Friday, December 2, 2011

Be on the Lookout for These

Here are three titles that you need to consider for your Christmas wish list; or, just plan to pick them up yourself. They are well worth the reading.

The Demi-Monde: Winter
Rod Rees
Morrow, Dec 27 2011, $26.99
ISBN: 9780062070340

In 2018 British develop ABBA, which can create a realistic nineteenth century cyber-world. The American military applies ABBA to simulated military training in which units enter the Demi-Monde; a place where ABBA is the supreme God, war and racism are constant parts of society. To enhance the combat experience by real soldiers, avatars of history’s most psychopathic genocidal mass murders like Beria, Heydrich and Torquemada etc. are part of the mix of normal cyber people whose only quirk is a need for blood as a critical sustenance; the prime sources are banks and the black market selling of drained real soldiers’ blood.

Shutting down ABBA will fry the brains of any real person trapped inside; although the soldiers are expendable, First Daughter Norma Williams is not. Teenage jazz singer Ella Thomas is trained to enter Demi-Monde to bring Norma out. Inside of Noirville on the cyber world Ella learns the frightening metamorphic truth about Demi-Monde as a “millennia” has passed since the creation.

This exciting science fiction thriller is owned by the richly textured cyber world in which a glossary is a necessity. The famous and notorious from history are part of the structured caste system while landmarks enhance the sense of a distorted image of nineteenth century Earth as a millennium has passed since Demi-Monde was created; ergo this world has changed somewhat from the original model. Thus Ella learns that fact the hard way as her training missed critical information. Readers see Rod Rees’ world though Ella’s eyes as The Demi-Monde: Winter is a fascinating creative futuristic thriller. Harriet Klausner

Left Hand Magic
Nancy A. Collins
Roc, Dec 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451464309

Metal artist Tate Eresby the purebred human and Hexe the Kymeran sorcerer are in love. They reside together in the Lower east Side’s supernatural ghetto Golgotham. However, a drunken riot has the supernatural, especially the Kymera, raging and the humans ready for a fight.

The heir to the Kymeran throne, Hexe is angry at his acrimonious Uncle Esau who pushes a-human cleansing endeavor, as he demands interracial relationships banned. At the same time the Sons of Adam want to cleanse the Kymerians from Manhattan. Meanwhile Tate is under suspicion for murder as people on a project she works on are being killed. Tension is stratospherically high between the two species even before someone murders two Kymerans. Tate and Hexe know they must act to prevent deadly riots, but neither know how to defuse the enflamed situation.

The second Golgotham urban fantasy (see Right Hand Magic) is an excellent tale as racial prejudice fuels anger. Hexe and Tate are a wonderful couple who wonder if love is enough to overcome the taboo of mixed species relationships. However, it is the vivid description of the Golgotham that will send readers joining other tourists visiting this ghetto. Harriet Klausner

Robert Asprin & Jody Lynn Nye
Ace, Nov 29 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9781937007072

Having competed for the presidency of M.Y.T.H. Inc., Skeeve the Klahd magician and Aahz the Pervect eliminate each other leaving more capable Bunny running the show (see Myth-Chief). Samwise the Impish salesman offers a deal to Skeeve and Aahz to join in on making a fortune with the construction of a pyramid in Aegis.

The three visit the site where accidents have slowed down the work. The Imp eventually sells his memorial stones concept to Aahz. They soon see first hand the accidents that hinder the building of the pyramid, but must return to the M.Y.T.H. Inc. office to attend Bunny’s weekly staff meeting. They explain the contract to Bunny who approves the deal with the Imp. While Aahz dreams of eternal memorial at the top, Skeeve seeks the source of the accidents that seem deliberate.

This is an amusing entry, apparently the last one in which the late Robert Asprin was involved as (the extremely) capable Jody Lynn Nye takes over the reins solo. The pyramid scheme story line is fast-paced though the plot is thin even with Skeeve giving readers a tour of the kingdom. Filled with the usual fun satirizing, fans will enjoy Myth-Fortunes, a fitting homage to Mr. Asprin. Harriet Klausner

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