01/09/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Norilana Books. 271 page enlarged paperback. Price: $11.95 (US), £ 8.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-6072-028-0.
check out website: www.norilana.com
‘Warrior Wisewomen 2’ is the successor to last year’s volume depicting fifteen stories which have strong leading women characters.
‘The Executioner’ by Jennifer Brissett shows the role of the public and how condemned prisoners are killed. A member is chosen, indoctrinated with a poison so when the prisoner is touched, death isn’t far off. Seen through the eyes of a woman and the after-effects on both her and the condemned man’s mother is a powerful way to start off this anthology.
Ian Whates ‘Shop Talk’ has a future reality where humans, despite being spread across several star systems, the people on the home planet Earth have become disinterested homebodies. Shops appear systematically on Earth to sell their wares and offer passage to those who want to leave when they realise there’s new worlds out there to visit. Although an old idea, it’s nicely presented.
Ardath Mayhar’s ‘Changer’ had a nice turn in aliens. It’s just a shame that the turn of the plot with unscrupulous humans wanting to mine their planet for its minerals turned out to be so basic.
‘The Last Afternoon In October’ by Leslie Brown had a more 1950s SF feel to it where women-kind has been devastated by a disease and the few survivors can’t even walk the streets without a disguise. If you want your libido shaken, consider how men are selected to be turned into women to continue the species. Again, that is only an under-current to the actual story indicating a lot more is actually going on.
Jeff Crook’s ‘Heart Bowed Down’ has an android purposely designed to look like a man’s dead wife to infiltrate and persuade said man to give the frequency of a force shield. Things don’t go quite to plan when it’s decapitated but still gets the message across. You have to love the android with the name of Joan Tramp.
‘Blood Albatross’ by David Bartell tells of the survivors on the Moon after the Earth’s population is destroyed by a meteorite. More specifically, about the things their black leader was given from the population before taking up her assignment with a metaphor about throwing chains away for freedom.
Silent Whispers’ by Karen Elizabeth Rigley and Ann Miller House is really a first contact story with a female xenobiologist and a telepathic miner discovering that the mine that is being excavated is more than it seems.
More alien even than that is the Hermit in ‘Beneath The Alien Shield’ by Z.S. Adani which appends parts of human corpses to its body to enable some communication. Whether the solution was the only way to go you’ll have to decide for yourself.
With over half the stories in this volume this strong then there has to be something here for everyone. If the others felt a little flat then it’s probably because they are pitted against these much stronger stories. This book is worth checking out.
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