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The Lampworks Lamplighter SF & Fantasy News & Reviews
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Knots on Sale – New Cover!
I spent some time recently reworking the cover of Knots. It still features the beautiful glowing knot produced by Robert Scharein’s wonderful KnotPlot program. I’ve added a cloaked figure and a misty light to better convey the atmosphere of the book. It also suggests that the main character is a loner who struggles to discover who he can trust in the strange world into which he’s stumbled. As much as I liked the simplicity of the earlier cover, I think it came across as too abstract and caused it to be sometimes grouped with the math books, which it emphatically is not.
To kick off the new cover, Knots will be on sale for $.99 in the US Amazon store from December 7 through 13. For my UK readers, the sale will coincide with the January 6 newsletter (Amazon’s arcane rules wouldn’t let me do them simultaneously). Head on over to the amazon page on December 7 to pick up a copy. (Or, if you have Kindle Unlimited, it’s already free with your subscription.)
A short story for the holidays in the world of Knots. Escher and Emeline have brought a tree into the house to decorate, and Trefoil the cat must investigate, of course. There’s something not quite right about this tree – they’ve brought trouble into the house along with it. It’s up to Trefoil to guard the house against the mayhem that ensues. If he doesn’t get put outside first.
Free download from StoryOrigin
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.
L. E. Modesitt Jr
Dekkard is a highly-trained security agent for one of the most important Councilors of the land of Guldor. But there are greater depths to Dekkard than are at first apparent, and circumstances conspire to bring him out of his shell and awaken him to new political awareness.
The novel is set in a gaslamp fantasy world that has transitioned from the feudal age to the steam age, and a unique political system that has become unbalanced by that transition after a millennium of stability. Some people in this world have special attributes: Empaths who can sense and influence (and even attack) the emotions of others, Susceptibles who are little more than slaves to the empaths around them, and Isolates, like Dekkard, who are immune to the influence of Empaths. The book starts with a political assassination attempt via an Empath and builds to an all-out clandestine war to shift the balance of power, or stop it at any cost.
The Hammond Conjecture
M B Reed
A man named Hugh surfaces in a London mental hospital, confused and disoriented. His doctor encourages him to write down his memories to aid his recovery. But the tale he writes, of being an MI6 agent in an England that signed a peace treaty with Nazi Germany, doesn’t match the world outside the asylum. Hugh suspects a nefarious mind-control experiment, while his doctors suspect a confabulated story to cover a traumatic event. But government agents show a strange interest in Hugh’s case, which suggests that both narratives might have substance.
This story is an exploration of many sorts of alternate worlds. There are worlds of imagination, realities constructed to explain, or hide, or reconcile ideas too big to grasp. There are quantum realities, where key decisions make branches in the timeline — and if those other branches can’t be directly observed, how are they different from the imagined worlds? There are the worlds of propaganda, constructed to twist the world by controlling the narrative. And there are worlds of self-delusion.
Hugh reminded me at times of Inspector Clouseau from the old Pink Panther movies. (I could totally imagine Peter Sellers playing the part of Hugh.) Hugh is a comically inept MI6 agent who manages just enough accidental successes to set himself up for the next predicament. This is a fun book that deserves more attention than it’s gotten.
Buy on amazon
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