A Delightful Fantasy Lampoon…
Bonds is a precociously talented young man who one day soon will turn twenty. His hero may as yet be otherwise, but Bonds’ talent is strictly first class.
Hero, Second Class is a delightful roast of all the fantasy fiction elements we hold dear. It is said that only someone who loves something can truly lampoon it. So it is in this case. Bonds’ novel is a riot.
Quest with Cyrus, our young protagonist who aspires to be a Hero. But Heroes have a guild, you see, and lots of rules. One has to pay one’s dues, apprentice to a Hero in good standing, and comport oneself as befits a member of the Heroes Guild.
Cyrus is fortunate to be serving his apprenticeship during a True Crisis, during which an Arch Villain is on the loose. An ambitious hero-in-training could make quite a name for himself during such times.
Cyrus’s progress toward achieving his next level in the Heroes Guild is complicated by a wise-cracking dragon, a self-narrating knight, a droll zombie, and an attractive young woman who also happens to kind of be a cat.
On top of it all, Cyrus is discovering he has strange, non-standard-issue magical powers that definitely don’t fit into his plans. And the Arch Villain (along with sundry Villains Guild members) has suddenly taken an intense personal interest in our plucky young protagonist.
If Cyrus isn’t careful, he’s not going to live long enough to become a Hero of any class.
Hero, Second Class, Mitchell Bonds, Enclave Publishing, October 2008, 607 pages, $16.99
Can Robots Be Possessed…?
Bartlett is also previously published. She is the author of The Personifid Project (Realms 2005).
In that previous novel Bartlett introduced us to personifids (not personifieds): human-like artificial bodies into which humans can transfer their consciousness and thus live forever.
The Personifid Invasion is the standalone sequel that continues to explore life in a far-future society in which death is no longer an issue, at least to those who can afford personifid bodies.
In this novel, an adult brother and sister seek their other sibling, a sister from whom they have been separated since childhood. They find her location, but despair. She lives inside a domed city that is all but overrun by interterrestrials.
Interterrestrials are beings that ancient Earthlings called demons. These “inters,” as they are called, have discovered it is much easier to possess the souls of humans who have transferred into personifid bodies.
Brother and sister race to save their sister before the inters can complete the possession they have long been pursuing.
Meanwhile, our heroine has a friend who keeps telling her that inters aren’t that bad. Her brother may have found faith in the Tri-Une Soul, but she’s not so sure. Maybe she should just go to one of the inters’ houses and hear them out.
The Personifid Invasion, R. E. Bartlett, Enclave Publishing, October 2008, 350 pages, $12.99
If Elves Had Souls…
The third novel is Summa Elvetica: A Casuistry of the Elvish Controversy by Theodore Beale.
Beale is the author of The Eternal Warriors trilogy from Pocket Books. Though these novels were published through a New York house, they were clearly Christian spiritual warfare novels.
In Summa Elvetica Beale brings us a delightfully speculative what-if scenario: what if the Catholic Church (or something very like it) existed in a fantasy world in which dwelt non-human intelligent races like orcs, trolls, and elves?
At some point in such a world the leading ecclesiastics would have to wrestle with the question of whether or not these demi-humans have souls and therefore ought to be the subject of evangelization by the Church.
Summa Elvetica is the story of the young priest whom the Church assigns to investigate the matter. Along the way toward his conclusion, he falls in love with an Elven princess and finds himself in the middle of a racially motivated war.
More than the curiosities of high clerics hang in the balance as he comes to declare what he discovers to be God’s will about whether or not elves have souls.
Summa Elvetica: A Casuistry of the Elvish Controversy, Theodore Beale, Enclave Publishing, October 2008, 322 pages, $12.99