Science Fiction

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold

This book is about Cordelia Vorkosigan, but it’s not like the rest of this series. It’s slice-of-life instead of action-adventure. Three years after the death of Aral, Cordelia and Jole, Aral’s second spouse in all but legality, start to turn to each other. Cordelia has decided to have more children, daughter’s, since she and Aral froze the gametes to let that happen when they got older. She offers to Jole the ability to have his own children with their husband. I really like this book even though it nothing like the rest of the series.

It was actually fun on the reread of the series after reading Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen to see all the little references to Jole even way back in The Vor Game, the audience never knew about their relationship because Miles wouldn’t have noticed, but Lois McMaster Bujold has been setting this up for decades.

~Naomi

Science Fiction

Terminal Alliance by Jim C Hines

Marion “Mops” Adamopoulos is a janitor on the Krakau Alliance spaceship EMCS Pufferfish. She and her team are all suited up repairing a sewage line when a new bio weapon created by the Prodryan is released on the Pufferfish. The weapon turns every human on board feral, except the janitors protected inside their suits. They managed to rescue only one human and non-human member of the crew and sterilize the ship so they can take off their suits without catching it. But they are janitors, they don’t know the first thing about how to control the ship. When they finally get in contact with command the Krakau tell them that the feral humans will have to be “put down” but Mops isn’t ready to give up on her friends, even if they are currently trying to eat her face. The janitors may not know how to fly the ship but they managed to change the destination of a pre-programmed jump. As they try to figure out who did this to them and how to reverse it, they discovered there may be an even darker secret lurking behind their own allies.
This is a great book, funny, clever, unique, and much deeper than you expect. It challenges things that Syfy usually takes for granted and is much more realistic about things like the ability of untrained personnel to perform highly specialized tasks. Yet at the same time the author is very clever and versatile in how the characters utilize skills they would have.

~Naomi

Science Fiction

The Scorch Trials by James Dasher

 

We return to Thomas and the gladers as WICKED sends them out into a blistering desert full people called cranks who are infected with the disease that slowly sends them violently insane. They are told if they cross The Scorch and make it to the safe haven then they can receive the Cure. But Teresa has been taken away from Thomas and he can’t reach her in his mind when he tries. When they do see her she acts very strange.
Like its prequel, The Maze Runner, this book is well written and pleasant to read despite the overboard unpleasant things happening to the characters. Very action-y, it almost felt like it was being written to become a movie.

~Naomi

Science Fiction

Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold

Miles visits the planet Kibou on a hunch from empress Laisa, but a kidnapping attempt goes wrong and the sedative they give him reacts badly sending him manic and hallucinating into the cryocombs that stretch for kilometers beneath the city. When he makes it back to street level a boy named Jin takes pity on him and give him a place to stay while he recovers. Jin continues to help Miles and it turns out that Jin’s mother may have information that Miles needs. The problem is that she has been cryogenically frozen. Miles tackles this problem with all his diplomatic and covert Ops training, digging to find the coals under all the smoke.
Wonderful book, I love the characters Bujold creates from Jin and his animals, to every different version of Miles as he grows with each story. (And that sphinx!)

~Naomi

Science Fiction

The Kite Maker by Brenda Peynador

This is a Tor.com original short story and it is beautiful and sad. It can be found here: https://www.tor.com/2018/08/29/the-kite-maker-brenda-peynado/
The main character runs a Kite Shop catering mainly to bug like aliens. She deals with the guilt of being on the front lines when they landed and killing the gentle creatures who would not fight back. She deals with bigotry, guilt, and sorrow at the longing the aliens show when they fly her kites. And she deals with the neo-nazi’s who’s bigotry leads them to damage her shop for selling mainly to aliens.
It was so sad, a new take on an age-old sci-fi-theme. They are not like us, if they were maybe we could justify our violence. Hope and longing, fear and guilt, penance and the next generation, all these themes weave expertly through this short story.

~Naomi

Science Fiction, Young Adult

The Wild Dead by Carrie Vaughn

No there are no zombies in this book. Just an interesting post-apocalyptic future. Dystopian, but making it work.
The sequel to Bannerless finds Enid on a very straightforward arbitration case, until a body shows up in the Bog. The shock comes when Enid realizes the murdered girl isn’t from the Coast Road, she’s from the wild. Everyone says she should just leave it be, the murder of an outsider isn’t her business, but Enid can’t just let it go. There’s something that isn’t being said by the locals and she may just have to venture farther into the Wilds than she has ever gone to find answers.
I really like the main character and I look forward to another in the series.

~Naomi