Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2017-07-05 03:41:50 UTC
_Unholy Pleasures_ (Half Breed 4) by Debra Dunbar
Half Elf / Half Succubus Amber Lowry has just completed her botany
degree and is interning at a Napa Valley vineyard. Unfortunately,
shortly before her arrival, everything that can go wrong with grape
vines has started to happen -- even contradictory things like
multiple vine diseases that thrive in completely different conditions.
Amber can't help herself from healing some of the vines, but that's
not why she is there, and besides the vineyard has hired an Elf (the
ongoing Elf invasion has basically failed at this point in the Imp
timeline) to deal with the problems, and Amber has bigger concerns
like one of her dearest lovers growing distant, an unexpected
Breeding Contract offer from a powerful warmonger demon she met on
her recent trip to Hel, worries about her longterm prospects with
her soulmate Irix and two plague demons who seem to have it in for
her. Of course Amber has never been able to let go of a problem,
even if it's not hers, and this time won't be any different.
So far the Halfbreed books are my second favorites in the Imp
universe, and I have to say this was a good bit more entertaining
that the last book about her sorta-sister Nyalla, perhaps because
it wasn't trying to set up a pairing too quickly.
Be aware: Amber has fully embraced her succubus half now, so there is
a good bit of sex.
"Fixit" (Fixit Adventures Book 1)
by Erik Schubach (Author)
"Glitch" (Fixit Adventures Book 2)
by Erik Schubach (Author)
There is a very "Star Wars" feel to these stories of master tinker
"Fixit" (real name "Vega Hasher", but she never uses it) who lives
on the ground of Tau Ceti Prime, running her late mother's farm
alone except for her "pinger" (droid) companions. She takes pride
in the fact that her sector alone has never missed a quota, but
that seems in a real danger of stopping when one of her shipments
to the sky city is hijacked and the snooty sky dweller whose
reputation and money *should* be on the line for the loss expects
Fixit to make it good or he will make *her* life untenable. Now
Fixit must somehow scrounge up a new shipment and get her mother's
old aircar working to make delivery herself. And, of course the
pirates that were the original problem are still active and may
kill her and her pinger friend unless the dashing captain of the
Sky Guard arrives in time..
As I said a very Star Wars vibe. You can almost imagine Fixit
living on Luke's Aunt & Uncle's farm and having to deliver a shipment
to Mos Eisley. Like Star Wars, the science and technology is
nonsense with "compressed photons", and naturally occurring areas
of reverse gravity. Fixit's interactions with her main pinger,
friend "Glitch" are a little twee, but it's a short and fairly entertaining
In the second Fixit story, someone in the floating city has finally
noticed that none of Fixit's pingers are normal, and wants to investigate
Glitch destructively. Fixit and her Sky Guard lover must somehow convince
the powers-that-be that Glitch is a person and bring him home.
We get some interesting revelations in this one though there are still
a few mysteries, and Fixit doesn't tell the whole truth to anyone.
Also, surprisingly, we see that the author has a bit more acquaintance
with SF than simply watching the Star Wars saga as the "Asimov chip" in
standard pingers is name-checked.
Devil's Due (Destroyermen)
by Taylor Anderson (Author)
The war continues on the parallel world the WWI era destroyer
USS Walker has been cast into. What has largely been a two front
conflict threatens to become a four front one as to the genocidal reptilian
Grik menace and the fanatical Azteco-catholic Dominion campaigns are
added potential independent actions by outcast Japanese "General of the Seas"
Kurokawa and the still mysterious League of Tripoli. Luckily the multi
species Republic of Real People in southern Africa is finally stumbling
into action as an ally, and the Empire of New Britain is holding up its
end. There may even be new allies in North America. Still supreme commander
Matthew Reddy is in a bad place with his pregnant wife in Kurokawa's hands
and conflicted about whether this is affecting his strategy for dealing
with each menace. If he attempts an action against Kurokawa, is that
sound strategic thinking, or a worried husband? Luckily, long time
loose cannon and one man tank-corps Dennis de Silva is also on the job.
This is a satisfying story chunk though we see nothing of the Grik general
who may be forging his soldiers into *people* during this outing, and
very little of the Dominion side of the war. (We do have an interesting
vingette with the Grik Queen Mother, who may be more than he reagents assume..)
Persuasion (Curse of the Gods Book 2)
by Jane Washington (Author), Jaymin Eve (Author)
Following, I guess, the classical example of _The Mahabharata_,
Willa Knight is sorta wife to 5 brothers (although sex has yet to
ensue). She's also an epic klutz who somehow stumbles from one
crisis to another without ever quite managing to die. In book one
she ended up in her world's most important academy, from which new
gods are chosen (though never from "Dwellers", Willa's birth class),
found her self soul bound to five often obnoxious brothers and then
found they were not "Sols" (the class from which gods are chosen),
but actually gods already. In this outing, the plot thickens some
with deadly contests, divine visits, and an actual explanation for
why Willa is so inept but not dead. There is also a good deal of
silliness including an ill-thought-out underwear outing and so much
romantic swooning that the plot gets lost. You kind of want to
grab them and say "just have sex already and move on".
Bound (An Alex Verus Novel Book 8)
by Benedict Jacka (Author)
After having spent the last book on the run, and ultimately being
run-to-ground Alex (and his posse) have to make hard choices in
this book. With the death sentence over his head only held in
abeyance due to his posting as chief aide to the Council's only
Dark mage, Alex finds himself working for the "bad guys" while he
is starting to see that the "good guys" have done nothing but work
against him and try to kill him for years. It's an uncomfortable
realization, and he finally takes some steps towards following
Arachne's advice to either pick a side or be a side. In the meantime,
he continues to mishandle his relationship with the woman he won't
say he loves and finds himself serving as cannon fodder in an attack
on the second most secure location in the world.
We've had two books of Alex at bay now, and I'm ready for the return of
the deadly diviner of the first couple of books. Alex has been taking
names, now it's time to kick some butt.
The Unlikeable Demon Hunter (Nava Katz Book 1)
by Deborah Wilde (Author)
"SLAY" Deborah Wilde
Centuries ago King David (yes, that one) set up a secret organization
of demon hunters. These days it's no longer strictly Jewish, though
Rabbis still hold most of the leadership positions. That's stuff
Nava Katz has known for years, since her brother is slated for
induction to the society. It's certainly not anything she's actually
*interested* in. In fact, these days, she's most interested in
drowning her sorrows in booze and unsatisfying hookups. She certainly
didn't think that when she straggled home half drunk and found the
induction ceremony about to start that it had anything to do with
*her* aside from being hung-overly happy for her brother. She
*certainly* didn't expect the ceremony to *choose* her. But now
she's stuck with it. Given that the brotherhood doesn't take women,
and that she never did the pre-reading and that she's suddenly on
the demon radar, she has fairly little chance of living out the
next few weeks. Of course said brotherhood is full of smoking hot
(if damaged) men and includes a certain cocky but incredibly talented
ex-boy-band-member and with her new healing abilities, she may be
able to dance again..
Actually as Urban Heroines go, Nava isn't that unlikeable, thought
she is certainly abrasive. I have some problems with the setting.
All demons have a "kill spot" where they are vulnerable to a
brotherhood attack. To me this argues they were designed. It's
probably not an issue we are supposed to think about, but it's just
too convenient not to. Also, there's the whole "free will" issue.
Do demons have to be evil? Is it OK to hunt down one who hasn't
actually done anything yet? We may be supposed to think about this
one as we do have a half-demon example who isn't that bad, and the
big-bad only comes after Nava after she handjobs his son to death..
"SLAY" is a bonus story not available commercially I think. It follows Nava
and her crush on a battle against some water demons and later into the hot
"Instinct" by Lester Del Rey
A Golden Age classic that holds up pretty well. *Something* has happened
to "man", and the last human created robots had to deal with it, and
re-establish robot making tech from scratch, barely able to run a few
new units off the line before finally wearing down to a stop, unfortunately
before being able to tell the new generation exactly what happened. Now
robot-kind is once again well established, colonizing the Solar System and
even making inroads to nearby stars. Still the mystery of "man" persists,
and seems linked to the mysterious circuitry of robot brains: Without a
full understanding of how they were designed, the robots hesitate to change
anything. Why modulate air to talk when radios could be directly implanted?
Nobody is sure, but perhaps it is crucial in some way.. Man was reputed
to have unlearned responses, "instinct", and robots have none. Perhaps
that gave him the insight to design robots and if robots understood instinct,
they could fully master themselves. Perhaps.
Dr. Senthree has been studying the problem of man for years, even getting to
the point of trying to recreate him in Jurassic Park style. Somehow nothing
has ever worked, and now his funds are being cut to support the Arcturus
colonization effort. He has one last chance before turning out the lights:
an old surgeon unit salvaged from the tar pits of Venus knew man, and though
largely uncommunicative otherwise does have some key insights into where
Senthree's team has been going wrong. And perhaps robots will get a firsthand
look at instinct after all.
I hadn't read this for probably 40 years, but parts of it I recalled
vividly, such as the marvelous sequence of working in overlapping
time fields. There are a few glitches such as having not to think
too hard about what the subjects were being fed before demanding
food, and the fact that the surgeon robot is first talked about as
a major restoration project but later shows up after apparently
just a few hours of work, but on the whole a story that deserves
What's not in Columbia anymore..
What's not in Columbia anymore..