Montezumas Daughter [with Biographical Introduction] (Wildside Fantasy)
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When a starship is detected approaching their world, the anticipation is a mixture of pleasure and concern, but upon arriving, the crew of the ship indicates that it is only interested in comparing notes about the Pattern Jugglers. Unfortunately, there is at least one among their number who has a different plan entirely. A nifty little tale presented in some very attractive packaging, and at eighty pages, it's as long as many of the early Ace Double "novels".
Apparently this is available only direct from the publisher at Perkins Road, Urbana, IL or through their website at www. Here's an original anthology that falls outside the normal genre dividing lines.
The stories here are SF and fantasy and a few that don't even have a fantastic element at all. They're just good stories. The editors have eclectic tastes, but they run toward the literary, so there's mystery and emotion and wonder and a little bit of humor here, but no hard core horror or adventure, at least this time around.
Not all of the stories were to my taste, but even the ones I liked were all well written. There's probably something here for just about every discerning reader though, and you can't say that about many anthologies. Hour of the Gremlins by Gordon R. These are both omnibus collections from Baen. The first consists of three unrelated novels, two by Dickson alone and one in collaboration with Ben Bova.
From Foreword to Afterword
Hour of the Horde is a novel, readable but not one of Dickson's best. A horde of alien creatures has been rampaging through the universe despite the efforts of various races to stop them, until finally Earth's primitive ingenuity helps turn the tide. The theme is much the same in the somewhat better Wolfling from , in which a "primitive" Earthman travels to the stars to try to free humanity from an oppressive alien culture.
Gremlins Go Home , the collaboration, is the best of the lot, a humorous adventure set in a universe where gremlins, elves, and such are actually alien races. A good buy for the money for the last novel alone. The second title is a collection of three short novels from the Man-Kzin Wars series.
Stirling and Pournelle collaborated on The Children's Hour , probably the best single title in the series. This one's a steal at the price if you don't already have copies of the individual titles.
Harlan Ellison was the first SF writer to produce a collection of his collaborations with others in book form, and now Mike Resnick has become the second. Most of the stories are considerably lighter than Resnick's best work, but the ones with Nicholas DiChario, Susan Shwartz, and Barry Malzberg are all memorable. There's a brief introduction to each. The second title collects seven years of Resnick's "Ask Bwana" columns from Speculations. They cover a broad range of toics of interest to SF professionals and fans alike, and very few of them are dated by the passage of time. Both books are well produced, sturdy, and solid, both physically and in terms of content.
The day when one can write a story about a lone inventor creating an interplanetary spaceship is long past, at least if you're serious about it. Roberts has done just that, but seriousness is not a problem here. The protagonist discovers a string of inventions, including a gun that can penetrate the Earth and hit a target on the far side, but when he turns his home into a spaceship, things really get interesting. American and Russian astronauts are battling each other and a disaster in space until they are rescued by the flying house lot.
When the Russians start making moves to consolidate their position in space, the US government tries to seize the new technology, but they're no match for a man who knows what he's about. At times very funny, although I think it went on for just a little bit too long.
This appears to be a first novel for both authors, and while it has some of the stiffness common to first novels, for the most part it's quite entertaining. Humankind has spread into space, spawning a variety of cultures and societal forms. Two of these are moving toward an interstellar conflict, and a number of outside parties are trying to avert the disaster. Unfortunately, none of them realize the complexity of the situation, and it looks increasingly likely that they will fail.
The best parts of the novel are those dealing with the philosophical differences. The action adventure sequences are the least interesting and sometimes a bit forced. Zero Hour by Benjamin E. Various teams of military personnel and scientists are working in the Antarctic when a volcanic eruption underneath the icecap presents them with a threat to the environment. Superheated water could generate a storm with winds so severe that no human structure could withstand it. If the progression is not interrupted, a worldwide disaster is inevitable, and only the small, ill equipped group on the spot may be able to act in time to stop it.
An exciting first novel from a writer educated in planetary sciences. This is more likely to be marketed as a mainstream thriller than as SF, but it's a disaster novel in the classic SF tradition, and a pretty good one at that.
As you might guess from the title, this is a look at how human prehistory is portrayed in fiction, and how closely it adheres to what we know, or think we know, about how it really was. The author focuses on a relatively low number of stories. Jean Auel is mentioned, for example, but none of her many imitators. There's an examination of stories by H.
The author clearly knows the subject well, but the style is a bit too academic for casual readers. The follow up to Hominids is, I'm sorry to say, a decidedly mixed bag. It's good to see more of Ponter Boddit, whom I rather liked the first time around, but we've already seen enough of his world and that the new details this time really don't have the impact of the first novel. Despite reluctance on the part of his people to reopen contact with our universe, Ponter convinces them to open a more or less permanent gateway, only to discover that humans also have mixed feelings about continuing the contact.
Ponter and his people, despite some minor failings, are just too good to be true, and their society is as implausible as that of most of those found in early Utopian novels.
If you liked the first, you'll probably enjoy this as well, but I wouldn't move it to the top of the reading stack. Jake Holman organized and led the colonization of the planet Greentrees by a disparate group including the exiled royal family of Saudi Arabia and their retainers, a group that wishes to recreate the Cheyenne nation and abandon technology, and more conventional settlers of various types and interests. Greentrees is supposed to be uninhabited, and in fact no intelligent aliens have been encountered yet during humanity's exploration of the stars.
When a handful of villages are discovered, each inhabited by members of the same species but each genetically altered to create a different culture, the humans are puzzled, then astonished when it becomes obvious that they are not native to the planet. Then an alien spaceship arrives, piloted by intelligent plantlike creatures, and they learn of an interstellar war that could threaten even humanity. Kress does her usual fine job of creating a complex situation and then letting her characters play in it.
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There are a few too many coincidental arrivals and encounters to make me entirely happy, but I ignored the problem and found myself enjoying the way in which the author works out the problems confronting Holman and his companions. Some of the supporting characters — particularly the Quaker and his rebellious daughter — were frequently of more interest than the main plotline. I missed this when it first appeared quite a while back, and if I'd noticed it even then, I might have shrugged it off as another standard military SF adventure novel.
I'd have been half right. The story does involve people caught up in an interstellar war. But it's more than that. Unlike most military SF that concentrates on the action and uses its characters to advance the plot, for Lowachee the characters are the plot and the military environment is just the setting. The protagonist is a young boy, later a young man, who is orphaned and enslaved, liberated, trained as a soldier and spy, and given little chance to mature in a normal human fashion.
For a while he does what he's told, but sooner or later he's going to start thinking for himself. Lots of interesting twists, and enough military action to keep those fans happy as well as the rest of us who like a little more substance to our entertainment. This won Warner's first SF novel contest, and it's easy to see why.
A very promising debut. Sharon Shinn returns to the lost colony world of Samaria for this, the fourth in a series about the world where a new society with strong religious underpinnings has been created on a distant world, cut off from the rest of the human race. Not as cut off as they might wish, however, because a party of offworlders has invaded, using high tech weapons that the Samarians cannot match. This is the backdrop rather than the central story, however. The protagonist is Susannah, wed to the head of the religious community, a marriage of convenience rather than love.
On the other hand, the man of her own tribe for whom she feels genuine affection is no saint either. Susannah's decisions about her own life and her role in the effort to repel the invaders are intertwined in this astute, intelligent tale of conflict between cultures, even within the planetary population. This is the best yet in a highly regarded series. Purity in Death by J. The fifteenth in the ongoing series of Eve Dallas, a policewoman working more than fifty years in the future, is a lot more SF than many of the other volumes. This time she's after a gang of vigilantes who have found a way to use a computer program to alter the patterns in the human brain, eventually leading to a painful death.
No combination of subliminal displays and sounds is going to make one's brain swell until it bursts. That caveat aside, it's an entertaining story, interrupted for two episodes of explicit and almost formulaic sex. Dallas finds the conspirators a bit too quickly this time — not one of her leads or guesses is wrong, but it's still fun watching her trap them into revealing themselves. The subplots involving her co-workers continues to evolve as well. Hyperthought by M. Earth of the next century was already suffering from a major ecological disaster when a nuclear war rendered most of the planet uninhabitable.
Now the survivors cluster at the two poles, with the government in the Arctic repressive and that in the Antarctic relatively free. When a young entertainer submits to experiments that are designed to enhance his thinking ability, he becomes an unwitting pawn in the ensuing power struggle not just between the poles but between rival parties in the north seeking any advantage in their increasingly violent struggle.
A tour guide is drawn unwillingly into the middle of the situation and finds herself growing to like the man she is protecting. But with so many different people searching for them, is there any way for them to survive. A nice, workmanlike adventure story from a new name is always a welcome event.
This is the kind of debut novel that will have you watching closely to see how Buckner develops as a writer. Only in the Warhammer universe would it be possible to have these two novels part of the same series, one a sword and sorcery epic, the other a traditional military space opera. The first, which I believe is also a first novel, is actually a pretty good pseudo-Conan style adventure, with the protagonist traveling to a frozen city to meet, and defeat, a series of enemies both natural and supernatural.
This one would stand quite well outside the Warhammer series, although it's not quite the same formula as most current mainstream fantasy. The second is less interesting, another story of interstellar soldiers battling enemies who have the support of evil supernatural forces at large in the universe. The mix works occasionally — most notably in the novels Ian Watson contributed to the series — but more often it jars.
And this one has a bit too much battling and a bit too little story for my taste.