Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Green Hills Of Earth - Robert A. Heinlein

A collection of Heinlein's Future History planetary exploration stories, including the moon. Fairly ordinary stuff at 3.10.

Green Hills Of Earth : Delilah and the Space Rigger - Robert A. Heinlein
Green Hills Of Earth : Space Jockey - Robert A. Heinlein
Green Hills Of Earth : The Long Watch - Robert A. Heinlein
Green Hills Of Earth : Gentlemen Be Seated - Robert A. Heinlein
Green Hills Of Earth : The Black Pits of Luna - Robert A. Heinlein
Green Hills Of Earth : It's Great to Be Back! - Robert A. Heinlein
Green Hills Of Earth : We Also Walk Dogs - Robert A. Heinlein
Green Hills Of Earth : Ordeal in Space - Robert A. Heinlein
Green Hills Of Earth : The Green Hills of Earth - Robert A. Heinlein
Green Hills Of Earth : Logic of Empire - Robert A. Heinlein

Send for some women.

3 out of 5


Want to come to the Moon?

3 out of 5


Moon Base bomb, Stinky.

3.5 out of 5


Fatso leak.

3.5 out of 5


Shorty for the moon.

3 out of 5


Groundhogs too dumb for lunar couple.

4 out of 5


General Services money.

2.5 out of 5


Just a cat rescuing space hero.

3 out of 5


Hillbilly spacer songs.

2 out of 5


I Was A Slave On Venus.

3.5 out of 5




2.5 out of 5

Logic Of Empire - Robert A. Heinlein

I Was A Slave On Venus.


3.5 out of 5

Ordeal In Space - Robert A. Heinlein

Just a cat rescuing hero.


3 out of 5

The Black Pits Of Luna - Robert A. Heinlein

Shorty for the moon.


3 out of 5

Gentlemen Be Seated - Robert A. Heinlein

Fatso leak.


3.5 out of 5

The Long Watch - Robert A. Heinlein

Moon Base bomb, Stinky.


3.5 out of 5

The Iron Dragon's Daughter - Michael Swanwick

When a young girl decides to get out of a bad situation (and the same for a dragon) the getting out part works, bad situations are still plentiful.

The book follows her as she grows up, goes to school, and communicates with said mechanical beast throughout this goddess run alchemical sex magic setting. With a bit of necromancy.


3.5 out of 5

Dead Man's Handle - Peter O'Donnell

Secutor vs Retiarius.

Ordinary decent criminals it seems are smart enough to leave Garvin and Blaise alone, by this time.

It takes your group of crazed supervillain types to want to include them in their schemes - especially those that fancy themselves warriors and want to test themselves, as does the twisted male-female pair in this novel that actually gets to face them in an arena, Roman style.

Then there's an island escape to perform.

To manoeuvre the pair, a contract is taken out on the Colliers.

Those who invoke the Wrath of Blaise should probably have an epitaph picked out already. She has friends available to help with the shopping for such.


4 out of 5

The Night Of Morningstar - Peter O'Donnell

Probably the weakest of the Modesty Blaise books, it begins with a flashback to the time of The Network.

Willie has just finished testing a possible new recruit with physical skills approaching his own.

However, his state of mind is not up to the job - too arrogant, etc., according to the leadership group, so they give him the arse.

This rejection leads into the plot in the present, when a group including 'The Graduate' as he was nicknamed is involved in some political plotting and destruction - and after a couple of assassination attempts, Modesty, Willie, Steve and Dinah get involved. Tarrant himself is a target, and not to pleased with those plotting destruction in his country.


3.5 out of 5

Desert Mercenary - Barry Sadler

This is a more contemporary adventure, as Casca becomes 'the killer'. Here he is involved with a mercenary band hired to perform a rescue.

And as you can see from the title, this is a sandy rescue.

However, this is a not very good action story, and you can pretty happily give this Casca adventure a miss as it is very second rate.


2.5 out of 5

The Barbarian - Barry Sadler

Casca goes Germanic tribe.

Apart from some wandering with a mate, a conflict with a father over his daughter leads Casca into a military leader type role again, as he helps to defends this settlement from an attack by your really not very nice bunch of plundering murderers.


3 out of 5

Friday, February 27, 2009

Stinger - Nancy Kress

Your federal agent type thriller, here.

When a malaria strain starts knocking down people in suprising places a researcher and a federal agent discover something disturbing.

This particular type targets those with sickle cell characteriistics - i.e. it will basically only be killing black people.

However, as a novel, this certainly lacks thrillingness and flow for this sort of story.


3 out of 5

The Mammoth Book Of Frankenstein - Stephen Jones

This particular anthology is very well done, at 3.59. Interestingly the editor has chosen to include the novel Frankenstein at the beginning - whether because of lack of other stories, or public domain freeness or what, not sure, but you can certainly easily reference it to the others by doing this.

David J. Schow continues to impress, too.

Giant Book of Frankenstein : Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus - Mary W. Shelley
Giant Book of Frankenstein : A New Life - Ramsey Campbell
Giant Book of Frankenstein : The Creator - R. Chetwynd-Hayes
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Better Dead - Basil Copper
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Creature Comforts - Nancy Kilpatrick
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Mannikins of Horror - Robert Bloch
Giant Book of Frankenstein : El Sueño de la Razón - Daniel Fox
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Pithecanthropus Rejectus - Manly Wade Wellman
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Tantamount to Murder - John Brunner
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Last Train - Guy N. Smith
Giant Book of Frankenstein : The Hound of Frankenstein - Peter Tremayne
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Mother of Invention - Graham Masterton
Giant Book of Frankenstein : The Frankenstein Legacy - Adrian Cole
Giant Book of Frankenstein : The Dead Line - Dennis Etchison
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Poppi's Monster - Lisa Morton
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Undertow [Kane] - Karl Edward Wagner
Giant Book of Frankenstein : A Complete Woman - Roberta Lannes
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Last Call for the Sons of Shock - David J. Schow
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Chandira - Brian Mooney
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Completist Heaven - Kim Newman
Giant Book of Frankenstein : The Temptation of Dr Stein - Paul J. McAuley
Giant Book of Frankenstein : To Receive Is Better - Michael Marshall Smith
Giant Book of Frankenstein : The Dead End - David Case

It is pretty surprising that something come up with almost on a whim to
provide a diversion has come to be such an important text for two
genres, both horror and science fiction.

Victor Frankenstein's obsession with the creation of life ultimately ends in tragedy and death for those around him.

3.5 out of 5


Frankenstein experiment, not so good.

3.5 out of 5


Goathead dead grandpa radio monster.

4 out of 5


That collector has to go.

3.5 out of 5


Monster groupie.

3.5 out of 5


Little clay monsters, brains and all.

3.5 out of 5


Off to be The Pretender.

4 out of 5


Congorilla getting too much like Congo Bill.

3.5 out of 5


Sister preservation.

3 out of 5


Lust, cannibalism, definite failure, these girls.

3.5 out of 5


Baron, still evil and rearranging pretty boys.

3 out of 5


Rebuilt wife.

3.5 out of 5


Brain transplant revenge.

4 out of 5


Organ bank nightmare.

3.5 out of 5


Dad can't do it underwater.

3 out of 5


You should listen to Kane when he tells you what his woman is like.

4 out of 5


I was a lesbian Frankenstein.

4 out of 5


Flaming Universal reunion.

4.5 out of 5


Sutteed pieces.

3.5 out of 5


Imaginary channel trivia obsession.

3.5 out of 5


By Dr Pretorius, even.

3.5 out of 5


Taking my bits back.

4 out of 5


Monster evolutions strain.

3.5 out of 5




4.5 out of 5

The Giant Book Of Frankenstein - Stephen Jones

This particular anthology is very well done, at 3.59. Interestingly the editor has chosen to include the novel Frankenstein at the beginning - whether because of lack of other stories, or public domain freeness or what, not sure, but you can certainly easily reference it to the others by doing this.

David J. Schow continues to impress, too.

Giant Book of Frankenstein : Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus - Mary W. Shelley
Giant Book of Frankenstein : A New Life - Ramsey Campbell
Giant Book of Frankenstein : The Creator - R. Chetwynd-Hayes
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Better Dead - Basil Copper
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Creature Comforts - Nancy Kilpatrick
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Mannikins of Horror - Robert Bloch
Giant Book of Frankenstein : El Sueño de la Razón - Daniel Fox
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Pithecanthropus Rejectus - Manly Wade Wellman
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Tantamount to Murder - John Brunner
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Last Train - Guy N. Smith
Giant Book of Frankenstein : The Hound of Frankenstein - Peter Tremayne
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Mother of Invention - Graham Masterton
Giant Book of Frankenstein : The Frankenstein Legacy - Adrian Cole
Giant Book of Frankenstein : The Dead Line - Dennis Etchison
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Poppi's Monster - Lisa Morton
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Undertow [Kane] - Karl Edward Wagner
Giant Book of Frankenstein : A Complete Woman - Roberta Lannes
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Last Call for the Sons of Shock - David J. Schow
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Chandira - Brian Mooney
Giant Book of Frankenstein : Completist Heaven - Kim Newman
Giant Book of Frankenstein : The Temptation of Dr Stein - Paul J. McAuley
Giant Book of Frankenstein : To Receive Is Better - Michael Marshall Smith
Giant Book of Frankenstein : The Dead End - David Case

It is pretty surprising that something come up with almost on a whim to
provide a diversion has come to be such an important text for two
genres, both horror and science fiction.

Victor Frankenstein's obsession with the creation of life ultimately ends in tragedy and death for those around him.

3.5 out of 5


Frankenstein experiment, not so good.

3.5 out of 5


Goathead dead grandpa radio monster.

4 out of 5


That collector has to go.

3.5 out of 5


Monster groupie.

3.5 out of 5


Little clay monsters, brains and all.

3.5 out of 5


Off to be The Pretender.

4 out of 5


Congorilla getting too much like Congo Bill.

3.5 out of 5


Sister preservation.

3 out of 5


Lust, cannibalism, definite failure, these girls.

3.5 out of 5


Baron, still evil and rearranging pretty boys.

3 out of 5


Rebuilt wife.

3.5 out of 5


Brain transplant revenge.

4 out of 5


Organ bank nightmare.

3.5 out of 5


Dad can't do it underwater.

3 out of 5


You should listen to Kane when he tells you what his woman is like.

4 out of 5


I was a lesbian Frankenstein.

4 out of 5


Flaming Universal reunion.

4.5 out of 5


Sutteed pieces.

3.5 out of 5


Imaginary channel trivia obsession.

3.5 out of 5


By Dr Pretorius, even.

3.5 out of 5


Taking my bits back.

4 out of 5


Monster evolutions strain.

3.5 out of 5




4.5 out of 5

Drink My Red Blood - Richard Matheson

Vampiric entreaty answered.


3 out of 5

The Squeaking Goblin - Kenneth Robeson

Moving into Robert E. Howard territory, or at least in Breckenridge Elkins style - as Doc is called in by a mountain man who has gone urban and returned.

Yes, of course there is a feud, and a nogoodnik at the heart of wanting to lessen the human population of the mountains considerably for their own ends.

The Squeaking Goblin is the strange figure the villain uses to put the coon among clans, so to speak.


3 out of 5

The Romanoff Jewels - Maxwell Grant

Czarist agents to stop.


Which means that The Shadow gets out of the Gotham area for this one, as this particular operation is global in scope, even including the good old polar submarine idea.

Plenty of knives in the dark here, as they provide some stiff opposition.

An interesting coda at the end, as we learn more about the famous ring that The Shadow wears.


3.5 out of 5

A Million Open Doors - John Barnes

Somewhat tedious.

Interstellar colonies are possible due to Springer travel technology, and one young man goes back to one of these - coming from a place rather obsessed with the arts. Which, if you don't have much patience for lengthy discussions of this sort of thing will get dull very quickly.

It gets more interesting later, as where he travels to is not so airy fairy, and rather more repressive - meaning conflict.

Although if the couple of pages at the end of the book was the story, this would be a lot better.


2.5 out of 5

Philip Jose Farmer


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Farmer, Philip Jose
      -       Rating : 3.44       Entries : 61

Title : The Adventure of the Peerless Peer
URL : The Adventure of the Peerless Peer - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : sleuth superhero
Type : novel
Rating : 3.5

Title : After King Kong Fell
URL : After King Kong Fell - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : short story
Rating : 4.0

Title : The Alley Man
URL : The Alley Man - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : short story
Rating : 3.0

Title : An Exclusive Interview With Lord Greystoke
URL : An Exclusive Interview With Lord Greystoke - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction superhero
Type : short story
Rating : 4.0

Title : A Barnstormer In Oz
URL : A Barnstormer In Oz - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : supernatural fantasy superhero
Type : novel
Rating : 3.0

Title : The Book Of Philip Jose Farmer
URL : The Book Of Philip Jose Farmer - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : collection
Rating : 3.0

Title : Brass and Gold or Horse and Zeppelin in Beverly Hills
URL : Brass and Gold or Horse and Zeppelin in Beverly Hills - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : speculative
Type : short story
Rating : 2.5

Title : The Classic Philip Jose Farmer 1952-1964
URL : The Classic Philip Jose Farmer 1952-1964 - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : collection
Rating : 4.0

Title : The Dark Design
URL : The Dark Design - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : novel
Rating : 3.0

Title : Daughter
URL : Daughter - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : short story
Rating : 3.0

Title : Day Of the Great Shout
URL : Day Of the Great Shout - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : short story
Rating : 4.0

Title : Doc Savage : His Apocalyptic Life
URL : Doc Savage : His Apocalyptic Life - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : superhero
Type : collection
Rating : 5.0

Title : Don't Wash the Carats
URL : Don't Wash the Carats - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : speculative
Type : short story
Rating : 3.0

Title : The Fabulous Riverboat
URL : The Fabulous Riverboat - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : novel
Rating : 3.5

Title : Father's In the Basement
URL : Father's In the Basement - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : scary horror
Type : short story
Rating : 3.0

Title : Father
URL : Father - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : short story
Rating : 3.5

Title : A Feast Unknown
URL : A Feast Unknown - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : superhero
Type : novel
Rating : 3.5

Title : The First Command
URL : The First Command - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : superhero
Type : short story
Rating : 3.5

Title : Flesh
URL : Flesh - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : novel
Rating : 3.5

Title : The Freshman
URL : The Freshman - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : short story
Rating : 3.5

Title : The God Business
URL : The God Business - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : supernatural fantasy
Type : short story
Rating : 4.0

Title : Gods Of Riverworld
URL : Gods Of Riverworld - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : novel
Rating : 3.0

Title : Greatheart Silver In Showdown At Shootout
URL : Greatheart Silver In Showdown At Shootout - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : superhero
Type : short story
Rating : 4.5

Title : The Henry Miller Dawn Patrol
URL : The Henry Miller Dawn Patrol - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : soldier
Type : short story
Rating : 3.0

Title : J. C. On the Dude Ranch
URL : J. C. On the Dude Ranch - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : short story
Rating : 3.5

Title : The Jungle Rot Kid On the Nod
URL : The Jungle Rot Kid On the Nod - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : speculative
Type : short story
Rating : 3.0

Title : The Last Rise Of Nick Adams
URL : The Last Rise Of Nick Adams - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : speculative
Type : short story
Rating : 3.0

Title : The Leaser Of Two Evils
URL : The Leaser Of Two Evils - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : short story
Rating : 3.0

Title : Lord of the Trees
URL : Lord of the Trees - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : superhero
Type : novel
Rating : 3.0

Title : The Lovers
URL : The Lovers - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : novel
Rating : 3.5

Title : The Mad Goblin
URL : The Mad Goblin - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : superhero
Type : novel
Rating : 3.0

Title : The Magic Labyrinth
URL : The Magic Labyrinth - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : novel
Rating : 3.0

Title : Monolog
URL : Monolog - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : scary horror
Type : short story
Rating : 3.0

Title : Mother
URL : Mother - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : short story
Rating : 4.0

Title : My Sister's Brother
URL : My Sister's Brother - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : short story
Rating : 4.0

Title : Nobody's Perfect
URL : Nobody's Perfect - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : scary horror
Type : short story
Rating : 3.5

Title : The Obscure Life And Hard Times Of Kilgore Trout
URL : The Obscure Life And Hard Times Of Kilgore Trout - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : speculative
Type : short story
Rating : 3.0

Title : One Down One To Go
URL : One Down One To Go - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : short story
Rating : 3.5

Title : Only Who Can Make A Tree?
URL : Only Who Can Make A Tree? - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : short story
Rating : 3.0

Title : The Phantom Of the Sewers
URL : The Phantom Of the Sewers - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : scary horror
Type : short story
Rating : 3.5

Title : The Problem of the Sore Bridge Among Others
URL : The Problem of the Sore Bridge Among Others - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction superhero
Type : short story
Rating : 3.5

Title : The Return Of Greatheart Silver
URL : The Return Of Greatheart Silver - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : superhero
Type : short story
Rating : 3.0

Title : Riders Of the Purple Wage
URL : Riders Of the Purple Wage - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : short story
Rating : 3.5

Title : Riverworld and Other Stories
URL : Riverworld and Other Stories - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : collection
Rating : 3.0

Title : Riverworld
URL : Riverworld - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : short story
Rating : 3.5

Title : Sail On! Sail On!
URL : Sail On! Sail On! - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : supernatural fantasy
Type : short story
Rating : 4.0

Title : Savage Shadow
URL : Savage Shadow - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : superhero
Type : short story
Rating : 3.0

Title : Sexual Implications Of the Charge Of the Light Brigade
URL : Sexual Implications Of the Charge Of the Light Brigade - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : speculative
Type : short story
Rating : 2.5

Title : The Shadow Of Space
URL : The Shadow Of Space - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : short story
Rating : 4.0

Title : Sketches Among the Ruins Of My Mind
URL : Sketches Among the Ruins Of My Mind - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : short story
Rating : 4.0

Title : Skinburn
URL : Skinburn - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction superhero
Type : short story
Rating : 3.5

Title : Son
URL : Son - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : short story
Rating : 3.5

Title : Spiders of the Purple Mage
URL : Spiders of the Purple Mage - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : sorcery fantasy
Type : short story
Rating : 3.0

Title : Strange Relations
URL : Strange Relations - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : collection
Rating : 4.5

Title : The Sumerian Oath
URL : The Sumerian Oath - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : speculative
Type : short story
Rating : 3.0

Title : Tarzan Alive
URL : Tarzan Alive - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction superhero
Type : collection
Rating : 5.0

Title : To Your Scattered Bodies Go
URL : To Your Scattered Bodies Go - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : non-fiction
Rating : 4.0

Title : Toward the Beloved City
URL : Toward the Beloved City - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : short story
Rating : 3.5

Title : Uproar In Acheron
URL : Uproar In Acheron - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : shootist
Type : short story
Rating : 3.5

Title : The Voice of the Sonar in My Vermiform Appendix
URL : The Voice of the Sonar in My Vermiform Appendix - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : speculative
Type : short story
Rating : 3.0

Title : The Volcano
URL : The Volcano - Philip Jose Farmer
Blog : NOTFREE
Genre : science fiction
Type : short story
Rating : 3.5

Beyond the Blue Moon - Simon R. Green

Hawk and Fisher return to their roots.

In Haven, the pair get a visitor who informs them that King Harald has been murdered, and the Queen would like Rupert and Julia to investigate. They aren't so keen as to take up the old identities, so go as Hawk and Fisher.

The usual nasty Forest Kingdom and Hillsdown antagonism still goes on, and some old ghosts still hover.

Green's style has changed a bit since he wrote the first of these, so this one is better.


3.5 out of 5

The Dead End - David Case

Monster evolution strain.


3.5 out of 5

To Receive Is Better - Michael Marshall Smith

Taking my bits back.


4 out of 5

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Turning Wheel and Other Stories - Philip K. Dick

A very solid and consistently interesting collection of stories, with no standouts among them. Good stuff.

Book Of Philip K Dick : NANNY - Philip K. Dick
Book Of Philip K Dick : THE TURNING WHEEL - Philip K. Dick
Book Of Philip K Dick : THE DEFENDERS - Philip K. Dick
Book Of Philip K Dick : ADJUSTMENT TEAM - Philip K. Dick
Book Of Philip K Dick : PSI-MAN - Philip K. Dick
Book Of Philip K Dick : THE COMMUTER - Philip K. Dick
Book Of Philip K Dick : A PRESENT FOR PAT - Philip K. Dick
Book Of Philip K Dick : BREAKFAST AT TWILIGHT - Philip K. Dick
Book Of Philip K Dick : SHELL GAME - Philip K. Dick

Jetsons homelife breakdown.

3 out of 5


Karma, By Elron!

3.5 out of 5


Robots reckon war is illogical human stupid stuff.

3.5 out of 5


Dog of a new configuration.

3.5 out of 5


What's that guild good for?

3.5 out of 5


City travel a bit variable.

3 out of 5


Little god is good value, talks a lot though. Big chance for return.

3.5 out of 5


Sucked into the future.

3.5 out of 5


Terran monkeymen alien attack infiltration.

3.5 out of 5




4 out of 5

Black Blood - John Meaney

Black Blood is better than the first in this series, as the scope of the story deepens and widens.

After failing to protect his target, having his lover and superior die, Lieutenant Donal Riordan failed to stop himself getting killed, as well. In this city, however, they can put a zombie heart in you, plug you in, charge you up, and away you go as a zombie.

As a newly undead citizen Donal is a focal point for the politics of the city, where one party wants to remove rights from all non-human citizens. Things get nastier with more attacks on leaders, and the city's infrastructure, and Donal has to try and put together a coalition of people to do something about the attempted takeover, while staying alive.

A fine story of necroeverything, is Black Blood.


4 out of 5

The Temptation Of Dr Stein - Paul J. McAuley

By Dr Pretorius, even.


3.5 out of 5

Completist Heaven - Kim Newman

Imaginary channel trivia obsession.


3.5 out of 5

Chandira - Brian Mooney

Sutteed pieces.


3.5 out of 5

Last Call For the Sons Of Shock - David J. Schow

Flaming Universal reunion.


4.5 out of 5

A Complete Woman - Roberta Lannes

I was a lesbian Frankenstein.


4 out of 5

Poppi's Monster - Lisa Morton

Dad can't do it underwater.


3 out of 5

The Dead Line - Dennis Etchison

Organ bank nightmare.


3.5 out of 5

The Frankenstein Legacy - Adrian Cole

Brain transplant revenge.


4 out of 5

Mother Of Invention - Graham Masterton

Rebuilt wife.


3.5 out of 5

The Hound Of Frankenstein - Peter Tremayne

Baron, still evil and rearranging pretty boys.


3 out of 5

Last Train - Guy N. Smith

Lust, cannibalism, definite failure, these girls.


3.5 out of 5

Tantamount To Murder - John Brunner

Sister preservation.


3 out of 5

Pithecanthropus Rejectus - Manly Wade Wellman

Congorilla getting too much like Congo Bill.


3.5 out of 5

El Sueno de la Razon - Chaz Brenchley

Off to be The Pretender.


4 out of 5

Mannikins Of Horror - Robert Bloch

Little clay monsters, brains and all.


3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Creature Comforts - Nancy Kilpatrick

Monster groupie.


3.5 out of 5

Better Dead - Basil Copper

That collector has to go.


3.5 out of 5

The Creator - R. Chetwynd-Hayes

Goathead dead grandpa radio monster.


4 out of 5

A New Life - Ramsey Campbell

Frankenstein experiment, not so good.


3.5 out of 5

Fat Tuesday - Ian McDonald

Annunciato loud show.


3.5 out of 5

Appetite For Murder - Simon R. Green

A detective finds out he shouldn't have teamed up with the superheroine Ms. Fate, with Nightside secrets involved.


3.5 out of 5

The Warrior - Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden has some holy warrior old friend issues.


3 out of 5

The Difference A Day Makes - Simon R. Green

John Taylor is hired by a woman, and they find out her husband is a little too fond of robots.


3.5 out of 5

Ravensoul - James Barclay

Never thought I'd see the Raven again, given what had happened to them, so this is pretty cool.

Jumping forward in time, the Unknown is now over 50, and running a bar in Xetesk, with his wife and kids, and Denser is head of the College of Magic. The former is apparently also a de facto king, or head mediate for everyone dude, if you like, despite lack of crown and the other attendant rubbish.

He is also having bad dreams about former teammates trying to contact him. His wife is not happy about him not letting go of his sword-swinging past, and worries he is going nuts. Dead people don't usually try and talk to you.

Neither do they knock on the door and say 'hi Unknown, I'm your dead barbarian mate resurrected in the body of this murdered merchant'.

When this happens, Diera is even more upset, but then Denser turns up and verifies that this isn't the only dead bloke back in town - and the shadows of their old selves creep everyone out, and seem to suggest they are the real deal.

Hirad's story, and others, is that something very bad, the Garonin, is coming to clean out the world of Balaia of mana, which they need to power a war in their own dimension. Which means they can travel dimensionally, and have been after the elves in the past, and the Khan dragons.

An unstoppable alien force that most of the dead Raven says the only choice is to run from, and The Raven never run. Here begins the disagreement and tale, as Denser and Sol have different plans as to how to deal with it : should I stay, or should I go now.

Barclay ratchets up the crazy as the boys and girls (and dragons) come out to play one last time.

You'd think all that sounds really cheesy, dragons, elves, swords, etc., but in Barclay's character style, which is not remotely faux medieval, as far as speech and action go, it just works.


4 out of 5

The Coming - Joe Haldeman

A university astronomer detects a signal from space that announces aliens will arrive for a New Year's party.

Trying to stop them = very bad, as them blowing a piece out of one of the moons of Mars, shows.

This diverts attention somewhat from the climate problems and the verging towards war state of Europe and the USA.

The story is told through a lot of vignettes from many, many different characters, as they wonder if it is real or not.


3 out of 5

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Thing Too Hideous To Describe - David J. Schow

Human monster parody.


3.5 out of 5

Jerry's Kids Meet Wormboy - David J. Schow

Keeping well fed.


4 out of 5

The Mammoth Book Of Monsters - Stephen Jones

After going through vampires, werewolves, frankenstein monsters, zombies, etc., apparently they thought a compendium of more esoteric beasties and baddies would be a good idea - but it does include examples of the former, as well.

At 3.43, a reasonable book, but a few weaker stories than in some of the other volumes I have read.

Mammoth Book Of Monsters : VISITATION - David J. Schow
Mammoth Book Of Monsters : DOWN THERE - Ramsey Campbell
Mammoth Book Of Monsters : THE MAN HE HAD BEEN BEFORE - Scott Edelman
Mammoth Book Of Monsters : CALLING ALL MONSTERS - Dennis Etchison
Mammoth Book Of Monsters : THE SHADMOCK - R. Chetwynd-Hayes
Mammoth Book Of Monsters : THE SPIDER KISS - Christopher Fowler
Mammoth Book Of Monsters : CAFÉ ENDLESS: SPRING RAIN - Nancy Holder
Mammoth Book Of Monsters : THE MEDUSA - Thomas Ligotti
Mammoth Book Of Monsters : IN THE POOR GIRL TAKEN BY SURPRISE - Gemma Files
Mammoth Book Of Monsters : DOWNMARKET - Sydney J. Bounds
Mammoth Book Of Monsters : THE HORROR FROM THE MOUND - Robert E. Howard
Mammoth Book Of Monsters : FAT MAN - Jay Lake
Mammoth Book Of Monsters : THE THIN PEOPLE - Brian Lumley
Mammoth Book Of Monsters : THE HILL - Tanith Lee
Mammoth Book Of Monsters : GODZILLA'S TWELVE STEP PROGRAMME - Joe R. Lansdale
Mammoth Book Of Monsters : .220 SWIFT - Karl Edward Wagner
Mammoth Book Of Monsters : OUR LADY OF THE SAUROPODS - Robert Silverberg
Mammoth Book Of Monsters : THE FLABBY MEN - Basil Copper
Mammoth Book Of Monsters : THE SILVERING - Robert Holdstock
Mammoth Book Of Monsters : SOMEONE ELSE'S PROBLEM - Michael Marshall Smith
Mammoth Book Of Monsters : RAWHEAD REX - Clive Barker
Mammoth Book Of Monsters : THE CHILL CLUTCH OF THE UNSEEN - Kim Newman

Paranormal overload ending.

4 out of 5


Rattypuffs.

3.5 out of 5


No hugging the undead, son.

4 out of 5


Doing the body part operation.

3 out of 5


Interesting staff guest.

3.5 out of 5


'You're telling me I have to go to my boss and warn him that insects' souls are coming back inside soulless people?'

3 out of 5


Japanese club sucker.

3 out of 5


Snakes alive, stone surprise.

3 out of 5


Wolfy handy.

3 out of 5


Chained for suckers.

3.5 out of 5


If an old priest tells you that the body in the tomb is an undead Spanish nobleman, and you happen to be a credulous cowboy, next time, believe him!

4 out of 5


Body Barrel Of Monkey men.

4 out of 5


The Man Who Didn't Fold Himself.

3.5 out of 5


Lizard meat puppets.

4 out of 5


Not quite there reptile.

2.5 out of 5


Hit man underground eating.

3.5 out of 5


Jurassic Parked messiah.

4.5 out of 5


Swallowed up attack.

3 out of 5


Selkie deep skin.

3.5 out of 5


Writing odd.

2.5 out of 5


Exhumed carnage.

3 out of 5


Monster graveyard invisible man kill.

3.5 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

The Chill Clutch Of the Unseen - Kim Newman

Monster graveyard invisible man kill.


3.5 out of 5

Someone Else's Problem - Michael Marshall Smith

Writing odd.


2.5 out of 5

The Silvering - Robert Holdstock

Selkie deep skin.


3.5 out of 5

The Flabby Men - Basil Copper

Swallowed up attack.


3 out of 5

.220 Swift - Karl Edward Wagner

Hit man underground eating.


3.5 out of 5

The Thin People - Brian Lumley

The Man Who Didn't Fold Himself.


3.5 out of 5

Fat Man - Jay Lake

Body Barrel Of Monkey men.


4 out of 5

Downmarket - Sydney J. Bounds

Chained for suckers.


3.5 out of 5

In The Poor Girl Taken By Surprise - Gemma Files

Wolfy handy.


3 out of 5

The Spider Kiss - Christopher Fowler

"You're telling me I have to go to my boss and warn him that insects' souls are coming back inside soulless people?"


3 out of 5

The Shadmock - R. Chetwynd-Hayes

Interesting staff guest.


3.5 out of 5

Monday, February 23, 2009

False Allegations - Andrew Vachss

Burke is contacted by a lawyer who specialises in debunking false claims of sexual abuse of children, or at least so it appears.

He wants Burke to ensure that the first case he takes on for the other side, proving abuse, is rock solid.

Burke contacts an old acquaintance or two, ex-DA Wolfe and Morales, a cop, to try and find out what the story is on this shadowy figure.


3.5 out of 5

To Prime the Pump - A. Bertram Chandler

Grimes is a Lieutenant on the Aries - a ship that is asked for assistance on a planet with a unique society. They are all long lived, but currently have some problems.

One of this is that they are unable to breed.

They do not expect the landing lake they asked cleared to contain a naked princess, either, or to find voodoo.


3 out of 5

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The God Engine - Ted Kosmatka

Mathematical series, descending.


4 out of 5

Bitterseed - Ted Kosmatka

Lost in the Maiza.


3.5 out of 5

Return Of the Sword - Jason M. Waltz

For a micropress book like this, I don't really expect a lot. However, the theme is certainly one I like, and would like to see more stories in that vein, so figured it was worth a go. Basically I figured this would average around the 3 mark, looking at the list of people in there - as in, no idea who most of them are apart from the odd Flashing Swords or Black Gate writer.

One professional level writer-E. E. Knight's contribution is an essay about writing stories, which is of not much interest to me.

Nathan Meyer is apparently one of the stable of writers turning out Mack Bolan adventures, etc., so he's no stranger to competent bloody carnage, certainly, at least of the machine gun and grenade variety, anyway.

So, as it turns out, with Enge, Meyer, Rhodes, Bryce, Durham and a pleasant surprise inclusion of Harold Lamb, who is definitely a good writer, and included a classic example of the style, if not of the fantasy, it comes out at 3.13. A little better than I thought.

The Rhodes story a nice surprise, too, an amusing Russian flavored sword and sorcery story, so certainly something a bit different there. Draper's last stand tale is a bit like a micro-Spartan 300 story.

You expect some of these people to not be up to the task, whether in prose, or plot, and that is certainly the case, and no surprise. Although you can tell the writers are at least interested, unlike in the case of some by the numbers theme anthology where people get asked for a story and producing some bland they don't care about.

However, overall, the book comes out as better than a 2.5, rather than more like the 2 I was expecting, and the editor's introductions for story and author are well-drawn, too.

Return Of the Sword : Altar of the Moon - Stacey Berg
Return Of the Sword : The Wyrd of War - Bill Ward
Return Of the Sword : The Last Scream of Carnage - Phil Emery
Return Of the Sword : The Battle of Raven Kill - Jeff Draper
Return Of the Sword : What Heroes Leave Behind - Nicholas Ian Hawkins
Return Of the Sword : Fatefist at Torkas Nahl - David Pitchford
Return Of the Sword : Deep in the Land of the Ice and Snow - Ty Johnston
Return Of the Sword : Mountain Scarab - Jeff Stewart
Return Of the Sword : Lair of the Cherufe - Angeline Hawkes
Return Of the Sword : To Be A Man - Robert Rhodes
Return Of the Sword : The Red Worm's Way - James Enge
Return Of the Sword : To Destroy All Flesh - Michael Ehart
Return Of the Sword : Guardian of Rage - Thomas M. MacKay
Return Of the Sword : Claimed by Birthright - Christopher Heath
Return Of the Sword : The Hand that Holds the Crown - Nathan Meyer
Return Of the Sword : The Dawn Tree - S.C. Bryce
Return Of the Sword : An Uneasy Truce in Ulam-Bator - Allen B. Lloyd and William Clunie
Return Of the Sword : The Mask Oath - Steve Goble
Return Of the Sword : Valley of Bones - Bruce Durham
Return Of the Sword : Red Hands - Harold Lamb


A heroine's not so ordinary sword is finally sheathed in blood.

3.5 out of 5


Much weaponry and slaughter by geas.

2.5 out of 5


Go ahead and eat me if you dare, you bastards.

3 out of 5


One mace, one club, one shield, one bridge to hold. A whole bunch of enemies in a line.

3.5 out of 5


An elderly warrior makes a final foray.

3 out of 5


Another bad sword.

2.5 out of 5


Chieftain tradition (no zeppelins, either, Led or otherwise).

2.5 out of 5


Pay attention to the fighting, not the women.

3 out of 5


One manticore, one princess, one duel, one volcano.

3 out of 5


Titania's balls.

4 out of 5


Sneaky witch necronose biters.

4 out of 5


Freedom or eaten.

3 out of 5


One little girl, too many tentacles.

2.5 out of 5


Swordsman vs sorcerer, arena style.

3 out of 5


Jousting to the river, whore to queen.

3.5 out of 5


Elemental problems for Dermanassian.

3 out of 5


Given the boot by mum, which nothing but some thievings.

3 out of 5


Faceless Son demon smash bash.

3 out of 5


Muskteers and pikes, vs skeletons, archers and sorcerers.

3.5 out of 5


Piglicking pirates, dogbrother!

3.5 out of 5




2.5 out of 5

Red Hands - Harold Lamb

Piglicking pirates, dogbrother!


3.5 out of 5

Valley Of Bones - Bruce Durham

Mukesteers and pikes, vs skeletons, archers and sorcerers.


3.5 out of 5

The Mask Oath - Steve Goble

Faceless Son demon smash bash.


3 out of 5

An Uneasy Truce In Ulam-bator - William Clunie and Allen B. Lloyd

Given the boot by mum, which nothing but some thievings.


3 out of 5

The Dawn Tree - S. C. Bryce

Elemental problems for Dermanassian.


3 out of 5

The Hand That Holds the Crown - Nathan Meyer

Jousting to the river, whore to queen.


3.5 out of 5

Claimed By Birthright - Christopher Heath

Swordsman vs sorcerer, arena style.


3 out of 5

Guardian Of Rage - Thomas M. Mackay

One little girl, too many tentacles.


2.5 out of 5

Saturday, February 21, 2009

To Destroy All Flesh - Michael Ehart

Freedom or eaten.


3 out of 5

To Be A Man - Robert Rhodes

Titania's balls.


4 out of 5

Lair Of the Cherufe - Angeline Hawkes

One manticore, one princess, one duel, one volcano.


3 out of 5

Mountain Scarab - Jeff Stewart

Pay attention to the fighting, not the women.


3 out of 5

Deep In the Land Of Ice and Snow - Ty Johnston

Chieftain tradition (no zeppelins, either, Led or otherwise).


2.5 out of 5

Fatefist At Torkas Nahl - David Pitchford

Another bad sword.


2.5 out of 5

Another Round At the Spaceport Bar - George H. Scithers and Darrell Schweitzer

The second of these Spaceport Bar anthologies, not quite as good as the first at 3.25, but close. Does the job with the selection, that aren't all lighthearted and funny to provide changes of pace. Science fiction and fantasy here, some of these bars certainly don't exist in universes with spaceports.

Another Round at the Spaceport Bar : The Far King - Richard Wilson
Another Round at the Spaceport Bar : The Altar at Midnight - C. M. Kornbluth
Another Round at the Spaceport Bar : Princess - Morgan Llywelyn
Another Round at the Spaceport Bar : The Subject Is Closed - Larry Niven
Another Round at the Spaceport Bar : The Persecutor's Tale - John M. Ford
Another Round at the Spaceport Bar : Longshot - Jack C. Haldeman
Another Round at the Spaceport Bar : Finnegan's - W. T. Quick
Another Round at the Spaceport Bar : The Oldest Soldier - Fritz Leiber
Another Round at the Spaceport Bar : The Ultimate Crime - Isaac Asimov
Another Round at the Spaceport Bar : All You Zombies - Robert A. Heinlein
Another Round at the Spaceport Bar : The Immortal Bard - Isaac Asimov
Another Round at the Spaceport Bar : Anyone Here from Utah? - Michael Swanwick
Another Round at the Spaceport Bar : Cold Victory - Poul Anderson
Another Round at the Spaceport Bar : C.O.D. - Jonathan Milos
Another Round at the Spaceport Bar : Pennies from Hell - Darrell Schweitzer
Another Round at the Spaceport Bar : Not Polluted Enough - George H. Scithers
Another Round at the Spaceport Bar : Well Bottled at Slab's - John Gregory Betancourt
Another Round at the Spaceport Bar : The Three Sailors' Gambit - Lord Dunsany

Boot Kin.

2 out of 5


Spacer explanations.

3.5 out of 5


Seven Barflies.

3 out of 5


God talk.

3.5 out of 5


Double serpent ring search.

3.5 out of 5


Always read the fine print when punting, especially of you can win huge old lovestruck alien animals.

3 out of 5


Computerised bartender.

3.5 out of 5


Black dog war.

3.5 out of 5


Moriarty, world wrecker.

3.5 out of 5


Self-seduction time.

4 out of 5


Famous people enrolment.

2.5 out of 5


Tv conspiracy.

3 out of 5


A spot of interplanetary conflict.

3.5 out of 5


Good, trade, maybe.

3 out of 5


Devil cashes on, then in.

3 out of 5


DDT NT 2 TASTE for bug people.

3.5 out of 5


Wizard final vintage, not ghost.

3.5 out of 5


Crystal guide a devil.

3.5 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Well Bottled At Slab's - John Gregory Betancourt

Wizard final vintage, not ghost.


3.5 out of 5

Not Polluted Enough - George H. Scithers

DDT NT 2 TASTE for bug people.


3.5 out of 5

Pennies From Hell - Darrell Schweitzer

Devil cashes on, then in.


3 out of 5

C.O.D. - Jonathan Milos

Good, trade, maybe.


3 out of 5

The Ultimate Crime - Isaac Asimov

Moriarty, world wrecker.


3.5 out of 5

What Heroes Leave Behind - Ian Nicholas Hawkins

An elderly warrior makes a final foray.


3 out of 5

The Battle Of Raven Kill - Jeff Draper

One mace, one club, one shield, one bridge to hold. A whole bunch of enemies in a line.


3.5 out of 5

The Last Scream Of Carnage - Phil Emery

Go ahead and eat me if you dare, you bastards.


3 out of 5

The Wyrd Of War - Bill Ward

Much weaponry and slaughter by geas.


2.5 out of 5

Altar Of the Moon - Stacey Berg

A heroine's not so ordinary sword is finally sheathed in blood.


3.5 out of 5

Dark Hollow - Brian Keene

The Great God Hylinus.

Not Pan, but still a great and powerful satyr.

A good old fashioned modern horror novel, with the unsuspecting blokes in one street of a rural Pennsylvania town suddenly having supernatural evil coming in and stealing their women.

Apparently this area has a homebrewed tradition of magic called 'powwow'.

One practitioner in the past called up something he shouldn't have, and now it is back.

The only people around to help are a dog that is scared of squirrels, and a non-believing detective. Not much to go on versus an evil forest and a giant satyr.


3.5 out of 5

Friday, February 20, 2009

Lost Pages - Paul Di Filippo

An alternate history collection of the science fictional literary kind, often, or even combined in some of them. These are set in the decades from the 1920s to the 1960s.

Lost Pages : The Jackdaw's Last Case - Paul Di Filippo
Lost Pages : Anne - Paul Di Filippo
Lost Pages : The Happy Valley at the End of the World - Paul Di Filippo
Lost Pages : Mairzy Doats - Paul Di Filippo
Lost Pages : Campbell's World - Paul Di Filippo
Lost Pages : Instability - Paul Di Filippo and Rudy Rucker
Lost Pages : World Wars III - Paul Di Filippo
Lost Pages : Linda and Phil - Paul Di Filippo
Lost Pages : Alice Alfie Ted and the Aliens - Paul Di Filippo

Kafka finds his supervillain.

3.5 out of 5


Frankly acting.

3 out of 5


No flying around saving civilisation here.

3.5 out of 5


Moon mission for president Heinlein.

3 out of 5


Joseph, Astounding.

3 out of 5


Atomic clubbing.

3.5 out of 5


Presley Time War Beatles.

3 out of 5


Dick duck daughter.

3.5 out of 5


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

4 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

World Wars III - Paul Di Filippo

Presley Time War Beatles.


3 out of 5

Linda and Phil - Paul Di Filippo

Dick duck daughter.


3.5 out of 5

Instability - Paul Di Filippo and Rudy Rucker

Atomic clubbing.


3.5 out of 5

Campbell's World - Paul Di Filippo

Joseph, Astounding.


3 out of 5

Mairzy Doats - Paul Di Filippo

Moon mission for president Heinlein.


3 out of 5

The Happy Valley At the End Of the World - Paul Di Filippo

No flying around saving civilisation here.


3.5 out of 5

Anne - Paul Di Filippo

Frankly acting.


3 out of 5

The Band Of Fear - Clifford Goodrich

Madman Mulay mayhem.


3 out of 5

Ribofunk - Paul Di Filippo

A collection that is right smack on the 3.50 knocker. A good bunch of bio-infused cyberpunk definitely gone over into the whacky madcap over the top flavour as opposed to the mean streets end, even if some of the streets here are definitely mean. Along with the rabbits, cats and Disney animations.

Ribofunk : One Night in Television City - Paul Di Filippo
Ribofunk : Little Worker - Paul Di Filippo
Ribofunk : Cockfight - Paul Di Filippo
Ribofunk : Big Eater - Paul Di Filippo
Ribofunk : The Boot - Paul Di Filippo
Ribofunk : Blankie - Paul Di Filippo
Ribofunk : The Bad Splice - Paul Di Filippo
Ribofunk : McGregor - Paul Di Filippo
Ribofunk : Brain Wars - Paul Di Filippo
Ribofunk : Streetlife - Paul Di Filippo
Ribofunk : Afterschool Special - Paul Di Filippo
Ribofunk : Up the Lazy River - Paul Di Filippo
Ribofunk : Distributed Mind - Paul Di Filippo

Body artist trip.

3.5 out of 5


Sex duty lockin.

3 out of 5


Slikslak Brazz match.

3.5 out of 5


Cow Roach win, cadet.

4 out of 5


Looking for The Vat Rats.

3.5 out of 5


Child minder's overly close attention gives spiteful big baby up.

4 out of 5


Krazy Kat renegade.

3.5 out of 5


Bad bunny.

3 out of 5


Host Mother communication updates.

3 out of 5


Soft Sector run.

3.5 out of 5


I want a spike.

3 out of 5


And into self replicating A-life out of the isotropic soup.

3.5 out of 5


Greenlaw Urb.

3.5 out of 5




4 out of 5

Up the Lazy River - Paul Di Filippo

And into self replicating A-life out of the isotropic soup.


3.5 out of 5

Distributed Mind - Paul Di Filippo

Greenlaw Urb.


3.5 out of 5

Afterschool Special - Paul Di Filippo

I want a spike.


3 out of 5

Brain Wars - Paul Di Filippo

Host Mother communication updates.


3 out of 5

Streetlife - Paul Di Filippo

Soft Sector run.


3.5 out of 5

McGregor - Paul Di Filippo

Bad bunny.


3 out of 5

The Bad Splice - Paul Di Filippo

Krazy Kat renegade.


3.5 out of 5

The Boot - Paul Di Filippo

Looking for The Vat Rats.


3.5 out of 5

Big Eater - Paul Di Filippo

Cow Roach win, cadet.


4 out of 5

Cockfight - Paul Di Filippo

Slikslak Brazz match.


3.5 out of 5

One Night In Television City - Paul Di Filippo

Body artist trip.


3.5 out of 5

Calling All Monsters - Dennis Etchison

Doing the body part operation.


3 out of 5

The Man He Had Been Before - Scott Edelman

No hugging the undead, son.


4 out of 5

Visitation - David J. Schow

Paranormal overload ending.


4 out of 5

Blood and Honor - Simon R. Green

Second rate Blue Moon Rising.


Apart from the two very major problems for a novel in this milieu i.e. 1) No Hawk and 2) No Fisher, this isn't as interesting, or as funny as that book, either.

A bloke is hired to impersonate a prince, and ends up way over his head in the world of deadly courtly politics and king killing.

Plenty of supernatural 'Unreal' menace to fight as well, to make things even trickier. Add one highly competent stalwart woman, and he has a bit of a chance.


2.5 out of 5

Blue Moon Rising - Simon R. Green

Rupert is a later son, and so as far as princes go, not overly useful. So, he gets sent to kill a dragon, given his superfluousness. However, stupid he isn't, but virgin, yes, so a talking unicorn makes a useful friend, as does having enough brains to talk the dragon.

The unicorn is rather sarky, too, and, of course, there is a princess destined for his brother in an arranged marriage.

In admist all the lighthearted quips, however, there is a demon invasion to deal with, and traitorous politics to try and survive. Luckily both prince and princess know what end of the pointy thing to use, and are quite good at it - along with a couple of archetypal friends. Bit of an odd mix, this one.


3.5 out of 5

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Spheres Of Heaven - Charles Sheffield

The other aliens humans know about do ok for themselves - until they run into a situation that may require good old monkeyboy willingness to indulge in violence.

New aliens and technology, and the disappearance of previous investigating ships has them wanting to put together a human team to look into it.

They'll give the humans nice presents and freedoms if they agree to make the guy Chan Dalton.

He has to frantically put together an eclectic and esoteric bunch of his own, and keep on top of what he is up to, what the cover human investigation is up to, what the aliens are up to, and what the new incursion might mean.


3 out of 5

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Purple Tornado - Robert Sidney Bowen

""The Blacks!" he shouted. "The Blacks are
going to attack at Buffalo. It's a trick--a trick! For
God's sake stop the general movement north. I
tell you, you'll be swamped!""

Black planes being the bad guys, of course, that Dusty Ayres and his Battle Birds will have to Desperately Dogfight to save the day.

Apparently, the USA would miss not having Buffalo anymore.

As for the purple bit?

"As he watched, the color deepened to a dirty
purple and a great billowing curtain of the stuff
rose straight up from the cloud layer. Higher and
higher it rose until its pluming crest was lost in the
sub-stratosphere regions.
"By God, that's a gas curtain!""



2.5 out of 5

Night Shade Books January 2009 - Jeremy Lassen

http://www.webscription.net/p-1003-ns200901-january-2009-night-shade-books.aspx

The third montly Night Shade Bundle is an excellent one, coming out at a high 3.80 average. The fourth Inspector Chen novel you can actually only get here so far, which is pleasant surprise seeing they have included the others in a previous bundle.

Two Glen Cook science fiction novels this time (we hope for more), and two collections, including the outstanding horror collection by Laird Barron.

The Shadow Pavilion - Liz Williams
Passage At Arms - Glen Cook
The Dragon Never Sleeps - Glen Cook
The Gist Hunter - Matthew Hughes
The Imago Sequence - Laird Barron

In the aftermath of the Heaven vs Hell embroglio the economy of Hell is suffering. So heading for Earth looks attractive to some of them, and taking from Earth looks attractive to others.

When Zhu and badger can't be found while looking into it--and again characters other than Chen feature quite a bit in more of this inventive story--then he has to get involved.

Throw in a supernatural dualistic killer and a realm that is sort of limbo, to introduce further complications into his life, and that of his demon wife. A little different tone to this one, not necessarily as amusing parts.

3.5 out of 5


An intensely claustrophobic novel of the spaceship as submarine.

No water here, though, just space, or even hyperspace.

The Climber is a particular ship limited in operation by size (and hence space), and fills a particular role.

The missions also have a low survivability rate - so attract people that want a shot at quick promotions, it seems.

This particular outing just goes on and on and on as the briliant commander desperately tries to hold together the crew and husband his resources in material and supplies to the exhaustion point.

Told from the point of view of a crewmember though, not the Captain vs XO screaming mutiny matches you often find elsewhere.

A book not about space battles as much as the hanging around and waiting and desperate action as cat and mouse stealth, sneakery and missile launching goes on.

4 out of 5


Certainly a little odd to read Dragon Never Sleeps after reading the other Glen Cook book in the same Night Shade bundle, Passage At Arms. The latter has 11 tense, long chapter. The former, a longer book, has 151! Obviously a lot of these are very short. I think that is record for the most I have seen.

Strange, large, powerful Guardships patrol Canon space, trying to keep the balance with their odd and longlived crews.

There are those who are not happy about this and seek to oppose them.

Certainly somewhat different, for this author.

3 out of 5


A solid collection of fantasy and sf, or fantastic sf, or science fantasy in the main, however you decide to classify a lot of the stories. Particularly the odd investigator series characters in a style reminiscent of Vance. Not one of my favorite writers, Vance, so Hughes is not likely to be, either, but this is all pretty decent stuff. If you like the Lord Darcy sort of story you may also find this worth a short. There are certainly a couple of high quality stories in this volume from the Night Shade Books January webscription.

There are a few different and unrelated pieces at the end, of various genres.

Gist Hunter : Mastermindless - Matthew Hughes
Gist Hunter : Relics of the Thim - Matthew Hughes
Gist Hunter : Falberoth's Ruin - Matthew Hughes
Gist Hunter : Finding Sajessarian - Matthew Hughes
Gist Hunter : The Gist Hunter - Matthew Hughes
Gist Hunter : Thwarting Jabbi Gloond - Matthew Hughes
Gist Hunter : A Little Learning - Matthew Hughes
Gist Hunter : Inner Huff - Matthew Hughes
Gist Hunter : Help Wonted - Matthew Hughes
Gist Hunter : Shadow Man - Matthew Hughes
Gist Hunter : The Devil You Don't - Matthew Hughes
Gist Hunter : Go Tell the Phoenicians - Matthew Hughes
Gist Hunter : Bearing Up - Matthew Hughes

Ugly, dumb, financial peril.

3.5 out of 5


Interplanetary membrance da bomb.

3.5 out of 5


"Speaking them in your continuum would nullify two of the fundamental forces that allow matter and energy to tolerate each other's presence and interact without prejudice. Your universe would instantly become an enormous quantity of soup—and not very tasty soup, at that."

3.5 out of 5


Find me dodgy.

3.5 out of 5


Discriminating integration opposition intercession accomodation.

4 out of 5


Locked room discriminator.

3 out of 5


Bears, nooses, ok. Angels with Flaming Swords? That is going a bit far.

4 out of 5


Siren song nymph piggy chase.

3 out of 5


Common role play.

3.5 out of 5


Fan drag.

3 out of 5


The old kill Hitler time travel possibility.

3 out of 5


No talk mystery.

3.5 out of 5


There's one in there, I tell you.

3 out of 5

3.5 out of 5


A really excellent collection at 3.89. At various times I have been an horror fan, but had sort of drifted away in general, until I kept seeing Laird Barron mentioned. Ellen Datlow in particular, and she also put some of his stories online at SciFiction. So a slight bonus because he was good enough to get me interested again, and believing there was something recent and really good that went past Stephen King.

The couple of Barron's stories I have read that have come out post this volume also keep to this high standard: 'The Lagerstatte' a 3.5, and 'The Forest' an excellent 4.5.

An extremely fine selection of horror, with only 'The Royal Zoo Is Closed' as the only average and different stories from this run of hardboiled mythos to hearts of darkness and Hong Kong horribilis full of broken, desperate men and the monsters that haunt them.

The novella Hallucigenia is brilliant, and a turning point story for me, for sure.

A really great surprise to find this in a Night Shade webscription bundle, as I am not someone that buys hardbacks (an ugly thing to do, if Australian), and the paperback is still to come. I'll get that too, though.

Great work.

Imago Sequence : OLD VIRGINIA - Laird Barron
Imago Sequence : SHIVA OPEN YOUR EYE - Laird Barron
Imago Sequence : PROCESSION OF THE BLACK SLOTH - Laird Barron
Imago Sequence : BULLDOZER - Laird Barron
Imago Sequence : PROBOSCIS - Laird Barron
Imago Sequence : HALLUCIGENIA - Laird Barron
Imago Sequence : PARALLAX - Laird Barron
Imago Sequence : THE ROYAL ZOO IS CLOSED - Laird Barron
Imago Sequence : THE IMAGO SEQUENCE - Laird Barron

Mother of a remote viewing experiment squad.

4 out of 5


Missing hitchhiker investigation Old One ocean return.

4 out of 5


Hong Kong spying auntie horror.

4 out of 5


Pinkerton man vs superhuman cancer cannibal.

3.5 out of 5


Bounty hunter mound terror.

4 out of 5


Things that are definitely not better than a kick in the head by an equine?

Being taken over by entities from the Outer Dark.

5 out of 5


Disappearance discovery.

3.5 out of 5


The Sweeney reality.

3 out of 5


Awful art lust trephination escape cave meld.

4 out of 5

5 out of 5






4.5 out of 5

Night Shade Books December 2008 - Jeremy Lassen

http://www.webscription.net/p-970-ns200812-december-night-shade-books.aspx

An anthology or omnibus (or both) depending on how you look at it, and a very varied group of books it is. Two heroic fantasy novels in one (that is an omnibus), a super powered super agent space opera, a New Weird fantasy, a hard sf tour, a zombie anthology, a post apocalyptic anthology (one of the best anthologies I have ever seen), an Arabian flavored fantasy and a sff short story collection.

I'll call it an anthology to credit Mr. Lassen in this case for giving us such great stuff in this Webscriptions bundle.

A Fortress in Shadow - Glen Cook
Shadow of the Scorpion - Neal Asher
Trial of Flowers - Jay Lake
Incandescence - Greg Egan
The Living Dead - John Joseph Adams
Wastelands - John Joseph Adams
The Princes of the Golden Cage - Nathalie Mallet
Moon Flights - Elizabeth Moon

A Fortress In Shadow is an omnibus edition of The Dread Empire prequel duology, detailing the origins and coming together (whether as friends or enemies) of many of the important characters in the main trilogy.

This Night Shade webscription is a great deal, for a 2-in-1.

The Fire In His Hands

A Dread Empire prequel.

Here we see the story of the death of Bragi's father, how he sets out from home and joins the mlitary with his compatriots.

Also the start of the rise of El Murid, the story of Haroun, and also of the Mocker.

Lots of early adventures or backstory, depending on how you want to look at it.


With Mercy Towards None

The second Dread Empire prequel follows the events surrounding El Murid's rise to enough power to be a military threat to the Western nations.

Along with Ragnarson and friends, there is Ragnarson and Haroun, and also the Mocker and Haroun at various stages, as some of Bragi's military training gets put to the serious test.


3.5 out of 5


4.5 out of 5



Early Cormac.

This alternates between small parts of Cormac's life as a young boy with his mother - his father being involved in the war against the Prador - and as an early ECS recruit. The latter situation finds him having more trouble with the Polity than with alien crabpeople, however, and he gains rapid experience, showing promise.

He also finds out he is missing memories from his childhood, and an enigmatic Scorpion shaped war drone (hence the title) is involved in the situation.

Apart from Cormac, you learn a little more about Spatterjay as part of the background, along with his family.

3.5 out of 5



Jason and the Boxodwarfs.

or

Dunnyman delving Imago shortening sequence sacrifice.

In a rather strange city - one that is definitely of the New Weird variety, three men form a strange alliance of sorts because they can see very bad things are likely to happen in the future. Old Gods coming back, apparently not good at all.

These three are a dwarf, a business type, and a not-at-the-moment layabout lawyer.

Some old political legislation is used to challenge the status quo, as well as the leverage of an invading army that would like to do away with them.

Cults, gangs, cameleopards, blind child monsters, devil dogs, guns, gamblers and more.

Definitely not one for the squeamish. The dwarves here are formed in the Japanese torture-and-bonsai variety, not the born under mountains and hang out with hobbits type.

4 out of 5


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



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



Wastelands is pretty close to the perfect anthology, making just a touch over the magic 4.00 story average.

For an authoritative (the editor does say he is now an expert) look at the sub-genre, it is a bit light on for analytical non-fiction. For readers, less space taken thanking your mates, more time writing about the work would be appreciated, I think.

There is a fairly lengthy bibliography of various written works in and around this particular sub-genre at the back of the book. What is lacking here is one for short fiction, which is a bit odd, for an anthology. There is a good website for the book mentioned here, too, and it is useful, actually lists the contents and authors and other information like reviews. If there wasn't space in the book, then the website would be a natural for this sort of list. Minor issues, but you can't be perfect without 'em.

That said, the more important part is the fiction. This is an extremely strong selection, with a five star story by Doctorow, and several 4.5s to be found. Having many stories of this calibre in one book is not common at all. The pick of the rest include Bacigalupi, Martin, Wells, Barrett and Langan.

Overall this anthology is a great effort.

Wastelands : The End of the Whole Mess - Stephen King
Wastelands : Salvage - Orson Scott Card
Wastelands : The People of Sand and Slag - Paolo Bacigalupi
Wastelands : Bread and Bombs - M. Rickert
Wastelands : How We Got In Town and Out Again - Jonathan Lethem
Wastelands : Dark Dark Were the Tunnels - George R. R. Martin
Wastelands : Waiting for the Zephyr - Tobias S. Buckell
Wastelands : Never Despair - Jack McDevitt
Wastelands : When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth - Cory Doctorow
Wastelands : The Last of the O-Forms - James Van Pelt
Wastelands : Still Life With Apocalypse - Richard Kadrey
Wastelands : Artie's Angels - Catherine Wells
Wastelands : Judgment Passed - Jerry Oltion
Wastelands : Mute - Gene Wolfe
Wastelands : Inertia - Nancy Kress
Wastelands : And the Deep Blue Sea - Elizabeth Bear
Wastelands : Speech Sounds - Octavia E. Butler
Wastelands : Killers - Carol Emshwiller
Wastelands : Ginny Sweethips’ Flying Circus - Neal BarrettJr
Wastelands : The End of the World as We Know It - Dale Bailey
Wastelands : A Song Before Sunset - David Grigg
Wastelands : Episode Seven Last Stand Against the Pack in the Kingdom of Purple Flowers by John Langan


Calm mind lost.

4 out of 5


Gold
Always believe in your soul
Youve got the power to know

3.5 out of 5


Immortal ruined future's lack of taste for pets.

4.5 out of 5


Bad snow and strange candy.

3 out of 5


Scapeathon.

3 out of 5


Only a rat.
Pretty big, though.

4.5 out of 5


Late ship stress.

3.5 out of 5


Holo advice from Churchill.

4 out of 5


Biowar makes geekfu and gruntwork a necessary combination afterwards.

5 out of 5


Mutoid zoo show minigirl metamorphosis.

4 out of 5


Author has done it himself :

"Apocalypse is the last gasp of bureaucracy."

4 out of 5


Bike lord's legend.

4.5 out of 5


Mushroom message to heaven's afterlife lockout anecdote answer.

4 out of 5


Tv total dead zone.

3.5 out of 5


Quarantine lack of collapse restraint.

4.5 out of 5


A post-apocalyptic motorbike courier, really, really should have read Ghost Rider in her younger days.

4 out of 5


Literacy despair youth hope glimmer.

4.5 out of 5


He dumped me, but he's still pretty tasty.

3.5 out of 5


Sextape speedup shootout repair hookup.

4.5 out of 5


No Triffids, Kraken, Cuckoos or Lichen.

4 out of 5


I said sing, Piano Man, not strangle.

4 out of 5


Batboy postapocalyptic pregnant prey girl's only chance.

4.5 out of 5


5 out of 5


A fantasy with an Arabian setting, and a pretty simple and average one at that, but points for giving that a go.

A palace, a large harem, a lot of Princes, and all stuck inside. So, lots of plottings and political or literal knifings are possibilities in this sort of claustrophobic environment.

That level of nasty is mostly ignored for a more sanitised romantic scenario - prince, princess, demon, dodgy vizier, etc.

3 out of 5


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

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

Overall, a bit better than a 3.

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

Alien trailer trash.

3.5 out of 5


Paladin offcuts.

3.5 out of 5


Screwed up landing equals dead marines.

3.5 out of 5


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

3.5 out of 5


Engineering genetics.

3 out of 5


Suitable local music.

4 out of 5


Gut wrenching solution.

3 out of 5


Music injury demonstration.

2.5 out of 5


Chain of command blame.

3 out of 5


Rockleberries.

2.5 out of 5


Backtime primitive understimation.

3.5 out of 5


Beauty queen piracy.

4 out of 5


Parade problems.

3 out of 5


Literally you know what it says space opera.

3.5 out of 5


3 out of 5





4.5 out of 5

Night Shade Books Halloween 2008 - Jeremy Lassen

http://www.webscription.net/p-939-night-shade-halloween-2008-bundle.aspx

An eight book omnibus (ten noting that the Glen Cook is a three book omnibus) anthology of eclectic material, from transported to another world military fantasy, through Singaporean urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and wild singularity SF. Comes out at a 3.44 book average, so a fine deal.

After the Downfall
Implied Spaces
Ice, Iron and Gold
A Cruel Wind
Snake Agent
The Demon and the City
Precious Dragon


A Wehrmacht officer is transported to another world by a magical object, and lands in the middle of another conflict.

I am not a Turtledove fan or reader, by apparently this would still seem to be his sort of thing - as here you get military historical style fiction, but here with magic, as opposed to aliens, time travel, or a different civil war winner.

The German officer in question does have knowledge of technology more advanced than the usual sort of fantasy setting weaponry that he now finds himself in.

Here, however, he sees conflict (and prison) etc. from both sides, causing him to question his attitude on issues like women, Jews being subhuman as per propaganda, etc.

Which side of this conflict in this world does he want to end up on?

Not really my sort of book in general, I'd call it a 3.25.

3 out of 5


A Cruel Wind is an omnibus edition of The Dream Empire trilogy, detailing the growing conflict between East and West in this particular secondary world - but focusing more on characters in the latter. Armies clash, wizards plot, assassins and monsters abound, along with other strangeness. Very consistent in quality.

This Night Shade webscription is a fantastic deal, for a 3-in-1.

A Shadow Of All Night Falling

The first Dream Empire books focuses heavily on Nepanthe and The Mocker - or whatever he wanted to call himself at the time - and their relationship.

Also the wizard Varthlokkur and his desire for the same woman.

One odd trickster-thief character, one noble, one wizard. Then the conflict that swirls around them with figures like Haroun and Ragnarson and others being introduced - and the strange, like the Star Rider.

It culminates in a different sort of bloody ending.

3.5 out of 5


October's Baby

A higher level story than the first book, if you like, as Ragnarson and friends go from low level positions to being influential leaders in major military and political roles.

Details the conflict between those opposed to, and with elements of the Dread Empire - which has its own pair of antagonistic leaders pulling it in two directions.

3.5 out of 5


All Darkness Met

Ragnarson and friends are older - and this novel starts with him finally tracking down the Mocker, and inviting him to the annual celebration, because he has a job for him.

Tensions exist in local and international politics amongst the allies.

Then there's the Dread Empire.

When assassins come calling for Ragnarson's family, he decides to act, and these actions lead to lots and lots of war, including the biggest battle they have seen.

Wizards lob powers and monsters at each other, armies slaughter each other, and not sure if anyone knows what the Star Rider is actually up to.

The best of this Dread Empire trilogy.

3.5 out of 5




4.5 out of 5


From the PR fluff 'Through themes of duty, honor, and fortitude under fire, S. M. Stirling presents thirteen stories of military men and women pushed to the point where myth and technology collide. Showcasing Stirling's trademark military action, jargon-heavy dialogue, and conflict-driven storytelling, these thrilling tales of alternate histories, apocalyptic futures, and hard-driving military Science Fiction'.

That is pretty much as advertised. There are some Bolo stories a la Laumer, but not sure if any of the others are related to series, in particular. Although that being said, there are a few fantasy stories, too.

The stories span around 20 years it seems, and the earlier stories are mostly earlier in the book - and some of these are rather poorly written. He does improve later on it would appear, after plenty of practice. Roachstompers is apparently from 1989, being one of the offenders.

A little more variety in the second half of the book, too, beyond gruff sergeant types swearing a lot to themselves, those around them, and yelling orders, etc.

A 3.00 average only, here.

Ice Iron and Gold : Riding Shotgun to Armageddon - S. M. Stirling
Ice Iron and Gold : Three Walls-32nd Campaign - S. M. Stirling
Ice Iron and Gold : Cops and Robbers - S. M. Stirling
Ice Iron and Gold : Roachstompers - S. M. Stirling
Ice Iron and Gold : Constant Never - S. M. Stirling
Ice Iron and Gold : Taking Freedom - S. M. Stirling
Ice Iron and Gold : Lost Legion - S. M. Stirling
Ice Iron and Gold : Ancestral Voices - S. M. Stirling
Ice Iron and Gold : The Sixth Sun - S. M. Stirling
Ice Iron and Gold : The Apotheosis of Martin Padway - S. M. Stirling
Ice Iron and Gold : Compadres - S. M. Stirling
Ice Iron and Gold : The Charge of Lee's Brigade - S. M. Stirling
Ice Iron and Gold : Something for Yew - S. M. Stirling
Ice Iron and Gold : The Mage the Maiden and the Hag - S. M. Stirling

Guns of Pharaohdom.

3 out of 5


Wogs out of earthworks.

2.5 out of 5


Shooting Southern gear.

3 out of 5


Border zap.

3 out of 5


Wurm curse circle broken.

3 out of 5


Lady hawk travesty.

2.5 out of 5


Tank talk.

3 out of 5


Crap town. Big tank.

3 out of 5


Not railgunned out.

3 out of 5


Sathanas can have it.

3 out of 5


Viva el presidente. Could use Vyv about now.

3 out of 5


'By God, sir, I think I've been killed'

3.5 out of 5


Knives in the dark, bows, billhooks, whatever.

3.5 out of 5


Sorceress stuff not all dead.

3 out of 5



2 out of 5


Detective Inspector Chen has the dubious honour of being the cop that gets to deal with the supernatural problems in this near future alternate fantastic Singapore. Here he gets to investigate why a girl that presumably was Heaven bound ends up on the Hell-bound train instead.

This is Chinese mythology done in contemporary style, and Hell has actual political Ministries plotting against each other. Chen (not a stranger to Hell or demons in general, having a demon wife) has to team up with a demon partner to investigate dodginess in the nether realm.

3.5 out of 5


The second Detective Inspector Chen book sort of isn't. He doesn't turn up until significantly far into the novel. Most of the investigating here is done by his demon parter Zhu, at least until he gets back and the pace hots up - and it is reasonably sedate until then.

Along with that, a woman gets involved with an illegal advanced research project involved with experimenting in a supernatural power.

Then there's disagreement in Heaven on top of that.

3.5 out of 5


Ministry Of War is Hell. Especially if the Dragon King gets you.

I didn't like the third Detective Inspector Chen book as much as the first couple. I found the whole Precious Dragon thread fairly tedious, and the whole Dragon thing in general not that interesting.

The prospect of what Chen and partners have to get up to in basically saving the world, however, is entertaining. Although revelations and relationships he is suddenly in the middle of so that everyone is suddenly married, related, or soon to be to the various bosses of Hell and Heaven is perhaps a little hard to take.

3 out of 5


There once was a time when if a book said Walter Jon Williams, I would get it, as long as I knew about it and could find it. Some I still have not. I detested Days Of Atonement, however, and though the Dread Empire's Fall book I tried was very average - the same for the short stories related to this series.

A highly eclectic writer, with that much variety an older me now realises that it is extremely unlikely that you will like everything written by a man with such range.

Now we come to Implied Spaces, thanks to Night Shade and Webscriptions, and a great deal bundle.

It would appear that Mr. Williams has set out to again write an uber-science fictional novel. This is in general never a bad thing, to me, at least. If I had to compare this to any of his other work I had read, I would suggest a little of Aristoi, some of Knight Moves, perhaps.

It starts simply, with a man on a research quest encountering bandits, and after a battle involving trolls and black priests (where you could perhaps think you were reading a fantasy book) escalates from there.

The 'Implied Spaces' in the title the protagonists explains as being not necessarily foreseen patterns made when you build something - in this case using an architectural example of a certain type of arch, and what you could see underneath when you look at it. That is pretty mundane compared to this, however, when said Pablo is doing the same thing, but for pocket universes!

There are multiple homages through this book, however, even if you recognise none of them, your enjoyment should not be altered. Or even if you only recognise 'Asimovian protocols' because you know who Asimov is. If you do, however, this should entertain you. Possibly 'Implied Spaces' has a double meaning, in that Williams has maybe inserted this novel into such a spot in the science fiction universe, given the homages and maybe even mashups present within.

There's talking cats, magic in the any sufficiently advanced technology sense swords, immense matrioshka array AI, multi bodies, reincarnation, zombies, and weaponry and conflict that would certainly make Doc Smith and Edmond Hamilton pretty happy.

It is also creepy at times in who Pablo is fighting, what he does to them, and how he (and his allies) go about it. For example, The AIs, with their amazing resources are far in advance of the humans, and do lots of the work for them. However, they have built in limiters that make them do so. Slaves of a sort, in fact, despite being clearly sentient.

Also, he managed to surprise me several times in this book, something I don't find that it is particularly easy to do. Plenty of cool, creepy, confusion and complex to found here in this packed to the rafters sf gem.

I might even go as far as 4.75 perhaps, here.

4.5 out of 5





3.5 out of 5