Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Middle of the Week Blues

Overslept. Was behind all day. I'll get caught up sometime soon. Here are some reviews from Harriet to keep you interested.

Ken MacLeod
Orb (Tor), May 26 2009, $19.95
ISBN: 9780765321190

Casini Division. By the twenty-fourth century technology has changed many humans into almost Gods. However, a dispute between the humans and the post-humans devastate the planet. The post-humans move off planet but hostilities remain high as a cold war continues though most of the open hostiles have somewhat abated. In that climate, the Casini Division that protects earth plans an assault to eradicate the Post-humans who pose a threat from space. Spaceship Commander Ellen May Ngewthu of the Casini Division seeks an alliance with the interstellar colony New Mars before the post-humans can do so.

Sky Road. In the twentieth century former Communist American expatriate Myra Godwin-Davidova leads her tiny high-tech socialist paradise while others want to conquer it. Her only hope to protect her people lies in obsolete nuclear weapons hidden years ago in the planet’s Earth orbit. Several centuries later Clovis colha Gree lives in a utopian world in which violence is non existent; the rustic community fears electronic devices as they remember what happened during the Fall that some insist it was the Deliverance. Now the scientific tinkers are constructing a controversial spaceship; the first since Maya had to decide nuclear war or not.

This is a reprint of the "The Second Half of The Fall Revolution" published in the mid 1990s. Each entry is fast-paced, but focuses on a dismal future for mankind that is cleverly tied back to the politics of the late twentieth century although some might detest the clearly Anti-American stance. .The tales are well written with the military battles in space incredibly vivid and the key cast members coming across as fully developed. Although it pays to at least read THE STONE CANAL before this pair of novels, fans will appreciate the dark science fiction thrillers CASINI DIVISION and SKY ROAD. Harriet Klausner

Pearl North
Tor, Jul 7 2009, $17.99
ISBN: 9780765320964

Every year the Eradicants, who believe the written word is evil, come to the Libyrinth to get a segment of books to burn in a bonfire. The Libyrarians believe the Ancients left the Libyrinth so that people can read land earn in order to keep civilization vibrant. Unfortunately, the Libyrinth only has two countries to guard the books and they have orders to sell books for food needed in the winter. They have nothing else of value to pay for sustenance.

The Libyrarian Selene, the clerk Haly who has the unique skill of hearing the books talk to her, and Claudia the servant leave to go to Ilysies in hope of getting help. Selene takes with her The Book of Nights containing the knowledge of the Ancients. The Eradicants want the tome to fulfill a prophecy and now have Haly, who can her the books talk, under their control. Their plan is to destroy all other knowledge except their Song which is their way of transmitting information. However, neither side appreciates Haly’s strength and special skill as she becomes to understand the enemy is not evil and her side is inflexible and heading towards annihilation. Haly hopes to get the word out to both sides of the conflict to just listen to one another.

Peal North’s world appears to be a former earth colony in which the Ancients were probably the aristocracy and the rest of the Eradicants slaves to them. Revolt led to the current rivalry over controlling knowledge. With nods to Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and Orwell’s 1984, high school science fiction readers will appreciate Ms. North’s strong tale that shows miscommunication and misunderstanding the other side often leads to conflict; in this case a devastating civil war seems imminent unless the heroic Haly can pull off an Ancient miracle. Harriet Klausner

Salt And Silver
Anna Katherine
Tor, May 2009, $6.99
ISBN: 9780765363046

It was the innocence of idle affluent youth, but Allie and her friends conjured up an entrance to and from hell in the basement of Sally's Diner in Brooklyn. Feeling responsible but unsure how to close the portal permanently, Allie works at the diner feeding customers and insuring they are not on the menu of some beast as a snack.

Over the past six years since her folly, Allie has fought demons and argued with hunters. The one that frightens her the most is Ryan who blithely moved into the basement. Her door to hell vanishes, and other portals open and close throughout the city. Ryan and Allie finally stop bickering to team up to take the war into hell before hell takes it to earth.

Though urban romantic fantasy has flooded the market especially starring women turning from social deb to superheroine, fans will enjoy the latest entrant and her adventures in Brooklyn as she may not prove a tree grows in the largest borough, but demons do. Allie’s war with Ryan the hunter provides humorous asides to the fight they make to keep paranormal evil off the streets of the city. The couple turns Anna Katherine’s super entry into the subgenre into a fun thriller. Harriet Klausner

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