Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Whisper of Leaves - K. S. Nikakis

Forest prophecy conflict.


This is a fantasy novel.

There are no barbarians, wizards, thieves or dancing girls in diaphanous skirts.

There are no dark lords, princesses, dragons, castles, knights, fairies, elves, sorccerers or armies.

There are no girls that fight werewolves and bonk vampires, or guys that hunt monsters.

In other words, this is a sort of book that I really haven't come aross much of before.

It isn't high fantasy, and it isn't down at the other, heroic fantasy end either.

I was emailed and asked if I would like to check it out, and after looking at the website and seeing the forest motif I thought, sure, why not, I'd been meaning to have a look at some more Australian fantasy.

Mostly at the moment I suppose I'd call it neutral, or quiet fantasy perhaps.

The prologue introduces a prophecy via fortunetelling, or precognition, whichever you prefer to call it, and some poetry of the sort Aragorn carries around in the Lord of the Rings.

It then jumps scene to the main character, a girl named Kira. Kiraon in this language apparently means a type of owl.

The word for world here is definitely forest, and her people are called the Tremen. No, there are no giant earthworms, sorry.

Kira lives in a small, isolated society cut off from the outside by the rather large amount of trees. Her people are divided into clans, with taboos against intraclan breeding, presumably to keep the smallish size population from developing extra heads or arms.

She is a highly talented healer, and even has some supernatural level of ability it would appear, at times. This drives the major political conflict, as she is quite young, and also a woman, so a threat to the generally male power structure of her society. The best healers are the rulers here. The small warband they keep for defence, and pretty much never used because of how isolated they are, are called Protectors, and are very much subservient. Not in the way James Barclay's are, though.

There isn't actually much of a good versus evil theme going on at all in this novel, although our sympathies are clearly supposed to lie with Kira, and one other character to a lesser extent, this time an adult woman. She is the wife of the chief of her people, the Shargh. Their society is reminiscent of David Gemmell's Nadir (mongol tribes). When one of their people stumbles across the Tremen and Kira is seen, they realise their prophecy is at hand, as she clearly resembles what is mentioned therein.

This provokes a raiding conflict, and the green and unsure Protectors aren't ready in a military sense, or to deal with the weapons and tactics used against them.

Interestingly, you see almost none of the violence, unless Kira is directly involved or in sight. She is a healer, so this is not often. If you are expecting great swathes of fighting and magic, this is not the book for you. She is not a healer in the Dungeons and Dragons cleric smites them with a mace and blasts zombies, and she does not use a weapon at all.

In fact with the time spent between the two women and societies it actually reminds me a little of James A. Michener at times, and Centennial or something like that, giving the points of view of both groups of people without declaring either lot The Bad Ones.

The physical novel itself is a trade, but only about 400 pages, and the line spacing is quite wide. So it won't take forever, and you won't be able to knock out camels with it, like a punch from Conan would.

The language used is a little formal, or stilted at times, the sort of thing you would expect in a high fantasy type book, but not all the time, and happily not in general conversation between characters. The large number of new names for things may take a little bit of getting used to for people that don't come across that often, and there is the odd instance of a sentence or two of a whole pile of these at once. Pretty standard fantasy sort of stuff, otherwise.

Names of food go the opposite way, so you have a fruit called sour-ripe, and sweetfish, and nut bread, and swearing in the same vein such as 'heart-rot'.

There is also a romance angle. Although Kira is quite young, and somewhat of the adventurous tomboy sort with treeclimbing and leaping and exploring of more interest to her in the past, there is an attraction to a Protector named Kest.

So, mostly about politics and medicine and trying to deal with upheaval and newly encountered small scale conflict, with a possible quest in the offing as the blurb mentions.

I generally prefer the sword and sorcery or heroic fantasy end of things, but this book was quite readable, if not thrilling, and a new sort of story, to me. The romantic subplot is just that, so it is by no means a romance novel or even romantic fantasy, but is quite clearly written to appeal to majority female fantasy buying audience, and the author is indeed a woman. K.S. stands for Karen Simpson it seems, an author with an academic background. Neither the romance angle or the 'fantasy novel' language made me roll my eyes at any time.

No reason I can see that fantasy fans wouldn't like this book, presuming they aren't looking for Brooks, Brust or The Black Company. If they can get over all the new names for things, including animals and plants, there is not much of a stretch for mainstream readers to take this on, where, with not huge alterations you could have an historical novel of sorts.


3.5 out of 5

The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury's influential collection of Mars stories. Rather dated now of course, particularly as he hung dates on them like 1999,2005, and has 50s cafes and hotdog stands on the red planet. Still worth a look though.

Martian Chronicles : Rocket Summer - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : Ylla - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Summer Night - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Earth Men - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Taxpayer - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Third Expedition - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : And the Moon Be Still as Bright - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Settlers - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Green Morning - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Locusts - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : Night Meeting - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : Interim - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Musicians - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Wilderness - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : Way in the Middle of the Air - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Naming of Names - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : Usher II - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Old Ones - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Martian - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Luggage Store - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Off Season - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Watchers - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Silent Towns - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Long Years - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : There Will Come Soft Rains - Ray Bradbury
Martian Chronicles : The Million-Year Picnic - Ray Bradbury


Melting flight.

3 out of 5


Rival shooting scenario.

4 out of 5


Old song.

3.5 out of 5


Local lingua franca a bit creepy.

3.5 out of 5


Left behind.

3 out of 5


Mars now creepy.

3 out of 5


Chicken pox, crap and murder.

3 out of 5


Grass is greener on Mars.

3.5 out of 5


Kim Stanley Robinson, middle book.

3.5 out of 5


Plague of rockets.

3 out of 5


Driving dreams.

3.5 out of 5


House history.

3 out of 5


Boys and bikes.

3 out of 5


Will I stay or Will I go, now?

3.5 out of 5


Mars trip not popular with all.

2.5 out of 5


Martian boot hill.

3 out of 5


Book and ball people.

3.5 out of 5


Geriatric influx.

3 out of 5


Martians are rare.

3.5 out of 5


Earth war choices.

4 out of 5


Hot dogs and local confrontation.

4 out of 5


Insect phobia.

4 out of 5


Even in a lonely place, phones are annoying.

3.5 out of 5


Electric people simulation.

4 out of 5


Time To Burn.

3.5 out of 5


Mealtime archaeology.

3.5 out of 5




4 out of 5

The Million-Year Picnic - Ray Bradbury

Mealtime archaeology.


3.5 out of 5

The Silent Towns - Ray Bradbury

Even in a lonely place, phones are annoying.


3.5 out of 5

The Off Season - Ray Bradbury

Hot dogs and local confrontation.


4 out of 5

The Luggage Store - Ray Bradbury

Earth war choices.


4 out of 5

The Martian - Ray Bradbury

Martians are rare.


3.5 out of 5

The Old Ones - Ray Bradbury

Geriatric influx.


3 out of 5

The Musicians - Ray Bradbury

Boys and bikes.


3 out of 5

Interim - Ray Bradbury

House history.


3 out of 5

Night Meeting - Ray Bradbury

Driving dreams.


3.5 out of 5

The Locusts - Ray Bradbury

Plague of rockets.


3 out of 5

Green Morning - Ray Bradbury

Kim Stanley Robinson, middle book.


3.5 out of 5

The Settlers - Ray Bradbury

Grass is greener on Mars.


3.5 out of 5

The Third Expedition - Ray Bradbury

Mars now creepy.


3 out of 5

The Taxpayer - Ray Bradbury

Left behind.


3 out of 5

The Earth Men - Ray Bradbury

Local lingua franca a bit creepy.


3.5 out of 5

The Summer Night - Ray Bradbury

Old song.


3.5 out of 5

Weaveworld - Clive Barker

Carpet world conflict.


This is a bit more fantasy, a bit less horror. A bunch of supernaturals decide to hide themselves away in a carpet, hence the title. This is looked after by a woman. All goes well, except for that annoying trait that humans have: they kick the bucket eventually.

The death of the rugminder leads to a conflict and chase for possession of this magic stuff, between our protagonist, and a human agent of the scary non-human woman Immacolata and her rather nasty agents. A bit on the dull side and not as good as that sounds, really.


3 out of 5

Moominland Midwinter - Tove Jansson

Smash them, fry them, blow them up or drown them, no joy there, how about freezing?


Well, not really, as the little troll guys actually make like bears and hibernate, to prevent any of that cold problem from bothering them too much. Makes sense to me, bloody cold in Scandinavian type areas, avoiding that is quite clever.

However, our favorite moomin has a minor issue in that his snoozing stops, and he wakes up alone in this yucky cold stuff, and has to deal.


3 out of 5

Moominsummer Madness - Tove Jansson

Natural disasters are a bit annoying.


Not being happywith dropping a comet on the little troll guys, Jansson decides to try and get them with a volcano, whether blowing them up or toasting them with lava I guess it doesn't matter. Getting out of that has them suffer a flood, on top of everything else. Hijinks in a floating theatre as raft of choice is what you get here.


3 out of 5

The Exploits of Moominpapa - Tove Jansson

In my day, trolls walked through snow and built ships with their bare hands, etc.


The conceit in this book is that good old dad is reading stories to the younger generation and friends, and these tales come from his own life given that he is writing his memoirs. So, you get the backstory of where he grew up, what he got up to, how he met your mum, all that sort of thing.


3 out of 5

Comet In Moominland - Tove Jansson

Large astronomical objects blow up everything, even trolls.


So what is a young moomin to do when threatened with extinction by big space rock smooshing? Set out to save the world of course, preferably with a bunch of friends. If you make some new ones on the way, then that is perfectly fine as well. How exactly a short funny looking little guy can have his own astronomical impact requires a bit of invention.


3.5 out of 5

Finn Family Moomintroll - Tove Jansson

Short, stumpy, silly looking troll things are fun.


If those guys aren't odd enough, they have a bunch of friends that are other strange looking creatures. This book is basically about the hijinks they get up to after finding a magic hat, that pretty much looks like what you would expect your garden variety stage magician to be wearing.

However, this particularly piece of millinery actual is the real deal, though, not a stage prop.


4 out of 5

Demonstorm - James Barclay

What is worse than a wizard war and invasion by a barbarian horde? Yep, all Hell breaking loose.


With the magic necessary to prevent the Wesmen from taking over anything those reckless magic types of Balaia have again ripped a big ol' new one where they should not have. In this case, the hole allows demons access to their world, and a desperate, sacrificial holding action has to be maintained by what magical leaders are left to give the Raven a chance to get out and do something about it. Tense and exciting action to be had, yet again.

Whoever came up with this title should give lessons to the Elfsorrow person.

Shadowheart - James Barclay

If you are really busy killing each other off, someone might notice.


While the magic war between the colleges goes on, those that live elsewhere and don't like such annoying wizardly overlords see a rather large opportunity to help them with the whole killing each other off bit. As usual, the Raven, a levelheaded bunch running out of original members with the death of Ilkar the Elf do what they can to prevent the continent being destroyed.


3.5 out of 5

Elfsorrow - James Barclay

Too many elves are annoying, sure, but killing them all is just a tad extreme.


Barclay writes an entertaining sort of fantasy, and despite the horrendously cheesy title this is more of a Western or even jungle action tale in this book, as an all-out war has started between the colleges of magic, and some elven artifacts are desired by the most powerful of them. This leads the Raven into an action packed and deadly confrontation to try and prevent the death of a lot of pointy ears, including one of their own. Jungle wartime, it is.


3.5 out of 5

Nightchild - James Barclay

Magic users should consider adoption.


The two members of the current Raven that can do the spellcasting thing have had a kid. Given they come from two different schools of magic, apparently this could possibly have some not so good consequences, more in a blow up your planet sort of way, than lack of political power for one group or other whingeing.

So, a lot more about the various magic organisations in this book, and the dilemma at the heart of it is, to save everyone, do you slaughter your own kid, or a friend's kid, if it cimes to that?


3.5 out of 5

Noonshade - James Barclay

Too many dragons is very, very bad.


After defeating the nasty bad guys in the first book, the Raven have another large problem. They have opened a rift which will allow a whole bunch of interdimensional dragons through to do a lot more than trash the joint and eat a few cows.

To help stop this they must develop a relationship with a powerful dragon clan and come to some sort of arrangement. This leads Hirad Coldheart into a personal relationship with the dragon leader. These dragons are actually pretty interesting characters, with their own politics and society. Not to see there isn't a bunch of mercenary band swordplay, etc., as per the first book.


3.5 out of 5

Seven Nights In Slumberland - George Alec Effinger

Little Nemo prefers to not be awake.


2.5 out of 5

Monday, July 30, 2007

Softly They Go Feral In the Night - Michael Pryor

Stray kid sex cycle.


4 out of 5

The Wombles - Elisabeth Beresford

Humans are disgustingly messy.


The wombles are cute furry little anthropomorphic intelligent things that live on Wimbledon common, as a small family organisation.

Their thing is that they go around dealing with all the rubbish that gets left around. Entertaining enough with an obvious message for them kids.



3.5 out of 5

Earthfasts - William Mayne

Following the beat of the drum can lead to monsters.


Two boys out wandering run into a drummer boy from another time, and discover that sometihng has woken up creatures that really you wouldn't want to run into, and could happily leave them with King Arthur and his Knights, among others.


3.5 out of 5

Stig Of the Dump - Clive King

Garbology is fun.

Stig of the Dump is a kid's book about a young boy, who basically meets a caveman, or cave youth if you like, at a tip.

Inventive young boys can find lots of stuff to do and make in such a situation.


3 out of 5

Jim Baen's Universe 08 - Eric Flint

This issue has 12 stories, which is the lowest so far, but Flint says in an earlier editorial they are aiming for around 120K words, and the Modesitt story here was a particularly lengthy novella it appears, so that perhaps explains it.

The second lowest rated issue for fiction so far, with 3.29, but again consistently in keeping with the other offerings so far in style, although they do delve into horror of a sort with the Kipling story.

The non-fiction here includes an article on cancer and possible advances by Resnick, and he also talks about slush reading, saying if you write something, the start better be good, or sayonnara. Have to agree, there.

Gregory Benford talks about the evolution of cosmology.

Eric Flint talks about fair use of work in the continuation of his 'Salvos Against Big Brother' column, and how DRM and extend copyright advocates would like to take it away, he says this:

"Hopefully, at this point, it will dawn on you that the situation with remaindered books—and used books, and library copies, and free copies borrowed from a friend or relative—is exactly the same with so-called "electronic piracy." In a nutshell, the more popular an author is, the more likely it is they will:

a) Get "pirated;"
b) Get remaindered;
c) Get their titles into libraries;
d) Get their titles in used book stores;
e) Get their titles in new book stores;
e) Sell copies of their books all over the place
f) Make a good living."

and



"Duh. This is not rocket science. For Pete's sake, why is it that something any supposedly lowbrow car salesman can understand perfectly well is beyond the grasp of authors, editors and publishers, almost all of whom have college degrees and many of them advanced degrees? You can't sell books unless you're willing to let the public have a lot of free or cheap copies. Any more than a car dealership can sell cars without letting their potential customers have test drives at the dealership's expense.

C-a-n-n-o-t. The market is simply far too opaque to expect many people to buy a book "the way they should.""

The end of his article leaves us with a teaser for the next essay, as he brings up the point that giving away electronic copies works only if the major market is a print market, and when the shift to electronic publishing is a majority market then very bad things will happen.

This is what he says:

"In essence, with regard to both issues, the argument is that while DRM may be penny-foolish, it is pound-wise. It may hurt you in the short run, but in the long run it's simply a necessity for the future.

Well, it isn't, as I'll spend quite a bit of time demonstrating."


As always, interesting stuff, and what I read first in the mag.

An Ocean is a Snowflake Four Billion Miles Away ,John Barnes
At the Watering Hole,Edward M. Lerner
Concentration of Dogs,Carl Frederick
Free Space,Carrie Vaughn
Murphy's War,James P. Hogan
The Lord-Protector's Daughter,L. E. Modesitt Jr.
Creation: The Launch!,Laura Resnick
Dark Corners,Kristine Kathryn Rusch
The Mark of the Beast,Rudyard Kipling
Fish Story Episode 8,Dave Freer and Eric Flint and Andrew Dennis
Mrs. Schrödinger's Cat,Gary Cuba
Squish,S. E. Ward


Energetic documentary avalanche accident.

3 out of 5


SETI FTL arrival zap.

3 out of 5


Fatal canine gestalt.

4 out of 5


Robots, guns and money.

3.5 out of 5


Spyware conflict shortage.

3.5 out of 5


Talent accounting.

2.5 out of 5


PR issues.

3 out of 5


French faery power lacking in nazi blasting.

3 out of 5


Leper lycanthropy.

3.5 out of 5


Coelacanths and craziness in R’lyeh where dead Cthulhu lies dreaming.

3.5 out of 5


Honey, about the moggie...

3.5 out of 5


Smart bug hunt problems.

3.5 out of 5





4 out of 5

Squish - S. E. Ward

Smart bug hunt problems.


3.5 out of 5

Mrs. Schrodinger's Cat - Gary Cuba

Honey, about the moggie...


3.5 out of 5

Fish Story 8 - Eric Flint and Dave Freer and Andrew Dennis

Coelacanths and craziness in R'lyeh where dead Cthulhu lies dreaming.


3.5 out of 5

Dark Corners - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

French faery power lacking in nazi blasting.


3 out of 5

Creation The Launch - Laura Resnick

PR issues.


3 out of 5

The Lord Protector's Daughter - L. E. Modesitt

Talent accounting.


2.5 out of 5

Murphy's War - James P. Hogan

Spyware conflict shortage.


3.5 out of 5

Free Space - Brad Linaweaver and Edward E. Kramer

This anthology shows that good libertarian SF stories written by Prometheus award winners are pretty thin on the ground. A very ordinary collection. Don't get it unless you are super-keen on the theme.

Free Space : Crisis in Space - William F. BuckleyJr.
Free Space : Nerfworld - Dafydd ab Hugh
Free Space : Day of Atonement - J. Neil Schulman
Free Space : No Market for Justice - Brad Linaweaver
Free Space : Kwan Tingui - William F. Wu
Free Space : Madam Butterfly - James P. Hogan
Free Space : Early Bird - Gregory Benford
Free Space : Tyranny - Poul Anderson
Free Space : The Killing of Davis-Davis - Peter Crowther
Free Space : Demokratus - Victor Koman
Free Space : The Hand You're Dealt - Robert J. Sawyer
Free Space : If Pigs Had Wings - William Alan Ritch
Free Space : A Matter of Certainty - L. Neil Smith
Free Space : Planet in the Balance - John DeChancie
Free Space : The Performance of a Lifetime - Arthur Byron Cover
Free Space : The Last Holosong of Christopher Lightning - Jared Lobdell
Free Space : Between Shepherds and Kings - John Barnes


Soyuz defection

3 out of 5


Laser launch job.

3.5 out of 5


Jewish Liberation hologram revelation.

3.5 out of 5


Departure diatribe.

2 out of 5


Family explanation.

2.5 out of 5


Asteroid bootleggers blinded.

3 out of 5


Repayment refly refry risk.

4 out of 5


Freedom infiltration.

3 out of 5


Bridge redeal time.

3 out of 5


Groundhog day vote.

4 out of 5


Copshop finds incest foretold.

3.5 out of 5


Reading escape.

3 out of 5


War reasons.

2.5 out of 5


Terraforming, nanoforming, don't think so.

3 out of 5


Disease execution.

3 out of 5


Ship war.

2 out of 5


Writing problems.

3 out of 5




2.5 out of 5

Between Shepherds and Kings - John Barnes

Writing problems.


3 out of 5

The Last Holosong of Christopher Lightning - Jared Lobdell

Ship war.


2 out of 5

The Performance of a Lifetime - Arthur Byron Cover

Disease execution.


3 out of 5

Planet In the Balance - John DeChancie

Terraforming, nanoforming, don't think so.


3 out of 5

A Matter of Certainty - L. Neil Smith

War reasons.


2.5 out of 5

If Pigs Had Wings - William Alan Ritch

Reading escape.


3 out of 5

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Demokratus - Victor Koman

Groundhog day vote.


4 out of 5

The Killing of Davis-Davis - Peter Crowther

Bridge redeal time.


3 out of 5

Tyranny - Poul Anderson

Freedom infiltration.


3 out of 5

Early Bird - Gregory Benford

Repayment refly refry risk.


4 out of 5

Kwan Tingui - William F. Wu

Family explanation.


2.5 out of 5

No Market For Justice - Brad Linaweaver

Departure diatribe.


2 out of 5

Day Of Atonement - J. Neil Schulman

Jewish Liberation hologram revelation.


3.5 out of 5

Nerfworld - Dafydd ab Hugh

Laser launch job.


3.5 out of 5

Crisis In Space - William F. Buckley

Soyuz defection.


3 out of 5

Carnival - Elizabeth Bear

If you send well-dressed gentle superdiplomats, you are in with a chance.


A couple of guys, not the most popular on the extremely rigid home planet due to their sexual preference, are sent on a mission to investigate the acqusition of really rather good energy tech from another human world. They are really good at the body language thing, so diplomacy/spying is a natural.

After that, it goes from somewhat straightforward, to not, given the society they have gone to has a lot of different ideas, and its own political conflicts. There is a seriously big Dragon in the ointment, as well. Entertaining stuff, and, thankfully, no padding. Be interesting to see what rating I might have given this if I hadn't read Damien Broderick's The Dreaming Dragons finally, recently.

Anyway, you could call this one a 3.75, perhaps, but I'll call it a four for being a refreshing good old fashioned novel.



4 out of 5

Black Man - Richard Morgan

Soldiers really do need aggro.


The background is that the USA was losing wars by becoming too girly. This in fact causes a secession in the country, with the fundamentalist friendly states splitting from the Rim States to form different countries, eventually. So, they came up with the thirteen genetic variation to make a warrior breed that had the aggro back, with the ability to boost reflexes, and be more resistant, as well as be more charismatic. It also happens to make them paranoid loners.

Mutants like this scare everyone, so were heavily regulated. The protagonist of the piece is getting sick of his existence, and after getting into trouble gets hired to track a rogue thirteen, who has done a spot of killing and eating.

Said guy manages to make a friend, and find out a few secrets, while utilising his special talents.

If you liked Altered Carbon, not too much doubt you will like this book, too.


4.5 out of 5

Fourth Planet From the Sun - Gordon Van Gelder

This is definitely a good collection, as it averages 3.67. From adjusted rating formula, and story qualities that suggests 4.25, so an actual line ball. Given the editor throws in a bit of commentary and insight, and not just author bibliographies, worth rounding up to 4.5.

Fourth Planet from the Sun : The Wilderness - Ray Bradbury
Fourth Planet from the Sun : Mars Is Ours - Alfred Coppel
Fourth Planet from the Sun : Crime on Mars - Arthur C. Clarke
Fourth Planet from the Sun : Purple Priestess of the Mad Moon - Leigh Brackett
Fourth Planet from the Sun : A Rose for Ecclesiastes - Roger Zelazny
Fourth Planet from the Sun : We Can Remember It for You Wholesale - Philip K. Dick
Fourth Planet from the Sun : Hellas Is Florida - Gordon Eklund and Gregory Benford
Fourth Planet from the Sun : In the Hall of the Martian Kings - John Varley
Fourth Planet from the Sun : The First Mars Mission - Robert F. Young
Fourth Planet from the Sun : The Last Mars Trip - Michael Cassutt
Fourth Planet from the Sun : The Great Martian Pyramid Hoax - Jerry Oltion
Fourth Planet from the Sun : Pictures from an Expedition - Alex Irvine


Will I stay or Will I go, now?

3.5 out of 5


East-West nuclear conflict, extended.

3.5 out of 5


Timezone tripup.

3.5 out of 5


Old time sacrifice.

3 out of 5


Martian miscegenation mission.

4 out of 5


Brain alteration badness.

4 out of 5


Martian life is odd.

2.5 out of 5


Local accomodations mostly plastic.

4 out of 5


Barsoom existence is rocky.

4 out of 5


Areolife assist.

4 out of 5


Wild space goose chase.

3.5 out of 5


Mars mission fishbowl celebrity betting isolation.

4.5 out of 5





4.5 out of 5

Pictures From An Expedition - Alex Irvine

Mars mission fishbowl celebrity betting isolation.


4.5 out of 5

The Great Martian Pyramid Hoax - Jerry Oltion

Wild space goose chase.


3.5 out of 5

The Last Mars Trip - Michael Cassutt

Areolife assist.


4 out of 5

The First Mars Mission - Robert F. Young

Barsoom existence is rocky.



4 out of 5

Saturday, July 28, 2007

In the Hall of the Martian Kings - John Varley

Local accomodations mostly plastic.


4 out of 5

Splatter - Will Shetterly

A horror writer probably would have preferred to be guest of honour somewhere other than the Cereal Convention.


4 out of 5

Analysis - The Best of Jim Baen's Universe

Analysis - Best of Jim Baen's Universe

I don't have this book, but I have read all the stories from the magazine, so I thought it would be interesting to compare their list, with the ratings I had given the stories, and to see how much overlaps. It is just stories from their first year, I think.

It looks like they have chosen science fiction and fantasy stories in proportion to the ratios they publish in, approximately.

I'll put what I rated them to the left of the story.


SCIENCE FICTION STORIES

3.0 Dog Soldier
4.0 The Girl with the Killer Eyes
4.0 Bow Shock
3.5 Decaf and Spaceship, To Go
4.0 All the Things You Are
3.5 A Time to Kill
3.0 Local Boy Makes Good
3.5 The Old Woman in the Young Woman
2.5 Candy-Blossom
3.5 What Would Sam Spade Do?
4.0 Giving It Fourteen Percent
4.0 Every Hole Is Outlined
3.5 Fishing
3.0 Bob's Yeti Problem
3.5 Brieanna's Constant
2.5 The Darkness

FANTASY STORIES

3.0 The Cold Blacksmith
3.5 The Nature of Things
4.0 Sisters of Sarronnyn; Sisters of Westwind
3.0 The Opposite of Pomegranates
4.0 As Black as Hell
3.5 Benny Comes Home
4.0 Femme Fatale
3.0 A Hire Power
2.5 Poga


Stories I rated highly that are not on the list.

5.0 When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth
4.0 Technical Exchange
4.0 Pimpf
4.0 Astromonkeys!
4.0 Ware the Sleeper
4.0 The Thief of Stones
4.0 Crawlspace
4.0 Newts
4.0 Common Ground
4.0 A Stranger In Paradise
4.0 Murphy's Law
4.0 The Big Ice
4.0 Servants to the Dead


So, the bizarre omission is Cory Doctorow's When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth, whether that was for publishing reasons, as in, couldn't get the rights to it, not sure, but that is clearly the best story they have published by some margin, and the awards seem to fancy it, too. Perhaps Charlie Stross' Pimpf, being part of a book, is in the same situation?

So, of the 25 stories they chose, 3 I had rated below average, 5 average, and the rest above average. Or, 12%, 20% and 68%, which is basically par for the course when rating stories it seems from all the books I have looked at in the past.

Of the 17 others, 8 were 4.0, and 9 3.5.

Jim Baen's Universe 07 - Eric Flint

They almost seem to have this down to a fine art now. The last three issues have been almost the same, as far as the fiction goes. This one averages 3.39, in the middle of the 3.43 and 3.36 for issues 5 and 6. All 3 have had 9 stories rated above average (3.5 or more).

As far as the non-fiction goes, not as in depth or interesting as the last issue.

Flint's column is how it is basically impossible to find out about books because it is such an opaque market, and obscurity is a killer for authors.

There are articles on solar cells and physics in general, by Benford.

Resnick talks about germs and SETI.

The Big Guy,Mike Resnick
Running Water for L.A.,Eric Witchey
Thin Ice,Dave Freer
Weredragons of Mars,Carl Frederick
Swing Time,Carrie Vaughn
Cryptic Coloration,Elizabeth Bear
The Littlest Wyrm-Maid,Rebecca Lickiss
Child Maiden Woman Crone,Terry Bramlett
The Realms of Words,Eric Flint
Fish Story Episode 7,Andrew Dennis, Dave Freer and Eric Flint
Touching the Dead,J. Kathleen Cheney
Chicken Soup,A. F. Tesson
Chirus Fever,Lisa Satterlund
Giant Killer,A. Bertram Chandler


Robohoopster enjoys agony of defeat.

3.5 out of 5


Whale tunes water run rescue piracy takedown.

3.5 out of 5


Electromagnetic skating escape.

3 out of 5


Tropeship reality trouble.

3.5 out of 5


Dancing caper cutoff.

3.5 out of 5


Cockatrice investigation transformation duel virgin slaying.

4 out of 5


Dragonspell education.

3 out of 5


Music farmer's changing more than woman.

3 out of 5


Salamander sorcery sayings.

3 out of 5


Real Ale tour.

3.5 out of 5


Sensitive murder blind investigation.

3 out of 5


Doggie dino snack saving.

3.5 out of 5


Disease chase.

3.5 out of 5


Rat race ship slaughter.

4 out of 5




4 out of 5

Giant Killer - A. Bertram Chandler

Rat race ship slaughter.


4 out of 5

Chicken Soup - A. F. Tesson

Doggie dino snack saving.


3.5 out of 5

Chirus Fever - Lisa Satterlund

Disease chase.


3.5 out of 5

Touching the Dead - Kathleen J. Cheney

Sensitive murder blind investigation.


3 out of 5

Fish Story 7 - Eric Flint and Dave Freer and Andrew Dennis

Real Ale tour.


3.5 out of 5

The Realm of Words - Eric Flint

Salamander sorcery sayings.


3 out of 5

The Littlest Wyrm-Maid - Rebecca Lickiss

Dragonspell education.


3 out of 5

Thin Ice - Dave Freer

Electromagnetic skating escape.


3 out of 5

Jim Baen's Universe 06 - Eric Flint

This mag again has 14 stories, so probably around the level they are settling on. With all the columns, articles, etc., that is a lot.

Making a text version and subjecting it to gnu wc, suggests around 130,000 words. Doing the same thing with a recentish Asimov's gives around 70,000 words. So, not quite twice that, and bimonthly, as opposed to the basically monthly competition.

JBU is 6 bucks for a single issue, one issue of Asimov's is $3.99 at Fictionwise (and subs for both of course are cheaper). So on amount of content alone seems the former is ahead. If you look at a html etc. version you actually get a bunch of illustrations with the stories, too, if you like that sort of thing. Also, no direct 'log in and read online sitting at your desk' option at Fictionwise, or plain html or rtf, although you can create them secondarily if you want, as the Fictionwise mags are also pleasingly open and multiformat.

For non-fiction :-

Pinchefsky talks about tourism associated with sf.

Basically an essay talking about the nifty stuff in a physics textbook and what that would be worth 100 years ago, or the same thing from the future. A bit of the perpetual motion thing and energy from small scale motion, relating from the self winding watch.

Flint explains why ease of electronic copying is not a threat to publishers.

He gives an example of his own work, and explains:

"But the fact remains that the material damage done to authors by such activity is so minimal that it can barely be distinguished from zero—if there's any material damage at all, which I doubt.

I am not guessing about this. The reason I initially put up my first novel for free online was because I got fed up reading the hysterical howls of some authors in online discussion groups, shrieking that their livelihood was being mortally threatened.

To prove that was nonsense, as graphically as I could, I put up one of my own novels for free. "Pirated myself," if you'll allow me the absurd expression. That novel, Mother of Demons, has been available online for free for almost seven years now. And . . .

It's still in print, and still keeps selling."



As he mentions in an earlier column, not a lot of books that old stay in print.

After this he talks about the setting up of the Baen Free Library, which keeps expanding.

Talking about why people copy things :

"And that's what drives most—not all—electronic copyright infringement. People do not generally "pirate" an electronic text in order to sell it for a profit. They do it in order to get the text itself, for their own use."

Amusingly, he also points out that books generally aren't that valuable as to be targets of professional criminals. How many people break into bookshops so they can flog Sherlock Holmes books at markets?

"A DRM-crippled text is a royal pain in the ass for legitimate customers"

"The buying public, by now, has long and bitter memories of the way the entertainment industries have shafted them over and over again, by introducing one technology, forcing everyone to adopt it—then scrapping that technology in favor of yet another."

"We now have the grotesque phenomenon that publishers typically charge more for an electronic book than they do for a paper book—even though everyone knows perfectly well that electronic texts are far cheaper to produce and distribute."

Pointing out : We now have the grotesque phenomenon that publishers typically charge more for an electronic book than they do for a paper book—even though everyone knows perfectly well that electronic texts are far cheaper to produce and distribute. "

He then talks about Baen's pricing policies, and how that works for them.

All in all, these essays are very good and well worth reading.

Malzberg talks about sf writers as futurists.

Resnick talks about why Baen pays so highly compared to other publications, his background in the porn distribution industry, and the internet as eyeopener, particularly associated with podcasting like Escape Pod.

Also that the editors are being paid in profit sharing, and the lack of physical overheads of a paper magazine.

The fiction average for the magazine is 3.36, a little lower than last time, basically because of one not too good story, otherwise, quite similar.


Crawlspace,Dave Freer, Eric Flint
Newts,Kevin J. Anderson
Chance of Storms,Edward M. Lerner
Dinosaur Egg $6,Chet Gottfried
The Ten Thousand Things,Mark L. Van Name
Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz Go to War,Garth Nix
Midnight at the Quantum Cafe,K. D. Wentworth
Redemption of Nepheli,E. Sedia
The Gnarly Man,L. Sprague de Camp
Slan Hunter Part 3,A. E. van Vogt, Kevin J. Anderson
The Ancient Ones Episode 4,David Brin
Fish Story Episode 6,Andrew Dennis, Dave Freer and Eric Flint
Common Ground,Mackey Chandler
New Moon,Mike Barretta


Even an uplifted bat brothel protest murder investigation could use a tea-boy.

4 out of 5


Eunuch last stand decision.

4 out of 5


Bad luck story.

2 out of 5


Live Tri raffle payback.

3.5 out of 5


Stroke location memory download deal.

3 out of 5


Lizard lancer mercenary godbothering, no dummy.

3.5 out of 5


Reality dumping dames, with drinks.

3.5 out of 5


Siege sorcery.

3 out of 5


Neanderthal lightning strikee holds his age like Vandal Savage.

3.5 out of 5


Slans to the rescue.


It isn't good for the older generation in this book, as the hunt for Jommy and the tendrilless realisation that further true slans are being born, no matter what they do. A surprise waits in space for everybody concerned.

3 out of 5


Cheesy music man.

3 out of 5


Thor thinks soccer is for girls, can't possibly be drunk on American beer, but they are now on a mission from god.

3.5 out of 5


Alien first contact arrival communication, no direction.

4 out of 5


Apollo 11 mission toasted.

3.5 out of 5




4.5 out of 5

Hellas Is Florida - Gregory Benford and Gordon Eklund

Martian life is odd.


2.5 out of 5

Friday, July 27, 2007

New Moon - Mike Barretta

Apollo 11 mission toasted.


3.5 out of 5

Common Ground - Mackey Chandler

Alien first contact arrival communication, no direction.


4 out of 5

Fish Story 6 - Eric Flint and Dave Freer and Andrew Dennis

Thor thinks soccer is for girls, can't possibly be drunk on American beer, but they are now on a mission from god.


3.5 out of 5

The Ancient Ones 4 - David Brin

Cheesy music man.


3 out of 5

The Birth Day - B. W. Clough

Herding happiness.


3 out of 5

Each Damp Thing - Barbara Hambly

Cain unearths a mirror that Dream had hidden away for a bloody good reason. Bad things man, bad things.


4 out of 5

Slan Hunter 3 - A. E. Van Vogt and Kevin J. Anderson

Slans to the rescue.


It isn't good for the older generation in this book, as the hunt for Jommy and the tendrilless realisation that further true slans are being born, no matter what they do. A surprise waits in space for everybody concerned.


3 out of 5

The Gnarly Man - L. Sprague de Camp

Neanderthal lightning strikee holds his age like Vandal Savage.


3.5 out of 5

Purple Priestess of the Mad Moon - Leigh Brackett

Old time sacrifice.


3 out of 5

Crime On Mars - Arthur C. Clarke

Timezone tripup.


3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Jim Baen's Universe 05 - Eric Flint

Firstly, the non-fiction:

Examination of solar sail type technology.

Cobb reckons he has a groovy star diagram.

Resnick talks about joining the magazine, and stories.


Flint talks about the lies bandied around by the media organisations with respect to DRM and copying.

"... I put the terms "pirate" and "piracy" and "pirated" in quotation marks. And I will continue to do so throughout these essays.

"..the terms are another lie. They are words which—I speak as a professional author of fiction, here, who makes his living working with words and manipulating them consciously for a desired emotional effect on the reader—are consciously and deliberately designed to obfuscate the real issues involved by substitute hysterical terminology for rational discourse.

Piracy?

That's preposterous. Piracy is a crime that involves such things as:

Murder.
Rape.
Arson.
Armed robbery.

To claim that an author or publisher has been "subject to piracy" because someone infringed their copyright is grotesque. They have suffered absolutely no physical damage, pain or indignity whatsoever. Their property as such has not been destroyed in any way, shape or form."

It is barely petty theft, he says, and electrons ain't molecules.

He also talks about J. K. Rowling's incredible idiocy when refusing to sell electronic copies of her books, and how her latest novel was available on the internet about an hour after it came out.

"the book was so popular—bought it, raced home and copied it on an OCR scanner and uploaded the resulting file onto the web. In this instance—which is rather uncommon—they even did a fairly decent job of proof-reading the text and getting rid of most of the typical OCR scanning errors.

How are you going to prevent this by encryption?

You can't. It's as simple as that. You cannot."

Again, he isn't shy with an opinion:

"...the reality is that all the encryption being used by publishing houses is ultimately pointless—and they know it perfectly well.

So why do they do it? Well, in the case of the publishing industry, the most common reason is stupidity, and it descends from there."

Or, they can't be bothered to think about new ways of doing things.

As seen recently, this may be starting to change.

Malzberg talks about the long term effect of critiscism, and the possible role of sf literature.

As far as the fiction goes, the highest rating so far, with an average of 3.43. This may be an artifact of being down to 14 stories from the whopping 25 of the bonanza opening issue, but that is still a good level for a magazine. Whatever they are doing appears to be working, and it, as always, a pleasure to read as far as any of the formats go.

The non-fiction part is not quite as interesting this issue, apart from Flint and solar sails, so overall we'll give it a good solid 4, call it 4.25 if you like, not quite enough to round up to 4.5.


War Stories,Elizabeth Bear
A Stranger in Paradise,Edward M. Lerner
Demonstration Day,Ian Creasey
I Could've Done Better,Gregory Benford, David Brin
Marklord Pete,Wil McCarthy
The Spiral Road,Louise Marley
Rebel the First,Edd Vick
Pawn's Gambit,Carol Hightshoe
Research Alpha,A. E. van Vogt, James H. Schmitz
Slan Hunter Part 2,A. E. van Vogt, Kevin J. Anderson
Fish Story Episode 5,Eric Flint, Andrew Dennis, Dave Freer
Storm Warning,Robert Cruze
Old Folks' Home,John Kratman
The Goblin Hunter,Jeff Stehman


Seems this is the Jenny Casey from her trilogy. A grizzled veteran now, she reminisces about saving a kid, and living with a guy she wanted to shag, and his dying wife and sick kid to help them out.

3.5 out of 5


Colonist rediscovery is repellent.

4 out of 5


Whacky gear.

3 out of 5


Modern man finds past Pharaoh harem life can pall, priestesse are bloody annoying, and the beer isn't cold enough.

4 out of 5


IP revolution revolution.

4 out of 5


General war issues.

3 out of 5


Redneck pope and pooch.

3 out of 5


Witchy assassin queening test.

3.5 out of 5


Energy serum evolution.

3.5 out of 5


"Mutants are cropping up everywhere—it's a veritable plague!"

The tendrilless have control of Earth, and Jommy and company turn to his shotgun packing granny for help, hoping to find some allies.

3.5 out of 5


Jonah in the court, boinging whale, and Thor.

3 out of 5


Solar steel scorching snafu survival to Mars metallurgy move.

3.5 out of 5


Space station retirement orphanage.

3 out of 5


Reverse psychology useful for the little buggers.

3.5 out of 5





4 out of 5

The Goblin Hunter - Jeff Stehman

Reverse psychology useful for the little buggers.


3.5 out of 5

Old Folks' Home - John Kratman

Space station retirement orphanage.


3 out of 5

Fish Story 5 - Eric Flint and Dave Freer and Andrew Dennis

Jonah in the court, boinging whale, and Thor.


3 out of 5

Slan Hunter 2 - A. E. Van Vogt and Kevin J. Anderson

"Mutants are cropping up everywhere—it's a veritable plague!"

The tendrilless have control of Earth, and Jommy and company turn to his shotgun packing granny for help, hoping to find some allies.


3.5 out of 5

Storm Warning - Robert Cruze

Solar steel scorching snafu survival to Mars metallurgy move.


3.5 out of 5

Mars Is Ours - Alfred Coppel

East-West nuclear conflict, extended.


3.5 out of 5

Research Alpha - A. E. Van Vogt

Energy serum evolution.


3.5 out of 5

Stronger Than Desire - Lisa Goldstein

Endless bet welcher, after a pretty young lord bets Desire she can't make anyone she wants shag, and wins.


3.5 out of 5

The Wilderness - Ray Bradbury

Will I stay or Will I go, now?


3.5 out of 5

Fantasy and Science Fiction 665 - Gordon Van Gelder

Having read a grand total of I think two of these American digest magazines in the past, and those about seven years ago, I was interested to check out some again, given recent reading and some suggestions by the last short story project. I do have three old issues of Asimov's that I have never gotten around to.

These more recent mags were bought in an airport on the way to Jamaica at a time I was reading very little, and non-fiction, if that, so a diversion for the occasional story when not occupied with sport and tv. I am pretty sure one of them was an issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Thanks to the same source as lastshortstory, livejournal, I saw a post that said if you wrote to Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine and volunteered to write a blog entry they would send you a copy of the September issue of the magazine. Hard to go past an offer like that. Perhaps it is Assistant Editor's Month or something. :) Generally in cases like this you aren't going to get it sent to Australia I would have though, but, in this case I was wrong, and today the pristine condition digest arrived only a few days after contacting them via the website.

Fantasy and Science Fiction it says, and that is what this issue delivers. You could even go so far as to say 50-50 on story count, even though it has 7 tales, because John Langan's nifty monikered piece could go either way depending on how you look at it, so call that half and half and there you have it.

Now I do subscribe to Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, and Jim Baen's Universe, both of which also have fantasy and science fiction stories, and generally have a more upbeat sort of focus than a lot of what seems to be wishy washy horror or fantasy type publications on the net, so it was quite pleasing to find a couple of stories here with a definite sense of humour (trivia bees and scouting, in this case).

Actually, my spousal unit opened the envelope wondering what it was, and was promptly chuckling over cartoons she discovered within, so it took a little time to get to it myself, and was something I hadn't expected to find. Also on the back was an ad for some books, including Warren Ellis' Crooked Little Vein, so I thought that seemed to be a good sign, as well.

There is some non-fiction content, as well, and also worth a look. Generally how I approach magazine rating is to consider the fiction, and give a bonus if anything else is worth looking at.

Here, there is a book review column by Charles de Lint, on whose books I indulged some years ago, so that was interesting. Even more interesting was that one of the things he talked about was the Season 8 Buffy comics. I have read the first of these, and it is definitely good. The possibilities are so intriguing that my romance geek (and also sf fan) sister is even contemplating buying comics, something I don't think has ever happened before, but I imagine as de Lint suggests, she might end up with the trades.

Ever seen Gold Medal Books and amanuensis in the same paragraph before? No, didn't think so. James Sallis is probably the only one that has ever written it, either, so may be in danger of having eyes glaze over before they get to the rest of his article, which is about two books that are of interest to me. The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, and Fast Forward 1. Both likely to be it seems what Gardner Dozois would call centre-core science fiction, a term I saw him use in the introduction to one of the recent Year's Best Science Fiction collections. Hence of more than passing interest to me, especially when it mentions who some of the authors are.

Lucius Shepard's movie reviews are refreshingly blunt, telling us to avoid another dodgy Dick interpretation. He is the first I have seen on casual stumblings across to actually write something about what Grindcore the movie is actually about that is not the cacklings of Tarantino fans, or the droolings over chicks in short skirts. That was definitely cool and something I wanted to know.

There is an article by Murphy and Doherty about watching a solar eclipse in Second Life. Charles Stross could probably have used that as a whacky example of something to inflict on the person from the 70s along with the dead gnome splatter advertising in World of Warcraft. This is a program I have never used, so it gives a brief overview.

The fiction in this mag is good. So far I have rated about 180 anthologies and collections, continuing my study there, and the median average fiction score for one of these books is 3.50 currently, with a touch over 2/3 of the stories rating as above average (3.5) or higher. For magazines, I have mostly only read Australian publications, and they are around 3.25, so I would expect current American magazines to fall somewhere in between those two numbers. My admittedly very limited sample, taking out the 80s Destinies paperback magazines as perhaps unfair draggers-down leaves only a handful of issues, but their average is between those two numbers, and with around 3/5 stories rating over the garden variety 3.

However, this issue of F&SF averages an impressive 3.64. If they are using this issue as a hook to get people interested, then it appears they have picked a fine example. With that rating tnere is absolutely no doubt about it being worth the money.

I had developed a formula to give a rule of thumb weighting to story collections (see The Mathematics of the Anthology in Analysis if you care) to deal with those with lots of good stories or those with below average works, and in this case, there are none of the latter, and the magazine fiction component rating is boosted a bit over 4. The non-fiction is certainly worth some bonus, if not amazing, so as far as magazines go this issue gets an excellent 4.5 out of 5.


FSF 665 : Wrong Number - Alexander Jablokov
FSF 665 : Envoy Extraordinary - Albert E. Cowdrey
FSF 665 : Atalanta Loses At the Interpantheonic Trivia Bee - Heather Lindsley
FSF 665 : Episode Seven: Last Stand Against the Pack in the Kingdom of Purple Flowers - John Langan
FSF 665 : Requirements For the Mythology Merit Badge - Kevin N. Haw
FSF 665 : If We Can Save Just One Child - Robert Reed
FSF 665 : The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate - Ted Chiang


Fake phone girl curse removal requires mechanic and martinis.

3.5 out of 5


Diplomatic mission is a gutbusting blast.

3 out of 5


Eye of the Tigris, thrill of the setup for matchmaking A-Team goddesses and relatives.

4 out of 5


Batboy postapocalyptic pregnant prey girl's only chance.

4.5 out of 5


Supernatural scouting.

3 out of 5


Second chance secret clonemaster.

3.5 out of 5


Wormhole time tender's raconteur replay.

4 out of 5




4.5 out of 5

If We Can Save Just One Child - Robert Reed

Second chance secret clonemaster.


3.5 out of 5

Requirements For the Mythology Merit Badge - Kevin Haw

Supernatural scouting.


3 out of 5

Episode Seven Last Stand Against the Pack in the Kingdom of Purple Flowers - John Langan

Batboy postapocalyptic pregnant prey girl's only chance.


4.5 out of 5

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Atalanta Loses At the Interpantheonic Trivia Bee - Heather Lindsley

Eye of the Tigris, thrill of the setup for A-Team goddesses and relatives.


4 out of 5

Envoy Extraordinary - Albert E. Cowdrey

Diplomatic mission is a gutbusting blast.


3 out of 5

Wrong Number - Alexander Jablokov

Fake phone girl curse removal requires mechanic and martinis.


3.5 out of 5

Pawn's Gambit - Carol Hightshoe

Witchy assassin queening test.


3.5 out of 5

Rebel the First - Edd Vick

Redneck pope and pooch.


3 out of 5

The Spiral Road - Louise Marley

General war issues.


3 out of 5

Marklord Pete - Wil McCarthy

IP revolution revolution.


4 out of 5

Off Limits : Tales of Alien Sex - Ellen Datlow

Basically what it says. Not too bad though, and definitely not 'porn style'.

This is designed to look at the differences, ways to relate, problems and surprises associated with relationships between different species of people, let alone different races.

Also, there are a couple of supernatural type tales to be found in this collection towards the end.

Off Limits : The Reality Trip - Robert Silverberg
Off Limits : The Tattooist - Susan Wade
Off Limits : Dolly Sodom - John Kaiine
Off Limits : The Lucifer of Blue - Sherry Coldsmith
Off Limits : The Queen of the Apocalypse - Scott Bradfield
Off Limits : Oral - Richard Christian Matheson
Off Limits : Grand Prix - Simon Ings
Off Limits : The House of Mourning - Brian Stableford
Off Limits : Fetish - Martha Soukup
Off Limits : Red Sonja and Lessingham in Dreamland - Gwyneth Jones
Off Limits : The Future of Birds - Mike O'Driscoll
Off Limits : Captain China - Bruce McAllister
Off Limits : Background: The Dream - Lisa Tuttle
Off Limits : Aye and Gomorrah - Samuel R. Delany
Off Limits : Ursus Triad Later - Kathe Koja and Barry N. Malzberg
Off Limits : The Dream-Catcher - Joyce Carol Oates
Off Limits : His Angel - Roberta Lannes
Off Limits : In the Month of Athyr - Elizabeth Hand


Bags of skin menage.

3 out of 5


Mutant wedding tackle tattoo empathy.

3.5 out of 5


Coin full.

3 out of 5


Spanish Civil whores and quartermaster's stores.

3 out of 5


Adultery hate.

1.5 out of 5


Feeling it up, explained.

3.5 out of 5


Formula Zero carjacking off.

4 out of 5


Addicted to hos and pros.

4 out of 5


Bearded lady is still quite popular.

3.5 out of 5


Sword and sorcery virtual sex therapy.

4 out of 5


In a future with a bleeding disease decimating the female population male-female pre-ops are in demand.

3.5 out of 5


Child sex superhero saviour definitely not from around here.

4 out of 5


Bonus gonad growth.

3 out of 5


Gender altered space workers provide exotic rough trade on shore leave.

3 out of 5


Goldilocks bestiality.

2 out of 5


Put it where the man says next time, dearie.

3.5 out of 5


Genegineer stork stunt tragedy.

3.5 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Young Mutants - Martin H. Greenberg and Isaac Asimov and Charles G. Waugh

Designed to look like a series for kids, it seems, and quite a few kid characters, but just your usual stories, not specially written simplified tales for kids or anything.

Young Mutants : Hail and Farewell - Ray Bradbury
Young Mutants : Keep Out - Fredric Brown
Young Mutants : What Friends Are For - John Brunner
Young Mutants : The Wonder Horse - George Byram
Young Mutants : He That Hath Wings - Edmond Hamilton
Young Mutants : Second Sight - Alan E. Nourse
Young Mutants : I Can't Help Saying Goodbye - Ann Mackenzie
Young Mutants : The Listening Child - Idris Seabright
Young Mutants : The Children's Room - Raymond F. Jones
Young Mutants : The Lost Language - David H. Keller
Young Mutants : Prone - Mack Reynolds
Young Mutants : Come On Wagon! - Zenna Henderson


Smart kid has growing up issues.

2.5 out of 5


Super adaptability drug Martians don't want visitors not like them.

3.5 out of 5


Advanced kid needs a mate, even green is ok.

3.5 out of 5


How can everyone make money out of a completely unbeatable mutant thorouighbred?

4 ou tof 5


David, not Jenny, and he picks a bad woman.

3.5 out of 5


Psi-high problems.

3 out of 5


Bikini precog.

3 out of 5


Sacrifice has heart.

3.5 out of 5


Mutant library thing replacement.

3 out of 5


An audio type.

3 out of 5


Space marine jinx one man army.

4 out of 5


Can fix your little red, but tractors? I'm stuffed.

3.5 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

In the Month of Athyr - Elizabeth Hand

Genegineer stork stunt tragedy.


3.5 out of 5

His Angel - Roberta Lannes

Psycho angel judgement.


3.5 out of 5

The Dream-Catcher - Joyce Carol Oates

Put it where the man says next time, dearie.


3.5 out of 5

Ursus Triad Later - Barry N. Malzberg and Kathe Koja

Goldilocks bestiality.


2 out of 5

Background the Dream - Lisa Tuttle

Bonus gonad growth.


3 out of 5

Captain China - Bruce McAllister

Child sex superhero saviour definitely not from around here.


4 out of 5

Red Sonja and Lessingham In Dreamland - Gwyneth Jones

Sword and sorcery virtual sex therapy.


4 out of 5

Fetish - Martha Soukup

Bearded lady is still quite popular.


3.5 out of 5

The House Of Mourning - Brian Stableford

Addicted to hos and pros.


4 out of 5

Grand Prix - Simon Ings

Formula Zero carjacking off.


4 out of 5

Oral - Richard Christian Matheson

Feeling it up, explained.


3.5 out of 5

The Queen of the Apocalypse - Scott Bradfield

Adultery hate.


1.5 out of 5

The Reality Trip - Robert Silverberg

Bags of skin menage.


3 out of 5

The Lucifer of Blue - Sherry Coldsmith

Spanish Civil whores and quartermaster's stores.


3 out of 5

Dolly Sodom - John Kaiine

Coin full.


3 out of 5

The Lost Language - David H. Keller

An audio type.


3 out of 5

The Children's Room - Raymond F. Jones

Mutant library thing replacement.


3 out of 5

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Listening Child - Margaret St. Clair

Sacrifice has heart.


3.5 out of 5

I Can't Help Saying Goodbye - Anne Mackenzie

Bikini precog.


3 out of 5

He That Hath Wings - Edmond Hamilton

David, not Jenny, and he picks a bad woman.


3.5 out of 5

Slan Hunter 1 - A. E. Van Vogt and Kevin J. Anderson

Secret police clueless about what is really going on.


When the head of the human secret police discovers that the President is actually a slan, arresting him and Jommy Cross gives the tendrilless slan group freedom to act unopposed. When the somewhat incompetent spook is told the real story they have tot ry and work together without getting blown up. Luckily the other two and friends have some plans in place.


3.5 out of 5

The Ancient Ones 3 - David Brin

X-Files aplenty on this planet.


3 out of 5

Caught Forever Between - Adrian Nikolas Phoenix

New Orleans, tatts and loup garou.


2.5 out of 5

The Wonder Horse - George Byram

How can everyone make money out of a completely unbeatable mutant thoroughbred?


4 out of 5

What Friends Are For - John Brunner

Advanced kid needs a mate, even green is ok.


3.5 out of 5

Chain Home Low - John M. Ford

Right at the start of the Sandman story, with all the Sleepers there is the whole World War air war thing going on.


3.5 out of 5

The Best Time Travel Stories of All Time - Barry N. Malzberg

Best of All Time? I guess that is relative to who is picking. Is this a very good collection of stories? Yes, definitely, as the stories here average 3.80.

Best Time Travel Stories of All Time : The Battle of Long Island - Nancy Kress
Best Time Travel Stories of All Time : The Man Who Came Early - Poul Anderson
Best Time Travel Stories of All Time : Forever to a Hudson Bay Blanket - James TiptreeJr.
Best Time Travel Stories of All Time : Anachron - Damon Knight
Best Time Travel Stories of All Time : On the Nature of Time - Bill Pronzini and Barry N. Malzberg
Best Time Travel Stories of All Time : A Little Something for Us Tempunauts - Philip K. Dick
Best Time Travel Stories of All Time : Ripples in the Dirac Sea - Geoffrey A. Landis
Best Time Travel Stories of All Time : Hall of Mirrors - Fredric Brown
Best Time Travel Stories of All Time : 3 RMS Good View - Karen Haber
Best Time Travel Stories of All Time : Time Trap - Charles L. Harness
Best Time Travel Stories of All Time : Brooklyn Project - William Tenn
Best Time Travel Stories of All Time : Timetipping - Jack M. Dann
Best Time Travel Stories of All Time : The Chronology Protection Case - Paul Levinson
Best Time Travel Stories of All Time : Hawksbill Station - Robert Silverberg
Best Time Travel Stories of All Time : Time Travelers Never Die - Jack McDevitt


Nursing multiple realities.

4 out of 5


Yank is a Viking misfit.

4 out of 5


Youthful elderly mortal indiscretion.

4 out of 5


Time vault trouble.

3.5 out of 5


Paradox a tad Oedipal.

3 out of 5


Time to avoid own deaths.

4 out of 5


Don't let the past catch up to you.

4 out of 5


Time immortality revelation decision.

4 out of 5


Burnt by past real estate deal.

4 out of 5


Particle regeneration consumption recycling.

4 out of 5


Past alterations pseudopocryphal.

4 out of 5


Chronal spousal variation.

2.5 out of 5


Extreme quantum censorship publication falsification.

5 out of 5


The authorities have come up with an unconventional but effective way of controlling dissidents. Send them back a billion or so years into the past. A bit hard to escape from there, really.

When a new prisoner is sent back, the current top dog, an aging main with a recent serious injury has to try and hang onto his life, and work out what is up with the new guy.

3 out of 5


Paradox pyre problems.

4 out of 5




4.5 out of 5

Time Travelers Never Die - Jack McDevitt

Paradox pyre problems.


4 out of 5

Timetipping - Jack Dann

Chronal spousal variation.


2.5 out of 5

Brooklyn Project - William Tenn

Past alterations pseudopocryphal.


4 out of 5

Time Trap - Charles L. Harness

Particle regeneration consumption recycling.


4 out of 5

3 RMS Good View - Karen Haber

Burnt by past real estate deal.


4 out of 5

Ripples In the Dirac Sea - Geoffrey A. Landis

Don't let the past catch up to you.


4 out of 5

On the Nature of Time - Bill Pronzini

Paradox a tad Oedipal.


3 out of 5

Anachron - Damon Knight

Time vault trouble.


3.5 out of 5

Forever To A Hudson Bay Blanket - James Tiptree Jr

Youthful elderly mortal indiscretion.


4 out of 5

The Battle of Long Island - Nancy Kress

Nursing multiple realities.


4 out of 5

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Masquerade and High Water - Colin Greenland

Solar hippie Desire.


3 out of 5

Before the Golden Age 3 - Isaac Asimov

The end of this book is 1938, the beginning fo the Campbell era at Astounding, and there are more Asimov anecdotes throughout, leading up to him having his first sale to the above publication.

Before the Golden Age 3 : Parasite Planet - Stanley G. Weinbaum
Before the Golden Age 3 : Proxima Centauri - Murray Leinster
Before the Golden Age 3 : The Accursed Galaxy - Edmond Hamilton
Before the Golden Age 3 : He Who Shrank - Henry Hasse
Before the Golden Age 3 : The Human Pets of Mars - Leslie F. Stone
Before the Golden Age 3 : The Brain Stealers of Mars - John W. Campbell
Before the Golden Age 3 : Devolution - Edmond Hamilton
Before the Golden Age 3 : Big Game - Isaac Asimov
Before the Golden Age 3 : Minus Planet - John D. Clark
Before the Golden Age 3 : Past Present and Future - Nat Schachner
Before the Golden Age 3 : The Men and the Mirror - Ross Rocklynne


Venus is not a nice place, and it tastes bad.

3 out of 5


Vegie men seek animal matter gold.

3.5 out of 5


Organic space is gross.

3 out of 5


The Atom vs The Brain.

3 out of 5


Leashed off-planet. Wah.

3 out of 5


Ravening violet guns to sort out those protoplasmic chameleons.

3 out of 5


Arctarians 'R Us.

3.5 out of 5


What killed the dinosaurs? Little dinosaurs. With guns.

3 out of 5


Anti-matter menace.

2.5 out of 5


Radium sleep age revival neutron barrier breakout.

4 out of 5


Space pirate-sleuth pendulum problem.

3.5 out of 5




3 out of 5

The Men and the Mirror - Ross Rocklynne

Space pirate-sleuth pendulum problem.


3.5 out of 5

Past Present and Future - Nat Schachner

Radium sleep age revival neutron barrier breakout.


4 out of 5

Minus Planet - John D. Clark

Anti-matter menace.


2.5 out of 5

Big Game - Isaac Asimov

What killed the dinosaurs? Little dinosaurs. With guns.


3 out of 5

Devolution - Edmond Hamilton

Arctarians 'R Us.


3.5 out of 5

The Brain Stealers Of Mars - John W. Campbell

Ravening violet guns to sort out those protoplasmic chameleons.


3 out of 5

Aurealis 03 - Stephen Higgins and Dirk Strasser

A right on average magazine, at 3.25, with one excellent piece by Greg Egan, so worth a bit extra for that. Michael Pryor's whacky SF Hall of Fame stuff continues, and George Turner reviews a limited edition A. Bertram Chandler collection.

The Moat,Greg Egan
The Tourist,E. R. Van Helden
Is There a Fate Worse Than Death?,Marilynne Cromarty
Dawn,Andrew McBurnie
Streetdreams,Andrea Gawthorne
The Final Machine,Simon Brown
The Day of the Sun,Maria McKernan
A Shadow Guard's Passing,John T. Stolarczyk
Pieces of Paul,Scott Mendham
The Final Birthplace,Dirk Strasser


Immigrantproofing the wealthy.

4.5 out of 5


Antique squabble.

2 out of 5


Bigarse fertility rite.

3.5 out of 5


Windy living.

3.5 out of 5


Don't want to be a fashion victim.

2.5 out of 5


Nano revenge.

4 out of 5


Hot to trot.

3 out of 5


Knives in the dark.

3 out of 5


Mrs Palm has a hell of a lot more than just five fingers.

3.5 out of 5


Stone run.

3 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

The Final Birthplace - Dirk Strasser

Stone run.


3 out of 5

Pieces of Paul - Scott Mendham

Mrs Palm has a hell of a lot more than just five fingers.


3.5 out of 5

A Shadow Guard's Passing - John T. Stolarcyzk

Knives in the dark.


3 out of 5

The Day of the Sun - Maria McKernan

Hot to trot.


3 out of 5

The Final Machine - Simon Brown

Nanorevenge.


4 out of 5

Streetdreams - Andrea Gawthorne

Don't want to be a fashion victim.


2.5 out of 5

Dawn - Andrew McBurnie

Windy living.


3.5 out of 5

Is There A Fate Worse Than Death? - Marilynne Cromarty

Bigarse fertility rite.


3.5 out of 5

The Tourist - E. R. Van Helden

Antique squabble.


2 out of 5

The Moat - Greg Egan

Immigrantproofing the wealthy.


4.5 out of 5

Aurealis 02 - Stephen Higgins and Dirk Strasser

Not as good as the first issue, this one only averaging 3.22.

But Smile No More,Stephen Dedman
The Tree,Jodie Kewley
The Sea's Nearest Shore,Damien Broderick
One Day Soon,Paul Collins
Infernal Hallucinations,Pauline Ranscombe
Vignette,Stephen Higgins
Rain from the New God,Simon Brown
The Hunt,Peter Trueman
Hovering Rock,Rosaleen Love


Emotional lemmings.

3.5 out of 5


Arboreal lounge.

3 out of 5


Who I want, not who you want.

3 out of 5


Temporal Menzies whackjob.

4 out of 5


Devil figment.

3 out of 5


Department store life, no parole.

3 out of 5


Microchip's messianic murder complex.

3.5 out of 5


Bullets work ok, but only on baby dragons.

3.5 out of 5


Odd formation.

2.5 out of 5




3 out of 5

Hovering Rock - Rosaleen Love

Odd formation.


2.5 out of 5

The Hunt - Peter Trueman

Bullets work ok, but only on baby dragons.


3.5 out of 5

Vignette - Stephen Higgins

Department store life, no parole.


3 out of 5

Infernal Hallucinations - Pauline Ranscombe

Devil figment.


3 out of 5

One Day Soon - Paul Collins

Temporal Menzies whackjob.


4 out of 5

The Sea's Nearest Shore - Damien Broderick

Who I want, not who you want.


3 out of 5

The Tree - Jodie Kewley

Arboreal lounge.


3 out of 5

But Smile No More - Stephen Dedman

Emotional lemmings.


3.5 out of 5

Darkmorning - Sydney Van Scyoc

More sheeple please.


3 out of 5

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 12 - Edwina Harvey

A good issue,t he stories average a solid 3.36. A cool addition is an excerpt from Hal Spacejock: Just Desserts. There is also an article detailing Sean McMullen's crazy armoured stunts, and a look at another different writer geek lock 'em up workshop from the writer and teacher side of things, as well as a bunch of reviews

Welcome to Andromeda Spaceways In-flight Duty Free,Barbara Robson and Stuart Barrow
If Anyone Should Ask,Mark W Tiedemann
Changes,Stephen Dedman
Logger,Jacob Garbe
Fairytale,Dirk Flinthart
Galatea's,Helen Patrice
Sister Supernova,David Kay
The Girl With The Four-Dimensional Head,Colin P Davies
Choices,Sue Bursztynski
The Elves Hate You,Matthew Bey
Y-Knot,Bevan McGuiness


Be a good consumer slave.

3 out of 5


Alien abduction rough on the curtains.

2 out of 5


Puberty is tough for a werekid.

4 out of 5


Tree killers.

3 out of 5


Hit 'em with the ol' Pea-Beu.

3 out of 5


Prostitution reception.

3.5 out of 5


Bar nun.

4 out of 5


Psionic reporter's Martian history female overload.

3.5 out of 5


Nimue considers Arthur's Fates.

3.5 out of 5


Natural born killer knockup.

3.5 out of 5




4 out of 5

Y-Not - Bevan McGuinness

Natural born killer knockup.


3.5 out of 5

Choices - Sue Bursztynski

Nimue considers Arthur's Fates.


3.5 out of 5

The Girl With the Four-Dimensional Head - Colin P. Davies

Psionic reporter's Martian history female overload.


3.5 out of 5

Sister Supernova - David Kay

Bar nun.


4 out of 5

Galatea's - Helene Patrice

Prostitution reception.


3.5 out of 5

Fairytale - Dirk Flinthart

Hit 'em with the ol' Pea-Beu.


3 out of 5

Logger - Jacob Garbe

Tree killers.


3 out of 5

Saturday, July 21, 2007

If Anyone Should Ask - Mark W. Tiedemann

Alien abduction rough on the curtains.


2 out of 5

Welcome To Andromeda Spaceways In-flight Duty Free - Stuart Barrow and Barbara Robson

Be a good consumer slave.


3 out of 5

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 10 - Monissa Whiteley

A pretty much dead-on as expected issue, with a 3.25 average. There is also an interesting interview with Ian Irvine, that also lists his work, a bunch of reviews of books, and Ben Payne talks to some participants going to a shut-in writing geek workshop.

The Hobbyist,Lee Battersby
Swashbuckler,Leslie Claire Walker
Wooing Ai Kyarem,Ruth Nestvold
Faith and Fortune,Margaret Pearce
The Harper at Sea,Frank Tuttle
The Santa Solution,Paul E. Martens
A Visit from Prospero,Paul Marlowe
Sweet Dreams,Lucinda Cane


Psychic serial killer creator exposer.

4 out of 5


Bookishness is dangerous.

3 out of 5


Horseplay.

3.5 out of 5


Gambling wussbag fools.

3.5 out of 5


Roadsong choices.

3.5 out of 5


Xmas sneakiness.

3 out of 5


Ghost machine.

2.5 out of 5


Half-elf dick has full dame problems.

3 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Sweet Dreams - Lucinda Cane

Half-elf dick has full dame problems.


3 out of 5

A Visit From Prospero - Paul Marlowe

Ghost machine.


2.5 out of 5

The Santa Solution - Paul E. Martens

Xmas sneakiness.


3 out of 5

The Harper At Sea - Frank Tuttle

Roadsong choices.


3.5 out of 5

Faith and Fortune - Margaret Pearce

Gambling wussbag fools.


3.5 out of 5

Wooing Ai Kyarem - Ruth Nestvold

Horseplay.


3.5 out of 5

Swashbuckler - Leslie Claire Walker

Bookishness is dangerous.


3 out of 5

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 06 - Nigel Read

The fiction here only averages 3.14 The non-fiction includes some reviews, and a double barrelled review-interview with Sean Williams by Ben Payne is one of these, and Jeff harris has an article on interstellar exploration.

A Plea for Help,Kevin Maclean
Father Figure,Byron Merritt
Space and Time Books,Melissa Yuan-Innes
Your Mother Likes Monkeys,Lee Battersby
Medium Rare,Carl Frederick
Blossuming Under Sable Skies,Ralan Conley
The Kaladashi Covenant,Geoffrey Maloney
The Sincerest Form of Flattery,Kate Eltham
The Desolator,Simon Haynes
The Stars Like Candles,Dirk Flinthart
Blindsided by Venus,Nancy Jane Moore


Double dead dad.

3 out of 5


Cut price transporters are to be avoided.

3 out of 5


Shop gives itself a magical upgrade.

3 out of 5


Circumcision detection protection.

3 out of 5


Devilish fortunetelling.

2 out of 5


Fuman issues.

2.5 out of 5


Trade and terroist client species.

4 out of 5


Turing test twosome.

3.5 out of 5


A band of fantasy adventurers want to stop a dragon in this parody. Imagine Joe Pesci as a hobbit and you get the idea.

3.5 out of 5


Visitation special effects.

3.5 out of 5


Rebel romance murderous mutiny melee.

3.5 out of 5





3.5 out of 5

Blindsided By Venus - Nancy Jane Moore

Rebel romance murderous mutiny melee.


3.5 out of 5

The Stars Like Candles - Dirk Flinthart

Visitation special effects.


3.5 out of 5

The Kaladashi Covenant - Geoffrey Maloney

Trade and terrorist client species.


4 out of 5

The Sincerest Form Of Flattery - Kate Eltham

Turing test twosome.


3.5 out of 5

Blossoming Under Sable Skies - Ralan Conley

Fuman issues.


2.5 out of 5

Medium Rare - Carl Frederick

Devilish fortunetelling.


2 out of 5

Your Mother Likes Monkeys - Lee Battersby

Circumcision detection protection.


3 out of 5

Space and Time Books - Melissa Yuan-Innes

Shop gives itself a magical upgrade.


3.5 out of 5

Father Figure - Byron Merritt

Double dead dad.


3 out of 5

A Plea For Help - Kevin MacLean

Cut price transporters are to be avoided.


3 out of 5

Borderlands 07 - Stephen Dedman

Clearly the best of the Borderlands issues, the stories here average 3.50. The non-fiction piece is a long essay by Robert Hood on Godzilla and his brethren, which is very interesting (and makes me want to check out Ultraman, as well). So, fine work all around.

The Garden Shed Pact,Shane Jiraiya Cummings
Sepulchra,Tony Williams
Mary Bennet Gets a Life,Sue Isle
Josephine,Jarrod Law
Within a Lizard's Teeth,Chris McMahon
The Fear of White,Rjurik Davidson


Spider. Blokey parlor. Similar sort of story.

3.5 out of 5


Purgatory bar selection.

3.5 out of 5


Moriarty shivs Darcy, nicks a Time Machine and takes an assistant.

4 out of 5


Too many people here.

2.5 out of 5


Manila martial arts reptile mojo mayhem.

3.5 out of 5


Doorway employment discombobulation replacement drama.

4 out of 5




4.5 out of 5

The Fear Of White - Rjurik Davidson

Doorway employment discombobulation replacement drama.


4 out of 5

Within A Lizard's Teeth - Chris McMahon

Manila martial arts reptile mojo mayhem.


3.5 out of 5

Josephine - Jarrod Law

Too many people here.


2.5 out of 5

Mary Bennet Gets A Life - Sue Isle

Moriarty shivs Darcy, nicks a Time Machine and takes an assistant.


4 out of 5

Sepulchra - Tony Williams

Purgatory bar selection.


3.5 out of 5

Borderlands 06 - Stephen Dedman

The fiction average for this issue is 3.17, so a little on the ordinary side, with one standout. The same can't be said for the Bad Film Diary's look at the laughable Dungeons and Dragons movie, and Chris Lawson's interesting conspiracy theories in history, with some science examples.

The Infinite Temple,Gary Kemble
The Imprisonment of Marianne,Lee Battersby
Message in a Bottle,Cat Sparks
The Hanging Tree,Lyn Battersby
Ghosts of 1930,Lily Chrywenstrom
The Subtle Hand of God,Jay Caselberg
Spare Parts,Emma Munro
And I Feel Fine,Russell B Farr
Words,Danny Oz


The grass is greener in other dimensions. Unless someone shoots you.

3 out of 5


Condemned ghost swindle.

4 out of 5


Cuckoo ship save.

3 out of 5


Colony death.

3.5 out of 5


City requirements.

3 out of 5


Fundamentally above it.

2.5 out of 5


Punishment refit for crime.

3.5 out of 5


Cab lucky not to be a canoe.

2.5 out of 5


Auctorial embarassment nanomachine fixup blockage.

3.5 out of 5





3.5 out of 5

Words - Danny Oz

Auctorial embarassment nanomachine fixup blockage.


3.5 out of 5

And I Feel Fine - Russell B. Farr

Cab lucky not to be a canoe.


2.5 out of 5

Spare Parts - Emma Munro

Punishment refit for crime.


3.5 out of 5

The Subtle Hand Of God - Jay Caselberg

Fundamentally above it.


2.5 out of 5

Ghosts of 1930 - Lily Chrywenstrom

City requirements.


3 out of 5

The Hanging Tree - Lyn Battersby

Colony death.


3.5 out of 5

Message In A Bottle - Cat Sparks

Cuckoo ship save.


3 out of 5

The Imprisonment of Marianne - Lee Battersby

Condemned ghost swindle.


4 out of 5

The Infinite Temple - Gary Kemble

The grass is greener in other dimensions. Unless someone shoots you.


3 out of 5

The Ultimate Silver Surfer - Stan Lee

A collection of tales broken down by era. When the Surfer was trapped on Earth, back as Herald, and as a free agent. It has a small intro by Stan Lee talking about how Kirby thought up the character, and how he thought that the surfboad might be a bit dodge. Luckily Jack disagreed. Mostly an average bunch, coming out at 3.10.

Ultimate Silver Surfer : 01 The Silver Surfer - Tom DeFalco

Ultimate Silver Surfer : 02 To See Heaven in a Wild Flower - Ann Tonsor Zeddies
Ultimate Silver Surfer : 03 Point of View - Len Wein
Ultimate Silver Surfer : 04 Improper Procedure - Keith R. A. DeCandido
Ultimate Silver Surfer : 05 Do You Dream in Silver? - James Dawson
Ultimate Silver Surfer : 06 Incident on a Skyscraper - Dave Smeds
Ultimate Silver Surfer : 07 On the Beach - John J. Ordover
Ultimate Silver Surfer : 08 Disturb Not Her Dream - Steve Rasnic Tem
Ultimate Silver Surfer : 09 The Broken Land - Pierce Askegren
Ultimate Silver Surfer : 10 What's Yer Poison? - Christopher Golden and José R. Nieto
Ultimate Silver Surfer : 11 Godhood's End - Sharman DiVono
Ultimate Silver Surfer : 12 Sambatyon - David M. Honigsberg
Ultimate Silver Surfer : 13 The Love of Death or the Death of Love - Craig Shaw Gardner
Ultimate Silver Surfer : 14 The Tarnished Soul - Katherine Lawrence
Ultimate Silver Surfer : 15 A Game of the Apocalypse - Dan Persons


The Surfer stops to aid a young boy beset by a local gang of bullies, and recounts the story of him becoming the Herald of Galactus to save his utopian homeworld of Zenn-La.

3 out of 5


The Surfer, newly caged on Earth, tours the planet and ends up spending some time with a doctor from the World Health Society in a war torn part of Africa.

3.5 out of 5


The Surfer helps out one of Reed Richards' friends, who is dying, with visions of space travel and comet racing.

3.5 out of 5



The Surfer intervenes in a police hostage situation without understanding what is going on. In the aftermath the officer in charge asks him to come to the station to learn a couple of things, and invites him to dinner.

4 out of 5


Woman watches show about women who want a hot silver injection, while the surfer battlers a superhuman nobody. She decides human bloke a lot more sensible a option, not to mention a hell of a lot warmer.

2 out of 5


The Surfer saves a teenage girl when she throws herself off a building, and swaps some meories with her.

3 out of 5


Beach dude taking a leak finds a different kind of surfer.

3 out of 5


An encounter with a seriously stupendous space woman.

3.5 out of 5


An encounter with a reformed bad guy on the site of a radiation exposure incident trying to help the deformed and dying sees the Surfer pitching in to help.

3 out of 5



Mephisto lures the Surfer to a dive in intergalactic nowhere.

2.5 out of 5


A powerful alien is trying the 'I Am a God' trick, until the Surfer comes across a star that doesn't have long to live and notices this.

3.5 out of 5


The Surfer comes across a strange lost Jewish tribe planet, and soon after, it is attacked.

2.5 out of 5


Thanos decides an artiifact on a big Death Ship would be handy, and what the hell, bumping off some Heralds of Galactus isn't a bad way to pass the day.

2.5 out of 5


The Surfer has a possibly evil twin.

3 out of 5


Morg has been provoking a planetary scale genocide on a target he has slected for Galactus. The Surfer lends a hand, aiding a local assassin into outwitting the Tamer.

4 out of 5





3 out of 5

A Game Of the Apocalypse - Dan Persons

Morg has been provoking a planetary scale genocide on a target he has slected for Galactus. The Surfer lends a hand, aiding a local assassin into outwitting the Tamer.


4 out of 5

The Tarnished Soul - Katherine Lawrence

The Surfer has a possibly evil twin.


3 out of 5

Borderlands 05 - Stephen Dedman

The same numbers here as for issue 8 and a 3.21 average. The two non-fiction pieces are both on a similar topic, a global anti-mutant treaty Russell Blackford calls it.

Degrees of Separation,Richard Kerslake
Kiss Franky Goodnight,John Ezzy
Other,Bob Franklin
Oracle of Brick and Bone,Kyla Ward
The Light In Autumn's Leaves,Paul Haines
On the Bones,Aidan Doyle
Hooked,Martin Livings


Kevin Bacon spawns a sport.

3.5 out of 5


Voodoo bitch boss.

3 out of 5


Rash pickup.

3 out of 5


Korean gang watch.

2.5 out of 5


Familial autumnal lingering.

3.5 out of 5


Painting breakup retreat.

3 out of 5


Druglord division artificial armature delivery showdown.

4 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Hooked - Martin Livings

Druglord division artificial armature delivery showdown.


4 out of 5

On the Bones - Aidan Doyle

Painting breakup retreat.


3 out of 5

The Light In Autumn's Leaves - Paul Haines

Familial autumnal lingering.


3.5 out of 5

Oracle of Brick and Bone - Kyla Ward

Korean gang watch.


2.5 out of 5

Other - Bob Franklin

Rash pickup.


3 out of 5

Kiss Franky Goodnight - John Ezzy

Voodoo bitch boss.


3 out of 5

Degrees of Separation - Richard Kerslake

Kevin Bacon spawns a sport.


3.5 out of 5

Borderlands 04 - Stephen Dedman

On the average, that is what this issue is, with the stories coming out at 3.22. A couple of good ones, a couple not so good. Three non-fiction pieces, a look at Dick's work via an academic release, Chris Lawson gives an interesting brief background on medical anatomical study, and Grant Watson himself dissects Aliens vs Predator.

The Seasonal Collector,Jo-Ann Whalley
Hear No Evil,Shane Jiraiya Cummings
How Green as Their Love,Tess Williams
The House,Gary Kemble
Gloves,Stephanie Campisi
The Deviation Road,Greg Guerin
Solid Rock,Cathy Cupitt
A Small Dark Love,Scot Snow
Coup de Grace,Stephen Dedman


Barrels of retro badness.

3.5 out of 5


No sense rescue.

3.5 out of 5


Trunk operation beginning.

4 out of 5


Doll descent.

2.5 out of 5


Spider gear not ready for prime time.

2 out of 5


Spadework.

3 out of 5


Trolls are so punk.

4 out of 5


Perfect woman problem.

3 out of 5


X-Men loving pope changes penis to gun ratio.

3.5 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Coup de Grace - Stephen Dedman

X-Men loving pope changes penis to gun ratio.


3.5 out of 5

A Small Dark Love - Scot Snow

Perfect woman problem.


3 out of 5

Solid Rock - Cathy Cupitt

Trolls are so punk.


4 out of 5

The Deviation Road - Greg Guerin

Spadework.


3 out of 5

Gloves - Stephanie Campisi

Spider gear not ready for prime time.


2 out of 5

The House - Gary Kemble

Doll descent.


2.5 out of 5

How Green Was Their Love - Tess Williams

Trunk operation beginning.


4 out of 5

Hear No Evil - Shane Jiraiya Cummings

No sense rescue.


3.5 out of 5

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Seasonal Collector - Jo-Ann Whalley

Barrels of retro badness.


3.5 out of 5

Borderlands 03 - Stephen Dedman

Three non-fiction pieces in this issue, including one on interpretation of work by Chris Lawson. Grant Watson chooses to dissect Hook as his movie victim. The stories here average 3.29 with again, remarkable consistency. Thaqt, of course, though, also means no standouts.

Unreal City,Claire McKenna
The End of the World Begins at Home,Sean Williams
Letters to Joise,Lee Battersby
Chlorine,Simon Brown
Lizzy Lou,Barbara Robson
Last Dance at the Sergeant Majors' Ball,Cat Sparks
By the Sweat of Your Brow,Dave Luckett


ER work and crap coffee is bad enough without faerie monsters.

3 out of 5


No soul diversity.

3.5 out of 5


Wartime gold, silver, bronze.

3.5 out of 5


Swimming not like it used to be.

2.5 out of 5


Shrunken sister.

3.5 out of 5


Virtually retired.

3.5 out of 5


Garden purgatory.

3.5 out of 5




4 out of 5

By the Sweat Of Your Brow - Dave Luckett

Garden purgatory.


3.5 out of 5

Last Dance At the Sergeant Major's Ball - Cat Sparks

Virtually retired.


3.5 out of 5

Lizzy Lou - Barbara Robson

Shrunken sister.


3.5 out of 5

Chlorine - Simon Brown

Swimming not like it used to be.


2.5 out of 5

Letters To Josie - Lee Battersby

Wartime gold, silver, bronze.


3.5 out of 5

The End of the World Begins At Home - Sean Williams

No soul diversity.


3.5 out of 5

Unreal City - Claire McKenna

ER work and crap coffee is bad enough without faerie monsters.


3 out of 5

Borderlands 02 - Stephen Dedman

Definitely not as good as the first issue, with either type of writing. The females in the Matrix academic piece is decent, but learning about people paying money to queue up to see Jar Jar Binks is not. The story average here is only 3.07.

The Collector,Alinta Thornton
Predatory Instinct,Chuck McKenzie
Worth,Bob Franklin
The Purgatory Machine,Richard Harland
Sisters,Simon Brown
Opposites,Dave Luckett
My Brother is God,Trent Jamieson


Downloading songs directly and permanently.

3.5 out of 5


Mendicant monster meets motel murderer mum.

3 out of 5


Manikin gonna getcha.

2 out of 5


Living with spiders better than beltings with golf club.

3 out of 5


Punishment fits the crime for punishment fits the crime proctor's overapplication.

3.5 out of 5


Ugly stick victim makes magic match.

3 out of 5


Fraternal Armageddon at least means no more nancy angels.

3.5 out of 5




3 out of 5

My Brother Is God - Trent Jamieson

Fraternal Armageddon at least means no more nancy angels.


3.5 out of 5

Opposites - Dave Luckett

Ugly stick victim makes magic match.


3 out of 5

Sisters - Simon Brown

Living with spiders better than beltings with golf club.


3 out of 5

The Purgatory Machine - Richard Harland

Punishment fits the crime for punishment fits the crime proctor's overapplication.


3.5 out of 5

Worth - Bob Franklin

Manikin gonna getcha.


2 out of 5

The Collector - Alinta Thornton

Downloading songs directly and permanently.


3.5 out of 5

Raiders of Rifle Rock - Lee E. Wells

Wayne Morgan stumbles across some violence being perpetrated by hirelings of King Gardner, who is keenly agitating for a range war so he can expand his holdings.

The Masked Rider decides to get involved after he escapes.


2.5 out of 5

Borderlands 01 - Stephen Dedman

A couple of non-fiction pieces in this mag, one comparing Star Wars to Le Morte D'Arthur, etc., along with a bit of silliness, and Grant Watson takes a look at the Masters of the Universe movie and the whole toy thing surrounding that.

The story selection is decent, with a 3.33 average.


Ring Ring!,Simon Brown
Beach Rubble,K J Bishop
Fashion Victims,Stephen Dedman
The Distance Keeper,Deborah Biancotti
Heat Seeking,Cathy Cupitt
Through Soft Air,Lee Battersby


Multiversal geometry is a killer.

3 out of 5


Virtual remaining memory.

3 out of 5


Moon model murder.

3.5 out of 5


Wide open spaces to be very afraid of.

3.5 out of 5


Dead woman magnet.

3 out of 5


Stay away from granddad's old stuff.

4 out of 5





4 out of 5

Through Soft Air - Lee Battersby

Stay away from granddad's old stuff.


4 out of 5

Heat Seeking - Cathy Cupitt

Dead woman magnet.


3 out of 5

Beach Rubble - K. J. Bishop

Virtual remaining memory.


3 out of 5

Fashion Victims - Stephen Dedman

Moon model murder.


3.5 out of 5

Ring Ring! - Simon Brown

Multiversal geometry is a killer.


3 out of 5

The Love Of Death Or the Death of Love - Craig Shaw Gardner

Thanos decides an artifact on a big Death Ship would be handy, and what the hell, bumping off some Heralds of Galactus isn't a bad way to pass the day.


2.5 out of 5

Interzone 117 - David Pringle

A decent collection of stories, with a 3.30 average. There are book reviews, tv reviews, movie reviews (First Contact), and an interview with Diana Wynne Jones. They also take a look at James Blish, and a book about H. P. Lovecraft and note the proliferation of small niche publishing. The goodness of Doctor Who books is also expounded upon.

INTERZONE117 : The Rust Islands - Storm Constantine
INTERZONE117 : Alice Alfie Ted and the Aliens - Paul Di Filippo
INTERZONE117 : The Mind-Slice - William Spencer
INTERZONE117 : No Hearts to Be Broken - Terry Dowling
INTERZONE117 : The Trauma Jockey - David Hutchinson


Cyberlife archaeology gets real.

3 out of 5


Aliens decide that Jane Tiptree, CIA, Alfie Bester and Ted Sturgeon will plug in best as the first More Than Human bunch.

4 out of 5


Painter plugin is pricey.

2.5 out of 5


Tom finds out something he doesn't like about the Bird Club, and talks to Pilot the belltree.

3.5 out of 5


Psychopath emotion replay overload.

3.5 out of 5




4 out of 5

The Trauma Jockey - Dave Hutchinson

Psychopath emotion replay overload.


3.5 out of 5

The Mind-Slice - William Spencer

Painter plugin is pricey.


2.5 out of 5

Alice Alfie Ted and the Aliens - Paul Di Filippo

Aliens decide that Jane Tiptree, CIA, Alfie Bester and Ted Sturgeon will plug in best as the first More Than Human bunch.


4 out of 5

The Rust Islands - Storm Constantine

Cyberlife archaeology gets real.


3 out of 5

Orb 06 - Sarah Endacott

An above average issue (3.31 average). The non-fiction includes the usual bunch of short reviews, and a longer version fo Agog! Smashing Stories. Claire McKenna talks about Warhammer, and a book that I wanted to know about the characters in, Gotrex and Felix - Vampire Slayer, is also done, so that is handy, as well. There is also a convention review for those that like that sort of thing.

Conversations With Eternity,Geoffrey Maloney
Father of Democracy,Mina Athanasopoulos
The R Quotient,Nathan Burrage
Home By the Sea,Cat Sparks
The Crystal Battery,James Spain
Tales of Nireym,Lee Battersby
Retail Therapy,Chuck McKenzie
Tripping Over the Light Fantastic,Kim Westwood
Cinnamon Gate,Deborah Biancotti
The Healing Soup of Chou-Chou Village,Alinta Thornton
The Superb Grace of the Steel Beam the Delicacy of Reinforced Concrete,Andrew Macrae
Got Change?,Robert Hood
Telecide,Darren Goossens


Longevity drug dealer dislocation.

3.5 out of 5


Alien time search becomes Greek mine combat.

3.5 out of 5


Virtual terror suspect prison life.

3.5 out of 5


Global warming future time travelling rent boy as martyr.

3.5 out of 5


Soulsucking energy corporation.

3 out of 5


Women's lib with parchment and puissance.

3.5 out of 5


Light sales, devilish hot work.

2.5 out of 5


Show business crappy for kids.

2.5 out of 5


The Sandman helps a young blind girl, and ends up in conflict with Lilith.

3.5 out of 5


Chinese is tasty.

3 out of 5


City Gone-A-Shaggin'.

4 out of 5


Quantum palaeontology.

3 out of 5


Appliance self-esteem issues are annoying.

4 out of 5





4 out of 5

Telecide - Darren Goossens

Appliance self-esteem issues are annoying.


4 out of 5

Got Change? - Robert Hood

Quantum palaeontology.


3 out of 5

The Superb Grace of the Steel Beam the Delicacy of Reinforced Concrete - Andrew Macrae

City Gone-A-Shaggin'.


4 out of 5

The Healing Soup of Chou-Chou Village - Alinta Thornton

Chinese is tasty.


3 out of 5

Tales of Nireym - Lee Battersby

Women's lib with parchment and puissance.


3.5 out of 5

The Crystal Battery - James Cain

Soulsucking energy corporation.


3 out of 5

The R Quotient - Nathan Burrage

Virtual terror suspect prison life.


3.5 out of 5

Father Of Democracy - Mina Athanasopolous

Alien time search becomes Greek mine combat.


3.5 out of 5

Conversations With Eternity - Geoffrey Maloney

Longevity drug dealer dislocation.


3.5 out of 5

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Orb 05 - Sarah Endacott

A below average bunch of fiction here (3.06 average), but it is certainly helped by a couple of interesting non-fiction sections. The editorial is about editing. The first interesting section looks at Antarctica in fiction, starting with Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, as well you should, through the movies and some books.

Then there is a cool designer bit, and a few palaeontological eras I am sure you haven't heard of in the chart published. A book that sounds very cool though is the Field Guide to Dinosaurs. That has to go on the list. The other review looks at a local scientist and his investigations into the fossil black market, with dinosaur smuggling in particular.

This, with some other reviews, including the Books of the Change are enough to drag the rating up.


The Last Supper,Brendan Duffy
Freelance,Adam Browne
The Cook,Chris McMahon
Amy's Stars,Sue Isle
The Drift,Robert Hood
How to Deal With a Witch,Nicole R. Murphy
Living Ground,Jamie McGraw
The Mark Of His Hands,Chuck McKenzie


Just a bit lost, with demons.

2 out of 5


Advertising's a riot.

3.5 out of 5


Celebrity chef star chase.

3 out of 5


Slow maturing mutant sex toy breakout.

3.5 out of 5


Spacetime Santa save.

3 out of 5


Magic majesty manoeuvres.

2.5 out of 5


Zombie farming is a bit dangerous.

3 out of 5


Time seeker Zombie Jesus.

4 out of 5




3.5 out of 5