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STEPHEN GOLDIN is a Nebula Award finalist science fiction and fantasy writer who was born in Philadelphia in 1947 and has lived in California since 1960. He received a Bachelor's degree in Astronomy from UCLA and worked as a civilian space scientist for the U.S. Navy for a few years after leaving college, but has made his living as a writer/editor most of his life.
He served the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America as editor of the SFWA Bulletin and as the organization's Western Regional Director.
He has lived with cats all his adult life. Artistically, he enjoys Broadway musicals and surrealist art. Some of his other ebooks include THE ETERNITY BRIGADE, POLLY!, A WORLD CALLED SOLITUDE, and The Parsina Saga fantasy series.
MARY MASON was born in Bakersfield and has lived in California all her life. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from CSU Sacramento, and has worked counseling abused children. Her first husband was a member of "Hell Bent For Glory," a pre-Hell's Angels motorcycle gang, but she made the bikers check their weapons at the door and wash her dishes, in exchange for her fine cooking. Her philosophy regarding martial arts is, "My black belt beats your black belt, because my black belt's in Smith & Wesson." She is also a sound lady, mixing live music for bands--usually Chicago blues and S.F. rock, but also swing, folk, and both Country and Western.
She has run several Nebula Award banquets for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America as well as science fiction conventions, and founded the 1993 San Francisco WorldCon bid. In 2012 she co-authored Throwing Lead: A Writer's Guide to Firearms (and the People Who Use Them) with J. Daniel Sawyer.
on July 14, 2012 :
Jade Darcy and the Affair of Honor
By Stephen Goldin and Mary Mason
It has been awhile since I have read a book I enjoyed as much as Jade Darcy and the Affair of Honor. It is complex and intricately developed. The action is driven by the characters in the story and by Jade Darcy in particular.
The slate of foreign characters is amazing. The story is set on a planet on the edges of developed society. It is comprised of many different species, some of whom are humanoid and others who are insectoid and still others who inhabit more or less dimensions than our simple three dimensions. The characters are rich, interesting, and the different problems that can occur when such varied life forms, with all their intricacies, interact causes situations that range from the comic to the life threatening.
Jade Darcy herself is an enigma. Early in the story we are led to believe Jade Darcy might not be her real name, but other than a clue to part of it at the end of the book we aren’t let in on that particular secret. What we do know is that Jade has had a specialized operation to computer augment her reflexes. She is a carc, a computer-augmented reflex commando, and her existence outside of the military world makes her a rarity. She hides the fact she is a carc for reasons that aren’t clear. It is implied that she may be wanted. She takes what is certain to be a suicide mission rather than face another human being – the first to come to the planet of Cablans where Jade lives in the seven years she has been there. It is apparent she has run from human contact before.
The story and the action in it are wonderful. The science fiction in it feels realistic; it isn’t simply another Earth-like setting with futuristic sounding problems, but a setting on an outpost planet favorable to life that teems with diversity that becomes a driving force for part of the story. The matter of honor the story addresses exists on several different levels and becomes the driving force for the evolution of the main character. And the Greest, why he/she or it will just have you wondering how many dimensions it is possible for a being to exist in and what creatures from all those different dimensions might be like. I know I personally will be puzzling over the Greest and hiss/hers/its manipulativeness for some time.
If you are a fan of science fiction, or even just futuristic literature that doesn’t simply result in some apocalyptic version of our demise, then you should read this story. I think you will find it believable on all the levels that count and thoroughly enjoyable. I know I did.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)