TSS- Alien Invaders and Holy Matrimony!

The Sunday Salon.com

Happy Sunday, everyone! Hope your weekend has gone well :)

This past week I was dropped on a strange and unsettled planet, survived underground scavengers that feed by night, flying predators that attack by day, and mechanicals that registered me as a warm body, shot me with a tranq dart, then dumped me in a barn with livestock destined for slaughter. I managed to survive all of this because I was lucky enough to be deposited on the planet, which we named Botany, with some very competent and ingenious people… and one guy who was of the race of our captors, but was an honorable and stand-up guy without whom many of us would have died!

Of course, I didn’t really go through all of this ;-) . Rather, it was the plot of Freedom’s Landingby Anne McCaffrey (my review). A fascinating and exciting book of survival and community, of forgetting differences to become a working society.

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This week, I will be reading Josh Henkin’s Matrimony, a New York Times Most Notable Book. I will having a giveaway for a signed copy of Matrimony, opened to anyone worldwide. The drawing for it will be February 25th, which is the first day of Lent (I thought the sacrament of marriage and the sacrament of penance went well together ;-) ). I will post more details in the coming days, so check back later!

This Sunday Salon is short and sweet, as it is one in the morning here and my bed is calling :-D Happy Reading!

Freedom’s Landing by Anne McCaffrey

Title: Freedom’s Landing
Author: Anne McCntaffrey
Paperback: 324 pages
Publisher: Ace/Putnam
Publish Date: May 1995
ISBN: 0441003389

An afternoon breeze swirled the black clouds about and Kris caught glimpses of the man, lurching still further from the crash site. She saw him stumble and fall, after which he made no move to rise. Above, the bees buzzed angrily, circling the smoke and probably wondering if their prey had gone up in the explosion.

Catteni didn’t hunt each other as a rule, she told herself, surprised to find that she was halfway down from her perch.They fight like Irishmen, sur, but to chase a man so far from the city? What could he have done?

The crash had been too far away for Kris to distinguish the hunted man’s features or build. He might just be an escaped slave, like herself. If not Terran, he might be from one of the half-dozen other subjugated races that lived on Barevi. Someone who had had the guts to steal a flitter didn’t deserve to die under Catteni forcewhips.

… Keeping close to the brown rocks so nearly the shade of her own tanned skin, she crossed the remaining distance. She all but tripped over him as the wind puffed black smoke down amon the rocks.

“Catteni!” she cried, furious as she bent to examine the unconscious man and recognized the gray and yellow uniform despite its tattered and black-smeared condition.

-Freedom’s Landingby Anne McCaffrey, pages 4-5

Freedom’s Landing is the first in a series of four books by Anne McCaffrey chronicling the struggles and successes of the “colonists” of Botany.

After an invasion by an intergalactic race called the Catteni, tens of thousands of humans are rounded up and dropped off on the planet Barevi, a sort of trading post for the Catteni. Kris Bjornsen is one such Terran, as human are referred, having been captured in Denver. After becoming aware that her Catteni owner has sexual intentions toward her, Kris steals his flitter (a flying personal vehicle) and lives the next few months in the wilds a few miles from the only city on the planet.

When she observes a group of Catteni flitters chasing and firing upon another flitter, she assumes the man being hunted is another slave. However, she is shocked and disgusted that he is a Catteni. Despite her feelings for his race, she helps him to safety and hides him in her absconded flitter she now calls home.

“You’re one of the new species?”

“I’m a Terran,” she said with haughty pride, her stance marred by a convulsice shiver.

“Thin-skinned species,” he remarked. He looked at her chest, noticed the slight heave from her recent exertions that made her breasts strain against the all too inadequate covering and slowly started to stroker her shoulder with one firger. His touch was unexpectedly feather-light -and more. “Soft to the touch,” he said absently. “I haven’t tried a Terran yet…”

“And you’re not going to start on this one,” she said, jumping as far away from him as she could…

-Freedom’s Landing by Anne McCaffrey, page 10

When it becomes apparent to Kris that this Catteni intends to reward her kindness by raping her, she conks him as hard as she can, knocking him unconscious, and flies the flitter back to the outskirts of the city with the intention of dumping him where he belongs.

However, things do not go according to plan, and she and her passenger are caught in the middle of a riot. They are gassed and rounded up with the rebellious slaves and dumped on an uninhabited planet.

When they and the other “colonists” come to, many of them want to kill the lone representative of their captors. Kris, who feels responsible for his being dumped with them, convinces Mitford, a former Marine who has taken charge of the people in their dropped group, to spare the Catteni as he may be useful to them.

And useful Zainal turns out to be! Having seen the report on the planet they’ve come to name Botany, he is able to warn them of the some of dangers the planet poses and does his best to save many of those later dumped by Catteni ships.

While this is a Sci-Fi book, don’t let that put you off if you aren’t into that genre. It isn’t all “Dr. Who” and “Star Wars” kind of stuff, though there are a few references made to Dr. Who and one of the machines they encounter is given the name “dalek” because of its resemblance to the fictional “exterminate” proclaiming machine on the show.

More than anything, Freedom’s Landing is a story of survival and the banding together of peoples from differing backgrounds (not only different human groups, but also other alien species -Deskis, Rugarians, and others) to form a new society. If you like Survivor-type shows and books, you’d like Freedom’s Landing.

My friend who introduced me to this book loves the character Zainal, even naming his VR characters after him. And I also like Zainal, who is of Catteni nobility and displays more honor and respect than a lot of the humans he’s dropped with. However, Mitford is my favorite character. Sargent Mitford is the epitome of the concept that one of the best qualities a great leader possesses is the ability to delegate, delegate, delegate! What Sarge is capable of doing with the minimal resources they are deposited with in creating a civilized, working community is mind-boggling. I wouldn’t mind reading a book from Mitford’s perspective.

While there is much I love in Freedom’s Landing, there are a few things I didn’t like. First of all, I found McCaffrey’s writing style annoying in parts. Some of the word choices and expressions she used just rubbed me the wrong way. Also, there seemed to be a few incongruous things written in the book. One example is the initial description of Zainal: His pupils are described as gold and the irises black, but the rest of the book the description is reversed with his irises gold.

Also, McCaffrey never addresses difficulties that would have surely risen with a large number of human females, namely menstruation. With the main character, and from whose perspective much of the book is written, cast as a woman, you would think at least as much verbiage would be used to cover this difficulty as was used to detail the “facilities” for other bodily functions.

Overall, Freedom’s Landingis a fascinating look into the formation of a new society and all the difficulties that brings, as well as the adventure of survival in an unknown land. It’s worth reading, even with it’s faults, and shouldn’t be limited to Sci-Fi nutters.

I give Freedom’s Landing by Anne McCaffrey 3 and a half stars.

Bedlam, Bath and Beyond by J. D. Warren

TITLE: Bedlam, Bath and Beyond
AUTHOR: J. D. Warren
PUBLISH DATE: January 2008
PUBLISHER:Love Spell (div of Dorchester Publishing Co., Inc.)
ISBN: 9780505526984

“You know none of this is real, don’t you?” murmured the uniformed fellow at our front door, his voice so urgent that I blinked at him, startle. “I don’t know who you are or where you came from, but this is not your life.”

The words left me feeling like an unsuspecting gnat meeting the windshield of a speeding vehicle. All I could do was gape at him.

“You’ve got to wake up,” he added, handling me my half-percent milk. His whispering became more intense. “You’ve got to remember who you are,” he concluded, before walking away with a nod and a tip of his cap.

Trust me. Four out of five doctors would not recommend it as a way to start off your week.

- Bedlam, Bath and Beyond by J. D. Warren, page 1

First off, I must say Bedlam, Bath and Beyond is one of the most enjoyable, fun and sexy books I’ve read in a long time (ignoring the fact I’ve not read a lot of books in the past couple months ;-) ). Reminiscent of Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels, with a fantasy aspect, Bedlam had me laughing out loud at times, and feeling… erm, rather warm at other times.

The story begins with Corydonais, the tall, attractive milkman, commanding Samantha to wake up and remember who she is, and telling her the world she inhabits is NOT reality. As soon as she does this and finds the exit, she returns to the real world to find what had felt like the last two or three weeks actually lasted almost three years, that fairies are real and co-inhabit our world (and that they find the term “fairy” offensive, Peri is preferred), and that she’s being chased by blood-thirsty, vicious boars through the streets of Las Vegas.

With the help of Cor and the Storm Ravens, Samantha discovers why she had been taken, and that a young girl’s life is in danger of Hell (yes, also real and once recipient of Peri offerings) as the tiend, or gift, from an outlawed sect, The Order of the Crows, who would love to see humanity wiped off the Earth.

Along the way, Samantha learns that real love can be found and that not every man will abandon her like her father did. She’s also disgusted by the girlish flirtation of her mother with Cor’s bodyguard, Landemann. Throw into the mix Nikki, Cor’s a 200+ year-old teenage sister, with a Krispy-Kreme fetish, Doreen, Samantha’s mother’s friend, who continually word-vomits about her bunions, plantar warts, and various other nauseating illnesses and medical procedures whether people want to hear or not (most often, NOT), and an ending that frames the book perfectly (Samantha must do the same for Cor that he did for her, remind him of who he is and help him find the exit). What you end up with is brilliant, pleasurable escape from your own “real world”.

I give Bedlam, Bath and Beyond 5 out of 5 stars, and recommend anyone over eighteen (it does have some sexual content) who is looking for a bit of fun and light reading to take a romp with the fairies :D .

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