Coming to paperback this month, Transgalactic by A.E. van Vogt and World Divided Book Two of the Secret World Chronicles by Mercedes Lackey, Cody Martin, Dennis Lee and Veronica Giguere.
In case you missed it last year when the hardback was released, Mercedes Lackey has a second book in her (and her co-authors) superhero series. It goes to paperback this month. Echo and CCCP including John Murdock continue to battle the Thulians. In this volume a rare chance at some intelligence on the Thulians allows Echo and friends to attack in the Thulians’ space rather than waiting for them to attack. This gives some of Echoe’s misfits some field experience working together but also reveals some weaknesses embedded in the group.
The angel does her best to steer people to the best path for humans to beat the Thulians, but this isn’t always so pleasant in the short term. Tesla is still hamstrung by the democratic processes of Metis in this volume but communication to him is restored somewhat.
There are some changes in the Echo management and oversight which cause the heroes to do more things off the book but even with the problems many members of Echo and CCCP do not feel as helpless by the end of this volume. Hope has been restored in a limited way even though the Thulians are far from defeated.
This volume shows more depth of some younger characters presented in the last volume and shows maturing relationships of the characters on which the action was centered in the last volume. Several of the troubled characters make psychological progress in this volume. These changes make the cast of supers more interesting and the action not as predictable since the changing psychology can result in surprise behavior.
If you like superheroes in any form, whether in media, science fiction or action-adventure then this is a good reading choice. The details of the partially-destroyed present-day Atlanta are particularly interesting to those who live or visit there, which is a surprising number of readers since Dragon*Con is held there. This is a fast-paced adventure with plenty of danger filled moments to keep you reading until the very last page.
It will be interesting to see the Thulian response to the attack in volume three, but we must wait until January 2014 for the release of Revolution.
Also coming to paperback this month from Baen is a reprint volume of classic science fiction from A.E. van Vogt, edited by Eric Flint and David Drake, which came out in hardcover back in 2006. Transgalactic contains Empire of the Atom and The Wizard of Linn which are set in a civilization which has fallen but still contains some remnants of science, and Mission to the Stars along with two short novels from the Ezwal series which are all space adventure.
These are all classic adventures which haven’t seen print in some years, so for classic science fiction fans this volume is a treat. Many of today’s readers have probably never read any of them, but they are all good stories with action, good characterization and that bit of a strange view of our civilization which is common to van Vogt. There are quite a few quirky characters in the fallen civilization novels and the Ezwal short novels have a very strange but interesting alien.