Relic of Sorrows: Fallen Empire, Book 4 by Lindsay Buroker

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This book, number 4 in the series, pulls together much of what we’d guessed at in the previous three books. Relic of Sorrows also adds some new twists in the plot. From the three previous books, we know pretty much everything important about Alisa.

We’ve learned she is ethical and empathetic. She is very courageous when she needs courage. She is also a typical girl.

She allows herself to be tempted by people and circumstances and often gives in to them. She is a habitual eavesdropper, and though conflicted about this. She seems to have no desire to stop. She is embarrassed when caught.

She wants to keep Leonidas’ good opinion of her. She tries to be manipulative but isn’t good at it. She displays snarkiness but thinks she is charming because of it.

Despite all these character defects, she is sweet, and it’s easy to see why the various men are drawn to her.

Leonidas is upstanding, capable of friendship, ethical, brave, protective, very smart, introspective, and maybe even as a Cyborg, capable of love. Alisa and the others in the group have learned things about him. They have grown to value him, and his opinions.

We learn, in this book, one of his great secrets, which, because of all the foreshadowing was done, is not much of a secret when he finally reveals it to Alisa.

The two also finally get together, as much as they can. Alisa is also pursued by Abelardus, who manages to throw several curves at her, and causes discord between her and Leo. Because of the secret (which Alisa didn’t know), we learn about Alisa. We are aware why he is doing this. This banter results in some fairly enjoyable scenes between the two of them. Enjoyable to the reader, at any rate.

We learn what the orb is that Alejandro has carried with him throughout the various voyages, and get finally to see it in action. The circumstances are, actually, surprising, and open up a whole avenue of further plotlines.

It’s hard to describe these scenes without including lots and lots of spoilers. Let me just say, the book and series are worth reading.

In this book, none of the other crew members or passengers get much time, and we don’t learn much more about them. It’s the plot that is primarily advanced in this installment.

We’ve gotten beyond all the searching for the relic, which is now found, and because of Alisa’s ingenuity, is in the possession of this group, instead of all the other powerful people who have been looking for it.

The book ends here, and we can only surmise that as soon as the Alliance discovers that they have been duped, they will come storming after them.

There has been no action on the search for Jelena this time, but Leo has agreed to stay with Alisa and work for her while she searches for her daughter.

There is plenty of action and excitement in this book. The value in this one is in the background information we gain, and in the movement of the plot.

The next book is going to be fantastic. It will include the search for Jelena, a search for Torian, (the Emperor’s missing son), possibly the kidnapping of Dr. Tiang, (the researcher newly introduced into the story, who is knowledgeable about cyborg workings), and the conspiracy which is beginning to form between Abelardus and Alejandro to either force, or convince Alisa to use her newly found power to aid them in their ultimate mission.

 

 

The Toynbee Convector by Ray Bradbury

Toynbee Convector

Spoiler alert! Spoilers are in this review!

I first read this collection of short stories in 1992.  It includes a reprint of the 1983 story, “The Toynbee Convector” that appeared in the January 1984 issue of “Playboy.”  

Here is the story plot/summary.  The story’s protagonist claims to have returned from the future.  He has tapes and films of a miraculous technological wonderland.  Humankind has solved all its major problems – no cancer, no world hunger, etc.  This energizes the world with confidence.  People believe that their dreams will come true.  They proceed to build that future.  

They have no idea that future is all a lie.  The lie pictures a wondrous future.  It describes this future in breath-taking detail.  There is almost an action plan with hints as to how to get there.  The world’s brain trust of scientists, economists, and politicians take the clues and make this future a reality.  

Then comes the day when we are at the time and place where the protagonist is to appear from the past in the created future.  A major deflection occurs.  You have to read the story for the conclusion.  It is worth reading.  

The book has twenty-two other stories.  While the other stories in the collection are good and “worth the read,” none match the opening story.  The majority are reprints from magazine articles.  

I nominate the short story of “The Toynbee Convector” for the best fantasy/science fiction short story ever written.  It is that good.  

 

Signature RB

 

Photo Sources: The cover of the hardbound first edition along with Ray Bradbury’s signature inside the first edition.

Starseers: Fallen Empire, Book 3 by Lindsay Buroker

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast was my introduction to author Lindsay Buroker. Beware – spoilers follow!

Okay, I have to begin by saying I’m hooked on the series. The characters are awesome. Lindsay Buroker does a world-class job with the characters. I love Alisa’s irreverent humor. The constant danger the Star Nomad keeps finding itself in keeps the tension going. The sexual tension between Alisa and the cyborg Leonidas keeps building.

We see Alisa growth as her faith in the Alliance diminishes. She sees the Alliance isn’t as wonderful as she once imagined. We clearly see her Alliance views and the counterpoint of Leonidas the cyborg’s personal honor that becomes more apparent. We learn more of who he is. The more I learn about him the more we like and the more human he is.

Maybe like me, you will feel empathy for Yumi. And we learn more of the Starseers. I’m committed to the entire series. I am on board to see where the adventures take us and to learn more of the wonderful characters.

Honor’s Flight: Fallen Empire, Book 2 by Lindsay Buroker

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast was my introduction to author Lindsay Buroker. Beware – spoilers follow!

“Honor’s Flight: Fallen Empire, Book 2” in the Emperor’s Edge series has the crew of Star Nomad Star Nomad returning to Perun looking for Alisa’s lost daughter. They are also dealing with the artifact that Alejandro has with him. The adventure continues as things do not happen as Alisa hoped once back on Perun.

When Alisa arrives on her home planet she isn’t welcome. She’s former Alliance pilot. The planet is under control of the Empire. As if this isn’t bad enough the worst is yet to come. Her daughter has been taken by Starseers. The sets the stage for the rest of the story.

Alisa engages in a desperate search for her daughter as Alejandro is trying to gain more information on his orb.

The after effects of the war between the Alliance and the Empire ring through the book. We see what happens when a government is defeated. We see the after effects on the victor not being able to fill the void of the previous government at all levels.

Lindsay Buroker has crafted another excellent book. Great story telling, wonderful character, and some wonderful humor keep me turning the pages. I especially like Alisa’s interactions with Leonidas. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them. The grilling Beck and engineer Mica add depth to the story.  The characters grow together as they travel and strive for survival. I confess I have become a big fan of Lindsay Buroker. Her writing is brilliant and I love the humor. I haven’t decided if it is intentional or just the author’s voice. Either way, it rocks.

Star Nomad: Fallen Empire, Book 1 by Lindsay Buroker

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The Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast was my introduction to author Lindsay Buroker. An episode of the podcast I was listening to mentioned she also wrote Science Fiction as well as Fantasy. I headed to Amazon to explore her science fiction books.

I did a quick reading of the first four paragraphs of chapter one of Star Nomad: Fallen Empire, Book 1 in the Emperor’s Edge series. I then purchased the book using the beautiful “buy with 1-click” Amazon command button.

I am now a fanboy of Lindsay Buroker’s science fiction writing.

The author has a great story. The memorable characters greeted me immediately. There is the Star Nomad’s captain, Alisa Marchenko. She has her engineering friend Mica who is also a heck of a mechanic. They find Alisa’s mother’s old ship to get off the desert planet they were stranded on after the war ended.

We learn that Alisa and Mica fought on the side of the Alliance. They soon meet an Imperial cyborg living in and guarding the Star Nomad. They negotiate with him to reach their common goal of getting off the planet and back to Alisa’s home world of  Perun and civilization.

We learn the consequences of what happens when an evil empire is overthrown without having a strong new government plan in order.

Additional players in the book are the previous Emperor, the Starseers, the Alliance, and the Mafia. The book cover the characters’ quest to Perun. It lays down a solid foundation for the remaining journey and possible future conflict between characters.

I have read book 2 and will review it soon. I am currently reading book 3 in the series. It looks like there are 8-books to date in the series.

Star Nomad is fun reading. It will make even give you the desire to do some grilling of bear meat. And yes, there are female science-fiction authors. Lindsay Buroker is of the top ten female science fiction authors of modern times according to World’s Edge Tavern.

Honor’s Flight: Fallen Empire, Book 2 by Lindsay Buroker

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast was my introduction to author Lindsay Buroker. Beware – spoilers follow!

“Honor’s Flight: Fallen Empire, Book 2” in the Emperor’s Edge series has the crew of Star Nomad Star Nomad returning to Perun looking for Alisa’s lost daughter. They are also dealing with the artifact that Alejandro has with him. The adventure continues as things do not happen as Alisa hoped once back on Perun.

When Alisa arrives on her home planet she isn’t welcome. She’s former Alliance pilot. The planet is under control of the Empire. As if this isn’t bad enough the worst is yet to come. Her daughter has been taken by Starseers. The sets the stage for the rest of the story.

Alisa engages in a desperate search for her daughter as Alejandro is trying to gain more information on his orb.

The after effects of the war between the Alliance and the Empire ring through the book. We see what happens when a government is defeated. We see the after effects on the victor not being able to fill the void of the previous government at all levels.

Lindsay Buroker has crafted another excellent book. Great story telling, wonderful character, and some wonderful humor keep me turning the pages. I especially like Alisa’s interactions with Leonidas. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them. The grilling Beck and engineer Mica add depth to the story.  The characters grow together as they travel and strive for survival. I confess I have become a big fan of Lindsay Buroker. Her writing is brilliant and I love the humor. I haven’t decided if it is intentional or just the author’s voice. Either way, it rocks.

Star Nomad: Fallen Empire, Book 1 by Lindsay Buroker

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast was my introduction to author Lindsay Buroker. An episode of the podcast I was listening to mentioned she also wrote Science Fiction as well as Fantasy. I headed to Amazon to explore her science fiction books.

I did a quick reading of the first four paragraphs of chapter one of Star Nomad: Fallen Empire, Book 1 in the Emperor’s Edge series. I then purchased the book using the beautiful “buy with 1-click” Amazon command button.

I am now a fanboy of Lindsay Burocker’s science fiction writing.

The author has a great story. The memorable characters greeted me immediately. There is the Star Nomad’s captain, Alisa Marchenko. She has her engineering friend Mica who is also a heck of a mechanic. They find Alisa’s mother’s old ship to get off the desert planet they were stranded on after the war ended.

We learn that Alisa and Mica fought on the side of the Alliance. They soon meet an Imperial cyborg living in and guarding the Star Nomad. They negotiate with him to reach their common goal of getting off the planet and back to Alisa’s home world of  Perun and civilization.

We learn the consequences of what happens when an evil empire is overthrown without having a strong new government plan in order.

Additional players in the book are the previous Emperor, the Starseers, the Alliance, and the Mafia. The book cover the characters’ quest to Perun. It lays down a solid foundation for the remaining journey and possible future conflict between characters.

I have read book 2 and will review it soon. I am currently reading book 3 in the series. It looks like there are 8-books to date in the series.

Star Nomad is fun reading. It will make even give you the desire to do some grilling of bear meat. And yes, there are female science-fiction authors. Lindsay Buroker is of the top ten female science fiction authors of modern times according to World’s Edge Tavern.

Fahrenheit 451

The genesis of Fahrenheit 451 is in Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles where he has the story of book burning. Written in 1950 this book is as relevant today as it was when it first went into print.

The book is about political correctness and burning those books that make certain groups feel bad about themselves. The fireman in Bradbury’s book don’t put out fires; they start fires. They search out and burn books. It is a crime, in this society, to own or read books. I would not want to live in this society.

Knowledge is evil. People receive all of their cultures through television walls built into their houses.

Guy Montag is a fireman who loves his work. He likes nothing better than to spray kerosene on a pile of books and watch the pages curl and turn into flakes of black ash that flutter through the air. Until the day, he meets Clarisse, a young girl who knows about a world of literature, thoughts, and ideas. Their conversations precipitate a crisis of faith in Guy, and he begins to steal books and hide them in his home.

His wife discovers what he is doing. She becomes terrified. She turns him in. He is forced to burn his beloved collection. Guy flees to avoid being arrested. He joins an outlaw band of scholars who are trying to keep the contents of important books in their heads.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler’s work has appeared in six different Lifeway Christian publications as well as The Baptist Program, Thinking About Suicide.com, Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine and more. His short story stories The Cup, Invasion of the Prairie Dogs, Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story, and The Paintings as well as Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection are available on Amazon.com.


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler’s work has appeared in six different Lifeway Christian publications as well as The Baptist Program, Thinking About Suicide.com, Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine and more. His short story stories The Cup, Invasion of the Prairie Dogs, Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story, and The Paintings as well as Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection are available on Amazon.com.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451

The genesis of Fahrenheit 451 is in Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles where he has the story of book burning. Published in 1953, Fahrenheit 451 is as relevant today as it was when it first went into print.

Set in an unspecified city, Fahrenheit 451 is set at some unspecified time in the future. “The Fireman” novella, which was expanded to become Fahrenheit 451. The setting was October 2052.

Divided into three parts: “The Hearth and the Salamander”, “The Sieve and the Sand”, and “Burning Bright” it is a book about political correctness. They burn those books that make certain groups feel bad about themselves. The fireman in Bradbury’s book don’t put out fires; they start fires. They search out and burn books. It is a crime, in this society, to own or read books. I would not want to live in this society.

Knowledge is evil. The television walls of their homes are how people receive all of their cultures.

Guy Montag is a fireman who loves his work. He likes nothing better than to spray kerosene on a pile of books, watch the pages curl and turn into flakes of black ash that flutter through the air.

One day he meets Clarisse, a girl who knows about a world of books, thoughts, and ideas. Their conversations precipitate a crisis of faith in Guy. He begins to steal books and hide them in his home.

His wife discovers what he is doing. She becomes terrified. She turns him in. He is forced to burn his beloved collection. Guy flees to avoid being arrested. He joins an outlaw band of scholars who are trying to keep the contents of important books in their heads.

The novel has won multiple awards. In 1954, it won the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature and the Commonwealth Club of California Gold Medal. It has since won the Prometheus “Hall of Fame” Award in 1984 and a 1954 “Retro” Hugo Award, one of only four Best Novel Retro Hugos ever given, in 2004. Bradbury was honored with a Spoken Word Grammy nomination for his 1976 audiobook version.

Short Story: A Logic Named Joe by Murray Leinster

A Logic Named Joe

I love reading and writing short stories. A few years ago I came up with the idea of writing a nonfiction article on the five most influential pre-1950 computers in science fiction. In researching that list of potential computers, I read a number of books and short stories. E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops” topped off the list. It left me speechless and amazed. I wrote a review about that story last week. You can find it HERE. A second short story on the list was Misfit by Robert A. Heinlein. You can find it HERE. The third computer I found was “The Engine.” The Engine is a fictional device described in Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift in 1726. You can find it HERE. The fourth is The World of Null-A, sometimes written The World of Ā, is a 1948 science fiction novel by A. E. van Vogt.  You can find it HERE.

“A Logic Named Joe” is a science fiction short story by Murray Leinster that was first published in the March 1946 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. The story actually appeared under Leinster’s real name, Will F. Jenkins, since that issue of Astounding also included a story under the Leinster pseudonym called “Adapter”. The story is particularly noteworthy as a prediction of massively networked personal computers and their drawbacks, written at a time when computing was in its infancy.

The story’s narrator is a “logic” (much like a computer) repairman nicknamed Ducky. In the story, a logic that he names Joe develops some degree of sapience and ambition. Joe proceeds to switch around a few relays in “the tank” (one of a distributed set of central information repositories), and cross-correlate all information ever assembled – yielding highly unexpected results. It then proceeds to freely disseminate all of those results to everyone on demand (and simultaneously disabling all of the content-filtering protocols). Logics begin offering up unexpected assistance to everyone that includes designing custom chemicals that alleviate inebriation, giving sex advice to small children, and plotting the perfect murder… Eventually Ducky “saves the civilization” by locating and turning off the only logic capable of doing this.

“A Logic Named Joe” has appeared in the collections Sidewise in Time (Shasta, 1950), The Best of Murray Leinster (Del Rey, 1978), First Contacts (NESFA, 1998), and A Logic Named Joe (Baen, 2005), and was also included in the Machines That Think compilation, with notes by Isaac Asimov, published 1984 Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

A Logic Named Joe was also published in The Great Science Fiction Stories, Volume 8, 1946 Edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenburg, DAW Books, November 1982 ISBN 0-87997-780-9

Source: Wikipedia and the short story A Logic Named Joe