Friday, November 9, 2018

Matters Fictional

     Politics? Politics?? Politics is boring.

     For the two or three of you who’ve been waiting for the publication of Experiences — note the teeny, tiny change to the original title – at this point I’m waiting on my cover artist. As she’s very good, I hate to jog her elbow, but it’s now been seven weeks since I gave her the go-ahead, and I’m beginning to wonder...

     For those who’ve been awaiting it as eagerly as I, E. William Brown’s fourth Daniel Black novel, Thrall, will be available at Amazon on December 1. This one promises to upset a number of applecarts, one of them being the political status of the city of Kozalin, another being the domestic tranquility that has (so far) prevailed in the Black Coven.

     So far the series has proved unusually imaginative while nevertheless remaining true to what Tom Kratman and I call the “eternal verities.” I can hardly wait.

     If you’re looking for some rip-roaring urban fantasy that doesn’t skimp on either action or intrigue, I recommend Lisa Edmonds’s series about semi-rogue mage Alice Worth. At this point there are three novels in it: Heart of Malice, Heart of Fire, and Heart of Ice. All three are well plotted, well characterized, and brimming with complications. Protagonist Alice has some of the conventional cliches – she’s fanatically independent and hates to need anyone’s help, especially if the “anyone” is male – but for all of that the series holds my attention. It might hold yours too.

     Another urban-fantasy series I’ve recently enjoyed is Amber Lynn Natusch’s Blue-Eyed Bomb trilogy: Live Wire, Kill Switch, and Dead Zone. Protagonist Saphira has powers she doesn’t understand and doesn’t completely control, which makes her membership in an ultra-important society responsible for keeping order among the supernatural races somewhat problematic. This series features difficult family relations, difficult romantic relations, and difficult public relations – all of which are comingled in a fashion neither Saphira nor her relatives are able to disentangle. The lady doesn’t get enough of anything she wants, and several things that she finds mandatory costs her heavily. Good stuff.

     Last but certainly not least is one of the segments in J. S. Morin’s Black Ocean universe. This one he’s titled Mercy For Hire. It concerns a far future galactic civilization held together by both advanced technology and wizardry, and a rogue wizard, Esper Richelieu, who’s made it her life’s work to help others in desperate need. There are four volumes: Wayward Saint, Behind Blue Skies, House of the Orion Sun, and Break The Chain. The fourth becomes available on November 20.

     Esper isn’t your ordinary “tough chick” heroine. Some of her most urgent needs go unsatisfied for very long periods. But her commitment to her Robin Hood-style of galactic do-goodism is firm. She braves quite a few extraordinary hazards to remain true to it. And really: isn’t the idea that interstellar travel at superluminal speeds requires a wizard rather charming?

     Finally for this evening, Elizabeth Moon’s Vatta’s War series has entered a new phase: Vatta’s Peace. I’ve just finished the first volume, Cold Welcome, and it’s a worthy continuation of Moon’s vision of a galaxy in which cutthroat commercial empires vie with one another through political intrigue and military might. As usual for Elizabeth Moon, it’s heavy on characterization and personal relationships and light on technology. You won’t enjoy it unless you’ve read the Vatta’s War books, but if you have, and if you’ve been itching to learn more about the intricacies of politics and commerce on the Vatta homeworld of Slotter Key, this is for you.

     That’s all for this Friday evening, Gentle Reader. I promise to keep you up to date on Experiences as developments progress. Have a nice evening.

1 comment:

jabrwok said...

I've already pre-ordered Thrall and am looking forward to it. The others in your list don't excite my interest, but de gustibus.

If you haven't tried it, you might like _Unsouled_ by Will Wight. It's the first in an ongoing series. The genre is Wuxia (Chinese magic via meditation and martial arts). Not sure how long it's going to progress, but it's been fun so far. Very much a "hero's journey" storyline.