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WEEKLYPRESS.COM · UCREVIEW.COM · OCTOBER 05 · 2011 Science Fiction for October 2010 By Henry Leon Lazarus S


cience fiction doesn’t predict the future, it merely sets stories in


invented futures that some- times match parts of the real future. Robert Heinlein set many of his stories in a fu- ture history he invented in 1941. In it he predicted the super highway system (except that the roads rolled instead of having cars); nuclear melt down;


the


pr ivat izat ion of space (with colonies on the moon, Mars, and Venus); and the crazy years when politi- cians wrote weird bills. Next up would be a religious dic- tatorship in the U.S., which looks more likely now that the religious right has come out of the closet again. In Joan Slonczewski’s first novel in ten years, the reli- gious nuts believe that the stars are painted on the fir- mament and no major poli- tician dares deny it. Jennifer Raqmos Kennedy is a minor celebrity as the granddaugh- ter of two presidents. The tale is about the first semes- ter of her freshman year at Frontera College in The High- est Frontier (hard from Tor), a space habitation connected to one of the space eleva- tors from Earth. Earth has been infected by the alien ultraphytes, who used RNA instead of DNA and mutate quite rapidly, killing people occasionally with cyanide. The habitat itself has prob- lems because it is a decade old and can flood if its pow- er is lost. The college is con- stantly short of funds, and as a result Jenny’s roommate is in a full-body prosthesis and thinks she is an ultraphyte. It’s an election year on Earth and Jenny has been invited to give a speech at the con- ventions, something she is a bit shy at doing. Her classes on Aristotle and Life are fascinating and improved by computer constructs that seem quite real. This is a pre- dicted future that seems very real. It’s a tale dense with ideas that sometimes lean to- wards satire, and characters that leap out of the page into full life. If this tale doesn’t win numerous awards, I will be quite shocked. The third volume of Jasper Kent’s five-part look at Rus-


sian history from 1812 to the Russian Revolution is out. It’s 1855 and a survivor of the famous Charge of the Light Brigade fights over the cave, where three vampires were entombed. Blood trickles down, giving them enough strength to dig out. The hero of the first two books, Danilov, is still in exile in Siberia. His son Dmitry is a ma- jor on the walls of Sevastopol facing the Brit- ish and French in the Crimean War when he confronts the first vampires he has seen in thirty years. In Moscow Cain, a vampire since


the last volume, is hatching plots while working in The Third Section (trade from Pyr). Tamara, Danilov’s daughter, is working for him, not knowing his true nature, and gathering infor- mation from the brothel she runs. The tale has exciting set pieces, like the doomed fight in Sevastopol and the coronation of Alexander II. It also has exciting fights with vampires. This series is a keeper. M. D. Lachlan has been mix- ing the spirits of the Norse gods into the Viking Age. The current tale starts with the Viking siege of Paris in the middle of the Tenth cen- tury, when the city sat on a


small island in the middle of the Seine. At its heart is a Norse princess who some- how has a piece of Odin, and a monk with the spirit of Fenrir (trade from Pyr) who horribly finds himself taking on the aspect of the wolf as he is captured and escapes from various Viking raiders. Fun. One love story standard is that of the nanny, who falls for her widowed employer. Emma Donahoe is an Australian girl who had been working as a kindergarten teacher and quit to become nanny to the very rich John Chen. The daughter Simone, a happy four-year-old, may have


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been human, but the father is a celestial immortal. He is ruler of a magical mountain and the four magical winds like the White Tiger (paper from Harper Voyager), and has been keep- ing himself in human form to stay with his daughter. Once he switches, he might take as much as a centu- ry before he can return to Earth. Kylie Chan gives her hero-


ine a resolute character who accepts this strange world, adapting to it and learning how to fight the demons that are constantly attacking her and Simone. I had a smile on my face the whole time and can’t wait for the sequel.


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Freehold is a libertarian col- ony that defended itself from takeover by Earth by sending soldiers to sabotage whole cities on Earth. Ken Chin- ran, one of the few survivors and leader of the group, has been working a repair busi- ness under an alias since that time, and has been a good citizen of Freehold. One of the survivors decides to take up the assassination busi- ness, going Rogue (hard from Baen). Ken is the only one who might have a chance of


stopping him, and he is giv- en an assistant, Sliver, to help him. Michael Z. Williamson tells a taut tale of finding a needle in a haystack spread across several worlds. It is bloody and heart-pounding. I couldn’t put it down. Richard K. Morgan contin- ues his sword-and-sorcery adventure set in so far a future that some of the vil- lains dwell in the gray land of dreams. Ringil, the gay


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