Nickerson (The Empress Angelina’s Quest, 2015, etc.) offers the second installment in a sci-fi series about a race of advanced, bearlike creatures.
When readers first meet Babs and Tiberus in this novel, the two are about to embark on a trip to the Aldrin system. Although they could have taken a faster means of transportation, they’ve settled on The Dream in the Night, a luxury space transport that will stop at a handful of resort planets along the way. As part of a mission planned in the series’ first book, the two travel incognito as Mr. and Lady Tornbow, high-rolling gem dealers on their honeymoon. Once they arrive onboard, Ti hacks into the ship’s manifest to discover two suspicious brothers on the list of passengers. Babs and Ti note that it would be prudent to keep an eye on them and then go about enjoying themselves. For the uninitiated reader, Babs and Ti are Bearilians—a highly advanced race of interstellar traveling bears with a fondness, it seems, for ancient Roman mannerisms (including names such as Pompey, Tiberius, and Augustine) and phrasings such as “Ladies and gentlebears” and “Henchbears.” In many cases, the characters act like humans, but readers are constantly reminded that they aren’t really human at all. But although the idea of such intelligent creatures may seem silly at first blush, the author shows that Ti, Babs, and their kin are not to be trifled with. Their adventure includes plenty of violence (Ti has no qualms about snapping a foe’s neck, and Babs is quick with a gun loaded with a “fifty caliber round”), and the stage is set for a caper that’s as bizarre as it is action-packed. Nickerson tells the story in a tone that lacks any sense of irony despite its fantastical aspects, which include dragons, pirates, and a wormhole. Although it’s certainly a lot to process, readers who are eager to explore such a disparate fictional universe are likely to enjoy seeing what conflicts develop.
A bumpy, unpredictable journey through unexplored regions of science fiction.