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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Upcoming Baen Books of Interest (by Liviu Suciu)


While A Rising Thunder - the lead March title - is almost here and is already in the 400's in the Amazon rank so almost guaranteeing a top spot on the bestseller lists in the March week of publication, the ebook is already out with my review to come next week, May-August each feature a major Baen book of interest, though the May one seems to be delayed for a while, while I have already read the July one and it is very good.

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May brings No Going Back which is Mark Van Name's 5th Jon & Lobo novel (#3 FBC Rv + discussion of earlier novels, #4 FBC Rv) and one I am really excited about as last year there was no series book and the retired super-soldier with secret powers/sentient spaceship combo has become a huge favorite of mine. This one seems to get into the deep secrets of Jon and the quarantine of his birth planet but I have a feeling Lobo will have its own surprises too.

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The 163* universe is going strong (as this is book #14) and while I have been mixed about the recent side stories and novels and I have not read the Grantville Gazette in a long time, I really enjoyed Bernie Zeppi's Russian saga in the stories from the Gazette, so I am looking forward to "his" novel, though I heard there will be some differences and some major surprises in 1636: The Kremlin Games, which is Baen's lead June title.

I reviewed the recent Eric Flint solo novel 1636: The Saxon Uprising that is part of the backbone of the series and provided an overview of the series to date and I am still a huge fan of the universe and of its main cast which is among the most memorable in recent sff. Most 163* should be available free on the Baen CD site in the Eric Flint CD's like the one for 1635: The Eastern Front.

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In July, David Weber finally proves that he can do pure (more or less as we still have a multiverse and logical magic) fantasy on the level of his superb sf.

Now Safehold is mostly epic fantasy with an AI wizard, but it is also very sfnal in ethos, so the Bazhell or War God's Own series of which War Maid's Choice (earc available to buy here) is #4 is considered his main foray in the genre.

The first three volumes are free on the various newer Baen DW CD's here and while I thought #1 and #2 were light, more humorous and definitely B-level fantasies, the 3rd book started becoming more serious, but it had a very incomplete feel despite resolving its main threads. Now, 8 years later in our universe and 7 in Bazhell's, War Maid's Choice takes the series to a high level of epic and completes the arc started in the 2004 Wind Rider's Oath. I have reviewed and talked about way too many DW books to link all here, so check our Review Index and my recent Empire of Man post.

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Finally in August, Queen of Wands is John Ringo's second foray in UF after the interesting and alternating funny and dark/tragic Princess of Wands of many years ago (you can read this and most Ringo books on his Baen CD's HERE).

Here I will include the blurb as I have not talked about this series so far, but I would like to mention that the middle part of Princess of Wands is just a masterpiece of UF dark humor, though of course some of the targets may not see it that way. Anyway the author kills his alterego too in addition to killing lots of the book persona of other writers and critics and his choice of villain (hint: another Baen writer that dabbled in long winded high fantasy) is also really funny in quite a few ways. I am really curious about Queen of Wands as UF is not my cup of tea while Mr. Ringo's recent offerings have also been away from my preferences.

"Soccer mom and demon fighter Barbara Everette is back in this intricately interwoven monster noir thriller, the sequel to bestselling Princess of Wands by eight times New York Times best-seller, John Ringo.

Barbara Everette has a problem. It seems Janea, Barbara’s assistant and The Foundation for Love and Universal Faith's best operative, has been thrown into a coma by some very nasty magic she’s stirred up. Barbara must track down the perpetrators and break the spell or Janea's soul will be forever lost on the astral plane. Oh, and if she can't break the spell, zombies will destroy all mankind.

Meanwhile, Janea, a high-dollar call girl, stripper and High Priestess of Freya when she isn’t fighting demons, must contend with a spiritual journey of her own. It’s a journey into Janea’s acceptance of herself in
all her dimensions (and what dimensions they are!). Where to locate one’s true inner essence? At a science fiction convention, of course. But when rescuers pursue Janea into her vision of a geeky alternate reality, we find this is one science fiction convention where the Guest of Honor could turn out to be Death Himself.

Finally, the Christian soccer mom and the Norse priestess stripper face their greatest challenge ever when an ancient Old One rears Her ugly face, and the Mother of Darkness walks among us. Since this is one Mother who is quite immune to any conventional power, including nuclear weapons, it seems humanity’s only hope is God.

The question being: Is God
willing to save humanity? Fortunately for the rest of us, Barbara and Janea are determined to fight to the last ounce of faith to find out."

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