Friday, August 13, 2010

New Reviews

The Reapers Are the Angels
Alden Bell
Holt, $15.00
ISBN 978-0-8050-9243-1


Fifteen years old Temple has learned one thing in her life; either one kills the zombies and other predators or they die. She can never remember a time before the Meatskins when the globe was relatively safe, but recalls the old man and her younger sibling before she was forced to begin her trek to nowhere.

At an alleged safe house, human Abraham Todd assaults her. Following her credo, she kills him but flees before his family or allies can come after her. Outraged by the teen’s murder of his brother, Moses vows to find, torture and kill Temple. On her trek, Temple finds a dim witted mute Maury who starts tagging along with her. She cannot shake him and soon feels responsible for his safety; as he brings back memories she would prefer to forget. Meanwhile Moses stalks her and the meatskin zombies chase her and her companion.

The world of Alden Bell is a dark place, a terrible place to live but Temple refuses to die so circumstances of survival has made her one of the fittest and toughest. Temple makes the grim convergence of horror with science fiction work as she seeks redemption instead of the remorse that fills her soul. Her journey is deadly battling predators of all kind; some who would rape and then kill her; other who would eat her to death. The Reapers Are the Angeles is an exciting fast-paced thriller that grips readers from start to finish. Harriet Klausner

Omnitopia Dawn
Diane Duane
DAW, Aug 3 2010, $24.95
ISBN: 9780756406233


By 2015, anyone who knows their name participates in multi-player on line games. The most popular of the interactive internet games is Dev Logan’s Omnitopia. There are so many players; the game has surpassed TV and movies as the number one entertainment outlet in the world. Millions not just play, but prefer the reality of Omnitopia to their “real” existence.

Dev and his crew begin a major upgrade to his game system. However, while working on the expansion, he is stunned to learn his creation is alive. Whereas he has always dueled with unscrupulous hackers, elected officials with false morals, and unprincipled industrial espionage operatives, he never lost sight that it was only a game. Now it is more than a game as he tries to keep the ruthless immoral thugs from murdering or kidnapping his “offspring”.

This is a terrific techno-thriller that uses the enthusiasm of game players to extract a near future in which on-line interactivity is the in thing. Although AI tales have starred frequently in books (Asimov) and movies (Spielberg), Omnitopia Dawn provides a fresh perspective due to a rotating 360 degree viewpoint. Fans will enjoy likable Dev’s efforts to protect his child while also seeing how players, the expansion crew, and the devious look at Omnitopia. Harriet Klausner

Stuff of Legends
Ian Gibson
Ace, Jul 27 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780441019304


In a world where magic exists, the leading form of entertainment comes from the traveling bards who sing about the adventures of heroes; courtesy of Central Casting. The most cherished champion throughout civilization is the incredible Jordan the Red who remains the best of the best even though he vanished two decades ago. Although no one seems to know where he is, people still love hearing his tales of daring do.

Jordon hopes to remain is hiding as he retired years ago. Unfortunately Eliot obsessively wants to meet his hero in order to join him on an adventure. His former Elfish babysitter Kess gives him abraid with strings of wishes. Jordan’s former agent sends the bard Cyral to chronicle Jordan’s comeback escapade. They all converge on Jordan who insists he is retired with no plans of a farewell tour. When an enemy of the reluctant retired hero abducts Elliot Jordan sighs because he knows he must intercede. From there his life goes catastrophic as all the enemies he defeated in his first heroic run have formed a gauntlet to kill Jordan. If he survives the horde, he next faces the dragon he once fought.

Stuff of Legends is a refreshing amusing fantasy in which the star is told to follow the script while his foes ignore the plot. However, the adventures are real so the hero can die (like John Wayne at the Alamo). Jordon was the best and has no desire to prove he still is until his agent lures him out of retirement the sleazy way. Although some of the jocularity fails to feel funny, fans of Robert Aspirin’s Myth-adventures and early Xanth will enjoy the lampooning of quest fantasies as with Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out For A Hero comes to mind, but what happens after hours. Harriet Klausner

1 comment: