occurs leaving many casualties especially among the GIs seeking asylum, the Federation Grand Council demands full retreat as they want to avoid at all costs another war.

The latest Cassandra Kresnov military science fiction (see 23 Years on Fire, Crossover and Killswitch) is a complex timely thriller with many more subplots than briefly described above; Joel Shepherd cleverly interweaves real issues into this action-packed storyline. Besides the dandy Sandy prime plot, especially fascinating are the effort by some politicians to change the Constitution in order to restrict the rights of others and the related hit on a lawyer working to expand the constitutional rights to the GIs. Add in the fascinating arrival of a non-soldier GI along with Sandy’s contemplating retiring into motherhood leading to a strong entry with plenty to follow.

Harriet Klausner

Balance Point-Robert Buettner

April 9, 2014

Balance Point
Robert Buettner
Baen, Apr 8 2014, $15.00
ISBN 9781476736440

“Balance Point.” The second Cold War between the Earth and the Yavi seems over as cooler heads from both sides push for peace. Mort the Grezzen telepath mentally tells American Intelligence Officer Captain Jazen Parker that Earth Trueborn Bartram Cutler was pardoned. With the presidential ban on raids of the Yavi, Jazen informs his partner Trueborn Army Colonel Catherine “Kit” Born and Lieutenant General Howard Hibble that if the Yavi obtain the C-drive, he believes his planet unfairly, as most of the populace has no hostilities towards Earth, will be nuked into oblivion. On Rand, Cutler undercover as “Quartermain” and Yavet Director General of Internal Security Maxillian Polian as “Hitchcock” barter over the former providing the latter with C-drive data to make the device. Meanwhile Jazen receives a deathbed request he cannot refuse from his adoptive mom Orion who wants to see him before she dies. Thus he rushes home to Yavet unaware of a trap by ambitious warmongers.

“Mole Hunt.” Otman the Yavi covert operative takes a crew to Dead End with plans to change human history by salvaging a crashed fighter’s C-drive. He and his mates are unprepared for the Grezzen and the orb’s other unwelcoming species.

The third Orphan’s Legacy military science fiction (see Overkill and Undercurrents) is an engaging twisting timely thriller with hawks believing the end justifies the means and doves wanting to “Give Peace A Chance” (John Lennon). Readers will appreciate this gender bending entry as Jazen rushes home with Kit rushing after him as she knows it takes an intelligent female to rescue a foolish male. Mole Hint is a reprint of a very short entertaining story in the Orphan’s Legacy realm.

Harriet Klausner

Upon A Sea Of Stars-A. Bertram Chandler

April 6, 2014

Upon A Sea Of Stars
A. Bertram Chandler
Baen, Apr 1 2014, $14.00
ISBN: 9781476736365

“Into the Alternate Universe.” Although ridiculed for what many proclaim a foolish dangerous one-way ticket, Commander Sonya Verrill persuades Commodore John Grimes to accompany her on field research into two dead people and the Rim Ghosts on a no return trip to the galaxy’s rim.

“Contraband From Otherspace.” As Rim Mamelute Commodore Grimes knows accepted principles of time-space continuum physics do not apply at the galaxy’s outer rim; still the eerie ship Distriyir is solid matter but the crew odd and the vessel strangely off kilter. As Grimes learns the truth about the Distriyir and those on board, he must make a decision that could impact his time-space continuum.

“The Rim Gods.” Bored with his tedious office job as the Astronautical Superintendent of Rim Runners and desk jockey commanding officer of the Rim Worlds Naval Reserve; Grimes jumps at a chance to go back into space even with the mission at the rim of the galaxy.

“The Commodore at Sea.” At the galaxy’s rim where the time-space continuum bends in incomprehensible ways, Grimes and Verrill go kinsolving where they meet Holmes, Watson, Lady Chatterley, William Cody, Lord Greystoke and Jane, and A. Bertram Chandler, etc.

The fifth Grimes omnibus space adventures (see Ride The Star Winds) briskly focuses on escapades outside of the space navy at the galactic rim where the time-space continuum twists in weird ways to the delight of readers. Into the Alternate Universe and Contraband From Otherspace are exciting novellas while The Rim Gods and The Commodore at Sea are entertaining small anthologies.

Harriet Klausner

Peacemaker-C. J. Cherryh

April 5, 2014

Peacemaker
C. J. Cherryh
DAW, Apr 1 2014, $25.95
ISBN: 9780756408831

The heir to the Atevi leader of the Western Association Tabiniaiji, Cajerji celebrates his ninth birthday with his people and select human friends he made. At the same time a deep schism inside the Assassins’ Guild explodes into the open between the traditionalists like the Atevi dowager Ilisidi who demand the foreigners including Cameron leave and the modernists like Tabiniaiji who want increased contact. This split especially endangers the party attendees as the Guild provides security to the gala.

All this occurs while Cajeiri’s mother Damiri will soon give birth to a royal daughter and his grandmother Ilisidi believes she knows who has assassinated family members. She plans to avenge these murders starting with breeching the impregnable Assassins’ Guild Headquarters. Paidhi-aiji Bren Cameron knows his mission is to protect Cajerji and the guests as he promised his friend Tabini. However, the diplomat fears he can do little to prevent a civil war that apparently was deployed long before he arrived here; although he also knows who the enemy is and that this foe probably will take the fight to the party.

The latest Foreigner Universe thriller (see Protector, Intruder and Betrayer) is an entertaining entry with numerous fascinating but passive explanatory essays on hostile politics and ethics based on the end justifies the mean with diverse ethnic beliefs being the underlying cause. Cajerji remains the focus of enemy camps sharing in common only that the heir is a pawn to further personal agendas. Series fans will enjoy this entertaining bash as the major threads of the Cameron saga are tied up and contains the additional bonus of “Lord Geigi’s History of the Aishidi’tat with commentary by Lord Bren of Najda, paidhi-aiji”.

Harriet Klausner

The Word Exchange-Alena Graedon

March 17, 2014

The Word Exchange
Alena Graedon
Doubleday, Apr 8 2014, $26.95
ISBN: 9780385537650

In Manhattan Chief Editor of the anachronistic North American Dictionary of the English Language (NADEL) Douglas Samuel Johnson grieves the death of the written word as the demise of civilization. Instead of obsolete books, love letters, maps and photos, Meme devices are commonly used and the Synchronic company controls linguistics via their gadgets and the Word Exchange. Still Doug diligently finishes a twenty-six year old project with the third edition of the dictionary about to come out probably to the “Sound of Silence” (Simon and Garfunkel); unlike the second version back in the antiquated nineties receiving critical acclaim. At the same time of Doug’s latest triumph, his wife Vera is divorcing him.

Doug gives his beloved daughter Anana pills marked as “Alice” to be used only if she is in peril before he vanishes. Ana and her NADAL colleague Bart search for her father, which takes them dangerously behind the curtain of Synchronic’s brilliant insidious marketing wizardry. They also meet the rebellious Diachronic Society and eventually reach the ancient Holy Grail of language the Oxford English Dictionary office. However, they appear too late to prevent the pandemic “word flu” as the end of language without gadgets denotes the end of life (past, present and future) as we knew it.

Extrapolating current communication technological trends (for instance, from print to electronic) into the next century, Alena Graedon provides a powerful dark dystopian future. The exciting storyline contains a strong message echoing Marshall McLuhan’s “the medium is the message” so be wary of the technological-industrial-government complex controlling thought through gizmos. Fans will appreciate the misadventures of Ana and Doug as they fall through the rabbit hole into a world which held the wake for obsolete print.

Harriet Klausner

Shadow of Freedom-David Weber

March 11, 2014

Shadow of Freedom
David Weber
Baen, Mar 4 2014, $15.00
ISBN: 9781476736280

In the Talbott Quadrant, Star Empire of Manticore Tenth Fleet Commander Michelle Henke leads her naval forces to an astounding victory over the invincible Solarian League armada. Word of the stunning outcome spreads rapidly in this sector and causally lifts rebel morale with new hopes of obtaining freedom from the tyrannical Solarian League.

The Mobius Liberation Front asks for help from Henke as they rebel against vicious President Lombroso. Although she sympathizes with their cause to liberate the Mobius System from a lethal despicable tyrant, Henke still remains locked in a deadly war with the Solarian League; at a time when the enemy deploys thousands of its most powerful naval dreadnoughts. More confusing to the Commander is the message includes timing of the revolt was coordinated with Manticore. Henke nor her staff ever heard of MLF before this contact. They conclude the slimy Mesan Alignment brilliantly arranged to make Manticore look weak and unwilling to stand up to its vaunted values of freedom for all when Lombroso annihilates his opposition. Dividing their forces leaves them vulnerable to almost certain overwhelming defeat and she lacks authorization though Henke ignores the latter as she makes her decision.

This is an exciting sidebar military science fiction as much of the action occurs before the events of A Rising Thunder while paralleling the major actions of Mission of Honor; although from a fresh perspective (Henke and the Tenth rather than Honor and the Eighth) in a different sector. Filled with political venom and plenty of military encounters, fans who are okay that the overarching theme remains stagnant and that Honor is MIA, will enjoy Henke’s escapades.

Harriet Klausner

Minerva’s Shield-Derek Hart

February 25, 2014

Minerva’s Shield
Derek Hart
iUniverse, Sep 25 2013, $20.95
ISBN: 9781491708996

The Norton siblings agree that the younger sexagenarian Bob will scatter their parents’ ashes in the Black Hills. Bob, accompanied by his teenage child Ian, drives from Marietta, Georgia to bury his parents and also enjoy a father-son trip.

In Minnesota and the Dakotas, Bob and Ian explore abandoned homes seeking left behind treasures. After disposing of the ashes, they stop at the long closed Black Hills Army Depot where they find anomalies, meet ranchers and uncover a heavy gold coin. Soon after they leave, an odd monstrous storm of the century seems to follow them as they head home. In Marietta, the FBI visits an increasingly paranoid Bob at his home. When the Feds leave, Bob, realizing that same strange storm is coming to the Atlanta area, tells his wife Karen and Ian they must seek shelter elsewhere. As the super storm strikes with vast destruction killing Karen and many of their neighbors, Bob struggles with what he saw in the sky. Still he leads on foot a group of twelve towards Ellijay in the mountains. The gold coin planted by NASA years ago as part of Minerva’s Shield saves their lives, but no other human seems to have survived.

Minerva’s Shield starts off as a leisurely-paced family drama that about a third of the way into the novel turns into a fast-paced apocalyptic thriller. Filled with action while treasure hunting and much more while surviving, fans will enjoy this fabulous opening act mindful of Nevil Shute’s On The Beach (albeit twenty-first century in the North Georgia Mountains instead of 1950s Australia) with a delightful metafiction spoofing of Derek Hart.

Harriet Klausner

The Collection-Shannon Stoker

February 22, 2014

The Collection
Shannon Stoker
Morrow, Feb 4 2014, $14.99
ISBN: 9780062271747

In the United States, heeding the warning from her older sister, eighteen year old Mia fled from her vile mate Grant who won the legal bidding to marry her on the Registry auction block. Pursued by Grant’s kill first dangerous henchmen, Mia, accompanied by Andrew and Carter, made it to Mexico; haven to runaway brides from America; but dangerous to US Army deserters like her two male companions.

When the abusive Collection captures her two protectors, Mia becomes fearful for their lives and willing to return to Grant to save them. Before she can sacrifice herself, Mia meets Riley who introduces her to a growing underground movement to return basic human rights to women. However, Grant’s bounty hunters still stalk her as no one lives very long when they make him look foolish and her friends remain subject to torment, deportation and ultimately much worse.

The second Registry dystopian thriller is an exciting tale that continues to extrapolate the present war on women into a total gender surrender scenario. Although readers will anticipate behavior by the key male players, Riley brings freshness while Mia has come a long way from her opening act as she embraces “Freedom changes everything”; but knows her journey remains dangerous since her personal psychopath continues the hunt. Action-packed with a rotating perspective, The Collection is an entertaining middle saga.

Harriet Klausner