We're back home from Worldcon, and back into the beastly heat. A perfect time to curl up in a cool place with a good book.
The Eyes of a Doll by Rob Howell
Just another day in Achrida... All Edward Aethelredson wanted to do was to enjoy his ale, heal from his wounds, relax during the summer, and help his friend with what should have been nothing more than a pleasant ride in the country. Two bodies later, including one he kills in self-defense, Edward is drawn into the dark recesses of the Empire’s criminal underworld. He cannot flee, for that would impugn his honor. He cannot hide, for that would leave a six-year-old girl and her family in danger for merely being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He cannot attack, for he does not know who to strike at. With an ally who is more foe than friend and his back against the wall, can Edward find the cunning necessary to save his friends? Or will crime lords and deadly wizards spell the end of him?
(This is the second volume of the world of Shijuren, which began with A Lake Most Deep).
Silent Meridian by Elizabeth Crowens
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is obsessed with a legendary red book. Its peculiar stories have come to life, and rumors claim that it has rewritten its own endings. Convinced that possessing this book will help him write his ever-popular Sherlock Holmes stories, he takes on an unlikely partner, John Patrick Scott, known to most as a concert musician and paranormal investigator. Although in his humble opinion, Scott considers himself more of an ethereal archeologist and a time traveler professor.
Together they explore lost worlds and excavate realms beyond the knowledge of historians when they go back in time to find it. But everything backfires, and their friendship is tested to the limits. Both discover that karmic ties and unconscionable crimes have followed them like ghosts from the past, wreaking havoc on the present and possibly the future.
Silent Meridian reveals the alternate histories of Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Houdini, Jung and other notable luminaries in the secret diaries of a new kind of Doctor Watson, John Patrick Scott, in an X Files for the 19th century. Stay tuned for A Pocketful of Lodestones; book two in the Time Traveler Professor series by Elizabeth Crowens.
(If you like steampunk and time travel, take a look).
After the Sundial by Vera Nazarian
AFTER THE SUNDIAL by Vera Nazarian is the author's first short fiction collection that focuses specifically on science fiction works, and can be viewed as a companion volume to her earlier collection, SALT OF THE AIR which focused on fable, myth, and fantasy.
Bound by the common theme of time and temporal exploration, the ten selections here range widely from traditional speculative fiction to the surreal literary to poetry to bawdy adventure humor to space opera and far future speculation.
Includes an introduction by the author, two previously unpublished works and a full-length critically acclaimed novella THE CLOCK KING AND THE QUEEN OF THE HOURGLASS.
(One of my favorite single-author collections, I originally read it in uncorrected proof. And I still enjoy re-reading it, savoring the stories that range from pretty hard sf to mystical speculation that isn't exactly sf or fantasy, almost philosophical fiction).
Sasharia En Garde by Sherwood Smith
First published as two books—Once a Princess, and Twice a Prince—this romantic fantasy has been revised and published as one book, as first intended. It is set in the same world as Crown Duel, to which Sasha’s mother, Sun, was once swept away by a real prince.
But not to happily ever after. Her prince vanished, and a wicked king took the throne. Since then, Sasha and Sun have been hiding on Earth, both training in martial arts until Sasha is tricked into going back to Khanerenth.
She’s more than ready to kick some bad-guy butt, but is the stylish pirate Zathdar the bad guy? Or artistic, dreamy Prince Jehan, son of the wicked king?
Meanwhile Sun is determined to cross worlds to save her daughter. She might not have been a very good princess, but nobody messes with Mom!
(I originally read the two-volume version. A side story, but with ties to Crown Duel and A Stranger to Command. Because it's self-contained and starts on Earth, it may be a good entry point to the intricate world of Sartorias-deles).
The Ten Just Men by Joseph T. Major
The fighting in Europe is over but the war is not yet done. The allies cannot agree. The defeated must rebuild, faced with the problem of overcoming the last eleven years, of creating a new structure of society, of making some sort of economy.
All the while, the former allies are facing problems inside and out.
In the not very pacific Pacific, the power of the Allies is converging on the last enemy. The price needed to be paid to overcome them may be more than can be paid -- even if wonder weapons provide a final out.
In the midst of this tumult, ordinary people try to pick up and carry on, to bring new life into the world and to reconstruct existing life.
The war is grinding to an end . . . but only the dead have known the end of war.
(The fifth volume of Joseph T. Major's Alternate World War II series, it covers the time after VE Day, as Japan alone of the Axis remains to be defeated. This saga began in Bitter Weeds and continued in No Hint of War, The Road to the Sea and An Irresponsible Gang).
Visions V: Milky Way, edited by Carrol Fix
Visions V stories take place somewhere—anywhere—in the Milky Way Galaxy. Planets, stars, and aliens, with no limitations, form the subject and action taking place outside our Solar System and within the Milky Way.
Humankind has forded the immense stream of space between stars and reached our nearest solar neighbors. What will we discover on hospitable planets circling those new stars? Will we find almost familiar moons, asteroids, planetary rings? Or, could there be never before seen astronomical formations? The sky is no longer the limit for our soaring imaginations, because somewhere out there is a potential haven for the remnants of our beleaguered civilization.
Global catastrophe is a constant threat for our war-torn and dysfunctional human race. No one can foresee the future, but we have lived on the brink of extinction since the invention of the atomic bomb and, more recently, germ warfare and genetic manipulation.
Astrophysicist Professor Stephen Hawking has said, "I believe that the long term future of the human race must be space and that it represents an important life insurance for our future survival, as it could prevent the disappearance of humanity by colonizing other planets."
The vast Milky Way Galaxy may allow the seeds of our future to be widely distributed, past the danger of a final extinction.
Visions V: Milky Way brings together a collection of fascinating and entertaining stories by award-winning science fiction authors.
“Ships in the Night” by Jay Werkheiser
“End Around” by E. J. Shumak
“Unwanted Gifts” by S. M. Kraftchak
“Greatcloak” by Jonathan Shipley
“Claim Jumpers” by Doug C. Souza
“The Device” by Tara Campbell
“Where the Last Tramz Stops” by Sam Bellotto Jr.
“Eighteen Winters” by D. A. Couturier
“Yellow Star” by John Moralee
“The Shadow of a Dead God” by Leigh Kimmel
“Black Hearts and Blue Skins” by Timothy Paul
“Welcome to Your Dream House” by Steve Bates
“Pan Ad Aster” by Bruce C. Davis
“Rachel’s Fall” by Teresa Howard
“When Unknown Gods Leave” by Margaret Karmazin
“First Sunrise” by Marie Michaels
“Dropworld” by Fredrick Obermeyer
“Bright Horizon” by Thomas Olbert
“The Mirror Dialogues” by Richard Zwicker
“The Drive” by W. A. Fix
(Yet another anthology with a story of mine -- except why did I persistently remember the title as "The Long Shadow of a Dead God"? Was that an earlier working title, later edited away, or was it from some ot her work, now abandoned? Memory is such a tricky thing).
The Stirge by Leigh Kimmel
When Liphrel's family fell too far on their debts, he was sold to the priests of the death god. But his family were followers of the birth goddess, which left him in a difficult position.
(One of my first published stories, it was accepted right at a time when I was at the nadir of my life. Not only was I despairing of ever being published, I was starting to wonder if my life as a whole was ever going to improve. And then things turned around, and by the time it actually saw print, I was in considerably improved circumstances).
The Free-Range Oyster also has more cool book recommendations over at Sarah Hoyt's blog.
And as always, If you would like your work promoted in my blog, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crossposted at The Starship Cat and The Billion Light-Year Bookshelf Blog.