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16 July 2014

Back in 1990 I saw that a new book was out from Katherine Kerr. I ignored it. For some reason I have never enjoyed her Deverry books and without even reading the title I assumed that this was more of the same. A year later I observed the same book, this time in a UK hardcover and paused long enough to look it over. Ah, not fantasy, this one was SF and it looked interesting. I borrowed my local library’s copy, read it, went straight out and bought my own hardback. POLAR CITY BLUES had me hooked. I loved the characters, the background, and the situation – Polar City is the capital of Hagar, one of the few worlds on which the tiny, human-dominated Republic sits, squeezed between the Interstellar Confederation and the enormous Coreward Alliance. (Known to the inhabitants of Hagar as ‘the cons’ and the ‘lies.’) When an alien from the Confederation Embassy is murdered, Police Chief Bates faces an explosive situation. The main characters are neatly balanced. There is Lacey, human and female, involved in assorted semi-legal and definitely illegal activities, Mulligan, human, male, psychic and hates it. There is Buddy the comp(uter). An intelligent machine, a genuine characters in several ways, and good value, and there is Nunks, an alien, friend of Lacey and Mulligan, and telepathic but unable to speak verbally. I loved the book, read and re-read it for years (and am still doing so) and mourned that there didn;t seem to have been more than that one.

Then in 2005 and quite by accident I ran across a sequel that had been published in 2000 and must not have been that widely publicized since I’d never heard of it. POLAR CITY NIGHTMARE was a collaboration with Kate Daniels, and yes, it’s just as good. All the original characters, new and original problem being a mystery with political twists. The investigation of smuggling, blackmail and murder on two planets uncovers a plot that may unbalance the political equilibrium between the human dominated Republic and the two major alien dominated governments. Set both in Polar City on Hagar and on the capital planet of Sarah, Polar City Nightmare develops themes from the original book: machine intelligence, prejudice, and human relationships, along with a consideration of what is ‘alien’. And it’s a very good read! It took ten years to produce book two, and it’s been fourteen years since that one. I guess that book three won’t be out any time soon and for that I am truly sorry because I enjoyed the heck out of both books. They are warm, clever, excellently written, and I fell in love with the characters. The author is regularly writing new books so it isn’t as if she couldn’t do a third of this series. Ms Kerr, won’t you please do another Polar City book for those of us out here who loved the first two. Please

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