Fireflies and Father’s Day. Plus Book Reviews, Promotions and more.
The Lampworks Lamplighter SF & Fantasy News & Reviews
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In this issue
Fireflies and Father’s Day
The next newsletter date falls on Father’s Day, and I will be doing some as-yet-undisclosed activities at some distant location, so I’m writing this in advance. Little robots will take care of sending you your copies on Sunday morning, giving me time to enjoy the day.
We’ve been sitting outside on the long summer evenings, watching the fireflies come out at dusk. They’re plentiful this year, lighting up the trees with their advertisements. This is Tinder for fireflies: “Look at me! Swipe right!” Bioluminescent speed dating.
We get to talking about fireflies. My wife remembers the ones in Japan, which come out in the thousands for just a week in mid-June. They’re larger than New York fireflies, and they hover in the creekbeds, gradually rising higher as the night gets darker. In contrast, ours hang out in the trees and grasses, and are active for four to five weeks from mid-June to mid-July, far longer than the short-lived Japanese hotaru (ホタル).
There was a story that her father always told her, of the time he was selected from his class for a special task. He caught some hotaru and put them in a bamboo cage. Then, dressed in the best clothes, he went by train with the school principal to present them to the Japanese Emperor. These were the days before the bullet trains, before the war, so the trip took all day. He made his presentation, but never saw the Emperor, because it was forbidden to look up. Then he took the train back to the village in the mountains.
So there’s a story of a father and some fireflies, for this Father’s Day newsletter.
Sellenria: The Starship and the Citadel
Chuck Boeheim, Daniel Elswit
… this story bolstered my faith that someone can still write decent sci-fi.
Sellenria brings you back to a timeless quest on an alien world. Archaeologist Stenn Gremm was following the trail of an ancestor who had vanished hundreds of years ago. It lead to a world where legends came to life and ancient evils threatened everyone who lived there.
This book delighted on so many levels. It‘s smart, insightful, and wise. The many passages I highlighted are to remind myself how to be a better person.
Stenn came to realize that he had more strength than he knew, and that he still needed his friends to succeed.
This story contains all you expect from SciFi: alien creatures, epic battles, and strange worlds; but even more it‘s a story about the best in people, whether human or otherwise.
Join Stenn‘s trek to the Citadel in the desert and find out for yourself what it takes.
Do you have Kindle Unlimited? You can read it for free on Amazon!
What We‘re Reading
Visit our archive of reviews and recommendations on the Books We Like page of our website. You‘ll find over one hundred recommendations in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Non Fiction.
Machine of Death
Ryan North posed a question to his friends, assorted writers and cartoonists: “What if a machine could tell you how you are going to die, with complete accuracy?” This result is this book, thirty-four short stories taking on this theme. How would you change your life if the machine said ‘DROWNED’ or ‘OLD AGE?’ And what if there were more than one way to interpret that prediction?
These stories are funny, poignant, inspiring, and more. They explore how some people might use their foreknowledge to try to escape their fate, and others might use it to give meaning to their lives, or their deaths. Each story is a unique take on this premise, and they’re all worth reading.
Chaos on Catnet
In the sequel to Catfishing on Catnet, Steph and her friends find that there’s another AI lose in the world. While their friend ChesireCat is all about helping people, this new AI seems bent on creating anarchy and conflict.
The friends become suspicious of popular new games, one social and one religious, that take on sinister undertones when the games lure the players into increasingly questionable actions. This thread demonstrates the power of peer pressure and misinformation to motivate people to act against their inner convictions.
As violence in the city escalates, CheshireCat and Steph race to find the other AI, and why two AIs from the same code base behave so differently. The story is set in Minneapolis, and Kritzer writes in the afterword how eerie was to be proofreading the nearly-finished book as the George Floyd incident incited the real-life Minneapolis riots.
Downward to the Earth
The planet of Belzagor had two intelligent species. The Nildoror looked like elephants so the humans employed them as menial laborers. Eventually forced to relinquish the planet to the original inhabitants, a man named Gunderson comes back for a pilgrimage to atone for sins committed while under his watch. In learning more about the Nildoror and Sulidoror, he learns more about himself than he was prepared to learn.
This is the type of journey of discovery that Silverberg does so well. This particular gem was out of publication for a long time until it was finally republished.
You may also enjoy…
The Elemental Heist
Nobody but a lunatic or a criminal genius could attempt a magical heist of this magnitude. A humorous epic fantasy
Free via StoryOrigin
Ranger of Kings
C. J. R. Isely
His dream is to become a warrior. His enemies have other plans. And training to be a knight is a lot less fun if you die…
Buy via StoryOrigin
The Chronicles of Theren
C. D. Tavenor
What would you do as the first synthetic intelligence? In the Chronicles of Theren, embark on a centuries-spanning adventure across the stars, beginning with the creation of the first synthetic intelligence.
Buy via StoryOrigin
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