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Exile’s Honor: One of the best VALDEMAR novels

Exile’s Honor by Mercedes Lackey


Alberich had been an honorable, loyal, and effective officer in Karse’s army for many years until the day the Karsite sunpriests discovered that part of his success was due to the flashes of foresight he sometimes gets. When they attempted to burn him alive as a witch, Alberich was saved by a white horse that turned out to be one of the blue-eyed mind-speaking Companions of Valdemar, an enemy of Karse. Now Alberich is in Valdemar being trained as a Herald and, since he’s such a good fighter, he’s being groomed to be the Heralds’ next weapons master.

Alberich has a lot of adjusting to do because everything about Valdemar is different from Karse. It’s more comfortable, more tolerant, the government works better, and there is far more freedom and justice, even for Alberich, an immigrant who doesn’t speak the language well.

As Alberich continues to ... Read More

The Keeping Place: A dystopian world continues to expand

The Keeping Place by Isobelle Carmody

This is the fourth book in Isobelle Carmody's ongoing THE OBERNEWTYN CHRONICLES, detailing the lives of telepathic Misfits trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. After the cataclysm known as the Great White destroyed all know civilisation, humanity has re-emerged across various cities and communities, ruled over by a totalitarian Council and religious fanatics known as the Herders.

The Misfits are those regularly used as scapegoats by those in power; their abilities to heal, coerce, mind-speak, empathise and communicate with animals held up as examples of blasphemy and witchcraft. That hasn't stopped them from building a sanctuary for themselves at Obernewtyn; once a compound for experimenting on their people, now a place of safety and harmony.

But Misfits still ... Read More

Excession: Does anyone do far future better than Banks?

Excession by Iain M. Banks

Let’s skip the highty-flighty, atmospheric float of intros and get right to the point. Iain M. Banks’ 1996 Excession is gosh-wow, sense-wunda science fiction that pushes the limits of the genre as far into the imagination — and future — as any book has. The AI ship-minds, post-human world-is-your-oyster humanity, and incredible roster of engine speeds, galaxies, drones, weaponry, biological possibilities, planets, orbitals, etc., etc. of previous books have been topped. Banks took a look at the savory milieu of the Culture, cocked his head and asked: “How can I up the ante?” The titular ‘excession’ is the answer.

Arthur C. Clarke’s brilliant Rendezvous with Rama sees humanity attempting to quantify and understand a BDO (big dumb object) that comes sailing throu... Read More

Alvin Journeyman: Talks too much

Alvin Journeyman by Orson Scott Card

Alvin Miller is finally a journeyman blacksmith and a Maker. He’s back home in Vigor Church, trying to teach others his Making skills because he believes he needs Makers to create the Crystal City he’s dreamed of. But the Unmaker is hard at work, trying to unravel Alvin’s plans. With the help of a girl who has a crush on Alvin, the Unmaker manages to get Alvin to flee back to Hatrack River where Makepeace Smith is waiting to sue him for that golden plow. The prosecutor is none other than Daniel Webster.

Alvin’s brother Calvin, who is jealous of Alvin, has gone to Europe to learn from Napoleon Bonaparte. While he’s there, he meets a young lawyer who is also a Maker and, inadvertently, sends him to Alvin’s defense. Meanwhile, Peggy, who continues to watch over Alvin and Calvin, is on a crusade to end slavery. She’d also like to ruin William “Tippecanoe” Harrison’s chance of be... Read More