Aug 23, 2018

Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway! - The Moons of Barsk by Lawrence Schoen

About the Book

Years after the events of Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard, the lonely young outcast and physically-challenged Fant, Pizlo, is now a teenager. He still believes he hears voices from the planet’s moons, imparting secret knowledge to him alone. And so embarks on a dangerous voyage to learn the truth behind the messages. His quest will catapult him offworld for second time is his short life, and reveal things the galaxy isn’t yet ready to know.

Elsewhere, Barsk's Senator Jorl, who can speak with the dead, navigates galactic politics as Barsk's unwelcome representative, and digs even deeper into the past than ever before to discover new truths of his own. 

Buy the Book


"Weird, wise, and worldly, Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard is a triumph.” —Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Red Planet Blues

“The second you encounter the arboreal uplifted elephants who speak with the dead, you know you're reading a work of singular imaginative power. It's a delight from beginning to end.” —Walter Jon Williams, Nebula Award-winning author of the Metropolitan series

“A captivating, heartwarming story in a unique and fantastic world... as rich and mysterious as Dune.” —James L. Cambias, author of A Darkling Sea

“A heartfelt and wonderfully weird book: a space opera about kindness and memory.” —Max Gladstone, author of the Craft Sequence

“A masterful, onion-layered tale of pariahdom, treachery, and genocide that ultimately reveals the true deathlessness of hope and love.” —Charles E. Gannon, author of Fire With Fire

“Combines excellent characters and a fascinating world. What really makes it work is how he deftly weaves together startling SFnal ideas with character-based intrigue. You'll really care for these characters, even as you find them believably alien. I found it a compulsive page-turner and immensely enjoyable.” —Karl Schroeder, author of Lockstep

“Powerful. Grand in scope, yet deeply intimate. Schoen gives anthropomorphism some serious spirituality. It got inside my head in the way that only an exciting new idea can.” —Howard Tayler, Hugo Award-winning creator of Schlock Mercenary

The Moons of Barsk Review


I am not a huge science fiction fan, most of the time it takes me a while to get into it and then I get very lost in space so to speak. I received books 1 and 2 of the Barsk series for this blog tour with very little time to actually get them read at a pace in which I could really drink them in, but even with a speed read I thought that they were very good and even myself - the non-Sci Fi fan got into them. The Moons of Barsk, book 2 in the series picks up many years after the initial event in book 1.  If you have not read Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard, I highly recommend doing so before jumping into this book - it has a lot of set up that you will need in order to follow along.  

(So if you need it, a review of book 1 is below this one)
In book 2, Pizlo is now a teen with some powers of his own, and Jorl is still a senator but has a family now as well. Schoen does a wonderful job picking up where he left off in the first book, going back to the exploration of the lost island/ Death island that the Fant slip away to when their time is about to come. The beginning of this book even pulled me in much stronger than the last one did. The world building throughout the series is pretty amazing and I found it easy to settle in and dive into this new world as if I had been there. 
The plot again follows the future of the Fant and how they will survive being an oppressed people in the Alliance - but it was a weird plot because only a handful of the Fant on the world of Barsk seem to even care that something might extinguish them. One would think that if this issue was really that large that more of the Fant would be worried, but the author does not showcase that bit.

Otherwise though, the tension and conflict was very balanced and the overall drive was good. I felt for the characters and wanted various parties to succeed and found others that I wanted to smack - and for me that makes a good read.

I think that Sci Fi fans will really appreciate this series; it was a lot to take in for a non- Sci Fi reader but even still it was a very good story and I enjoyed it I just wish I had more time to really delve into the details.

Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard Review

Book 1 of the Barsk series is framed in a futuristic setting where humans are long gone and instead the events we follow transpire among anthropomorphic animals. These animals include a variety of  species and they have formed their own nations on various planets in space with government and trade. 

The book follows Jorl who is a Fant (which is essentially an elephant), he is a Speaker which means that he can talk to long dead ancestors to gain knowledge, which is also good because he is also a Historian. While trying to talk to a deceased friend he finds out that some of the dead are not responding to his calls which is unusual, he sets out to find out what is happening.

The story also follows a child who is not accepted by the community, his name is Pizlo and he has a very special talent as well - he can talk to the moons and they tell him things. 

The overall plot follows these two as they learn of a scheme to try to cut the Fant out of the cycle of things by stealing one of their trade goods and its production. This plot was very intense and the world building around it was amazing. Even though I don't read a lot of Science Fiction I was very interested in this animals in space perspective. There was enough variety in the characters that I even really enjoyed the switching between them from chapter to chapter and I really felt invested in the plights. 

For Science Fiction Fans this would be a great addition to your to -read list, and if you aren't a fan of Sci Fi, I think that these are not so over the top Science Fiction that you can get into them as I did. I really enjoyed the first of this series and even if you don't continue to the next book, it has a wonderful ending and ties up nicely. I think it really showcased the growth of the characters well. 

About the Author

Lawrence M. Schoen holds a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology and psycholinguistics. He spent ten years as a college professor, doing research in the areas of human memory and language. This was followed by seventeen years as the director of research for a medical center in Philadelphia that provided mental health and addiction services. Evidence from both these career paths can be found in almost everything he writes.

He’s also one of the world’s foremost authorities on the Klingon language, and since 1992 has championed the exploration and use of this constructed tongue and lectured throughout the world. In addition, he’s the publisher behind a speculative fiction small press, Paper Golem, aimed at showcasing up-and-coming new writers as well as providing a market for novellas. And too, he performs occasionally as a hypnotherapist specializing in authors’ issues.

In 2007, he was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. He received a Hugo Award nomination for Best Short Story in 2010 and Nebula Award nominations for Best Novella in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2018, and for Best Novel in 2016. He's received the  Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service to SFWA Award as well as the Coyotl Award for Best Novel. Some of his most popular writing deals with the ongoing humorous adventures of a space-faring stage hypnotist named the Amazing Conroy and his animal companion Reggie, an alien buffalito that can eat anything and farts oxygen. More serious writing can be found in his BARSK series, which uses anthropomorphic SF to explore ideas of prophecy, intolerance, political betrayal, speaking to the dead, predestination, and free will.

Lawrence lives near Philadelphia with his wife, Valerie, who is neither a psychologist nor a Klingon speaker.

Find the Author

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
5 Winners will receive a Copy of THE MOONS OF BARSK (Barsk #2) by Lawrence M. Schoen.

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