Archive for the ‘Science Fiction’ Category

Shadow Of Freedom-David Weber

March 23, 2013

Shadow Of Freedom
David Weber
Baen, Mar 5 2013, $25.00
ISBN: 9781451638691

The Manticore’s fleet defeated the invincible armada of the Solarian League that had encroached into the Star Empire’s sector with plans with plans to seize the strategic wormholes. However, Tenth Fleet Commander Michelle Henke knows she and the rest of the military have no time to bash in the glory of a stunning victory, The Solarian Office of Frontier Security continues to cause havoc in the Talbott Quadrant especially along the frontier. While all types of warfare continue unabated, the threat to destroy Manticore and its allies remains stratospheric; as does the hostility with the Mesan Alignment. Manticore turns to former enemy People’s Republic of Haven as hopefully an ally.

At the same time, the Mobius Liberation Front informs Manticore that they have begun the liberation rebellion to overthrow the brutal reign of President Lombroso, but need the help from the Star Empire as previously negotiated and promised. No one in Manticore authority ever heard of the MLF so the assumption is the diabolical clever Mesan Alignment is using subterfuge to destroy the bonds between the Star Empire and the smaller under fire independents at a time the fleet cannot divert resources away from the fight against the Solarian League.

This is an engaging Honorverse science fiction thriller with a Cecil B Demille cast distracting from the exciting outer space naval encounters and fascinating political machinations; Henke (not Harrington) loosely is the nearest individual to being the prime player. The storyline also provides a different perspective from events told in A Rising Thunder and Mission of Honor so that the audience knows several key outcomes. Still Shadow Of Freedom is well written and shows the logistical problems of fighting a multi-front war.

Harriet Klausner

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The Ship Who Searched-Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey

February 8, 2013

The Ship Who Searched
Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey
Baen, Jan 1 2013, $14.00
ISBN: 9781451638738

Archaeologists Doctors Pota Andropolous-Cade and Braddon Maartens-Cade conduct an evaluation at a Salomon-Kildare site with no one else on the planet except their school aged daughter Hypatia “Tia” Cade. For the most part Tia is by herself at camp while her parents work though she has her own excavation site in the nearby trenches. Just after Tia’s seventh birthday, Moira and Brawn Tomas arrive with supplies and a blue teddy bear gift for the child who calls her present Theodore Edward Bear.

Tia finds a real artifact that she seals inside a container before showing it to her parents. However, the container leaks dust into the child’s face. While her excited parents look for more artifacts in the locale Tia found her relic, the child becomes paralyzed. The Institute accepts Tia as a shellperson installed in a brainship delivering supplies to excavations with her Brawn being Alexander Joli-Chanteu. Accompanied by Theodore Edward Bear, they specialize as first responders on controlling diseases until the medics can arrive. MedCen assigns them to search for smugglers importing diseases into the Central Worlds even as Tia seeks the source of her paralyzing ailment.

The reprint of the entertaining third Brainships entry (see The Ship Who Sang and Partnership) is an engaging science fiction. Tia is a super protagonist who keeps the storyline steady and on course with help from her Brawn and her teddy bear. Filled with compassion, courage and chutzpah, The Ship Who Searched remains a fabulous outer space thriller.

Harriet Klausner

The Crossing-Mandy Hager

January 12, 2013

The Crossing
Mandy Hager
PYR, Jan 8 2013, $16.95
ISBN: 9781616146986

The islanders on Onewere in the middle of the Pacific survived the pandemic Tribulation that destroyed much of humanity. Trapped on the coral off their island is the Star of the Sea cruise ship. Residing on board this vessel are the revered Apostles of the Lamb deities who enforce the Holy Book Rules that the Onewere Chosen and other survivors must obey.

Marym believes in the Apostles and their scripture from the Holy Book. She is elated when she learns she is a Chosen to spread the Word of peace to other survivors. On board the Star of the Sea, Marym sees nothing close to the message of peace and harmony; instead she witnesses rape and murder of the darker skinned Chosen Islanders by the Caucasian Apostles in the name of the Lord; and betrayal including sacrifice of loved ones and neighbors by family and friends. Stunned Marym considers the Apostles are devils using the Holy Book to enslave her naïve believing people to do their bidding.

With a nod to Lord Acton’s wry commentary that “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”, this is an exciting profound dystopian post-apocalyptic thriller. The intense storyline looks deeply into organized religion propagandizing its message to further self-interests rather than that of the flock. The cast is developed and constantly changing as on-board death is the consistent final word for the Chosen. Readers will appreciate this extremely dark tale as the fabulous heroine concludes obeisance means rape and death and disobedience means rape and death.

Harriet Klausner

Sunset of the Gods-Steve White

January 11, 2013

Sunset of the Gods
Steve White
Baen, Jan 1 2013, $14.00
ISBN: 9781451638462

Temporal Regulatory Authority leader Kyle Rutherford asks his most experienced Ancient Greece time traveler Hesperian Colonial Rangers Commander Jason Thanou to lead an expedition to study the Battle of Marathon. The mission is to answer historical questions and to determine whether any alien Teloi survivors that escaped the Minoan entrapment were involved in the pivotal battle. Jason met the Teloi masquerading as gods like Zeus when he, geologist Dr. Deirdre Sadaka-Ramirez (who stayed behind with Perseus) and historian Dr. Sidney Nagel (who died heroically) traveled to three millennia ago (see Blood of the Heroes). Reluctantly, Jason agrees to lead the expedition consisting of historian Dr. Bryan Landry, soldier Alexandre Mondrago and xenologist Dr. Chantal Frey to 490 BC.

The quartet arrives in 490 BC weeks before the battle. They claim to be exiles from Macedon whose King Alexander I swore allegiance to the Persians. On the road top Athens, Jason and Alexandre see the mythological Pan. As they are given sanctuary by Themistocles, the budding Athenian democracy debates how to defend itself against the Persian military. They soon encounter Zeus and a stunning anomaly in which conspirators are using Pan and the Teloi to achieve their long term objective.

The clever second Thanou time travel science fiction is an exciting thriller that provides a deep look at the Battle of Marathon. The storyline uses too many passive explanations re the rules of time travel and 490 BC Athens though these explicatory soliloquies add a sense of scientific and historical genuineness to the plot. Still fans will enjoy learning the secret of Pan as Jason and his team must thwart a diabolical plot to influence the outcome of the key Battle of Marathon.

Harriet Klausner

Power Under Pressure-Andrew P. Mayer

January 8, 2013

Power Under Pressure
Andrew P. Mayer
PYR, Jan 8 2013, $17.95
ISBN: 9781616146962

In New York, the assassination of Sir Dennis Darby on the Brooklyn Bridge by the Automaton devastated the Society of Paragons. Sir Dennis served as the groups’ social compass; without his ethical leadership, the Society collapses as individuals chose self-interests over the good of the group.

Former member Sarah “the Adventuress” Stanton possesses the steel clockwork heart of her killing friend the Automaton; having hidden the mechanical beater in an obscure Brooklyn junkyard. Craving to gain favorite status from Sarah though he knows her heart is filled with revenge for the deaths of her father and mentor, Emilio vows to reconstruct the Automaton over the objection of his angry victimized sister Viola. Also needing the steel heart to complete his plans to industrialize the world under a thick blanket of smog is Lord Eschaton. His plans near fruition with the creation out of death of the Shell and the capture of Nathaniel, Eschaton must prevent the Adventuress from thwarting his scheme; while she must find a way to bring back together the Society of Paragons enhanced by reformed supervillains and still crazy mad scientists to forge the Society of Steam dream team to stop her adversary from achieving his world domination objective.

The third Society of Steam Steampunk Victorian fantasy (see Hearts of Smoke and Steam, and The Falling Machine) is an exciting tale as the frustrated beleaguered heroine wonders if she made a poor decision when she left high society to join the Paragons with vengeance filling her heart. Readers will appreciate this entry as Fortified Steam serves as the technological base for a fast-paced alternative nineteenth century New York thriller.

Harriet Klausner

The Annals of the Omega Project-Thomas A. Cahill

August 12, 2012

The Annals of the Omega Project

Thomas A. Cahill

EditPros LLC, Jun 24 2012, $19.95

www.www.editpros.com

ISBN: 9781937317034

 

University of California, Merced Physics Professor Ken O’Neal flies from Sacramento to Denver musing how he already misses his wife of thirteen years Jill who remained behind due to a seminar.  On the flight he appreciates the flair and attention attendant Michelle Kolberg gives to everyone on board.  Twenty-four years old Michelle likes people even as she muses over whether she is the only virgin flight attendant.   However, she suddenly sees herself though his eyes and likewise he sees himself through hers.  Both are stunned by this telepathic connection and begin to search for other sensitive souls.

 

The pair creates the Omega Project at Merced.  However, their good intentions come to the attention by Covens who employ mind control to feed off the brains of telepaths.  When the brain of student Bonny is assaulted, war explodes between the benign Omega and the ruthless Covens led by Emil who kills without a thought while the wild card is Gypsies.

 

The key to this exciting good and evil battle is that in war innocent pawns die as the not pure Gypsies learn the hard way.  Each side is 200 proof of either pure goodness or vile evilness; as the bad guys have centuries of experience and no moral compass while the heroes suffer doubts and guilt.  Fast-paced, readers will appreciate these two adversarial visions of telepathic use.  

 

Harriet Klausner

Slow Apocalypse-John Varley

August 8, 2012

Slow Apocalypse

John Varley

Ace, Sep 4 2012, $25.95

ISBN 9780441017577

 

Eddie Parker worked on bacteria that would clean up oil spills and from there he soon became part of the Prometheus Project to increase oil production via enhancing pressure.  However, Eddie conceals his secret agenda to unleash a bacterium that solidifies Saudi Arabian oil for what the country’s terrorists did on 9/11.  At the Ghawar oil reserve, Eddie releases his destruction.  Eddie’s plan deploys perfectly except for one minor nuisance.  The solidification fails to stop in the Arabian Peninsula as the bacteria goes internationally viral. 

 

In Southern California, screenwriter Dave Marshall learns from a government insider friend that his script on oil actually is happening around the globe.  As he prepares to keep his family safe from the worst that is coming, the world collapses into deadly local chaos.

 

This is an entertaining post-apocalyptic thriller in which the Marshall plan leads to a happy solution for him, his family and his friends as fans will appreciate how much oil is a cog in the modern world and not just as a fuel.  However, with the focus on an affluent in the know protagonist, the pandemic impact of the vanished oil implosion on the unaware and less fortunate lacking resources is not explored as that would have proven much more exciting and enlightening.  Still readers will enjoy John Varley’s take on life without oil to grease the world.

 

Harriet Klausner

Endgame-Ann Aguirre

August 8, 2012

Endgame

Ann Aguirre

Ace, Aug 28 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781937007744

 

Sirantha Jax looks forward to traversing grimspace, but leaping through time will have to wait for the moment.  Having pledged to help Loras, Jax feels obligated to assist him as he tries to liberate his race, the La’hengrin, from biological slavery that limits their ability to fight back against their alien conquerors the Nicuans.  Carvati’s Cure would enable the La’hengrin to fight for their freedom.

 

On La’heng, Jax joins the guerilla resistance to free Loras’ people though she knows her side faces seemingly insurmountable odds but though she looks forward to jumping the star roads of grimspace, she risks her life to help free an enslaved race.  Six months later, the war continues with no Endgame in sight as many from both sides die with the stubborn Nicuans refusing to give up their control of the La’hengrin or the world they conquered. 

 

The Endgame Sirantha Jax science fiction (see Aftermath and Doubleblind) is a great finish to a strong outer space saga.  Fast-paced and filled with action, Ann Aguirre makes it clear that war is vicious, bloody and gory as everyone including the ethical heroine (and readers) feels they entered hell. 

 

Harriet Klausner

Slow Apocalypse-John Varley

August 8, 2012

Slow Apocalypse

John Varley

Ace, Sep 4 2012, $25.95

ISBN 9780441017577

 

Eddie Parker worked on bacteria that would clean up oil spills and from there he soon became part of the Prometheus Project to increase oil production via enhancing pressure.  However, Eddie conceals his secret agenda to unleash a bacterium that solidifies Saudi Arabian oil for what the country’s terrorists did on 9/11.  At the Ghawar oil reserve, Eddie releases his destruction.  Eddie’s plan deploys perfectly except for one minor nuisance.  The solidification fails to stop in the Arabian Peninsula as the bacteria goes internationally viral. 

 

In Southern California, screenwriter Dave Marshall learns from a government insider friend that his script on oil actually is happening around the globe.  As he prepares to keep his family safe from the worst that is coming, the world collapses into deadly local chaos.

 

This is an entertaining post-apocalyptic thriller in which the Marshall plan leads to a happy solution for him, his family and his friends as fans will appreciate how much oil is a cog in the modern world and not just as a fuel.  However, with the focus on an affluent in the know protagonist, the pandemic impact of the vanished oil implosion on the unaware and less fortunate lacking resources is not explored as that would have proven much more exciting and enlightening.  Still readers will enjoy John Varley’s take on life without oil to grease the world.

 

Harriet Klausner

When Diplomacy Fails-Michael Z. Williamson

August 5, 2012

When Diplomacy Fails

Michael Z. Williamson

Baen, Aug 7 2012, $24.00

ISBN: 9781451637908

 

Ripple Creek Security assigns their best personal protection team to guard a client disliked by everyone in the firm.  World Bureau of State Minister Joy Herman Highland is running for office while her bureaucratic obnoxious past has made her several enemies including people who worked for her.  Still Alex Marlow and the team will do what it takes to keep Highland safe in spite of her campaign publically announcing everything in advance.

 

Highland’s supporters fake an attack, which angers Ripple Creek.  However, Highland’s recent history comes home to roost when a real assaults occur.  The security team protects the client from several shadowy adversaries who do not appear to be working as a cohesive team and some of the foes actually may be working for Highland.

 

The latest Freehold prequel (see Better to Beg Forgiveness and Do Unto Others) is an enjoyable political techno thriller that pulls no punches when it comes to the most dangerous species in history: politician sapiens.  The storyline is fast-paced as the Ripple Creek unit tell the adventures in a sarcastic manner when it comes to Highland and her assistant while enjoying taking the fight to their client’s myriad of enemies (though they admit to each other they would like to place an explosive up Highland’s butt).  Though there is a déjà vu feel to the tale, this is a fabulous timely entry as the politician sapiens will do anything to win an election.

 

Harriet Klausner

When Diplomacy Fails

Michael Z. Williamson

Baen, Aug 7 2012, $24.00

ISBN: 9781451637908

 

Ripple Creek Security assigns their best personal protection team to guard a client disliked by everyone in the firm.  World Bureau of State Minister Joy Herman Highland is running for office while her bureaucratic obnoxious past has made her several enemies including people who worked for her.  Still Alex Marlow and the team will do what it takes to keep Highland safe in spite of her campaign publically announcing everything in advance.

 

Highland’s supporters fake an attack, which angers Ripple Creek.  However, Highland’s recent history comes home to roost when a real assaults occur.  The security team protects the client from several shadowy adversaries who do not appear to be working as a cohesive team and some of the foes actually may be working for Highland.

 

The latest Freehold prequel (see Better to Beg Forgiveness and Do Unto Others) is an enjoyable political techno thriller that pulls no punches when it comes to the most dangerous species in history: politician sapiens.  The storyline is fast-paced as the Ripple Creek unit tell the adventures in a sarcastic manner when it comes to Highland and her assistant while enjoying taking the fight to their client’s myriad of enemies (though they admit to each other they would like to place an explosive up Highland’s butt).  Though there is a déjà vu feel to the tale, this is a fabulous timely entry as the politician sapiens will do anything to win an election.

 

Harriet Klausner