Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tron - Steven Lisberger

A so-so book about a computer geek guy that ends up sucked into his own computer world. He ends up getting to play some pretty cool computer games for real, though, even if the stakes are really a little on the high side for your average game geek's fancy.

You won't just be losing your twenty cent piece to the Galaga machine here.

2.5 out of 5

The End of Eternity - Isaac Asimov

Harlan is a technician and works for a political sort of organisation called The Eternals. They minister to time over tens of thousands of centuries, and try and keep it running with a minimum of adjustments.

People being what they are, Harlan decides to make a minor fiddle because of his feelings for a woman.

3.5 out of 5

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 18 - Ben Payne

Fiction by...

Static Song . . . Stephen Dedman
Love at Second Sight . . . Tina Connolly
Sweet Potato Pie . . . Lawrence M Schoen
Fortitude Valley Station, 2:15am . . . Dirk Flinthart
Like Clockwork . . . Stuart Barrow
Murderworld . . . Lee Battersby
The Life and Times of Penguin . . . Eugie Foster
Just To Talk . . . Susie Hawes
Thingies in the Hills . . . Eric Turowski

Poetry...

Monsters . . . James Cain

Special Features...

Space Ship One . . . Jonathan Ruland
The Sorcerer's Realm II . . . Sophie Masson

Regular Features...

Interview - Anne Bishop . . . Tansy Rayner Roberts
Interview - Gregory Maguire . . . Byron Merritt
Interview - Kaaron Warren . . . Maxine McArthur

Reviews...

Various contributors

Gregory Maguire is the guy that did that Wicked Witch of the West book.


Static Song . . . Stephen Dedman

Far future time travellers visit minds of famous people.

3.5 out of 5


Love at Second Sight . . . Tina Connolly

Fairies get busted at decent party

3.5 out of 5


Sweet Potato Pie . . . Lawrence M Schoen

Nasty farm traditions.

2 out of 5


Fortitude Valley Station, 2:15am . . . Dirk Flinthart

Train station ghosts.

3.5 out of 5


Like Clockwork . . . Stuart Barrow

Little gremlins.

2.5 out of 5


Murderworld . . . Lee Battersby

Reality tv revolution.

4 out of 5


The Life and Times of Penguin . . . Eugie Foster

Blow-up toy story.

3 out of 5


Just To Talk . . . Susie Hawes

Needy goddess.

3 out of 5


Thingies in the Hills . . . Eric Turowski

Fungus as bogeyman.

3.5 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 17 - Sally Beasley

Fiction...
Trouble Leaves a Scent Trail . . Constance Cooper
Impractical Magic . . Gillian Polack
The Team-mate Reference Problem in Final-Stage Demon Confrontation . . Constance Cooper
The Red Priest's Homecoming . . Dirk Flinthart
An Alien Abduction . . Mark Patrick Lynch
A Game of Knight Court . . Jason D Wittman
The Memory of Breathing . . Lyn Triffit

Special Features...
Close Approach: Mars . . Helen Patrice
On Elven Grammar II . . Gillian Polack
The Sorceror's Realm I . . Sophie Masson

Plus an interview with Terry Pratchett

A good interview and some short other bits. A strong issue.


Trouble Leaves a Scent Trail . . Constance Cooper

Hard boiled Crustaceans are cops.

3.5 out of 5


Impractical Magic . . Gillian Polack

Jewish mothers annoy even demon lords.

3 out of 5


The Team-mate Reference Problem in Final-Stage
Demon Confrontation . . Constance Cooper

Appellation is tricky when demon fighting.

3 out of 5


The Red Priest's Homecoming . . Dirk Flinthart

A hero's return is bad if you aren't human.

4.5 out of 5


An Alien Abduction . . Mark Patrick Lynch

Little Grays Flying Hood.

3.5 out of 5


A Game of Knight Court . . Jason D Wittman

Unforeseen endgame for the master.

4 out of 5


The Memory of Breathing . . Lyn Triffit

Capital necromancy and dead rights.

4 out of 5




4.5 out of 5

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Shield of Time - Poul Anderson

Another Time Patrol novel with Everard Manse. A lot of this is taken up by a newer agent, a woman named Wanda Tamberley.

Manse is getting a bit worn down by the whole time policing thing, particularly given there is a faction with similar technology opposing them to their own ends.

Wanda herself gets a bit attached to those she is interacting with in 13000BC.

3.5 out of 5

Enemy Mine - Barry B. Longyear

Two fighters on opposite sides of a war, and on different species are forced to work together to stay alive.

This relationship also moves on to the next generation, and the human combatant becomes a diplomatic bridge between the two alien races, once they are out of the hairy situation.

4 out of 5

Slag Like Me - Barry B. Longyear

Slag Like Me is the fifth Alien Nation novel, and Barry Longyear handles it pretty well.

The two cops get involved when an undercover reporter disappears after writing a bunch of hardhitting columns exposing the poor treatment of the Tenctonese immigrants. In other words, looking at something this particular milieu does quite well.

3 out of 5

Salt - Gabrielle Lord

There is some pretty severe global warming in this book. No water, no cool. The outside temperature in Australia has climbed well into the 50s, on average, and serious precautions must be taken when going outside.

The two main characters, a man and a woman, end up doing just that, going on the run to try and get to the heart of a conspiracy.

3 out of 5

First Channel - Jacqueline Lichtenberg

The planet that these people live on has a mutated humanity, split into two dominant forms, the Simes and the Gens.

The former exists as a type of energy vampire, using the others as a food and energy source.

When a wealthy young man's girlfriend turns into a Gen, he realises that something is wrong, and tries to save her rather than sell her into slavery, basically.

3 out of 5

Star Wars - Alan Dean Foster

This is definitely a fun book, and I used to be able to do quite a bit of quoting from the material in my younger days.

The one thing that we used to wonder 'why' about, was why was Luke Red 5 in one, and Blue 5 in the other. One of the mysteries of the universe.

Definitely a good read though.

4 out of 5

The Altman Code - Robert Ludlum and Gayle Lynds

The plot in this one involves some potential chemical weapons, and China. Apparently the Chinese are holding a political prisoner and have been for many years.

This man, it seems, is likely the father of the US president. So, a bit of rebel action inside China, and some other fun with nasty weapons for the Doc and his gang.

3 out of 5

Day of Creation - J. G. Ballard

A doctor, sick of the corporate shill he is becoming goes to work in Central Africa. He gets obsessed with finding water, as well as being in the middle of a small military conflict.

When lots of water does happen to come around he starts to get loopier and loopier, hunting for its source, with a young girl he has a demented Lolita thing for, while he does his little Heart of Darkness adventure on a boat.

3 out of 5

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 16 - Tehani Wessely

http://www.andromedaspaceways.com/issue16.htm

Fiction:
* Through the Window, Merrilee Dances by Lee Battersby
* CDX by Tracina Jackson-Adams
* Cable and the High Seas by Mikal Trimm
* Soulfood by Paul E. Martens
* Samhain by Lessons from the Dead by Lesleigh Force
* A Small Blue Planet for the Pleasantly Insane by Douglas Van Belle
* Position Vacant: Santa Claus by Valerie Toh
* The Universe Construction Set by Wade Albert White
* Delta Void and the Stray God by Tansy Rayner Roberts

Poetry:
* Meghan by Christine Hamm
* Eight for Working by Lee Battersby

Special Features:
* Dragonslaying for Dummies by Ben Cook
* Ten Things by Gillian Pollack
* Postcard from Boston by Zara Baxter

Regular Features:
* Interview with Tony Shillitoe by Jason Fischer
* Reviews by Various
* Events Listing

All in all a highly consistently and highly humourous issue, even a Dragon Slaying for Dummies article. Quite possibly the issue of any SF magazine I have read pretty much liking all the stories equally.


* Through the Window, Merrilee Dances by Lee Battersby

Statecraft, with dancing.

3 out of 5


* CDX by Tracina Jackson-Adams

The dogbot racket.

3.5 out of 5


* Cable and the High Seas by Mikal Trimm

Being a pirate is a dog's life.

3.5 out of 5


* Soulfood by Paul E. Martens

Matronly diplomacy for aliens.

3.5 out of 5


* Samhain by Lessons from the Dead by Lesleigh Force

Dead friends are a real pain.

3.5 out of 5


* A Small Blue Planet for the Pleasantly Insane by Douglas Van Belle

Alien researcher and dinosaur researchers

4 out of 5


* Position Vacant: Santa Claus by Valerie Toh

Interviews for the new guy.

3.5 out of 5


* The Universe Construction Set by Wade Albert White

Milky Way Meccano.

3.5 out of 5


* Delta Void and the Stray God by Tansy Rayner Roberts

Chicks, Chainmail, Carrie.

3.5 out of 5




4.5 out of 5

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Kaisho - Eric Van Lustbader

The Kaisho is a bit more concerned with the business world, in general. Crooks abound, including the yakuza and mafia on top of the politicians. Linnear has to deal with attacks on his computer company from several sides, as well as provide some bodyguard services to a yakuza head whose business partners seem to be starting to die.

Some background on Linnear's family is also discovered.

3 out of 5

White Ninja - Eric Van Lustbader

This is the third of Eric Van Lustbaders spies and ninja and ever the twain shall meet series.

Nicholas is in Tokyo, doing the corporate executive thing for his technology company, but is losing touch with the whole ninja thing.

Needless to say, that is when a nut will start running around, that needs stopping. This is also tied into an important contract to supply a new type of computer chip to the government.

More ninja magic and mayhew.

4 out of 5

The Miko - Eric Van Lustbader

There are elements of mysticism in the training that gives the ninja in the Van Lustbader books their skills, and it gives them a kind of Daredevil preternatural awareness at times.

In The Miko, Nicholas Linnears comes into conflict with one of the female variety, who definitely goes in for the whole mystical angle in a big enough way to push her into the witch/sorceress type of villain realm.

Still plenty of spies and action on top of the mumbo jumbo though.

3.5 out of 5

The Ninja - Eric Van Lustbader

This book is clearly Van Lustbader's best. Very atmospheric as he shows a killing by a mystery assailant of amazing skill.

Nicholas Linnear, a martial arts expert, and a ninja, no less, is minding his own business until this murder happens. He then meets a police detective, and starts to realise who the murderer may be.

This ties back into a childhood conflict of skill and jealousy.

4.5 out of 5

Angel Eyes - Eric Van Lustbader

There is something a little different about this book. Three women are actually more focal characters than is usually the case - so many of them, that is.

Their actions and plots will drive what happens later on, even though they are not acting in concert.

Plenty of spying and action to follow though.

2.5 out of 5

Black Blade - Eric Van Lustbader

Eastern mysticism and martial arts meet tough guy detective yankee style. Not exactly a shocker there. The Black Blades are another scary Japanese gang, but the plot they are looking to implement is a bit more far reaching.

More of a James Bond style thing, use a supercomputer program to do a bit of world domination. That sort of thing. Luckily he has a girlfriend to help him.

3 out of 5

French Kiss - Eric Van Lustbader

Another Eric Van Lustbader book that pulls an American character - in this case, two of them - into the depths of Asia. In this case, because of the death of some of their relatives.

At the heart of the matter is a search for some supposdedly mystical artificats, that some Indochinese druglords value highly. Therefore, this is where a lot of the book will end up.

2.5 out of 5

Zero - Eric Van Lustbader

Another of the man gets drawn into conflict style stories, and becomes the Western part of an East/West situation, or really an East/Japan situation here.

Japanese gangsters, Japanese spies, antagonism and plots against China, plus lots of action can be found in this book through the viewpoint character Michael.

3 out of 5

Black Heart - Eric Van Lustbader

This book is about a warrior who is now a political operator. When the guy he is in charge of gets killed, he gets dragged back into using his more overt violence oriented skills.

At the heart of the conflict is Asian racism, nationalism and xenophobia, as two antagonists from different countries do not like each other at all. He gets caught in the middle.

Martial arts moves galore, too.

2.5 out of 5

Shan - Eric Van Lustbader

Jake Maroc's family have had it rough, and this has been rough on him. He decides to get back into the spirit of the whole martial arts thing, rather than using it to take out ganglords.

Not going to be that easy though, as there are still spies, communists and other undersirables around to be dealth with.

2.5 out of 5

Jian - Eric Van Lustbader

Two men who knew each other in their younger days come into conflict. Jake Maroc was a Chinese agent for a covert organisation, and also a martial arts guru. Nichiren is now a ganglord, and has a woman that is important to Jake.

Both are likely to do silly things in the coming conflict and a cooler head has to try and stop the flow on effects from being ridiculous.

3 out of 5

When Eight Bells Toll - Alistair MacLean

A British secret service agent, with a pretty entertaining sense of humour, has to look into the mystery and incidents surrounding gold robbery on the high seas in Scotland.

Yes, good new-fashioned piracy, kidnapping, and all that sort of thing, in some pretty crappy weather.

3.5 out of 5

Where Eagles Dare - Alistair MacLean

An important Allied general with knowledge of upcoming large-scale war theatre plans is captured. A seat of the pants mission is put together to try and get him back. Failing that, to kill him.

This is a joint American-British spook operation, so those doing the dirty work find out that all is not as it seems.

4 out of 5

Ice Station Zebra - Alistair MacLean

A British meterological station is in danger, and those staffing it will soon be dead without help. An American nuclear sub is sent out to help them, along with a doctor that is an expert in the sort of afflictions they may have developed.

However, this American sub also has an underlying spook mission to go along with the rescue. This hidden agenda causes a hell of a lot of problems and casualities throughout.

4 out of 5

Force 10 From Navarone - Alistair MacLean

This is a strange book. The sequel novel ties in partly to the movie, with some of the characters, but pretty much sticks with the backstory and other information found in the Guns of Navarone.

As such, it is a bit on the problematic side, and definitely not anywhere as tense, exciting or well done.

3 out of 5

The Guns of Navarone - Alistair MacLean

A very good war thriller. A cosmopolitan team of cover operatives is sent in on a mission to disable a strategically important artillery stronghold.

All does not go quite as planned, and there is a rather large rat in the ranks, unfortunately. Highly entertaining and a sterling example of work of this type. Not to be missed for those who like this sort of thing.

4.5 out of 5

Accursed - Amber Benson

Apparently a spin-off from a web project. This involves two young siblings you inherit the power to protect the soul of Britain from supernatural menaces, from their grandfather.

Their father is possessed by a demon, and they have to keep him bound. The ghosts of Boadicea, Lord Nelson and Lord Byron (poetry is useful in warfare?) help them, as does an old vampire friend of their father's.

They run into a girl who has usurped the power of the soul of India, and the Protector of India, plus a bunch of rakshasha and Children of Kali lizard-frog monsters.

They need a bit more ghostly help in the ifnal confrontation.

3 out of 5

Necroscope : Defilers - Brian Lumley

Harry Keogh has someone left Jake Cutter some Necroscope powers, but he has also made a deal with the devil to use them, as he does not have the mathematical ability to handle the Mobius continuum.

What is worse, there are currently three Wamphyri running around on earth. E-Branch goes after two of them, in Greece, with the help of old stalwart Manolis, and Jake goes hunting in Australia and elsewhere.

He has to begin to get the dead to trust him if he is to get very far, and stop the vampire in his head from pulling any fast ones.

Another good installment with an exciting end.

3.5 out of 5

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 15 - Robbie Matthews

Fiction:
* Letters from the Editors by Allan Price
* The Surly Bonds of Earth by Dave Luckett
* The Alchemical Automaton Blues by Ian McHugh
* Arabica Beans by Edo Mor
* The Beating of Butterfly Wings by Brandon Alspaugh
* Are You Ready for the End of the World? by Danny Adams
* A Calling On Song by Mark Rigney
* Giving It Up for the Seraphim by Paul E. Martens
* Heavy Metal by Richard Pitchforth
* Absolution by Barbara Robson
* Reality 2.0 by Ian Creasey

Poetry:
* Clancy of the Buffer Overflow by Antony Searle

Special Features:
* Unpicking the Trousers of Time by Ben Cook
* On Elven Grammar by Philologa Majora
* Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder by Gillian Polack
* GenreCon by Trevor Stafford

Regular Features:
* An Interview with Fiona McIntosh by Jason Fischer
* Reviews

This is an issue with a lighter touch.

A bunch of reviews, including a Philip K. Dick collection. An article on the history of science, and a funny article on the use of drugs in fiction writing.


* Letters from the Editors by Allan Price

Andromeda conspiracies.

3.5 out of 5


* The Surly Bonds of Earth by Dave Luckett

Releasing a pilot.

3.5 out of 5


* The Alchemical Automaton Blues by Ian McHugh

Golems as pets.

3 out of 5


* Arabica Beans by Edo Mor

Efreet and eye surgery.

2 out of 5


* The Beating of Butterfly Wings by Brandon Alspaugh

Einstein and possibilities.

3 out of 5


* Are You Ready for the End of the World? by Danny Adams

Sneaky alien savage prank.

3 out of 5


* A Calling On Song by Mark Rigney

A little of the Lest Darkness Fall method, with a dragon.

3 out of 5


* Giving It Up for the Seraphim by Paul E. Martens

Interstellar scam artists.

2.5 out of 5


* Heavy Metal by Richard Pitchforth

Armed drongo forges interstellar alliance.

3.5 out of 5


* Absolution by Barbara Robson

Religion as opiate.

3 out of 5


* Reality 2.0 by Ian Creasey

Mathematics upgrade, Microsoft style.

3.5 out of 5



3 out of 5

Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators : The Secret of Phantom Lake - Dennis Lynds

The Three Investigators are actually three teenage kids, one Jupiter Jones and two others with ordinary names : Pete Crenshaw and Robert Andrews. They live in a made-up place, as that is of course more fun.

In this story the three junior detectives investigate a mystery involving a chinese treasure chest, a no longer floating sunken sea vessel, and person who may not be who they seem..

2 out of 5

Doctor Who and Warrior's Gate - John Lydecker

Doctor Who and Warriors' Gate is definitely one of the more complex Doctor Who stories. The Doctor, Romana and the strange leonine time dwellers all float around here, and the former two are not that sure what is going on, at least for most of it.

A difficult choice is also made by Romana at the end of the story. A bit more Sapphire and Steel this one, I suppose you could say.

3.5 out of 5

Engine City - Ken MacLeod

The story picks up again, and steps up a notch. It is not only the locals and known beings they have to worry about. It seems there is a large conflict elsewhere, and new recruits are always needed for the fighting.

Other branches of this conflict just like to make stuff, and change people. Given that a lot of people don't like change, serious and deadly problems abound for a lot of the characters.

4 out of 5

Dark Light - Ken MacLeod

Dark Light is the second of a trilogy, and this book is where you see more of the point of having the two different threads in the first book.

The characters in the first novel have a type of immortality treatment, so a few of them are hanging out on a planet that Matt takes the Bright Star ship to, and their destinies become intertwined.

Along with the local political manipulation that said long lived guys have been up to in the meantime.

Not as interesting as the first novel.

3 out of 5

Cosmonaut Keep - Ken MacLeod

This novel has two threads. The first a near future thriller revolving around secret spaceflight technology and contact with aliens, and the dangers inherent in this activity. The politics of who should control such tech and information also make up an important part.

The other stream is set in the reasonably distant future on a planet that actually has humans coexisting with aliens. One particular wealthy family is looking into technological research on a long term scale, trying to improve their situation.

4 out of 5

The Star Fraction - Ken MacLeod

In this fragmented and fractured world artificial intelligence research is no-no, at least mostly, as far as the everyday people go.

A mercenary and a couple of others from one of these micro-organisations get involved in a plot involving some fancy financial software and other problems, not least of which is their own gear.

MacLeod's element of taking the piss is certainly in evidence here.

4 out of 5

Quest Crosstime - Andre Norton

This is the second of the Crosstime books by Norton. Blake is well ensconced in the Crosstime life now. However, it doesn't remain peaceful for long. His boss' daughter is kidnapped, and they also uncover another of those dastardly mess up time and alternate worlds conspiracies of badness.

Spider-Sense and Mind Shield will definitely get some more use here as he races to sort it out, with some help.

3 out of 5

The Crossroads of Time - Andre Norton

This book throws in time travel, alternate worlds, psionic powers, and a cat.

A man named Blake gets caught up in an event with a gunman and some government agents, and ends up on a wild time travelling adventure to stop an enemy trying to gain power and do bad things to time.

Handy developing mental powers help him stop it.

3 out of 5

Lest Darkness Fall - L. Sprague De Camp

Lest Darkness Fall is at times light and entertaining book with a touch of the 'Connecticut Yankee' thing going on.

A history professor ends up back in ancient Rome, and soon sets about using his knowledge to give people advice and hence build himself a power base. He gains influence, women, military strength, etc., while trying to help stave off the fall of the Roman Empire. Quite enjoyable.

3.5 out of 5

The Corridors of Time - Poul Anderson

The Corridors of Time is a different story. The world has two opposing political powers, and part of this struggle ends up taking place in the timestream. No Everard Manse here.

A lot of it in this case, in ancient Denmark. So, quite enjoyable to see a different setting handled in this way compared to the usual sort of places.

3 out of 5

The Big Ask - Shane Maloney

Angelo Agnelli wants Murray to set up a sacrifical political campaign, so he can gauge the current politics of the place to help work on his own re-election campaign.

Murray goes to an old trucker friend for help with this, but soon gets caught up in some reasonably scary associated violence.

4 out of 5

The Brush-Off - Shane Maloney

The dodginess in this novel is in the art world. When an artist of some notoriety is found dead, Murray gets involved. With Agnelli now Minister for Arts he is pretty keen for Murray to clean up this problem, but the bodycount keeps rising.

Murray also gets trapped in a factory with some huge parade float puppets, very amusing.

4 out of 5

Stiff - Shane Maloney

Murray Whelan is supposed to be a garden variety electoral officer. In reality, he does a lot more troubleshooting than paperwork and answering complaint letters.

A deputy minister asks him to look into the death of a Turkish meat packer at a factory.

Amusing antics follow as much dodgy brothers business is discovered.

4 out of 5

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 13 - Andrew Finch

http://www.andromedaspaceways.com/issue13.htm

Fiction:
* Bully for You by Peter Andrew Smith
* Elf Esteem by Steven Cavanagh
* Sambilly's Impractical Noodle Machine by David Hoffman-Dachelet
* Urban Transit by Marion Schweda
* Kappas by Maxine McArthur
* The Truth about Alternate Dimensions by Darren Goossens
* The Whole of the Law by Stephen Dedman

Special Features:
* Conflux Awards
* Discworld Goes to Hollywood (well Melbourne) by Tansy Rayner Roberts

Regular Features
* Interview with Glenda Larke by Donna Marie Hanson
* Reviews and Letters


* Bully for You by Peter Andrew Smith

A would be conqueror gets a big fright.

3 out of 5


* Elf Esteem by Steven Cavanagh

Orcs are smarter than they look.

3.5 out of 5


* Sambilly's Impractical Noodle Machine by David Hoffman-Dachelet

Advances in pasta technology.

2 out of 5


* Urban Transit by Marion Schweda

Matter transmission has its drawbacks.

3 out of 5


* Kappas by Maxine McArthur

Japanese beasties do some media work.

3.5 out of 5


* The Truth about Alternate Dimensions by Darren Goossens

Mad scientist and lawyer grandson.

3 out of 5


* The Whole of the Law by Stephen Dedman

Ship takes a job on anarchist planet. Robot and espionage problems.

2.5 out of 5




3 out of 5

Friday, February 23, 2007

Doctor Who and the Ribos Operation - Ian Marter

The Ribos Operation is the start of the very groovy epic Key to Time sequence. Here, the Doctor meets the White Guardian, and is told what is in store for him.

He is told he is going to get some help, and Romana the unpronounceable quickly appears, settling on being called Romana. Luckily, he still has K9 to protect him from the woman who at the times seems to be wavering a little towards the harridan end of the personality spectrum.

3 out of 5

Doctor Who and the Ark In Space - Ian Marter

The Doctor heads into space with Sarah Jane Smith, and is also accompanied by Harry Sullivan, a doctor who works with UNIT.

What they find is a space station of sorts, and it at first appears to be deserted. That is, until the find the large monstrous alien, and the humans in suspended animation.

Many frozen dinners to be had.

3 out of 5

Doctor Who and the Sontaran Experiment - Ian Marter

The Doctor's crew in this story includes Harry and Sarah. They end up on earth, checking if it is ok to live on, basically.

However, they find one of those Sontaran warriors. Pretty shocking, that, given the title. He is experimenting with people, which is not that nice, really.

3 out of 5

Ikon - Graham Masterton

This is an espionage thriller, not a horror story, and fairly amusing when you actually get to the end of it. As it turns out, American is one really, really, really big red state at the heart, which is a turn of events that is very shocking to the protagonist at the time, but pretty funny when you are reading the novel.

3 out of 5

Death Trance - Graham Masterton

A wealthy industrialist suffers a lot of misfortune. Industrial accidents, and the death of his family. This leads him to go looking for supernatural help, and travels to Indonesia for some reason, to find a death trance guru, so he can talk to his dead wife.

Of course, it is not going to be as simple as that, either for him, or for the hindu trance master he finds.

3 out of 5

Night Plague - Graham Masterton

The third Night Warriors book is also pretty ordinary. Five people must do the Night Warrior thing to stop a 17th century witch from creating a dream disease that will do very bad things.

A couple of their own number fall prey to the illness, leaving the rest to try and stop the dream witch.

2.5 out of 5

Death Dream - Graham Masterton

Death Dream is the second in the Night Warriors series of books. It is not as good as the first novel, and also uses a different group of Warriors.

A boy harbours a demon, who ends up killing a couple of people. The police get involved, and quickly realise that they need help, and this is where these Night Warriors get involved in the case.

2.5 out of 5

Night Warriors - Graham Masterton

Here, three people discover a dead person, and then further discover that they have the Night Warrior ability, and at night, must enter people's dreams to fight off some evil, and some not inconsiderable risk to themselves.

Just average people during the day, the whole hero thing does not come naturally to them.

3 out of 5

Tengu - Graham Masterton

This time, Masterton goes for demons of the Japanese variety. In this case, the Kappa. This one has a plan for a lot of demonic badness. It aims to do this via possession, and its first target is a man who actually knows about them, and remembers them from world war two.

The possession attempt is botched, and takes over the wrong person, leaving them with a live enemy to oppose them.

3 out of 5

The Pariah - Graham Masterton

The Pariah is definitely one of Masterton's better novels, and also quite a bit longer than usual.

An antique dealer in a small town is visited by his dead wife. He is not the only one, and an Aztec demon lord of the dead, buried aboard a ship off the coast is responsible for this, and some truly horrifying acts later on the novel.

Definitely a good horror book.

4 out of 5

Family Portrait - Graham Masterton

Masterton here takes the Dorian Gray story, and multiplies it. There exists a whole family of Grays, all doing the portrait trick to accomplish a type of immortality.

They only have a sort of life, and have to massacre people for the pieces of them they need to stay 'fresh' looking.

3 out of 5

Charnel House - Graham Masterton

Another Graham Masterton book that revolves around Native American mythology and monsters.

A garbologist has the very odd thing happen to him of encountering a house that appears to be breathing and alive. That can never be a good thing in a horror novel, at least if you have to be anywhere near said structure.

Throw in a few demons and the hunt is on.

3 out of 5

The Djinn - Graham Masterton

There is no big surprise as to what the monster is here. Nor the protagonist of the novel. Harry Erskine, charlatan in trouble is also in this book.

His godfather is dead, and he goes to his house to take care of his affairs, and discovers some strange things, like a lack of faces and a buried Persian jar.

Cue badness.

3 out of 5

Revenge of the Manitou - Graham Masterton

Yes, Misquamacus, the self-styled best medicine man ever is back, after losing to a dodgy magician, a woman, and a modern day native american who actually knew a little.

Not as good as the first book, but still ok, as the big M decides to summon some supernatural help for a bit of havoc wreaking.

3 out of 5

The Manitou - Graham Masterton

A horror story about a young woman afflicted with the growing--literally--spirit of an Indian shaman type from a few hundred years ago.

A man with some knowledge of this sort of thing has to help deal with it, and stop the Manitou. There is some culpability on both sides, at times.

3.5 out of 5

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 09 - Tansy Rayner Roberts

http://www.andromedaspaceways.com/issue9.htm

Fiction:
* Following a Haunch ... Edwina Harvey
* The Fates Take a Holiday ... Sarah Prineas
* Acquired Tastes ... Stephen Dedman
* Howler ... Robert Hood
* The Words ... Renee Dillon
* Bovine Intervention ... G. Scott Huggins
* Rambling with Rose ... Robert Cox
* Things to Do While Waiting for an Elevator ... William I Lengeman III
* The Sibylline Books ... Howard Andrew Jones
* Shady Places ... Jaleigh Johnson
* Parity Check ... Dirk Flinthart

Special Features
* Women Writers in Science Fiction ... Tansy Rayner Roberts
* PULP ORIGINS: Weird Tales ... Tansy Rayner Roberts

Regular Features
* Reviews ... Various
* Interview--Brian Herbert ... Byron Merritt
* Letters
* News in Space

Tansy Rayner Roberts gives an overview of Weird Tales magazine. There is an interview with Brian Herbert, as well.

* Following a Haunch ... Edwina Harvey

Andromeda's propulsion can be interesting.

3 out of 5


* The Fates Take a Holiday ... Sarah Prineas

Three interfering women take a trip.

3 out of 5


* Acquired Tastes ... Stephen Dedman

Time travel is useful for negotiation, and power.

3.5 out of 5


* Howler ... Robert Hood

Monsters and the horizontal mambo.

2.5 out of 5


* The Words ... Renee Dillon

Mistake with a spell.

3 out of 5


* Bovine Intervention ... G. Scott Huggins

Watch out for sorcerers that like cows.

3.5 out of 5


* Rambling with Rose ... Robert Cox

A young man won't let his dead sister rest.

3 out of 5


* Things to Do While Waiting for an Elevator ... William I Lengeman III

Lots of things to do when bored.

2.5 out of 5


* The Sibylline Books ... Howard Andrew Jones

One of Hadrian's relatives, magic and prophecy.

3.5 out of 5


* Shady Places ... Jaleigh Johnson

Unicorn woman.

2.5 out of 5


* Parity Check ... Dirk Flinthart

The rich live again?

3.5 out of 5



3 out of 5

Zeaton - Philip Rainford

This sf novel is very bad. The editing is also horrible. Although now, a few years later, I have seen major publisher editing reach this level of crapness, so maybe they were just ahead of the curve.

1 out of 5

Blue Silence - Michelle Marquardt

A strange spacecraft turns up at a space station. It appears a little similar to a ship that was lost around 200 years ago.

It provokes a political competition, intrigue, and espionage for the rights to check it out and plunder possible new technology.

A senator leads what she hopes to be a peaceful exploration, but the fanged and clawed strange inhabitants she finds there means that may not be possible.

The story gets more complex from there.

4 out of 5

Rogue Moon - Algis Budrys

A strange alien artifact is found on the moon. It is fascinating, and very, very lethal. It has been going through men's lives at a frightening rate, so a new technology to use facsimiles of people has been created, so they can go in, explore a little, die, and do it again.

One problem with this is those doing the exploring are very likely to go crazy.

A search is on for a man who can deal with the psychological stress of the project.

It also looks at their lives off this experiment and how they deal with that in the meantime.

4 out of 5

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 23 - Zara Baxter and Stuart Bellow and Terri Sellen

http://www.andromedaspaceways.com/issue23.htm

Fiction
Saving Astounding. . . Michael Main
Fire Magic. . . Stephanie Burgis and Patrick Samphire
Draw the Faithful to their Knees . . David L Felts and Ken Rand
All Things Being Equal . . . Karen Danylak
Dying for Air . . . Sean Williams and Simon Brown
Instinct. . . . Nigel Read and Lee Battersby
Questing Beast. . . . Andrew and Ilona Gordon

poetry
And Then . . . . . Suzanne Palmer

Special FEatures
Interview: Sean Williams, Simon Brown, Shane Dix. . . . Edwina Harvey
The Feast of St Blort's Day. . . . Ben Cook
ASif! . . . . . . . Ben Payne

Regular Features
Reviews, Acknowledgements

The interview is on collaboration, and an article about an oz review site.


Saving Astounding. . . Michael Main

Sf authors adventure.

3 out of 5


Fire Magic. . . Stephanie Burgis and Patrick Samphire

Flaming weapon of terror.

3.5 out of 5


Draw the Faithful to their Knees . . David L Felts and Ken Rand

A boy, a girl, a choice of magic.

2.5 out of 5


All Things Being Equal . . . Karen Danylak

Heraldry, a curse and a wager.

3 out of 5


Dying for Air . . . Sean Williams and Simon Brown

Experimental biotech testing on humans.

3.5 out of 5


Instinct. . . . Nigel Read and Lee Battersby

Two law students walk into a Fey bar.

3 out of 5


Questing Beast. . . . Andrew and Ilona Gordon

An AI does King Pellinore.

3.5 out of 5



3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 22 - Tansy Rayner Roberts

http://www.andromedaspaceways.com/issue22.htm

Fiction by...

The Sun King . . . Adam Browne
Blake the God . . . Lee Battersby
Marco's Tooth . . . Trent Jamieson
The Last Cyberpunk . . . Will McIntosh
It's Only Rock and Roll . . . Hannah Strom-Martin
Mail Chauvinism . . . G Scott Huggins
Black Box . . . Miles Deacon
Western Front, 1914 . . . Peter Friend
Tiny Sapphire & the Big Bad Virus . . . Josh Rountree
The Once and Future Creepy . . . Andrew Hindle
Love in the Land of The Dead . . . Shane Jiraiya Cummings
MarsSickGirl (reprinted) . . . Jennifer Pelland

Special Features...

Interview - Trent Jamieson . . . Tansy Rayner Roberts
The Mainstreaming of SF . . . Cory Daniells

Regular Features...

Interviews, Reviews, Event Listings and Acknowledgements

The editorial is interesting, as is the article reminding me of also feeling the pain and horrier of Disney's Frontierland.

The Sun King . . . Adam Browne

French royal divinity.

3 out of 5


Blake the God . . . Lee Battersby

Aliens really dig a young lad.

3.5 out of 5


Marco's Tooth . . . Trent Jamieson

A space emperor is worn out

3 out of 5


The Last Cyberpunk . . . Will McIntosh

A grandfather sticks to the old technology.

3.5 out of 5


It's Only Rock and Roll . . . Hannah Strom-Martin

Fairy rock and roll rebel. Trolls make decent drummers.

4 out of 5


Mail Chauvinism . . . G Scott Huggins

Combat bookselling.

3.5 out of 5


Black Box . . . Miles Deacon

Extreme survival measures.

3 out of 5


Western Front, 1914 . . . Peter Friend

Dragons like nazi virgins.

3 out of 5


Tiny Sapphire & the Big Bad Virus . . . Josh Rountree

Cyberpunk wolves and woodsmen.

3.5 out of 5


The Once and Future Creepy . . . Andrew Hindle

Time machine, MacGyver style. With nerds.

3 out of 5


Love in the Land of The Dead . . . Shane Jiraiya Cummings

Zombies. Brains.

3 out of 5


MarsSickGirl (reprinted) . . . Jennifer Pelland

A broke woman on Mars sells her dreams, changes the world.

4 out of 5




4 out of 5

A Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin

I started this what appeared to be the start of a huge fantasy epic (much like Robert Jordan) with some interest, because I had enjoyed some other Martin projects.

To be interested, or stay interested in such a project I would have had to have found some interest in the characters. No such luck. This might work in one short book, but not in this might not ever even be finished at this rate story.

Very disappointing. The writing is ok, just lots of points off for no-one and no plot of interest, or at least one that I couldn't have gotten from a garden variety historical novel set in this sort of milieu.

1 out of 5

Fevre Dream - George R. R. Martin

A steamboat captain is having trouble competing and making ends meet. Then, along comes a client who can solve quite of few of these financial problems.

The passenger, however, has some very strange demands and requirements for his passage. Eventually, the captain finds out it just might have been better to be broke than house vampires.

3 out of 5

I Am Legend - Richard Matheson

A man, perhaps the last human alive, has to fight off otherworldly-plague created vampires by day, and try and hide and survive during the night.

Alone in his quest, and dealing in gore and violence in large amounts, every day, does not do wonders for his mental health, needless to say.

3.5 out of 5

Sagittarius Whorl - Julian May

Helly is back doing the corporate thing yet again, helping out his very rich family fight off an opponent, by putting his talents for dodgy and sneaky to good use.

There is still the overaching threat of the aliens that he has to get people to realise and deal with. For this, he needs more proof, and this mission is the more important part of the story.

3 out of 5

Orion Arm - Julian May

Helly has spat the dummy, and ended up back on his planet of bumming around, after yet another disagreement with family and corporate bigwigs over the alien threat.

Again, someone tries to kill him, so, of course, he has to get involved again and try and do something about it.

3 out of 5

Perseus Spur - Julian May

Rich kid no longer hangs out on a frontier type planet doing his own retired-investigator-fishing thing, after getting grief for investigating corruption.

Violence and intrigue draw him back into the centre of things as people find out where he is, and he discovers something a lot worse than interplanetary commercial fraud.

3 out of 5

The Myth Hunters - Christopher Golden

Not too bad. A wealthy lawyer is a somewhat unwitting participant in a wedding to be held tomorrow, when Jack Frost crashes through his window.

He gets drawn into their Border world, and a conflict between those beings able to cross between too worlds and the Hunters that are out to destroy them. The lawyer's sister also seems to have a role to play.

Tense and interesting enough to want to read the next one.

3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 08 - Sally Beasley

http://www.andromedaspaceways.com/issue8.htm

Fiction:
* Don't Let this Happen to You by Tracina Jackson-Adams
* Bytepals by Sue Bursztynski
* Mortal Nature by Stephen Dedman
* Night Shift on the Support Line by Ian Creasey
* When Laughing Pigs Fly by Sandra McDonald
* Death and... by Christopher Stires
* Well Met by Moonlight by Greg Beatty
* Nine Tenths by Marsha Sisolak
* The Alchemist by Peter Friend
* Primary Research by Hank Quense
* Butterfly by Kevin Maclean
* The Day After the Census by Lawrence Schoen
* The Dragon and the Drag Queen by Alette J. Willis
* And in the Night, Know Beauty by Robert Hoge
* Cargo by Rick Kennett
* Seeking Befuddlement by Dave Luckett

Poetry:
* Used To by Lida Broadhurst
* Do Not Ask a Time Traveller the Time by John Grey
* The Last Man Stationed Somewhere by John Grey

Non-fiction:
* Interview with Richard Harland by Tansy Rayner Roberts
* Reviews by Ian Nichols and Nigel Read


* Don't Let this Happen to You by Tracina
Jackson-Adams

Always fly Andromeda.

3 out of 5


* Bytepals by Sue Bursztynski

Vampires have cottoned on to the internet thing.

3 out of 5


* Mortal Nature by Stephen Dedman

Xenobiologist caught in an espionage situation.

3.5 out of 5


* Night Shift on the Support Line by Ian Creasey

Helpdesk for spellcasters.

3.5 out of 5


* When Laughing Pigs Fly by Sandra McDonald

A kid works on an assignment about a famous officer and ship.

3 out of 5


* Death and... by Christopher Stires

No escaping these, ever.

3 out of 5


* Well Met by Moonlight by Greg Beatty

Fairies and changelings travel the stars.

3 out of 5


* Nine Tenths by Marsha Sisolak

Demon co-habitation.

3 out of 5


* The Alchemist by Peter Friend

Making mythological beasties.

3 out of 5


* Primary Research by Hank Quense

Aliens think humans are perverts.


* Butterfly by Kevin Maclean

Swordsman, dragon and witch = a bad combination of enemies.

4 out of 5


* The Day After the Census by Lawrence Schoen

Too many kids are a resource.

3 out of 5


* The Dragon and the Drag Queen by Alette J. Willis

Chivalric actress gets his man.

3 out of 5


* And in the Night, Know Beauty by Robert Hoge

Aliens are harsh art critics.

3.5 out of 5


* Cargo by Rick Kennett

Mysteries in space.

3 out of 5


* Seeking Befuddlement by Dave Luckett

Intoxicated aliens and bushfires.

3 out of 5




3 out of 5

Time Past - Maxine McArthur

The fancy ship and propulsion system that Halley got a hold of in the first book has now left her around a hundred years in the past from where she started.

This makes her an illegal alien in the past, and doesn't solve the political and possible military problems on Jocasta station in her present.

3.5 out of 5

Time Future - Maxine McArthur

A quite absorbing mystery wrapped up in the day to day operations of running a space station and large habitat that is struggling to get by, and have all the different inhabitants get along, and have enough resources to eat, work, and live.

Suddenly, a space ship turns up. No-one knows why, or from where. At least, no-one human on the station.

4 out of 5

Whole Wide World - Paul J. McAuley

In an England that has gone security made after some computer terrorism, everything is watched and banned. Yes, it is creepier if you look at it now.

However, a web-cam type porn star still managed to do her thing, and also to catch her own murder on video.

A middle-aged police inspector gets involved with wanting to solve the case, and finds it leads disturbing places.

4 out of 5

Fairyland - Paul J. McAuley

The protagonist in this story is a dodgy biotech hacker of sorts. Biologicals and small machines and creations abound. They are used for advertising, manipulation, and worse.

On a larger scale, these creations, or 'dolls' are used for other purposes. What if they decide they have had enough, and want to be recognised as more than just creations.

A little trippy, and more than a little disturbing, at times.

3.5 out of 5

Eternal Light - Paul J. McAuley

Dorothy Yoshida is back, and again her telepathic abilities are part of someone's plots and plans. The war in the far flung reaches of space is won, but a bizarre and maybe crazy really old guy has a really large scale crazy idea of his own that he wants to carry out.

Dorothy, along with a couple of others that he has along for the ride, must work out what to do about that, the alien knowledge she has, and a few other star-spanning issues.

3 out of 5

Four Hundred Billion Stars - Paul J. McAuley

Dorothy Yoshida is a telepath, and really a rather good one, at that. A scientist on top of that she is sent to investigate a small planet that appears to be more than what it seems. They suspect it of being artificially altered, but they only life they know about on the surface is not that far advanced from the animal.

Mankind hopes to find something to help in the war
they are fighting against aliens.

When Dorothy arrives, she finds something very surprising indeed.

3.5 out of 5

The Dolphins of Pern - Anne McCaffrey

Boy overboard. Luckily, there are a bunch of dolphins around to help the poor wet brat out. Or, shipfish as the localls call them.

The boy makes friends with the beasts, and his ability to communicate with them becomes important in the defence of the planet and in increasing the technological level of the society. Dolphins ain't dumb.

3 out of 5

Dragonsdawn - Anne McCaffrey

The new colonists on the planet Pern had chosen it because it looked like a pretty nice place to live. It is, except for that rather destructive thread menace.

They have to come up with a way to fight the menace, with resources available locally, as what they have brought with them won't do much. They turn to genetic engineering when they notice what the little lizard types they have adopted as pets can do. Make 'em bigger!

4 out of 5

Moreta Dragonlady of Pern - Anne McCaffrey

Moreta is supposed to be some sort of mythological figure in Pern history, of some sort. She is the rider of a queen dragon, and while at a festival she discovers the outbreak of a disease, along with some others.

Some of her fellows take the ostrich approach to the situation, and her queen is pregnant, so to try and get the cure to areas ahead of the disease wave she has to borrow someone else's lizard.

2 out of 5

Dragondrums - Anne McCaffrey

Dragondrums is a similar sort of story to Dragonsong/Dragonsing. A young man with musical talent has the puberty thing hit. He ain't singing soprano anymore.

So, off he goes wandering on adventures, gets into trouble, and makes friends with a fire lizard, and takes up drumming, eventually settling down.

3 out of 5

The White Dragon - Anne McCaffrey

A boy and his dragon. A likely mutant of some sort dragon choose a boy to bond with. The dragon is white, and very small. The boy has to deal with the stigma of his runt dragon, and his own growing responsibilities as a member of the ruling class.

Taking part in Threadfall activities even if he shouldn't, he gets sick.

Taking time out to recover he learns about Pern's past and those there before them, because his mutant dragon has a very impressive time travel sense and skill.

4 out of 5

Dragonsinger - Anne McCaffrey

Menolly is now at the Harper Hall. However, she is a geek/nerd and doesn't fit in with all the girls who like doing the standard chick things. Plus there just happens to be a bunch of fire lizards following her around.

She also has to deal with the problem of choosing or being asked to choose a specialisation and someone to be a mentor.

3 out of 5

Dragonquest - Anne McCaffrey

In Dragonquest, generational tensions abound between the old generation of Dragonriders brought from past to help fight off the threads, and also the current generation.

The various F guys try to ameliorate this with mixed success, and violence and death does happen.

Some technological advances to let one brave pair try and check out the source of the Thread menace in space.

4 out of 5

Dragonflight - Anne McCaffrey

Every few hundred years the planet of Pern suffers from an astronomical blight. Nasty fiery stuff rains from the sky, laying waste to the civilisation.

That is, if the Dragonriders and their associates can't stop it by using their sentient huge flying lizard partners, who can handily teleport.

Keeping this animals and their pilots trained and housed costs money, and given the Threads have not fallen for a long time, no-one likes to donate this money anymore, and Dragon and Rider numbers are too low.

4 out of 5

Up The Line - Robert Silverberg

What do you do if you can travel through time on tours? Have lots of sex, it appears, and fun. Of course, this sort of monkey business needs overseeing to stop all sorts of paradoxical happenings.

There are agents that do this sort of work, but they are not all immune to temptation. This is what happens here.

3 out of 5

Dragonsong - Anne McCaffrey

First off, fire lizards are cool. Smart, flying lizards are cool in general. They would also help with feral cat problems, I reckon.

This is the story of an outcast young musician girl, who loses her sponsor, ends up wandering, meets some fire lizards, does some good work and ends up living at a much groovier weyr.

3 out of 5

Killashandra - Anne McCaffrey

The problem with the whole crystal singing gig is that you can lose your mind. Here, the protagonist has other problems. After an accident mining on the planet with the good stuff she has to take a job off world.

She ends up uncovering an alien brainwashing plot, and finds someone to shag, with a few adventures along the way.

Not as good as the first book.

2.5 out of 5

Crystal Singer - Anne McCaffrey

A woman is a talented singer, however she is not good enough to be the best there is, so she gets a bit grumpy.

So, she goes and takes a job as a crystal miner on another planet, where, for some reason, the ability to sing in perfect pitch is a very useful ability.

The book really isn't as dumb as that sounds, though.

The crystal they mine is a valued and important technological resources.

3 out of 5

Damia - Anne McCaffrey

Waste of time. Take The Rowan, and how ordinary that was, with all the young reader girlish elements, and others silliness, and make it worse.
Have mother and father from that spit out a kid who exacerbates the problems found in that other novel.

Definitely don't waste your time with this one unless some sort of hardcore McCaffrey nut.

1.5 out of 5

The Rowan - Anne McCaffrey

This is set in a universe where psionic abilities are utilised in a commercial sense, and have guilds and organisations set up around them.

People use teleportation for space travel, and telepathy for communication, all that sort of thing.

They are graded on ability, and the most talented can do the move the spaceship trick. The book follows a young girl of this variety, of course.

2 out of 5

Hal Spacejock : Just Desserts - Simon Haynes

There once was a robot named Clunk
His old boss more than a skunk
With Spacejock sent flying
Quite often near dying
Right now he would rather be drunk

Ok, bad limericks aside, I read the third Spacejock book because my slowpoke spousal unit still has her mitts on book 2.

To readers, though, the book happily stands alone.

Again, Hal takes on the odd job with less than a picosecond's consideration, or even the ability to consider for a picosecond, what really might be going on.

Female assassin androids, Mercs 'R Us and more get involved in this tale of corporate skullduggery and Spacejock tomfoolery.

I, like Hal, have also given up on those useless coffee makers.

Anyway, although I will rate them the same, I think this book is more polished than the first. The story is more evenly entertaining, less of the outright hilarity to flat spot segues that could be found in the first book. Not that there is anything wrong with outright hilarity, of course.

More use of unexpected missiles, and again, quite a lot of fun.

4 out of 5

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 07 - Terri Sellen

Memo for New Flight Attendants by Tansy Rayner Roberts
* Life Wish by Robert Neilson
* Mainstreaming by Francis W. Porretto
* I Ain't Drunk, I'm Just Drinkin' by Mat Coward
* Colquitt's High-Energy Trousers by Steven Pirie
* Learned Instincts by Lyn Triffitt
* Binding Space and Time by Helen Kenyon
* Job 38:4 by Terri-Anne Smith
* You'll be Sorry by Mark Hodgetts
* Hyperscoop by André Oosterman
* Hassen's Final Days by Grant Watson
* Otherling by Juliet Marillier
* Pixie Dust by Darren Goossens

Poetry:
* Michael Lohr

Non-fiction:
* Interview with Mirando Otto by Danuta Shaw
* Reviews by Ian Nichols, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Nigel Read
* Interview with Cecilia Dart-Thorton by Terri Sellen

The Dyson Sphere article is interesting, as is the interview with Miranda Otto.

Memo for New Flight Attendants by Tansy Rayner Roberts

Get 'em to do it right.

3 out of 5


Life Wish by Robert Neilson

A dead man fights to save a mission.

3 out of 5


Mainstreaming by Francis W. Porretto

A hero's life is fixed.

3 out of 5


I Ain't Drunk, I'm Just Drinkin' by Mat Coward

A potentially explosive relationship.

3 out of 5


Colquitt's High-Energy Trousers by Steven Pirie

Physics is sexy.

3 out of 5



Learned Instincts by Lyn Triffitt

Female reptilian aliens begin to deal with their repressive sexism.

3.5 out of 5



Binding Space and Time by Helen Kenyon

A slushpile sf story seems more real than it should.

3.5 out of 5


Job 38:4 by Terri-Anne Smith

Adam, the monitor of the solar system is overworked and needs an assistant.

3.5 out of 5


You'll be Sorry by Mark Hodgetts

A remarkable pupil gets back at a teacher.

3.5 out of 5


Hyperscoop by André Oosterman

Bussard ramjet. Big.

3.5 out of 5


Hassen's Final Days by Grant Watson

Where do imaginary friends go when you die?

3.5 out of 5


Otherling by Juliet Marillier

A singing fantasy.

2.5 out of 5


Pixie Dust by Darren Goossens

Pixie dust is addictive. Want to know how it is made?

3.5 out of 5




4 out of 5

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 05 - Danuta Shaw

http://www.andromedaspaceways.com/issue5.htm

Fiction
Almost Home . . Robert Hoge
Fairy Prince . . Monissa Whiteley
Dr Susan Lee Research Notes: The Wright Stuff . . John Borneman
The Sword From the Lake . . Sue Bursztynski
Bianca’s Birthday Present . . Wendy Laharnar
Dr Susan Lee Research Notes: Leopolda’s Song . . John Borneman
The Warlord and The Princess . . Patrice E Sarath
Dr Susan Lee Research Notes: Reingold’s Wee Buugs . . John Borneman
RavensPerch: A Faerie Tale . . Kirstyn McDermott
Dr Susan Lee Research Notes: The Labrador Recorder . . John Borneman
Ice for the King . . Angela Boord
Catbones . . Sue Isle
Dr Susan Lee Research Notes: Where’s Pompo Bronski? . . John Borneman

Poetry
Various poems . . Lucy Cohen Schmeidler

Regular Features
The Problem with Data: Interview with Prof Michael Fellows . . Danuta Shaw
Reviews - Fallen Dragon; Misspent Youth; Sirens . . Ian Nichols
Review - Hades Daughter . . Sally Beasley
Clarion Goes South . . Robert Hoge
Interview - Dion Hamill . . Terri Sellen
Interview - Cathy Buburuz . . Terri Sellen
Heavenly Fires . . Les Petersen
At the Foot of the Mountain . . Peter Shaw

The Celest-ial Beauty Full Body Make-Over . . Celest Moor

Commentary on shocking happenings in astronomy, an article on computers, and some asimverse stuff. A bit on the Clarion thing that will be of interest to super serious writer types.

Almost Home . . Robert Hoge

About the shuttle accident and space travel.

4 out of 5


Fairy Prince . . Monissa Whiteley

A prince has to use an extreme disguise to escape pursuers.

3 out of 5


Dr Susan Lee Research Notes: The Wright Stuff . . John Borneman

Bicycling on Mars in the future is tricky.

3 out of 5


The Sword From the Lake . . Sue Bursztynski

The Ladies of the Lake have a disagreement, Nimue acts on her own.

3.5 out of 5


Bianca’s Birthday Present . . Wendy Laharnar

Atavistic emotion is lethally discouraged.

3 out of 5


Dr Susan Lee Research Notes: Leopolda’s Song . . John Borneman

Old poetry seems a trifle mundane. Always RTFM.

3.5 out of 5



The Warlord and The Princess . . Patrice E Sarath

A warlord agrees to raise a baby princess for her treasure.

3 out of 5


Dr Susan Lee Research Notes: Reingold’s Wee Buugs . . John Borneman

A man invents a really low alcohol beer.

4 out of 5


RavensPerch: A Faerie Tale . . Kirstyn McDermott

A half fey woman isn't having a lot of fun.

3 out of 5


Dr Susan Lee Research Notes: The Labrador Recorder . . John Borneman

A robot dog records every single thing any member of the family did.

3.5 out of 5


Ice for the King . . Angela Boord

A mage is a slave just as his slave girl is.

3.5 out of 5


Catbones . . Sue Isle

A couple of people with despicable hobbies are surprised by a pet.

3.5 out of 5


Dr Susan Lee Research Notes: Where’s Pompo Bronski? . . John Borneman

Faster than light travel needs a destination.

3 out of 5




4 out of 5

Bloom - Wil McCarthy

This book definitely disappointed me. The people on Earth screwed up in a bit way, creating a substance called mycora. It expanded exponentially and took over the place, and kept on going.

A few people got away. The rest of it to me seems very fuzzy and furry, and generally pretty dull.

2 out of 5

Deepsix - Jack McDevitt

This is another Priscilla Hutchins novel. She had previously discovered the existence of the Monument Makers and a probably location for their homeworld.

This is more of a rescue mission book, as an orginal Deepsix mission gets into trouble with dangerous alien lifeforms, and then again, when Hutchins is involved another pull out is needed.

The planet is of interest because of signs of past life that had not been noticed before.

3.5 out of 5

Infinity Beach - Jack McDevitt

This is a SETI novel, but on an expanded scale. There is a mystery as well, in finding out what exactly happened to a mission that went out looking, and failed, so none have been sent since.

Also, humanity is doing some serious advertising of their presence. They blow up stars so people might notice where they are.

When people that survived the failed mission start dying, one violently, you realise something is being hidden.

4 out of 5

A Talent For War - Jack McDevitt

This is a really, really good novel. A journalist begins to look into the root causes, personalities and propaganda behind a past war.

Humans have fought a war with telepathic aliens, but it was not a united front. A small band led the resistance while others stayed out of the war. An absorbing tale of politics and personality, along with military strategy.

4.5 out of 5

The Engines of God - Jack McDevitt

An xenoarchaeological team on the planet Quraqu is investigating why the alien race died out there. They do so under severe time pressure as the planet they are working on is due to soon be terraformed to let it be used for more pragmatic reasons.

Later on there is a bit of Lost in Space, a bit of Revelation Space.

Definitely No Deities to be found.

4 out of 5

Ancient Shores - Jack McDevitt

A couple of scientist types find something that should just not be there. In a ten thousand year old excavation they find a reasonably modern boat.

How the hell did it get there, is the question. It leads to an even greater discovery, that of an alien structure that allows teleportation to far distant places.

4 out of 5

Chindi - Jack McDevitt

This is a Priscilla Hutchins novel. A weird communication is picked up in deep space. The people that want to go and investigate decide that they need a qualified pilot when they take their mission out.

So, she takes the job, leaving her mundane commerce activities behind.

We have an amateur research society and professional crew conflict, as well as investigating alien bits and pieces. All quite readable.

3 out of 5

Omen III : The Final Conflict - Gordon McGill

In the novelisation The Final Conflict : Omen 3, Damian is a grown man with a lot of power and influence. He still gets rid of people that stand in the way of the whole antichrist thing.

It is also a lot harder to stop an adult man on a rapid rise to the top, compared to a child, but some people give it a shot.

2.5 out of 5

Ice Towers - Duncan McGeary

It certainly isn't any better to be in Icetowers compared to Snowcastles.

1.5 out of 5

Snowcastles - Duncan McGeary

How do these warrior types avoid the brass monkey effect in this sort of climate?

2 out of 5

Star Axe - Duncan McGreary

Pretty ordinary sword and sorcery style novel, with, you guessed it, a Star Axe.

2 out of 5

China Mountain Zhang - Maureen F. McHugh

China Mountain Zhang explores the future when the Chinese way has taken over, and not just on earth, but other parts of the solar system, as well.

It follows one character in particular as he moves from place to place, working and living, and dealing with the fact it is a no-no to not be hetero in this society.

3 out of 5

The Crystal Star - Vonda N. McIntyre

A pretty forgettable Star Wars novel. Han and Leia have three kids. Solo is getting a bit slack in his older-age generalship.

So, of course, you end up with kids gone and them having to run around to try and get them back via the odd alien planet, that sort of thing.

Luke is still doing the look for jedi thing.

2.5 out of 5

Superluminal - Vonda N. McIntyre

In Vonda N. McIntyre's Superluminal, a woman has to undergo bodily augmentation and alteration in order to cope with the pressures of being a starship pilot, e.g. the ability to go superluminal.

Don't want to be a cyborg? Then this is not the job for you, the whole flying around in space thing. You won't have to worry about getting a pacemaker though.

2.5 out of 5

The Wrath of Khan - Vonda N. McIntyre

As far as novelisations go, this one is pretty decent. It helps that the underlying event is a fairly entertaining star trek epic, as well, as we get K vs K, Kirk vs Khan, one of those old enemies from the past conjured into being type of confrontations.

Throw in Kirk's kid, and a dead pointy eared science officer and there is plenty to keep the interest.

3 out of 5

Eyes of the Calculor - Sean McMullen

In the final Greatwinter book the emerging technology is zapped by Mirrorsun, EMP-style. This forces fallback to the old human powered/slave conscript calculors full of scientists and mathematicians.

With no Call, the aviad societies are now a lot more vulnerable to human expansion, not being able to move around in safety in Call times. The aircraft no longer work, so the horses available in Australia become an important resource the North Americans want to gather.

Multiple threads in this book.

4 out of 5

The Miocene Arrow - Sean McMullen

The Miocene Arrow takes a look at North America in this Greatwinter world. This society has air travel of a sort, and a fedual type of system based around this. The Call affects most of the country most of the time, unlike Australia, so they have a lot more problems.

There is a mutant race in the world too, called aviads, and they, having some bird genetics, are immune to the Call and its siren song for mammals.

The main characters here are a couple of young pilot types, but the major players from Australia in terms of the bird-gene people do make their way here on an urgent mission.

4 out of 5

Souls in the Great Machine - Sean McMullen

Set in a future Australia that has limited technology, both for religious and technological reasons. Defense satellites will shoot down or destroy anything of a certain size or speed, and religion bans other technology.

At intervals, a mind control wave sweeps the land, turning people into zombies, basically, as they follow 'The Call'.

Zarvora Cymbeline, Highliber of the library of Libris has discovered some of that space technology is going to do something that will be very bad for human life.

As well, a talented young woman comes to join the library where she meets the other pivotal character, a young adventurer/rogue named John Glasken.


4 out of 5

The Centurion's Empire - Sean McMullen

Vitellan the Centurion has a chemical invention that allows him to travel through time, in a sense. This is the good old fashioned freeze me up baby type of method, however, so its more of a long wait, than travel.

He has enemies that pass down a vendetta through time, as well as allies that do the same thing, and it comes to a head in the current day.

3.5 out of 5

In Quinn's Paddock - Rick Kennett

Ernie and Sonja are ghostbusting again. This time by motorcycle. A nasty happening, ok, well, multiple murder is a bit more than nasty I suppose has some strange magic going on still.

3.5 out of 5

Conan - Robert E. Howard

This compilation contains :-

Howard's Letter to Miller

The Hyborian Age

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0603571.txt

This is not a story as such, but an account of the fictional history of Howard's world through the ages, to the time of Kull and Atlantis down to the entitled time when Conan ran amok. Quite nicely done.

4 out of 5


The Thing in the Crypt

A young Conan has been fighting wolves, and they are still after him. He finds a door in a rock wall, but it leads him to an encounter with a skeletal mummy thing. He learns why DnD clerics use maces against the undead, and manages to get out of there.

3 out of 5


The Tower of the Elephant

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0600831.txt

Conan is in thieving mode here. In a tavern, he is asking the assembled crowd of nogoodniks why no-one has stolen a famous jewel from this tower.

They tell him because it is guarded by some very nasty things.

He, of course, investigates, and meets a master thief attempting the same thing.

Humans, animals, a giant spider and a wizard are to be encountered, not to mention an alien.

3.5 out of 5


The Hall of the Dead

De Camp completed this from an outline of Howard's that was found. Conan has left Shadrizar to look for the treasure of Larsha, and a squad of soldiers, out to arrest him for other larceny are on his trail.

He deals with most of them, but the leader, Nestor is not dead and follows him into the city, meeting him in the treasure room after he deals with a giant slug.

They leave, quickly, when mummified warriors come to life and the building starts collapsing. Their loot is not too stable, and not enjoyed for long.

3 out of 5


The God in the Bowl

Conan is indulging in a bit of thievery and is busted by the local constabulary, right near a dead body. Conan proclaims his innocence, which they find hard to believe, but are not going to fight him over it.

Some digging reveals a local wastrel nobel is involved, up to ears in debt, but he ends up with a few problems with the God In the Bowl, of the mortal kind. When he orders Conan restrained, the constabulary lose a few body parts, and others more than that.

3 out of 5


Rogues in the House


http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0600781.txt

Conan is yet again in trouble because of drinking and wenching. A crime has gone wrong, and a woman he was with has betrayed him to the authorities.

He is offered a way out, if he will kill a man. This man is Nabonidus, The Red Priest.

The only problems involve breaking in, a huge hulking ape-man servant, and then The Red Priest himself and his powers.

3.5 out of 5


The Hand of Nergal

Another story fleshed out from an outline.

Conan is fighting as Turanian irregular cavalry when large mystical bat creatures attack the force he is fighting with. Their morale breaks, leaving them easy prey, all except the Cimmerian who happens to have found The Heart of Tammuz amulet.

A local scholar sends his girl slave to find Conan and hire him to help him get rid of the evil sorceror using The Hand of Nergal to summon the bat creatures, and worse.

Conan is not able to do much, and is a lot of trouble until the girl arrives, and is able to employ the amulet. As a reward, he takes her with him, out of servitude.

3.5 out of 5


The City of Skulls

A pretty ordinary story. Conan's Turanian warrior band is destroyed by Meruvian raiders. He is taken captive there, with a friend and a girl. A spider-idol monster causes some havoc.

2 out of 5



3.5 out of 5

The City of Skulls - L. Sprague de Camp

A pretty ordinary story. Conan's Turanian warrior band is destroyed by Meruvian raiders. He is taken captive there, with a friend and a girl. A spider-idol monster causes some havoc.

2 out of 5

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 04 - Tehani Wessely

http://www.andromedaspaceways.com/issue4.htm

Fiction
Andromeda Spaceways User Satisfaction Survey . . Darren Goosens
Bomb Squad . . Robbie Matthews
Tradition . . Russell McNair
An Innocent Mistake . . Jette Bronson
The Soul of Camelot (On Sale Now! Everything Must Go!) . . Jim C. Hines
Somewhere Over The Looking Glass . . Tansy Rayner Roberts
An Affair of Blades . . Martin Owton & Miriam Robertson
The Gifts . . Karen Roberts
Despair Machine . . Dave Luckett
Here There Be Dragons . . Alison Venugoban
Drinking Picasso . . Phoebe Wray
Spirit Wings . . A. J. Weaver
Divorce . . Edwina Harvey
Cordie And The Merman . . Barbara Davies
The Maxwell’s Theorems . . Brendan Carson
Escape Clause . . Simon Haynes

A couple of interviews, and the Poetry bits are actually amusing songs. The editor has clearly gone for a lightly humorous feel in general for this issue, and fantasy in general.

Andromeda Spaceways User Satisfaction Survey . . Darren Goosens

Some slightly esoteric questions here.

3 out of 5


Bomb Squad . . Robbie Matthews

A depressed sorcerer and his werewolf best mate go to deliver his divorce papers. An explosive situation results.

3.5 out of 5


Tradition . . Russell McNair

Public transport not to be missed.

3 out of 5


An Innocent Mistake . . Jette Bronson

A little boy gets three wishes from a lamp. Oops.

3 out of 5


The Soul of Camelot (On Sale Now! Everything Must Go!) . . Jim C. Hines

After the death of Arthur, it is hard to run a Camelot shop.

3.5 out of 5


Somewhere Over The Looking Glass . . Tansy Rayner Roberts

Waitressing on the moon is crappy, too, but a woman's dreams lead to a change in career.

3.5 out of 5


An Affair of Blades . . Martin Owton & Miriam Robertson

A pregnant woman hires a retired female mercenary captain to get the guy who knocked her up to marry her.

3.5 out of 5


The Gifts . . Karen Roberts

Many fairies argue over what gifts to give a newborn.

3 out of 5


Despair Machine . . Dave Luckett

Depressing literary fiction has a sinister reason for being.

3 out of 5


Here There Be Dragons . . Alison Venugoban

It is unwise to call dragons liars.

3 out of 5


Drinking Picasso . . Phoebe Wray

Painter jokes I am not sure about here.

2.5 out of 5


Spirit Wings . . A. J. Weaver

The heavily pregnant widow of the King's Champion uncovers a plot, and with it her special abilities.

3 out of 5


Divorce . . Edwina Harvey

A woman has the perfect husband, until he bought the wrong pet.

3 out of 5


Cordie And The Merman . . Barbara Davies

A female captain of a fishing trawler ends up catching a merman by accident.

3.5 out of 5


The Maxwell’s Theorems . . Brendan Carson

A university has some problems with advancements in science.

3.5 out of 5


Escape Clause . . Simon Haynes

Even if your boss is the nicest guy in the world, people will still bitch about him.

3.5 out of 5



4 out of 5

The Further Chronicles of Conan - Robert Jordan

Am omnibus collection of three reasonable Robert Jordan Conan pastiches. They try hard to be confusing with Conan publishing, with Chronicles all over the place, and with his name Robert as well, sheesh.

Conan the Magnificent is actually quite a reasonable pastiche. The barbarian runs into a female thief, who bests him before he realises.

Getting into more trouble, he has to leave Shadizar for a while, where he encounters a female noblewoman who likes to hunt with a small retinue.

Some others would like her jewels and other treasures lurk, so there is sword swinging to be done, and an evil sorcerer to top it off.

3.5 out of 5

Conan this time has three women to deal with, although the first, a young nobleman reduced to trying out trulldom is easy, once he finds her employment.

The high priestess of a demon lord he is working for and does not know it is far worse.

Karela the Red Hawk just likes to compare him to any dirty ugly animal she can think of because she likes him so much and doesn't know whether to shag him or stab him.
All this on top of leading a Free Company.

3 out of 5


Conan gets poisoned, and gets to trade sword blows with more than one demon, as well as deal with devious Vendhyans.

3 out of 5



3.5 out of 5

Conan the Victorious - Robert Jordan

Conan gets poisoned, and gets to trade sword blows with more than one demon, as well as deal with devious Vendhyans.

3 out of 5

Conan the Triumphant - Robert Jordan

Conan this time has three women to deal with, although the first, a young nobleman reduced to trying out trulldom is easy, once he finds her employment.

The high priestess of a demon lord he is working for and does not know it is far worse.

Karela the Red Hawk just likes to compare him to any dirty ugly animal she can think of because she likes him so much and doesn't know whether to shag him or stab him.

All this on top of leading a Free Company.

3 out of 5

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Conan the Magnificent - Robert Jordan

Conan the Magnificent is actually quite a reasonable pastiche. The barbarian runs into a female thief, who bests him before he realises.

Getting into more trouble, he has to leave Shadizar for a while, where he encounters a female noblewoman who likes to hunt with a small retinue.

Some others would like her jewels and other treasures lurk, so there is sword swinging to be done, and an evil sorcerer to top it off.

3.5 out of 5

Crash Jordan in the Art World of Drongo - Jeff Harris

Crash Jordan belched.

First line. That sets the tone. A Flash Gordon spoof. Sixty years after being a 'planet-saving superhero' he has to attend a function with his now equally-aged and no longer super-babe wife, and to cap it off, his arch-enemey Thing the Fiendish is being release.

3.5 out of 5

Context - John Meaney

Tom is now Lord Tom, and doing the whole rise and fall thing ends up seriously hurt, and having to involve himself with those annoying future predicting seer people again.

He wants to turn the use of these Oracles to his own ends, and to help the underprivileged, basically. He also wants to get his woman back, or see if she is not dead, anyway.

3.5 out of 5

To Hold Infinity - John Meaney

A woman is involved in trying to bring one of the upper crust members of a society to justice. They have brain enhancing technology here, and this man has developed a method to basically become a brain sucker, a very nasty act of violence and depredation.

She also gets to employ her kung fu skills in the process.

3 out of 5

Orion in the Dying Time - Ben Bova

In this book Orion has another, different antagonist that his god-like avatar runners want him to deal with. This time the being is named Set, you know, the serpent god guy. This whole reptile control thing lets him be a dinosaur master. Now, really, this is pretty cool. Who wouldn't want to be a dinosaur master?

Orion still has to find some way to deal with him though.

3 out of 5

The Vengeance of Orion - Ben Bova

In the second Orion book Orion gets to do the way back in the past thing quite a bit. More specifically, in Troy with the Greeks, and also in ancient Egypt.

Throughout this he is getting a bit tired of being a super-pawn, but this does not really please his Light Side overseer, you could say.

3.5 out of 5

Orion - Ben Bova

Orion is man made more than a man, as he is given superhuman abilities to act as a warrior avatar in the conflict between one god, and another supposedly dark god Ahriman.

His life is lived as he is sent to various periods throughout time, and he quickly has to learn to live and adapt here, as well as overcome Ahriman's influence.

4 out of 5

Gridlinked - Neal Asher

Ian Cormac is a super agent of sorts. He works hand in hand with the Artificial Intelligence government. A cold, methodical man, he seduces and kills with aplomb, as necessary.

He is linked to the AI personally, and they tell him it is time for a break, to regain his humanity. He resists, but they have a job for him. He is to go and investigate a strange breakdown of an interstellar travel gate.

From earlier incidents, he has a serious enemy, a psychotic killer and his deranged android killing machine called Mr. Crane.

Cormac does gain allies, and there are androids on his side, but he discovers something even worse in his investigations.

4 out of 5

The Chantry Guild - Gordon R. Dickson

The sixth book in the Childe Cycle is fairly philosophical. Hal Mayne visits the Chantry Guild, in its incarnation in this time. He spends a lot of time with them on the planet Kultis still trying to understand and spearhead the final transformation of humankind.

As before, he is sometimes opposed by those that want to stop him, Bleys specifically.

3 out of 5

The Final Encyclopedia - Gordon R. Dickson

The Final Encyclopedia is a storage facility that is supposed to contain the sum total of human knowledge, as it is possible in this universe. When information is power, there will be conflict other such a store.

The two figuredheads for this struggle are the more than human characters Hal Mayne and Bleys.

3 out of 5

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 11 - Lyn Battersby

http://www.andromedaspaceways.com/issue11.htm

Fiction:
Return of the Native by Mark Anthony Brennan
Ecdysis by Lee Battersby
A Wall of Brass by John Borneman
Edifice by Rick Jankowski
The Facts of Dr Van Helsing's Case by Stephen Dedman
Tangled by Martin Livings
Corpus Christi by Dirk Flinthart
Hamlyn by Paul Haines
Time in a Rice Bowl by Rick Kennett
My Father's New Wife by Shauna Roberts
Pregnant by Barbara Robson

Poetry:
* John Grey

This is an issue with a horror theme, no doubt. There is a also an article about what it was like growing up to be a super fantasy nerd, when you wanted to get involved in literature as well. Or, misadventures with literary wankers, you could say.

Return of the Native by Mark Anthony Brennan

An man discovers when investigating aliens and their eggs that he knows them a lot better than he realised.

3 out of 5


Ecdysis by Lee Battersby

A cop discovers a dead body that is literally black. Further investigations reveals even more oddities.

3.5 out of 5


A Wall of Brass by John Borneman

A technologically fallen society begins to rediscover some of it when a war situation makes it urgent, robots assist.

3 out of 5


Edifice by Rick Jankowski

Interstellar fast food worship.

3.5 out of 5


The Facts of Dr Van Helsing's Case by Stephen Dedman

Explores Van Helsing's intellectual development and terrible dreams as he assists the military.

3.5 out of 5


Tangled by Martin Livings

A man is pursued by spider-webs on the road and everywhere.

3.5 out of 5


Corpus Christi by Dirk Flinthart

The horrors in the basement are a bit too closely related to the protagonist and his work for comfort.

3.5 out of 5


Hamlyn by Paul Haines

Vampires in the Pied Piper's town.

3.5 out of 5


Time in a Rice Bowl by Rick Kennett

Ernie Pine gets involved in a case of Chinese wizardy and ghosts.

3.5 out of 5


My Father's New Wife by Shauna Roberts

A daughter struggles to handle her father marrying a tentacled alien.

3.5 out of 5


Pregnant by Barbara Robson

A woman desperate to get pregnant consults a witchdoctor.

3 out of 5



4 out of 5

The Art of Arrow Cutting - Stephen Dedman

If you want a slightly more recent referent to this character, perhaps consider him a cross between Harry Dresden and John Ross, the Knight of the World.

When a girl that is more broke than he is asks Mage for help, he gets involved with the yakuza, Japanese monsters and wizards, and becomes a magic man.

3.5 out of 5

Storm Front - Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden is a low rent wizard. So much so, that he is listed in the phone book. He has as much money as Spider-Man doesn't. A dodgy car, apartment, and talking skull.

As such, when the desperate ordinary people need someone, they often call him.

No-one loves Harry, at this point, and he gets involved in some serious weather magic, demon style.

3.5 out of 5

The Broken Sword - Poul Anderson

Faerie biffo.

"The elf raid on Trollheim was to be a strong one. Fifty longships were manned with the best warriors of Britain's elves, and veiled and warded by the soreries of Imric and his wiest warlocks."

"Ax and sword! Spear and club! Cloven shield and sundered helm and ripped byrnie! Red gusy of elf blood meeting cold green flow of troll's! Auroras dancing death dances overhead!"

Trolls 1-0 Elves

Skafloc the elf survives, becomes an outlaw, as his evil twin lives it up. He realises he has to fix Thor's broken sword to have a chance to win. He also happens upon the bright idea of asking the Tuatha de Danaan for help. Add those two together, and a whole lot of trolls learning that sleeping with the enemy is really stupid, you have :

Trolls 1-1 Elves, Elves win in extra time.

3.5 out of 5

Conan of Venarium - Harry Turtledove

While Conan of Venarium is readable enough, the boy band reject on the cover, and the scence of Conan chopping the vegetables in the kitchen alongside his ailing mother are all rather incongruous, and I am sure I am not the only one that feels that way.

Alternate history may be Turtledove's thing, but not much place for it here.

2.5 out of 5

Friday, February 16, 2007

Conan at the Demon's Gate - Roland Green

After the death of Belit, Conan is trying to get somewhere else, but ends up leading some Bamulas through Pictish wilderness to try and get to safety.

A sorcerer, a sorcerer's comely daughter, and an otherworldly portal get in the way. So does a great big life sucking statue.

Sounds better than it actually is.

2.5 out of 5

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 03 - Ian Nichols

http://www.andromedaspaceways.com/issue3.htm

Fiction

Letter From the President (Earth Edition) . . Stuart Barrow
Cable and the Possible God . . Mikal Trimm
SVYAGATOR . . Sean McMullen
Stormy Weather . . Peter Friend
Evensong . . T. Rex
Team Teaching . . Jim C. Hines
Loss Leader . . Simon Haynes
The Jerk Who Fell to Earth . . Tom Holt

Poetry
For Spacers Snarled in the Hair of Comets . . Bruce Boston
An Afterlife . . Jeff VanderMeer
A Matter of Perspective/Recapture . . Stephen D Rogers
Regular Features

Recollections & Reflections . . Hon. Dr. Race Matthews
Interview - Tansy Rayner Roberts . . Tehani Croft
Review - The Last Hero; Talon of the Silver Hawk . . Ian Nichols
Review - Machinations An Anthology of Ingenious Designs . . Tehani Croft
Science Column: A Brief History of Time Travel . . Jeff Harris
Recipe - The Pasta Hunters of Joshua 3 . . Ian Nichols

The essay on the history of time travel theorising is interesting, and the recipe looks tasty.

A bigger standard deviation on this issue, too, it appears.


Letter From the President (Earth Edition) . . Stuart Barrow


Andromeda Spaceways boss gives his take on good customer service.

3 out of 5


Cable and the Possible God . . Mikal Trimm

A dog and his boy, a god, philosophy, lightning bolts and booze. Possibly I don't quite get this I had the feeling.

2 out of 5


SVYAGATOR . . Sean McMullen

The Russians cut some corners to get to the moon ahead of the Americans.

4 out of 5


Stormy Weather . . Peter Friend

Some strange types of people, magic and necromancy. With eating.

3 out of 5


Evensong . . T. Rex

A human and an alien become friends, and the latter is introduced to chess, and plays an astounding game against a chess computer.

He is not who he seems, and violence and revolution follow.

5 out of 5


Team Teaching . . Jim C. Hines

A female student at a magic school inspires jealous action by one the boys.

3 out of 5


Loss Leader . . Simon Haynes

The crew of first colony ship from earth discovers some serious flaws. Corporate repercussions to follow.

4 out of 5


The Jerk Who Fell to Earth . . Tom Holt

Long lived aliens get stuck in our crappy solar system by accident.

3 out of 5



3.5 out of 5

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 02 - Robbie Matthews

http://www.andromedaspaceways.com/issue2.htm

Fiction
Mug . . . Edwina Harvey
The Inscrutable Dragon . . . Richard Womack
Joltin' Joe Jung . . . Ken Honeywell
Father Harry . . . Kevin Maclean
Depart Singer . . . Robert Hoge
Dungslinger . . . Douglas W. Clark
Building Character . . . Carl Frederick
Abort . . . Seana O'Brien
The Battle for Cassville . . . K. D. Wentworth
The Brass Man . . . John Borneman
Suffer the Little Children . . . Cory Daniells
Play it Forever Sam . . . John B. Rosenman

Poetry
Portal . . . Christina Sng
New Genes for Old Purposes . . . Stephen D. Rogers

Also throw in an astronomy lesson, some fun classifieds and some intergalactic wine reviews.

Mug . . . Edwina Harvey

A poor passenger tries hard to get coffee on an Andromeda Spaceways Flight.

3 out of 5


The Inscrutable Dragon . . . Richard Womack

A gentle satire of Australian politics, yellow peril style.

3 out of 5


Joltin' Joe Jung . . . Ken Honeywell

An intelligent gorilla joins the Chicago Cubs baseball team for the 2031 season.

4 out of 5


Father Harry . . . Kevin Maclean

A priest wants to die for christ, but events confound him.

2.5 out of 5


Depart Singer . . . Robert Hoge

In the future, technology is getting good enough to simulate performers, when the biggest star in the world wants to quit

3.5 out of 5


Dungslinger . . . Douglas W. Clark

Dragon waste removal and reuse is a dangerous business.

3.5 out of 5


Building Character . . . Carl Frederick

A single father purchases his old android teacher, while having problems with his kid.

3 out of 5


Abort . . . Seana O'Brien

An alien is stranded on earth in an unfortunate form, and needs help.

3 out of 5


The Battle for Cassville . . . K. D. Wentworth

Vegetable looking aliens come for variety of consumables, government overreacts.

3.5 out of 5


The Brass Man . . . John Borneman

A mechanical man becomes obsessed and causes a few problems.

3 out of 5


Suffer the Little Children . . . Cory Daniells

Children in the bush are becoming very different.

3 out of 5


Play it Forever Sam . . . John B. Rosenman

Groundhog Day in Casablanca.

3 out of 5



3.5 out of 5

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 01 - Ben Payne

http://www.andromedaspaceways.com/issue1.htm

Fiction...
Boarding Pass . . Chuck McKenzie
Trade Barrier . . Dave Luckett
Heavens Above . . Lyn McConchie
Fifi Rebels . . Stanislaw Wiatrowski
The Catling God . . Trent Jamieson
Fairy Godmother Express . . Tansy Rayner Roberts (podcast)
The Last Of Mr Benjimen . . Rick Kennett
The Ghoul Goes West . . Stephen Dedman
Reigning Cats and Dogs . . Cat Sparks
Pits of Doom(TM) . . Michael Davidson
Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution . . Ian Nichols

Poetry...
Love Holo . . Bruce Boston

Regular Features...
Science Column . . Faster than light - Jeff Harris
Reviews . . AustrAlien Absurdities, Agog, Circle of Nine
Interview . . Josephine Pennicott

The essay on FTL is interesting.

Boarding Pass . . Chuck McKenzie

Most entertaining travel paperwork I have seen.

3.5 out of 5


Trade Barrier . . Dave Luckett

A girl watches the spaceships fly and dreams of something more than her not so flash area.

2.5 out of 5


Heavens Above . . Lyn McConchie

Noah has problems dealing with God's weather bureaucracy.

3 out of 5


Fifi Rebels . . Stanislaw Wiatrowski

A nanointelligence disapproves of zombifying people as punishment.

3.5 out of 5


The Catling God . . Trent Jamieson

A human on a cat world decides he wants his own, human god for the first time.

3 out of 5


Fairy Godmother Express . . Tansy Rayner Roberts

How to be a fairy godmother, with style tips for all people.

3.5 out of 5


The Last Of Mr Benjimen . . Rick Kennett

After a shipwreck, the disappearance of a man is investigated.

3 out of 5


The Ghoul Goes West . . Stephen Dedman

A female shootist in a bar recounts encountering a vampire with Doc Holliday.

3.5 out of 5


Reigning Cats and Dogs . . Cat Sparks

An anti-feral animal group introduces a genetic virus that causes the introduced animals to grow to giant size.

4 out of 5


Pits of Doom(TM) . . Michael Davidson

A young orc wants improved labor conditions when he has to fight the Dungeons and Dragons famed adventurer.

3.5 out of 5


Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution . . Ian Nichols

An astronomer detects rock music from the stars, by artists from Earth.

3 out of 5



4 out of 5

Tarans - Simon Brown

From Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 24

An English gentleman and an African prince who happens to have an English soul along
for the ride go ghostbusting. Demon dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday rain.

3.5 out of 5

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 24 - Edwina Harvey

http://www.andromedaspaceways.com/issue24.htm

Fiction

Wash and Wear . . . Brian Tillotson
Poet Warrior . . . Paul Woodlin
The Beast's Apprentice . . . Marissa Lingen
Bones . . . Stephanie Campisi
Spotting Starwhales . . . André Oosterman
The Cat Story . . . Anna Tambour
Tarans . . . Simon Brown
The Coming of the Space Crawl . . . S Hutson Blount
Harry, the Wife, and Mrs Robson, Hell's Temptress from Number Six . . . Steven Pirie
The Second-Hand Bookshop of Al Hazred . . . Chuck McKenzie
Impersonal . . . Katherine Woodbury

Poetry

Ugly Fish . . . Samantha Henderson

Special Features

Interview - Sonny Whitelaw . . . Edwina Harvey
Conan the Romantic . . . Ian Nichols

Firstly, I did a doubletake when I saw the Conan the Romantic article. Points for that.

Wash and Wear . . . Brian Tillotson

How not to clean humans.

3 out of 5


Poet Warrior . . . Paul Woodlin

A samurai type decides to do what is right, artistically, rather than the honor thing.

2.5 out of 5


The Beast's Apprentice . . . Marissa Lingen

The young alchemist and the Beast, a fairytale type fantasy.

3 out of 5


Bones . . . Stephanie Campisi

There was a skeleton on the toilet seat when I was there last night.

4 out of 5


Spotting Starwhales . . . André Oosterman

A couple of interstellar pilots dream of seeing starwhales.

3 out of 5


The Cat Story . . . Anna Tambour

A meta-writing joke about a feline tale.

3 out of 5


Tarans . . . Simon Brown

An English gentleman and an African prince who happens to have an English soul along for the ride go ghostbusting.

3.5 out of 5


The Coming of the Space Crawl . . . S Hutson Blount

Zang Henry of the Space Patrol isn't happy when his second in command proves not too flash at interstellar xenobiology. "Taxonomy isn't my field. I blow things up for a living."

3.5 out of 5


Harry, the Wife, and Mrs Robson, Hell's Temptress from Number Six . . . Steven Pirie

Her indoors and her downstairs. With evil garden gnomes.

3 out of 5


The Second-Hand Bookshop of Al Hazred . . . Chuck McKenzie

Al finds a bargain when someone comes into his shop with a box of box. A truly monstrous publication.

4 out of 5


Impersonal . . . Katherine Woodbury

Personality splitting as corporate behaviour tool.

3 out of 5


3.5 out of 5