Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Return Of the Night Wind - Varick Vanardy

I haven't read the first one, but there is an interesting introduction by Peter Coogan, who wrote a book on the history of the superhero.

He suggests one reason this character is forgotten is that he doesn't fall into the pulp-avenger or science fiction superman niche. It is perhaps also a little more old fashioned than The Shadow, Doc Savage or even Wylie's Gladiator, too, being from the teens and all, or thereabouts.

He's more of a wants to be left alone guy, despite not being big and green, having a flaming head, or winged feet.

There are a lot of corrupt New York cops apparently, and he is being framed for robbery. Evidence that these cops aren't the brightest is that they pick a man several times stronger and faster than your usual mortal as a target.

In fact, this book points out who many of them he has 'broken' in the past, and it is meant literally.

With a brave woman at his side and a friend or two, he sets out to clear his name.

Anyway, an interesting painstaking rediscovery by Chris Yates, this bloke.


3 out of 5

The Chronoliths - Robert Charles Wilson

A programmer is caught up in what becomes a large conflict when he is near the scene of the appearance of a large time monument.

A former physics student, an old lecturer who happens to be a cutting edge expert in things Calabi-Yau and others wants him around.

The appearance of these things causes a rift in society between the supporters of the mysterious 'Kuin' and everybody else. The former includes the man's daughter, living with her mother and step-father.

Things fall apart, but proof of advanced technology is of course right before people, and that whole time travel paradox thing.


3.5 out of 5

The Mad Horde - Grant Stockbridge

The Spider takes on a mad scientist who wants to give the gift of super rabies to all those that oppose him.

Has to perform some testing on plenty of 'human guinea pigs' first to soup up his bugs to be effective enough for that first, of course, following in the footsteps of mad scientists everywhere.

Up to the Spider to stop him before Ram is foaming at the mouth.


2.5 out of 5

Living Next Door To the God Of Love - Justina Robson

Unity spread.


This could be what happens when you throw perhaps an English Tom Robbins type into a multiverse machine and see what you get.

A whacky introduction with superpeople and more, mini universes, gender shifting and a conflict between the not wanna be United and the Unity.

Robson's writing is just as decent as in the rest of her stuff, but this book is perhaps a little too wild and sprawling and all over the place in places going from bizarre to mundane.


3.5 out of 5

Incandescence - Greg Egan

In the future of the pair from Riding the Crocodile Egan does Forward meets Clement, or something like that.

Two story strands here - a pair from the Amalgam, still contemplating the Aloof and their posthumanity, and a far more primitive people stuck in a nasty astronomical situation.

The former discovers the latter, as the latter discovers the physics of their situation.

Pity all physics lectures couldn't be this entertaining!


3.5 out of 5

Dead Reign - Tim Pratt

Apparently a Walking Death is a much bigger wanker than a Sitting Death.

So, when this one turns up, the first thing Marla does is insult him and try and beat him up, neither of which is too effective.

He also wants her knife of office, apparently being his. She also has to deal with getting a valet, a necromancer that decides he'd like to be Death's toady and play with John Wilkes Booth, as well as the usual opportunistic not so nice sorcerers around the place.

If you are going to fight Death, a trip to Hell is of course in order.


3.5 out of 5

High Justice - Jerry Pournelle

A pretty decent collection at 3.50, of related stories in a near future setting and the struggle between the richest woman in the world and those that oppose her plans for development, especially in early space travel and stations.

High Justice : A Matter of Sovereignty - Jerry Pournelle
High Justice : Power to the People - Jerry Pournelle
High Justice : Enforcer - Jerry Pournelle
High Justice : High Justice - Jerry Pournelle
High Justice : Extreme Prejudice - Jerry Pournelle
High Justice : Consort - Jerry Pournelle
High Justice : Tinker - Jerry Pournelle

Tonga Reaction.

3.5 out of 5


Namibia mission.

3 out of 5


Undersea slavers.

3.5 out of 5


Heimdall space project sabotage execution.

4 out of 5


Dolphin team kill.

4 out of 5


One dodgy president, one moon trip managed.

3.5 out of 5


Horny boost slinger.

3 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thirteen O'Clock and Other Zero Hours - C. M. Kornbluth

An ordinary collection barring the first long story. At 3.13, you could mostly skip the rest if you wanted, although some amusment in the last tale.

Thirteen O'Clock and Other Zero Hours : Thirteen O'Clock - C. M. Kornbluth
Thirteen O'Clock and Other Zero Hours : The Rocket of 1955 - C. M. Kornbluth
Thirteen O'Clock and Other Zero Hours : What Sorghum Says - C. M. Kornbluth
Thirteen O'Clock and Other Zero Hours : Crisis! - C. M. Kornbluth
Thirteen O'Clock and Other Zero Hours : The Reversible Revolutions - C. M. Kornbluth
Thirteen O'Clock and Other Zero Hours : The City in the Sofa - C. M. Kornbluth
Thirteen O'Clock and Other Zero Hours : The Golden Road - C. M. Kornbluth
Thirteen O'Clock and Other Zero Hours : MS. Found in a Chinese Fortune Cookie - C. M. Kornbluth

Grandpa's magic gangster racket.

4 out of 5


Killer launch.

3 out of 5


Roman trip machine.

3 out of 5


Planetary trade relations.

3 out of 5


Fiery repeat.

2.5 out of 5


Battle ready.

3 out of 5


Mixed dead fight.

3 out of 5


Writing monopoly maintenance.

3.5 out of 5




2.5 out of 5

The Bitterest Pill - Frederik Pohl

Mutant smart baby.


3 out of 5

The Best Of Frederik Pohl - Frederik Pohl

A pretty average collection at 3.11, despite being a best of. An introduction detailing Pohl's writing history by Lester Del Rey.

Best of Frederik Pohl : The Tunnel Under the World - Frederik Pohl
Best of Frederik Pohl : Punch - Frederik Pohl
Best of Frederik Pohl : Three Portraits and a Prayer - Frederik Pohl
Best of Frederik Pohl : Day Million - Frederik Pohl
Best of Frederik Pohl : Happy Birthday Dear Jesus - Frederik Pohl
Best of Frederik Pohl : We Never Mention Aunt Nora - Frederik Pohl
Best of Frederik Pohl : Father of the Stars - Frederik Pohl
Best of Frederik Pohl : The Day the Martians Came - Frederik Pohl
Best of Frederik Pohl : The Midas Plague - Frederik Pohl
Best of Frederik Pohl : The Snowmen - Frederik Pohl
Best of Frederik Pohl : Grandy Devil - Frederik Pohl
Best of Frederik Pohl : Speed Trap - Frederik Pohl
Best of Frederik Pohl : The Richest Man in Levittown - Frederik Pohl
Best of Frederik Pohl : The Day the Icicle Works Closed - Frederik Pohl
Best of Frederik Pohl : The Hated - Frederik Pohl
Best of Frederik Pohl : The Martian in the Attic - Frederik Pohl
Best of Frederik Pohl : The Census Takers - Frederik Pohl
Best of Frederik Pohl : The Children of Night - Frederik Pohl

Brain capacity reduction circuit.

3 out of 5


Shoot targets with a chance.

3 out of 5


Wrong science.

3 out of 5


Stored love.

3.5 out of 5


Time to marry.

2.5 out of 5


Who said this kid is a girl or a boy.

3 out of 5


Fund raiser aping.

3.5 out of 5


Old jokes.

3 out of 5


Consuming duty.

3.5 out of 5


Not hot for aliens.

2.5 out of 5


Tanked rello.

3 out of 5


World progress restraint.

3 out of 5


Mutant smart baby.

3 out of 5


Rent me supply scam.

3.5 out of 5


Space hero psychic rehab.

3.5 out of 5


Captive revenge.

3.5 out of 5


Disaster count.

3 out of 5


After space war account.

3.5 out of 5




3 out of 5

The Children Of the Night - Frederik Pohl

After space war account.


3.5 out of 5

The Martian In the Attic - Frederik Pohl

Captive revenge.


3.5 out of 5

The Richest Man In Levittown - Frederik Pohl

Mutant smart baby.


3 out of 5

Speed Trap - Frederik Pohl

World progress restraint.


3 out of 5

Grandy Devil - Frederik Pohl

Tanked rello.


3 out of 5

Father Of the Stars - Frederik Pohl

Fund raiser aping.


3.5 out of 5

We Never Mention Aunt Nora - Frederik Pohl

Who said this kid is a girl or a boy.


3 out of 5

Happy Birthday Dear Jesus - Frederik Pohl

Time to marry.


2.5 out of 5

Three Portraits and a Prayer - Frederik Pohl

Wrong science.


3 out of 5

Punch - Frederik Pohl

Shoot targets with a chane.


3 out of 5

Pohlstars - Frederik Pohl

A pretty standard sort of quality collection at 3.41. Pohl says it might be influenced a little by some time in China, with Chinese SF writers, and a lot of the stories were written while travelling. One of them even with Doc Smith's typewriter!

So, not too bad, and some variety, although some similar like the Lottery Fair and The Way It Was, as far as results go.

Pohlstars : The Sweet Sad Queen of the Grazing Isles - Frederik Pohl
Pohlstars : The High Test - Frederik Pohl
Pohlstars : Spending a Day at the Lottery Fair - Frederik Pohl
Pohlstars : Second Coming - Frederik Pohl
Pohlstars : Enjoy Enjoy - Frederik Pohl
Pohlstars : Growing Up in Edge City - Frederik Pohl
Pohlstars : We Purchased People - Frederik Pohl
Pohlstars : Rem the Rememberer - Frederik Pohl
Pohlstars : The Mother Trip - Frederik Pohl
Pohlstars : A Day in the Life of Able Charlie - Frederik Pohl
Pohlstars : The Way It Was - Frederik Pohl

Pollution Family struggle, sea.

3.5 out of 5


Space driving school letters.

3 out of 5


Cheap trip, small risk.

3.5 out of 5


Zoo Jesus.

3 out of 5


Fun work.

3 out of 5


Outside getaway Dropout love.

3.5 out of 5


Alien sex control destruction.

4 out of 5


Past problems now.

3.5 out of 5


Get changed.

3.5 out of 5


Fast program work.

3 out of 5


Organ bank gamble.

3.5 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

The Way It Was - Frederik Pohl

Organ bank gamble.


3.5 out of 5

The Mother Trip - Frederik Pohl

Get changed.


3.5 out of 5

The Sweet Sad Queen Of The Grazing Isles - Frederik Pohl

Pollution Family struggle, sea.


3.5 out of 5

Spending A Day At the Lottery Fair - Frederik Pohl

Cheap trip, small risk.


3.5 out of 5

The High Test - Frederik Pohl

Space driving school letters.


3 out of 5

Enjoy Enjoy - Frederik Pohl

Fun work.


3 out of 5

A Day In the Life Of Able Charlie - Frederik Pohl

Fast program work.


3 out of 5

Second Coming - Frederik Pohl

Zoo Jesus.


3 out of 5

Rem the Rememberer - Frederik Pohl

Past problems now.


3.5 out of 5

The Case Against Tomorrow - Frederik Pohl

Just an ordinary collection with a decent story or two. A very dated style of work here, though.

Case Against Tomorrow : The Midas Plague - Frederik Pohl
Case Against Tomorrow : The Census Takers - Frederik Pohl
Case Against Tomorrow : The Candle Lighter - Frederik Pohl
Case Against Tomorrow : The Celebrated No-Hit Inning - Frederik Pohl
Case Against Tomorrow : Wapshot’s Demon - Frederik Pohl
Case Against Tomorrow : My Lady Green Sleeves - Frederik Pohl

Consuming duty.

3.5 out of 5


Disaster count.

3 out of 5


Mars sick mind.

3 out of 5


Baseball winner, mind.

3 out of 5


Polarizer execution.

3 out of 5


Stinky prison punishment.

2.5 out of 5




2 out of 5

My Lady Green Sleeves - Frederik Pohl

Stinky prison punishment.


2.5 out of 5

Wapshot's Demon - Frederik Pohl

Polarizer execution.


3 out of 5

The Celebrated No-Hit Inning - Frederik Pohl

Baseball winner, mind.


3 out of 5

The Candle Lighter - Frederik Pohl

Mars sick mind.


3 out of 5

The Midas Plague - Frederik Pohl

Consuming duty.


3.5 out of 5

City Of Saints and Madmen - Jeff VanderMeer

A collection of longish stories and associated bits and pieces detailing the fictional weird city of Ambergris. e.g. Letters, research studies, histories, etc. Some of the author-insertion metaness gets eye-rollingly tedious at times and spoils the cleverness of the rest.

A range from horror to humour, and the length of the Glossary at the end is quite impressive.

City Of Saints and Madmen : Dradin in Love - Jeff VanderMeer
City Of Saints and Madmen : The Hoegbotton Guide to the Early History of Ambergris - Jeff VanderMeer
City Of Saints and Madmen : The Transformation of Martin Lake - Jeff VanderMeer
City Of Saints and Madmen : The Strange Case of X - Jeff VanderMeer
City Of Saints and Madmen : Appendix - Jeff VanderMeer
City Of Saints and Madmen : A Letter from Dr. V to Dr. Simpkin - Jeff VanderMeer
City Of Saints and Madmen : X's Notes - Jeff VanderMeer
City Of Saints and Madmen : The Release of Belacqua - Jeff VanderMeer
City Of Saints and Madmen : King Squid - Jeff VanderMeer
City Of Saints and Madmen : The Hoegbotton Family History - Jeff VanderMeer
City Of Saints and Madmen : The Cage - Jeff VanderMeer
City Of Saints and Madmen : In the Hours After Death - Jeff VanderMeer
City Of Saints and Madmen : A Note from Dr. V to Dr. Simpkin - Jeff VanderMeer
City Of Saints and Madmen : Man Who Had No Eyes - Jeff VanderMeer
City Of Saints and Madmen : Learning to Leave the Flesh - Jeff VanderMeer
City Of Saints and Madmen : The Ambergris Glossary - Jeff VanderMeer

Dwarf kill dismemberment horror.

3.5 out of 5


Shock the funghi.

3.5 out of 5


Arist lop off exhibition.

3.5 out of 5


Merchandising madness.

3 out of 5


X bits.

3 out of 5


X-man analysis.

3 out of 5


Behind the door raving.

3 out of 5


No story.

3.5 out of 5


Tentacle research.

4 out of 5


Getting shorter.

3 out of 5


Good idea to keep little monsters locked up.

3 out of 5


Clearly history now.

3 out of 5


Decrypting unreality.

3.5 out of 5


Change the course of funghi rivers.

3 out of 5


Thorny departure.

3.5 out of 5


Comprehensive weird detail.

4 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

The Ambergris Glossary - Jeff VanderMeer

Comprehensive weird detail.


4 out of 5

Learning To Leave the Flesh - Jeff VanderMeer

Thorny departure.


3.5 out of 5

A Note From Dr. V To Dr. Simpkin - Jeff VanderMeer

Decrypting unreality.


3.5 out of 5

The Hoegbotton Family History - Jeff VanderMeer

Getting shorter.


3 out of 5

King Squid - Jeff VanderMeer

Tentacle research.


4 out of 5

X's Notes - Jeff VanderMeer

Behind the door raving.


3 out of 5

A Letter From Dr. V To Dr. Simpkin - Jeff VanderMeer

X-man analysis.


3 out out of 5

Appendix - Jeff VanderMeer

X bits.


3 out of 5

The Strange Case Of X - Jeff VanderMeer

Merchandising madness.


3 out of 5

The Transformation Of Martin Lake - Jeff VanderMeer

Arist lop off exhibition.


3.5 out of 5

The Hoegbotton Guide To The Early History Of Ambergris - Jeff VanderMeer

Shock the funghi.


3.5 out of 5

The Living Dead - John Joseph Adams

Note that the print version apparently has more stories than this ebook. In this case the luddite dorkbrains who think what is good for Stephen King isn't good for them include Dan Simmons and This Year's Class Picture, Sherman Alexie's Ghost Dance and Douglas E. Winter's Less than Zombie. Alexie's Ghost Dance isn't very good so leaving it out improves the book. I think Winters might be a lawyer, so maybe not surprising, as they are a big part of the fool complex that brought us DRM etc. Simmons however does sell his books electronically, and even multiformat occasionally, so he must have had a sudden attack of stupidity in this case of this multiple award winner.

A big heaping helping of zombies, as the editor explains :

"In the process of assembling this anthology, I read more zombie stories than you could possibly imagine, and I found more good ones than could possibly fit in one volume, even a mammoth tome like this one. So, in order to help narrow down my selections, I created a few loose guidelines for myself. First, I wanted to avoid taking too many stories from any one source. Second, I wanted to avoid taking too many stories from other zombie anthologies. I discovered a lot of great zombie fiction elsewhere and thought that this book would be more valuable to zombie fans if it were to collect that material."

That is, he wanted to mostly avoid stories you could already get in other zombie anthologies. So there's a variety here, science fiction zombies, non-horror zombies, the origins of Anita Blake, vampire slayer and necromancer and the odd story with no zombies at all that will likely annoy some - and are usually among the weakest stuff, too.

So there's an intro, an introduction to each story, but no zombie bibliography or other reading or viewing lists like in Wastelands. So I suppose this is 'another zombie anthology' as opposed to a retrospective study approach.

Still rather good though, I'd call it a 4.25 rounded up.

Living Dead : Some Zombie Contingency Plans - Kelly Link
Living Dead : Death And Suffrage - Dale Bailey
Living Dead : Blossom - David J. Schow
Living Dead : The Third Dead Body - Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Living Dead : The Dead - Michael Swanwick
Living Dead : The Dead Kid - Darrell Schweitzer
Living Dead : Malthusian's Zombie - Jeffrey Ford
Living Dead : Beautiful Stuff - Susan Palwick
Living Dead : Sex Death And Starshine - Clive Barker
Living Dead : Stockholm Syndrome - David Tallerman
Living Dead : Bobby Conroy Comes Back From the Dead - Joe Hill
Living Dead : Those Who Seek Forgiveness - Laurell K. Hamilton
Living Dead : In Beauty Like The Night - Norman Partridge
Living Dead : Prairie - Brian Evenson
Living Dead : Everything Is Better With Zombies - Hannah Wolf Bowen
Living Dead : Home Delivery - Stephen King
Living Dead : Sparks Fly Upward - Lisa Morton
Living Dead : Meathouse Man - George R. R. Martin
Living Dead : Deadman's Road - Joe R. Lansdale
Living Dead : The Skull-Faced Boy - David Barr Kirtley
Living Dead : The Age Of Sorrow - Nancy Kilpatrick
Living Dead : Bitter Grounds - Neil Gaiman
Living Dead : She's Taking Her Tits To The Grave - Catherine Cheek
Living Dead : Dead Like Me - Adam-Troy Castro
Living Dead : Zora And The Zombie - Andy Duncan
Living Dead : Calcutta Lord Of Nerves - Poppy Z. Brite
Living Dead : Followed - Will McIntosh
Living Dead : The Song The Zombie Sang - Harlan Ellison and Robert Silverberg
Living Dead : Passion Play - Nancy Holder
Living Dead : Almost The Last Story By Almost The Last Man - Scott Edelman
Living Dead : How The Day Runs Down - John Langan


Simple monsters, with jailbait.

3.5 out of 5


Worldwide zombie political comeback.

3.5 out of 5


Zombie bondage asphyxiation nasal dentata.

4 out of 5


Serial killer victim zombie revenge.

3.5 out of 5


Zombies make you obsolete, and sell well as sex toys.

5 out of 5


Zombie fort resident leave school beating right direction.

3.5 out of 5


Horror leftover transform.

3 out of 5


Corpse revival kerfuffle.

3.5 out of 5


Undead theatre.

4 out of 5


Billy please lose my number.

4 out of 5


Romero reunion.

3.5 out of 5


Anita Blake raises a woman's husband from the dead, but realises his death was not as described.

4 out of 5


New model zombies.

4 out of 5


The dead remains.

3 out of 5


Including this story.

2.5 out of 5


Need a zombie plan.

3.5 out of 5


Fundamentalist zombie abortion.

4 out of 5


Dead love handles.

4 out of 5


Undead familiar bugs.

4 out of 5


You're going to be an officer in my zombie army, mate.

4 out of 5


Omega woman.

3.5 out of 5


Coffee girl presentation.

3.5 out of 5


Zombie bimbo.

2.5 out of 5


Zombie faking.

4 out of 5


Jealous writer's Haitian zombie chat.

3.5 out of 5


City Living Dead tour.

4 out of 5


Corpse bad reminder.

3 out of 5


Wired performance.

3.5 out of 5


Anti-zombie performance.

3.5 out of 5


Zombie audience.

3.5 out of 5


In this act, the zombies keep on truckin'.

4 out of 5




4.5 out of 5

Ghost Dance - Sherman Alexie

Killers mabye zombies.


3 out of 5

Loose Ends - Paul Levinson

Challenger past couple.


3.5 out of 5

Spice Pogrom - Connie Willis

Swampy space alien.


3 out of 5

The Winds Of Marble Arch - Connie Willis

Weather line hit.


3 out of 5

The Best Of Stanley G. Weinbaum - Stanley G. Weinbaum

Not sure if you can call it a Best of without the Brink Of Infinity and Dawn Of Flame, really.

You can find all these online, too, if interested.

Best of Stanley G Weinbaum : A Martian Odyssey - Stanley G. Weinbaum
Best of Stanley G Weinbaum : Valley of Dreams - Stanley G. Weinbaum
Best of Stanley G Weinbaum : The Adaptive Ultimate - Stanley G. Weinbaum
Best of Stanley G Weinbaum : Parasite Planet - Stanley G. Weinbaum
Best of Stanley G Weinbaum : Pygmalion's Spectacles - Stanley G. Weinbaum
Best of Stanley G Weinbaum : Shifting Seas - Stanley G. Weinbaum
Best of Stanley G Weinbaum : The Worlds of If - Stanley G. Weinbaum
Best of Stanley G Weinbaum : The Mad Moon - Stanley G. Weinbaum
Best of Stanley G Weinbaum : Redemption Cairn - Stanley G. Weinbaum
Best of Stanley G Weinbaum : The Ideal - Stanley G. Weinbaum
Best of Stanley G Weinbaum : The Lotus Eaters - Stanley G. Weinbaum
Best of Stanley G Weinbaum : Proteus Island - Stanley G. Weinbaum

Interplanetary interpersonal communication.

4 out of 5


Mars out of power.

3 out of 5


A scientist thinks he has uncovered the secrets to the adaptative powers of the animal kingdom, via the pineal gland. Tests on guinea pigs etc., go well. Their lab can't afford an ape, so decides on a human test.
A woman dying of turberculosis disagrees. It gives her amazing abilities, but, basically she immediately turns supervillain, killing someone for money straight away, and getting off in court by completely changing her appearance.
The bewitched, bewildered and disturbed scientists eventually decide they must stop her.

3.5 out of 5


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

3 out of 5


Liquid story.

3 out of 5


You quaking poms aren't special.

3 out of 5


Subjunctivisor pursuit.

3 out of 5


Loony girl hallucination romance.

3 out of 5


Golden Flash Yellow Jack rocket team-up.

3.5 out of 5


Idealizatoring, girl.

3 out of 5


Nightside Of Venus chat.

3 out of 5


Got us some mutants, here.

3.5 out of 5





3 out of 5

Friday, November 28, 2008

Dawn Of Flame and Other Classic Science Fiction Stories - Stanley G. Weinbaum

Highly eccentric scientist tales bookended by two superior stories.

Dawn Of Flame : Dawn Of Flame - Stanley G. Weinbaum
Dawn Of Flame : Worlds of If - Stanley G. Weinbaum
Dawn Of Flame : The Ideal - Stanley G. Weinbaum
Dawn Of Flame : The Point of View - Stanley G. Weinbaum
Dawn Of Flame : Shifting Seas - Stanley G. Weinbaum
Dawn Of Flame : Brink of Infinity - Stanley G. Weinbaum

Immortal Black Margot opposition entertainment.

4 out of 5


Subjunctivisor pursuit.

3 out of 5


Idealizatoring, girl.

3 out of 5


Attitudinizor modesty.

3 out of 5


You quaking poms aren't special.

3 out of 5


Number system inquisition.

4 out of 5





3 out of 5

One Step From Earth - Harry Harrison

Harrison takes a look at what might happen if seriously useful Matter Transmission was available, including for human transport over cosmological distances. A bit more interesting once he gets past the martial applications.

One Step From Earth : The Matter Transmitter - Harry Harrison
One Step From Earth : One Step From Earth - Harry Harrison
One Step From Earth : Pressure - Harry Harrison
One Step From Earth : No War or Battle's Sound - Harry Harrison
One Step From Earth : Wife to the Lord - Harry Harrison
One Step From Earth : Waiting Place - Harry Harrison
One Step From Earth : The Life Preservers - Harry Harrison
One Step From Earth : From Fanaticism or for Reward - Harry Harrison
One Step From Earth : Heavy Duty - Harry Harrison
One Step From Earth : A Tale of the Ending - Harry Harrison

New, easy travel.

3 out of 5


Don't B-Space me.

3 out of 5


Saturn landing death.

3 out of 5


Just fight, smart boy.

3 out of 5


Kid's an angel, too.

3.5 out of 5


Matter transmission prison.

3.5 out of 5


Cut off epidemic introduction.

3.5 out of 5


Hunter Follower.

4 out of 5


Gravity of communication.

3.5 out of 5


History Door management.

3 out of 5



(call it 3.25)
3.5 out of 5

A Tale Of the Ending - Harry Harrison

History Door management.


3 out of 5

The Life Preservers - Harry Harrison

Cut off epidemic introduction.


3.5 out of 5

Waiting Place - Harry Harrison

Matter transmission prison.


3.5 out of 5

Wife To the Lord - Harry Harrison

Kid's an angel, too.


3.5 out of 5

No War Or Battle's Sound - Harry Harrison

Just fight, smart boy.


3 out of 5

Riverworld and Other Stories - Philip Jose Farmer

A lot of 'fictional writer' stuff to be found here, apart from the ancillary Riverworld story, which is rather long and stars Tom Mix. Farmer details the evolution of Riverworld from a contest entry to advice to stories and the novel series, as well.

Riverworld and Other Stories : Riverworld [SS] - Philip Jose Farmer
Riverworld and Other Stories : J.C. on the Dude Ranch - Philip Jose Farmer
Riverworld and Other Stories : The Volcano - Philip Jose Farmer
Riverworld and Other Stories : The Henry Miller Dawn Patrol - Philip Jose Farmer
Riverworld and Other Stories : The Problem of the Sore Bridge—Among Others - Philip Jose Farmer
Riverworld and Other Stories : Brass and Gold or Horse and Zeppelin in Beverly Hills - Philip Jose Farmer
Riverworld and Other Stories : The Jungle Rot Kid on the Nod - Philip Jose Farmer
Riverworld and Other Stories : The Voice of the Sonar in My Vermiform Appendix - Philip Jose Farmer
Riverworld and Other Stories : Monolog - Philip Jose Farmer
Riverworld and Other Stories : The Leaser of Two Evils - Philip Jose Farmer
Riverworld and Other Stories : The Phantom of the Sewers - Philip Jose Farmer

Kramer Mix.

3.5 out of 5


Just an alien showdown.

3.5 out of 5


Serious Firestarter.

3.5 out of 5


Broken down pilot barrel.

3 out of 5


Raffles, aliens, and unsolved Holmes.

3.5 out of 5


Gasbaggery.

2.5 out of 5


Naked Apeman Lunch.

3 out of 5


Little subby.

3 out of 5


Bloody baby boy.

3 out of 5


Austen porno dogfucker.

3 out of 5


Tentacle buddy.

3.5 out of 5




3 out of 5

The Phantom Of the Sewers - Philip Jose Farmer

Tentacle buddy.


3.5 out of 5

The Leaser Of Two Evils - Philip Jose Farmer

Austen porno dogfucker.


3 out of 5

Monolog - Philip Jose Farmer

Bloody baby boy.


3 out of 5

The Voice of the Sonar in My Vermiform Appendix - Philip Jose Farmer

Little subby.


3 out of 5

The Jungle Rot Kid On the Nod - Philip Jose Farmer

Naked Apeman Lunch.


3 out of 5

Brass and Gold or Horse and Zeppelin in Beverly Hills - Philip Jose Farmer

Gasbaggery.


2.5 out of 5

The Problem of the Sore Bridge Among Others - Philip Jose Farmer

Raffles, aliens, and unsolved Holmes.


3.5 out of 5

The Henry Miller Dawn Patrol - Philip Jose Farmer

Broken down pilot barrel.


3 out of 5

The Volcano - Philip Jose Farmer

Serious Firestarter.


3.5 out of 5

J. C. On the Dude Ranch - Philip Jose Farmer

Just an alien showdown.


3.5 out of 5

Riverworld - Philip Jose Farmer

Kramer Mix.


3.5 out of 5

The Book Of Philip Jose Farmer - Philip Jose Farmer

A collection of which there is more than one edition with different contents, depending on the year. This is a later version.

A couple of Wold Newton pieces here, but the polymyth section is only mildly diverting, dragging the rest down.

Book Of Philip Jose Farmer : My Sister's Brother - Philip Jose Farmer
Book Of Philip Jose Farmer : Skinburn - Philip Jose Farmer
Book Of Philip Jose Farmer : The Alley Man - Philip Jose Farmer
Book Of Philip Jose Farmer : Father's In The Basement - Philip Jose Farmer
Book Of Philip Jose Farmer : Toward The Beloved City - Philip Jose Farmer
Book Of Philip Jose Farmer : Don't Wash The Carats - Philip Jose Farmer
Book Of Philip Jose Farmer : The Sumerian Oath - Philip Jose Farmer
Book Of Philip Jose Farmer : Only Who Can Make A Tree? - Philip Jose Farmer
Book Of Philip Jose Farmer : The Last Rise Of Nick Adams - Philip Jose Farmer
Book Of Philip Jose Farmer : The Freshman - Philip Jose Farmer
Book Of Philip Jose Farmer : Uproar In Acheron - Philip Jose Farmer
Book Of Philip Jose Farmer : An Exclusive Interview With Lord Greystoke - Philip Jose Farmer
Book Of Philip Jose Farmer : Sexual Implications Of The Charge Of The Light Brigade - Philip Jose Farmer
Book Of Philip Jose Farmer : The Obscure Life And Hard Times Of Kilgore Trout - Philip Jose Farmer


Got to find the others to get off this planet, but this alien reproduction stuff is rather interesting.

4 out of 5


Son of The Shadow capture satellite frustration.

3.5 out of 5


“I am laughing, laughing, laughing. Just because you’re a freak of nature, a monstrosity whose bones all went wrong in the womb, you’ve dreamed up this fantastic myth about being descended from the Neanderthals…”

3 out of 5


Worn out writer.

3 out of 5


Revelation lives, with aliens.

3.5 out of 5


Diamond bottom.

3 out of 5


Medical duel.

3 out of 5


Pollution virus.

3 out of 5


Writer praise horn.

3 out of 5


Yog-Sothoth fraternity.

3.5 out of 5


It's alive with fraud.

3.5 out of 5


Just call me John Clayton, Mr. Farmer. What was that about a meteorite?

4 out of 5


Winnegan watch.

2.5 out of 5


Writing claims.

3 out of 5





3 out of 5

The Obscure Life And Hard Times Of Kilgore Trout - Philip Jose Farmer

Writing claims.


3 out of 5

Sexual Implications Of the Charge Of the Light Brigade - Philip Jose Farmer

Winnegan watch.


2.5 out of 5

An Exclusive Interview With Lord Greystoke - Philip Jose Farmer

Just call me John Clayton, Mr. Farmer. What was that about a meteorite?


4 out of 5

Uproar In Acheron - Philip Jose Farmer

It's alive with fraud.


3.5 out of 5

The Freshman - Philip Jose Farmer

Yog-Sothoth fraternity.


3.5 out of 5

The Last Rise Of Nick Adams - Philip Jose Farmer

Writer praise horn.


3 out of 5

Only Who Can Make A Tree? - Philip Jose Farmer

Pollution virus.


3 out of 5

The Sumerian Oath - Philip Jose Farmer

Medical duel.


3 out of 5

Don't Wash the Carats - Philip Jose Farmer

Diamond bottom.


3 out of 5

Toward the Beloved City - Philip Jose Farmer

Revelation lives, with aliens.


3.5 out of 5

Father's In the Basement - Philip Jose Farmer

Worn out writer.


3 out of 5

Skinburn - Philip Jose Farmer

Son of The Shadow capture satellite frustration.


3.5 out of 5

Strange Relations - Philip Jose Farmer

Another of the Baen collections with novels, this one built around the theme of future love, relationships, and sex. Farmer was a pioneer in this area of SF.

Strange Relations : The Lovers - Philip Jose Farmer
Strange Relations : Flesh - Philip Jose Farmer
Strange Relations : Mother - Philip Jose Farmer
Strange Relations : Daughter - Philip Jose Farmer
Strange Relations : Father - Philip Jose Farmer
Strange Relations : Son - Philip Jose Farmer
Strange Relations : My Sister’s Brother - Philip Jose Farmer

A sexually repressed future Earth tries some deep space missions, and eventually one finds an habitable planet - not only that, it has life.

With such controlled behaviour on Earth, one of the travellers finds himself in a relationship with a alien woman, or what seems to be a woman. Surprises are in store.

3.5 out of 5


A ship captain returns to a very different earth. A quite amusing religious satire, with the odd sport joke, too.

A strange Earth religion has started, with priestesses holding the power. Other political systems do exist, including one that is very straitlaced and rejects this new, female based, sexual worship.

3.5 out of 5


Stay at home's mobile mate misunderstandings hard on the in-laws.

4 out of 5


Pulsemobile, shelly.

3 out of 5


Resurrection jelly control power.

3.5 out of 5


Gas brain me.

3.5 out of 5


Got to find the others to get off this planet, but this alien reproduction stuff is rather interesting.

4 out of 5





4.5 out of 5

The Lovers - Philip Jose Farmer

A sexually repressed future Earth tries some deep space missions, and eventually one finds an habitable planet - not only that, it has life.

With such controlled behaviour on Earth, one of the travellers finds himself in a relationship with a alien woman, or what seems to be a woman. Surprises are in store.


3.5 out of 5

Father - Philip Jose Farmer

Resurrection jelly control power.


3.5 out of 5

Son - Philip Jose Farmer

Gas brain me.


3.5 out of 5

Daughter - Philip Jose Farmer

Pulsemobile, shelly.


3 out of 5

Staked - J. F. Lewis

Humorous horror, I suppose you'd call this. Right from the start: "I considered buying a pizza parlor once, but I decided I would go crazy from the smell. I love pizza. If I smell pizza, I have to stop and take a good whiff; I have to look at it, see what kind it is, and watch a lucky bastard take a few bites. Chicago pizza, Italian pizza, brick-oven pizza, anchovies, pepperoni, olives, mushrooms, peppers, kiwi, it doesn't matter to me, so long as it's pizza. I think I miss pizza more than I miss the sun.
I smelled pizza the instant Lillian smuggled my lightly toasted, stinking, quilt-covered ass in through the back entrance of the Demon Heart. The tangy Sicilian aroma made my mouth water, by which I mean blood filled my mouth, a poor imitation of saliva. It's Mother Nature's way of reminding me that I'm a walking corpse that hasn't fallen down yet. Thanks, Mom. Shower forgotten, I followed the smell of the pizza down the hall to the girls' dressing room behind the stage."

Eric's a vampire, and a tough one, apparently they come in levels, Drones, Soldiers, Masters and Vlads. Yep, spot the one out of place and guess which he is.

So, he isn't your angsty whiny vampire by any stretch of the imagination. This eighty year old guy doesn't look it, of course, is immortal, invulnerable and has super powers. He wears t-shirts and jeans every day, and runs a strip club. So while he isn't that thrilled with being a vampire he finds that he can cope. If something needs killing, male, female, alive, dead, then, he's a vampire.

His problems here involve a girlfriend that wants to be a vampire, her sister that doesn't, a dead werewolf that might lead to your good old vampire-werewolf battle, a partner that may not be on the up and up, a mysterious feline assistant and many vampire women to deal with. Then there's the good old fancy handled off fashioned magic six-shooter going around.

There are quite a few parts that made me laugh, too, in amidst the ripping off of body parts and tearing apart of flesh, shagging, and blood drinking.

A couple of examples:

"Bat radar gives me headaches, so I rely mostly on my bat vision."

"Dawn was beautiful. The fiery tendrils of morning crimson bathed me in their warm glow. The sun, with typical brilliance, cast its loving gaze in my direction. Had I been alive, I would have turned to face it with joy, or more likely put on my shades to prevent my usual hangover from getting worse. Either way, I wouldn't have fallen out of the sky and into the woods on account of it."

I actually found out about this thanks to a forum, and someone mentioning that his church group had given him the boot. If a bunch of inbred illiterate idiot Alabama hillbillies disliked it that much, then I figured must be something good about it. There certainly is!


4 out of 5

Almost the Last Story By Almost the Last Man - Scott Edelman

Zombie audience.


3.5 out of 5

The Song the Zombie Sang - Robert Silverberg and Harlan Ellison

Wired performance.


3.5 out of 5

Calcutta Lord of Nerves - Poppy Z. Brite

City Living Dead tour.


4 out of 5

Bitter Grounds - Neil Gaiman

Coffee girl presentation.


3.5 out of 5

The Age Of Sorrow - Nancy Kilpatrick

Omega woman.


3.5 out of 5

Prairie - Brian Evenson

The dead remains.


3 out of 5

Those Who Seek Forgiveness - Laurell K. Hamilton

Anita Blake raises a woman's husband from the dead, but realises his death was not as described.


4 out of 5

Bobby Conroy Comes Back From the Dead - Joe Hill

Romero reunion.


3.5 out of 5

Sex Death and Starshine - Clive Barker

Undead theatre.


4 out of 5

A Circus Of Hells - Poul Anderson

Different to the earlier stuff, except perhaps towards the end.

Flandry, not having a great time on a backwater planet decides to get mixed up in some trouble involving a large bribe, and, of course, a babe.

So they end up betrayed, on the run, and seeking help to stay alive and develop what may be her psychic powers.

"I believe I have deduced it," Ydwyr said. "You are swinging free, dangerously but concealingly near the pulsar. From the relativistic region you will launch your courier torpedoes, strapped together and hyperdrives operating simultaneously. What with distortion effects, you hope my folk will mistake the impulses for this boat's and give chase. If your decoy lures them as far as a light-year off, you will be outside their hyperwave detection range and can embark on a roundabout homeward voyage. The sheer size of space will make it unlikely that they, backtracking, will pick up your vibrations." "Right," Flandry said admiringly. "You're a sharp rascal. I look forward to some amusing chit-chat."

Fairly average, this one.


3 out of 5

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Van Rijn Method - Poul Anderson

Another very cool Baen reprint project begins here, with a series again collating a group of stories and novels of interest. This time Poul Anderson's Polesotechnic society.

An interesting introduction by Hank Davis gives some detail, and Sandra Mieserl's chronology of the several thousand year span of this future history is at the end, including the exploits of one Dominic Flandry (volume 4, apparently).

Here, however is the big boozy merchant boss-man, as he likes to point out while getting in and out of trouble, and attempting to get the most out of his underlings or underthings as the case may be.

David Falkayn is in some stories, too, but generally the best here feature Van Rijn. There's already a Falkayn collection close to complete on webscriptions, too.

Van Rijn Method : THE SATURN GAME - Poul Anderson
Van Rijn Method : WINGS OF VICTORY - Poul Anderson
Van Rijn Method : PROBLEM OF PAIN - Poul Anderson
Van Rijn Method : MARGIN OF PROFIT - Poul Anderson
Van Rijn Method : HOW TO BE ETHNIC IN ONE EASY LESSION - Poul Anderson
Van Rijn Method : THE THREE-CORNERED WHEEL - Poul Anderson
Van Rijn Method : A SUN INVISIBLE - Poul Anderson
Van Rijn Method : THE SEASON OF FORGIVENESS - Poul Anderson
Van Rijn Method : THE MAN WHO COUNTS - Poul Anderson
Van Rijn Method : ESAU - Poul Anderson
Van Rijn Method : HIDING PLACE - Poul Anderson

Fantasy accident throw.

3.5 out of 5


Initial contact is for the birds.

3.5 out of 5


Initial contact is for the birds.

3 out of 5


Van Rijn has to deal with The Brain Stealers Of Antares

4 out of 5


Go for some Chinese.

3 out of 5


Some problem solving under fire for David Falkayn.

3 out of 5


Stars and planets to be found for Falkayn, although maybe no great rush given the company, once done.

3.5 out of 5


Xmas lecture.

3 out of 5


Van Rijn's winged war.

This is published under three titles - The Man Who Counts, The War of the Wing-Men and The Earth Book Of Stormgate 2.

A spot of sabotage means NVR, one of his engineers, and a noblewoman passenger are downed on a planet that has flying, bat-winged natives.

For them to get back alive they have to survive a war, and Van Rijn's insight suggests that to do that means taking a side and winning it.

So, a few ideas later it is time to upgrade the local military technology and teach them something about ground-based fighting, given they are used to flying around all the time.

Leadership theory and practice, if you like.

4 out of 5


Entrepreneur, you, if brain you use.

3.5 out of 5


Working out the smart ones.

3 out of 5





3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stories Of Your Life and Others - Ted Chiang

The extremely unprolific but masterful writer's collection. Although by this time he probably has enough for another half a book, I suppose. If you can manage to stay alive a few more years or so, we may get a second.

Anyway, high quality, heading into 4 territory, if not quite getting there, but certainly no average stories to be found here. Understand and Story of Your Life are both top-class. The average mark is more impressive given that this is not a best of, it is just all there is.

He's Egan-class, if you want to put it like that, in quality, if not in quantity.

Stories Of Your Life and Others : Tower of Babylon - Ted Chiang
Stories Of Your Life and Others : Understand - Ted Chiang
Stories Of Your Life and Others : Division by Zero - Ted Chiang
Stories Of Your Life and Others : Story of Your Life - Ted Chiang
Stories Of Your Life and Others : Seventy-two Letters - Ted Chiang
Stories Of Your Life and Others : The Evolution of Human Science - Ted Chiang
Stories Of Your Life and Others : Hell Is the Absence of God - Ted Chiang
Stories Of Your Life and Others : Liking What You See: A Documentary - Ted Chiang

Built like a brick lighthouse tunnelway to heaven.

3.5 out of 5


A man with brain damage is given a hormone treatment that has the effect of increasing his intelligence, only in this case it doesn't wear off, but keeps going.

When he takes another dose, even further. So much so, avoiding all the spooks is trivial. However, he comes across another man like himself, and one with different aims, and now both of them have superhuman intelligence and body control.

4.5 out of 5


Axiomatic. Not.

4 out of 5


Predicting language.

4.5 out of 5


Foetal experiment orders named.

3.5 out of 5


Keeping up with the metahuman researcher research and researchers.

3.5 out of 5


Angels are uninsurable, and the Underworld lacks all the really cool torments.

3.5 out of 5


Beauty software adjustments.

4 out of 5





5 out of 5

The Evolution Of Human Science - Ted Chiang

Keeping up with the metahuman researcher research and researchers.


3.5 out of 5

Slow Lightning - Jack McDevitt

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

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

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


4 out of 5

Cryptic - Jack McDevitt

A large collection, and a very solid one, at 3.51. A few of the better stories will also be recognisable to those that have read a Talent For War or some of the Academy novels. One story left out seems to be Good Intentions, the team-up with Stanley Schmidt, that I think is close to his best.

This book, however, is probably close to 4 times as long as a lot of collections, so a good deal when you at it that way, with a whopping 38 stories.

So, a whole bunch of good solid SF and a few others here, thanks to another Subterranean webscription.

Cryptic : Cryptic - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : The Fort Moxie Branch - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Nothing Ever Happens In Rock City - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Tweak - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Melville on Iapetus - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Lighthouse - Jack McDevitt and Michael Shara
Cryptic : Cool Neighbor - Jack McDevitt and Michael Shara
Cryptic : Whistle - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : In The Tower - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Ignition - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Indomitable - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Last Contact - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Never Despair - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Windows - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Dutchman - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : The Tomb - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Promises To Keep - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : To Hell With The Stars - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : The Mission - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Report From the Rear - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Black to Move - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : The Far Shore - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Sunrise - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Kaminsky At War - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Fifth Day - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Deus Tex - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Gus - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Welcome To Valhalla - Jack McDevitt and Kathryn Lance
Cryptic : Tyger - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Auld Lang Boom - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Cruising Through Deuteronomy - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : The Candidate - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Act of God - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Ellie - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Time's Arrow - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Dead In The Water - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Henry James This One's For You - Jack McDevitt
Cryptic : Time Travellers Never Die - Jack McDevitt

SETI analysis recovery military breakthrough.

4 out of 5


Rare library find.

3. 5 out of 5


SETI Success.

2.5 out of 5


No meddling.

2.5 out of 5


Alien pretty monster statue.

4 out of 5


New warning star girl.

4 out of 5


Sacrificial sister planet discovery completion.

4 out of 5


Old standard contact.

3 out of 5


Fishbowl beastmeld takeover.

3.5 out of 5


Blowup idol.

3 out of 5


Interstellar SETI giveup scrapheap.

3 out of 5


Raygun funeral.

3 out of 5


Holo advice from Churchill.

4 out of 5


Hi-tech info rediscovery.

2.5 out of 5


A Talent For War's end.

4.5 out of 5


Ruler's religious symbol.

2.5 out of 5


Callisto christmas action tape vacation.

4 out of 5


SF dreams.

3 out of 5


Astronaut virus landing.

3.5 out of 5


Dodgy media space war reportage.

3.5 out of 5


Cat people's gambit.

4 out of 5


OTR tribute.

4.5 out of 5


Antimatter hypership pseudo-nova fightback.

4.5 out of 5


The Shadow deals out some local Noks.

4 out of 5


Life improbable.

3 out of 5


Don't burgle Thor's joint.

4 out of 5


Saint AI theology.

3 out of 5


Wagner holocaust view.

3 out of 5


Wanna make a cosmos?

3.5 out of 5


"Anyone who worries that the U.S. is headed for collapse can relax. It is raining on the rubble."

3 out of 5


No time for Samson's haircut.

3 out of 5


AI politics.

3.5 out of 5


Cosm creator cleanout.

4 out of 5


Element of tower guard uncertainty.

4 out of 5


Arrival is dangerous.

3 out of 5


Kid longevity project debate.

3.5 out of 5


AI's war story.

4.5 out of 5


Paradox pyre problems.

4 out of 5





3.5 out of 5

Ellie - Jack McDevitt

Element of tower guard uncertainty.


4 out of 5

Gus - Jack McDevitt

Saint AI theology.


3 out of 5

Kaminsky At War - Jack McDevitt

The Shadow deals out some local Noks.


4 out of 5

Sunrise - Jack McDevitt

Antimatter hypership pseudo-nova fightback.


4.5 out of 5

Black To Move - Jack McDevitt

Cat people's gambit.


4 out of 5

The Mission - Jack McDevitt

Astronaut virus landing.


3.5 out of 5

To Hell With the Stars - Jack McDevitt

SF dreams.


3 out of 5

Dutchman - Jack McDevitt

A Talent For War's end.


4.5 out of 5

Ignition - Jack McDevitt

Blowup idol.


3 out of 5

In the Tower - Jack McDevitt

Fishbowl beastmeld takeover.


3.5 out of 5

Whistle - Jack McDevitt

Old standard contact.


3 out of 5

Valkyrie - Jack McDevitt

Valiant death promises.


3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bones Of the Earth - Michael Swanwick

It is pretty clear than Mr. Swanwick likes his dinosaurs.

When a man brings an accomplished paleontologist a puzzle and leaves him a present, he can't really say no to the mystery man.

Half the kids on the planet probably wouldn't hesitate, either.

Aliens have provided time travel - want to do some real life dinosaur research?

It certainly doesn't stay that simple, given our protagonist, his lovers and friends and grad students and boss can all meet themselves.

An interesting book with a couple of really interesting dinosaur extinction ideas thrown in.


3.5 out of 5

The Best Of Michael Swanwick - Michael Swanwick

Way back when, there seemed to used to be lots of 'Best Of' collections. The Best of Brackett, Kuttner, Pohl, Cordwainer Smith, C. Moore, or whoever. So, when I saw this eI wa spretty excited and I thought, wow, cool. Pity I will never see it. Now, thanks to the double bill of Bill Schafer and the Subterraneans and Arnie Bailey and the Baenites, now I can. Another very pleasant surprise.

While Swanwick has written some decent and good novels, he's an outstanding short story writer as far as his top range goes. He can even turn out dozens of short-shorts and make them readable. If you turned everybody in the world that could not do that into a zombie, well, Mr. Swanwick and a few stalwart friends would be barricaded in somewhere (probably a library) and fighting for their lives against around 6-7 billion or so.

I generally like his science fiction a bit more and no less than a third of this book is 4.5 stars or better. Great cover, too.

If you like science fiction short stories and haven't read Swanwick before, this is a brilliant place to start. Great cover, too. 21 stories, same writer, almost at the magic 4. I will rarely get better than this, and if it does, you likely won't have run out of digits counting the contents.

Just get it already.

Best Of Michael Swanwick : The Feast of Saint Janis - Michael Swanwick
Best Of Michael Swanwick : Ginungagap - Michael Swanwick
Best Of Michael Swanwick : Trojan Horse - Michael Swanwick
Best Of Michael Swanwick : A Midwinter's Tale - Michael Swanwick
Best Of Michael Swanwick : The Edge Of The World - Michael Swanwick
Best Of Michael Swanwick : Griffin's Egg - Michael Swanwick
Best Of Michael Swanwick : The Changeling's Tale - Michael Swanwick
Best Of Michael Swanwick : North Of Diddy-Wah-Diddy - Michael Swanwick
Best Of Michael Swanwick : Radio Waves - Michael Swanwick
Best Of Michael Swanwick : The Dead - Michael Swanwick
Best Of Michael Swanwick : Mother Grasshopper - Michael Swanwick
Best Of Michael Swanwick : Radiant Doors - Michael Swanwick
Best Of Michael Swanwick : The Very Pulse Of The Machine - Michael Swanwick
Best Of Michael Swanwick : Wild Minds - Michael Swanwick
Best Of Michael Swanwick : Scherzo With Tyrannosaur - Michael Swanwick
Best Of Michael Swanwick : The Raggle Taggle Gypsy-O - Michael Swanwick
Best Of Michael Swanwick : The Dog Said Bow-Wow - Michael Swanwick
Best Of Michael Swanwick : Slow Life - Michael Swanwick
Best Of Michael Swanwick : Legions In Time - Michael Swanwick
Best Of Michael Swanwick : Triceratops Summer - Michael Swanwick
Best Of Michael Swanwick : From Babel's Fall'n Glory We Fled - Michael Swanwick


We got the mutant blues. But not for long.

4 out of 5


Black hole alien visiting lady bomb is decapitated. Sense of self maintained, now becomes filthy rich spider liaision.

4.5 out of 5


Experimental theology brainwipe.

3.5 out of 5


Alien beastie xmas chat.

3.5 out of 5


Unwise excursion can get a bloke absolutely lost.

3.5 out of 5


Terran nuclear nightmare, moon mental mimetic mayhem amidst crisis predicted canoodling.

3.5 out of 5


Elf retrenched.

4 out of 5


On the Hell train.

4 out of 5


Corpsegrinding.

3 out of 5


Zombies make you obsolete, and sell well as sex toys.

5 out of 5


Bugworld new personality.

3.5 out of 5


Future Ownership fightback.

4.5 out of 5


Moon life message.

4 out of 5


Non-optimised worries.

3.5 out of 5


T. Rex man dinner inspires time message to self.

4.5 out of 5


Archetypal creation.

4.5 out of 5


Canine anti-tech adventures.

4 out of 5


Flying first contact breakdown breakthrough confession comeback

4 out of 5


Slave escape chronowar torpedo overrun takedown homage revolution.

4.5 out of 5


Time loop holiday.

4.5 out of 5


Trust debt.

3 out of 5





5 out of 5

North Of Diddy-wah-diddy - Michael Swanwick

On the Hell train.


4 out of 5

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Troy Fall of Kings - David Gemmell

Another fine book.

I'd been putting off reading this one for a while because I was thinking finishing it would upset me, given that not many other writers would survive the 'pick one to save the universe, the other dies' tv test. Although it is likely he'd volunteer, in that case.

The finishing off of this book by his wife seems to be pretty seamless - in that I don't really notice much of a difference, except perhaps in the heat of the action. So a quite well done completion for what had to be a difficult thing to do.

Gemmell's historical novel version of the Trojan War has the same major outcomes that everyone is aware of. Here there are no supernatural agents at all, unless you call Kassandra's occasional prophecy such. So you get his take on the Helen of Troy legend, Achilles, the Trojan Horse, etc.

Just some decent and exceptional men and women stuck in the middle of a conflict between venal and descending into senility kings, as well as hotheaded conflict and revenge.

Andromache again is the lynchpin character, having had past relationships with nearly all the major players (Hector, Aeneas, Odysseus, Priam, Kassandra, Banokles and Kalliadis, etc.) - and having children to protect that neither Priam or Agamemnon will let escape.


4 out of 5

Friday, November 21, 2008

Beyond Pluto - Gregory Benford

Darksider High Flyer contact.


3.5 out of 5

Blood's A Rover - Gregory Benford

Dawn Meta Searcher Malign.


3.5 out of 5

Lost In the Changes - Justin Stanchfield

Prod mod murder storm scheme.


3.5 out of 5

Staying Still - Stephen Leigh

Jax time dilation.


3 out of 5

Potential - Isaac Asimov

Multivac, find us some telepaths.


3 out of 5

The Legend Of Zorro - Scott Ciencin

Swashbuckling heroes married with children, not the most interesting thing, especially with too much of a focus on the annoying kid.

That is certainly what killed this story of divide the married couple secret society to blow stuff up book.

In this case, of course, the bad actual story is not the fault of the author Probably nobody could have saved this one, in general even if much more talented than Ciencin.


2.5 out of 5

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Grag's Pet the Moon Pup - Edmond Hamilton

Eek'll be good, boss.


3 out of 5

Otho Finds A Mascot - Edmond Hamilton

Oog, mimic.


3 out of 5

The Amazing Creation Of Otho - Edmond Hamilton

We could use an artificial superbloke, too.


3 out of 5

The Metamorphosis Of Simon Wright - Edmond Hamilton

One brain, one jar, one new boss.


3 out of 5

Captain Future's Strangest Adventure - Edmond Hamilton

Was that a Wish World, or were we smoking something?


3 out of 5

The Birth Of Grag - Edmond Hamilton

Let's make us a big ol' robot.


3 out of 5

The Puzzling Case Of the Space Queen - Edmond Hamilton

The old space pirate double trick.


3 out of 5

Captain Future Trails the Chameleon - Edmond Hamilton

Even Newton's not infallible.


3 out of 5

How Curt Newton Became Captain Future - Edmond Hamilton

Futuremen guardian training tour mission naming.


3 out of 5

Captain Future's Boyhood - Edmond Hamilton

Sick of Venusian botany, let's kill some blokes.


3 out of 5

The Moon Laboratory - Edmond Hamilton

A nice HQ, thanks to dad.


3 out of 5

The Comet - Edmond Hamilton

One top ship.


3 out of 5

Joan Randall Of the Planet Police - Edmond Hamilton

Spook Future support.


3 out of 5

Marshal Ezra Gurney - Edmond Hamilton

Veteran Future support.


3 out of 5

The Living Brain - Edmond Hamilton

Simon Wright, a smart, limbless mentor.


3 out of 5

The Synthetic Man - Edmond Hamilton

Otho, a one of a kind speedster.


3 out of 5

The Metal Robot - Edmond Hamilton

Grag, strongest being in the Solar System.


3 out of 5

Mars the Crimson Sphere - Edmond Hamilton

First civilisation, 290,000 BC.


3 out of 5

Pluto the Solar System's Coldest Planet - Edmond Hamilton

Third great explorer finally made it, and there was life. Colonising, a bit harder.


3 out of 5

Jupiter - Edmond Hamilton

First colonised 2005, inhabited.


3 out of 5

The Seven Space Stones - Edmond Hamilton

An ancient Martian scientist's discovery has a supervillain and his team - The Chameleon man, and ""I do not understand," she breathed.

"Of course you don't." What would a super-beautiful wildcat, with a heart as black as space, know of scientific ambition?".

Seven rare stones to find, carbon from meteors no less, to work it out.

Captain Future and his Futuremen have to be a space circus, go in for some high stakes crooked casino work, insult a few fat green toad criminals and survive a sub-atomic universe.

Also, deal with their shapeshifting playful super pet and friends.

Captain Future is heaps of fun.


3.5 out of 5

Dolphin Island - Arthur C. Clarke

A young boy stows away on a hovercraft but gets into troubled.

He is actually rescued by dolphins and ends up on Dolphin Island, off the coast of Queensland - and is taken under the wing of a research facility there studying dolphin-human communication.

A group of dolphins actually approach them for help with a problem, and a storm is coming.


3.5 out of 5

Against the Fall Of Night - Arthur C. Clarke

A new, young man in a society of immortals on a far future Earth has insight and ideas that the rest of this static utopia does not.

His lateral thinking and explorations lead him to discover another community, and also finding out about the secret history of mankind and what other wonders are actually out there.


3.5 out of 5

Doctor Doom - Steven A. Roman

The first of the Chaos Engine trilogy.

The X-Men are with Roma and her underling, when the aforementioned notices something very wrong with the 616 Earth and surrounds, and it is centred on Psylocke, or Betsy Braddock.

The X-Men, sans Xavier are sent to investigate, and given a deadline of a week, or she wipes out that particular Earth instance and surrounding dimension.

Arriving, Westchester County has a prison camp, not a school for gifted mutants, and Von Doom is King of the World, with Storm his Queen. The only real resistance - is run by Magneto.

Doom has co-opted or destroyed most of the heroes and villains, so the X-Men are an unexpected wild card force thrown into his plans.

Quite good, I thought. Alternate history sort of story with different lives for some in this dystopia.


4 out of 5

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Serpent In Eden - Poul Anderson

Dinosaurs better than people.


3 out of 5

A World Named Cleopatra - Poul Anderson

Planetary data.


3.5 out of 5

Genesis - Poul Anderson

A book that covers an epic scope and time. A galactic network of artificial intelligences exists, including one on Earth, named Gaia. Gaia it seems is a bit of an iconoclast, going her own way, and not communicating with the others as much as they are used to.

They steer their planets through trouble as they travel through the galaxy, and are also able to send out machine explorers to cover the vast interstellar distances over huge time periods.

A couple of human characters as uploads eventually investigate to find out what she is up to.

A little on the dull side until nearer to the end, though.


3 out of 5

Virgin Planet - Poul Anderson

A Psychotechnic man arrives at a planet that is basically a lost colony full of Amazons that still have the technology to reproduce, even if they can't modify it.

After being 'captured', much sword and spear and shrew silliness ensues as they decide what to do with him and who to do it with him, etc.


2.5 out of 5

No World Of Their Own - Poul Anderson

A group of spacemen testing a hyperdrive return from their trip and realise all has not gone well, due to the stars not being in the right place. i.e. they are in the future.

They confirm this when they find the Earth, with its advances, lost colonies, Centaurian opponents, Technon computer brain control, guilds and others.

There is a caste system with slaves, and that is not all that is rotten in the Solar System of Sol, as these newly arrived outsiders begin to discover.


3.5 out of 5

The Long Way Home - Poul Anderson

A group of spacemen testing a hyperdrive return from their trip and realise all has not gone well, due to the stars not being in the right place. i.e. they are in the future.

They confirm this when they find the Earth, with its advances, lost colonies, Centaurian opponents, Technon computer brain control, guilds and others.

There is a caste system with slaves, and that is not all that is rotten in the Solar System of Sol, as these newly arrived outsiders begin to discover.


3.5 out of 5

Three Worlds To Conquer - Poul Anderson

"U.S.A. had to mount guard on the entire human race, or there’d be another thermonuclear war. But damnation, foreigners aren’t evil. They only resented our bossdom, as who wouldn’t? Didn’t our country resent the Soviet bossdom, so much as to finally destroy it?"

They still want control, too, but there are those that don't like it - including rebels on Ganymede. They have allies on Jupiter - not human, though, and humans can't handle the Jovian conditions particularly well.

So it is up to a plucky couple to work out what to do about revolution, the occupying force, and their spaceship.


3 out of 5

The High Crusade - Poul Anderson

An alien ship comes to 14th century Earth, and makes the mistake of landing where there is a clever pommie ruler and his own highly competent military force.

They lose, lose their ship, and the poms are off to the alien planet to take it over instead!

The not too bright sheepish aliens don't do very well, despite technological superiority:
"Nonetheless, dogged almost as Englishmen, they ran on to our very wall. And here our common men-at-arms stood to receive them. The women fired and fired, pinning down a goodly part of the foe. Those who came so close that guns were useless, must face axe, spear, billhook, mace, morningstar, dagger, and broadsword.

Despite their awesome losses, the Wersgorix still outnumbered our folk two or three to one. Yet it was scarcely fair. They had no body armor. Their only weapon for such close-in fighting was a knife attached to the muzzle of the handgun, to make a most awkward spear ... or the gun itself, clubbed. A few did carry pellet-firing sidearms, which caused us some casualties. But as a rule, when John Blueface fired at Harry Englishman, he missed even at pointblank range, in all that turmoil. Before John could fire again, Harry had laid him open with a halberd."

The poms learn fast, and soon it is Galactic Empire time, of necessity.:


3.5 out of 5

Shield - Poul Anderson

The earth is mostly controlled by an aggressive very conservative - towards the 'f' end, USA and their Military Security.

The only people not so threatened by them are the Chiinese.

A wild card is introduced when a Mars mission crew brings back new technology, thanks to the red planet inhabitants. Shield or force field technology, which could change the balance of power, or at least how it has to operate.

Most of his crew imprisoned our intrepid space returnee must see what he can do with the resistance movement, and a crime boss he goes on the run with to do something about the situation.


3.5 out of 5

The Makeshift Rocket - Poul Anderson

When you come across a passage like this, right at the start:

"Landing on a terraformed worldlet is tricky enough under the best conditions. The gyrogravitic generators at its center of mass are not able to increase the potential energy of the entire universe, but must content themselves with holding a reasonable atmospheric envelope. Accordingly, their field is so heterodyned that the force is an almost level one gee for some 2000 kilometers up from the surface; then, within the space of a single kilometer, the artificial attraction drops to zero and the acceleration experienced is merely that due to the asteroid's mass. Crossing such a boundary is no simple task. It is made worse by the further heterodyning as the spaceship's negative force interacts with the terraformer's positive pull. When the crew are, in addition, plagued with unexpected rhythmic variations in their weight, a smooth transition becomes downright impossible."

You then begin to suspect that Mr. Anderson may be producing a book that is not shall we say, overly serious.

Having a ship taken by brigand types that talk like this

"Ye'll go to the brig for this, ye riotous scum!" roared O'Toole. "Corp'ril of the guard! Arrest this man!"

"That attitude is precisely what I was criticizin" earlier," pointed out the soldier. "'Tis officers like yez what takes all the fun out of war. Why, ye wall-eyed auld Fomorian, if ye'd been in charge of the Cattle Raid of Cooley, the Brown Bull would still be chewin' cud in his meaddy! Now ye listen to me—"

So, amusing cheesy dialogue and shenanigans are what you can find in this little romp.

Not to mention a beer powered escape!


3 out of 5

Planet Of No Return - Poul Anderson

Earth is overcrowded, so is the Solar System - habitable planets elsewhere are needed desperately.

An expedition finds one - but it is inhabited already, by primitive but intelligent locals.

However, not everything is as it seems, and they may not even be able to trust their own superiors.


3 out of 5

Question and Answer - Poul Anderson

Earth is overcrowded, so is the Solar System - habitable planets elsewhere are needed desperately.

An expedition finds one - but it is inhabited already, by primitive but intelligent locals.

However, not everything is as it seems, and they may not even be able to trust their own superiors.


3 out of 5

The Snows Of Ganymede - Poul Anderson

An order of engineers is working on making the Solar System habitable for humans in this Psychotechnic era.

However, a group of fanatics and luddites have revolted - so they need to seek outlaw aid to try and fight back.

(call it 2.75)
2.5 out of 5

Subterranean Bundle November 2007 - William Schafer

An omnibus collection from Subterranean, containing six books. Her you get a monster hunting girl, a couple of new orleans chefs, a werewolf hunting nun, a talking seal victorian adventurer, fifties pulp sf, and an old fashioned magic wielding occult detective vampire shagger. Overall quite good quality.

Subterranean Bundle November 2007 : Alabaster - Caitlín R. Kiernan
Subterranean Bundle November 2007 : D.U.C.K. - Poppy Z. Brite
Subterranean Bundle November 2007 : Dreadful Skin - Cherie Priest
Subterranean Bundle November 2007 : Flaming London - Joe R. Lansdale
Subterranean Bundle November 2007 : In the Beginning - Robert Silverberg
Subterranean Bundle November 2007 : New Amsterdam - Elizabeth Bear


I suppose albino monster killing avatars of a higher power may just have been done before. This waif girl version of such is even more a pathetic specimen than the other one, in general, perhaps a 78 pound weakling, even, in that she looks like she would struggle to bench press a baby toad.

No soul-sucking sword, either, just a not overly well sharpened kitchen knife to face the monsters, demons, and crazed magic-wielders, after a bit of prompting from a showy fiery sword wielding angelic not overly helpful type.

Dancy Flammarion : 1 Les Fleurs Empoisonnées - Caitlín R. Kiernan
Dancy Flammarion : 2 The Well of Stars and Shadow - Caitlín R. Kiernan
Dancy Flammarion : 3 Waycross - Caitlín R. Kiernan
Dancy Flammarion : 4 Alabaster - Caitlín R. Kiernan
Dancy Flammarion : 5 Bainbridge - Caitlín R. Kiernan


A bailiff, a dead bear, and a League of monstrous women.

3.5 out of 5


Riddle survival.

3.5 out of 5


"Sure, we been prayin' for someone, but not a crazy albino kid with a butcher knife."

3.5 out of 5


"I don't have a tail," Dancy says, wishing the albino girl in the mirror, the girl who isn't her reflection after all, would shut up and go away. "You might as well, as far as the Seraphim are concerned. To them, you're nothing but a trained monkey, an ugly little freak of evolution they can swindle into wiping their Heavenly arses for them."

3.5 out of 5


Angel slicing.

3 out of 5


Alternate history cooking.


In a New Orleans that was never trashed a couple that runs a restaurant has a challenge of a different kind.

Make a multiple course banquet for Ducks Unlimited, featuring duck in every course:

G-man pulled the duck out of the bag and brandished it at Rickey, his hand wrapped around its neck. From the top of his fist emerged a tiny, slit-eyed, unmistakably duck-billed head. From the bottom hung a brown, blue, and white body that had been gutted, but not deprived of its feathers or its webby feet. The ooze from a small perforation stained its delicately dappled breast.

"Jesus Christ."

"Least we know it's fresh."

"Goddammit, you mean we gotta pull the feathers off fifty ducks?"

"We don't." G-man gazed at Rickey over the tops of his shades. "Jacolvy and Devonte do. Or the dishwashers, even."

To top this off, famous quarterback Bobby Hebert is involved, and they just happen to be keen Saints fans

A cute book.

3.5 out of 5


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



A flipper War of the Worlds.


Where the coolest guy is a seal. Yes, literally.

Here he teams up with Mark Twain and Jules Verne, among others.

The problem? A Martian invasion. What else would be good in such a Victorian adventure? (of course, given it is Mr. Lansdale, rather a bit more irreverent tha your usual tales of the era)

Yep, giant talking apes, and mechanical men.

Raybeams, bashing, and throw in a time machine later on for a continuing possibility.

All very silly, but pretty likely to make you chuckle, too.



I was able to get this thanks to Subterranean selling through webscriptions. Sometimes even more interesting than the 'formula adventure stories' that the author calls them at times is his recounting of how they came to be.

Reasonably lengthy introductions to each piece detail his relationship with various editors of lower tier Science Fiction magazines at the time, and how they often used a stable of house writers, and multiple different pseudonyms.

Sometimes Silverberg would have several stories in the same issue, all under different names, of course. A man blessed with the ability to be able to writer incredibly fast, knocking out novelettes in a day or two when he had to.

It also includes him talking about his relationship with Randall Garrett.

The stories themselves are ok in general (3.25), supposed to be a bit of fun, in the main. You do of course have to realise that they were all written in the 1950s.

In the Beginning : Yokel with Portfolio - Robert Silverberg
In the Beginning : Long Live the Kejwa - Robert Silverberg
In the Beginning : Guardian of the Crystal Gate - Robert Silverberg
In the Beginning : Choke Chain - Robert Silverberg
In the Beginning : Citadel of Darkness - Robert Silverberg
In the Beginning : Cosmic Kill - Robert Silverberg
In the Beginning : New Year's Eve—2000 A.D. - Robert Silverberg
In the Beginning : The Android Kill - Robert Silverberg
In the Beginning : The Hunters of Cutwold - Robert Silverberg
In the Beginning : Come into My Brain - Robert Silverberg
In the Beginning : Castaways of Space - Robert Silverberg
In the Beginning : Exiled from Earth - Robert Silverberg
In the Beginning : Second Start - Robert Silverberg
In the Beginning : Mournful Monster - Robert Silverberg
In the Beginning : Vampires from Outer Space - Robert Silverberg
In the Beginning : The Insidious Invaders - Robert Silverberg


Handling the alien monster like that is a load of bull.

3 out of 5


Landing getaway leaves him worshipfully in over his head.

3.5 out of 5


Manjacked giant diamond bitchfight freedom.

3.5 out of 5


Breathing tax.

3.5 out of 5


"—and when one came, it was a female. She was over six feet tall, with a magnificent body only nominally covered by her brief clothing, and strapped to her hip was a gem-studded blaster. I stepped out behind her as she went past. "I hate to do this to a lady," I said apologetically, as I clubbed down on the back of her neck and grabbed the blaster from its holster in the same motion. She started to crumple before I had the gun out."
...

"A sudden burst of thought illuminated my mind. "If that's true, I think I know how I can carry this thing off. Let's go someplace where I can get out of all these spacesuits and into a slave's loincloth!"

3.5 out of 5


Mercurian lust, loyalty and zam-gums. On speed.

3 out of 5


Space Age celebration.

3 out of 5


Don't shoot me, I ain't no tin man.

3 out of 5


Sentient shooting.

3.5 out of 5


"Get out of my mind, Earthman!"

3.5 out of 5


Piss off Space Patrol boy, queen is just fine thanks.

3 out of 5


Alien theatre.

2.5 out of 5


"Look," I said. "I'm a Rehab. That means I've been through the Center, analyzed, monkeyed-with, headshrunk, rearranged. There isn't a criminal molecule left in me. I can't do it even if I wanted to. And I don't want to."

3.5 out of 5


Put me out of my misery.

3.5 out of 5


If those aliens aren't the bloodsuckers, must be the non-vegetarian ones.

3.5 out of 5


Not my brother anymore.

3 out of 5


3.5 out of 5


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






4 out of 5

D*U*C*K - Poppy Z. Brite

Alternate history cooking.


In a New Orleans that was never trashed a couple that runs a restaurant has a challenge of a different kind.

Make a multiple course banquet for Ducks Unlimited, featuring duck in every course:

G-man pulled the duck out of the bag and brandished it at Rickey, his hand wrapped around its neck. From the top of his fist emerged a tiny, slit-eyed, unmistakably duck-billed head. From the bottom hung a brown, blue, and white body that had been gutted, but not deprived of its feathers or its webby feet. The ooze from a small perforation stained its delicately dappled breast.

"Jesus Christ."

"Least we know it's fresh."

"Goddammit, you mean we gotta pull the feathers off fifty ducks?"

"We don't." G-man gazed at Rickey over the tops of his shades. "Jacolvy and Devonte do. Or the dishwashers, even."

To top this off, famous quarterback Bobby Hebert is involved, and they just happen to be keen Saints fans

A cute book.


3.5 out of 5

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Far Reality - Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore

A war between Europe and American isn't getting very far, so some very lateral thinking happens.

What if you could change the laws of reality? Have people with ETP as opposed to ESP.

This interesting bit, for comics fans, and a few after it :-

"Hard radiations. Genes getting knocked around—mutation. But a very queer kind of mutation. The only kind possible. It was a sort of biological meeting of two utterly unlike species. Mental. Genus homo and genus—X!"

The chess or fairy chess analogy is used because fairy chess is a variant where the rules and pieces change.

Like the ability in this war to have a missile just suddenly go through a shield for no reason.

So, time travelling super powered mutants as a way to maybe win or stop war. Rather stressful.


3 out of 5

Chessboard Planet - Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore

A war between Europe and American isn't getting very far, so some very lateral thinking happens.

What if you could change the laws of reality? Have people with ETP as opposed to ESP.

This interesting bit, for comics fans, and a few after it :-

"Hard radiations. Genes getting knocked around—mutation. But a very queer kind of mutation. The only kind possible. It was a sort of biological meeting of two utterly unlike species. Mental. Genus homo and genus—X!"

The chess or fairy chess analogy is used because fairy chess is a variant where the rules and pieces change.

Like the ability in this war to have a missile just suddenly go through a shield for no reason.

So, time travelling super powered mutants as a way to maybe win or stop war. Rather stressful.


3 out of 5

The Fairy Chessmen - Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore

A war between Europe and American isn't getting very far, so some very lateral thinking happens.

What if you could change the laws of reality? Have people with ETP as opposed to ESP.

This interesting bit, for comics fans, and a few after it :-

"Hard radiations. Genes getting knocked around—mutation. But a very queer kind of mutation. The only kind possible. It was a sort of biological meeting of two utterly unlike species. Mental. Genus homo and genus—X!"

The chess or fairy chess analogy is used because fairy chess is a variant where the rules and pieces change.

Like the ability in this war to have a missile just suddenly go through a shield for no reason.

So, time travelling super powered mutants as a way to maybe win or stop war. Rather stressful.


3 out of 5

Empire's End - Diane Duane

Lilandra and the Shi'Ar have a big problem. A creature that eats stars is headed their way, and if does too much damage to the core of the galaxy, good-bye galaxy.

This helps stir up political unrest and increase the assassination attempt rate upon the Empress, so she asks Charles for help. The Shi'Ar have a new power amplification technology that will amplify the X-Men's abilities to Silver Surfer type levels for very brief periods of time, so they have a shot at stopping it.

Lilandra won't risk the Imperial Guard, because she knows they are loyal, and watching her back, even if large parts of her Council, are not.

The problem with this technology is what if you like it too much - they have already had one Dark Phoenix episode.

A very cosmic level space opera X-Men story.


3.5 out of 5

The Portal In the Picture - Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore

An up and coming actor is trying to avoid a third rate club singer when a painting turns out to be an Earth-Gate to the planet Malesco, and the stories his Uncle Jim told him as a kid were real.

It turns out his uncle had tried to start a bit of a revolution on this priest and technology controlled planet. Even though our actor here is no John Carter Burroughsian mythic hero full of muscles and sword swinging prowess, he ends up trying to do what he can in a different way.

Luckily his uncle taught him the language, he has a few gimmicks to impress the locals, and manipulating a primitive religion is always possible.


3 out of 5

Beyond Earth's Gates - Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore

An up and coming actor is trying to avoid a third rate club singer when a painting turns out to be an Earth-Gate to the planet Malesco, and the stories his Uncle Jim told him as a kid were real.

It turns out his uncle had tried to start a bit of a revolution on this priest and technology controlled planet. Even though our actor here is no John Carter Burroughsian mythic hero full of muscles and sword swinging prowess, he ends up trying to do what he can in a different way.

Luckily his uncle taught him the language, he has a few gimmicks to impress the locals, and manipulating a primitive religion is always possible.


3 out of 5

Earth's Last Citadel - Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore

A small group of people are thrown out of their modern war into stasis and awakening in the far future.

In what could be an early Doctor Who episode, even. There are people alive still, with strange abilities, an enhanced medical technology. However, they understand it little, less even than the new arrivals.

Then there's a dangerous alien presence, and a complete lack of Scotch into the bargain.

Not very good, in other words.


2.5 out of 5

King Of Stars - Edmond Hamilton

An eight book ominbus thanks to Baen, mostly of old-school space opera, but with some entertaining fantasy like 'A Yank at Valhalla (The Monsters of Jotunheim)' thrown in. Generally a brave adventurer meets a smart, beautiful woman and has much peril to overcome. The City at World's End has a slightly more sophisticated version of this. At $20, certainly worth a go.

King Of Stars : The Haunted Stars - Edmond Hamilton
King Of Stars : The Valley of Creation - Edmond Hamilton
King Of Stars : The Star of Life - Edmond Hamilton
King Of Stars : City at World's End - Edmond Hamilton
King Of Stars : Doomstar - Edmond Hamilton
King Of Stars : Yank at Valhalla - Edmond Hamilton
King Of Stars : The Sun Smasher - Edmond Hamilton
King Of Stars : Fugitive of the Stars - Edmond Hamilton


A linguist is taken to a secret US military base, and quite astounded by what he hears.

They have a found a military installation - but it isn't human, and it is ancient.

Exploration leads to rapid technology gains and a trip into space looking for these ancient people, trying to find out why they no longer exist. Unattached linguist gets to go along for the ride, having shown some ability with this ancient language already.

3.5 out of 5


Here's a hidden city story, however, this place is no Shangri-La, as this quote from later in the book shows:

"A savage joy in his own wolf-strength swept over him. He hurled himself high in the air, right over the striking sword that would have split him open, saw terror widen in the swordsman's eyes, heard him cry out. Then he felt his own jaws snap and crunch an arm, heard the yell of pain and the clatter of the sword falling to the floor."

Hamilton's characters in general are men and women of action.

In this hidden city you will find telepathy, intelligent wolves, horses, eagles and more. With a secret to be discovered about how this all came to be.

Again, the human character and opponents introduce a modern technological wild card into the equation. They have added machine guns and grenades to conflicts previously settled with swords, fangs and hooves.

3 out of 5


As astronaut's space mission doesn't go as planned, leaving him dying.

Until an amazing rescue when he discovers other humans exist elsewhere - and are in conflict. One group possesses the secret of longevity, the others do not. The former guards it aggressively, and are hence not very popular.

Our hero falls in with a woman of the long-lived and discovers thre is a dark secret to go along with immortality.

3.5 out of 5


Atomic continuum smashing future jump.

A massive atomic explosion throws Middletown, USA tens of thousands of years into the future, as they discover.

It is a cold, dead place they arrive in, and they have to move to a domed city they find to survive. Further culture shock awakes - there are people arriving, not all human.

Old Earth stubbornness and clinging to the past clashes with a Galactic Federation's views on old planetary archaeology, primitive inhabitants, and more. Stuck in the middle of this tense situation is Kenniston, and also in a bit of a past-future love triangle, too.

I liked this quite a bit, call it a 3.75.

4 out of 5


Johnny, they got a sun-poisoning super weapon.


So it is up to the intrepid bloke to try and save the League of Cluster worlds from their own apathy and those that wouldn't hesitate to sabotage their friendly neighbourhood stars.

This entails a lot of spaceship travel, along with biffo on blades on various primitive worlds and he tries to track down the chief malefactor. Without much help, either, as a lot of people just don't believe this story.

3 out of 5


Ragnarok by plane.


Keith runs into a storm while flying, and when he can see, he gets Bifrost, and a valkyrie, and not just any valkyrie.

He's also landed in the middle of a clash of Aesir and Jotun, and either side might kill him.

A twist on the legends, as these Norse types are apparently a first race of Earth - and actually the centre of the earth with their radiation technology.

Even with an injection of new technology such as he brings, doom is still at hand.

3.5 out of 5


"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


Rumours of slavers and more in the Spaceways, but when it appears that a ship has been obliterated something else comes to light.

Bigger plots abound as aliens are building a giant brain, something outlawed in the Federation.

Not a whole lot to recommend this one. Pretty sedate as far as Hamilton-craziness goes, and not very interesting.

2.5 out of 5





3.5 out of 5

The Star Of Life - Edmond Hamilton

As astronaut's space mission doesn't go as planned, leaving him dying.

Until an amazing rescue when he discovers other humans exist elsewhere - and are in conflict. One group possesses the secret of longevity, the others do not. The former guards it aggressively, and are hence not very popular.

Our hero falls in with a woman of the long-lived and discovers thre is a dark secret to go along with immortality.


3.5 out of 5

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Selina Rosen Collection - Selina Rosen

An omnibus containing five books. The first two are part of the Drewcila Qwah series, the second pair are part of the Chains series, and it appears another of these is forthcoming. The last is a standalone, as far as I am aware.

Rosen definitely has a liking for the brawling female iconolast. You have fun sf, revolution sf and weird paranormal sf in this bundle.

Selina Rosen Collection : Queen of Denial - Selina Rosen
Selina Rosen Collection : Recycled - Selina Rosen
Selina Rosen Collection : Chains of Freedom - Selina Rosen
Selina Rosen Collection : Chains of Destruction - Selina Rosen
Selina Rosen Collection : Strange Robby - Selina Rosen

Selina Rosen is a funny woman.


Queen of Denial goes something like this:

Image if Han Solo was Princess Leia. Complete with furry sidekick, only more drinking and speech patterns a little more colorful than nerf herder. Then fly into Stainless Steel Rat territory via Quark, with her not knowing about the royalty bit.

When individuals (including a King type) from her planet want the Queen back you are going to get space pirates, laser cannons, ray guns, boozing, bonking and them getting a lot more than they bargained for.

As in, a champion Salvager is likely to kick the faecal matter out of the status quo of a broken-arsed royalty with a planet full of starving people.

That is if someone doesn't shoot her first.


4 out of 5


What's a mind-altered now Queen junk expert of somewhat dubious morality going to do with too much royalty type boring stuff? Drink way too much, shag anything that moves, and get busted in a compromising position that involves multiple people, and a goat.

Van Gar, not happy, calls her bluff, and leaves.

After that, you get everyone getting into trouble, as while Drewcila has been pissed out of her horny little mind the King has decided to start a lovely little war, being all peeved and all.

Or, this one is pretty funny, too, if not quite as good as the first.

4 out of 5


One woman army.


Or at least that is what Reliance Elite warrior RJ is until she runs into a newly escaped flunky soldier and they decide that sure, why not, they'll give taking down a Galactic Empire a shot between them.

Of course, they do realise they need a bit of help along with the way, and this is the story of building a rebellion, and the feuds between the motley crew of not particularly lawful band of horny misfits.

Their boss and leader is certainly more than human, not to mention having a brother who is a robot.

The Chains in the title refers to the belt/weapon she likes to wear, and decorate, with her successes.

While there's certainly plenty of wisecracks, definitely not the comedy that the Drewcila books bring you.

3.5 out of 5


Reliance reinforcements discovery mission.

RJ and company decide to leave Earth and see what they can do about the situation elsewhere.

En route they discover that those whom they rebel against are planning to use a group of primitive natives as shock troop reinforcements.

The planet they come from gives them physical advantages, and a manipulative religious situation has been set up to ensure their compliance.

One genetically modified leader decides something should be done about this, and the local staff aren't even too keen on their bosses.

Not as good as the first one, and presumably there is more of this coming given where it ended.


Reliance reinforcements discovery mission.

RJ and company decide to leave Earth and see what they can do about the situation elsewhere.

En route they discover that those whom they rebel against are planning to use a group of primitive natives as shock troop reinforcements.

The planet they come from gives them physical advantages, and a manipulative religious situation has been set up to ensure their compliance.

One genetically modified leader decides something should be done about this, and the local staff aren't even too keen on their bosses.

Not as good as the first one, and presumably there is more of this coming given where it ended.

3.5 out of 5



A cross between the X-Files and Firestarter, with Ju-Jitsu.

A pair of cop partners are investigating a string of serial killings. They are odd, because the victim appears to have been brain fried in all cases. Also, they are wanted nasty criminals, or other unsavory types. So, really the cops don't have the greatest interest in catching the killer because he is doing some of their job for them.

In a slightly near future setting the prisons are overcrowded, so even dangerous first time offenders get released regularly.

It gets stranger from there, as the pair draw the attention of your good old black book secret government agency and Spider's unknown past begins to be revealed. This draws in her lover, now the district attornery, her partner's wife and more as the violence against them escalates into something much strange than a string of serial killings.

Another good book in this collection.

4 out of 5





4.5 out of 5