Discussion:
RI March 2018
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Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-04-03 04:34:02 UTC
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Penance: An Imp World Novel
by Debra Dunbar
https://amzn.to/2pXlMaG

Angel of Order Uriel has been noted as missing from the ruling
council for several different Imp books now. Everyone seems to
assume she is on some sort of vision-quest type of journey, but
nobody really seems sure, or to really be concerned about her. Sam,
in particular, uses her absence to put a ringer of her own on the
council.

They probably should have looked longer into it. This book is
Uriel's story, starting as she awakes, without memory and in the
body of a junkie, trapped in a truck with eight other women who are
being trafficked, and who will be sold once they arrive at their
destination. Their only hope for survival is to band together, and
sacrifice everything to get at least one runner out to bring help;
their only ally is a demon who is forbidden from helping.

Why Uriel put herself in this situation, and for what she is trying
to atone gradually become clear, though it requires some familiarity
with the "Imp" backstory to wholly understand. Still, the lesson
she failed to learn so many thousands of years ago, and the lesson
she is learning now are clear enough for a standalone book

This is a fairly grim story, with a graphic description of rape,
and one where not everyone you root for makes it out, but in the
end it is a triumphant one, and Uriel will not falter in the coming
war as she did in the last one.

Last Dragon Standing (Heartstrikers Book 5)
by Rachel Aaron
https://amzn.to/2GrPzU5

This is the final (for now at least) book in the saga of Julian
"the nice dragon" and Marci his lover and first Merlin of the new
magic age. When last we left the couple, they were at long last
consummating their love with Marci back from the dead, and Julian
finally having a few hours where nobody was trying to kill him.

Unfortunately, eventually they have to come out of the bedroom and
face the fact that while it's nice and all that Marci isn't dead
anymore, the world is still facing a Nameless End summoned by the
lake spirit Algonquin and unless they, or *someone*, can do something,
there will shortly be no more world regardless of the fact that
dragons have finally been naturalized into the local magic strata
and Merlins are once more coaching spirits through the rise of
magic. Heartstriker seer Bob's thousand year plan seems to have
bottomed out with narrowly squeaking *him* through his forseen
death, so everybody is now winging it. Luckily (and there is a
luck dragon involved), Julian now basically commands all the dragons
in the world, Marci has figured out how to get back to the Sea of Magic
without dying again, and as long as any of Algonquin's water remains,
the Nameless End cannot fully materialize.

What could possibly go wrong? What couldn't?

I have to say the first third of this book shares the previous
book's tendency to overexplain, and reads like a long council meeting
(though the actual in-story time is fairly brief). After that,
things pick up a good bit, and come to a fairly satisfying conclusion,
though it is apparent that they should have tried the last thing
they tried earlier.

"Juggernaut"
by A. E. Van Vogt
http://www.prosperosisle.org/spip.php?article879

This story is not one of Van Vogt's best in my opinion. It is a
World War II homefront story where allied steel production is aided
and then destroyed by a magical ingot of steel (from the future?)
which gradually makes all the steel it comes into contact with super
strong. There are some extrapolations of the consequences of this
(it works out OK for the allies), but the basic question of "Who?"
is never addressed, and it is more of a typical _Astounding_ "science
problem" story than is usual for Van Vogt.

Still, it's short enough that it doesn't drag, and you can read it
a the link above.

Origins (Heritage of Power Book 3)
by Lindsay Buroker
https://amzn.to/2uHrcMK

Unraveled (Heritage of Power Book 4)
by Lindsay Buroker
https://amzn.to/2GsNtzb


Gold Dragon (Heritage of Power Book 5)
by Lindsay Buroker
https://amzn.to/2Gu0Cfw

These three books finish up Buroker's "Heritage of Power" subseries,
and lead into her forthcoming _Oaths (Dragon Blood 8)_ which will
presumably return the viewpoint to the original characters.

Essentially, we learn here the secret of how pilot Captain Telryn
"Trip" Yert can be a half-dragon when there hasn't been a dragon
presence in the world (until recently) for hundreds of years, and
what that means for him, and Iskandia. Also, his lover Lt. Rysha
Ravenwood learns what it means to be a dragon rider (no, not what
you're thinking), how to reconcile her family to her military life,
and when to lock doors.

Along the way, there are dragon attacks, unexpected weddings and
really cool mage-tech. I could quibble that the build up for said
tech is pretty short, and that there are some ill-advised actions
like flying into magic null fields after being warned, but on the
whole a very pleasant journey and conclusion.


Tamer: King of Dinosaurs 3
by Michael-Scott Earle
https://amzn.to/2GsLqiH

LA Animal Control officer Victor Shelby is still working hard with
his harem of alien women to survive on the dinosaur planet some
really unfriendly aliens have plonked them all down on. Fortunately
the group's fort has withstood the latest dino attack and things
are looking up as plans for essentials like water filtration, soap
and pottery are coming to fruition. Unfortunately they are starting
to encounter other groups of survivors and some are not friendly
in the least.

Spider woman Trell has come into her own in this book, announcing
herself Victor's primary wife, which is her tremendous ego speaking,
but which also seems to be true. She also gets a cover this time,
which is good as I never could quite visualize how her legs were
supposed to work.

The "take the fight to the aliens" idea has at least been mentioned
now, but we are a long way from any _High Crusade_ scenario and for
the nonce, fighting other tribes is fraught enough. The fight
brings out some sides of Victor that I'm not sure what to make of.
In short, he seems to be trending towards jerk or dictator in some
respects. This seems to spill over into his tribe's internal
dynamics as well. Heretofore he has been content to "claim" women
in the Real Life RPG system as they warmed to him, and live and let
live with the others as long as they didn't hinder or freeload.
Now he has decided he can't trust one of the new women (who has
been nothing but helpful) without claiming her. One wonders if he
always expects to be the only man in the tribe.


Lucifer's Daughter: A Reverse Harem Romance (Queen of the Damned Book 1)
by Kel Carpenter
https://amzn.to/2pZTptj

I actually read this last month, but forgot to review it as it was
so unmemorable. Anyway, young succubus struggles to live on Earth
without using her "rapey" powers when her life, such as it is, is
turned upside down when the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse show
up, proclaim that she is Lucifer's daughter, that Lucifer is dead,
and that they are to protect her from what is coming. Oh, and they
are super hot.

Meh.
--
------
columbiaclosings.com
What's not in Columbia anymore..
D B Davis
2018-04-05 06:01:09 UTC
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Ted Nolan <tednolan> <***@loft.tnolan.com> wrote:

<snip>
Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
"Juggernaut"
by A. E. Van Vogt
http://www.prosperosisle.org/spip.php?article879
This story is not one of Van Vogt's best in my opinion. It is a
World War II homefront story where allied steel production is aided
and then destroyed by a magical ingot of steel (from the future?)
which gradually makes all the steel it comes into contact with super
strong. There are some extrapolations of the consequences of this
(it works out OK for the allies), but the basic question of "Who?"
is never addressed, and it is more of a typical _Astounding_ "science
problem" story than is usual for Van Vogt.
Still, it's short enough that it doesn't drag, and you can read it
a the link above.
Shades of _Cat's Cradle_ (Vonnegut) and "The Catalyst" (Yohe)! The
Yohe's even shorter than the Van Vogt and just happens to be available
at:

http://www.mpietrangelo.com/hbio/unit/2_biochemistry/The%20Catalyst.pdf

Thank you,

--
Don

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