Friday, February 29, 2008

Great Science Fiction Stories - Cordelia T. Smith

Great may be a bit of a misnomer, but perhaps more so at the time. Some of these are certainly good, The Star, Nightfall, etc., though.

The Sands Of Time is a cool dinosaurs and aliens stories, but can't call it great by any stretch, same goes for Henderson's people story, or the Verne excerpt, or Anderson's Sherlockian take.

A good anthology though, definitely.

Great Science Fiction Stories : Vital Factor - Nelson S. Bond
Great Science Fiction Stories : Pottage - Zenna Henderson
Great Science Fiction Stories : The Roads Must Roll - Robert A. Heinlein
Great Science Fiction Stories : The Stolen Bacillus - H. G. Wells
Great Science Fiction Stories : The Star - H. G. Wells
Great Science Fiction Stories : Nightfall - Isaac Asimov
Great Science Fiction Stories : History Lesson - Arthur C. Clarke
Great Science Fiction Stories : In Hiding - Wilmar H. Shiras
Great Science Fiction Stories : The Martian Crown Jewels - Poul Anderson
Great Science Fiction Stories : The Sands of Time - P. Schuyler Miller
Great Science Fiction Stories : Into Space - Jules Verne



To build a spaceship, a Martian might be handy.

4 out of 5


Small town school teaching not as boring as expected with The People around.

3.5 out of 5


A master engineer and others work to stop industrial action from stopping massively engineered mass transit.

3 out of 5


Anarchy plague hard to swallow.

3.5 out of 5


Just a near miss, that planet going past Earth. Nothing to worry those Martians.

4 out of 5


Media and religion struggle with science. Still.

4 out of 5


Glacial only bad on one planet, even if puzzling for the other.

3 out of 5


An adventure for the Martian equivalent of the Great Detective.

3.5 out of 5


"Damn it," he cried, "no bald-headed old fuzzy-wuzzy is going to call me a liar twice! You may know a lot about dead bones, but your education with regard to living things has been sadly neglected. So reptiles never herd? What about alligators? What about the Galapagos iguanas? What about snakes? Bah—you can't see any farther than your own nose and never will! When I show you photographs of living dinosaurs, taken with this very camera twenty-four hours ago, not more than three or four miles from where we're standing—well, it's high time you scrap your hidebound, bone-dry theories and listen to a branch of science that's real and living, and always will be. I photographed those dinosaurs! I can do it again—any tune I like. I will do it."

Throw in a couple of groups of antagonistic aliens.

3.5 out of 5


Early lunar mission start.

3 out of 5


Magazine publication of what appears to basically be the first part of the Children of the Atom, where Dr Welles meets Tim, one of the first Children of the Atom, after working out what and who he really is.

3.5 out of 5

The Sands Of Time - P. Schuyler Miller

"Damn it," he cried, "no bald-headed old fuzzy-wuzzy is going to call me a liar twice! You may know a lot about dead bones, but your education with regard to living things has been sadly neglected. So reptiles never herd? What about alligators? What about the Galapagos iguanas? What about snakes? Bah—you can't see any farther than your own nose and never will! When I show you photographs of living dinosaurs, taken with this very camera twenty-four hours ago, not more than three or four miles from where we're standing—well, it's high time you scrap your hidebound, bone-dry theories and listen to a branch of science that's real and living, and always will be. I photographed those dinosaurs! I can do it again—any tune I like. I will do it."

Throw in a couple of groups of antagonistic aliens.


3.5 out of 5

Pottage - Zenna Henderson

Small town school teaching not as boring as expected with The People around.


3.5 out of 5

Tales From the White Hart - Arthur C. Clarke

In a similar setup to the Gavagan's Bar stories, but, as Clarke says, set in the UK, not the USA.

His bar actually features John Christopher, John Wyndham and 'George Whitley' in small cameos in the tall tales recounted by Harry Purvis. So a haunt of the literary types someone under a newspaper building or thereabouts, is what he says, so maybe pointing out a real pub somewhere he liked?

Anyway, all from around the 1950 mark, these. All they are intended to be is fun stories, and the author pretty much succeeds at that, in general.


Tales from the White Hart : Silence Please! - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales from the White Hart : Big Game Hunt - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales from the White Hart : Patent Pending - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales from the White Hart : Armaments Race - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales from the White Hart : Critical Mass - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales from the White Hart : The Ultimate Melody - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales from the White Hart : The Pacifist - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales from the White Hart : The Next Tenants - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales from the White Hart : Moving Spirit - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales from the White Hart : The Man Who Ploughed the Sea - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales from the White Hart : The Reluctant Orchid - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales from the White Hart : Cold War - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales from the White Hart : What Goes Up - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales from the White Hart : Sleeping Beauty - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales from the White Hart : The Defenestration of Ermintrude Inch - Arthur C. Clarke


Negative feedback showstopping blowup.

3.5 out of 5


Giant Squid control lacking.

3 out of 5


Sensation register commerce.

2.5 out of 5


Captain Zoom gun prop death ray.

3.5 out of 5


Bee ooze.

3.5 out of 5


Stuck in a hit pattern.

3 out of 5


War program insults.

3.5 out of 5


“The number of mad scientists who wish to conquer the world,” said Harry Purvis, looking thoughtfully at his beer, “has been grossly exaggerated”.

3 out of 5


Whiskey making case a bomb.

3 out of 5


Submarine getaway extraction.

3.5 out of 5


Wellsian hothouse epic coward.

4 out of 5


Iceberg towing bet interruption.

3 out of 5


Antigravity flameout.

3 out of 5


Snoring cure insomnia reversal.

3.5 out of 5


Word count loop cheat pushover.

3.5 out of 5





3.5 out of 5

The Defenestration of Ermintrude Inch - Arthur C. Clarke

Word count loop cheat pushover.


3.5 out of 5

Sleeping Beauty - Arthur C. Clarke

Snoring cure insomnia reversal.


3.5 out of 5

Cold War - Arthur C. Clarke

Iceberg towing bet interruption.


3 out of 5

The Man Who Ploughed the Sea - Arthur C. Clarke

Submarine getaway extraction.


3.5 out of 5

Moving Spirit - Arthur C. Clarke

Whiskey making case a bomb.


3 out of 5

The Next Tenants - Arthur C. Clarke

“The number of mad scientists who wish to conquer the world,” said Harry Purvis, looking thoughtfully at his beer, “has been grossly exaggerated”.


3 out of 5

The Pacifist - Arthur C. Clarke

War program insults.


3.5 out of 5

The Ultimate Menace - Arthur C. Clarke

Stuck in a hit pattern.


3 out of 5

Critical Mass - Arthur C. Clarke

Bee ooze.


3.5 out of 5

Armaments Race - Arthur C. Clarke

Captain Zoom gun prop death ray.


3.5 out of 5

Big Game Hunt - Arthur C. Clarke

Giant Squid control lacking.


3 out of 5

The Wind From the Sun - Arthur C. Clarke

The sixth collection of Clarke stories. He points out that at the rate he was writing them now, he might never have another one, and could just add the odd stray to a re-release of this volume.

Not sure he wrote one since this at all, anyway, so no editing likely was needed.

He again chooses to put the best story at the end, but given this is a later collection, uses the award winning 'A Meeting With Medusa' rather than The Sentinel as in several other cases.

A couple of amusing joke stories here, too.

A few subpar examples it seems to me in this lot, so perhaps his decline in production is related to having done all that he wanted, or had come up with, not to mention the many novel era and a move away from this style of story more, in general.

Just a 3.32 average for this lot, but 'Medusa' is pretty cool.

Wind from the Sun : The Food of the Gods - Arthur C. Clarke
Wind from the Sun : Maelstrom II - Arthur C. Clarke
Wind from the Sun : The Shining Ones - Arthur C. Clarke
Wind from the Sun : The Wind from the Sun - Arthur C. Clarke
Wind from the Sun : The Secret - Arthur C. Clarke
Wind from the Sun : The Last Command - Arthur C. Clarke
Wind from the Sun : Dial F for Frankenstein - Arthur C. Clarke
Wind from the Sun : Reunion - Arthur C. Clarke
Wind from the Sun : Playback - Arthur C. Clarke
Wind from the Sun : The Light of Darkness - Arthur C. Clarke
Wind from the Sun : The Longest Science-Fiction Story Ever Told - Arthur C. Clarke
Wind from the Sun : Love That Universe - Arthur C. Clarke
Wind from the Sun : Crusade - Arthur C. Clarke
Wind from the Sun : The Cruel Sky - Arthur C. Clarke
Wind from the Sun : The Neutron Tide - Arthur C. Clarke
Wind from the Sun : Transit of Earth - Arthur C. Clarke
Wind from the Sun : A Meeting with Medusa - Arthur C. Clarke


Making synthetics.

3 out of 5


Cheap travel solution floating pickup.

4 out of 5


Giant squid scientists.

3.5 out of 5


Seven to the fore in this stairsailor space race.

3.5 out of 5


Lunar life extension upset.

3.5 out of 5


No point blowing anything else up.

2.5 out of 5


Phone exchange Is Alive.

3.5 out of 5


We can fix you, pasty boys.

2.5 out of 5


Regressing memory.

2.5 out of 5


African tyrant blinding.

3.5 out of 5


Recursive rejection.

4 out of 5


Talking to the Galactic Core.

3 out of 5


Metal life condition investigation.

3 out of 5


Levitator mountain climb escape.

3.5 out of 5


Battlecruiser crushing groaner.

3.5 out of 5


Marsnaut's useful ending.

3.5 out of 5


Jovian airship's robojock first contact radio days.

4 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

The Neutron Tide - Arthur C. Clarke

Battlecruiser crushing groaner.


3.5 out of 5

The Cruel Sky - Arthur C. Clarke

Levitator mountain climb escape.


3.5 out of 5

Crusade - Arthur C. Clarke

Metal life condition investigation.


3 out of 5

Love That Universe - Arthur C. Clarke

Talking to the Galactic Core.


3 out of 5

The Light Of Darkness - Arthur C. Clarke

African tyrant blinding.


3.5 out of 5

Playback - Arthur C. Clarke

Regressing memory.


2.5 out of 5

Reunion - Arthur C. Clarke

We can fix you, pasty boys.


2.5 out of 5

Dial F For Frankenstein - Arthur C. Clarke

Phone exchange Is Alive.


3.5 out of 5

The Last Command - Arthur C. Clarke

No point blowing anything else up.


2.5 out of 5

The Secret - Arthur C. Clarke

Lunar life extension upset.


3.5 out of 5

The Shining Ones - Arthur C. Clarke

Giant squid scientists.


3.5 out of 5

Maelstrom II - Arthur C. Clarke

Cheap travel solution floating pickup.


4 out of 5

The Food Of the Gods - Arthur C. Clarke

Making synthetics.


3 out of 5

Expedition To Earth - Arthur C. Clarke

Another 50-50ish Clarke collection, with around half the pieces average or so, with the best for last in the case. Only a 3.27 average here.

So, rounding up to get to 3.5 with this one.

Expedition To Earth : Second Dawn - Arthur C. Clarke
Expedition To Earth : If I Forget Thee Oh Earth - Arthur C. Clarke
Expedition To Earth : Breaking Strain - Arthur C. Clarke
Expedition To Earth : History Lesson - Arthur C. Clarke
Expedition To Earth : Superiority - Arthur C. Clarke
Expedition To Earth : Exile of the Eons - Arthur C. Clarke
Expedition To Earth : Hide and Seek - Arthur C. Clarke
Expedition To Earth : Expedition to Earth - Arthur C. Clarke
Expedition To Earth : Loophole - Arthur C. Clarke
Expedition To Earth : Inheritance - Arthur C. Clarke
Expedition To Earth : The Sentinel - Arthur C. Clarke

Composite Mind War accomodation.

3.5 out of 5


Independent attitude required.

3 out of 5


Star Queen meteor holed poison survival choice.

3.5 out of 5


Glacial only bad on one planet, even if puzzling for the other.

3 out of 5


Weapons tech advance space war failure.

3.5 out of 5


Master suspended animation time banishment.

3 out of 5


Military Intelligence Phobos evasion story.

3.5 out of 5


Generation gap leavetaking.

3.5 out of 5


Earth weapons report. Oops.

3 out of 5


Long fall landing.

2.5 out of 5


Moon machine.

4 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Inheritance - Arthur C. Clarke

Long fall landing.


2.5 out of 5

Loophole - Arthur C. Clarke

Earth weapons report. Oops.


3 out of 5

Exile Of the Eons - Arthur C. Clarke

Master suspended animation time banishment.


3 out of 5

History Lesson - Arthur C. Clarke

Glacial only bad on one planet, even if puzzling for the other.


3 out of 5

Breaking Strain - Arthur C. Clarke

Star Queen meteor holed poison survival choice.


3.5 out of 5

Tales Of Ten Worlds - Arthur C. Clarke

Tales of Ten Worlds? Not quite. Of the 15 stories, there are Earth, Mars, Venus, Saturn stories - and some farther ranging, so I guess the generarl sense of that title is perhaps fair enough.

Half of this is just average stories, although it does include four 4 star tales, including Who's There (or The Haunted Spacesuit if you like).

Hate is a little different, showing Clarke's marine interest in focus, in a story about divers, and is quite good, too.

A 3.40 average here.

Tales of Ten Worlds : I Remember Babylon - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales of Ten Worlds : Summertime on Icarus - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales of Ten Worlds : Out of the Cradle Endlessly Orbiting - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales of Ten Worlds : Who's There? - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales of Ten Worlds : Hate - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales of Ten Worlds : Into the Comet - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales of Ten Worlds : An Ape About the House - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales of Ten Worlds : Saturn Rising - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales of Ten Worlds : Let There Be Light - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales of Ten Worlds : Death and the Senator - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales of Ten Worlds : Trouble With Time - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales of Ten Worlds : Before Eden - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales of Ten Worlds : A Slight Case of Sunstroke - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales of Ten Worlds : Dog Star - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales of Ten Worlds : The Road to the Sea - Arthur C. Clarke

Satellite broadcast instruction propaganda.

3 out of 5


Hot stuck time doesn't bear repeating.

4 out of 5


Space rugrat 1.

3 out of 5


Kitten score quite popular.

4 out of 5


Undersea Russian space wreck Hungarian backstab dead girl second take.

4 out of 5


Ship abacus report.

3.5 out of 5


Art can be done by smart monkeys.

3 out of 5


Titan tourist desire.

3 out of 5


Affair death ray.

3 out of 5


Zero G cardio cure.

3 out of 5


Siren Goddess nicked.

3.5 out of 5


Venusian botany on the run.

3 out of 5


South American soccer dodgy even in Clarke stories, but frying the ref probably wasn't intended.

3.5 out of 5


Pooch love warning.

4 out of 5


Last city exploration scene evacuation.

3.5 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

The Road to the Sea - Arthur C. Clarke

Last city exploration scene evacuation.


3.5 out of 5

A Slight Case Of Sunstroke - Arthur C. Clarke

South American soccer dodgy even in Clarke stories, but frying the ref probably wasn't intended.


3.5 out of 5

Let There Be Light - Arthur C. Clarke

Affair death ray.


3 out of 5

Saturn Rising - Arthur C. Clarke

Titan tourist desire.


3 out of 5

Hate - Arthur C. Clarke

Undersea Russian space wreck Hungarian backstab dead girl second take.


4 out of 5

Out of the Cradle Endlessly Orbiting - Arthur C. Clarke

Space rugrat 1.


3 out of 5

A Meeting With Medusa - Arthur C. Clarke

Jovian airship's robojock first contact radio days.


4 out of 5

Of Time and Stars - Arthur C. Clarke

A Clarke collection that again wisely leads off with the best story, finishing with another of his best, and a few other higher quality pieces are scattered throughout. Also some short entertainments like the Robin Hood story and Feathered Friend, all of the not very long at all variety.

Actually a 3.61 average here, rathed good.

Of Time and Stars : The Nine Billion Names of God - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : An Ape About the House - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : Green Fingers - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : Trouble with the Natives - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : Into the Comet - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : No Morning After - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : If I Forget Thee Oh Earth - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : Who's There? - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : All the Time in the World - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : Hide and Seek - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : Robin Hood F.R.S. - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : The Fires Within - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : The Forgotten Enemy - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : The Reluctant Orchid - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : Encounter at Dawn - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : Security Check - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : Feathered Friend - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars : The Sentinel - Arthur C. Clarke

Ubergeek monks finish a cataloguing project, and with it comes some serious consequences.

5 out of 5


Art can be done by smart monkeys.

3 out of 5


Moon botanist rooted.

3.5 out of 5


Interstellar contact tricky.

3.5 out of 5


Ship abacus report.

3.5 out of 5


Telepathic brain's thirty-seventy dimensional warp bridge earth fry escape message rejection.

3.5 out of 5


Independent attitude required.

3 out of 5


Kitten score quite popular.

3.5 out of 5


A sneaky thief discovers that time travel robbery isn't all it is cracked up to be.

3.5 out of 5


Military Intelligence Phobos evasion story.

3.5 out of 5


Moon archery ideas.

3.5 out of 5


Very solid discovery.

3.5 out of 5


There's a polar bear in there.

4 out of 5


Wellsian hothouse epic coward.

4 out of 5


Generation gap leavetaking.

3.5 out of 5


Space Legion design investigation.

3 out of 5


Canarynaut warning.

3.5 out of 5


Moon machine.

4 out of 5




4.5 out of 5

Feathered Friend - Arthur C. Clarke

Canarynaut warning.


3.5 out of 5

Security Check - Arthur C. Clarke

Space Legion design investigation.


3 out of 5

Robin Hood F. R. S. - Arthur C. Clarke

Moon archery ideas.


3.5 out of 5

Into the Comet - Arthur C. Clarke

Ship abacus report.


3.5 out of 5

Green Fingers - Arthur C. Clarke

Moon botanist rooted.


3.5 out of 5

An Ape About the House - Arthur C. Clarke

Art can be done by smart monkeys.


3 out of 5

Reach For Tomorrow - Arthur C. Clarke

A collection of decent Clarke stories - a 3.33 average overall, but certainly not his best, of course. The best stories are the first three, the rest certainly are not as interesting, in general.

Reach for Tomorrow : Rescue Party - Arthur C. Clarke
Reach for Tomorrow : A Walk in the Dark - Arthur C. Clarke
Reach for Tomorrow : The Forgotten Enemy - Arthur C. Clarke
Reach for Tomorrow : Technical Error - Arthur C. Clarke
Reach for Tomorrow : The Parasite - Arthur C. Clarke
Reach for Tomorrow : The Fires Within - Arthur C. Clarke
Reach for Tomorrow : The Awakening - Arthur C. Clarke
Reach for Tomorrow : Trouble with the Natives - Arthur C. Clarke
Reach for Tomorrow : The Curse - Arthur C. Clarke
Reach for Tomorrow : Time's Arrow - Arthur C. Clarke
Reach for Tomorrow : Jupiter Five - Arthur C. Clarke
Reach for Tomorrow : The Possessed - Arthur C. Clarke

An alien survey ship is surprised to find that the Earth system sun is going nova well ahead of schedule, and gets in trouble itself when it goes to look for people to save and can't find signs of life, until much later.

3.5 out of 5


Starlight, definitely not even close to bright.

3.5 out of 5


There's a polar bear in there.

4 out of 5


Fifth dimension flipside.

3 out of 5


Omega the Unknown.

3 out of 5


Very solid discovery.

3.5 out of 5


Boring utopia long nap bugs.

2.5 out of 5


Interstellar contact tricky.

3.5 out of 5


Rocket dust rain epitaph.

3.5 out of 5


Footprint foreshadowing.

3.5 out of 5


Jupiter Moon Martian Culture X conflict.

3 out of 5


Swarm mind search lemming poor pick.

3.5 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Jupiter Five - Arthur C. Clarke

Jupiter Moon Martian Culture X conflict.


3 out of 5

The Awakening - Arthur C. Clarke

Boring utopia long nap bugs.


2.5 out of 5

The Fires Within - Arthur C. Clarke

Very solid discovery.


3.5 out of 5

The Parasite - Arthur C. Clarke

Omega the Unknown.


3 out of 5

Technical Error - Arthur C. Clarke

Fifth dimension flipside.


3 out of 5

The Nine Billion Names Of God - Arthur C. Clarke

This is a selection of work chosen by the author himself as being the stories he prefers, or at least a book full of them, anyway.

It does, of course, lead off with the outstanding and famous title story. There's a range here from cool scientific observation, to space adventure like Hide and Seek and funny stuff like The Reluctant Orchid. There's even the dogmatically not so good story I Remember Babylon.

Mostly of the short story variety, except for the considerably longer Rescue Party.

Still, most definitely a good collection of Clarke stories, averaging just a touch under 3.50.

Nine Billion Names of God : The Nine Billion Names of God - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : I Remember Babylon - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : Trouble with Time - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : Rescue Party - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : The Curse - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : Summertime on Icarus - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : Dog Star - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : Hide and Seek - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : Out of the Sun - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : The Wall of Darkness - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : No Morning After - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : The Possessed - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : Death and the Senator - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : Who's There? - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : Before Eden - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : Superiority - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : A Walk in the Dark - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : The Call of the Stars - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : The Reluctant Orchid - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : Encounter at Dawn - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : If I Forget Thee Oh Earth - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : Patent Pending - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : The Sentinel - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : Transcience - Arthur C. Clarke
Nine Billion Names of God : The Star - Arthur C. Clarke


Ubergeek monks finish a cataloguing project, and with it comes some serious consequences.

5 out of 5


Satellite broadcast instruction propaganda.

3 out of 5


Siren Goddess nicked.

3.5 out of 5


An alien survey ship is surprised to find that the Earth system sun is going nova well ahead of schedule, and gets in trouble itself when it goes to look for people to save and can't find signs of life, until much later.

3.5 out of 5


Rocket dust rain epitaph.

3.5 out of 5


Hot stuck time doesn't bear repeating.

4 out of 5


Pooch love warning.

4 out of 5


Military Intelligence Phobos evasion story.

3.5 out of 5


Equatorial prominence being blowout.

3.5 out of 5


Shadow Land crossing engineering loop one-sided discovery.

3 out of 5


Telepathic brain's thirty-seventy dimensional warp bridge earth fry escape message rejection.

3.5 out of 5


Swarm mind search lemming poor pick.

3.5 out of 5


Zero G cardio cure.

3 out of 5


Kitten score quite popular.

3.5 out of 5


Venusian botany on the run.

3 out of 5


Weapons tech advance space war failure.

4 out of 5


Starlight, definitely not even close to bright.

3.5 out of 5


Dad not a space fan.

3 out of 5


Wellsian hothouse epic coward.

4 out of 5


Generation gap leavetaking.

3.5 out of 5


Independent attitude required.

3 out of 5


Sensation register commerce.

2.5 out of 5


Moon machine.

4 out of 5


Time to leave.

3 out of 5


Jesuit crewing for amusement finds supernova technology treasure cache is Star of Bethlehem reference point.

3.5 out of 5




4 out of 5

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Kind Of Artistry - Brian Aldiss

Cliff cell notes momma's boy takes the plunge.


3.5 out of 5

Transience - Arthur C. Clarke

Time to leave.


3 out of 5

The Man In the Mailbag - Gordon R. Dickson

Shortie people got no reason, Half Pint.


4 out of 5

Patent Pending - Arthur C. Clarke

Sensation register commerce.


2.5 out of 5

Encounter At Dawn - Arthur C. Clarke

Generation gap leavetaking.


3.5 out of 5

The Reluctant Orchid - Arthur C. Clarke

Wellsian hothouse epic coward.


4 out of 5

The Call Of the Stars - Arthur C. Clarke

Dad not a space fan.


3 out of 5

The Possessed - Arthur C. Clarke

Swarm mind search lemming poor pick.


3.5 out of 5

No Morning After - Arthur C. Clarke

Telepathic brain's thirty-seventy dimensional warp bridge earth fry escape message rejection.


3.5 out of 5

The Wall Of Darkness - Arthur C. Clarke

Shadow Land crossing engineering loop one-sided discovery.


3 out of 5

Out Of the Sun - Arthur C. Clarke

Equatorial prominence being blowout.


3.5 out of 5

Hide And Seek - Arthur C. Clarke

Military Intelligence Phobos evasion story.


3.5 out of 5

Dog Star - Arthur C. Clarke

Pooch love warning.


4 out of 5

Trouble With Time - Arthur C. Clarke

Siren Goddess nicked.


3.5 out of 5

I Remember Babylon - Arthur C. Clarke

Satellite broadcast instruction propaganda.


3 out of 5

Inhuman Error - Fred Saberhagen

Berserker human impersonation star sequence mnemonic save blast decision.


4 out of 5

Sleeping Dogs - Harlan Ellison

You deranged fool! You should be commanding an abattoir, not a ship of the line!"


4 out of 5

Shattered Like A Glass Goblin - Harlan Ellison

Drug monsters.


3 out of 5

Shatterday - Harlan Ellison

Split removal decision.


3.5 out of 5

Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans - Harlan Ellison

Werewolf's Frankenstein graser soul search.


4 out of 5

Sensible City - Harlan Ellison

Convict sausage roller zombie mistake.


3.5 out of 5

The Shape Of Everything - Robert Reed

Camp astronomy plasma chat.


3.5 out of 5

A Cat Horror Story - Gardner Dozois

Fast Dead Thing Ghostland runaway ball chopping swimming evil.


4 out of 5

One Life Furnished In Early Poverty - Harlan Ellison

Kid house had to go back.


3.5 out of 5

On the Downhill Side - Harlan Ellison

A little more, with unicorn.


3 out of 5

Objects of Desire in the Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear - Harlan Ellison

102-year old pregnant machete cop kid cull.


3.5 out of 5

In the Fourth Year Of the War - Harlan Ellison

Live in ordered dog killer massacre.


3.5 out of 5

The Human Operators - A. E. Van Vogt and Harlan Ellison

Accidental escape crew kill breeding plan.


4 out of 5

From A to Z in the Sarsaparilla Alphabet - Harlan Ellison

Ordered monster medley.


3.5 out of 5

Delusions For A Dragon Slayer - Harlan Ellison

Pulped voyeur chopper spat out.


3.5 out of 5

The Deathbird - Harlan Ellison

Devil Stack Man end.


4 out of 5

Count the Clock That Tells the Time - Harlan Ellison

Limbo leavetaking.


3.5 out of 5

Chatting With Anubis - Harlan Ellison

Pissy pantheon Moses denial.


3.5 out of 5

Brillo - Harlan Ellison and Ben Bova

Robocop takeover wrongdoing.


3.5 out of 5

Basilisk - Harlan Ellison

Stake step takeover repatriation facefry shootdown.


4 out of 5

All the Lies That Are My Life - Harlan Ellison

Dead will worries burned.


4 out of 5

Crystal Express - Bruce Sterling

A good collection of stories, the highlights of which are, in general, the various Shaper/Mechanist tales and Spook. It is the fantasy inclusions that are weaker and let the overall rating down a bit. Basically you can call this one a 4.25, but not quite, so gets a 4 rating overall.

Crystal Express : SPIDER ROSE - Bruce Sterling
Crystal Express : CICADA QUEEN - Bruce Sterling
Crystal Express : SUNKEN GARDENS - Bruce Sterling
Crystal Express : TWENTY EVOCATIONS - Bruce Sterling
Crystal Express : GREEN DAYS IN BRUNEI - Bruce Sterling
Crystal Express : SPOOK - Bruce Sterling
Crystal Express : THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE SUBLIME - Bruce Sterling
Crystal Express : TELLIAMED - Bruce Sterling
Crystal Express : THE LITTLE MAGIC SHOP - Bruce Sterling
Crystal Express : FLOWERS OF EDO - Bruce Sterling
Crystal Express : DINNER IN AUDOGHAST - Bruce Sterling


Nose For Profit pet interest trade real rescue transformation.

4.5 out of 5


Wellspring of Investors.

4 out of 5


Regal terraforming judgement.

4 out of 5


Shaper/Mechanist list.

3.5 out of 5


Mini country definitely getting away from it all for engineer boy if the best his mates can get him is Foster's.

3.5 out of 5


Super spies not like us.

4.5 out of 5


Copying what a dragonfly does is rather complex.

3.5 out of 5


Dark Girl From the Sea.

2.5 out of 5


Youthful waters arrangement.

4 out of 5


Local art ideas, one demon.

3 out of 5


Prophetic annoyance.

3.5 out of 5





4 out of 5

The Little Magic Shop - Bruce Sterling

Youthful waters arrangement.


4 out of 5

Flowers Of Edo - Bruce Sterling

Local art ideas, one demon.


3 out of 5

Telliamed - Bruce Sterling

Dark Girl From the Sea.


2.5

Green Days In Brunei - Bruce Sterling

Mini country definitely getting away from it all for engineer boy if the best his mates can get him is Foster's.


3.5 out of 5

Twenty Evocations - Bruce Sterling

Shaper/Mechanist list.


3.5 out of 5

The Sky People - Poul Anderson

Kiwi nouse beats parachute people, but no respect from Stone Age Zorro Romeos.


4 out of 5

Spider Rose - Bruce Sterling

Nose For Profit pet interest trade real rescue transformation.


4.5 out of 5

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Unicorn Variations - Roger Zelazny

A collection largely composed of quite short work, barring the brilliant Home Is the Hangman novella. In fact, multiple short-shorts to be found here, including a triple that starts with Fire And/Or Ice. A couple of stories rescued from fanzine and other death it seems, too.

Several of these are of the amusing variety.

There is also a sequel to the Devil Car story some people may have come across.

Included also are a couple of essays, one on sf and criticism and related topics, for when he had to think about talking at unis, and another on writing. Some short intros to stories are included.

As such, a little under the mark at 3.45 story average overall.


Unicorn Variations : Unicorn Variation - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : The Last of the Wild Ones - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : Recital - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : The Naked Matador - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : Dismal Light - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : Go Starless in the Night - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : But Not the Herald - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : A Hand Across the Galaxy - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : The Force that Through the Circuit Drives the Current - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : Home Is the Hangman - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : Fire And/Or Ice - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : Exeunt Omnes - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : A Very Good Year - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : My Lady of the Diodes - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : And I Only Am Escaped to Tell Thee - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : The Horses of Lir - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : The Night Has 999 Eyes - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : Angel Dark Angel - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : Walpurgisnacht - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : The George Business - Roger Zelanzy


Mythological species replacement with sasquatch chess master.

4 out of 5


Car herd cull history comeback duel failure.

4 out of 5


Singing character end.

3 out of 5


Killer coupling.

3.5 out of 5


Prison project main sequence remains.

3.5 out of 5


Corpsicle history lesson.

3.5 out of 5


Hoping to mug Hercules definitely too Hopeful.

3.5 out of 5


Interstellar foster kid letter.

3 out of 5


Telefactor operation autonomy observation.

3.5 out of 5


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

5 out of 5


Twilight of the Gods nookie.

3.5 out of 5


End of play.

3 out of 5


New Year's repeat.

3 out of 5


Crime spree jealous computer chess double cross teamup.

3 out of 5


Flying Dutchman ship change no improvement.

4 out of 5


Taking over the mythic keeping job from uncle.

4 out of 5


Sun maybe not scary.

2.5 out of 5


Agents of 'Death', chosen for exceptional physical abilities and then enhanced and given cool toys. They also get two coffee breaks a day.

4 out of 5


Talking tomb programs.

3.5 out of 5


Stage fight.

3.5 out of 5




4 out of 5

Unicorn Variations - Roger Zelazny

A collection largely composed of quite short work, barring the brilliant Home Is the Hangman novella. In fact, multiple short-shorts to be found here, including a triple that starts with Fire And/Or Ice. A couple of stories rescued from fanzine and other death it seems, too.

Several of these are of the amusing variety.

There is also a sequel to the Devil Car story some people may have come across.

Included also are a couple of essays, one on sf and criticism and related topics, for when he had to think about talking at unis, and another on writing. Some short intros to stories are included.

As such, a little under the mark at 3.45 story average overall.


Unicorn Variations : Unicorn Variation - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : The Last of the Wild Ones - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : Recital - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : The Naked Matador - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : Dismal Light - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : Go Starless in the Night - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : But Not the Herald - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : A Hand Across the Galaxy - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : The Force that Through the Circuit Drives the Current - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : Home Is the Hangman - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : Fire And/Or Ice - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : Exeunt Omnes - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : A Very Good Year - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : My Lady of the Diodes - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : And I Only Am Escaped to Tell Thee - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : The Horses of Lir - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : The Night Has 999 Eyes - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : Angel Dark Angel - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : Walpurgisnacht - Roger Zelanzy
Unicorn Variations : The George Business - Roger Zelanzy


Mythological species replacement with sasquatch chess master.

4 out of 5


Car herd cull history comeback duel failure.

4 out of 5


Singing character end.

3 out of 5


Killer coupling.

3.5 out of 5


Prison project main sequence remains.

3.5 out of 5


Corpsicle history lesson.

3.5 out of 5


Hoping to mug Hercules definitely too Hopeful.

3.5 out of 5


Interstellar foster kid letter.

3 out of 5


Telefactor operation autonomy observation.

3.5 out of 5


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

5 out of 5


Twilight of the Gods nookie.

3.5 out of 5


End of play.

3 out of 5


New Year's repeat.

3 out of 5


Crime spree jealous computer chess double cross teamup.

3 out of 5


Flying Dutchman ship change no improvement.

4 out of 5


Taking over the mythic keeping job from uncle.

4 out of 5


Sun maybe not scary.

2.5 out of 5


Agents of 'Death', chosen for exception physical abilities and then enhanced and given cool toys. They also get two coffee breaks a day.

4 out of 5


Talking tomb programs.

3.5 out of 5


Stage fight.

3.5 out of 5




4 out of 5

Walpurgisnacht - Roger Zelazny

Talking tomb programs.


3.5 out of 5

The Night Has 999 Eyes - Roger Zelazny

Sun maybe not scary.


2.5 out of 5

The Naked Matador - Roger Zelazny

Killer coupling.


3.5 out of 5

The Last Of the Wild Ones - Roger Zelazny

Car herd cull history comeback duel failure.


4 out of 5

The Horses Of Lir - Roger Zelazny

Taking over the mythic keeping job from uncle.


4 out of 5

The Force That Through The Circuit Drives The Current - Roger Zelazny

Telefactor operation autonomy observation.


3.5 out of 5

Recital - Roger Zelazny

Singing character end.


3 out of 5

My Lady Of the Diodes - Roger Zelazny

Crime spree jealous computer chess double cross teamup.


3 out of 5

Go Starless In the Night - Roger Zelazny

Corpsicle history lesson.


3.5 out of 5

A Very Good Year - Roger Zelazny

New Year's repeat.


3 out of 5

Exeunt Omnes - Roger Zelazny

End of play.


3 out of 5

Fire And/Or Ice - Roger Zelazny

Twilight of the Gods nookie.


3.5 out of 5

Dismal Light - Roger Zelazny

Prison project main sequence remains.


3.5 out of 5

But Not the Herald - Roger Zelazny

Hoping to mug Hercules definitely too Hopeful.


3.5 out of 5

And I Am Only Escaped To Tell Thee - Roger Zelazny

Flying Dutchman ship change no improvement.


4 out of 5

A Hand Across the Galaxy - Roger Zelazny

Interstellar foster kid letter.


3 out of 5

Picnic On Nearside - John Varley

According to the start of this book, it has also been called the Barbie Murders. Yet more of Varley's high quality burst of short fiction collected. No particular standouts, just overall above average to good work for the whole book, with nothing remotely in the ordinary range.

Some of the stories again are in settings used before, The Barbie Murders, etc.

A 3.67 average here, so rather good.

Picnic on Nearside : BAGATELLE - John Varley
Picnic on Nearside : THE FUNHOUSE EFFECT - John Varley
Picnic on Nearside : THE BARBIE MURDERS - John Varley
Picnic on Nearside : EQUINOCTIAL - John Varley
Picnic on Nearside : MANIKINS - John Varley
Picnic on Nearside : BEATNIK BAYOU - John Varley
Picnic on Nearside : GOOD-BYE ROBINSON CRUSOE - John Varley
Picnic on Nearside : LOLLIPOP AND THE TAR BABY - John Varley
Picnic on Nearside : PICNIC ON NEARSIDE - John Varley

An expert and the police have a cyborg turned into a nuclear bomb by terrorists to deal with.

4 out of 5


Hell's Snowball last trip Free-Birth hijack.

3.5 out of 5


Standard lookalikes hard to investigate.

4 out of 5


Engineer birth hunt Parameter Symbiote ennui Ringer alternative.

4 out of 5


Male parasite paranoia phantom pregnancy.

3.5 out of 5


Age specific education and punishment.

3.5 out of 5


Transplant Disneyland ghost shark shag shot cash fightback.

3.5 out of 5


Mother love hunt black hole sneaky convo.

3.5 out of 5


No change celibate old bloke chat conkout.

3.5 out of 5





4.5 out of 5

Picnic On Nearside - John Varley

No change celibate old bloke chat conkout.


3.5 out of 5

Beatnik Bayou - John Varley

Age specific education and punishment.


3.5 out of 5

Manikins - John Varley

Male parasite paranoia phantom pregnancy.


3.5 out of 5

Equinoctial - John Varley

Engineer birth hunt Parameter Symbiote ennui Ringer alternative.


4 out of 5

The Barbie Murders - John Varley

Standard lookalikes hard to investigate.


4 out of 5

The Funhouse Effect - John Varley

Hell's Snowball last trip Free-Birth hijack.


3.5 out of 5

Blue Champagne - John Varley

A very fine collection, polished off with the most excellent thriller novella Press Enter. In fact, the average here is a rather high 3.75, which is very fine.

A couple of the stories are related being in the same future history and sharing a character or two, also consecutive, Blue Champagne being the first.

One writing joke piece that is perhaps more of interest to those at least vaguely related to the industry, but entertaining enough.

Award nominations and Year's Best inclusions happened for 3/4 of these stories, so again, quality stuff this collection.

Blue Champagne : The Pusher - John Varley
Blue Champagne : Blue Champagne - John Varley
Blue Champagne : Tango Charlie and Foxtrot Romeo - John Varley
Blue Champagne : Options - John Varley
Blue Champagne : Lollipop and the Tar Baby - John Varley
Blue Champagne : The Manhattan Phone Book (Abridged) - John Varley
Blue Champagne : The Unprocessed Word - John Varley
Blue Champagne : Press Enter - John Varley

Little girl story.

3.5 out of 5


Golden Gypsy sextape sidekick shocker.

4 out of 5


Station disease girl dogshow.

4 out of 5


Transgender tryouts.

4.5 out of 5


Mother love hunt black hole sneaky convo.

3.5 out of 5


Nuked list.

3 out of 5


Typing production discussion.

3 out of 5


Electronic entity killer discovery.

4.5 out of 5




4.5 out of 5

The Unprocessed Word - John Varley

Typing production discussion.


3 out of 5

The Manhattan Phone Book - John Varley

Nuked list.


3 out of 5

Lollipop and the Tar Baby - John Varley

Mother love hunt black hole sneaky convo.


3.5 out of 5

Tango Charlie and Foxtrot Romeo - John Varley

Station disease girl dogshow.


4 out of 5

Blue Champagne - John Varley

Golden Gypsy sextape sidekick shocker.


4 out of 5

Stark and the Star Kings and Other Stories - Leigh Brackett

A highly entertaining bunch of space adventure in this book, the title story being a crossover between the spousal duo's characters, Eric John Stark and the Star Kings.

It is all really rather cool from crazy space adventure like Child Of the Sun, to the planetary romance of the Enchantress of Venus, to the more serious Lake Of the Gone Forever. Definitely worth a read.

No average stories at all, and a 3.58 score overall.

Stark and the Star Kings : STARK AND THE STAR KINGS - Leigh Brackett and Edmond Hamilton
Stark and the Star Kings : ENCHANTRESS OF VENUS - Leigh Brackett
Stark and the Star Kings : THE LAKE OF THE GONE FOREVER - Leigh Brackett
Stark and the Star Kings : CHILD OF THE SUN - Leigh Brackett
Stark and the Star Kings : RETREAT TO THE STARS - Leigh Brackett
Stark and the Star Kings : THE JEWEL OF BAS - Leigh Brackett

When very bad things are detected, Stark is sent into the future to enlist the aid of the Star Kings to stop a sun destroying menace.

3.5 out of 5


Stark goes looking to find a lost friend he thinks is in trouble, and ends up fomenting a slave rebellion, among other things.

4 out of 5


Transuranic memories.

3.5 out of 5


Pick on people your own size, starthing boy.

3.5 out of 5


Shoot the state spy, we've got a spaceship to fly.

3.5 out of 5


Cimerians, Hyperborean forests, slave gangs, androids, monsters, immortals, priests of Dagon, energy weapons, stone of destiny, telepaths, and harpiing.

3.5 out of 5





4.5 out of 5

True Colors - Kathe Koja

Painting homesickness.


3 out of 5

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

All the Last Wars At Once - George Alec Effinger

Group expunging deadline.


4 out of 5

Time-sharing Angel - James Tiptree Jr

Too many people, need to slow down.


4 out of 5

Why I Left Harry's All-Night Hamburgers - Lawrence Watt-Evans

Homestyle travel a better idea than parallel universe.


4 out of 5

Rump-titty-titty-tum-tah-tee - Fritz Leiber

Jumbo magic pattern words.


3.5 out of 5

The Hugo Winners 1968-1970 - Isaac Asimov

Here's a pretty classy, if novella (and Ellison) heavy volume. In fact, right on the outstanding 4.00 average. Can't ask for any more than that, really. These stories are from the period 1968-1970, and Asimov's intros are pretty cool, taking the piss out of pretty much everyone involved.

He also says this volume was published as one in the US, but split up for price reasons in the UK.

Hugo Winners Volume Two : Weyr Search - Anne McCaffrey
Hugo Winners Volume Two : Riders of the Purple Wage - Philip José Farmer
Hugo Winners Volume Two : Gonna Roll the Bones - Fritz Leiber
Hugo Winners Volume Two : I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream - Harlan Ellison
Hugo Winners Volume Two : Nightwings - Robert Silverberg
Hugo Winners Volume Two : The Sharing of Flesh - Poul Anderson
Hugo Winners Volume Two : The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World - Harlan Ellison
Hugo Winners Volume Two : Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones - Samuel R. Delany
Teleportin' time-shiftin' meteor shootin' dragon recruitin'.

4.5 out of 5


Winnegan's World, Winnegan's Universe.

3.5 out of 5


Dicing with Death.

4.5 out of 5


AM modelled slave.

4 out of 5


Guild breeding cycle invasion.

4 out of 5


Cultural anthropology team's cannibal puberty blues cure.

4 out of 5


Crosswhen force-lines.

3.5 out of 5


Singing shiny password.

4 out of 5




5 out of 5

The Sharing Of Flesh - Poul Anderson

Cultural anthropology team's cannibal puberty blues cure.


4 out of 5

Nightwings - Robert Silverberg

Guild breeding cycle invasion.


4 out of 5

The Beast That Shouted Love At the Heart of the World - Harlan Ellison

Crosswhen force-lines.


3.5 out of 5

Or All the Seas With Oysters - Avram Davidson

Bike regeneration mimic.


3 out of 5

Space To Swing A Cat - Stanley Mullen

Biolab weirdie furry mutant freak pilot.


3.5 out of 5

The New Prime - Jack Vance

Overlords should be nicer.


4 out of 5

Correspondence Course - Raymond F. Jones

Power co-ordination vessel teamup.


4 out of 5

Uncommon Sense - Hal Clement

Denebian life observations.


3.5 out of 5

The Waveries - Fredric Brown

Space signal warping readjustment.


4 out of 5

The Ethical Equations - Murray Leinster

Conduct probability Space Patrol.


3 out of 5

Understanding Entropy - Barry N. Malzberg

Seventeen years of livin' - then death,
That's all that's left;
Seventeen years - then death.
Seventeen years - all that's left.


3.5 out of 5

Walking Out - Michael Swanwick

New England gone, city boy.


4 out of 5

Our Prayers Are With You - Robert Reed

Sandbagging.


3.5 out of 5

A Birthday - Esther M. Friesner

Abortion projection.


3.5 out of 5

Un-birthday Boy - James White

Centre play flight care.


3 out of 5

Decency - Robert Reed

Suffering shooting exile arrival rollback experiment request.


4.5 out of 5

The Soul Selects Her Own Society - Connie Willis

Martian invasion evidence.


3.5 out of 5

Teleabsence - Michael A. Burstein

Distance impostor school nicer.


4 out of 5

Beluthahatchie - Andy Duncan

Hellhounds not too scary, peckerwood.


3.5 out of 5

No Planets Strike - Gene Wolfe

Smartass clowns, Beautiful.


4 out of 5

The 43 Antarean Dynasties - Mike Resnick

Bigarse monument tour.


4 out of 5

Wild Minds - Michael Swanwick

Non-optimised worries.


3.5 out of 5

Cosmic Corkscrew - Michael A. Burstein

Asimov short story rejection changes time.


3.5 out of 5

Sarajevo - Nick DiChario

Euthanasia trip wish.


3.5 out of 5

Moon Dogs - Michael Swanwick

I like to die, babe.


4 out of 5

Kaddish For the Last Survivor - Michael A. Burstein

Denial growth stop strategy.


3.5 out of 5

Spaceships - Michael A. Burstein

Collection meeting.


3.5 out of 5

Falling Onto Mars - Geoffrey A. Landis

Prison exiles got no love.


3.5 out of 5

The Galton Whistle - L. Sprague de Camp

All that fighting just to rescue a virgin priestess who wants to remain so. I'm off for some skiing, I think, instead.


3.5 out of 5

The Rull - A. E. Van Vogt

One-on-one conditioning for galactic diplomacy.


4 out of 5

Monday, February 25, 2008

Asimov's 132 - Gardner Dozois

The pick of this issue is of course Willis' most excellent dog disease outbreak story, with interesting stuff from Wolverton, Landis and Barnes. So, quite well done with a 3.50 average.

Fun ad at the start for the 1 buck version of Car Wars. (high speed bootlegger reverse while on fire a bad idea, btw). Short bit on games, and book reviews include Swordspoint, with an editorial by Asimov on Psychohistory.

ASIMOVS132 : The Last of the Winnebagos - Connie Willis
ASIMOVS132 : The Limit of Vision - John Barnes
ASIMOVS132 : The Sky is an Open Highway - Dave Wolverton
ASIMOVS132 : Vacuum States - Geoffrey A. Landis
ASIMOVS132 : Lily Red - Karen Joy Fowler
ASIMOVS132 : Through Alien Eyes - Hilary Rettig


Dog photomurder blame.

4.5 out of 5


Triple alien conversion Templar hypergate wipeout.

3.5 out of 5


Might just get away with nuking that planet.

3.5 out of 5


Forever Or the End.

3.5 out of 5


One night godstand, maybe.

3 out of 5


Hypertrophic war imminent.

3 out of 5




4 out of 5

Asimov's 045 - George H. Scithers

An Avram Davidson history column in here, and an article on the Anthropic Principle, the best two things here other than John M. Ford's story.

ASIMOVS045 : The Artistic Touch - Ian Watson
ASIMOVS045 : The Anatomy Lesson - Scott Russell Sanders
ASIMOVS045 : Intersections - John M. Ford
ASIMOVS045 : The North Wind - James E. Gunn
ASIMOVS045 : Our Man in Vulnerable - Sharon Webb
ASIMOVS045 : Backup System - F. M. Busby
ASIMOVS045 : The Dark Side of Mallworld - S. P. Somtow


More Chaos needed.

3 out of 5


Not plane nor bird nor even frog. It’s just little old me. Wait, no its not. I am turning into that?

3.5 out of 5


Alternity dogfight detour mathematics falling for getaway.

4 out of 5


Cold as ice, finally gets southern vision.

3 out of 5


Contract pun-ishment.

3 out of 5


CIA edit.

3 out of 5


barSinister Julians and crazy aliens.

3 out of 5




3 out of 5

Through Alien Eyes - Hilary Rettig

Hypertrophic war imminent.


3 out of 5

Lily Red - Karen Joy Fowler

One night godstand, maybe.


3 out of 5

The Limit Of Vision - John Barnes

Triple alien conversion Templar hypergate wipeout.


3.5 out of 5

The Dark Side of Mallword - S. P. Somtow

barSinister Julians and crazy aliens.


3 out of 5

Backup System - F. M. Busby

CIA edit.


3 out of 5

Our Man In Vulnerable - Sharon Webb

Contract pun-ishment.


3 out of 5

Intersections - John M. Ford

Alternity dogfight detour mathematics falling for getaway.


4 out of 5

Shed Skin - Robert J. Sawyer

I'm already dead, dude, what are you doing taking hostages?


4 out of 5

Sunken Gardens - Bruce Sterling

Regal terraforming judgement.


4 out of 5

The Map - Gene Wolfe

Not coming back.


3 out of 5

The Cat - Gene Wolfe

Paw stain.


2 out of 5

In the Islands - Pat Murphy

Silkie death.


3.5 out of 5

The Sidon In the Mirror - Connie Willis

Tap blowup burn you.


3 out of 5

Multiples - Robert Silverberg

Relationship identity switching.


4 out of 5

Manifest Destiny - Joe Haldeman

Wish they told us about the Apaches.


3.5 out of 5

Slow Birds - Ian Watson

Blowing the world up a bit at a glassy time.


3.5 out of 5

Black Air - Kim Stanley Robinson

Can't walk on water, Saint Anna.


3 out of 5

Pulp Fiction the Villains - Otto Penzler

This has an introduction by Harlan Ellison expounding on how dodgy he used to be, and pulp-writing. A pleasant surprise to find here that, along with Hammett and Chandler, was a bunch of stories about various pulp antihero type characters from series, however, short, such as The Cobra, The Moon Man, The Phantom Crook, and even The Saint, whom it is likely many more people will have heard of.

Again, one strange decision to include a chunk of stories by one writer, Frederick Nebel, with multiple unrelated 'Richmond City' crime tales, when several more writers could have been featured. Especially given a few of these aren't very good.

As such, this anthology only has a 3.40 story average.

Pulp Fiction the Villains : The Cat Woman - Erle Stanley Gardner
Pulp Fiction the Villains : The Dilemma of the Dead Lady - Cornell Woolrich
Pulp Fiction the Villains : The House of Kaa - Richard B. Sale
Pulp Fiction the Villains : The Invisible Millionaire - Leslie Charteris
Pulp Fiction the Villains : Faith - Dashiell Hammett
Pulp Fiction the Villains : Pastorale - James M. Cain
Pulp Fiction the Villains : The Sad Serbian - Frank Gruber
Pulp Fiction the Villains : You'll Always Remember Me - Steve Fisher
Pulp Fiction the Villains : Finger Man - Raymond Chandler
Pulp Fiction the Villains : You'll Die Laughing - Norbert Davis
Pulp Fiction the Villains : About Kid Deth - Raoul Whitfield
Pulp Fiction the Villains : The Sinister Sphere - Frederick C. Davis
Pulp Fiction the Villains : Pigeon Blood - Paul Cain
Pulp Fiction the Villains : The Perfect Crime - C. S. Montanye
Pulp Fiction the Villains : The Monkey Murder - Erle Stanley Gardner
Pulp Fiction the Villains : Raw Law - Frederick Nebel
Pulp Fiction the Villains : Dog Eat Dog - Frederick Nebel
Pulp Fiction the Villains : The Law Laughs Last - Frederick Nebel
Pulp Fiction the Villains : Law Without Law - Frederick Nebel
Pulp Fiction the Villains : Graft - Frederick Nebel

"Miss Jean Ellery annonces that it gives her pleasure to accept the invitation of Ed Jenkins to a holdup and burglary. When do we start?"

The Phantom Crook finds himself in the frame of a plot to gain a wealthy man's inheritance and murder his not known about daughter.

3.5 out of 5


Anybody could be a crook, really, when you are carting a corpse around.

4 out of 5


Trying to pull off a snake smuggling plot or get him with a giant python? Don't think that will work on The Cobra.

3 out of 5


A young woman writes to the Saint asking for help, and murder and impersonation follow.

3.5 out of 5


I blame God instead. Pass the matches.

3 out of 5


Giving yourself up.

3 out of 5


A Prince of a skip-traced scam.

4 out of 5


Those crazy young murderers.

3.5 out of 5


Casino killing group.

3 out of 5


Collecting apartment murder.

3.5 out of 5


"You got me wrong, Kid," he said. "When did you start packin' a rod?"

"When you started rubbing out women!" he said steadily.

3 out of 5


The Moon Man only has to keep his identity secret from his police boss, his girlfriend, and others, as he goes around nicking from them and their acquaintances to help the needy, with the help of a trusted assistant.

It is also pointed out that glass bowl heads just might break, too.

3 out of 5


Ruby debts means no divorce needed.

4 out of 5


Gloves off is a problem.

3 out of 5


Simian stone smuggling gums up the works with a caning.

3.5 out of 5


"'Get up - get up,' gritted Cardigan. 'That's only a smell compared with what's coming if you don't come clean. Get up, you dirty little rat!'"

4 out of 5


"'Kennedy,' he said, 'there have been times when I ached to wring your neck. You're a cynical, cold-blooded, snooping, wisecracking example of modern newspaperdom. But, Kennedy, you've got brains -- and you're on the square. Here's to you.'""

4 out of 5


"Captain MacBride, back again in the Second, ran it with two fists, a dry sense of humor and a generous quantity of brass-bound nerve....He wsa not a pessimists, but a hard-headed materialist, and he rated crooks and gunmen with a certain species of rodent that travels by dark and frequents cellars, sewers and garbage dumps."

3 out of 5


Towing rivals.

3 out of 5


Trucking rivals.

3 out of 5





This has an introduction by Harlan Ellison expounding on how dodgy he used to be, and pulp-writing. A pleasant surprise to find here that, along with Hammett and Chandler, was a bunch of stories about various pulp antihero type characters from series, however, short, such as The Cobra, The Moon Man, The Phantom Crook, and even The Saint, whom it is likely many more people will have heard of.

Again, one strange decision to include a chunk of stories by one writer, Frederick Nebel, with multiple unrelated 'Richmond City' crime tales, when several more writers could have been featured. Especially given a few of these aren't very good.

As such, this anthology only has a 3.40 story average.

Pulp Fiction the Villains : The Cat Woman - Erle Stanley Gardner
Pulp Fiction the Villains : The Dilemma of the Dead Lady - Cornell Woolrich
Pulp Fiction the Villains : The House of Kaa - Richard B. Sale
Pulp Fiction the Villains : The Invisible Millionaire - Leslie Charteris
Pulp Fiction the Villains : Faith - Dashiell Hammett
Pulp Fiction the Villains : Pastorale - James M. Cain
Pulp Fiction the Villains : The Sad Serbian - Frank Gruber
Pulp Fiction the Villains : You'll Always Remember Me - Steve Fisher
Pulp Fiction the Villains : Finger Man - Raymond Chandler
Pulp Fiction the Villains : You'll Die Laughing - Norbert Davis
Pulp Fiction the Villains : About Kid Deth - Raoul Whitfield
Pulp Fiction the Villains : The Sinister Sphere - Frederick C. Davis
Pulp Fiction the Villains : Pigeon Blood - Paul Cain
Pulp Fiction the Villains : The Perfect Crime - C. S. Montanye
Pulp Fiction the Villains : The Monkey Murder - Erle Stanley Gardner
Pulp Fiction the Villains : Raw Law - Frederick Nebel
Pulp Fiction the Villains : Dog Eat Dog - Frederick Nebel
Pulp Fiction the Villains : The Law Laughs Last - Frederick Nebel
Pulp Fiction the Villains : Law Without Law - Frederick Nebel
Pulp Fiction the Villains : Graft - Frederick Nebel

"Miss Jean Ellery annonces that it gives her pleasure to accept the invitation of Ed Jenkins to a holdup and burglary. When do we start?"

The Phantom Crook finds himself in the frame of a plot to gain a wealthy man's inheritance and murder his not known about daughter.

3.5 out of 5


Anybody could be a crook, really, when you are carting a corpse around.

4 out of 5


Trying to pull off a snake smuggling plot or get him with a giant python? Don't think that will work on The Cobra.

3 out of 5


A young woman writes to the Saint asking for help, and murder and impersonation follow.

3.5 out of 5


I blame God instead. Pass the matches.

3 out of 5


Giving yourself up.

3 out of 5


A Prince of a skip-traced scam.

4 out of 5


Those crazy young murderers.

3.5 out of 5


Casino killing group.

3 out of 5


Collecting apartment murder.

3.5 out of 5


"You got me wrong, Kid," he said. "When did you start packin' a rod?"

"When you started rubbing out women!" he said steadily.

3 out of 5


The Moon Man only has to keep his identity secret from his police boss, his girlfriend, and others, as he goes around nicking from them and their acquaintances to help the needy, with the help of a trusted assistant.

It is also pointed out that glass bowl heads just might break, too.

3 out of 5


Ruby debts means no divorce needed.

4 out of 5


Gloves off is a problem.

3 out of 5


Simian stone smuggling gums up the works with a caning.

3.5 out of 5


"'Get up - get up,' gritted Cardigan. 'That's only a smell compared with what's coming if you don't come clean. Get up, you dirty little rat!'"

4 out of 5


"'Kennedy,' he said, 'there have been times when I ached to wring your neck. You're a cynical, cold-blooded, snooping, wisecracking example of modern newspaperdom. But, Kennedy, you've got brains -- and you're on the square. Here's to you.'""

4 out of 5


"Captain MacBride, back again in the Second, ran it with two fists, a dry sense of humor and a generous quantity of brass-bound nerve....He wsa not a pessimists, but a hard-headed materialist, and he rated crooks and gunmen with a certain species of rodent that travels by dark and frequents cellars, sewers and garbage dumps."

3 out of 5


Towing rivals.

3 out of 5


Trucking rivals.

3 out of 5





3.5 out of 5

Graft - Frederick Nebel

Trucking rivals.


3 out of 5

Law Without Law - Frederick Nebel

Towing rivals.


3 out of 5

The Law Laughs Last - Frederick Nebel

"Captain MacBride, back again in the Second, ran it with two fists, a dry sense of humor and a generous quantity of brass-bound nerve....He wsa not a pessimists, but a hard-headed materialist, and he rated crooks and gunmen with a certain species of rodent that travels by dark and frequents cellars, sewers and garbage dumps."


3 out of 5

Dog Eat Dog - Frederick Nebel

"'Kennedy,' he said, 'there have been times when I ached to wring your neck. You're a cynical, cold-blooded, snooping, wisecracking example of modern newspaperdom. But, Kennedy, you've got brains -- and you're on the square. Here's to you.'""


3.5 out of 5

Raw Law - Frederick Nebel

"'Get up - get up,' gritted Cardigan. 'That's only a smell compared with what's coming if you don't come clean. Get up, you dirty little rat!'"


4 out of 5

Asimov's 141 - Gardner Dozois

The editorial is about more examples of insane Americans wanting to censor library books, this time Asimov's Robots of Dawn, of all things. They obviously never came across Norman Spinrad's books, who later on writes about the life left in cyberpunk, along with a short column on gaming. Not too much exciting there. A fiction average of 3.42 - so pretty generic issue all told, which means a 3.5.

ASIMOVS141 : The Loch Moose Monster - Janet Kagan
ASIMOVS141 : In Another Country - Robert Silverberg
ASIMOVS141 : The Few the Proud - Harlan Ellison
ASIMOVS141 : Black Nimbus - Thomas Wylde
ASIMOVS141 : Dancing with the Chairs - James Patrick Kelly
ASIMOVS141 : Remaking History - Kim Stanley Robinson

Is moose, no squirrel, plenty of Odders.

4 out of 5


Vintage Season, uptime view.

3.5 out of 5


Track me, you starfire bastards?

4 out of 5


Aura of no interest.

2.5 out of 5


Drinking desperate.

3 out of 5


Hostage movie fun.

3.5 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

In Another Country - Robert Silverberg

Vintage Season, uptime view.


4 out of 5

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Blind Geometer - Kim Stanley Robinson

Microuniversal power play plugged by polyhedral plonking.


4 out of 5

Black Nimbus - Thomas Wylde

Aura of no interest.


2.5 out of 5

The Loch Moose Monster - Janet Kagan

Is moose, no squirrel, plenty of Odders.


4 out of 5

The Anatomy Lesson - Scott Russell Sanders

Not plane nor bird nor even frog. It’s just little old me. Wait, no its not. I am turning into that?


3.5 out of 5

The Artistic Touch - Ian Watson

More Chaos needed.


3 out of 5

The Monkey Murder - Erle Stanley Gardner

Simian stone smuggling gums up the works with a caning.


3.5 out of 5

The Perfect Crime - C. S. Montanye

Gloves off is a problem.


3 out of 5

The Invisible Millionaire - Leslie Charteris

A young woman writes to the Saint asking for help, and murder and impersonation follow.


3.5 out of 5

The Father Of Stones - Lucius Shepard

Dragon ritual case.


4 out of 5

Hart and Boot and Other Stories - Tim Pratt

Collections from writers who haven't been around that long and without lots of stories to pick from can be rather dubious propositions. They want a book published, but most of it will be ordinary for any given reader.

Not really the case here, though. In fact, this lot averages just a shade under 3.50, so the average stuff here is only a minority.

The other thing is he has managed to come up with the outstanding Cup and Table, along with Impossible Dreams. A 5 star tale easily relieves the tedium of an average story or 4.

A wide range of fantasy here from speculative ex-girlfriend its to shapeshifting brawls in dimension spanning cities.

Hart and Boot : Hart and Boot - Tim Pratt
Hart and Boot : Life in Stone - Tim Pratt
Hart and Boot : Cup and Table - Tim Pratt
Hart and Boot : In a Glass Casket - Tim Pratt
Hart and Boot : Terrible Ones - Tim Pratt
Hart and Boot : Romanticore - Tim Pratt
Hart and Boot : Living with the Harpy - Tim Pratt
Hart and Boot : Komodo - Tim Pratt
Hart and Boot : Bottom Feeding - Tim Pratt
Hart and Boot : The Tyrant in Love - Tim Pratt
Hart and Boot : Impossible Dreams - Tim Pratt
Hart and Boot : Lachrymose and the Golden Egg - Tim Pratt
Hart and Boot : Dream Engine - Tim Pratt


Ghost outlaw separation end.

3.5 out of 5


Sweet soul survival strategy sundering.

3.5 out of 5


Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go then fire and rubble
And if I stay it will be trouble

5 out of 5


Family blood deal.

3 out of 5


Fury stand-in act.

3.5 out of 5


Monster longtime boyfriend competition.

3.5 out of 5


Roommate protection benefits.

3 out of 5


Lizard boy disease catching keeping.

4 out of 5


Spear gun, catfish ex.

3 out of 5


Will try anything when in charge.

3 out of 5


Unmade otherworldly movie magic.

4 out of 5


Drug game snack.

2.5 out of 5


Questing beast fat man shift conflict.

3.5 out of 5





3.5 out of 5

Dream Engine - Tim Pratt

Questing beast fat man shift conflict.


3.5 out of 5

The Tyrant In Love - Tim Pratt

Will try anything when in charge.


3 out of 5

Romanticore - Tim Pratt

Monster longtime boyfriend competition.


3.5 out of 5

Terrible Ones - Tim Pratt

Fury stand-in act.


3.5 out of 5

In A Glass Casket - Tim Pratt

Family blood deal.


3 out of 5

Hart and Boot - Tim Pratt

Ghost outlaw separation end.


3.5 out of 5

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mainspring - Jay Lake

Adventurer not the Messiah, maybe.


This starts off as an entertaining quest for a teenager, who, in a solar system that has planets moving thanks to large clockwork mechanisms, is visited by an Angel and told there is a Serious Problem to be solved.

This problem being that the world is out of whack, and needs attention from your standard magical artifact to get it back into synch.

Needless to say, clockmakers and other serious types don't jump to belief in a boy's angel stories, so off he goes alone after a falling out.

The majority of the book is quite charming, dealing with this boy's journey. England, America and China all exist, and he ends up with the English air-navy. A book like this I think it is probably de rigeur to have airships. These actually have a bit more emphasis on the ship.

An attack by winged savages on this flying machine precipitates the rest of the story, and our hero ends up again relying on himself, gaining some aid from your garden variety inscrutable oriental and a fellow naval man who is not what he seems.

In following the latter across a bridge visited daily by some seriously dangerous gears, the book loses its way somewhat, as after this section it, and the character, transmogrify into a far more tedious, not to mention predictable messianic state. The rapid change in character for the protagonist over such a short period didn't seem to believable to me. The rest of the story is pretty obvious from there, it would seem, which would be ok if the tone matched.

I'd give the first 2/3 4 out of 5, or just about, but the end only a 3.


3.5 out of 5

Black Gate 02 - John O'Neill

Again, the second issue of Black Gate has a whole pile of stuff.

This includes perhaps the best magazine article I can remember seeing, where Rich Horton takes a look at interesting or important anthologies in the fantasy genre, and fantasy short fiction in general in a historical overview. This is peppered throughout with pictures of book covers, and magazines, and is overall really interesting, and I wish I had have seen this when it came out. Close to worth the price of the mag for that alone.

Lots on gaming, including a fairly extensive look at Orcs, particularly as player character, possibilities. Also, apparently there is a Gamma World setting White Wolf used to produce, speaking of blasts from the past.

In comics, the focus is on Alan Moore and ABC, which are highly recommended. Certainly have to agree with that. Top 10 is great, Tom Strong is a lot of fun, Promethea is good even if it descends into a certain level of esoteric tedium towards the end, etc. He talks about Miracleman, Superman, and other work done by Moore, too.

Also a lengthy interview with Gene Wolfe, and the same comic strips as the last issue return, and a length kid's book section.

Other reviews include the House on the Borderland, and a Jo Walton Arthurianesque book that I would like to get to sometime, and a George R. R. Martin fantasy novel in his fat fantasy series. 992 pages! (How you can convince me to read it, reviewer, is to put out a version half that size.) One that does sound more fun is John M. Ford's gangster elves, Chicago style. (You dirty pointy-eared rat?

The editorial again stresses adventure fantasy is what they are doing, of whatever kind. There is indeed a broad range, from second world to world war settings, hispanic gangster kids, vampires, Mayans and more. Even venturing into horror, too. Whether time-knitting grannies are adventure stories is maybe debatable, but there are no poor tales here, at least. All 3 or higher.

If the non-fiction content continues in this vein it will always be a significant rating advantage over most other competitors.

Looking at the fiction table of contents I didn't expect this issue to match up to the first in that department. One star-studded lineup, one not, so this issue is probably perhaps more of an indication of what is likely to be found per issue than the more stacked first production.

So, an average of 3.45 compare to 3.60 for the first is still rather good when putting together adventure fantasy stories. No complaints here if it stays around that level, approximately, as that would put it on par, for its type, with the major magazines as far as story scores go, in general.

A couple of them have been reprinted elsewhere it seems (Year's Best Fantasy 2, Infinity Plus) and on the reprint front, the classic O'Neill has chosen for this issue is Edmond Hamilton's 'The Monster-God of Malmurth'. Interestingly, Eric Flint also chose this for a more recent issue of Jim Baen's Universe. Again, the reprint story has 'ads' in the sense of pictures of other books by the author - did you know Hamilton had a vampire and horror stories collection, for instance? I didn't. So, very usefully done again.

The cover is even cool, and is a dragon for the second time in a row. Rather than a smug, perched lizard, this time we have a beast in full Flame-On mode. It isn't till you flip to the back that you realise the cover picture wraps around and the scaly one is flambeing a pirate ship.

With the extensive and broad non-fiction content (which is unmatched by any major magazine, barring perhaps Interzone) that puts this magazine into 4.5 score territory.

Black Gate 02 : The Whoremaster of Pald - Harry James Connolly
Black Gate 02 : Pity the Poor Dybbuk - Steve Carper
Black Gate 02 : What They Did to My Father - F. Brett Cox
Black Gate 02 : Stitchery - Devon Monk
Black Gate 02 : Heart of Jade - Amy Sterling Casil
Black Gate 02 : 'Goyles in the Hood - Leslie What
Black Gate 02 : Under the Bridge - Jeff Verona
Black Gate 02 : Straight to My Lover's Heart - Richard Bowes
Black Gate 02 : The Monster-God of Mamurth - Edmond Hamilton
Black Gate 02 : Bones of the Dead - Julia Blackshear Kosatka


Keeping the judge happy certainly helps when they conspire against your joint.

3.5 out of 5


Jewish demon quite outnumbered by Chinese demons, really.

3 out of 5


That arm is definitely rooted.

3 out of 5


Help me knit them back together, granny.

3 out of 5


Please take care of my deluded Mayan princess daughter, would you? This city is toast.

4 out of 5


Being a walking bloodsucker is much more fun than sitting around here forever.

3.5 out of 5


But Hispanic gangster teenagers do taste like bacon. Can't I have just this one?

3.5 out of 5


Time kid spotting.

3 out of 5


Hidden temple horror.

4 out of 5


Boredom and repetition is most definitely a curse, Commander.

4 out of 5





4.5 out of 5

Bones of the Dead - Julia Blackshear Kosatka

Boredom and repetition is most definitely a curse, Commander.


4 out of 5

Under the Bridge - Jeff Verona

But Hispanic gangster teenagers do taste like bacon. Can't I have just this one?


3.5 out of 5

Goyles In the Hood - Leslie What

Being a walking bloodsucker is much more fun than sitting around here forever.


3.5 out of 5

Stitchery - Devin Monk

Help me knit them back together, granny.


3 out of 5

What They Did To My Father - F. Brett Cox

That arm is definitely rooted.


3 out of 5

Pity the Poor Dybbuk - Steve Carter

Jewish demon quite outnumbered by Chinese demons, really.


3 out of 5

The Whoremaste Of Pald - Harry James Connolly

Keeping the judge happy, certainly helps when they conspire against your joint.


3.5 out of 5

About Kid Deth - Raoul Whitfield

"You got me wrong, Kid," he said. "When did you start packin' a rod?"

"When you started rubbing out women!" he said steadily.


3 out of 5

You'll Die Laughing - Norbert Davis

Collecting apartment murder.


3.5 out of 5

Finger Man - Raymond Chandler

Casino killing group.


3 out of 5

Friday, February 22, 2008

Nightmare House - Douglas Clegg

Serious family issues.


A younger man takes possession of a large old family estate, thinking it will suit him as a man of means. What he begins to slowly discover is some dark family history, and that there is more here than just living humans.

He learns a lot more about talking to a local Constable, and things rapidly deteriorate from there.

This is a very short novel, and the book itself is about 340 pages, around 120 of which are a longish novella.

Not much on gore and nastiness, just going for the slowly increasing creeping chiller effects.


Also contains the novella :

Purity - Douglas Clegg

Dagon triple thread conflict.

3.5 out of 5





3.5 out of 5

The Anthology of Colonial Australian Gothic Fiction - Ken Gelder and Rachael Weaver

There's an introduction explaining this of a somewhat academic bent, but whether you buy that this is all 'Australian Gothic' even after that is somewhat unlikely, I think. Some of them, sure and others it seems highly unlikely. Just some spooky or scary stories, or not even that necessarily, in the case of a couple of crime pieces.

The best couple of stories are the first, with the "Fisher's Ghost" story and Rosa Praed's The Bunyip. I'll call it a 3.5, just, by some significant benefit of rounding up.

Colonial Australian Gothic : The Ghost Upon the Rail - John Lang
Colonial Australian Gothic : Mystery and Murder - Mary Fortune
Colonial Australian Gothic : The Mystery of Major Molineux - Marcus Clarke
Colonial Australian Gothic : Monsieur Caloche - Tasma Tasma
Colonial Australian Gothic : A Haunt of the Jinkarras - Ernest Favenc
Colonial Australian Gothic : Doomed - Ernest Favenc
Colonial Australian Gothic : The Bunyip - Rosa Campbell Praed
Colonial Australian Gothic : The Hut by the Tanks - Francis Adams
Colonial Australian Gothic : The Bush Undertaker - Henry Lawson
Colonial Australian Gothic : The Pegging-Out of Overseer Franke - Price Warung
Colonial Australian Gothic : The Haunted Station - Hume Nisbet
Colonial Australian Gothic : With Three Phantoms - Guy Boothby
Colonial Australian Gothic : The Evil of Yelcomorn Creek - William Sylvester Walker
Colonial Australian Gothic : A Dreamer - Barbara Baynton
Colonial Australian Gothic : The Lost White Woman - Mary Gaunt
Colonial Australian Gothic : An Australian Rip Van Winkle - William Hay
Colonial Australian Gothic : The Curse - Katharine Susannah Prichard


Fisher's Ghost Story. He done it.

4 out of 5


Contraband ex-wife, definitely.

3 out of 5


Castle Stuart spookicide.

3.5 out of 5


Crossdressing Frenchiness scars.

3 out of 5


Dark, lost, monsters?

3.5 out of 5


Shoot natives. Then all die.

4 out of 5


The prospect of coming across this beast in the bush worries the protagonists.

"EVERY one who has lived in Australia has heard of the Bunyip. It is the one respectable flesh-curdling horror of which Australia can boast. The old world has her tales of ghoul and vampire, of Lorelei, spook, and pixie, but Australia has nothing but her Bunyip."

4 out of 5


Limp, warm and dead.

3 out of 5


Low rent funeral.

3.5 out of 5


You whip me, you die.

3.5 out of 5


Convict escape ghost domesticity trap into bananabending practice.

3.5 out of 5


And add another one now, perhaps.

3 out of 5


Ghost warriors did 'im.

3.5 out of 5


Weird tree.

2 out of 5


You aren't supposed to shoot the rescuee you idiots.

3.5 out of 5


Dead woman aided snoozer, with dog.

2.5 out of 5


Bloody Paterson.

2.5 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

The Curse - Katherine Susannah Pritchard

Bloody Paterson.


2.5 out of 5

The Lost White Woman - Mary Gaunt

You aren't supposed to shoot the rescuee you idiots.


3.5 out of 5

The Evil Of Yelcomorn Creek - Price Warung

Ghost warriors did 'im.


3.5 out of 5

With Three Phantoms - Guy Boothby

And add another one now, perhaps.


3 out of 5

The Haunted Station - Hume Nisbet

Convict escape ghost domesticity trap into bananabending practice.


3.5 out of 5

You'll Always Remember Me - Steve Fisher

Those crazy young murderers.


3.5 out of 5

The Sad Serbian - Frank Gruber

A Prince of a skip-traced scam.


4 out of 5

Pastorale - James M. Cain

Giving yourself up.


3 out of 5

Faith - Dashiell Hammett

I blame God instead. Pass the matches.


3 out of 5

The New Hugo Winners 4 - Martin H. Greenberg

An anthology selecting some of the stories from several different years in the early nineties (92-94 in fact). Generally all good, with Charles Sheffield as the standout out. If I had to pick from the rest, then Lucius Shepard would be next.

There's a short intro by the editor to each story, too.

New Hugo Winners 4 : Walk in the Sun - Geoffrey A. Landis
New Hugo Winners 4 : Gold - Isaac Asimov
New Hugo Winners 4 : Beggars in Spain [short story] - Nancy Kress
New Hugo Winners 4 : Even the Queen - Connie Willis
New Hugo Winners 4 : The Nutcracker Coup - Janet Kagan
New Hugo Winners 4 : Barnacle Bill the Spacer - Lucius Shepard
New Hugo Winners 4 : Death on the Nile - Connie Willis
New Hugo Winners 4 : Georgia on My Mind - Charles Sheffield
New Hugo Winners 4 : Down in the Bottomlands - Harry Turtledove


Sleeping is a waste of time.

3 out of 5


Doing up a new one like Lear.

3 out of 5


The bleeding right to live how you like, mate.

4 out of 5


A Rattling good insult for revolting at xmas.

4 out of 5


A Rattling good insult for revolting xmas.

4 out of 5


Brainless boy blows up because space station sucker beasts despite coming crazed cult conflict in C.

4 out of 5


Book of the Dead trip.

4 out of 5


Analytical Engine kiwi discovery.

4.5 out of 5


Trench Park mountain moving sabotage spy shagger saviour.

4 out of 5




4.5 out of 5

The Nutcracker Coup - Janet Kagan

A Rattling good insult for revolting at xmas.


4 out of 5

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Autopsy - Michael Shea

Bodysnatcher's new home in serious need of repair.


5 out of 5

Asimov's 044 - George H. Scithers

An article about doing the continental drift jigsaw, from first principles, and a whole bunch of rpg reviews - never saw Space Opera, but FGU and The Fantasy Trip were definite old stagers.

A couple of entertainingly funny stories in this issue, and a fair bit of the fantasy leaning stuff, too.

ASIMOVS044 : The Dark Companion - John M. Ford
ASIMOVS044 : Ask Penny Jupiter - Ron Goulart
ASIMOVS044 : A Trail of Footprints - Keith Minnion
ASIMOVS044 : You Can't Go Back - R. A. Lafferty
ASIMOVS044 : Bringing the Chairman to Order - Tony Sarowitz
ASIMOVS044 : Reliquary for an Old Soul - Sharon Webb
ASIMOVS044 : Watch This Space - Steven E. McDonald
ASIMOVS044 : Limits - Larry Niven
ASIMOVS044 : Lirios: A Tale of the Quintana Roo - James Tiptree Jr.


Blind rush for alien communication.

3 out of 5


Killer android babe programming case.

3.5 out of 5


Lost boy thing a bit weird.

3 out of 5


Weird Cow Town.

2.5 out of 5


No, you gotta be a person.

3.5 out of 5


Terminal too far. Don't wanna, anyway.

3.5 out of 5


What Doc Holliday said, from the movie Tombstone after a bunch of Cowboy Hunters are standing around stunned after their leader's solo foray into a hail of gunfire.

"He's down by the river, walkin' on water."

3 out of 5


Casual immortality cutoff.

3.5 out of 5


Androgynous adventurer ghost, perchance.

3.5 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Watch This Space - Steven E. McDonald

What Doc Holliday said, from the movie Tombstone after a bunch of Cowboy Hunters are standing around stunned after their leader's solo foray into a hail of gunfire, and answering the question: "Where's Wyatt?"

"He's down by the river, walkin' on water."


3 out of 5

Reliquary For An Old Soul - Sharon Webb

Terminal too far. Don't wanna, anyway.


3.5 out of 5

Bringing the Chariman To Order - Tony Sarowitz

No, you gotta be a person.


3.5 out of 5

You Can't Go Back - R. A. Lafferty

Weird Cow Town.


2.5 out of 5

A Trail Of Footprints - Keith Minnion

Lost boy thing a bit weird.


3 out of 5

Ask Penny Jupiter - Ron Goulart

Killer android babe programming case.


3.5 out of 5

The Dark Companion - John M. Ford

Blind rush for alien communication.


3 out of 5

Asimov's 386 - Sheila Williams

Here we have a Mundane SF discussion by Kelly. Silverberg talks about acquiring or removing space junk, both terrestrially and extra. The books stuff tells us that Stross' flaming Merchant Princes appear to be having trading hours extended yet again.

Anyway, this issue is also a 3.50 on the clacker. A wide range of scores here, and even a standout, with Bear's excellently named as well as executed 'Shoggoths In Bloom'.

ASIMOVS386 : FOLLOWING THE PHARMERS - Brian Stableford
ASIMOVS386 : KALLAKAK'S COUSINS - Cat Rambo
ASIMOVS386 : The World Within the World - Steven Utley
ASIMOVS386 : SHOGGOTHS IN BLOOM - Elizabeth Bear
ASIMOVS386 : THIS IS HOW IT FEELS - Ian Creasey
ASIMOVS386 : SEPOY FIDELITIES - Tom Purdom
ASIMOVS386 : SPIDERS - Sue Burke
ASIMOVS386 : MASTER OF THE ROAD TO NOWHERE - Carol Emshwiller

Flower evolutionary power wandering.

4 out of 5


Ghosts and bad service have commercial uses.

3 out of 5


Ghost jumps?

3.5 out of 5


Prehistoric mutant master replacement martial decision.

4.5 out of 5


Bad driver implants.

3.5 out of 5


Body double raid entanglements.

4 out of 5


Slugs, lizards, the odd scorpion.

2.5 out of 5


Insular family needs some granny bashing.

3 out of 5




4 out of 5

Master Of the Road To Nowhere - Carol Emshwiller

Insular family needs some granny bashing.


3 out of 5

Spiders - Sue Burke

Slugs, lizards, the odd scorpion.


2.5 out of 5

Sepoy Fidelities - Tom Purdom

Body double raid entanglements.


4 out of 5

The World Within the World - Steven Utley

Ghost jumps?


3.5 out of 5

Following the Pharmers - Brian Stableford

Flower evolutionary power wandering.


4 out of 5

Analog 928 - Stanley Schmidt

This issue is pretty ordinary. Some book reviews to go along with a Lovett article on 'Nuclear Autumn' scenarios that could come about with only limited scale nuclear weapons being employed. The editorial is on 'dem aberrations are not who they used to be.

The Haldeman serial finishes, seeming perhaps a little rushed and dry, compared to the first part, but with a bit of a sting at the end.

Only a 3.19 average for this issue, enough to get it to round up to 3.5 status, with the rest of it.

ANALOG928 : Analog 928 - Stanley Schmidt
ANALOG928 : GUARANTEED NOT TO TURN PINK IN THE CAN - Thomas R. Dulski
ANALOG928 : THE BEETHOVEN PROJECT - Donald Moffitt
ANALOG928 : Amor Vincit Omnia - Craig DeLancey
ANALOG928 : RIGHTEOUS BITE - Stephen L. Burns
ANALOG928 : HOW I SAVED THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION - Robert Scherrer
ANALOG928 : INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT - William Gleason
ANALOG928 : THE ANTHROPIC PRECIPICE - Jerry Oltion
ANALOG928 : MARSBOUND 3 - Joe Haldeman


Little green man UFOlogist cover group is fishy.

3.5 out of 5


Audio upgrade contract.

3 out of 5


Moral superiority enhancement group survival.

4 out of 5


Crazy Harry soldiers.

2.5 out of 5


Paper overload negative inducement.

3 out of 5


Cold MAN sacrifice.

3 out of 5


Constant reality definition gray abduction warning.

3.5 out of 5


Other Martian communication explosion.

3.5 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Spider-Man 3 - Peter David

As I have seen Peter David mention in writing online, the problem with doing novelisations is that if the source material is very stinky, then there isn't too much you can do about it.

While this story isn't as bad as one of the Swamp Thing movies, it isn't too flash, either, descending more towards some of the later Batman movies than the earlier examples of those, or Spider-Man itself.

Throwing in multiple villains gives not much time to any of them, particularly when large chunks of this story are taken up with overly mawkish and extended scenes with angsty drama queens (literally), and well-meaning aunts, making the third Spider-Man book somewhat duller than the others, and certainly not as interesting as some of the novels David has managed.

It certainly doesn't help from the start when, let alone having a prologue, it is several pages, all in italics! Recipe for making my eyes glaze over, that.

Some of the book is nifty - the Sandman origin scene, and the bit with Curt Connors are more interesting in the prose version.

On the whole though, this is basically ordinary.


3 out of 5

The Wings Of Satan - Robert J. Hogan

"There's always something queer," G-8
admitted, "when the enemy captures men from
our ranks, then sends them back, planes and all."

That is pretty much it for this G-8 adventure, in a nutshell. Rather on the tame side, this one.

Herr Doktor Krueger and G-8 also have a bit of 'is he or isn't he' chess game going on as to whether Bull has been co-opted by the brainy little Boche or not.


2.5 out of 5

Marsbound 3 - Joe Haldeman

Other Martian communication explosion.

(call it 3.25)
3.5 out of 5

The Anthropic Principle - Jerry Oltion

Constant reality definition gray abduction warning.


3.5 out of 5

Into That Good Night - William Gleason

Cold MAN sacrifice.

(call this 3.25)
3 out of 5

How I Saved the National Science Foundation - Robert Scherrer

Paper overload negative inducement.


3 out of 5

Righteous Bite - Stephen L. Burns

Crazy Harry soldiers.


2.5 out of 5

Amor Vincent Omnia - Craig DeLancey

Moral superiority enhancement group survival.


4 out of 5

The Beethoven Project - Donald Moffit

Audio upgrade contract.


3 out of 5

Guaranteed Not To Turn Pink In The Can - Thomas R. Dulski

Little green man UFOlogist cover group is fishy.


3.5 out of 5

The Hut By the Tanks - Francis Adams

Limp, warm and dead.


3 out of 5

Doomed - Ernest Favenc

Shoot natives. Then all die.


3.5 out of 5

The Mystery Of Major Molineux - Marcus Clarke

Castle Stuart spookicide.


3.5 out of 5

Mystery and Murder - Mary Fortune

Contraband ex-wife, definitely.


3 out of 5

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Night Shadows - Joan C. Kessler

Stories of the Uncanny, this is partially subtitled, which is presumably not quote horror and not quite ghost stories, which is pointed out somewhat on the back, but 'start, sheer terror' is, as well. I didn't find that the case at all, for most of them, in fact, one almost made me laugh. Crumpled sheet face, not so scary.

Night Shadows : Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You My Lad - M. R. James
Night Shadows : The Shout - Robert Graves
Night Shadows : Pomegranate Seed - Edith Wharton
Night Shadows : The Demon Lover - Elizabeth Bowen
Night Shadows : Midnight Blue - John Collier
Night Shadows : Miriam - Truman Capote
Night Shadows : The Daemon Lover - Shirley Jackson
Night Shadows : Heartburn - Hortense Calisher
Night Shadows : The Screaming Woman - Ray Bradbury
Night Shadows : W.S. - L. P. Hartley
Night Shadows : The Inner Room - Robert Aickman
Night Shadows : Mrs. Acland's Ghosts - William Trevor
Night Shadows : The Chimney - Ramsey Campbell
Night Shadows : The Double Poet - Alison Lurie
Night Shadows : The Doll - Joyce Carol Oates

White as a sheet, it was, not me.

3 out of 5


Cracked soul noise not cricket.

3.5 out of 5


Ghost letters.

3 out of 5


Taxi hell.

3 out of 5


Hang the fraud.

3.5 out of 5


Bad girl, brad girl. Hey, that's me!

3.5 out of 5


Not one of the Fifty Ways, I'd think.

3.5 out of 5


Chest space invader.

3.5 out of 5


Just leave her buried.

2.5 out of 5


Scary postcard series.

3.5 out of 5


Big Doll's House.

3.5 out of 5


Leave tea in case.

2.5 out of 5


Santa scare.

3.5 out of 5


Writing delusion.

4 out of 5


Clockwork personality.

2.5 out of 5




3 out of 5

The Doll - Joyce Carol Oates

Clockwork personality.


2.5 out of 5

The Double Poet - Alison Lurie

Writing delusion.


4 out of 5

Mrs Acland's Ghosts - William Trevor

Leave tea in case.


2.5 out of 5

The Inner Room - Robert Aickman

Big Doll's House.


3.5 out of 5

W S - L. P. Hartley

Scary postcard series.


3.5 out of 5

The Screaming Woman - Ray Bradbury

Just leave her buried.


2.5 out of 5

Heartburn - Hortense Calisher

Chest space invader.


3.5 out of 5

The Daemon Lover - Shirley Jackson

Not one of the Fifty Ways, I'd think.


3.5 out of 5

Miriam - Truman Capote

Bad girl, brad girl. Hey, that's me!


3.5 out of 5

Midnight Blue - John Collier

Hang the fraud.


3 out of 5

Pomegranate Seed - Edith Wharton

Ghost letters.


3.5 out of 5

The Shout - Robert Graves

Cracked soul noise not cricket.


3.5 out of 5

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 32 - Monissa Whitley

It seems that recently Australia's Pulpiest SF Magazine is Australias' Pulpiest Fantasy Magazine, mostly, with a clear majority of fantasy, particularly from the female editing contingent of the Co-Op. This issue is no different.

The first part of the non-fiction content is an interview with the best weapon to get into Westerfeld Castle, the Larbalestier.

Gollancz is re-releasing a whole batch of Greg Egan I think, and also a Future Classics series, and Schild's Ladder is reviewed here by an Egan virgin. Also a review of Dark Space by someone who is apparently a friend of the authors, who thinks it a decent enough book - so presumably his grog supply won't get cut off at her joint. I've read it, it is, although not as good as the Plessis series, hopefully it gets better.

Also an anthology I'd like to see, 'The Worker's Paradise' from Ticonderoga - an overtly political themed book focused on Australian conditions, edited by Russell B. Farr.

The artwork actually appeals a bit more in this issue, too, and the cover is actually rather reminiscent of a picture from an old issue of Asimov's I came across recently, and the androgynous character from Tiptree's Lirios story.

This issue also appears to be no different than the last one, in story quality, 10 of 'em, 3.1 average again.

Dolton, Edquist, Nichols and Luckett the better stories.

Anyway, enough non-fiction stuff here to bump it into 'round up to 3.5' territory, this issue.


ASIM32 : When Winter Came - Brian Dolton
ASIM32 : If I Die Before I Wake - E C Myers
ASIM32 : God at the Bottom of a Cup - Damon Kaswell
ASIM32 : Motor Skills - Eugenie Edquist
ASIM32 : Pieces of Eight - Kent Purvis
ASIM32 : The Children's Crusade - Susan Wardle
ASIM32 : Son Et Lumiere - Ian Nichols
ASIM32 : The Last Deflowerer - Karen Maric
ASIM32 : The Sea Inside - D Gullen and M Owton
ASIM32 : Breeding Season - Dave Luckett


Worldwalking love.

3.5 out of 5


Getting too girly before the end.

2.5 out of 5


Get the deity a dic.

2 out of 5


Smartcar not fun.

3.5 out of 5


Evil octuple genetic slipstream median murder.

3 out of 5


We'll get 'em later, kids.

3 out of 5


Short, rotten existence beats a grey nothing longer one.

3.5 out of 5


Virgin whitener colours for courting.

3.5 out of 5


Water wedding offering.

3 out of 5


Sneaky sire longevity.

3.5 out of 5





3.5 out of 5

Breeding Season - Dave Luckett

Sneaky sire longevity.


3.5 out of 5

The Sea Inside - M. Owton and D. Gullen

Water wedding offering.


3 out of 5

The Last Deflowerer - Karen Maric

Virgin whitener colours for courting.


3.5 out of 5

Son Et Lumiere - Ian Nichols

Short, rotten existence beats a grey nothing longer one.


3.5 out of 5

The Children's Crusade - Susan Wardle

We'll get 'em later, kids.

(call it 2.75)
3 out of 5

Pieces Of Eight - Kent Purvis

Evil octuple genetic slipstream median murder.


3 out of 5

Motor Skills - Eugenie Edquist

Smartcar not fun.


3.5 out of 5

God At the Bottom of the Cup - Damon Kaswell

Get the deity a dic.


2 out of 5

If I Die Before I Wake - Eugene Myers

Getting too girly before the end.


2.5 out of 5