Monday, March 31, 2008

Frontier Worlds - Paul Collins

An average original anthology at 3.25. A. Bertram Chandler provides the info, thanking Paul Collins for his work with local SF, which is part of the reason Chandler says he wrote for his mags, and this book continuation, too.

ABC has this amusing tidbit to impart:
"..and Insofar as Books and magazne fiction are concerned, editors in the USA and England now take Australianisms in their strike and no longer make clumsy attempts--and, by all the Odd Gods Of The Galaxy, some of them were incredibly clumsy!--To convert dinkum strine into English."

Frontier Worlds : Grimes and the Odd Gods - A. Bertram Chandler
Frontier Worlds : Sawdust Supermen - Wynne Whiteford
Frontier Worlds : The Trouble with Gryphons - Trevor Donohue
Frontier Worlds : The Lost Ship - Keith Taylor
Frontier Worlds : Omphalos a Dialogue - David J. Lake
Frontier Worlds : The Getaway Star - Paul Collins
Frontier Worlds : The Hide - Jack Wodhams
Frontier Worlds : Vega Travel Bureau - Howard Goldsmith
Frontier Worlds : Flesh and Shadow - Darrell Schweitzer
Frontier Worlds : Cabin Fever - Cherry Wilder

Lady Bishop's morose bible-bashing bastich, post burn.

3.5 out of 5


Hologram visit.

3 out of 5


Keep dem eggs or die.

3 out of 5


Romans cursed and lost.

3.5 out of 5


Changing worlds, not so much

3 out of 5


An actress is rather disloyal to one of her colleagues. Not the brightest move when she ends up in an isolated real life chase scene.

3.5 out of 5


Sunburn assistance spying.

3 out of 5


"Ray guns are antiquated, I informed them. We on Vega now use a harmless immobiliser."

3.5 out of 5


Confused goddessless interval.

2.5 out of 5


There's a Bear out there.

4 out of 5




3 out of 5

Cabin Fever - Cherry Wilder

There's a Bear out there.


4 out of 5

Flesh and Shadow - Darrell Schweitzer

Confused goddessless interval.


2.5 out of 5

Vega Travel Bureau - Howard Goldsmith

"Ray guns are antiquated, I informed them. We on Vega now use a harmless immobiliser."


3.5 out of 5

The Hide - Jack Wodhams

Sunburn assistance spying.


3 out of 5

Omphalos a Dialogue - David J. Lake

Changing worlds, not so much.


3 out of 5

The Lost Ship - Keith Taylor

Romans cursed and lost.


3.5 out of 5

The Trouble With Gryphons - Trevor Donahue

Keep dem eggs or die.


3 out of 5

Sawdust Supermen - Wynne Whiteford

Hologram visit.


3 out of 5

Grimes and the Odd Gods - A. Bertram Chandler

Lady Bishop's morose bible-bashing bastich, post burn.


3.5 out of 5

Urban Fantasies - David King and Russell Blackford

A bit of complaining about oz literary magazines not publishing genre work in the intro here, even if a bit non-traditional. Even Greg Egan has a go at the former. That is all fine, but it is the more traditional stories here that are the best.

This may also have something to do with the writers, too, of course - Broderick, Dowling, Turner, etc.

Only an average book as a result, with Turner's standout and Grigg's fubar story pretty good, too.


Urban Fantasies : Du - David Brooks
Urban Fantasies : A Tooth for Every Child - Damien Broderick
Urban Fantasies : Confusion Day - Philippa C. Maddern
Urban Fantasies : The Other Side of the Other Side of the Street - Norman Talbot
Urban Fantasies : Down from Demolition - John Baxter
Urban Fantasies : Outlines for Urban Fantasies - Michael Wilding
Urban Fantasies : Flags - David King
Urban Fantasies : Tangled Up - Greg Egan
Urban Fantasies : The Government in Exile - Paul Collins
Urban Fantasies : Montage - Lucy Sussex
Urban Fantasies : The Fittest - George Turner
Urban Fantasies : The Bullet that Grows in the Gun - Terry Dowling
Urban Fantasies : The Twist of Fate - David Grigg

Game sought.

3 out of 5


Up the duff dad's lobster kid.

3.5 out of 5


Over? Dunno.

3 out of 5


DnD music.

3.5 out of 5


Backwards style.

3 out of 5


Door shut.

2.5 out of 5


Some country or other.

3 out of 5


Film story.

3 out of 5


A government, thrown down in a revolution of the unemployed has a few live members left living in a fortress, and the Revolution Day holiday is coming. They commit violence while they still can, these few crazed survivors.

3.5 out of 5


Seachange filmed future ghosts.

3 out of 5


Global warming's severe social stratification means disease doom.

4.5 out of 5


Houses get lonely, want people, seems firearms feel the same way about ammo.

3.5 out of 5


Tokamak sabotage spacetime oops.

4 out of 5




3 out of 5

Tangled Up - Greg Egan

Film story.


3 out of 5

Flags - David King

Some country or other.


3 out of 5

Outlines For Urban Fantasies - Michael Wilding

Door shut.


2.5 out of 5

Down From Demolition - John Baxter

Backwards style.


3 out of 5

The Other Side Of the Street - Norman Talbot

DnD music.


3.5 out of 5

Confusion Day - Philippa C. Maddern

Over? Dunno.


3 out of 5

Waiting For the Rain - Dirk Strasser

Transalienation growing.


3.5 out of 5

A Tooth For Every Child - Damien Broderick

Up the duff dad's lobster kid.


3.5 out of 5

Du - David Brooks

Game sought.


3 out of 5

The Total Devotion Machine and Other Stories - Rosaleen Love

Just an average collection this one, at 3.26, with a couple of good stories - the title track, and one other. There's some definite lame here. Although clearly not what she is trying to do for a lot of this, she is definitely better when writing actual stories than bits and pieces she just feels like.

Total Devotion Machine : The Total Devotion Machine - Rosaleen Love
Total Devotion Machine : Bat Mania - Rosaleen Love
Total Devotion Machine : Tanami Drift - Rosaleen Love
Total Devotion Machine : The Laws of Life - Rosaleen Love
Total Devotion Machine : No Resting Place - Rosaleen Love
Total Devotion Machine : Alexia and Graham Bell - Rosaleen Love
Total Devotion Machine : Dolphins and Deep Thought - Rosaleen Love
Total Devotion Machine : The Bottomless Pit - Rosaleen Love
Total Devotion Machine : Trickster - Rosaleen Love
Total Devotion Machine : The Sea-Serpent of Sandy Cape - Rosaleen Love
Total Devotion Machine : Power Play - Rosaleen Love
Total Devotion Machine : The Invisible Woman - Rosaleen Love
Total Devotion Machine : Where Are They? - Rosaleen Love
Total Devotion Machine : The Children Don't Leave Home Any More - Rosaleen Love
Total Devotion Machine : The Tea Room Tapes - Rosaleen Love
Total Devotion Machine : If You Go Down to the Park Today - Rosaleen Love
Total Devotion Machine : Tremendous Potential for Tourism - Rosaleen Love


Standover nannybot.

4 out of 5


Old female hearing.

3 out of 5


Tech kids, with lizards.

3 out of 5


Sea snake undoing.

3.5 out of 5


Death by tablecloth.

2.5 out of 5


Space big, so shrink galaxy.

3.5 out of 5


Head in culture.

3.5 out of 5


Cosmic consciousness brain design.

3 out of 5


Boneheads.

3.5 out of 5


Cryptozoology candid camera.

4 out of 5


Azroth games.

3.5 out of 5


Piss off, you.

2.5 out of 5


Fishy alien tech.

3.5 out of 5


Get out young'uns.

3 out of 5


Micromanagement failure.

3 out of 5


Big Mother is watching you.

3 out of 5


Bunny nuke.

3.5 out of 5




3 out of 5

Tremendous Potential For Tourism - Rosaleen Love

Bunny nuke.


3.5 out of 5

If You Go Down To the Park Today - Rosaleen Love

Big Mother is watching you.


3 out of 5

The Tea Room Tapes - Rosaleen Love

Micromanagement failure.


3 out of 5

The Children Don't Leave Home Any More - Rosaleen Love

Get out young'uns.


3 out of 5

Where Are They? - Rosaleen Love

Fishy alien tech.


3.5 out of 5

The Invisible Woman - Rosaleen Love

Piss off, you.


2.5 out of 5

Power Play - Rosaleen Love

Azroth games.


3.5 out of 5

The Bottomless Pit - Rosaleen Love

Cosmic consciousness brain design.


3 out of 5

Dolphins and Deep Thought - Rosaleen Love

Head in culture.


3.5 out of 5

Alexia and Graham Bell - Rosaleen Love

Space big, so shrink galaxy.


3.5 out of 5

No Resting Place - Rosaleen Love

Death by tablecloth.


2.5 out of 5

The Laws Of Life - Rosaleen Love

Sea snake undoing.


3.5 out of 5

Tanami Drift - Rosaleen Love

Tech kids, with lizards.


3 out of 5

Bat Mania - Rosaleen Love

Old female hearing.


3 out of 5

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ilium - Dan Simmons

No more Trojans, please.


I am sure I am all Trojan-analogued out with all the various pieces I have read over the last couple of years, and while I really like Simmons and some of his books and stories are among my all-time favorites, I have picked this one up twice and tried to read it, no joy.

(Book is actually 0-4 in this house, as the spousal unit has done the same thing).

Just one of those things, I suppose, so on to his next book, as this one is too tedious and uninteresting to be finishable.


1.5 out of 5

Consequences - Lawrence Person

Refugee rejection rebound.


3.5 out of 5

Lichen and Rock - Eileen Gunn

Clingy and fishy.


3 out of 5

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Transhuman - Toni Weisskopf and Mark L. Van Name

I was quite pleasantly surprised with this anthology. I suspected it might be a little ordinary, but for an original anthology that is certainly not the case. It weighs in with a 3.55 average. Certainly a few stories are just your generic 3's, but in this case, tend to the better end of average, I think. This is balanced by two excellent stories, and a couple of good, so a higher percentage of this book is at the upper range.

A good range of types of story to be found here from outright silly, to space opera, to creepy.

The first three stories are also online, and include a couple of the better ones.

Van Name's introduction points out, talking of the stories "all share two traits: they are entertaining stories, something we of course required of all submissions, and they are fundamentally optimistic, something we did not demand but were quite pleased to discover."

That is not to say everything is nice and tea and bikkies rosy in all of these by the remotest stretch, though, and on the whole, not too much different to the content of other anthologies, in general.

Transhuman : FIREWALL - David D. Levine
Transhuman : REUNION - Mark L. Van Name
Transhuman : THE GUARDIAN - Paul Chafe
Transhuman : BEING HUMAN - Wen Spencer
Transhuman : IN COMMAND - John Lambshead
Transhuman : G@vin45 - Daniel M. Hoyt
Transhuman : HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS - Ester M. Friesner
Transhuman : SOUL PRINTER - Wil McCarthy
Transhuman : WHOM THE GODS LOVE - Sarah A. Hoyt
Transhuman : WETWARE 2.0 - David Freer
Transhuman : ESCAPE - James P. Hogan

Lunar network Lockdown AI conjunction operation.

4 out of 5


"Download Anxiety Syndrome".

3 out of 5


Software routine investigation run upgrade surprise.

4 out of 5


Digital women difference.

3 out of 5


Goblin Night fight.

3.5 out of 5


Past Blankety-Blank time.

3 out of 5


Security xmas theatre contest.

3 out of 5


Dangerous art keepsake trirotica academic revolution.

4.5 out of 5


Keeping out of the pot, at length.

3.5 out of 5


Barknet matrix takedown teamup. With Laphroaig chaser.

4.5 out of 5


Condemned erasure Adonis implanting.

3 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Escape - James P. Hogan

Condemned erasure Adonis implanting.


3 out 5

Wetware 2.0 - Dave Freer

Barknet matrix takedown teamup. With Laphroaig chaser.


4.5 out of 5

Whom the Gods Love - Sarah A. Hoyt

Keeping out of the pot, at length.


3.5 out of 5

Soul Printer - Wil McCarthy

Dangerous art keepsake trirotica academic revolution.


4.5 out of 5

Home For the Holidays - Esther M. Friesner

Security xmas theatre contest.


3 out of 5

G@vin45 - Daniel M. Hoyt

Past Blankety-Blank time.


3 out of 5

In Command - John Lambshead

Goblin Night fight.


3.5 out of 5

The Wizard Of Venus - Edgar Rice Burroughs

I suppose old good old-school SF heroes have to tool around in an airship at some point. If it helps you do in an evil sorcerer type, even better.


2.5 out of 5

The Ghost Of Lin San Fu - Clifford Goodrich

"The Whisperer's nostrils dilated. The dank smell of years underground came
mustily to his senses. This must be part of the old, forgotten system. The
Whisperer crept down the old brick sewer.
If he could avoid capture for a little while, he might yet solve the rest of his
problem. The ghost of Lin San Fu was only part of the maze he had to fathom.
Fan Li - the Circle of the Golden Crocodile - was the real deadly menace behind
the increasing murders. "


2.5 out of 5

Being Human - Wen Spencer

Digital women difference.


3 out of 5

Asimov's 387 388 - Sheila Williams

Non-fiction here includes a rather good book analysis perhaps you would call it, linking his reviewing of In War Times, Keeping It Real and Brasyl to a refutation of science fiction can't stay ahead of science type argument in coming up with anything new. Which Spinrad points out, rather more politely, as being asinine. People can't come up with new stuff is what that boils down to, which is obviously silly, even to someone knee-high to a grasshopper.

To open, Argentus Roberticus tells us of things Stapledonian.

Pick out the stories from people with Kat in the name, and you have the best tales, in general, in this solidly consistent selection.

ASIMOVS387388 : MEMORY DOG - Kathleen Ann Goonan
ASIMOVS387388 : SLIDIN' - Neal BarrettJr.
ASIMOVS387388 : THE HOUSE LEFT EMPTY - Robert Reed
ASIMOVS387388 : AN ALMANAC FOR THE ALIEN INVADERS - Merrie Haskell
ASIMOVS387388 : AN ART LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE - Nick Wolven
ASIMOVS387388 : AN ALIEN HERESY - S.P. Somtow
ASIMOVS387388 : GHOST TOWN - Catherine Wells
ASIMOVS387388 : STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET - Kate Wilhelm
ASIMOVS387388 : ANOTHER COUNTRY - Matthew Johnson
ASIMOVS387388 : THE ADVOCATE - Barry B. Longyear
ASIMOVS387388 : THE ROOM OF LOST SOULS - Kristine Kathryn Rusch


Smacks of truth, little woofer.

3.5 out of 5


"Let me goddamn go, you hear? Let me go!"

2.5 out of 5


Meltdown ship seeya.

3.5 out of 5


Abduction Syndicate pyramid scheme.

3.5 out of 5


Executor ending.

3 out of 5


Demon definitely the wrong Question.

3.5 out of 5


Colony sunbathing rather nice.

3.5 out of 5


The old taking it one day at a time story.

4 out of 5


Time Roman resettlement.

3.5 out of 5


Disease writing.

3 out of 5


Commander Retrieval Artist contract Interdimensional immunity deception.

4 out of 5




4.5 out of 5

The Room Of Lost Souls - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Commander Retrieval Artist contract Interdimensional immunity deception.


4 out of 5

The Advocate - Barry B. Longyear

Disease writing.


3 out of 5

Another Country - Matthew Johnson

Time Roman resettlement.


3.5 out of 5

Strangers When We Meet - Kate Wilhelm

The old taking it one day at a time story.


4 out of 5

Ghost Town - Catherine Wells

Colony sunbathing rather nice.


3.5 out of 5

An Alien Heresy - S. P. Somtow

Demon definitely the wrong Question.


3.5 out of 5

An Art Like Everything Else - Nick Wolven

Executor ending.


3 out of 5

An Almanac For the Alien Invaders - Merrie Haskell

Abduction Syndicate pyramid scheme.


3.5 out of 5

The House Left Empty - Robert Reed

Meltdown ship seeya.


3.5 out of 5

Friday, March 28, 2008

Slidin' - Neal Barrett

"Let me goddamn go, you hear? Let me go!"


3 out 5

Asimov's 152 - Gardner Dozois

Not much else of interest in this mag, apart from the stories - book mentions include Sterling's Crystal Express. Also a short 'neat article' stuff where Orson Scott Card thinks Clive Barker was a dead end. Pretty amusing, having just read 'The New Weird' anthology.

A pretty ordinary issue overall, saved a bit by Egan, and a rather creepy drawing for that story, too.

ASIMOVS152 : The Caress - Greg Egan
ASIMOVS152 : Personal Silence - Molly Gloss
ASIMOVS152 : Bwana - Mike Resnick
ASIMOVS152 : Warstory - Gregory Benford
ASIMOVS152 : True Colors - Kathe Koja
ASIMOVS152 : A Proper Place to Live - Tom Purdom

An enhanced policeman gets entangled in a billionaire's bizarre Dr Moreau creations as art and save the child schemes.

4 out of 5


Boat builder death story.

3.5 out of 5


Hopeless hyena hunters.

3.5 out of 5


Like a relaxing session of being shot at a lot, please.

3 out of 5


Painting homesickness.

3 out of 5


Irresistable music, lord.

2.5 out of 5




3 out of 5

Personal Silence - Molly Gloss

Boat builder death story.


3.5 out of 5

Bwana - Mike Resnick

Hopeless hyena hunters.


3.5 out of 5

The Sun Smasher - Edmond Hamilton

"Word spread that in a remote, inaccessible part of the galaxy, the Valkar lords were preparing a secret, terrible agency that would overawe all rebels in future. None knew its nature, or its powers. But rumor called it the Hammer of the Valkars, and said that with it the Valkars could destroy all the peoples in the galaxy if they wished."

The key to said weapon is named Neil. Not as exciting as the Hammer of the Valkars, that name, certainly. He actually has another name, but has been stashed on Earth, memory taken, now assuming he is a garden variety local.

People become interested in the Hammer again, and you can guess what will go on. Given the title, you may just have a slight hint that said super weapon is a bit on the powerful side.


3 out of 5

The Gate of Worlds - Robert Silverberg

Mad Englishman goes out in the Mexican Sun.


Wants to be an Aztec warrior type. No dog. The pommie life is a bit dull and dreary, so he sets off and decides he'd like to be adventurer.

Despite the title and the bodysuited babe on the cover, this is something in the alternate history vein, along with being your manly adventure story.

The Black Death affected some of Europe more severely, Turkey then built an Empire, and failed, and Montezuma et. al. didn't bend over for Europe as others were in charge, or something like that. The actual characters are aware of a Many Worlds theory and talk about this in the book, that choices cause divergent universes.

However, most of this is concerned with a rebel prince, our protagonist who joins up with his crazy plain, and a cool sporting event. If you ever played Speedball on the Amiga, imagine the low tech version of that for the Aztec type game with a rubber ball, armour, and brawling that he gets invited into as the final chest to join up with said warrior prince.


3 out of 5

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Jack Of Ravens - Mark Chadbourn

Not just trilogies.


When you start this book, you will see that Chadbourn actually has a series thing going, that presumably is being marketed as trilogies as that is what the garden variety fantasy reader wants and what sells.

The first two perhaps logically break at the start, but the end of the last book is definitely a cliffhanger leading into this one.

This is nothing like your standard walk walk walk walk chop stuff cast fireball run away type epic fantasy, either, being largely urban.

In fact, a lot of this novel is more reminiscent of Poul Anderson's time police type stories, if you added in Sidhe gods, and celtic magic powered superheroes like the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons, of course.

Church is plunged back in time, and is instrumental in grouping the very first band of Brothers and Sisters, something which is corrupted later.

Veitch is still running around, basically leading the supervillain black Brothers and Sisters version.

A very bad lot called the Army of Ten Billion Spiders is out to get rid of existence, enslaving everything from Roman Legions to Greek, Roman and Celtic gods to do so.

One serious flaw in their plan is currently they can't just bump off Church and company, they need Veitch and his black 5 to do so.

A time odyssey from then on, as Church goes from his original trip, to Rome, to Elizabethan England (teaming up with a super spy that I think Chadbourn has writtten a short story about, Will Swyfe), to Vietnam, the Summer of Love, and more.

The other usual suspects are around, and the Spider types are trying to keep Ruth, Laura, Shavi, Caitlin, Mallory, Hunter, etc. under wraps to keep the pressure on Church.

The series has hence evolved from creeping horror to a political tour, if you like, which may interest some people more than the elf gods and dragons batles of the middle books.

Jack Churchill, which all this time travel of course gets all archetypal to an even greater degree than his initials and running around with Excalibur type swords had made him before.


3.5 out of 5

Fantasy the Very Best Of 2005 - Jonathan Strahan

The other Locus save Year's Best volume, after the Strahan-Haber books ended when Ibooks went bye-bye. This volume overlaps significantly with the other fantasy/horror books, perhaps more than any other volume I have rated so far.
So if you have those others - Hartwell/Datlow/Betancourt etc., you will have almost all of this.

That being said, Strahan gives a quick fantasy magazine and anthology and collection overview.

Overall, this is pretty good, just a half star under a 3.50 story average.

Fantasy Best of 2005 : Two Hearts - Peter S. Beagle
Fantasy Best of 2005 : Snowball's Chance - Charles Stross
Fantasy Best of 2005 : Sunbird - Neil Gaiman
Fantasy Best of 2005 : A Knot of Toads - Jane Yolen
Fantasy Best of 2005 : Boatman's Holiday - Jeffrey Ford
Fantasy Best of 2005 : The Language of Moths - Christopher Barzak
Fantasy Best of 2005 : Anyway - M. Rickert
Fantasy Best of 2005 : The Emperor of Gondwanaland - Paul Di Filippo
Fantasy Best of 2005 : The Pirate's True Love - Seana Graham
Fantasy Best of 2005 : Intelligent Design - Ellen Klages
Fantasy Best of 2005 : Pip and the Fairies - Theodora Goss
Fantasy Best of 2005 : Leviathan - Simon Brown
Fantasy Best of 2005 : The Denial - Bruce Sterling
Fantasy Best of 2005 : The Farmer's Cat - Jeff VanderMeer
Fantasy Best of 2005 : There's a Hole in the City - Richard Bowes
Fantasy Best of 2005 : Monster - Kelly Link


Griffin snacking leads to senile sovereign's swan song.

4.5 out of 5


Global warming Devil deal destruction wish banking.

4 out of 5


"I have a presentiment of doom upon me," ..."And I fear it shall come to us with barbecue sauce."

4 out of 5


Witchy windmilled.

3.5 out of 5


Contrary to the advice of the sage Accadacca, Hell Is A Bad Place To Be. Generally. Barring sneaky loopholes.

3.5 out of 5


Autistic lepidoptera whisperer.

4 out of 5


Bloodstones, no Ulysses or Swords of Power, unfortunately.

2 out of 5


Online getaway hookup.

4 out of 5


Bakesale broadsided.

3.5 out of 5


Holy KAPOW!

3 out of 5


Obit teaparty flashback.

2.5 out of 5


Out of the exploding aeroplane into the big biblical beastie.

3 out of 5


We're dead, stupid.

3.5 out of 5


Moggie ursa major makes troll mob minor.

3.5 out of 5


Toasty ghosty.

3.5 out of 5


Hey, Bungalow Jim
I Might Eat Him

3.5 out of 5




4 out of 5

There's A Hole In the City - Richard Bowes

Toasty ghosty.


3.5 out of 5

The Pirate's True Love - Seana Graham

Bakesale broadsided.


3.5 out of 5

A Knot Of Toads - Jane Yolen

Witchy windmilled.


3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Marmodesse - Terry Dowling

Tom and crew look into a murder at a strange Ab'O burial facility that turns corpses into sea creatures that are also gourmet delicacies.


4 out of 5

Spin Control - Chris Moriartry

Paranoia, with clones.


Just no color levels.

A rather different book than the first in this series. Spin State had a heavy focus on the quantum. Spin Control has a heavy focus on information, and problems with complex systems.

These include spies, so a lot of distrustful spooks hurling accusations (or weapon fire) at each other.

There's a colony to worry about, a killer virus, and more.

Li, the focus of the first book, only appears in parts, so big fans of hers are likely to be a little disappointed, I think.

The spy story thread focuses on the situation in Israel (and, of course, Palestine), where people have been trying to fight wars with AI. Apparently AI minds suffer from the mental problems associated with war even more severely than people, so this particular subplot is the most interesting part of the book - coming to the fore towards the latter, and strongest part of the novel.

A decent book, but not as good as the first one.

The events at the end perhaps leave this open for Moriarty to take a jump ahead in time in this future history she is sketching with another book.


3.5 out of 5

Martian Knightlife - James P. Hogan

Actually, the Knight is no Saint.


I will disagree there with the blurb on the inside of the hardcover.

This insouciant adventure isn't a patch on Leslie Charteris' creation.


This is supposed to be rather lighthearted, it would seem, but I didn't find it that amusing. There are several bad jokes and puns to be found here, so your mileage may very.

The most interesting character was the supposedly telepathic mongrel doberman-labrador cross Guinness. Not enough book time for him. :)


2 out of 5

The Star Hunters - Edmond Hamilton

"The wrath of the King of Orion flamed across the void.

Out from the Hyades sped his hunters, and from Mintaka, and Saiph and Aldebaran, grim ships of war sped headlong between the stars in vengeful search for the small and secret ship that had dared violate their domain."


3 out of 5

Bibliophile Stalker Interview John Klima

http://charles-tan.blogspot.com/2008/03/feature-interview-with-john-klima.html

Stuff on magazine editing, as well as briefly talking about his anthology.

Bibliophile Stalker Interview Ellen Datlow

http://charles-tan.blogspot.com/2008/03/feature-interview-with-ellen-datlow.html

Where she talks about various projects, and how she initially became a publishing type, pre-Super Editorhood.

Bibliophile Stalker Interview Rich Horton

http://charles-tan.blogspot.com/2008/03/feature-interview-with-rich-horton.html

Some talk of various anthologies edited, among other stuff in this interview.

Shadows Bend - David Barbour

Shadows Bend - David Barbour


H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard vs Cthulhu


What the hell else do you need me to tell you?

If you do, and you are perhaps more familiar with The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril (also featuring Lovecraft), then the aforementioned is very much in the tradition of this book, except Shadows Bend does not suffer from the sometimes tedious diversions in the other book.

Lovecraft, it appears, is in serious need of help, and there are only two men he believes are likely to be of use, or believe him, so:

"Lovecraft turned away and took the three steps down into Cross Plains, Texas, this unwitting way station. It wasn't much of a town, just a place where some roads and power lines seemed to converge for no apparent reason. The few buildings-storefronts and professional addresses-all faced each other, as if to keep the reality of the empty landscape at bay."

"The man's flesh seemed nearly blue against his soiled white clothes, and he seemed to have been out in the storm for quite a while, or perhaps he was terrified of the gun, because he was shivering so violently it seemed unlikely he could keep his hands up. He had an odd expression on his face, but Howard couldn't tell if it was terror or some weird and maniacal amusement. His lips moved hesitantly for a split second, and then, in an entirely unconvincing attempt at a Southern drawl, he said, "Howdy there, Two-Gun Bob."

Howard and his father looked at each other. The Doctor's expression suggested he thought they had an escapee from some asylum, but Howard's eyes suddenly went wide, and his jaw swung open. "Lovecraft!" he said. "How did-What in the Sam Hill are you doin' out here?"

He does tell him, about the artifact of power with him, and the fact that they could also use the advice of Clark Ashton Smith. So, with the aid of Lovecraft's father's insistence, it is a Weird Tales roadtrip.

"Howard grinned, breaking the tension. "Oh, come on, HP. You don't really think Smith found the Necronomicon.” “No, not precisely. The original is long lost, as you know. But this is surely a translation of the mad Arab's text. I am absolutely convinced of it after the events I've experienced over the past several days."

Gaining the help of a woman along the way, they arrive to discover:
"Smith noticed their puzzled expressions...he unwrapped the bundle and there it was, the mythic book come to life. The binding was a lightly tanned vellum like material, but clearly not vellum. It was stamped in a weathered crimson color, the letters embossed so long ago their depth was nearly gone NECRONOMICON and Abdul Alhazred.
...
Lovecraft ran his fingers over the book, tentatively stroking the cracked cover. "I still find its authenticity rather dubious. What did the dealer say?"

"It's bound in human skin. Slivers of bone in the spine, and the bookmark is made of bleached human hair."

Lovecraft quickly drew his hand away. "And how would an antiquarian bookseller establish all this?"

"He happens to be the son of a prominent mortician, HP."

Minions of Cthulhu have dogged them on their trip to see Klarkash-ton, and a confrontation awaits.


3.5 out of 5

Blind Lake - Robert Charles Wilson

Maybe alien observation conflict.


Your good old secret government research lab quite possibly has the ability to observe an alien race on a planet a very long way away through some strange technology that noone is quite sure about.

Causing problems here is the 'lockdown' status of the science staff working on this project, enforced by the military.

Needless to say, this strains relationships, especially between one of the main characters, her ex-husband, the new man on the scene she may be falling for, and their Asperger's Syndrome daughter.


3 out of 5

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Deer's Heart - Leah Bobet

Kissy you, elky poo.


2.5 out of 5

Billenium - Damien Broderick

Uluru, bloody big red navel.


3 out of 5

The First Pacific Book Of Australian Science Fiction - John Baxter

A first anthology of Australian SF (and Fantasy). Baxter points out no local professional magazine, hence work being submitted overseas (Analog, et. al.), and no really overt coming to grips with Australian themes. Bryning does have a Woomera station in space, though. :)

The barriers to progress are formidable, he says. Howevever, with this paving the way, just now we have a Hugo nominated Australian editor, and an Egan double. So, Mr. Baxter, your toil has not been wasted. Well done.

The stories here average 3.50, too, also pretty good for first cab off the rank.

Pacific Book of ASF1 : Burning Spear - Kit Denton
Pacific Book of ASF1 : It Could Be You - Frank Roberts
Pacific Book of ASF1 : The Evidence - Lee Harding
Pacific Book of ASF1 : An Ounce of Dissension - Martin Loran
Pacific Book of ASF1 : The Weather in the Underworld - Colin Free
Pacific Book of ASF1 : All My Yesterdays - Damien Broderick
Pacific Book of ASF1 : Final Flower - Stephen Cook
Pacific Book of ASF1 : For Men Must Work - Frank Bryning
Pacific Book of ASF1 : The Beach - John Baxter
Pacific Book of ASF1 : All Laced Up - A. Bertram Chandler
Pacific Book of ASF1 : Strong Attraction - Ron Smith
Pacific Book of ASF1 : There Is a Crooked Man - Jack Wodhams


Lighthugger.

3 out of 5


All cut up about winning.

5 out of 5


Watcher guilt.

4 out of 5


Library ship revolution.

3 out of 5


Meal conditioning.

3.5 out of 5


Lazarus Longtime.

3.5 out of 5


Trapflower. Name maybe a clue, eh?

3.5 out of 5


Rocket science save.

3 out of 5


Breasting the waves.

3 out of 5


Future woman's antique antics.

4 out of


Ugly alien shagger.

3 out of 5


Well of course super gorillas, etc., are tempting.

3.5 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

There Is A Crooked Man - Jack Wodhams

Well of course super gorillas, etc., are tempting.


3.5 out of 5

Strong Attraction - Ron Smith

Ugly alien shagger.


3 out of 5

The Beach - John Baxter

Breasting the waves.


3 out of 5

For Men Must Work - Frank Bryning

Rocket science save.


3 out of 5

Final Flower - Stephen Cook

Trapflower. Name maybe a clue, eh?


3.5 out of 5

All My Yesterdays - Damien Broderick

Lazarus Longtime.


3.5 out of 5

The Weather In the Underworld - Colin Free

Meal conditioning.


3.5 out of 5

An Ounce Of Dissension - Martin Loran

Library ship revolution.


3 out of 5

The Evidence - Lee Harding

Watcher guilt.


4 out of 5

It Could Be You - Frank Roberts

All cut up about winning.


5 out of 5

Burning Spear - Kit Denton

Lighthugger.


3 out of 5

Monday, March 24, 2008

Moon Flights - Elizabeth Moon

A pretty lighthearted collection, as you may be able to tell from some of the story titles, where Moon just sets out to amuse. A couple of the stories being from the various Chicks In Chainmail anthologies, for example.

There are a couple of more serious pieces on old fashioned naval battles, and science fiction military those in charge decisions.

Overall, a bit better than a 3.

Moon Flights : If Nudity Offends You - Elizabeth Moon
Moon Flights : Gifts - Elizabeth Moon
Moon Flights : Politics - Elizabeth Moon
Moon Flights : And Ladies of the Club - Elizabeth Moon
Moon Flights : Accidents Don't Just Happen-They're Caused - Elizabeth Moon
Moon Flights : New World Symphony - Elizabeth Moon
Moon Flights : No Pain, No Gain - Elizabeth Moon
Moon Flights : Hand to Hand - Elizabeth Moon
Moon Flights : Tradition - Elizabeth Moon
Moon Flights : Fool's Gold - Elizabeth Moon
Moon Flights : Judgment - Elizabeth Moon
Moon Flights : Gravesite Revisited - Elizabeth Moon
Moon Flights : Sweet Charity - Elizabeth Moon
Moon Flights : Welcome to Wheel Days - Elizabeth Moon
Moon Flights : Say Cheese - Elizabeth Moon

Alien trailer trash.

3.5 out of 5


Paladin offcuts.

3.5 out of 5


Screwed up landing equals dead marines.

3.5 out of 5


A women's chest armour tax prompts some wizardly temporary plastic surgery shenanigans.

3.5 out of 5


Engineering genetics.

3 out of 5


Suitable local music.

4 out of 5


Gut wrenching solution.

3 out of 5


Music injury demonstration.

2.5 out of 5


Chain of command blame.

3 out of 5


Rockleberries.

2.5 out of 5


Backtime primitive understimation.

3.5 out of 5


Beauty queen piracy.

4 out of 5


Parade problems.

3 out of 5


Literally you know what it says space opera.

3.5 out of 5




3 out of 5

Say Cheese - Elizabeth Moon

Literally you know what it says space opera.


3.5 out of 5

Welcome To Wheel Days - Elizabeth Moon

Parade problems.


3 out of 5

Gravesite Revisited - Elizabeth Moon

Backtime primitive understimation.


3.5 out of 5

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hand To Hand - Elizabeth Moon

Music injury demonstration.


2.5 out of 5

No Pain No Gain - Elizabeth Moon

Gut wrenching solution.


3 out of 5

Accidents Don't Just Happen They're Caused - Elizabeth Moon

Engineering genetics.


3 out of 5

Bone Orchards - Paul J. McAuley

Mr Carlyle proactively helps a ghost girl.


3.5 out of 5

The Flaying Season - Jeffrey Thomas

Old hubby memories.


3.5 out of 5

Lost Alleys - Jeffrey Thomas

"That other night, I watched an Oriental dwarf battle a thylacine..."


4 out of 5

The New Weird - Jeff VanderMeer and Ann VanderMeer

I thought this anthology would be interesting, and it doesn't disappoint.

There's an introduction by VanderMeer, J. To sum that up he says wants to provide a rough guide to the New Weird, acknowledging that it is quite possibly a past history thing.

On the rest of the non-fiction, there is part of a forum discussion from a few years ago, wherein the existence or not of the topic is debated. Amusingly, Jonathan Strahan calls it a load of old cobblers, then over the page comes up with this very anthology title (and also sort of implies that the New Space Opera might be something similar, and goes on to produce a great anthology titled exactly that, too). A kiss of life Super Editor, perhaps, is he?

There are some essays by others talking about the subject, and also some European editors, some from more Eastern Europe, and a German, talking about this sort of fiction in their countries and how it does commercially. The Czechs hung a fiction line of it that has done well, and not so good in dour Germany, it seems.

On the fiction front, things go from the fabulous find of a story about Jack Half-A-Prayer from China Mieville's New Crobuzon, to a poor excerpt from a novel by Steph Swainston. She is one of the names invoked along with Mieville, Di Filippo, and Bishop (whose story is rather good, and I had read before), as being part of the early moment of this stuff, around Perdido Street Station time. However, the Swainston excerpt isn't from the book mentioned - perhaps that one is better, being as it appears the first in a trilogy, and higher rated and more widely held on librarything, too. However, her writing in this excerpt isn't within a bulls roar of any of the others mentioned. Extremely cheesy science fantasy that veers more towards the romance science fiction romance subgenre at time, it seems to me. It has that crossover dabbler not quite getting it feel, it seems. Excerpts are problematic enough in anthologies without sticking in dodgy examples.

Moorcock's war story seems to be just a garden variety slightly nutty people at war, certainly not even remotely weird, particularly if you are thinking of mad scientists in Gran Bretan, or Warlords of the Air, or multiversal chasing grail hunting super nazis.

The actual cover itself isn't particularly weird, either, being sort of virginal white, with a clockwork bug - dime a dozen on the internet, these days, those sort of things, it seems.

Jeffrey Thomas has a pure SF story here, though, and I noticed a free novel released recently online - if it is anythinglike this, it will be worth checking out. Judge Dredd meets Blade Runner, or something like that.

Most of this stuff is fantasy or horror, and often both. Alistair Rennie being the classic example here of gross, grotesque horror-fantasy. This story is apparently new to the collection, so well done. I'd definitely like to see more of this.

The last fiction part includes a 'laboratory', wherein the editors ask some writers who aren't Weird enough, mostly, perhaps, to try New Weird. PDF sets it up for them, and then they take a crack at various parts of a related set of stories. Whether it was worth doing this rather than including some other good New Weird stories, I think I'd come down on the side of no, given the retrospective aim of this book.

In a good move, they have included a list of 70 odd books that are New Weirdish, while noting at the start they are leaving out Alastair Reynolds and company 'space opera new weird' books. Cyberpunk is ok, presumably, given Thomas. Then they go and leave half a page blank on their book list. Why not put them in at the end rather than waste the space? At least given the wasted paper they could have said why - don't read it/not familiar with/don't like it/publisher said no, especially as they open the book with writers than have committed space opera in the pat.

Chasm City, for example, is way weirder and more grotesque than the very tame Ligotti story that could easily have fallen out of a rift in time to 1920.

So, overall this anthology manages to make it to good, but nothing past that, and does contain a couple of excellent and a few good stories.

As a final note, the Tachyon publisher site has a 'part 8' of the Festival Lives laboratory experiment, also by PDF.


New Weird : The Luck in the Head - M. John Harrison
New Weird : Crossing into Cambodia - Michael Moorcock
New Weird : In the Cities the Hills - Clive Barker
New Weird : The Braining of Mother Lamprey - Simon D. Ings
New Weird : The Neglected Garden - Kathe Koja
New Weird : A Soft Voice Whispers Nothing - Thomas Ligotti
New Weird : Jack - China Miéville
New Weird : Immolation - Jeffrey Thomas
New Weird : The Lizard of Ooze - Jay Lake
New Weird : Watson's Boy - Brian Evenson
New Weird : The Art of Dying - K. J. Bishop
New Weird : At Reparata - Jeffrey Ford
New Weird : Letters from Tainaron - Leena Krohn
New Weird : The Ride of the Gabbleratchet - Steph Swainston
New Weird : The Gutter Sees the Light That Never Shines - Alistair Rennie
New Weird : Death in a Dirty Dhoti - Paul Di Filippo
New Weird : Cornflowers Beside the Unuttered - Cat Rambo
New Weird : All God's Chillun Got Wings - Sarah Monette
New Weird : Locust-Mind - Daniel Abraham
New Weird : Constable Chalch and the Ten Thousand Heroes - Felix Gilman
New Weird : Golden Lads All Must - Hal Duncan
New Weird : Forfend the Heavens' Rending - Conrad Williams


Oh Mammy, how I chop ya, how I chop ya

3.5 out of 5


A glowing charge.

3 out of 5


Urban decay contest honeymoon definitely over.

4 out of 5


Potted old bag's distributed prediction power scratched.

4 out of 5


Finally off the fence about this flower chick.

3 out of 5


Cold medicine.

2.5 out f5


Half-A-Prayer of ending.

4.5 out of 5


Union City clone shooter Blues.

4 out of 5


Fishy dead clown.

3.5 out of 5


I'm too keyed up. Rats.

3 out of 5


Stupid is the stripling who perambulates with swicidal swordswomen.

4 out of 5


Earworm: Moth In the City.

3 out of 5


BEMmy.

3 out of 5


Get me out of this worm-fest.

2 out of 5


A real balls-up he made there, right, Sister?

4.5 out of 5


Dogwhacked terror tour.

4 out of 5


Mad luftballons.

3 out of 5


Dogpack discussion.

3.5 out of 5


Buggy morality.

3 out of 5


Magazine adventures.

3.5 out of 5


Slim hipped Songboys.

3 out of 5


Blown up assistance.

3 out of 5




4 out of 5

Forfend the Heaven's Rendering - Conrad Williams

Blown up assistance.


3 out of 5

Golden Lads All Must - Hal Duncan

Slim hipped Songboys.


3 out of 5

Constable Chalch And The Ten Thousand Heroes - Felix Gilman

Magazine adventures.


3.5 out of 5

Locust-mind - Daniel Abraham

Buggy morality.


3 out of 5

All God's Chillun Got Wings - Sarah Monette

Dogpack discussion.


3.5 out of 5

Cornflowers Beside the Unuttered - Cat Rambo

Mad luftballons.


3 out of 5

Death In A Dirty Dhoti - Paul Di Filippo

Dogwhacked terror tour.


4 out of 5

The Gutter Sees the Light That Never Shines - Alistair Rennie

A real balls-up he made there, right, Sister?


4.5 out of 5

The Ride Of the Gabbleratchet - Steph Swainston

Get me out of this worm-fest.


2 out of 5

Letters From Tainaron - Leena Krohn

BEMmy.


3 out of 5

Watson's Boy - Brian Evenson

I'm too keyed up. Rats.


3 out of 5

Immolation - Jeffrey Thomas

Union City clone shooter Blues.


4 out of 5

Jack - China Mieville

Half-A-Prayer of ending.


4.5 out of 5

A Soft Voice Whispers Nothing - Thomas Ligotti

Cold medicine.


2.5 out of 5

The Neglected Garden - Kathe Koja

Finally off the fence about this flower chick.


3 out of 5

The Braining Of Mother Lamprey - Simon Ings

Potted old bag's distributed prediction power scratched.


4 out of 5

In the Cities the Hills - Clive Barker

Urban decay contest honeymoon definitely over.


4 out of 5

Crossing Into Cambodia - Michael Moorcock

A glowing charge.


3 out of 5

The Luck In the Head - M. John Harrison

Oh Mammy, how I chop ya, how I chop ya


3.5 out of 5

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Inside Straight - George R. R. Martin

The long awaited eighteenth volume in the Wild Card series is a good one.

It doesn't live up to the brilliance of the early series, and seems to have changed tone somewhat. Far less sex, and perhaps even less violence, at least up close as opposed to blogged about afterwards than the earlier work.

The amount of interest I have, or time spent watching reality television can be added up on the legs of a snake. If I lived in this world, would I have some interest in watching loser aces make fools of themselves? Probably some of it, like the almost anything goes type contest stuff, anyway.

Daniel Abraham has the toughest job to pull off her with the multi-story Jonathan Hive tales, going from smartarse blogger, to vaguely panicked smartarse war correspondent.

Some of the veterans shine as usual, Martin, Snodgrass, Leigh. Hopefully the former has enjoyed writing something not a gazillion pages long and medieval, again, as his work again features for best story.

To follow on from the cover of the last book, this time around they have gone for the exceedingly cheesy romance novel Lancelot beefcake picture, complete with bad 90s comic gold foil type look into the bargain.

Good to have Wild Cards back, hopefully there will be more.

Wild Cards 18 : 01 Jonathan Hive 1 Who the Fuck Was Jetboy? - Daniel Abraham
Wild Cards 18 : 02 Dark Of the Moon - Melinda M. Snodgrass
Wild Cards 18 : 03 Jonathan Hive 2 Jonathan Hive Sells Out! - Daniel Abraham
Wild Cards 18 : 04 From the Desk of Rebecca Lieberman - George R. R. Martin
Wild Cards 18 : 05 Chosen Ones 1 - Carrie Vaughn
Wild Cards 18 : 06 Jonathan Hive 3 First Among Losers - Daniel Abraham
Wild Cards 18 : 07 Chosen Ones 2 - Carrie Vaughn
Wild Cards 18 : 08 Jonathan Hive 4 Better Than Television - Daniel Abraham
Wild Cards 18 : 09 Looking For Jetboy - Michael Cassutt
Wild Cards 18 : 10 Metagames - Caroline Spector
Wild Cards 18 : 11 Jonathan Hive 5 All the Best Stories Start This One Time We Were Really Drunk And - Daniel Abraham
Wild Cards 18 : 12 Star Power - Melinda M. Snodgrass
Wild Cards 18 : 13 Wakes the Lion - John J. Miller
Wild Cards 18 : 14 Jonathan Hive 6 A Bad Day In Cairo - Daniel Abraham
Wild Cards 18 : 15 Crusader - George R. R. Martin
Wild Cards 18 : 16 Jonathan Hive 7 Real People Really Dying - Daniel Abraham
Wild Cards 18 : 17 The Tin Man's Lament - Ian Tregillis
Wild Cards 18 : 18 Jonathan Hive 8 Hey Guys My Dad's Got A Warehouse Let's Put On A War - Daniel Abraham
Wild Cards 18 : 19 Incidental Music For Heroes - Stephen Leigh
Wild Cards 18 : 20 Blood On the Sun - Melinda M. Snodgrass
Wild Cards 18 : 21 Looking For Jetboy Epilog - Michael Cassutt
Wild Cards 18 : 22 Jonathan Hive 9 Give the Wookie A Medal - Daniel Abraham

An old loser hero blog from bug boy.

3.5 out of 5


A teleporting ace agent wetwork specialist finally gets to the Nur.

4 out of 5


Joining the reality show.

3.5 out of 5


Reality show roll call, in suits.

3 out of 5


Rescuing people from burning buildings etc. is harder than it looks, even with super powers.

3.5 out of 5


Wisecracking bugsy observers discarded.

3 out of 5


Earth Witch and her new skills come in handy for underwater recovery.

3.5 out of 5


Some wasp spying by the discarded one, as he realises there may be something better to do for him and John Fortune than really bad tv shows.

3.5 out of 5


The Scavenger Hunt gets a bit vicious.

3.5 out of 5


More tv team-ups, discards, and some real ace contests, even with a Golden Boy.

4 out of 5


Burning down the house, amulets of power, a flaming lion, and a couple of drunk friends for John Fortune.

3.5 out of 5


Straight Arrow has some spook recruiting in mind.

4 out of 5


Symbiote Fortune in Vegas, and Lohengrin suggests Hive should actually be a real journo.

3.5 out of 5


Dead Caliph riot observations for Hive, Fortune, and Lohengrin.

3 out of 5


The three aces in Egypt start to earn a reputation, and find out an army and some bigger aces are coming for them.

4.5 out of 5


Warblogging.

3.5 out of 5


Discarded and torn, it is time for war.

4 out of 5


Bugsy gets reinforcements, but a three times bigger other army coming to get him.

3.5 out 5


A not very little Drummer Boy decides to lend a hand.

4 out of 5


Double Helix, pommie spook ace shows just how many side he/she can play.

4 out of 5


With important stuff on, nobody actually cares about reality tv.

3 out of 5


The UN and Jayawardene, after looking useless, decide that a super team (or actually, Committee) might be a good plan.

3 out of 5




4 out of 5

Give the Wookie A Medal - Daniel Abraham

The UN and Jayawardene, after looking useless, decides that a super team (or actually, Committee) might be a good plan.


3 out of 5

Looking For Jetboy Epilog - Michael Cassutt

With important stuff on, nobody actually cares about reality tv.


3 out of 5

Blood On the Sun - Melinda M. Snodgrass

Double Helix, pommie spook ace shows just how many side he/she can play.


4 out of 5

Incidental Music For Heroes - Stephen Leigh

A not very little Drummer Boy decides to lend a hand.


4 out of 5

Hey Guys My Dad's Got A Warehouse Let's Put On A War - Daniel Abraham

Bugsy gets reinforcements, but a three times bigger other army coming to get him.


3.5 out of 5

The Tin Man's Lament - Ian Tregillis

Discarded and torn, it is time for war.


4 out of 5

Real People Really Dying - Daniel Abraham

Warblogging.


3.5 out of 5

Crusader - George R. R. Martin

The three aces in Egypt start to earn a reputation, and find out an army and some bigger aces are coming for them.


4.5 out of 5

A Bad Day In Cairo - Daniel Abraham

Dead Caliph riot observations for Hive, Fortune, and Lohengrin.


3 out of 5

Wakes the Lion - John J. Miller

Symbiote Fortune in Vegas, and Lohengrin suggests Hive should actually be a real journo.


3.5 out of 5

Star Power - Melinda M. Snodgrass

Straight Arrow has some spook recruiting in mind.


4 out of 5

All The Best Stories Start This One Time We Were Really Drunk And - Daniel Abraham

Burning down the house, amulets of power, a flaming lion, and a couple of drunk friends for John Fortune.


3.5 out of 5

Metagames - Caroline Spector

More tv team-ups, discards, and some real ace contests, even with a Golden Boy.


4 out of 5

Looking For Jetboy - Michael Cassutt

The Scavenger Hunt gets a bit vicious.


3.5 out of 5

Better Than Television - Daniel Abraham

Some wasp spying by the discarded one, as he realises there may be something better to do for him and John Fortune than really bad tv shows.


3.5 out of 5

Chosen Ones 2 - Carrie Vaughn

Earth Witch and her new skills come in handy for underwater recovery.


3.5 out of 5

First Among Losers - Daniel Abraham

Wisecracking bugsy observers discarded.


3 out 5

Chosen Ones 1 - Carrie Vaughn

Rescuing people from burning buildings etc. is harder than it looks, even with super powers.


3.5 out of 5

Friday, March 21, 2008

Analog 929 - Stanley Schmidt

A pretty good issue at 3.44. Some 4 star stories, as well. Two interesting articles, one about rare African languages - and I think Tad Williams has a character from one of the groups talked about in his Otherland series, and a review of a previous article on 7 physics problems of a cosmological variety, some of which have now been worked out.

A few reviews, including Halting State, by Stross.

ANALOG929 : Analog 929 - Stanley Schmidt
ANALOG929 : TEST SIGNALS - David Bartell
ANALOG929 : NO TRAVELLER RETURNS - Dave Creek
ANALOG929 : THE ASHES OF HIS FATHERS - Eric James Stone
ANALOG929 : STILL-HUNTING - Sarah K. Castle
ANALOG929 : THE DINOSAURS OF EDEN - Darrell Schweitzer
ANALOG929 : PETITE PILFERER PUZZLES PIEDMONT POLICE - Walter L. Kleine
ANALOG929 : WHAT DRIVES CARS - Carl Frederick
ANALOG929 : CONSEQUENCES OF THE MUTINY - Ronald R. Lambert
ANALOG929 : THE NIGHT OF THE RFIDS - Edward M. Lerner

Doc Ock-Lizard test case prison text.

3.5 out of 5


Art for Art's sake, be dead for god's sake.

4 out of 5


Remains an old time prisoner.

3.5 out of 5


"...the damn Kodiaks could be a problem. Every year they came farther north. Dirty polar sows, who didn't mind fishy breath, would mate with them."

"Grrary smells very nice. Too nice, sometimes he makes me hungry. But all I have to do then is open my eyes. There isn't enough fat on him to make a meal.""

Lots of beartalk work, here.

3 out of 5


"Dinosaurs may not be very bright, but they are impressed by flaming swords."

2.5 out of 5


Alien archaeology cop.

3.5 out of 5


Fuel lobby.

4 out of 5


Colony ship freeze-out socieity.

3 out of 5


Survellance Secession.

4 out of 5




4 out of 5

The Night Of the RFIDs - Edward M. Lerner

Survellance Secession.


4 out of 5

Consequences Of the Mutiny - Ronald R. Lambert

Colony ship freeze-out soceity.


3 out of 5

What Drives Cars - Carl Frederick

Fuel lobby.


4 out of 5

Petite Pilferer Puzzles Piedmont Police - Walter L. Kleine

Alien archaeology cop.


3.5 out of 5

The Dinosaurs Of Eden - Darrell Schweitzer

"Dinosaurs may not be very bright, but they are impressed by flaming swords."


2.5 out of 5

Still-Hunting - Sarah K. Castle

"...the damn Kodiaks could be a problem. Every year they came farther north. Dirty polar sows, who didn't mind fishy breath, would mate with them."

“Grrary smells very nice. Too nice, sometimes he makes me hungry. But all I have to do then is open my eyes. There isn't enough fat on him to make a meal.”

Lots of beartalk work, here.


3 out of 5

From the Desk of Rebecca Lieberman - George R. R. Martin

Reality show roll call, in suits.


3 out of 5

Jonathan Hive Sells Out! - Daniel Abraham

Joining the reality show.


3.5 out of 5

Dark Of the Moon - Melinda M. Snodgrass

A teleporting ace assassin finally gets to the Nur.


4 out of 5

Who the Fuck Was Jetboy? - Daniel Abraham

An old loser hero blog from bee boy.


3.5 out of 5

A Hypothetical Lizard - Alan Moore

Brain split sorcerer sexual servant gender bending slave swap suicide.


3.5 out of 5

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Ashes Of His Fathers - Eric James Stone

Remains an old time prisoner.


3.5 out of 5

No Traveller Returns - Dave Creek

Art for Art's sake, be dead for god's sake.


4 out of 5

Test Signals - David Bartell

Doc Ock-Lizard test case prison text.


3.5 out of 5

Arthur C. Clarke

The Trigger - Arthur C. Clarke and Michael K. Kube-McDowell
2001 A Space Odyssey - Arthur C. Clarke
2010 Odyssey Two - Arthur C. Clarke
2061 Odyssey Three - Arthur C. Clarke
3001 The Final Odyssey - Arthur C. Clarke
All the Time in the World - Arthur C. Clarke
An Ape About the House - Arthur C. Clarke
Armaments Race - Arthur C. Clarke
The Awakening - Arthur C. Clarke
Before Eden - Arthur C. Clarke
Big Game Hunt - Arthur C. Clarke
Breaking Strain - Arthur C. Clarke
The Call Of the Stars - Arthur C. Clarke
Captain Wyxtpthll's Flying Saucer - Arthur C. Clarke
Cold War - Arthur C. Clarke
Crime On Mars - Arthur C. Clarke
Critical Mass - Arthur C. Clarke
The Cruel Sky - Arthur C. Clarke
Crusade - Arthur C. Clarke
The Curse - Arthur C. Clarke
Death And the Senator - Arthur C. Clarke
The Defenestration of Ermintrude Inch - Arthur C. Clarke
Dial F For Frankenstein - Arthur C. Clarke
Dog Star - Arthur C. Clarke
Encounter At Dawn - Arthur C. Clarke
Exile Of the Eons - Arthur C. Clarke
Expedition To Earth - Arthur C. Clarke
Feathered Friend - Arthur C. Clarke
The Fires Within - Arthur C. Clarke
The Food Of the Gods - Arthur C. Clarke
The Forgotten Enemy - Arthur C. Clarke
The Ghost From the Grand Banks - Arthur C. Clarke
Green Fingers - Arthur C. Clarke
The Hammer of God - Arthur C. Clarke
Hate - Arthur C. Clarke
Hide And Seek - Arthur C. Clarke
History Lesson - Arthur C. Clarke
I Remember Babylon - Arthur C. Clarke
If I Forget Thee Oh Earth - Arthur C. Clarke
Imperial Earth - Arthur C. Clarke
Inheritance - Arthur C. Clarke
Into the Comet - Arthur C. Clarke
Jupiter Five - Arthur C. Clarke
The Last Command - Arthur C. Clarke
Let There Be Light - Arthur C. Clarke
The Light Of Darkness - Arthur C. Clarke
The Longest Science Fiction Story Ever Told - Arthur C. Clarke
Loophole - Arthur C. Clarke
Love That Universe - Arthur C. Clarke
Maelstrom II - Arthur C. Clarke
The Man Who Ploughed the Sea - Arthur C. Clarke
A Meeting With Medusa - Arthur C. Clarke
Moving Spirit - Arthur C. Clarke
The Neutron Tide - Arthur C. Clarke
The Next Tenants - Arthur C. Clarke
The Nine Billion Names Of God - Arthur C. Clarke
No Morning After - Arthur C. Clarke
Of Time and Stars - Arthur C. Clarke
Out Of the Sun - Arthur C. Clarke
Out of the Cradle Endlessly Orbiting - Arthur C. Clarke
The Pacifist - Arthur C. Clarke
The Parasite - Arthur C. Clarke
Patent Pending - Arthur C. Clarke
Playback - Arthur C. Clarke
The Possessed - Arthur C. Clarke
Quarantine - Arthur C. Clarke
Reach For Tomorrow - Arthur C. Clarke
The Reluctant Orchid - Arthur C. Clarke
Rendezvous With Rama - Arthur C. Clarke
Reunion - Arthur C. Clarke
The Road to the Sea - Arthur C. Clarke
Robin Hood F. R. S. - Arthur C. Clarke
Saturn Rising - Arthur C. Clarke
Second Dawn - Arthur C. Clarke
The Secret - Arthur C. Clarke
Security Check - Arthur C. Clarke
Sentinel of Eternity - Arthur C. Clarke
The Shining Ones - Arthur C. Clarke
Silence Please! - Arthur C. Clarke
Sleeping Beauty - Arthur C. Clarke
A Slight Case Of Sunstroke - Arthur C. Clarke
Superiority - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales From the White Hart - Arthur C. Clarke
Tales Of Ten Worlds - Arthur C. Clarke
Technical Error - Arthur C. Clarke
Time's Arrow - Arthur C. Clarke
Transience - Arthur C. Clarke
Transit of Earth - Arthur C. Clarke
Trouble With Time - Arthur C. Clarke
The Ultimate Menace - Arthur C. Clarke
The Wall Of Darkness - Arthur C. Clarke
What Goes Up - Arthur C. Clarke
The Wind From the Sun - Arthur C. Clarke
The Wind From the Sun - Arthur C. Clarke

Fantasy and Science Fiction 672 - Gordon Van Gelder

Nothing average here, just decent, one good (the Reed), and two not so. A good movie review of the Pullman adaptation, and a Hand book review column. PDF's romance spoof is amusing, too.

FSF672 : Reunion - Robert Reed
FSF672 : Rebecca's Locket - S. L. Gilbow
FSF672 : Immortal Snake - Rachel Pollack
FSF672 : Firooz and His Brother - Alex Jeffers
FSF672 : Thrilling Wonder Stories - Albert E. Cowdrey
FSF672 : Traitor - M. Rickert
FSF672 : Circle - George Tucker


Life path selection assistance.

4 out of 5


Eternilocket pussy.

3.5 out of 5


All useless and hard to swallow.

2.5 out of 5


Hey, hey, mama, said the way you move
You were my bro, why now groin groove?

3.5 out of 5


"Farley didn't kill her with the baseball bat, even though it seemed to be there just for that purpose."

Feeding the rat dog to the monster givs other revelatory opportunities for maternal evil removal, though.

3.5 out ouf 5


"They sit there until their butts get sore and then they go inside."

Eyes too, given the pages of italics.

2 out of 5


Estate exorcism shaman spirit deal main man.

3.5 out of 5



3.5 out of 5

Circle - George Tucker

Estate exorcism shaman spirit deal main man.


3.5 out of 5

Traitor - M. Rickert

"They sit there until their butts get sore and then they go inside."

Eyes too, given the pages of italics.


2 out of 5

Thrilling Wonder Stories - Albert E. Cowdrey

"Farley didn't kill her with the baseball bat, even though it seemed to be there just for that purpose."

Feeding the rat dog to the monster gives other revelatory opportunities for maternal evil removal, though.


3.5 out of 5

Firooz and His Brother - Alex Jeffers

Hey, hey, mama, said the way you move
You were my bro, why now groin groove?


3.5 out of 5

Immortal Snake - Rachel Pollack

All useless and hard to swallow.


2.5 out of 5

Rebecca's Locket - S. L. Gilbow

Eternilocket pussy.


3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Reunion - Robert Reed

Life path selection assistance.


4 out of 5

Fantasy and Science Fiction 671 - Gordon Van Gelder

Similar to the last one (3.42), but arriving differently with two fours and two threes. A couple of books include a Randall collection, and Swanwick's Cabell venture. He ventures if you can find a teenage inner good girl?! you might like Meyer's Twilight.

Lucius Shepad has an extended play movie review of some Tales, with the Rock, no less.


FSF671 : Fantasy and Science Fiction 671 (Apr 2008) - Gordon Van Gelder
FSF671 : The First Editions - James Stoddard
FSF671 : Five Thrillers - Robert Reed
FSF671 : Render unto Caesar - Kevin N. Haw
FSF671 : The Nocturnal Adventure of Dr. O and Mr. D - Tim Sullivan
FSF671 : The Fountain of Neptune - Kate Wilhelm
FSF671 : The 400-Million-Year Itch - Steven Utley


Very bookish nerd.

3 out of 5


G. M. Joe.

4 out of 5


Troll tax.

4 out of 5


“I've never tried smoking through my ass, although I've talked through it often enough."

3 out of 5


Brain tumour god illusion leavetaking.

3.5 out of 5


"I am the wizard of time."

You physics bunch are slackers :

“You people could at least have the decency to find some kind of short-cut in spacetime. A gateway through hyperspace via black holes."

3 out of 5



(call it 3.75 I think, this one)
3.5 out of 5

The 400-million-year itch - Steven Utley

"I am the wizard of time."

You physics bunch are slackers :

“You people could at least have the decency to find some kind of short-cut in spacetime. A gateway through hyperspace via black holes."

(call it 3.25)
3 out of 5

The Fountain Of Neptune - Kate Wilhelm

Brain tumour god illusion leavetaking.


3.5 out of 5

The Nocturnal Adventure Of Dr. O And Mr. D - Tim Sullivan

"I've never tried smoking through my ass, although I've talked through it often enough."


3 out of 5

Render Unto Caesar - Kevin Haw

Troll tax.


4 out of 5

Five Thrillers - Robert Reed

G. M. Joe.


4 out of 5

A Proper Place To Live - Tom Purdom

Irresistable music, lord.


2.5 out of 5

Warstory - Gregory Benford

Like a relaxing session of being shot at a lot, please.


3 out of 5

The Fountains Of Paradise - Arthur C. Clarke

Space Elevator in alternate Sri Lanka.


The main story in this novel is the construction of a space elevator, and all the engineering problems and dangers for those working on the project.

Not everyone thinks this is a great idea, particularly the head of the religious orders near where this is to be built.

To make the whole story more interesting and complicated, an alien artifact arrives at Earth earlier in the novel, communicating information and the fact that yes, there are races that are way beyond you in maturity, in all senses.

Religion, aliens and monumental work, all tied in together.

Certainly one of Clarke's best books.


4 out of 5

Death Reign Of the Vampire King - Grant Stockbridge

The Spider vs Bat Man.


This one isn't trying to strike fear and terror into the hearts of criminals, either, but quite the reverse.

He is using bats with poisoned sharp bits to slaughter hundreds of innocents in his own crazy crusade against the USA.

The Spider needs help in this one, as he cannot fly on his own like the Bat Man, and a pilot steps up to help, along with the usual crew.

The Spider realises he might have to give the whole flying bat thing a go himself before this is over.


3.5 out of 5

The Star Kings - Edmond Hamilton

Space prince swap.

John Gordon is rather surprised to be mentally contacted by a man claiming to be from a long, long way in the future, who claims he can swap minds in an experiment with a man from the past such as himself.

When he agrees there are beautiful women to try and fool, Galactic Empires to save, battle fleets to be fought, and atom-pistols to be wielded. Oh, and a super Disruptor weapon to protect from falling into the wrong hands.

Not what your average 20th bloke has to go through, that is for sure, but he gives it his best.


3 out of 5

The Mummy Stories Of the Living Corpse - Peter Haining

A very nice little anthology of mummy tales. There is also an interesting introduction by the editor. My spousal unit is extremely fond of mummy stories, so hopefully can round up all the anthologies eventually, this being the first. There aren't that many mummy tales according to such eminent short story scholas as Mike Ashley, either. Not so popular these days, presumably, as most of these are pretty old, barring the last few.

Mummy Living Corpse : Some Words with a Mummy - Edgar Allan Poe
Mummy Living Corpse : My New Year's Eve Among the Mummies - Grant Allen
Mummy Living Corpse : Lot No. 249 - Arthur Conan Doyle
Mummy Living Corpse : The Story of Baelbrow - E. Heron and H. Heron
Mummy Living Corpse : A Professor of Egyptology - Guy Boothby
Mummy Living Corpse : The Mysterious Mummy - Sax Rohmer
Mummy Living Corpse : The Mummy's Foot - Theophile Gautier
Mummy Living Corpse : Black Coffee - Jeffery Farnol
Mummy Living Corpse : Imprisoned with the Pharoahs - Harry Houdini
Mummy Living Corpse : The Mummy Worshippers - Elliott O'Donnell
Mummy Living Corpse : The Flying Head - A. Hyatt Verrill
Mummy Living Corpse : Monkeys - E. F. Benson
Mummy Living Corpse : The Mummy's Ghost - Griffin Jay and Henry Sucher
Mummy Living Corpse : The Secret of Sebek - Robert Bloch
Mummy Living Corpse : A Life for a Life - Dennis Wheatley
Mummy Living Corpse : Colonel Stonesteel's Genuine Home-Made Truly Egyptian Mummy - Ray Bradbury

"I should have thought," observed Mr. Buckingham, "that it is high time you were dead."

"Why," replied the Count, very much astonished, "I am little more than
seven hundred years old! My father lived a thousand, and was by no means in his dotage when he died."

3.5 out of 5


has spoken to the Brother of the Sun,' cried Ombos in evident perturbation. 'He must be of the Blood Royal in his own tribe, or he would never have dared to do so!'

'Otherwise,' added a person whose dress I recognized as that of a priest, 'he must be offered up in expiation to Amon-Ra immediately.'

No beers, either.

3.5 out of 5


Mummies are scary when they don't stay in the same place.

3.5 out of 5


Flaxman encounters a mummy.

3 out of 5


Becoming Pharaoh plotting.

3 out of 5


Monster faking attack.

3 out of 5


No cradle snatching with a 2000 year age difference, sorry dear.

3.5 out of 5


Isis mummy expiration.

4 out of 5


Pyramid duel and stuck like an Egyptian.

3.5 out of 5


Katebit kiss kiss.

3 out of 5


From a mummy, means you in heap of trouble, signor.

3.5 out of 5


Mummy unwinding.

3.5 out of 5


Till death do us part a bit hard to take with this eternal life serum, thanks.

3.5 out of 5


Mardi Gras with too many bandages and not enough croc hunters.

4 out of 5


Wife, Mummy?

2.5 out of 5


Midwestern Egypt.

3 out of 5




4 out of 5

A Life For A Life - Dennis Wheatley

Wife, Mummy?


2.5 out of 5

The Secret Of Sebek - Robert Bloch

Mardi Gras with too many bandages and not enough croc hunters.


4 out of 5

The Mummy's Ghost - Griffin Jay and Henry Sucher

Till death do us part a bit hard to take with this eternal life serum, thanks.


3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Monkeys - E. F. Benson

Mummy unwinding.


3.5 out of 5

The Flying Head - A. Hyatt Verrill

From a mummy, means you in heap of trouble, signor.


3.5 out of 5

The Mummy Worshippers - Elliott O'Donnell

Katebit kiss kiss.


3 out of 5

The People Of the Talisman - Leigh Brackett

Unmasked warlords and almost dead cities.


A Baen ebook reprint in their very cool recent Brackett/Hamilton megapack.

With a lot of sword, spear and axe work in between, the book gets more interesting after Stark unmasks a war leader of his opposition after a good belt to the helmet is delivered. Both he and her followers are rather suprised to discover she is not a man.

More fighting of course ensues, but the aforementioned pair are forced to work together against strange aliens in an unfortunately not deserted city, to ensure things do not go badly wrong.


3.5 out of 5

The Accidental Time Machine - Joe Haldeman

Double hop device.


A grad student flukes into a working graviton-based time machine, around the same time as losing his job and his girlfriend dumping him.

Needless to say, he manages to get into trouble then.

The odd thing about his device is that it jumps logarithmically in time and space, and can't go the other way.

The start is the most interesting, what happens after he starts using it gets a bit on the tedious side.


3 out of 5

Monday, March 17, 2008

Mr Aickman's Air Rifle - Peter Straub

Dodgy book story.


3.5 out of 5

Legends 1 - Robert Silverberg

A mass market paperback of part of the large Legends anthology, and this is the first half, basically.

The first half is also the inferior part, and only averages 2.83.

Legends 1 : The Little Sisters of Eluria - Stephen King
Legends 1 : The Sea and Little Fishes - Terry Pratchett
Legends 1 : Debt of Bones - Terry Goodkind
Legends 1 : Grinning Man - Orson Scott Card
Legends 1 : The Seventh Shrine - Robert Silverberg
Legends 1 : Dragonfly - Ursula K. Le Guin

Witch bug tastes good to you, Rover?

3.5 out of 5


Witch competition.

3.5 out of 5


First wizard owes readers.

1 out of 5


Davy Crockett not eaten by a bear.

2.5 out of 5


Metamorph murder mystery sacrifice.

3.5 out of 5


Archmage political conflict.

3 out of 5





2.5 out of 5

New Amsterdam - Elizabeth Bear

A good old fixup I believe the author might call this. The name of the main character, Abigail Irene Garrett, is of course a homage to Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy series, and she has combined the detective and sorcerer pairing i that book into the one woman, here.

However, I am quite sure Lord Darcy would not have down trou and let his vampire partner (in any sense of the word you like) suck dinner from his groin!

Monsters and plots to deal with, and plots to make in this turn of the 19th century fantasy USA and Europe, in a quite well done collection of stories.

Abigail Irene Garrett : New Amsterdam - Elizabeth Bear
Abigail Irene Garrett : New Amsterdam 1 Lucifugous - Elizabeth Bear
Abigail Irene Garrett : New Amsterdam 2 Wax - Elizabeth Bear
Abigail Irene Garrett : New Amsterdam 3 Wane - Elizabeth Bear
Abigail Irene Garrett : New Amsterdam 4 Limerent - Elizabeth Bear
Abigail Irene Garrett : New Amsterdam 5 Chatoyant - Elizabeth Bear
Abigail Irene Garrett : New Amsterdam 6 Lumière - Elizabeth Bear
Murder, bloodsucking and detection by dirigible.

3.5 out of 5


Forensic sorcery monster murder triangle.

4 out of 5


The sharp end of political plot with a bit of monster transforming gear for AIG and fanged friend.

3.5 out of 5


Fenian plots : "It was an odd thing, to find one's self greeting a murderous sorcerer by name, making casual conversation while he helped one off with one's coat and escorted one to the usual place."

3 out of 5


Some blokey vamp action, before AIG decides to give the Crown job the arse and take up the possibility of being a Bostonian Consulting Detective. More dead people and not people follow.

3 out of 5


"You have another reputation as well, Lady Abigail. One as a sort of distaff Nimrod. A mighty slayer of monsters."

The aforementioned triple barreled lady, Sebastien, Jack and the ratdog have decamped to Paris for a little revolutionary air. However, the monster hunting skills will still be needed with the ghost werewolves of Paris and The Beast running around.

4 out of 5





4 out of 5

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Lumiere - Elizabeth Bear

"You have another reputation as well, Lady Abigail. One as a sort of distaff Nimrod. A mighty slayer of monsters."

The aforementioned triple barreled lady, Sebastien, Jack and the ratdog have decamped to Paris for a little revolutionary air. However, the monster hunting skills will still be needed with the ghost werewolves of Paris and The Beast running around.


4 out of 5

Chatoyant - Elizabeth Bear

Some blokey vamp action, before AIG decides to give the Crown job the arse and take up the possibility of being a Bostonian Consulting Detective. More dead people and not people follow.


3 out of 5

Limerent - Elizabeth Bear

Fenian plots : "It was an odd thing, to find one's self greeting a murderous sorcerer by name, making casual conversation while he helped one off with one's coat and escorted one to the usual place."


3 out of 5

Wane - Elizabeth Bear

The sharp end of political plot with a bit of monster transforming gear for AIG and fanged friend.


3.5 out of 5

Dreadful Skin - Cherie Priest

There are three linked stories in this collection, all featuring the same werewolf hunting nun. Yes, that is right. A werewolf hunting nun. Someone that is not quite human herself, and on the trail of a monster, throughout the three stories.

The first couple are told from the point of view of a few of the characters in it, the third somewhat different for the first major part, being recounted in letters and journals.

On the whole, rather good.

Sister Eileen Callaghan : The Wreck of the Mary Byrd - Cherie Priest
Sister Eileen Callaghan : Halfway To Holiness - Cherie Priest
Sister Eileen Callaghan : Our Lady of the Wasteland - Cherie Priest


"I ducked into a niche between a cabin and the pilot house and hiked my skirt up enough to reach down into my garter holster. I've heard it said that God made all men, but Samuel Colt made all men equal.

We'd see what Mr. Colt could do for a woman."

While Mr. Colt's equality of weaponry is one thing, I doubt it applies to werewolves, and one of which is what this nun is hunting, and has tracked him to a riverboat. Or at least she hopes she has, and it isn't the other way around.

4 out of 5


Sister Eileen, still looking for Jack, has her own case of the furries to deal with, and comes a werewolf at a revivalist camp.

3.5 out of 5


When Jack and the revivalist's son from the second story team up for a reign of terror and snacking, Eileen realises she needs help, and makes a stand with some allies in a town church.

3.5 out of 5



4.5 out of 5

Our Lady Of the Wasteland - Cherie Priest

When Jack and the revivalist's son from the second story team up for a reign of terror and snacking, Eileen realises she needs help, and makes a stand with some allies in a town church.


3.5 out of 5

Halfway To Holiness - Cherie Priest

Sister Eileen, still looking for Jack, has her own case of the furries to deal with, and comes a werewolf at a revivalist camp.


3.5 out of 5

The Wreck Of the Mary Byrd - Cherie Priest

"I ducked into a niche between a cabin and the pilot house and hiked my skirt up enough to reach down into my garter holster. I've heard it said that God made all men, but Samuel Colt made all men equal.

We'd see what Mr. Colt could do for a woman."

While Mr. Colt's equality of weaponry is one thing, I doubt it applies to werewolves, and one of which is what this nun is hunting, and has tracked him to a riverboat. Or at least she hopes she has, and it isn't the other way around.


4 out of 5

Hero - Perry Moore

Mix a bit of Mystery Men, a lot of Squadron Supreme, a Batman/Nighthawk clone and a brave young kid, with a Superfolks type plot.

This is clearly a book written to be accessible to kids, with the overly spaced out text and simplified writing style (of course, we don't know if the author can do better, either) that you get in books for the young.

However, it has some charm, and plenty of bad superhero jokes and more - he has low rent villains called Transvision Vamp and Sig-Sig Sputnik, for example.

The kid's dad is a disgraced hero, involved in a situation that resulted in the death of many. He is also pretty conservative, going by the name Major Might when active, and having a sidekick named Right Wing.

In one of those four-color coincidences, Thom (does Perry Moore like Star Boy?) gets involved in saving some people from C-grade baddies.

He gets a tryout to 'The League', who, apart from the really obviously out of palce Justice, are Squadron Supreme (and hence JLA) analogues.

So if familiar with the comics, you know who the hero to watch there is.

Apart from that, the kid has to deal with the fact that he prefers blokes, something not likely to please his father, and seizures, and getting powers, and getting into a crazy superhero tryout situation, yet another secret to keep from his dad, him and his misfit trainee hero crew.

The plot accelerates from there with the death of one of the heroes in the League.

Being for kids, it doesn't have much chance of ever approaching the level of Wild Cards of Superfolks or books like that, but is certainly entertaining enough.


3.5 out of 5