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WesternSFA
7th Sigma
by Steven Gould
Tor, $25.99, 384 pp
Release Date: July 5, 2011

This is by the author of Jumper.

The Bugs came to the territory some 50 year before. They eat metal, even your pacemaker or dental work if it has metal and they have taken over the desert southwest. People still live here by avoiding metal.

Kimble Monroe has chosen to live in the territory. Fleeing an abusive family, he links with a teacher of martial arts and goes with her to her homestead. Kim has a talent for working around Bugs, and a talent for martial arts. His teacher, Ruth, becomes his family. The territorial rangers know there is a warrant out for Kim but they protect him as he works, detectively speaking, for them.

There is a lot of action, a compulsive adventure, well-drawn characters, engaging descriptions of Aikido, and Zen Meditation, spy craft, artificial life theory, frontier economics, and of course, the bugs - I couldn't put it down. With the coming-out of the mechanical werebeasts and the positive spirit evinced, I can’t help hoping for a series. I give it a 10. ~~Pam Allan

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