Home » 2016 » May

Monthly Archives: May 2016

Mahogany Trinrose

MHGNTRNRSQ1981Mahogany Trinrose by Jacqueline Lichtenberg
Doubleday, 1981
Price I paid: none

Ercy Farris, heir apparent to the House of Zeor, lives in a time when humanity has mutated into predatory Simes, and their prey, Gens, who produce the selyn which the Simes need to survive…and will kill to get. Centuries ago, a Sime-submutation appeared, the channels, with the ability to take selyn from Gens without killing and to transfer it to Simes. Now, a complex social structure rules the world, with the channels at the top, preventing Simes from killing Gens.

Ercy, a not-yet-matured channel, has dedicated her life to cultivating the mahogany trinrose, source of the drug kerduvon, which legend says can free humanity of the threat of the kill.

Pursuing the secret of the mahogany trinrose during her changeover into an adult Sime, she wakens in herself powers outlawed by her society as witchcraft: telekinesis, clairvoyance, teleportation…and the strange power to make her wishes come true. Yet as they come true, they make her into a danger to her Householding and her world.

One man, the mysterious Halimer Grant, can help her in the desperate struggle to preserve those she loves and their ideals. What price does he foresee that makes him hesitate?

(more…)

Advertisements

Magellan

MagellanMagellan by Colin Anderson
Berkley Science Fiction, 1970
Price I paid: 75¢

Magellan is the last city-state on earth—a society where perfection is being rapidly approached. It is the Eve of Eternity—the day when the great computer complex Chronophage will assume dominion over the earth and grant every man his wish.

Euripides Che Fourthojuly 1070121, who has been avoiding the tranquilizing drugs all are required to take, will be in for a very bad time indeed….

(more…)

Space Cops: Mindblast

SpaceCops MindBlastSpace Cops: Mindblast by Diane Duane and Peter Morwood
Avon Books, 1991
Price I paid: $1.95

HYPER-2: A dangerous new drug manufactured in zero gravity—an irresistible essence that enriches every thought, enhances every sensation.

Officer Lon Salonikis discovered the dark secret behind the Hyperprocess—a conspiracy of mind-altering proportions buried in the deviant quarter Freedom II. And now Salonikis has been terminated.

Only Solar Patrol Rangers Even Glyndower and Joss O’Bannion are fearless enough to venture downlevel—courting certain death to unmask their former partner’s assassin…and to learn the terrible price of the ultimate ecstasy.

(more…)

On Science Fiction Characters Who Are Not Robots

Hi folks! This week I’m trying a little something new. For a variety of reasons—chief among them my own lack of motivation—I chose not to read and review a book this week but instead to look back across the books I have read and see what lessons I can pull out about the craft of writing science fiction. Is this a good idea? Perhaps we’ll never know. Or perhaps we can choose to know.

Fun fact, this essay was originally going to be about Penetrator novels but I was having a really hard time finding a way to make that work. It wasn’t until late last night as I lay in bed reading Viktor Frankl that the idea of writing something about character agency hit me.

“Why were you in bed reading Man’s Search for Meaning instead of Assignment: Nuclear Nude, Thomas?”

That question might well answer itself.

(more…)

The Joan-of-Arc Replay

The Joan-of-Arc replayThe Joan-of-Arc Replay by Pierre Barbet
Translated by Stanley Hochman
DAW Books, 1978
Price I paid: $1.25

It was the contention of one galactic historian that similar planets must have similar histories. It was the contention of another that this did not imply identical histories. The challenge could only be settled by actual testing in the infinity of the cosmos.

The computer came up with the story of Joan of Arc on the Planet Earth. Programmed anew, it produced a similar world, the Planet Noldaz of Sigma 32, with a human race rising from medievalism among whom a maid would appear to lead her country’s knights on a war of liberation.

The question: was she inevitably doomed to die at the stake, as Joan had before her? Did identical situations always mean identical conclusions?

Pierre Barbet, master of alternative histories and parallel worlds, spins a marvelous science fiction novel out of one of the great enigmas of history.

(more…)