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Reviews in Project: Big Hair, Big Guns! (36)

Welcome to the Jungle

The Legacy of Heorot  (Avalon, book 1)

By Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle & Steven Barnes  

24 Jun, 2021

Big Hair, Big Guns!

2 comments

1987’s The Legacy of Heorot is the first volume in Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Steven Barnes’ Avalon series.

A century after being meticulously selected to establish Man’s first colony on an extrasolar planet, the settlers aboard the National Geographic Society’s starship Geographic establish a foothold on the Tau Ceti IV planet of Avalon. Prudently selecting an island for their settlement, they begin the task of transforming the island into an ecosystem in which humans can thrive.

Despite the unpleasant surprise that a century of hibernation has a cognitive cost apparently undetectable over shorter timespans, the settlers have thus far been successful in their bid to make Man’s Manifest Destiny IN SPAAACE a reality. Indeed, they’ve been so successful that ex-soldier turned security expert Cadmann Weyland seems superfluous to needs. 

The settlers are overconfident. Cadmann is crucial to the colony’s survival — or he will be if he survives the calamity bearing down on the naïve colony.


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A Shadow Hanging Over Me

The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Sixth Annual Collection  (The Year’s Best Science Fiction, book 6)

By Gardner Dozois  

27 May, 2021

Big Hair, Big Guns!

3 comments

Gardner Dozois’ 1989 The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Sixth Annual Collectionis, rather unsurprisingly, the sixth volume in his series of annual anthologies collecting the best SF of the previous year. In the case of the Sixth, that year was 1988. Dozois, unlike some people I could mention, actually believed in letting years run to their end before deciding which works of that year were best.

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Destiny’s Child

Arrows of the Queen  (The Heralds of Valdemar, book 1)

By Mercedes Lackey  

25 May, 2021

Big Hair, Big Guns!

7 comments

1987’s Arrows of the Queen is the first volume in a Mercedes Lackey series, the Heralds of Valdemar. 

At thirteen, Talia faces an arranged marriage. Whether she will be some stranger’s Firstwife or an Underwife matters little to Talia, who has no interest in being an overworked brood mare. Talia also has no interest in entering the Temple Cloisters as a silent servant of the gods. Since those are the only two choices the patriarchal Holderfolk offer women, Talia seems doomed to a miserable life. 

Fate intervenes, in the form of a magical telepathic horse.


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Cotton Candy

A Day for Damnation  (The War Against the Chtorr, book 2)

By David Gerrold  

13 May, 2021

Big Hair, Big Guns!

2 comments

1984’s A Day for Damnation is the second volume in David Gerrold’s The War Against the Chtorr series1.

America has not had a good decade. It has lost a war with the Fourth Worlders and had to submit to shameful surrender conditions. It began to covertly re-arm, only to be hit with an alien invasion. Those who survived the plagues had to deal with voracious alien animals, an entire ecology that was shouldering Earth’s native lifeforms aside. 

Jim McCarthy stumbled his way into America’s elite forces in the first book. Although not entirely convinced that he belongs in the special Uncle Ira group, he does show a talent for not dying, something the majority of humans cannot say. Of course, even the luckiest person eventually rolls snake eyes. 

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Cruel, Cruel Summer

Helliconia Summer  (Helliconia, book 2)

By Brian W. Aldiss  

11 May, 2021

Big Hair, Big Guns!

1 comment

1983’s Helliconia Summer is the middle volume in Brian Aldiss’ Helliconia trilogy. 

Helliconia’s climate is driven by the proximity of Helliconia to the giant star Freyr, about which Helliconia and its sun Batalix orbit. Currently Batalix and Helliconia are approaching periapsis and temperatures are soaring. Many devout people in the tropical continent Campannlat fear Freyr will consume them all. 

Unbeknownst to Helliconia’s natives, their activities are monitored from above by the space station Avernus. Certain curious practices on Avernus will greatly complicate the already fraught politics of the kingdom of Borlien.


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Bless the Rains

Manna

By G. Harry Stine  

13 Apr, 2021

Big Hair, Big Guns!

4 comments

G. Harry Stine’s 1983 Manna is a standalone near-future1 science fiction novel.

Alexander Sandhurst Baldwin, formerly a Captain in the United States Aerospace Force, arrives in Topaway, the capital of the United Mitanni Commonwealth, knowing very little about the East African nation. What he does know is the Landlimo Corporation offered him a job, which the disgraced Aerospace Force officer very much needs. 

It’s just as well that his research efforts turned up little info re Mitanni, because most of the available info is pure lies, put out by the dastardly Tripartite Coalition, enemies of free nations everywhere! Although in 2050, the list of free nations everywhere has but one major entry: the Mitanni Commonwealth.

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Something Wrong with Me

Space Doctor

By G. Harry Stine  

22 Mar, 2021

Big Hair, Big Guns!

6 comments

G. Harry Stines 1981 Space Doctoris a near-future hard SF novel. It was published under his Lee Correy pen-name.

Note recurrence of the term visionary in the following synopsis. 

Democratic Senator Owen Hocksmith is a political powerhouse; he is high in the councils of New Mexico’s Democratic Party. He’s also a wealthy oligarch, with investments in ranching, banking, and high-tech industries. 

One investment is looking shaky. The senator’s Eden Corporation is not subject to short-sighted antitrust laws hobbling truly visionary capitalism and secured the contract to build America’s solar power satellites. Senator Hocksmith is determined to see the project to completion and not just for the vast wealth the project can deliver. He believes nuclear war can only be staved off as long as energy is cheap. SPS (Solar Power Satellites, the company) can deliver cheap energy.

Still, the project presents unprecedented challenges. Several such challenges face Dr. Tom Noels, the project’s medical director.


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In Peace May You Slumber

Children of the Dust

By Louise Lawrence  

18 Jan, 2021

Big Hair, Big Guns!

3 comments

Louise Lawrence’s 1985 Children of the Dust is a standalone young-adult nuclear war novel.

It’s nuclear war time and a full-scale nuclear attack on the UK is imminent. Young Sarah’s school can do little for her and her classmates but to send them home. With Sarah’s father Bill still at work and unlikely to return in time, Sarah helps her stepmother Veronica prepare as best they can for the apocalypse. Then Sarah, Veronica, and Sarah’s siblings William and Catherine wait for the inevitable.


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