Tuesday, December 18, 2018

"Trade Winds," by Sarah A. Hoyt

What follows is a link to the book on Amazon, BUT, if you are running an ad-blocker (as I am) you won't see anything.

For those who can't see it (like me), it's a nice thumbnail of the cover, with a purchase link.
Ad blockers don't like pictures with purchase links, so, if you run your system in the same way I do, you get zip.

I don't like it when I get zip, and I imaging most people don't. There is a way to pause your adblocker, but I also don't like having to do that, and I REALLY don't like trying to provide instructions. But I do not wish for you to be deprived of a link and a picture, just because you run an ad blocker.

Therefore, I will provide for you THIS LINK TO THE BOOK, and a picture of me cuddling my newest granddaughter, Miss Evelyn.
Papa and Miss Evelyn Hart, 11/19/18

Preliminary note to the review: I grabbed this book the INSTANT it was released! No, not really. It was released on September 5, and I got it September 7. But I did read it immediately. 
So, why is the review being published three months later?
Short answer: my reviewer function got messed up. You've all heard of a comedy of errors, right? I suppose there is also a tragedy of errors. What I experienced was more a mediocrity, a BOREDOM of errors. And while that was happening, this book got knocked out of my TBR&R sequence.
But, I'm back now. I think.

Making things up out of whole cloth. I want to talk about the cover first.
Some 50+ years ago, when I was 15, the husband and wife of the family I was living with at the time were experiencing marital discord. So, they sent me to a psychologist. (I learned later, in my own graduate studies, that this response is common enough in dysfunctional family systems that it has a name.) One of the first thing the doc did with me was administer the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), which is allegedly a series of ambiguous pictures for the client to make up stories about. Well, THESE pictures weren't ambiguous in the slightest! Every picture was about a teenage boy murdering people in his house, and getting revenge on all who had harmed him. I wasn't ABOUT to tell THAT to the doc; he'd think I was crazy!

I'm giving you this background so you will take my perception of the cover with a grain of salt.

It's a beautifully executed cover. An attractive woman of indeterminate years (long graying hair, but an unlined face) stands with her head turned away from the cathedral-type window, which appears to be executed in stone. (I'm sure there is a more precise term, but architecture isn't my thing.) Through the window, we see starry skies, and a departing spaceship, shown to be such by the blue exhaust.
The woman is wearing a sky-blue garment; it MAY be a jacket, as there is a hint of darker color at her neckline. On the right shoulder of the jacket is a circular patch, depicting an ancient sailing ship of the longship or birlinn type, single-masted, with three oars visible.

I conclude: she is a naval officer, who has chosen, with regret, to be left behind in port when her ship leaves. I say officer, instead of ordinary seaman, because of the length and condition of her hair; swabbies don't like to have to fool around with the long stuff, because it gets in their way, gets caught in capstans, and who has time to take care of it when yer swabbing decks and chipping paint? Since she is an attractive woman, this MUST be a matter of the heart; physical beauty in literature is never wasted on the uninteresting. The regret is evidenced by the fact that she has turned her head AWAY from the departing ship, and the utter absence of a smile.

And now, the reviews.
Nice intro by Sam Schall. I'd like to see more of those done.

And Your Little Dog, Too. I love that phrase from "The Wizard of Oz," and use it frequently. However, in this story, it sort of applies. An aerospace engineering student with interest in flying saucers picks up an old hitchhiker and his dog on a lonely country road. Nobody gets slashed! However, the old hitchhiker has some interesting ideas about contacting aliens, and he is..strange, somehow. And his little dog, too.

Who Goes Boing? Eccentric genius nerds with high technology at their fingertips and a commanding officer from 'the REAL Army' have to explore a new planet. Cartoons are funny, aren't they? Here, have a cigar. I'll light it for you.

A Cog In Time. Anytime you can hang out with David Drake is a good time. I was appalled when I realized I spent a year living in Chapel Hill and never crossed paths with him. He MAY have been involved with other things, at the time. Or maybe it was another time.

All Who Are Thirsty.  Not nearly old enough to have been an authentic Hippie, but of that genre anyway, she really wanted to bean archaeologist and study ancient cultures. Until the aliens landed. And whereas all of the classics films had them giving us advanced technology, and sometimes eating us, NONE of these BEMs wanted anything except to discover God. They had never HEARD of such a concept until Earth entered their lives. But she's an atheist! Selling crap in a New Age bookstore!

Yearning To Breathe Free. Since it's pretty much determined that humans arose out of Africa, EVERYONE in the United States has ancestors who immigrated here from somewhere else, whether it was a land bridge from Siberia, on a boat or for a fortunate few, on a plane. You think we would have adapted to the problems of immigration by now. Evidently not. These undocumented aliens will get eaten if they are deported, though. Should that matter?

Calling The Mom Squad. Those of us who have actually had to shuttle kids to soccer practice, ballet, scouts, karate, and attend orchestra concerts on the same night we are at a cheerleading function know this: it ain't no picnic being a soccer mom. These particular moms also have to fight dragons, though. Yeah, I'd take the dragon fighting, too, except it's NOT "do this OR do that." It's "do this AND do that." And keep it a secret, too, okay?

On Edge. In what was SUPPOSED to be discovering new ways to deliver packages for Amazon, the geniuses discover how to open up doors to other times and other worlds. Here's a helpful hint for you, should you be working on the same thing: don't be the first guy through the door.

Some Other Pieta. Okay, here's a thought problem for you: what kind of child would a marriage between Adolf Hitler and Mother Teresa produce? That's not what happens in this story, but I would encourage you to consider the ramifications anyway. One other thing: the bad guys have six arms.

Leaving Home.  All across America, you can find little ghost towns that faded away when the railroad came through in the 1880's, or when the Interstate was built in the 1960's. What happens to the junction points in future travel, when you can cross light years in a moment? And then, something better comes along?

Flying. Earth is maybe an okay place to be for most people, but some folks must emigrate or they will die. However, the government controls the entire system of moving off-planet. If YOU were the head of government, would YOU let just anybody move into your bright and shiny new planets?

The Big Ship and The Wise Old Owl. I don't think Robert Heinlein invented the idea of the generation ship, but he sure did more to  popularize it to my generation than anyone else has. I've read several stories using the idea of the generation ship as a basis, and most involve the idea that the people on the ship have forgotten what's really going on. In this variation, nursery rhymes have a special meaning, for those who are able to to hear.

And Not To Yield.  If you are already a fan of Sarah Hoyt, you know about her novels dealing with the society run by the Good Men, who are anything but. This is a story set in that universe. For the novice, this is a story about a revolution against tyranny, when the USA is only a distant memory, repressed by a few who hold ultimate power.

Trade Winds. I LOVE alternate history! In this story, Hannibal won against Rome, and Carthage became the primary cultural influence. Their society was founded on trade, rather than conquest, and civilization has advanced faster and farther. Even so, some people are still treacherous.

At last, at 4:03 Eastern on Tuesday, December 18, 2018, I have completed the assignment I gave myself months ago. I offer my apology to Sarah A Hoyt, who is a Space Princess of some influence, and her fans in the Diner and elsewhere.

Peace be on your household.

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