Friday, November 30, 2007

Ragamuffin - Tobias S. Buckell

Time to get all mongoose-man space opera on our alien overlords.


Buckell has done something good here : improved with a second book in the series. The writing is better, and you are thrown into the story straight away. Where the previous book just scraped in for a 4, this is a solid 4 all the way, and maybe a little bit more.

The main character to begin with is an enhanced human, and has been imprisoned for anti-alien activities. First thing to do when you get out of jail is to kill one of 'em, of course, and hence she needs to get away fast.

More than one human faction wants to do something about the ruling Satrapy and things accelerate when the Satrapy decides that they would rather have humans not be alive anymore.

The main character Nashara is even more surprising than she seems, and as the action bails into space things become a little Peter F. Hamilton.

There's a wormhole network that functions a little like a cross between a freeway and a railway, and with the introduction of this element you begin to realise how this novel will tie into the previous book, which it does around half way through that makes it all more clear.

Hopefully this does well, as Buckell has a normal length novel here, not an animal killer sized series. If he can help show people will still buy those, along with people like Scalzi and Williams and others, then this is a good thing.

He could have actually thrown a few extra pages in at the end perhaps, but I think this is a case of keeping you keen to find out what is going on and wanting more, so possibly deliberate.

All in all, very entertaining.


4 out of 5

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Three Books Of Known Space - Larry Niven

Am omnibus collection that contains World of Ptavvs, A Gift From Earth and Tales of Known Space.

Also included at the start is a comprehensive timeline of Niven's Known Space Future History, as well as introduction, afterword, and a pretty decent looking bibliography of Niven work up to that time, something he is quite good at compared to other authors.

Stasis end control conflict.


An alien that basically wants to do the Overmind thing ends up on Earth, but things don't go as plan, to the tune of him being frozen in stasis for rather a long time.

Lone enough to wake up and get involved with a search for his global domination gear with an Earth scientist, a specialist in interspecies communication.

Light, short and entertaining book.

3 out of 5


Invisible man wild card.

This book is set in the part of Niven's future history where organlegging as such, is very common. Set on a colony world the wealthy want access to body parts, so any crime gets you executed and recycled for their use.

Throw in a wild card superpowered outsider with basically the power to cloud men's minds and things get interesting.

3 out of 5

A collection of stories from Niven's multi-era Future History, which some introduction to each part. The stories themselves only average 3.23, but do show the interesting structure of this universe, from early solar system exploration, to interstellar conflict.

Tales of Known Space : The Coldest Place - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : Becalmed in Hell - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : Wait It Out - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : Eye of an Octopus - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : How the Heroes Die - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : The Jigsaw Man - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : At the Bottom of a Hole - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : Intent to Deceive [The Deceivers] - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : Cloak of Anarchy - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : The Warriors - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : Madness Has Its Place - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : There Is a Tide - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : Safe at Any Speed - Larry Niven


Ship brain Mercury trip.

3 out of 5


Ship brain Venus trip.

2.5 out of 5


Corpsicle decision.

3 out of 5


Martian mummy is da bomb.

3.5 out of 5


Martian indeceny.

1.5 out of 5


Organlegging escape.

4 out of 5


Martian mistake.

3.5 out of 5


Luncheon loop.

3.5 out of 5


Free Park experiment not bright.

4 out of 5


Cat ship fry.

3 out of 5


ARM to schizo arm.

3.5 out of 5


Wu Pak Big lure.

4 out of 5


Living in your car.

3 out of 5



3 out of 5








3 out of 5

A Gift From Earth - Larry Niven

Invisible man wild card.

This book is set in the part of Niven's future history where organlegging as such, is very common. Set on a colony world the wealthy want access to body parts, so any crime gets you executed and recycled for their use.

Throw in a wild card superpowered outsider with basically the power to cloud men's minds and things get interesting.


3 out of 5

World Of Ptavvs - Larry Niven

Stasis end control conflict.


An alien that basically wants to do the Overmind thing ends up on Earth, but things don't go as plan, to the tune of him being frozen in stasis for rather a long time.

Lone enough to wake up and get involved with a search for his global domination gear with an Earth scientist, a specialist in interspecies communication.

Light, short and entertaining book.


3 out of 5

Tales Of Known Space - Larry Niven

A collection of stories from Niven's multi-era Future History, which some introduction to each part. The stories themselves only average 3.23, but do show the interesting structure of this universe, from early solar system exploration, to interstellar conflict.

Tales of Known Space : The Coldest Place - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : Becalmed in Hell - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : Wait It Out - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : Eye of an Octopus - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : How the Heroes Die - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : The Jigsaw Man - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : At the Bottom of a Hole - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : Intent to Deceive [The Deceivers] - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : Cloak of Anarchy - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : The Warriors - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : Madness Has Its Place - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : There Is a Tide - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : Safe at Any Speed - Larry Niven


Ship brain Mercury trip.

3 out of 5


Ship brain Venus trip.

2.5 out of 5


Corpsicle decision.

3 out of 5


Martian mummy is da bomb.

3.5 out of 5


Martian indeceny.

1.5 out of 5


Organlegging escape.

4 out of 5


Martian mistake.

3.5 out of 5


Luncheon loop.

3.5 out of 5


Free Park experiment not bright.

4 out of 5


Cat ship fry.

3 out of 5


ARM to schizo arm.

3.5 out of 5


Wu Pak Big lure.

4 out of 5


Living in your car.

3 out of 5




3 out of 5

Safe At any Speed - Larry Niven

Living in your car.


3 out of 5

There Is A Tide - Larry Niven

Wu Pak Big lure.


4 out of 5

Intent To Deceive - Larry Niven

Luncheon loop.


3.5 out of 5

At the Bottom Of A Hole - Larry Niven

Martian mistake.


3.5 out of 5

The Jigsaw Man - Larry Niven

Organlegging escape.


4 out of 5

How The Heroes Die - Larry Niven

Martian indecency.


1.5 out of 5

Eye Of An Octopus - Larry Niven

Martian mummy is da bomb.


3.5 out of 5

Wait It Out - Larry Niven

Corpsicle decision.


3 out of 5

Becalmed In Hell - Larry Niven

Ship brain Venus trip.


2.5 out of 5

The Coldest Place - Larry Niven

Ship brain Mercury trip.


3 out of 5

The Worlds of Frank Herbert - Frank Herbert

A reasonable collection of science fiction stories, but nothing too exciting, with an average of 3.33. Nothing bad to be found here, though.

Worlds of Frank Herbert : The Tactful Saboteur - Frank Herbert
Worlds of Frank Herbert : By the Book - Frank Herbert
Worlds of Frank Herbert : Committee of the Whole - Frank Herbert
Worlds of Frank Herbert : Mating Call - Frank Herbert
Worlds of Frank Herbert : Escape Felicity - Frank Herbert
Worlds of Frank Herbert : The GM Effect - Frank Herbert
Worlds of Frank Herbert : The Featherbedders - Frank Herbert
Worlds of Frank Herbert : Old Rambling House - Frank Herbert
Worlds of Frank Herbert : A-W-F Unlimited - Frank Herbert


Life transfer attitude appointment.

3.5 out of 5


Seedling contact repair.

3.5 out of 5


Personal weapon power restraint.

3.5 out of 5


Musical breeding assist.

3 out of 5


Pilot bars breakdown advanced discovery.

4 out of 5


Genetic memory group conflict.

3 out of 5


Smeg parent mission.

3 out of 5


Strange trade.

3 out of 5


Poor armour coverage design.

3.5 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

A-W-F Unlimited - Frank Herbert

Poor armour coverage design.


3.5 out of 5

The Featherbedders - Frank Herbert

Smeg parent mission.


3 out of 5

The GM Effect - Frank Herbert

Genetic memory group conflict.


3 out of 5

Escape Felicity - Frank Herbert

Pilot bars breakdown advanced discovery.


4 out of 5

Mating Call - Frank Herbert

Musical breeding assist.


3 out of 5

Committee of the Whole - Frank Herbert

Personal weapon power restraint.


3.5 out of 5

By the Book - Frank Herbert

Seedling contact repair.


3.5 out of 5

The Book Of Frank Herbert - Frank Herbert

A pretty average collection of Herbert stories, here, with an average of only 3.25 compared to the 3.50 for the Priests of Psi, for example.

Book of Frank Herbert : Seed Stock - Frank Herbert
Book of Frank Herbert : The Nothing - Frank Herbert
Book of Frank Herbert : Rat Race - Frank Herbert
Book of Frank Herbert : Gambling Device - Frank Herbert
Book of Frank Herbert : Looking for Something? - Frank Herbert
Book of Frank Herbert : The Gone Dogs - Frank Herbert
Book of Frank Herbert : Passage for Piano - Frank Herbert
Book of Frank Herbert : Encounter in a Lonely Place - Frank Herbert
Book of Frank Herbert : Operation Syndrome - Frank Herbert
Book of Frank Herbert : Occupation Force - Frank Herbert


Colony talent deprivation.

3.5 out of 5


Mutant decline.

3 out of 5


Freak outbreak.

3.5 out of 5


No choice.

3 out of 5


Careless indoctrination.

3 out of 5


Canine virus wipeout research.

4 out of 5


Music bugs us.

3.5 out of 5


Predicting solitude.

2.5 out of 5


Music Scramble.

3.5 out of 5


Status reveal.

3 out of 5




3 out of 5

Occupation Force - Frank Herbert

Status reveal.


3 out of 5

Operation Syndrome - Frank Herbert

Music Scramble.


3.5 out of 5

Encounter In A Lonely Place - Frank Herbert

Predicting solitude.


2.5 out of 5

Passage For Piano - Frank Herbert

Music bugs us.


3.5 out of 5

The Gone Dogs - Frank Herbert

Canine virus wipeout research.


4 out of 5

Looking For Something - Frank Herbert

Careless indoctrination.


3 out of 5

Gambling Device - Frank Herbert

No choice.


3 out of 5

Rat Race - Frank Herbert

Freak outbreak.


3.5 out of 5

The Nothing - Frank Herbert

Mutant decline.


3 out of 5

Seed Stock - Frank Herbert

Colony talent deprivation.


3.5 out of 5

The Priests of PSI - Frank Herbert

A good, short collection by Herbert, and one of those good old fashioned banana yellow Gollancz books, with a couple of psychic paranoid spy organisation type stories.

Priests of Psi : Try to Remember! - Frank Herbert
Priests of Psi : Old Rambling House - Frank Herbert
Priests of Psi : Murder Will In - Frank Herbert
Priests of Psi : Mindfield - Frank Herbert
Priests of Psi : The Priests of Psi - Frank Herbert


Communication annihilation test.

3.5 out of 5


Strange trade.

3 out of 5


Death host.

3.5 out of 5


Old regeneration fears.

3.5 out of 5


Agent recruiting war prevention.

4 out of 5




4 out of 5

The Priests of Psi - Frank Herbert

Agent recruiting war prevention.


4 out of 5

Mindfield - Frank Herbert

Old regeneration fears.


3.5 out of 5

Murder Will In - Frank Herbert

Death host.


3.5 out of 5

Try To Remember! - Frank Herbert

Communication annihilation test.


3.5 out of 5

Space Opera - Brian Aldiss

Aldiss mentions the term space opera may have come from horse opera and soap opera - does that make high fantasy sword opera?

He does say this book is not too serious.

Anyway, from the introduction : "Ideally, the Earth must be i peril, there must be a quest and a man to match the mighty hour. That man must confront aliens and exotic creatures. Space must flow past the ports like wine from a pitcher. Blood must run down the palace steps and ships launch out into the louring dark. there must be a woman farier than the skies and a villain darker than a Black Hole. And all must come right in the end."

He divides the book into four sections

Is Everything an Illusion
Precipices of Light that went Forever Up
Exile is our lot
The Godlike Machines

And "Science fiction is for real. Space opera is for fun. Generally. What space opera does is take a few light years and a pinch of reality and inflate thoroughly with melodrama, dreams, and a seasoning of screwy ideas."
Ray Bradbury not in until it is decided global warming would be rather nice, in Hades.

However, given all that, I am presuming he didn't have an attack of Anthologus Stupidus, and some of the inclusions are deliberate, and he put them in because he wanted to. He does mention a desire to reprint some non-reprinted mag stories.

A six year old could tell you that the Bradbury and Vance shouldn't be in a collection to fit the above, even if they decided that in Hades, hey, Global Warming actually doesn't sound too bad.

Planet is not equal to space, by the above definition. Duh. Likewise no people and vast computer intellectual exercises are probably not going to work for some, either, especially if you get multiple excerpts that don't stand alone so much. While there are some excellent and good stories here, the fitting the category work is poor, and there is plenty of ordinary to no good.


Space Opera : Zirn Left Unguarded the Jenghik Palace in Flame Jon Westerley Dead - Robert Sheckley
Space Opera : The Red Brain
Space Opera : A Honeymoon in Space [excerpt] - George Griffith
Space Opera : Tonight the Sky Will Fall! - Daniel F. Galouye
Space Opera : The Star of Life - Edmond Hamilton
Space Opera : After Ixmal - Jeff Sutton
Space Opera : Sea Change - Thomas N. Scortia
Space Opera : Breaking Point - James E. Gunn
Space Opera : The Sword of Rhiannon [exceprt] - Leigh Brackett
Space Opera : All Summer in a Day - Ray Bradbury
Space Opera : The Mitr - Jack Vance
Space Opera : The Storm - A. E. van Vogt
Space Opera : The Paradox Men [excerpt] - Charles L. Harness
Space Opera : Time Fuze - Randall Garrett
Space Opera : The Last Question - Isaac Asimov
Space Opera : The Answer - Frederic Brown


Spoof Opera.

4 out of 5


This Dust drives me crazy.

3 out of 5


Love star inhabitants.

3 out of 5


Trifid life wish is hot and mossy.

3 out of 5


Psychband Starblast warning.

2.5 out of 5


Different sort of explorer.

2.5 out of 5


Space shrink stress sacrifice.

3.5 out of 5


Direct archaeological experience time.

3.5 out of 5


Jungle play.

2 out of 5


Beach beetle.

2.5 out of 5


Mixed man ship smash lure.

3 out of 5


Sun station Thief confrontation.

4 out of 5


Supralight supernova situation.

4.5 out of 5


Immortal humans breed too fast for the universe.

4 out of 5


Computer god.

3 out of 5





2 out of 5

Year's Best SF 12 - David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer

An excellent anthology found here, with a story average of 3.90, and nothing that I didn't like at all, which is very nifty.

The editors also give a short intro/overview of the year in SF short stories, and point out they could have filled several volumes, especially with novellas. If you are talking about 4 star plus stories in a given year for a particular person, sounds reasonable to me.

Also each story intro has a little more interest than some other styles of doing this, so all in all, a great job.

If you ignore the always interesting Dozois novella-summaries in his Year's Best, on fiction alone this is the best Year's Best of the year, with the highest story average of the four (Dozois, Hartwell/Cramer, Horton, Strahan).

Year's Best SF 12 : Nano Comes to Clifford Falls - Nancy Kress
Year's Best SF 12 : Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? - Terry Bisson
Year's Best SF 12 : When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth - Cory Doctorow
Year's Best SF 12 : Just Do It - Heather Lindsley
Year's Best SF 12 : Counterfactual - Gardner R. Dozois
Year's Best SF 12 : Moon Does Run - Edd Vick
Year's Best SF 12 : Home Movies - Mary Rosenblum
Year's Best SF 12 : Chu and the Nants - Rudy Rucker
Year's Best SF 12 : Silence in Florence - Ian Creasey
Year's Best SF 12 : The Women of Our Occupation - Kameron Hurley
Year's Best SF 12 : This is the Ice Age - Claude Lalumiere
Year's Best SF 12 : Speak, Geek - Eileen Gunn
Year's Best SF 12 : Expedition, with Recipes - Joe Haldeman
Year's Best SF 12 : The Age of Ice - Liz Williams
Year's Best SF 12 : Dawn, and Sunset, and the Colours of the Earth - Michael Flynn
Year's Best SF 12 : Applied Mathematical Theology - Gregory Benford
Year's Best SF 12 : Quill - Carol Emshwiller
Year's Best SF 12 : Tiger, Burning - Alastair Reynolds
Year's Best SF 12 : Dead Men Walking - Paul J. McAuley
Year's Best SF 12 : Damascus - Daryl Gregory
Year's Best SF 12 : Tin Marsh - Michael Swanwick
Year's Best SF 12 : Taking Good Care of Myself - Ian R. MacLeod
Year's Best SF 12 : The Lowland Expedition - Stephen Baxter
Year's Best SF 12 : Heisenberg Elementary - Wil McCarthy
Year's Best SF 12 : Rwanda - Robert Reed
Year's Best SF 12 : Preemption - Charlie Rosenkrantz


Nano technology is available to all, so people that don't want to work in crappy jobs, like, say, sanitation, or underpaid jobs like teaching and the police don't have to.

3.5 out of 5


If the future is nice, stay.

4 out of 5


Biowar makes geekfu and gruntwork a necessary combination afterwards.

5 out of 5


Behaviour modification commercialisation.

4 out of 5


Twenty year civil guerilla war coverage.

4.5 out of 5


Memory recording transfer rejection.

4.5 out of 5


Singularity reversal upload boy.

4 out of 5


Pisspot poor alien discovery speech recovery.

3.5 out of 5


Big bad brutal bitches.

3 out of 5


Quantum Cross creep.

3.5 out of 5


Smart mutt choice.

4 out of 5


Surviving undesirable cuisine.

3.5 out of 5


Incarceration escape avatar library retrieval liberation deal.

4 out of 5


Ferry removal machine.

3 out of 5


Microwaving god.

4 out of 5


Dino alien discovery.

3.5 out of 5


Brane circle future message creator inspiration warning investigation.

4.5 out of 5


Clone assassin uncovered confrontation.

4 out of 5


Jesus, that's a hell of an idea to spread around.

3.5 out of 5


"Naughty girl. Papa spank!" I wish! Wahhh!

4 out of 5


Disposing of yourself.

3.5 out of 5


Gutsy building time.

3.5 out of 5


Time Patrol lesson.

4 out of 5


Takeover migration rejection massacres.

4 out of 5


Alien canine annihilation education evolution protection.

4 out of 5






5 out of 5

The Paradox Men - Charles L. Harness

Sun station Thief confrontation.


4 out of 5

The Storm - A. E. Van Vogt

Mixed man ship smash lure.


3 out of 5

The Mitr - Jack Vance

Beach beetle.


2.5 out of 5

All Summer In A Day - Ray Bradbury

Jungle play.


2 out of 5

The Sword of Rhiannon - Leigh Brackett

Direct archaeological experience time.


3.5 out of 5

After Ixmal - Jeff Sutton

Psychband Starblast warning.


2.5 out of 5

The Star of Life - Edmond Hamilton

Trifid life wish is hot and mossy.


3 out of 5

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Space Opera and Fun

SPACE OPERA


The New Space Opera - Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan
Space Opera - Rich Horton
The Space Opera Renaissance - David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer

Older :

Space Opera - Brian Aldiss
Planets Of Wonder - Terry Carr
Swordsmen In the Sky - Donald Wollheim

These I think, given they say Adventure in the Grand tradition, dodgy name as far as pinning it down goes.

The Good Old Stuff - Gardner Dozois
The Good New Stuff - Gardner Dozois

There's also

The Ultimate Silver Surfer - Stan Lee
Arrival - Abigail Irvine (A Buck Rogers game tie-in)

Star Trek - http://startrek.wikia.com/wiki/Anthology
Star Wars - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Star_Wars_books
Tales From the Empire edited by Peter Schweighofer (Various)
Tales From the New Republic edited by Peter Schweighofer (Various)
Tales From the Mos Eisley Cantina edited by Kevin J. Anderson (0-3 ABY)
Tales of the Bounty Hunters edited by Kevin J. Anderson (2-3 ABY)
Tales From Jabba's Palace edited by Kevin J. Anderson (4 ABY)
Star Wars Adventure Journal volumes 1-15 (various editors, various points along timeline)


Suggested by others

Space Odysseys - Brian Aldiss
Galactic Empires 1 - Brian Aldiss
Galactic Empires 2 - Brian Aldiss
Perilous Planets - Brian Aldiss
Evil Earths - Brian Aldiss

The Giant Anthology of Science Fiction - Leo Marguiles and Oscar J. Friend

Deep Space - Robert Silverberg
To the Stars - Robert Silverberg

Aimed at kids

Space Service - Andre Norton
Space Police - Andre Norton
Space Pioneers - Andre Norton

Space, Space, Space - William Sloane

HUMOUR

Not anywhere near as much of this published, it would seem.

On the humour side I have seen

Laughing Space - Isaac Asimov
The Wizards of Odd Tales of Comic Fantasy - Peter Haining
Tales from the Spaceport Bar - George H. Scithers and Darrell Schweitzer


Suggested by others :

Knights of Madness: Further Comic Tales of Fantasy - Peter Haining
The Book of Comic Fantasy - Mike Ashley
The Mammoth Book of Seriously Comic Fantasy - Mike Ashley
The Mammoth Book of Awesome Comic Fantasy - Mike Ashley
The Mammoth Book of New Comic Fantasy - Mike Ashley
Science Fiction Carnival - Frederic Brown and Mack Reynolds
Isaac Asimov's SF Lite - Gardner Dozois
Betcha Can't Read Just One - Martin H. Greenberg and Alan Dean Foster
Dangerous Vegetables - Martin H. Greenberg and Charles G. Waugh and Keith Laumer
Cosmic Laughter - Joe Haldeman
This Is My Funniest - Mike Resnick
This Is My Funniest 2 - Mike Resnick
Carmen Miranda's Ghost Is Haunting Space Station Three - Don Sakers
Analog's Lighter Side - Stan Schmidt
Infinite Jests - Robert Silverberg
Never In This World - Idella Purnell Stone
Antigrav: Cosmic Comedies - Philip Strick

The Mathematics of Tone - Downbeat SF Stories

I have read 3 of the 4 Year's Best SF type volumes so far for this year, and it seems like what people have been complaining about may well be right. Not that it has anything to do with whether the stories are good or not, but as rough counts from memory.

YMMV with what is downbeat or sf adventure or funny of course, adventure here having no intersection with downbeat as part of the definition.


Year's Best Science Fiction 24 - Gardner Dozois

Total 28

Downbeat - 18
Adventure - 2
Funny - 0

Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 01 - Jonathan Strahan

Total 24

Downbeat - 17
Adventure - 2 (both fantasy)
Funny - 1

Science Fiction Best of the Year 2007 - Rich Horton

Total 12

Downbeat - 9
Adventure - 1
Funny - 0


Year's Best SF 12 - David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer

Total 26

Downbeat - 18
Adventure - 2
Funny - 2


So, around 65% downbeat in total, after all of them, and reasonably consistent looking from book to book.

Preemption - Charlie Rosenkrantz

Alien canine annihilation education evolution protection.


4 out of 5

Rwanda - Robert Reed

Takeover migration rejection massacres.


4 out of 5

Heisenberg Elementary - Wil McCarthy

Time Patrol lesson.


4 out of 5

The Lowland Expedition - Stephen Baxter

Gutsy building time.


3.5 out of 5

Taking Good Care Of Myself - Ian R. MacLeod

Disposing of yourself.


3.5 out of 5

Applied Mathematical Theology - Gregory Benford

Microwaving god.


4 out of 5

Quill - Carol Emshwiller

Dino alien discovery.


3.5 out of 5

The Age Of Ice - Liz Williams

Incarceration escape avatar library retrieval liberation deal.


4 out of 5

Sasha A Trial Of Blood and Steel - Joel Shepherd

Sasha is reminiscent of David Gemmell, and being the modern master of this sort of book that is a good thing.

However, A Trial of Blood and Steel is definitely not Sword and Sorcery in the style of the Waylander, Tenaka Khan or Skilgannon books, but much closer to the historical type of book that Gemmell produced with his last work in Shield of Thunder, etc. So, heroic or gritty military fantasy if you like, as opposed to epic or high fantasy.

Like the protagonist there, Sasha is a highborn woman who prefers martial pasttimes to needlepoint, and leaves her father and her princess role to study with the area's greatest swordsman.

This is the main point of the book, that Sasha studies a different swordfighting style to the standard feudal lords and nobles - hers is based on what at the moment seems to be the only supernatural element in the book - the serrin. Or, basically, they are sort of samurai elves, just with no pointy ears. Can see in the dark, great archers, aren't human, etc. Apparently this style is superior in face to face duels on the ground, because of the super elf stylins it has, not to mention the better metal of the weapons. Not so much use though when you are bashing people with brute strength from horseback.

Similarly, there is also the hint of psyhic prophecy ability, and Sasha herself is seen as a potential unifying force, being basically of the city and lords and also of the country areas, where she lives.

This is where the political conflict happens, between the two, as the Lords would like to extend feudal power to themselves other than just the king, and those that aren't happy with these power hungry changes more than happy to fight to resist.

The other problem the region has is that if they start fighting each other, neighbouring states just might move in and finish what is left.

The first book of a series, given the end, and it would appear more warfare is on the horizon.

I'd give this a 3.75 I think.


4 out of 5

The American Fantasy Tradition - Brian M. Thomsen

For a book this length that is looking at urban or rural American fantasy, there seems to be a couple of notable omissions - there is no example of Robert E. Howard, yet there are two stories by Ellison, King, Wellman, etc., and generally the second one is rather minor and not adding anything.

Given the more academic title or look to this is presumably what the editor is trying for, the introductory material is pretty short and limited.

Also, if you don't like a lot of stories lapsing into what I suppose you could call 'realistic' hillbilly jargon, or old-fashioned rough speech, this is definitely not for you.

That being said, the stories are reasonable, having a 3.36 average.

American Fantasy Tradition : Rip Van Winkle - Washington Irving
American Fantasy Tradition : Feathertop A Moralized Legend - Nathaniel Hawthorne
American Fantasy Tradition : Uncle Remus - Joel Chandler Harris
American Fantasy Tradition : The Saga of Pecos Bill - Edward O'Reilly
American Fantasy Tradition : Rosy's Journey - Louisa May Alcott
American Fantasy Tradition : The Yellow Sign - Robert W. Chambers
American Fantasy Tradition : The Shadow Over Innsmouth - H. P. Lovecraft
American Fantasy Tradition : O Ugly Bird! - Manly Wade Wellman
American Fantasy Tradition : The Fool - David Drake
American Fantasy Tradition : Narrow Valley - R. A. Lafferty
American Fantasy Tradition : Jackalope - Alan Dean Foster
American Fantasy Tradition : The Lottery - Shirley Jackson
American Fantasy Tradition : Children of the Corn - Stephen King
American Fantasy Tradition : Buffalo Gals Won't You Come Out Tonight - Ursula K. LeGuin
American Fantasy Tradition : The Jolly Corner - Henry James
American Fantasy Tradition : A Ghost Story - Mark Twain
American Fantasy Tradition : The Other Lodgers - Ambrose Bierce
American Fantasy Tradition : Ma’ame Pelagie - Kate Chopin
American Fantasy Tradition : The Devil and Daniel Webster - Stephen Vincent Benet
American Fantasy Tradition : The Valley Was Still - Manly Wade Wellman
American Fantasy Tradition : The Howling Man - Charles Beaumont
American Fantasy Tradition : Twenty-Three - Avram Davidson
American Fantasy Tradition : We Are the Dead - Henry Kuttner
American Fantasy Tradition : Where the Summer Ends - Karl Edward Wagner
American Fantasy Tradition : Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa - W. P. Kinsella
American Fantasy Tradition : Hatrack River [short story] - Orson Scott Card
American Fantasy Tradition : The Hero of the Night - Bradley Denton
American Fantasy Tradition : The Whimper of Whipped Dogs - Harlan Ellison
American Fantasy Tradition : The Griffin and the Minor Canon - Frank Stockton
American Fantasy Tradition : The Enchanted Buffalo - L. Frank Baum
American Fantasy Tradition : The Yellow Wallpaper - Charlotte Perkins Stetson
American Fantasy Tradition : The Moving Finger - Edith Wharton
American Fantasy Tradition : Slow Sculpture - Theodore Sturgeon
American Fantasy Tradition : The Coin Collector [“The Other Wife”] - Jack Finney
American Fantasy Tradition : Prey - Richard Matheson
American Fantasy Tradition : The Geezenstacks - Fredric Brown
American Fantasy Tradition : Paladin of the Lost Hour - Harlan Ellison
American Fantasy Tradition : The Black Ferris - Ray Bradbury
American Fantasy Tradition : Bed and Breakfast - Gene Wolfe
American Fantasy Tradition : Dead Run - Greg Bear
American Fantasy Tradition : Mrs. Todd's Shortcut - Stephen King
American Fantasy Tradition : Among the Handlers or The Mark 16 Hands on Assembly of Jesus Risen Formerly Snake-o-rama - Michael Bishop


So easy going...feel...sleepy.

4 out of 5


Scarecrow lives

3 out of 5


Whatchoo talkin' about, Rabbit?

3.5 out of 5


I made this!

4 out of 5


An animal thing.

2.5 out of 5


Serpentskin books - don't get 'em.

3.5 out of 5


Small town's Esoteric Order of Dagon proves more than a little fishy.

4 out of 5


A good whack from a silver string axe leaves your big turkey ghost just a cold casserole.

3.5 out of 5


Got to be careful with that spell bulldust.

3 out of 5


Ditch illusion psychic projection projectile fun.

3.5 out of 5


Imaginary hunting reality.

4.5 out of 5


Stone loser.

3.5 out of 5


Crucifixion row monster.

3.5 out of 5


Don't eat the salmon.

2.5 out of 5


Ghost me.

2 out of 5


Giant fake phantom fagged, furniture desired.

3.5 out of 5


Dead room.

3.5 out of 5


Room for the young.

2 out of 5


"For if two New Hampshiremen aren't a match for the devil, we might as well give the country back to the Indians.""

4 out of 5


Deal just not worth it.

3.5 out of 5


Captive devil.

3.5 out of 5


Bad inheritance, bad age.

3 out of 5


Unknown Soldier sympathy.

3.5 out of 5


Vineland devil flaying.

3.5 out of 5


"If you build it, he will come."

4 out of 5


Bloody Mary land.

2 out of 5


Martyr cycle.

3.5 out of 5


City god call.

3.5 out of 5


Be good townspeople or I'll eat you.

3.5 out of 5


Bovine evil overlords? Blimey.

3 out of 5


The decor around here needs serious work.

3.5 out of 5


Which wife?

2.5 out of 5


Charged cancer cure.

4 out of 5


Alternate wife pleasing.

4 out of 5


Doll hunted mummy dearest.

3.5 out of 5


Strange dolls.

4 out of 5


Watch passing.

3.5 out of 5


Skeleton ride.

3.5 out of 5


Demon guests.

3.5 out of 5


Trucking hell, man.

3.5 out of 5


Holey bits.

2.5 out of 5


Bad Assembly.

3 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Killswitch - Joel Shepherd

Tanusha and Callay are moving to make themselves more important politically, and less reliant on old earth based power structures. The more conservative elements of that power base are not overly happy about this.

This will mean a lot of work for Sandy and her special forces, including her friend Vanessa Rice, who is in love with her. Unfortunately for Vanessa, Sandy is straight.

Sandy and Tanusha have to deal with the League, other military, and a couple of old acquaintances and friends of similar manufacture.

Sandy also has another problem, in that the League has a weapon to use against her, a technical means to stop her called a Killswitch. Being a GI, they would like to turn her off.

A top class series in that the quality is consistently high through all three books, and should appeal to a lot of people, I think, given each book is as good as the one before it.

Military, spooks, tech, superhuman abilities, politics, bad jokes and great takeaway food, and some great characters, what more can you want?


4 out of 5

Chu And the Nants - Rudy Rucker

Singularity reversal upload boy.


4 out of 5

This Is the Ice Age - Claude Lalumiere

Quantum Cross creep.


3.5 out of 5

Silence In Florence - Ian Creasey

Pisspot poor alien discovery speech recovery.


3.5 out of 5

Moon Does Run - Edd Vick

Administrator reprogramming breakdown.


4 out of 5

Counterfactual - Gardner Dozois

Twenty year civil guerilla war coverage.


4.5 out of 5

Brother Can You Spare a Dime - Terry Bisson

If the future is nice, stay.


4 out of 5

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Among The Handlers Or The Mark 16 Hands On Assembly Of Jesus Risen Formerly Snake-o-rama - Michael Bishop

Bad Assembly.


3 out of 5

Mrs Todd's Shortcut - Stephen King

Holey bits.


2.5 out of 5

Bed and Breakfast - Gene Wolfe

Demon guests.


3.5 out of 5

The Black Ferris - Ray Bradbury

Skeleton ride.


3.5 out of 5

Asimov's 001 - George H. Scithers

If there was a thesaurus where one of the words was WankerAuthor, the antonym might be IsaacAsimov, or at least that is how he often comes off in print :

"I suppose I ought to start by introducing myself, even though that seems needless. The whole point about putting my name on the magazine rests on the supposition that everyone will recognize it at once, go into ecstatic raptures, and rush forward to buy the magazine.
Well, just in case that doesn't happen, I'm Isaac Asimov..." and after credentialling "But let's not go on with the litany since I am (as is well known) very modest,-and since I am the least important person involved with this magazine."

He says, of Joel Davis suggesting publishing a science fiction magazine: 'I can't say I fell all over myself with joy. The truth is I was worried. I told Joel that no science fiction magazine had ever borne a person's name on it, to my knowledge, and that the writers and readers would surely resent this as an example of overweening arrogance. He said, "Nonsense, Isaac, who could possibly accuse you of arrogance?"'

Not having the time or capabilities to be Editor, the good doctor fills us in: "So we agreed to that; now let me introduce the Editor. He is George H. Scithers, an electrical engineer specializing in radio propagation and rail rapid transit, who is a Lieutenant Colonel (retired) in the United States Army and who does a bit of writing on the side."

On the style : "Now what about the magazine itself ? Life is risky for magazines in these days of television and paperbacks so ... we will work our way up to monthly as soon as we can.
We are concentrating on the shorter lengths, and there will be no serials. Novels have plenty of outlets these days, the shorter lengths relatively few. With my name on the magazine, it won't surprise you to hear that we will lean toward hard science fiction, and toward the reasonably straightforward in the way of style. However, we won't take ourselves too seriously and not every story has to be a solemn occasion. We will have humorous stories and we will have an occasional unclassifiable story as, for instance, the one by Jonathan Fast in this issue. We will have a book review column that will favor short notices of many books rather than deep essays on a few. We will have non-fiction pieces that we will try to make as science-fiction-related as possible."

Later, on reviews he says "There were 890 science fiction books published in 1975, of which 411 were originals and 479, reprints. The year 1976, only half over as I write this column, will probably have just as many. Obviously, there's no way to discuss all of these books or even to mention them..."

He picks out a few crappy books to talk about, among others - Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, Children of Dune, Imperial Earth, and a few collections by no-names : the Best of Arthur C. Clarke, and some Silverberg, etc.

On the stories, for a first issue not too bad I guess, and of course it is 1977. A 3.32 average, with 3 good ones.

ASIMOVS001 : Air Raid - Herb Boehm
ASIMOVS001 : Think! - Isaac Asimov
ASIMOVS001 : Quarantine - Arthur C. Clarke
ASIMOVS001 : Time Storm - Gordon R. Dickson
ASIMOVS001 : Kindertotenleider or Who Puts the Creamy White Filling in the Krap-Snax? - Jonathan Fast
ASIMOVS001 : The Homesick Chicken - Edward D. Hoch
ASIMOVS001 : Period of Totality - Fred Saberhagen
ASIMOVS001 : Perchance to Dream - Sally A. Sellers
ASIMOVS001 : The Scorch on Wetzel's Hill - Sherwood Springer
ASIMOVS001 : Good-bye, Robinson Crusoe - John Varley
ASIMOVS001 : Coming of Age in Henson's Tube - William John Watkins


Computer brain power talk.

3 out of 5


Plane crash Time Snatch paraleprosy repopulation.

4 out of 5


Chess a waste of computing resources.

4 out of 5


One bloke, one leopard, one girl, and not bloody much else.


3 out of 5


Kid processing.

3 out of 5


Why cross the road? What use is super-chicken strength unless to break out and escape?

3.5 out of 5


Particle eclipse problem.

2.5 out of 5


Immortality transplant.

4 out of 5


Polygala alien.

3 out of 5


Transplant Disneyland ghost shark shag shot cash fightback.

3.5 out of 5


Wing test.

3 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Time Storm - Gordon R. Dickson

One bloke, one leopard, one girl, and not bloody much else.


3 out of 5

Coming Of Age In Henson's Tube - William John Watkins

Wing test.


3 out of 5

The Scorch On Wetzel's Hill - Sherwood Springer

Polygala alien.


3 out of 5

Period Of Totality - Fred Saberhagen

Particle eclipse problem.


2.5 out of 5

Kindertotenleider or Who Puts the Creamy White Filling in the Krap-Snax? - Jonathan Fast

Kid processing.


3 out of 5

Air Raid - John Varley

Plane crash Time Snatch paraleprosy repopulation.


4 out of 5

Perchance To Dream - Sally A. Sellers

Immortality transplant.


4 out of 5

The Homesick Chicken - Edward D. Hoch

Why cross the road? What use is super-chicken strength unless to break out and escape?


3.5 out of 5

Good-bye Robinson Crusoe - John Varley

Transplant Disneyland ghost shark shag shot cash fightback.


3.5 out of 5

Weird Tales 1947 03 - Dorothy McIlwraith

This issue is pretty ordinary, with the Quinn story the pick. A mostly horror group of tales, in general.

Weird Tales 1947 03 : MR. GEORGE - Stephen Grendon
Weird Tales 1947 03 : THE TERROR IN TEAKWOOD - Harold Lawlor
Weird Tales 1947 03 : VENTURER OF THE MARTIAN MIMICS - Eric Frank Russell
Weird Tales 1947 03 : HOODOOED - Seabury Quinn
Weird Tales 1947 03 : FLUFFY - Theodore Sturgeon
Weird Tales 1947 03 : THE IMMORTAL LANCER - Allison V. Harding
Weird Tales 1947 03 : SWEETS TO THE SWEET - Robert Bloch
Weird Tales 1947 03 : LIZZIE BORDEN TOOK AN AXE - Herbert Scanlon


Not so nice visitor.

2.5 out of 5


Piano / replacements.

3 out of 5


Spiro the shapeshifting spying scares the pooch.

2.5 out of 5


Firing squad sympathy slaying.

3.5 out of 5


Talking pussy even worse.

3 out of 5


Canine critic carked.

3 out of 5


Witch beating.

3 out of 5


A spot of the ol' chopper murder.

3 out of 5




2 out of 5

Lizzie Borden Took an Axe - Herbert Scanlon

A spot of the ol' chopper murder.


3 out of 5

Sweets To the Sweet - Robert Bloch

Witch beating.


3 out of 5

The Immortal Lancer - Alison V. Harding

Canine critic carked.


3 out of 5

Fluffy - Theodore Sturgeon

Talking pussy even worse.


3 out of 5

Hoodooed - Seabury Quinn

Firing squad sympathy slaying.


3.5 out of 5

Venturer of the Martian Mimics - Eric Frank Russell

Spiro the shapeshifting spying scares the pooch.


2.5 out of 5

The Terror In Teakwood - Harold Lawlor

Piano / replacements.


3 out of 5

Mr. George - Stephen Grendon

Not so nice visitor.


2.5 out of 5

Galaxy 1952 10 - H. L. Gold

The stories here average 3.21. Ledaing off with the interesting baby is three, and even ending with the Travis McGee guy, John D. MacDonald, as the best two.

Here's what the editor says in 'Annual Report to Readers' at the start, or at least part of it :
"The twelvemonth between our first annual report and this, which marks the beginning of our third year, was rammed full of activity for GALAXY. It all boils down to this one astonishing fact, however:

GALAXY has acquired the second largest circulation in science fiction and is pushing hard toward first place.

For a magazine to achieve this record in so short a time is a tribute to its unyielding policy of presenting the highest quality obtainable; to its readers for their loyalty and appreciation; to its authors for helping it maintain those standards and even advance then.

During the turbulent first year of GALAXY's existence, other publishers thought the idea of offering mature science fiction in attractive, adult format was downright funny. They knew what sold—shapely female endomorphs with bronze bras, embattled male mesomorphs clad in muscle, and frightful alien monsters in search of a human meal.

Even our former publisher became infected with that attitude, and the resulting internal conflicts were no joke at all. "

They also claim one W. Ley as science writer, who was in the Astounding Science Fiction 1938 issue just mentioned recently.

A letter is actually answered for a reader who asks about Moebius strips, Tesseracts and Klein bottles, which is maybe more intersting than his time capsule type article itself.

Some book reviews by Groff Conklin including a 1952 best science fiction novels, to get some of the stories in of lengths that anthologists struggle with due to publisher pressure for more stories he says. It seems that hasn't changed much 55 years later.

Galaxy 1952 10 : BABY IS THREE - Theodore Sturgeon
Galaxy 1952 10 : HALO - Hal Clement
Galaxy 1952 10 : A LITTLE OIL - Eric Frank Russell
Galaxy 1952 10 : ZEN - Jerome Bixby
Galaxy 1952 10 : WAIT FOR WEIGHT - Jack McKenty
Galaxy 1952 10 : TREE SPARE THAT WOODMAN - Dave Dryfoos
Galaxy 1952 10 : GAME FOR BLONDES - John D. MacDonald


Gestalt growth.

3.5 out of 5


Master farming, space.

3 out of 5


Psychological ship stress solution.

3 out of 5


Large result of long loneliness.

3.5 out of 5


Tesseract fuel.

2.5 out of 5


Woodwalker game.

3 out of 5


Mini-man collection scavengers.

4 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Game For Blondes - John D. MacDonald

Mini-man collection scavengers.


4 out of 5

Tree Spare That Woodman - Dave Dryfoos

Woodwalker game.


3 out of 5

Wait For Weight - Jack McKenty

Tesseract fuel.


2.5 out of 5

Zen - Jerome Bixby

Large result of long loneliness.


3.5 out of 5

A Little Oil - Eric Frank Russell

Psychological ship stress solution.


3 out of 5

Halo - Hal Clement

Master farming, space.


3 out of 5

Astounding Science Fiction 1938 08 - John W. Campbell

Some of the Golden Age. Where Scottish space engineers were real men, and women were bad for discipline. At least on Arthur Burks Hell Ship, anyway. It isn't all that bad though, as this has the fantastic Who Goes There, and a couple of other decent stories, including a Kuttner that reads like the Mighty Marvel boys just might have read this issue.

In fact, McClary's Terrible Sense has more than a touch of the Man Without Fear about it, too.

That gives this issue a 3.25 average from a 21st century point of view.

A fairly length article on rocketry by Ley, and the Analytical Laboratory had a top story list.


Astounding Science Fiction 1938 08 : Hell Ship - Arthur J. Burks
Astounding Science Fiction 1938 08 : Jason Comes Home - A. Macfadyen
Astounding Science Fiction 1938 08 : Resilient Planet - F. Orlin Tremaine
Astounding Science Fiction 1938 08 : Who Goes There? - John W. Campbell
Astounding Science Fiction 1938 08 : The Terrible Sense - Thomas Calvert McClary
Astounding Science Fiction 1938 08 : Asteroid Pirates - Royal W. Heckman
Astounding Science Fiction 1938 08 : Eviction by Isotherm - Malcolm Jameson
Astounding Science Fiction 1938 08 : The Disinherited - Henry Kuttner


A ship with a Scottish engineer. Amazing. Actually, Astounding probably better.

2.5 out of 5


Ship discovery Swarm warning return.

3 out of 5


Rubber men, and everything else, bar one.

3 out of 5


A discovery of a lifeform buried in the Antarctic ice causes serious problems for an isolated research team.

5 out of 5


Daredevil upgrade.

3.5 out of 5


Saturn apes and Venusian plots.

2.5 out of 5


Europe Removal Machine.

3 out of 5


The Watcher has an air of alienage.

3.5 out of 5





3.5 out of 5

The Disinherited - Henry Kuttner

The Watcher has an air of alienage.


3.5 out of 5

Eviction By Isotherm - Malcolm Jameson

Europe Removal Machine.


3 out of 5

Asteroid Pirates - Royal W. Heckman

Saturn apes and Venusian plots.


2.5 out of 5

The Terrible Sense - Thomas Calvert McClary

Daredevil upgrade.


3.5 out of 5

Resilient Planet - F. Orlin Trelaine

Rubber men, and everything else, bar one.


3 out of 5

Jason Comes Home - A. B. L. MacFadyen

Ship discovery Swarm warning return.


3 out of 5

Hell Ship - Arthur J. Burks

A ship with a Scottish engineer. Amazing. Actually, Astounding probably better.


2.5 out of 5

The Smile - Ray Bradbury

Busting stuff.


2.5 out of 5

Prey - Richard Matheson

Doll hunted mummy dearest.


3.5 out of 5

The Coin Collector - Jack Finney

Alternate wife pleasing.


4 out of 5

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Whimper of Whipped Dogs - Harlan Ellison

City god call.


3.5 out of 5

The Hero Of the Night - Bradley Denton

Martyr cycle.


3.5 out of 5

Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes To Iowa - W. P. Kinsella

"If you build it, he will come."


4 out of 5

Where the Summer Ends - Karl Edward Wagner

Vineland devil flaying.


3.5 out of 5

We Are the Dead - Henry Kuttner

Unknown Soldier sympathy.


3.5 out of 5

Twenty-three - Avram Davidson

Bad inheritance, bad age.


3 out of 5

The Howling Man - Charles Beaumont

Captive Devil.


3.5 out of 5

The Valley Was Still - Manly Wade Wellman

Deal just not worth it.


3.5 out of 5

Ma'ame Pelagie - Kate Chopin

Room for the young.


2 out of 5

Jim Baen's Universe 10 - Eric Flint

Eric Flint talks about in his column about people with fears that everyone giving away free work samples will drive the price down for all authors, and why that isn't right.

He also mentions a popular author in one subgenre (like Alternate History, for him) can raise the profiles and sales of other authors with people trying to find similar work.

He does say that the 'try before you buy' or expansive fair use thing will lose perhaps some sales, but also is good in a marketing sense - people that buy the books and think they suck, and tell many, many people they suck won't do it if they can check things out and see if they like it in advance.

This is what he says, in part, to quote :
"To go back to the question at hand, what would be the effect on book-buying if all authors started doing the same thing?

Well, obviously, one of the effects would be that every author would lose some sales. Not every reader who examines an author’s work for free is going to like it.

Fine. Those are not sales any intelligent author wants anyway. Word of mouth works both ways. I don’t want someone who dislikes my work to pay money for it. Whatever short-term gain I make is more than offset by the long-term damage of having negative word of mouth running loose out there. Which it will, don’t think it won’t—if the reader paid money for it. But what I’ve found is that readers who investigate my work for free and then discover they don’t like it, don’t have any hard feelings about the matter. In fact, I know of several instances where they recommended me to someone else, whom they thought might like my work even if they didn’t."

There's also an article by Norman Spinrad talking about hard sf, and by Resnick saying that Jurassic Park is not likely, but Pleistocene Park is possible.

JBU0210 : Laws of Survival - Nancy Kress
JBU0210 : Darwin's Suitcase - Elizabeth Malartre
JBU0210 : Double Secret Weapon - Tony Frazier
JBU0210 : Misfits - Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
JBU0210 : Christmas Eve at Harvey Wallbanger's - Mike Resnick
JBU0210 : Fossilized Gods - J. Simon
JBU0210 : Second Banana - Way Jeng
JBU0210 : The Art of Memory - Barry N. Malzberg and Jack Dann
JBU0210 : Countdown to Armageddon 2 - Edward M. Lerner
JBU0210 : Fish Story 10 - Eric Flint and Dave Freer and Andrew Dennis
JBU0210 : Inheritance - David Wesley
JBU0210 : Queen's Mask - Barbara Tarbox
JBU0210 : A Holy Terror - Ambrose Bierce


Alien desperate dog school.

4.5 out of 5


Origin observation visit destruction.

3.5 out of 5


The perils of merchandising yourself, the hero. With added supervillain annoyance.

'"Listen, kid," I say. "When you get trapped in an alternate dimension by a resurrected god, and have to watch all your friends die while you barely escape, and then spend two freaking years trying to fight your way back to Earth, only to find out that they've turned your life into a cartoon while you've been gone, then I might listen to what you have to say about my authenticity or lack of same. Until then, watch the damn show, buy the damn toys, and shut up!'

3.5 out of 5


Weathering the conflict.

3 out of 5


Rigging the reindeer game.

2.5 out of 5


"Super God Power Team saves universe!"

4 out of 5


Ship steal sneaking and shooting.

3.5 out of 5


Death car.

3 out of 5


Twelve hundred year terrorist displacement.

3 out of 5


Joining the underseasaur team.

3.5 out of 5


Out of time Weather AI sentience upgrade.

4 out of 5


Political escape becomes stand and fight.

3.5 out of 5


Hurdy-gurdy stakeout death.

3 out of 5




4 out of 5

The Mathematics of Tone - A Year in the American Majors

Much like the post about the Year's Best Science Fiction books, here we look at the major American SF magazines.

As before, the categories are exclusive (rest,adventure,funny,downbeat), if a story gets put in one, it can't be in another, and this was from memory for the year, so somewhat approximate, but appears to make sense. Where different people would place them will vary.

Othr Advn Fun Downbeat
Analog 0.37 0.19 0.16 0.27
Asimovs 0.26 0.23 0.05 0.46
FSF 0.30 0.13 0.14 0.43
JBU 0.23 0.28 0.16 0.32

OVERALL 0.29 0.21 0.13 0.37



To cut and paste from The Mathematics of the Magazine - A Year in the American Majors post on my blot

http://notfreesf.blogspot.com/2007/10/mathematics-of-magazine-year-in.html

quick magazine breakdown :-

Analog

The average story rating was 3.31
The percentage of above average stories was 55.


Asimov's

The average story rating was 3.46
The percentage of above average stories was 68.


Fantasy and Science Fiction

The average story rating was 3.49
The percentage of above average stories was 67.

Jim Baen's Universe

The average story rating was 3.42
The percentage of above average stories was 62.


If Analog's sales are highest, is that related to them specifically targeting a niche - no fantasy, etc., or does some of it have to do with it being more cheerful? Asimov's this year you could say almost lost their sense of humour entirely.

Jim Baen's Universe, as the editors have mentioned, appears to be seeking the 'middle way'. Not as much 'Analog SF' as Analog, but more mainstream aventure type stories, some of which of course are fantasy, of course e.g. stories by Modesitt and Nix for example, along with things like the recent Nancy Kress story in the December issue which I am sure Asimov's would have been happy to publish.

Clearly the downbeat thing rates more highly with some people - the preeminent experts like Dozois, Hartwell, Horton and Strahan, but also with average blokes like me, by those ratings, and by what the aforementioned gentlemen are publishing in their Year's Best volumes.

Queen's Mask - Barbara Tarbox

Political escape becomes stand and fight.


3.5 out of 5

Inheritance - David Wesley

Out of time Weather AI sentience upgrade.


4 out of 5

Fish Story 10 - Eric Flint and Dave Freer and Andrew Dennis

Joining the underseasaur team.


3.5 out of 5

Countdown To Armageddon 2 - Edward M. Lerner

Twelve hundred year terrorist displacement.


3 out of 5

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Saga of Pecos Bill - Ernest O'Reilly

I made this!


4 out of 5

The Art of Memory - Jack Dann and Barry N. Malzberg

Death car.


3 out of 5

Second Banana - Way Jeng

http://baens-universe.com/articles/Second_Banana

Ship steal sneaking and shooting.


3.5 out of 5

Fossilized Gods - J. Simon

"Super God Power Team saves universe!"


4 out of 5

Ready To Rumble - Jon Klement

A lot simpler this one, as Rush and fellows race around doing the superhero thing - a bit shorter too, and really this could have been broken up or expanded a bit, as a whole lot of stuff thrown together too quickly for this novella type publication, with nowhere near the character interest of the previous installment.


2 out of 5

Friday, November 23, 2007

Analog 926 - Stanley Schmidt

A pretty standard issue for one of these mags as far as the fiction goes, with a 3.38 mean, pretty consistently average to above average, in general.

There's an excellent article by Tom Ligon which goes something like this 'Hi Dr Bussard you cool space guy, I'm Tom. Wanna do Fusion?' Pretty amazingly, the answer is yes, and Ligon goes on to reveal more about the research into small size fusion experiment. Really good. Add in some book reviews, particularly of the latest Stross Merchant Princes book, and some others, and you have a good issue overall.

On the downbeat story front, I'd tag 3 with that. To balance, there are 3 funny stories. There are 2 I'd probably call adventure. One being particularly absolutely no mistake an old fashioned adventure story, being Geoffrey Landis' homage to Ross Rocklynne's 'The Men In the Mirror'. This again calling any particular story only one of the three, no overlap even if they may do so, picking the most obvious.


ANALOG926 : MARSBOUND 1 - Joe Haldeman
ANALOG926 : TANGIBLE LIGHT - J. TIMOTHY BAGWELL
ANALOG926 : THE MAN IN THE MIRROR - GEOFFREY A. LANDIS
ANALOG926 : THE NATURAL WORLD - DON D'AMMASSA
ANALOG926 : THE ENGULFED CATHEDRAL - CARL FREDERICK
ANALOG926 : CONVERSATIONS WITH MY KNEES - RON GOULART
ANALOG926 : WORLDS ENOUGH AND TIME - HARRY TURTLEDOVE
ANALOG926 : HOW THE BALD APES SAVED MASS CROSSING - WIL MCCARTHY
ANALOG926 : A NEW GENERATION - JERRY OLTION
ANALOG926 : LOW LIFE - MIA MOLVRAY
ANALOG926 : A DEADLY INTENT - RICHARD A. LOVETT and MARK NIEMANN-ROSS
ANALOG926 : THE PURLOINED LABRADOODLE - BARRY B. LONGYEAR

Embarcation preparation arrival regulation.

3.5


Gutworm majority phenotype humanity.

3 out of 5


The old Men story with swing solution.

Call this one 4.25


Insect species home addition.

3 out of 5


Dolphin religion bomb save.

3.5 out of 5


Bum enhancers get this old bloke some short term Steve Austin action.

3.5 out of 5


Pet dumping.

3 out of 5


Perfection variation conflict.

3.5 out of 5


Quick learner captive revenge.

4 out of 5


Hernia-boy conflict contamination discovery.

3 out of 5


Antarctic not so hot nanobot.

3.5 out of 5


Parrakeet personality dumping perpetrators, overgrown poodles, and Holmes and Watson impersonation biogear, among others.

3.5 out of 5



(call it 4.25)

4 out of 5

The Purloined Labradoodle - Barry B. Longyear

Parraket personality dumping perpetrators, overgrown poodles, and Holmes and Watson impersonation biogear, among others.


3.5 out of 5

A Deadly Intent - Richard A. Lovett and Mark Niemann-Ross

Antartic not so hot nanobot.


3.5 out of 5

Low Life - Mia Molvray

Hernia-boy conflict contamination discovery.

(call it 3.25)

3 out of 5

A New Generation - Jerry Oltion

Quick learner captive revenge.


4 out of 5

How the Bald Apes Saved Mars Crossing - Wil McCarthy

Perfection variation conflict.


3.5 out of 5

Worlds Enough and Time - Harry Turtledove

Pet dumping.


3 out of 5

Conversations With My Knees - Ron Goulart

Bum enhancers get this old bloke some short term Steve Austin action.


3.5 out of 5

The Engulfed Cathedral - Carl Frederick

Dolphin religion bomb save.


3.5 out of 5

The Natural World - Don D'Ammassa

Insect species home addition.


3 out of 5

The Man In the Mirror - Geoffrey A. Landis

The old Men story with swing solution.


3.5 out of 5

Tangible Light - J. Timothy Bagwell

Gutworm majority phenotype light humanity discovery.


3 out of 5

Marsbound 1 - Joe Haldeman

Embarcation preparation arrival regulation.


3.5 out of 5

Asimov's 384 - Sheila Williams

Either good or ordinary it seems in this issue, with Steele's serial continuing to be good, to get to a 3.42 average.

A couple of light columns by Silverberg and Kelly, about finding out about old SF magazines as a kid, and about the old SFWA types, by Kelly.

A lot of people have said that short stories are too depressing - downbeat stories here would be 2, and Resnick's involves being old and dying.

Good old fashioned adventure, just the Steele serial.

Maybe it would be interesting to track that for a year for some magazines, to see what comes out.

ASIMOVS384 : THE PERFECT WAVE - Rudy Rucker and Marc Laidlaw
ASIMOVS384 : ALASTAIR BAFFLE'S EMPORIUM OF WONDERS - Mike Resnick
ASIMOVS384 : THE WHALE'S LOVER - Deborah Coates
ASIMOVS384 : THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED - F. SCOTT FITZGERALD - Tanith Lee
ASIMOVS384 : UNLIKELY - Will McIntosh
ASIMOVS384 : GALAXY BLUES 3 - Allen M. Steele


Skeghead game design.

3 out of 5


Magician longevity retail deal.

4 out of 5


Leviathan visit inevitable.

3 out of 5


Attractive death lure bug.

3.5 out of 5


Accidental Tuesday.

3 out of 5


Alien trade deal stoning subversion behaviour absolution Annihilator mission.

4 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Galaxy Blues 3 - Allen M. Steele

Alien trade deal stoning subversion behaviour absolution Annihilator mission.


4 out of 5

The Beautiful and Damned by F Scott Fitzgerald - Tanith Lee

Attractive death lure bug.


3.5 out of 5

The Whale's Lover - Deborah Coates

Leviathan visit inevitable.


3 out of 5

The Perfect Wave - Rudy Rucker and Marc Laidlaw

Skeghead game design.


3 out of 5

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories - Isaac Asimov

This collection centres around a few strong stories, but there are several others Asimov wrote on request for varying venues from communication industry and music industry magazines, to science fiction magagazine anniversary celebrations. These are pretty minor, in general, compired to the title story, and The Life and Times of Multivac, etc. There is also a revised poem, in here, it seems.

The author does write an intro about the situations described above and how each story came to be.

Bicentennial Man : Feminine Intuition - Isaac Asimov
Bicentennial Man : Waterclap - Isaac Asimov
Bicentennial Man : That Thou Art Mindful of Him - Isaac Asimov
Bicentennial Man : Stranger in Paradise - Isaac Asimov
Bicentennial Man : The life and Times of Multivac - Isaac Asimov
Bicentennial Man : The Winnowing - Isaac Asimov
Bicentennial Man : The Bicentennial Man - Isaac Asimov
Bicentennial Man : Marching In - Isaac Asimov
Bicentennial Man : Old-fashioned - Isaac Asimov
Bicentennial Man : The Tercentenary Incident - Isaac Asimov
Bicentennial Man : Birth of a Notion - Isaac Asimov

Girlbot creativity communication.

3.5 out of 5


Outer space undersea visitor has terrorist plan. Extemporaneous Jupiter project plan convinces laser wielder to desist.

4 out of 5


Advanced robot creation assignment.

3.5 out of 5


Mercury Project problems.

2.5 out of 5


Supercomputer overlord subservience breaking point.

4 out of 5


Feeder selection cull surprise.

4 out of 5


Robot evolution legal test case.

4 out of 5


Crazy wave anti-suggestion.

3 out of 5


Black hole signalling.

3 out of 5


Robot double talk.

3 out of 5


Time machine steerage problem Gernsback visit inspiration.

3 out of 5





3.5 out of 5

Birth Of A Notion - Isaac Asimov

Time machine steerage problem Gernsback visit inspiration.


3 out of 5

Old-fashioned - Isaac Asimov

Black hole signalling.


3 out of 5

Marching In - Isaac Asimov

Crazy wave anti-suggestion.


3 out of 5

The Winnowing - Isaac Asimov

Feeder selection cull surprise.


4 out of 5

The Rest of the Robots - Isaac Asimov

A collection of less well known Robot stories, even the satirical Galley Slave.

Asimov starts of talking about the Shelleys, of all things, to start with in his intro, to lead into talking about Capek and R.U.R. and hence to his robots.

Another solid collection of stories, here.

Rest of the Robots : Robot AL-76 Goes Astray - Isaac Asimov
Rest of the Robots : Victory Unintentional - Isaac Asimov
Rest of the Robots : First Law - Isaac Asimov
Rest of the Robots : Let's Get Together - Isaac Asimov
Rest of the Robots : Satisfaction Guaranteed - Isaac Asimov
Rest of the Robots : Risk - Isaac Asimov
Rest of the Robots : Lenny - Isaac Asimov
Rest of the Robots : Galley Slave - Isaac Asimov

Disintegration confusion.

3.5 out of 5


Understanding Jovian psychology.

3.5 out of 5


Rulebreaker story.

3 out of 5


Robot detente.

3 out of 5


No robots in my house, even if cute.

3.5 out of 5


Robot hypertravel test experiment proves limited.

3.5 out of 5


Robot teaching mummy.

3.5 out of 5


Proofreading plus.

3.5 out of 5





4 out of 5

The Complete Robot - Isaac Asimov

As well as the stories, the book is structured thus :

Introduction
Some Non-human Robots
Some Immobile Robots
Some Metallic Robots
Some Humanoid Robots
Powell and Donovan
Susan Calvin
Two Climaxes
A Last Word

Asimov explains he wanted to group the stories together by type, not by chronology, and these are the various sections he gives when doing so, as explained in the introduction, and he also contributes an afterword.

Of course this isn't actually complete now, as he has come up with more.

Complete Robot : A Boy's Best Friend - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Sally - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Someday - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Point of View - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Think! - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : True Love - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Robot AL-76 Goes Astray - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Victory Unintentional - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Stranger in Paradise - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Light Verse - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Segregationist - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Robbie - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Let's Get Together - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Mirror Image - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : The Tercentenary Incident - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : First Law - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Runaround - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Reason - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Catch That Rabbit - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Liar! - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Satisfaction Guaranteed - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Lenny - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Galley Slave - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Little Lost Robot - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Risk - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Escape! - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Evidence - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : The Evitable Conflict - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : Feminine Intuition - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : That Thou Art Mindful of Him - Isaac Asimov
Complete Robot : The Bicentennial Man - Isaac Asimov


Roborover fine by me.

3.5 out of 5


Roborover fine by me.

4 out of 5


Writing? You jest.

2.5 out of 5


Supercomputers need fun too.

3 out of 5


Computer brain power talk.

3 out of 5


Computer match.

3.5 out of 5


Disintegration confusion.

3.5 out of 5


Understanding Jovian psychology.

3.5 out of 5


Mercury Project problems.

2.5 out of 5


Busted robot art.

3.5 out of 5


Metallo wannabes.

3 out of 5


Robot chasey and other games.

3.5 out of 5


Robot detente.

3 out of 5


Jehosaphat! Deadly mathematical rivalry.

3 out of 5


Robot double talk.

3 out of 5


Rulebreaker story.

3 out of 5


Old robot mine retrieval squad.

4 out of 5


Robot curiosity of philosophy.

3.5 out of 5


New robot brains can be problematic.

3.5 out of 5


Telepathic robot advice is caught in logic loop.

3.5 out of 5


No robots in my house, even if cute.

3.5 out of 5


Robot teaching mummy.

3.5 out of 5


Proofreading plus.

3.5 out of 5


Monkeying with the Laws can have surprising results.

4 out of 5


Robot hypertravel test experiment proves limited.

3.5 out of 5


Big Brain interrogation and travel problems.

3.5 out of 5


Politics and impersonation.

3.5 out of 5


Politics of The Machine.

3 out of 5


Girlbot creativity communication.

3.5 out of 5


Advanced robot creation assignment.

3.5 out of 5


Robot evolution legal test case.

4 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

The Last Defender of Camelot - Roger Zelazny

This is for the version from the 1980s, and whenever else it was reprinted.

A quite good collection here by Zelazny, a 3.44 average, with 4 particularly good stories to be found.

Another bonus is that the author gives introductions to each story as to when, where and why he wrote it, in general, for those that like that sort of thing.

Last Defender of Camelot : Passion Play - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : Horseman! - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : The Stainless Steel Leech - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : A Thing of Terrible Beauty - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : He Who Shapes - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : Comes Now the Power - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : Auto-da-Fé - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : Damnation Alley - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : For a Breath I Tarry - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : The Engine at Heartspring’s Center - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : The Game of Blood and Dust - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : No Award - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : Is There a Demon Lover in the House? - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : The Last Defender of Camelot - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : Stand Pat Ruby Stone - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : Halfjack - Roger Zelazny


Car death and rebirth.

3.5 out of 5


Prefer Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny to this apocalyptic bunch.

4 out of 5


Monsterbots.

3.5 out of 5


Personal gate-crasher atomic audience.

3 out of 5


Psychiatric seeing rather stupid.

3.5 out of 5


Mind block.

3 out of 5


Careodor.

4 out of 5


A post-apocalyptic action story. A criminal is given the standard two choices, really bad things now, or very very possible really bad things later, and, of course, takes the later.

The later in this case is a trip across the country to deliver vital medical supplies. He has a few more problems than the standard cracked by snow and ice cheapish US highways though. In this world, they don't call it Damnation Alley for nothing.

3 out of 5


Big machine needs a hobby.

3.5 out of 5


Bork Bork borked.

3 out of 5


Two opponents duel using past history as their gameboard.

3.5 out of 5


Killer telepathic brain split plan.

3.5 out of 5


Knifejack.

2.5 out of 5


Lancelot, the Wandering Frenchy is still around when he runs into Le Fay fortunetelling, and Merlin's arrival 1000 years later. That's about enough of the Arthurian stuff for most of them.

4 out of 5


Reproductive ritual end.

3.5 out of 5


Cyborg bodyglove = get no love.

4 out of 5




4 out of 5

Risk - Isaac Asimov

Robot hypertravel test experiment proves limited.


3.5 out of 5

Satisfaction Guaranteed - Isaac Asimov

No robots in my house, even if cute.


3.5 out of 5

First Law - Isaac Asimov

Rulebreaker story.


3 out of 5

The Tercentenary Incident - Isaac Asimov

Robot double talk.


3 out of 5

Let's Get Together - Isaac Asimov

Robot detente.


3 out of 5

Stranger In Paradise - Isaac Asimov

Mercury Project problems.


2.5 out of 5

Victory Unintentional - Isaac Asimov

Understanding Jovian psychology.


3.5 out of 5

Robot AL-76 Goes Astray - Isaac Asimov

Disintegration confusion.


3.5 out of 5

Point Of View - Isaac Asimov

Supercomputers need fun too.


3 out of 5

A Boy's Best Friend - Isaac Asimov

Roborover fine by me.


3.5 out of 5

Haunting Ghost Stories - Deborah Stine

An anthology I had as a kid, and wasn't that impressed then, and I am still not. (story average 3.17) However, there are a few good stories by Wells, Doyle, Jacobs, Bierce, etc., and some decent others. Designed to be for kids too to some degree, of course.

The skull cover is pretty cool though.

Haunting Ghost Stories : The Riddle - Walter de la Mare
Haunting Ghost Stories : The Sybarite - Stanley W. Fisher
Haunting Ghost Stories : Echoes In the Sand - Roger F. Dunkley
Haunting Ghost Stories : The Mortal - Oliver Oinons
Haunting Ghost Stories : Fame - Michelle Maurois
Haunting Ghost Stories : Giovanni Paolo's Land - H. Brinsmead-Hungerford
Haunting Ghost Stories : The Red Room - H. G. Wells
Haunting Ghost Stories : Lonely Boy - Paul Dorrell
Haunting Ghost Stories : The Phantom Horses - Colin Thiele
Haunting Ghost Stories : The Yellow Cat - Michael Joseph
Haunting Ghost Stories : A Little House Of Their Own - Stanley W. Fisher
Haunting Ghost Stories : Expiation - E. F. Benson
Haunting Ghost Stories : Kroger's Choice - John Gordon
Haunting Ghost Stories : Laura - Saki Saki
Haunting Ghost Stories : Tea and Empathy - Paul Dorrell
Haunting Ghost Stories : The Haunted Doll's House - M. R. James
Haunting Ghost Stories : The Brown Hand - Arthur Conan Doyle
Haunting Ghost Stories : The Well - W. W. Jacobs
Haunting Ghost Stories : The Haunted Trailer - Robert Arthur
Haunting Ghost Stories : Bad Company - Walter de la Mare
Haunting Ghost Stories : Many Coloured Glass - Lucy M. Boston
Haunting Ghost Stories : The Stranger - Ambrose Bierce
Haunting Ghost Stories : The Tell-Tale Heart - Edgar Allan Poe
Haunting Ghost Stories : The Gorge of the Churles - H. Russell Wakefield
Haunting Ghost Stories : Man-Size In Marble - E. Nesbit
Haunting Ghost Stories : The Wooing Of Cherry Basnett - Brian Alderson
Haunting Ghost Stories : A Tough Tussle - Ambrose Bierce
Haunting Ghost Stories : The Monkey's Paw - W. W. Jacobs
Haunting Ghost Stories : The Late Departure - Glenn Chandler
Haunting Ghost Stories : Damp Sheets - H. Russell Wakefield
Haunting Ghost Stories : The Battle With the Bogles - Sorche Nic Leodhas
Haunting Ghost Stories : A Pair of Hands - Arthur Quiller-Couch


Oak chest ghosts.

2 out of 5


Antique gloating amputation existence.

4 out of 5


Jack killer killed.

3.5 out of 5


Scary human house.

3 out of 5


Location existence.

2.5 out of 5


River bushranger discovery.

3 out of 5


Fear place.

4 out of 5


Ghost mate.

3.5 out of 5


Uncle Gus nonplus blunderbuss.

3 out of 5


Useless animal's fault.

3 out of 5


Bring out your dead!

3.5 out of 5


Holiday horror.

3 out of 5


Right ape removal.

3.5 out of 5


Reincarnation plan.

3.5 out of 5


Garden ghost.

2.5 out of 5


Little scary stuff.

3.5 out of 5


A visit to his uncle finds an amateur psychic investigator dealing with a one-handed ghost searching for another.

3 out of 5


Rope raising oops.

3 out of 5


Stuck with an ectoplasmic excrescence.

3 out of 5


Old and probably dead.

2.5 out of 5


Ballroom boxed.

3 out of 5


No point shooting dead guys.

3.5 out of 5


Mad noise.

3.5 out of 5


Superstition sleep effect.

2.5 out of 5


Knight walkers.

4 out of 5


Wasting away.

2 out of 5


Battle dead visitor.

4 out of 5


Wishes not so handy.

4 out of 5


Death train.

3.5 out of 5


Inheritance ghost.

2.5 out of 5


Go away nasties.

3 out of 5


I miss my ghost housekeeper.

3.5 out of 5





3 out of 5

Is There A Demon Lover In the House - Roger Zelazny

Knifejack.


2.5 out of 5

No Award - Roger Zelazny

Killer telepathic brain split plan.


3.5 out of 5

A Thing Of Terrible Beauty - Roger Zelazny

Personal gate-crasher atomic audience.


3 out of 5

The Stainless Steel Leech - Roger Zelazny

Monsterbots.


3.5 out of 5

Horseman! - Roger Zelazny

Prefer Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny to this apocalyptic bunch.


4 out of 5

Passion Play - Roger Zelazny

Car death and rebirth.


3.5 out of 5

The Battle With the Bogles - Sorche Nic Leodhas

Go away nasties.


3 out of 5

Damp Sheets - H. Russell Wakefield

Inheritance ghost.


2.5 out of 5

The Late Departure - Glenn Chandler

Death train.


3.5 out of 5

The Wooing of Cherry Basnett - Brian Alderson

Wasting away.


2 out of 5

The Gorge of the Churels - H. Russell Wakefield

Superstition sleep effect.


2.5 out of 5

Science Fiction the Very Best of 2005 - Jonathan Strahan

Apparently this book was caught up in the IBooks bankruptcy (still sad, I have read heaps of stuff they published), and Locus stepped in to give Strahan a shot at putting some of the work he had done to use, hence the obscurity and never heard of nature of this book for a lot of people.

A shame, because he has put together an outstanding group of stories, passing the magic average of 4 (4.04 here), even if it is a lot shorter than the Dozois and Hartwell variety, but similar to the previous mass market size books he was doing with Haber, I think.

He gives a quick couple of page overview of the science fiction short story situation, mentioning some collections and anthologies of interest as well as magazines.

The only quibble some might have is with Pat Cadigan's vampire story, which plenty won't see as remotely SF, and in fact appears in another Fantasy Year's Best collection. I happen to like Cadigan, and it is good, so didn't mind.

Anyway, a great book, well done, especially given it has a 5 star story, a very rare beast.

SF Best of 2005 : Triceratops Summer - Michael Swanwick
SF Best of 2005 : Little Faces - Vonda N. McIntyre
SF Best of 2005 : The Second Coming of Charles Darwin - James Morrow
SF Best of 2005 : Is There Life After Rehab? - Pat Cadigan
SF Best of 2005 : Understanding Space and Time - Alastair Reynolds
SF Best of 2005 : The Fulcrum - Gwyneth Jones
SF Best of 2005 : The Blemmye's Strategem - Bruce Sterling
SF Best of 2005 : They Will Raise You in a Box - Wil McCarthy
SF Best of 2005 : Finished - Robert Reed
SF Best of 2005 : The King of Where-I-Go - Howard Waldrop
SF Best of 2005 : The Calorie Man - Paolo Bacigalupi
SF Best of 2005 : The Fate of Mice - Susan Palwick
SF Best of 2005 : I Robot - Cory Doctorow
SF Best of 2005 : The Little Goddess - Ian McDonald

Time loop holiday.

4.5 out of 5


Symbiote, shag, ship, sibling, seeya.

4 out of 5


LOGO evolution tortoise defense.

4 out of 5


Maybe undead again.

4 out of 5


Martian sole survivor's Elton imaginary friend accidental ending gets machine man revival upgrade cosmological study session black hole comeback.

4.5 out of 5


Anti-information score dangerous.

3 out of 5


Alien assistant Crusade martyrdom.

3.5 out of 5


Information overthrow.

4 out of 5


Just a robogigolo.

4 out of 5


First she bashes me in the head. Then she gets psionic time control powers to do it again. Or, cure is fishing atrophied.

4 out of 5


Generipper murder massacre's unlikely Johnny Appleseed monopoly breaker.

5 out of 5


Scary escape plan.

4 out of 5


Baby arrival brings brainy Big Brother bot researcher's defection and later reunion desires in multiple.

4.5 out of 5


Aeai multi-skull skill Nepal getaway.

3.5 out of 5




5 out of 5

Amazing Stories 1 - Steven Bauer

A collection of stories adapted from the scripts for the television show, and as such, only ordinary, except for the first first, and a couple of decent others.


Amazing Stories 1 : The Mission - Steven Bauer
Amazing Stories 1 : Vanessa In the Garden - Steven Bauer
Amazing Stories 1 : Guilt Trip - Steven Bauer
Amazing Stories 1 : Mr. Magic - Steven Bauer
Amazing Stories 1 : The Main Attraction - Steven Bauer
Amazing Stories 1 : Ghost Train - Steven Bauer
Amazing Stories 1 : The Sitter - Steven Bauer
Amazing Stories 1 : Santa '85 - Steven Bauer
Amazing Stories 1 : One For the Road - Steven Bauer
Amazing Stories 1 : Hell Toupee - Steven Bauer
Amazing Stories 1 : No Day At the Beach - Steven Bauer


Bomber artist imagination save.

4 out of 5


Itchy girl gone to roses.

3 out of 5


A Sin meets an opposite.

2.5 out of 5


Out of tricks until one last real card.

3.5 out of 5


New magnetic personality.

2.5 out of 5


Don't need no tracks.

3 out of 5


Duppy warning.

2 out of 5


Present presents.

3 out of 5


Toasted marathon devil.

3.5 out of 5


Rug killers and puns that could, too.

3 out of 5


War club kid holed.

3.5 out of 5





2.5 out of 5

The Fate Of Mice - Susan Palwick

Scary escape plan.


4 out of 5

The King Of Where-I-Go - Howard Waldrop

First she bashes me in the head. Then she gets psionic time control powers to do it again. Or, cure is fishing atrophied.


4 out of 5

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Finished - Robert Reed

Just a robogigolo.


4 out of 5

They Will Raise You In A Box - Wil McCarthy

Information overthrow.


4 out of 5

The Blemmye's Strategy - Bruce Sterling

Alien assistant Crusade martyrdom.


3.5 out of 5

Understanding Space and Time - Alastair Reynolds

Martian sole survivor's Elton imaginary friend accidental ending gets machine man revival upgrade cosmological study session black hole comeback.


4.5 out of 5

Is There Life After Rehab? - Pat Cadigan

Maybe undead again.


4 out of 5

The Second Coming of Charles Darwin - James Morrow

LOGO evolution tortoise defense.


4 out of 5

Triceratops Summer - Michael Swanwick

Time loop holiday.


4.5 out of 5

Many Coloured Glass - Lucy M. Boston

Ballroom boxed.


3 out of 5

Bad Company - Walter de la Mare

Old and probably dead.


2.5 out of 5

The Haunted Trailer - Robert Arthur

Stuck with an ectoplasmic excrescence.


3 out of 5

Tea and Empathy - Paul Dorrell

Garden ghost.


2.5 out of 5

Kroger's Choice - John Gordon

Right ape removal.


3.5 out of 5

Expiation - E. F. Benson

Holiday horror.


3 out of 5

A Little House Of Their Own - Stanley W. Fisher

Bring out your dead!


3.5 out of 5

The Yellow Cat - Michael Joseph

Useless animal's fault.


3 out of 5

The Phantom Horses - Colin Thiele

Uncle Gus nonplus blunderbuss.


3 out of 5

Lonely Boy - Paul Dorrell

Ghost mate.


3.5 out of 5

Giovanni Paolo's Land - Hesba Brinsmead-Hungerford

River bushranger discovery.


3 out of 5

Fame - Michelle Maurois

Location existence.


2.5 out of 5

The Mortal - Oliver Onions

Scary human house.


3 out of 5

Echoes In the Sand - Roger F. Dunkley

Jack killer killed.


3.5 out of 5

The Sybarite - Stanley W. Fisher

Antique gloating amputation existence.


4.5 out of 5

No Day At the Beach - Steven Bauer

War club kid holed.


3.5 out of 5

Hell Toupee - Steven Bauer

Rug killers and puns that could, too.


3 out of 5

One For the Road - Steven Bauer

Toasted marathon devil.


3.5 out of 5

Santa '85 - Steven Bauer

Present presents.


3 out of 5

The Sitter - Steven Bauer

Duppy warning.


2 out of 5

Ghost Train - Steven Bauer

Don't need no tracks.


3 out of 5

The Main Attraction - Steven Bauer

New magnetic personality.


2.5 out of 5

Mr. Magic - Steven Bauer

Out of tricks until one last real card.


3.5 out of 5

Guilt Trip - Steven Bauer

A Sin meets an opposite.


2.5 out of 5

Vanessa In the Garden - Steven Bauer

Itchy girl gone to roses.


3 out of 5

The Mission - Steven Bauer

Bomber artist imagination save.


4 out of 5

The Majipoor Chronicles - Robert Silverberg

The second Majipoor book is a story collection, wrapped inside the actions of the character Hissune. As part of his training for government, he has access to the Soul Record on Majipoor, and hence can look into the stories of some of its citizens, and does so. This peripheral character from Valentine's time continues to have a linking narrative and thoughts before each story.

Majipoor Chronicles : Thesme and the Ghayrog - Robert Silverberg
Majipoor Chronicles : The Time of the Burning - Robert Silverberg
Majipoor Chronicles : In the Fifth Year of the Voyage - Robert Silverberg
Majipoor Chronicles : Calintane Explains - Robert Silverberg
Majipoor Chronicles : The Desert of Stolen Dreams - Robert Silverberg
Majipoor Chronicles : The Soul-Painter and the Shapeshifter - Robert Silverberg
Majipoor Chronicles : Crime and Punishment - Robert Silverberg
Majipoor Chronicles : Among the Dream Speakers - Robert Silverberg
Majipoor Chronicles : A Thief in Ni-moya - Robert Silverberg
Majipoor Chronicles : Voriax and Valentine - Robert Silverberg

Nursing entertainment experiment.

3.5 out of 5


Fire zone emerald not for long.

3.5 out of 5


Dragon grass exploration.

3.5 out of 5


Boss drag.

3 out of 5


Shapeshifter ghosts make you antsy.

3.5 out of 5


Art for art's sake, metamorph at stake.

3.5 out of 5


Murder dreams.

3 out of 5


Testing worry.

3 out of 5


Swindled recruiting.

4 out of 5


Fraternal sparring.

3 out of 5





3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Last Defender of Camelot - Roger Zelazny

A collection that just about gets a 4 out of 5, and would bet 3.75 if such a thing existed, rounding up, however a few ordinary stories here.

Apparently there is a collection some 20 years or so earlier with the same title, with mostly different stories, too, just to be confusing.

This is for the 21st century Ibooks edition, which happily includes the fantastic Home Is the Hangman

Last Defender of Camelot : Comes Now the Power - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : For a Breath I Tarry - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : The Engine at Heartspring's Center - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : Halfjack - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : Home Is the Hangman - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : Permafrost - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : Loki 7281 - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : Mana from Heaven - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : 24 Views of Mt. Fuji by Hokusai - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : Come Back to the Killing Ground Alice My Love - Roger Zelazny
Last Defender of Camelot : The Last Defender of Camelot - Roger Zelazny

Mind block.

3 out of 5


Big machine needs a hobby.

3.5 out of 5


Bork Bork borked.

3 out of 5


Cyborg bodyglove = get no love.

4 out of 5


Telepresence party prank has terrible results, robot killer wrongly represented afterwards, but does his duty despite detective.

5 out of 5


Leopard stiff story.

3 out of 5


AI assistance plot.

3.5 out of 5


Power shortage.

3.5 out of 5


Japanese introspection ending.

2.5 out of 5


"All the death-traps in the galaxy, and she has to walk into mine."

4 out of 5


Lancelot, the Wandering Frenchy is still around when he runs into Le Fay fortunetelling, and Merlin's arrival 1000 years later. That's about enough of the Arthurian stuff for most of them.

4 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Voriax and Valentine - Robert Silverberg

Fraternal sparring.


3 out of 5

A Thief In Ni-Moya - Robert Silverberg

Swindled recruiting.


4 out of 5

Among the Dream Speakers - Robert Silverberg

Testing worry.


3 out of 5

Crime and Punishment - Robert Silverberg

Murder dreams.


3 out of 5

The Soul-Painter and the Shapeshifter - Robert Silverberg

Art for art's sake, metamorph at stake.


3.5 out 5

The Desert Of Stolen Dreams - Robert Silverberg

Shapeshifter ghosts make you antsy.


3.5 out of 5

Calintane Explains - Robert Silverberg

Boss drag.


3 out of 5

In the Fifth Year of the Voyage - Robert Silverberg

Dragon grass exploration.


3.5 out of 5

The Time of the Burning - Robert Silverberg

Fire zone emerald not for long.


3.5 out of 5

Thesme and the Ghayrog - Robert Silverberg

Nursing entertainment experiment.


3.5 out of 5

A Second Chance at Eden - Peter F. Hamilton

An excellent collection of stories from Hamilton, all based around the setting of his Night's Dawn (Reality Dysfunction et. al) series, and some of them loosely related by location, if not by time.

In fact, the last story, Escape Route, which is also the best, features Joshua Calvert's father Marcus, and the Lady MacBeth.

Definitely of interest to fans of the Confederation.


Second Chance at Eden : SONNIE'S EDGE - Peter F. Hamilton
Second Chance at Eden : A SECOND CHANCE AT EDEN - Peter F. Hamilton
Second Chance at Eden : NEW DAYS OLD TIMES - Peter F. Hamilton
Second Chance at Eden : CANDY BUDS - Peter F. Hamilton
Second Chance at Eden : DEATHDAY - Peter F. Hamilton
Second Chance at Eden : THE LIVES AND LOVES OF TIARELLA ROSA - Peter F. Hamilton
Second Chance at Eden : ESCAPE ROUTE - Peter F. Hamilton

Beastie baiting.

3.5 out of 5


Habitat personality communication.

4 out of 5


Dumping disagreement.

3 out of 5


Memory entertainment trade.

4 out of 5


Chameleon kill love.

4 out of 5


Getting down to Earth.

3.5 out of 5


Old ship find time shift.

4 out of 5





4.5 out of 5