Sunday, May 31, 2009

Orange Harvest - Victor Gischler

Daughter double pothead money retrieval termination.


3.5 out of 5

The Revivalists - Albert E. Cowdrey

Like to sleep in.


3 out of 5

White Magic - Albert E. Cowdrey

More golem than zombie, but Foo Manchu still crushing your head.


3.5 out of 5

The Familiar - Albert E. Cowdrey

Foo Manchu got the pussy, but not me.


3 out of 5

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Inelastic Collisions - Elizabeth Bear

Poolroom angel meatpuppet dinner frogman revelation.


3.5 out of 5

The Suits At Auderlene - Terry Dowling

Singing armour meteor maiden trap.


3.5 out of 5

What the Monster Saw - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Hairy girl bits, rubbish discovery Geek wannabe.


4 out of 5

My Husband's Wife - Charles Ardai

Naked, starfish shorted murder.


3.5 out of 5

Snow Angels - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Not a chainsaw, but a knife good for stabbity-bad-man.


3.5 out of 5

Fumes - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Prefer no kaboom.


3 out of 5

The Space Barbarians - Tom Godwin

A sequel to Space Prison, or whichever title you prefer.

One with a much broader scope that takes the beginning of the rebellion from the earlier novel and expands it into war, with the Ragnarokians, aliens, large helpings of telepathy, and plenty of spaceship flying.

A pretty standardly ordinary example of such, too, and in no way matches its predecessor.

The end does lift a little, though.


2.5 out of 5

Dreamsongs 2 - George R. R. Martin

The USA likes lots of things big, it seems, except books. So George R. R. Martin's massive Dreamsongs has been cleaved in twain for their shelves, even virtually.

Or, get the one volume edition, likely cheaper.

The second volume sees the trend towards longer work, having many fewer stories than the first, and includes some writing for video stuff, too.

Again, extremely high quality, just about at the 4.0 average, so great stuff.

Dreamsongs : A Beast for Norn - George R. R. Martin
Dreamsongs : Guardians - George R. R. Martin
Dreamsongs : Shell Games - George R. R. Martin
Dreamsongs : From the Journal of Xavier Desmond - George R. R. Martin
Dreamsongs : Under Siege - George R. R. Martin
Dreamsongs : The Skin Trade - George R. R. Martin
Dreamsongs : Unsound Variations - George R. R. Martin
Dreamsongs : The Glass Flower - George R. R. Martin
Dreamsongs : The Hedge Knight - George R. R. Martin
Dreamsongs : Portraits of His Children - George R. R. Martin

A spot of supply problems for an animal combat arena.

3 out of 5


Namor, Prince of the Deep is a kitten.

3.5 out of 5


Turtle power, Tachyon cower. Team-up!

5 out of 5


Joker leader WHO Tour account.

3.5 out of 5


Time to be chess champion, if I can save the world first.

3.5 out of 5


Mirror mirror on the wall, werewolf killer, blood will call.

4.5 out of 5


Joke victim's alternate timeline chessteam revenge.

4 out of 5


Game for a new life?

4.5 out of 5


Innocent defense seven-on-seven deathmatch disaster.

4.5 out of 5


Stop writing about me, you bastard.

3.5 out of 5





5 out of 5

Sweet Young Things - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Multiple renter scam revenge.


3.5 out of 5

Death On D Street - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Whorehouse murder.


3.5 out of 5

Courting Rites - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Banjo man death gets around.


3.5 out of 5

Coolhunting - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Permanent kid sister Doctor Doom fix.


4 out of 5

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Best Defense - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Didn't burn the Brickstones. Dragons maybe done it.


3 out of 5

Remodeling - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Husband neighbour harrasser stealer.


3.5 out of 5

The Moorhead House - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Murder party history.


3.5 out of 5

Models - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Don't want to be a fashion victim.


3 out of 5

Incident At Lonely Rocks - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Loo man's psycho rescue.


4 out of 5

Improvements - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Woman in charge now.


3 out of 5

Heroics - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Action writer gets some rescue action.


3.5 out of 5

Updates - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Station election threats.


3.5 out of 5

Thorns - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Flower murder mistake.


4 out of 5

Trains - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Death banjo man.


3.5 out of 5

Strays - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Cat terrorising politics.


3.5 out of 5

Strange Creatures - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Sea clash tiedown, with knife.


3.5 out of 5

Story Child - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Gone, less sick.


3.5 out of 5

Songbirds - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Wing clipping magic hunter.


3 out of 5

The Perfect Man - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Romance author fan stalker.


3.5 out of 5

Little Miracles - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Cat caped serial killer case.


3.5 out of 5

The Light In Whale Cove - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Rather face ghosts than ten year old crack addicts with guns.


3.5 out of 5

Kindred Souls - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Nursing Home Death's Handmaiden.


3.5 out of 5

Judgment - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Pointy eared reports.


3 out of 5

The Mammoth Book Of Werewolves - Stephen Jones

An anthology that has some original, some reprint, and rates out at about where you would expect, somewhere in between your standard original anthology, and standard reprint anthology. The start with Clive Barker, and Charnas and Newman at the end are the highlights.

There's another bad case of editorialus author musthavitis, here, too, where Jones has to take a few sentences justifying why he picked Etchison. Basically boiling down to 'I really like him'.

Giant Book of Werewolves : Twilight at the Towers - Clive Barker
Giant Book of Werewolves : The Dream of the Wolf - Scott Bradfield
Giant Book of Werewolves : Night Beat - Ramsey Campbell
Giant Book of Werewolves : The Werewolf - R. Chetwynd-Hayes
Giant Book of Werewolves : Rain Falls - Michael Marshall-Smith
Giant Book of Werewolves : Guilty Party - Stephen Laws
Giant Book of Werewolves : Essence of the Beast - Roberta Lannes
Giant Book of Werewolves : Immortal - Mark Morris
Giant Book of Werewolves : Cry Wolf - Basil Copper
Giant Book of Werewolves : Rug - Graham Masterton
Giant Book of Werewolves : The Whisperers - Hugh B. Cave
Giant Book of Werewolves : And I Shall Go in the Devil's Name - David Sutton
Giant Book of Werewolves : The Foxes of Fascoum - Peter Tremayne
Giant Book of Werewolves : One Paris Night - Karl Edward Wagner
Giant Book of Werewolves : Soul of the Wolf - Brian Mooney
Giant Book of Werewolves : The Hairy Ones Shall Dance [Judge Keith Hilary Pursuivant] - Manly Wade Wellman
Giant Book of Werewolves : Heart of the Beast - Adrian Cole
Giant Book of Werewolves : Wereman [By the Light of the Silvery Moon] - Les Daniels
Giant Book of Werewolves : Anything But Your Kind - Nicholas Royle
Giant Book of Werewolves : The Nighthawk - Dennis Etchison
Giant Book of Werewolves : The Cell - David Case
Giant Book of Werewolves : Boobs - Suzy McKee Charnas
Giant Book of Werewolves : Out of the Night When the Full Moon is Bright... - Kim Newman

The Werewolf Who Came In From the Cold.

4 out of 5


Lupine obsession.

3 out of 5


Mummy, caretaker's fuzzy.

2.5 out of 5


Don't think your parents would like you hanging around one.

3 out of 5


But it's hairy murder in the pub.

3.5 out of 5


Not a prank, just birthday revenge.

3.5 out of 5


Don't eat him, wanted to shag him some more.

3.5 out of 5


And occasional serial killing shapeshifter.

3.5 out of 5


Which one was it with the sore hand?

4 out of 5


Boarded out, digested.

3 out of 5


Getting hairy.

2.5 out of 5


On a wolfy walking holiday. Minus boyfriend.

3.5 out of 5


Bastard curse got me.

3.5 out of 5


I really needed silver bullets, and friends who avoided getting shot in the arse.

3.5 out of 5


Hunter, no honor, no hope.

3.5 out of 5


Wizardly ectoplasm for Judge Pursuivant.

3.5 out of 5


Alien monster leftovers.

3.5 out of 5


One checkout chick to go.

3 out of 5


Writer wolves, good riddance.

2.5 out of 5


Copper comeback scare.

3 out of 5


Full moon crazy diary inheritance.

3.5 out of 5


A well-built werewolf still has to eat Billy.

4.5 out of 5


A werefox inspiration for the Zorro legend meets a black writer, during a police poor purge.

4 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Homecoming - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Long term paternity.


4 out of 5

The Destruction Of A Goddess - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

All dancers fall apart. Not many get murdered.


3 out of 5

Her Mother's Secrets - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Shooting truth story.


3.5 out of 5

The Assassin's Dagger - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Scary spelled stabbing weapons and a new dark den.


3.5 out of 5

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Mist On the Moor - Diana L. Paxson

A grumpy, wet, tired, injured horse, swearing Shanna ends up begging for shelter - but doesn't bargain on a supernatural testing.


3.5 out of 5

The Sword Slave - Diana L. Paxson

Shanna takes a dim view of ritual sacrifice of her friends.


3.5 out of 5

Sword Of Yraine - Diana L. Paxson

Shanna's first use of a real sword involving defending a temple from a gang of kidnapping virgin priestess despoilers.


4 out of 5

Scars - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Recovery woman's murder case.


3.5 out of 5

Phantom - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Don't stab the Piano Player.


3.5 out of 5

Parking Space Vigilantes - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Getting a multiple moving violation violent offender.


4 out of 5

Moments - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Spaceship return slaughter case.


3.5 out of 5

Monuments To the Dead - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Rushmore reversal, woman.


3.5 out of 5

Ghosts - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Death By Horoscope.


3.5 out of 5

Harvest - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Quilty tears.


3 out of 5

Going Native - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

If you have to take me apart to get there, I'm not sure I want to go.


4 out of 5

Familiar Territory - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Blaze of Glory Buster moggie replacement.


3.5 out of 5

Destiny - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Very Shifty.


3 out of 5

Cat Nap - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Husband's pet abuse scam pans out.


3.5 out of 5

Burial Detail - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Sight and skulls.


3.5 out of 5

After the Fall - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

No boring family forks, but you can probably talk me into the right dog.


3.5 out of 5

Fleshflowers - Paul Di Filippo

Peeker double POGO growth.


4 out of 5

Nebula Awards Showcase 2001 - Robert Silverberg

There's a year in SF etc. roundup, pieces from Daniel Keyes, a list of previous winners and current winners, and a little more. Story from the grandmaster is rubbish, though. Pretty poor at those these anthologies, it seems.

Standout work from Ted Chiang and Michael Swanwick, though.

A 3.57 average, with the added material, enough to make this a 4.

Nebula Awards Showcase 2001 : Story of Your Life - Ted Chiang
Nebula Awards Showcase 2001 : Mars Is No Place for Children - Mary A. Turzillo
Nebula Awards Showcase 2001 : The Cost of Doing Business - Leslie What
Nebula Awards Showcase 2001 : Epilogue from Parable of the Talents - Octavia E. Butler
Nebula Awards Showcase 2001 : The Wedding Album - David Marusek
Nebula Awards Showcase 2001 : Radiant Doors - Michael Swanwick
Nebula Awards Showcase 2001 : Judas Danced - Brian W. Aldiss


Predicting language.

4.5 out of 5


Sick girl trouble fraternal correspondence dowsing sojourn.

3.5 out of 5


Professional victim.

4 out of 5


'She never stopped working. For Earthseed, she used herself up several times over, speaking, haining, politicking, writing, establishing schools that boarded and educated promising students, rich and poor alike. She raised money and directed it into areas of study that she believed would bring fulfillment of the Earthseed Destiny closer. She sent students to universities and helped ihem to fulfill whatever potential she saw in them.'

3 out of 5


If you think the only intelligent conversation you can get is talking to yourself, Sim Polis is the place for you.

3 out of 5


Future Ownership fightback.

4.5 out of 5


Caesar Cheezer.

2.5 out of 5




4 out of 5

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Strangeness Of the Day - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Blackstone witchy coffin chase client love.


3.5 out of 5

Saving Face - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Magic shop murder case.


3.5 out of 5

Parable Of the Talents Epilogue - Octavia Butler

"She never stopped working. For Earthseed, she used herself up several times over, speaking, haining, politicking, writing, establishing schools that boarded and educated promising students, rich and poor alike. She raised money and directed it into areas of study that she believed would bring fulfillment of the Earthseed Destiny closer. She sent students to universities and helped ihem to fulfill whatever potential she saw in them."


3 out of 5

Judas Danced - Brian Aldiss

Caesar Cheezer.


2.5 out of 5

Stanley the Eighteen-Percenter - Mike Resnick

Cutting Lilith a better deal, Devil.


3.5 out of 5

Mrs Vamberry Takes A Trip - Mike Resnick

The Grand Siecle comfort case.


3.5 out of 5

Dragonslayer - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Investigating this rash of murders.


3.5 out of 5

Fit To Print - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Got us a nest of space aliens. Barbequed.


3.5 out of 5

Searching For the Familiar - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Black cat moan.


3 out of 5

Earthborne - Andre Norton

Gated evil battle.


2 out of 5

Roma Eterna - Robert Silverberg

A collection of stories of an alternate history where the Roman Empire never failed. However, none of it is particularly interesting - enough that you really want to know what happens throughout the centuries these stories cover.

Roma Eterna : With Caesar in the Underworld - Robert Silverberg
Roma Eterna : A Hero of the Empire - Robert Silverberg
Roma Eterna : The Second Wave - Robert Silverberg
Roma Eterna : Waiting for the End - Robert Silverberg
Roma Eterna : An Outpost of the Empire - Robert Silverberg
Roma Eterna : Getting to Know the Dragon - Robert Silverberg
Roma Eterna : The Reign of Terror - Robert Silverberg
Roma Eterna : Via Roma - Robert Silverberg
Roma Eterna : Tales from the Venia Woods - Robert Silverberg
Roma Eterna : To the Promised Land - Robert Silverberg

Kink tour.

3 out of 5


Desert domain.

3 out of 5


New World Orders.

3 out of 5


Antipater Greekness conflict.

3 out of 5


Falco underestimation.

2.5 out of 5


Imperial travel brutality.

3 out of 5


Craziest emperor instabilities.

3.5 out of 5


Just a barbarian simpleton.

3.5 out of 5


No ghost, just an old emperor type.

3 out of 5


End of Empire, professor. With Starship.

3 out of 5




2.5 out of 5

To the Promised Land - Robert Silverberg

End of Empire, profession. With Starship.


3 out of 5

Via Roma - Robert Silverberg

Just a barbarian simpleton.


3.5 out of 5

An Outpost Of the Realm - Robert Silverberg

Falco underestimation.


2.5 out of 5

Waiting For the End - Robert Silverberg

Antipater Greekness conflict.


3 out of 5

The Amorous Broom - Mike Resnick

A very needy object that won't leave John Justin Mallory alone.


3.5 out of 5

Famous Monsters - Kim Newman

A reasonable collection, given a 3.43 average. Up and down though, a lot of average to go along with several strong stories - generally the longer variety, these, barring the title story.

If you don't like horror movies, or movies at all, Newman is probably likely to annoy you, as he is utterly obsessed with alternate movies and Hollywoods and things of that nature.

Famous Monsters : Famous Monsters - Kim Newman
Famous Monsters : The Terminus - Kim Newman
Famous Monsters : The Big Fish - Kim Newman
Famous Monsters : A Quarter to Three - Kim Newman
Famous Monsters : Pitbull Brittan - Kim Newman
Famous Monsters : The Snow Sculptures of Xanadu - Kim Newman
Famous Monsters : Three on a Match - Kim Newman
Famous Monsters : Ratting - Kim Newman
Famous Monsters : The Pierce Arrow Stalled And... - Kim Newman
Famous Monsters : Ubermensch! - Kim Newman
Famous Monsters : The Blitz Spirit - Kim Newman
Famous Monsters : Where the Bodies Are Buried - Kim Newman
Famous Monsters : Where the Bodies Are Buried II: Sequel Hook - Kim Newman
Famous Monsters : The Pale Spirit People - Kim Newman
Famous Monsters : Out of the Night When the Full Moon is Bright... - Kim Newman

Martian extras.

4.5 out of 5


Martians, subway lost.

3 out of 5


One PI, one Esoteric Order of Dagon, a couple of Jungle Queens, the Diogenes club, and a WWII secret war.

4 out of 5


Bad diner Fishy knockup hookup.

3.5 out of 5


A Bulldog Drummond spoof. Bored racist sexist adventurer has super powers drive by erectile tissue. After fighting, blood pressure problems are such that he must have sex with whatever is available, or die.

3.5 out of 5


Kane, Welles, haunted.

3 out of 5


Smoking maybe not worth a bullet in the head.

3 out of 5


Not the Cow!

3.5 out of 5


One of those stories about what happens if you change one moment slightly - such as a car starting, or not. In this case, it changes the prudish self-censoring 30s Hollywood that presumably from the context was scared titless, to a far more erotic version that ends up with one movie having Mae West doing a sword swallowing act with Errol Flynn.
The doing away of fig leaves came before this, of course. A lot of
onscreen one upmanship happens until a director called Welles comes along, and wants to make Gone With the Wind. Not really that interesting, to me, but again, his style of thing.

3 out of 5


Swastika Superman last meal.

4 out of 5


Cycling through.

3 out of 5


Local government monster.

3.5 out of 5


Director monsters.

3 out of 5


Ancient evil construction.

3 out of 5


A werefox inspiration for the Zorro legend meets a black writer, during a police poor purge.

4 out of 5



3.5 out of 5

The Pale Spirit People - Kim Newman

Ancient evil construction.


3 out of 5

Where the Bodies Are Buried II - Kim Newman

Director monsters.


3 out of 5

The Giant Book Of Werewolves - Stephen Jones

An anthology that has some original, some reprint, and rates out at about where you would expect, somewhere in between your standard original anthology, and standard reprint anthology. The start with Clive Barker, and Charnas and Newman at the end are the highlights.

There's another bad case of editorialus author musthavitis, here, too, where Jones has to take a few sentences justifying why he picked Etchison. Basically boiling down to 'I really like him'.

Giant Book of Werewolves : Twilight at the Towers - Clive Barker
Giant Book of Werewolves : The Dream of the Wolf - Scott Bradfield
Giant Book of Werewolves : Night Beat - Ramsey Campbell
Giant Book of Werewolves : The Werewolf - R. Chetwynd-Hayes
Giant Book of Werewolves : Rain Falls - Michael Marshall-Smith
Giant Book of Werewolves : Guilty Party - Stephen Laws
Giant Book of Werewolves : Essence of the Beast - Roberta Lannes
Giant Book of Werewolves : Immortal - Mark Morris
Giant Book of Werewolves : Cry Wolf - Basil Copper
Giant Book of Werewolves : Rug - Graham Masterton
Giant Book of Werewolves : The Whisperers - Hugh B. Cave
Giant Book of Werewolves : And I Shall Go in the Devil's Name - David Sutton
Giant Book of Werewolves : The Foxes of Fascoum - Peter Tremayne
Giant Book of Werewolves : One Paris Night - Karl Edward Wagner
Giant Book of Werewolves : Soul of the Wolf - Brian Mooney
Giant Book of Werewolves : The Hairy Ones Shall Dance [Judge Keith Hilary Pursuivant] - Manly Wade Wellman
Giant Book of Werewolves : Heart of the Beast - Adrian Cole
Giant Book of Werewolves : Wereman [By the Light of the Silvery Moon] - Les Daniels
Giant Book of Werewolves : Anything But Your Kind - Nicholas Royle
Giant Book of Werewolves : The Nighthawk - Dennis Etchison
Giant Book of Werewolves : The Cell - David Case
Giant Book of Werewolves : Boobs - Suzy McKee Charnas
Giant Book of Werewolves : Out of the Night When the Full Moon is Bright... - Kim Newman

The Werewolf Who Came In From the Cold.

4 out of 5


Lupine obsession.

3 out of 5


Mummy, caretaker's fuzzy.

2.5 out of 5


Don't think your parents would like you hanging around one.

3 out of 5


But it's hairy murder in the pub.

3.5 out of 5


Not a prank, just birthday revenge.

3.5 out of 5


Don't eat him, wanted to shag him some more.

3.5 out of 5


And occasional serial killing shapeshifter.

3.5 out of 5


Which one was it with the sore hand?

4 out of 5


Boarded out, digested.

3 out of 5


Getting hairy.

2.5 out of 5


On a wolfy walking holiday. Minus boyfriend.

3.5 out of 5


Bastard curse got me.

3.5 out of 5


I really needed silver bullets, and friends who avoided getting shot in the arse.

3.5 out of 5


Hunter, no honor, no hope.

3.5 out of 5


Wizardly ectoplasm for Judge Pursuivant.

3.5 out of 5


Alien monster leftovers.

3.5 out of 5


One checkout chick to go.

3 out of 5


Writer wolves, good riddance.

2.5 out of 5


Copper comeback scare.

3 out of 5


Full moon crazy diary inheritance.

3.5 out of 5


A well-built werewolf still has to eat Billy.

4.5 out of 5


A werefox inspiration for the Zorro legend meets a black writer, during a police poor purge.

4 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Where the Bodies Are Buried - Kim Newman

Local government monster.


3.5 out of 5

The Blitz Spirit - Kim Newman

Cycling through.


3 out of 5

Ratting - Kim Newman

Not the Cow!


3.5 out of 5

Three On A Match - Kim Newman

Smoking maybe not worth a bullet in the head.


3 out of 5

The Snow Sculptures Of Xanadu - Kim Newman

Kane, Welles, haunted.


3 out of 5

A Quarter To Three - Kim Newman

Bad diner Fishy knockup hookup.


3.5 out of 5

The Big Fish - Kim Newman

One PI, one Esoteric Order of Dagon, a couple of Jungle Queens, the Diogenes club, and a WWII secret war.


4 out of 5

Out Of the Night When the Full Moon Is Bright - Kim Newman

A werefox inspiration for the Zorro legend meets a black writer, during a police poor purge.


4 out of 5

The Terminus - Kim Newman

Martians, subway lost.


3 out of 5

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Cell - David Close

Full moon crazy diary inheritance.


3.5 out of 5

The Nighthawk - Dennis Etchison

Copper comeback scare.


3 out of 5

Anything But Your Kind - Nicholas Royle

Writer wolves, good riddance.


2.5 out of 5

Wereman - Les Daniels

One checkout chick to go.


3 out of 5

Heart Of the Beast - Adrian Cole

Alien monster leftovers.


3.5 out of 5

The Hairy Ones Shall Dance - Manly Wade Wellman

Wizardly ectoplasm for Judge Pursuivant.


3.5 out of

Soul Of the Wolf - Brian Mooney

Hunter, no honor, no hope.


3.5 out of 5

One Paris Night - Karl Edward Wagner

I really needed silver bullets, and friends who avoided getting shot in the arse.


3.5 out of 5

The Foxes Of Fascoum - Peter Tremayne

Bastard curse got me.


3.5 out of 5

And I Shall Go In the Devil's Name - David Sutton

On a wolfy walking holiday. Minus boyfriend.


3.5 out of 5

The Whisperers - Hugh B. Cave

Getting hairy.


2.5 out of 5

The Machine Man Of Ardathia - Francis Flagg

I'm a time travelling synthetic, primitive dude.


3 out of 5

Rug - Graham Masterton

Boarded out, digested.


3 out of 5

Immortal - Mark Morris

And occasional serial killing shapeshifter.


3.5 out of 5

Essence Of the Beast - Roberta Lannes

Don't eat him, wanted to shag him some more.


3.5 out of 5

Guilty Party - Stephen Laws

Not a prank, just birthday revenge.


3.5 out of 5

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Steal Across the Sky - Nancy Kress

A somewhat disappointing metaphysical rehash from Kress.

This does read like it is stretched, too, and gets tedious at times - this is perhaps due to publishing length requirements.

Aliens contact Earth saying they did bad things in the past, and pick a bunch of young people via internet recruiting to go and Witness humanity on other planets.

Given that, you might expect some sardonic satire, but that isn't her style. A little of it in the various ads and media promos given between chapters.

The big secret discovered in the first part is the aliens apparently removed the gene for 'seeing dead peoiple'. This, of course, provokes a lot of religious hoo-hah (not to mention suicides) when those who discover this come back to Earth and let this be known.

Amazingly enough, most of the people chosen to go to the planets that reveal the humans that still have this gene are American. No evidence for why this might be the case.

Makes little sense with what happens after with the aliens, either.

Can't recommend this, but it isn't bad.


3 out of 5

Cyberabad Days - Ian McDonald

A collection of McDonald's very well done stories of future India. Not too many authors are placing near future events of importance in countries outside the USA, for example. Particularly the American writers, of course, who probably don't like to acknowledge the eroding of their national power base, even if only subconsciously, and transfer that to keeping things going how they are. Loss of hegemony a tad traumatic, given history, it would seem.

McDonald isn't a yank, but is proving to be quite successful in doing the opposite, with Brazil, and India. Undoubtedly there will be many things that the locals would find wrong with these, given that the UK can't even get Australia right, generally, let alone anywhere more different. The value here is the look at somewhere not Western, a huge, ancient land going rapidly into science fictional territory.

McDonald's India has the important AI work and breakthroughs (and alient contact) being supported here, for example - but the country has its own strife, collapsing into a group of nation states after a civil war. It is this rebuilding and reflowering period that a lot of the work.

This collects stories about the young, about rebuilding, about the badly screwed up demographics because of the desire for sons, of AI soap operas, genetically modified children, water problems, and more.

The last story, a long novella, links the rest of his work on India together, and references other stories and the novel River Of Gods in passing, taking things even further, with a fine, new conclusion.

When are his UK publishers going to sell these electronically? This is not some garden variety mediocre who cares work he is producing. Bloody hell.

His work really is outstanding. Exactly what you want to see in this sort of science fiction.

Certainly would like to see if he has an angle on China or Russia, too.

Cyberabad Days : Sanjeev and Robotwallah - Ian McDonald
Cyberabad Days : Kyle meets the River - Ian McDonald
Cyberabad Days : The Dust Assassin - Ian McDonald
Cyberabad Days : An Eligible Boy - Ian McDonald
Cyberabad Days : The Little Goddess - Ian McDonald
Cyberabad Days : The Djinn's Wife - Ian McDonald
Cyberabad Days : Vishnu at the Cat Circus - Ian McDonald

Battletech comes and goes, but pizza always popular.

4 out of 5


Soccer divisions, compounded virtually.

3.5 out of 5


Black Widow water rights kiss.

4 out of 5


AI Matchmaking.

4 out of 5


Aeai multi-skull skill Nepal getaway.

3.5 out of 5


Computer cops crimp AI's carnal cavorting with calisthenic chick.

3.5 out of 5


Too much AI and uploading could be bad for lots of universes.

4 out of 5





5 out of 5

Distant Worlds - Paul Collins

One of a series of anthologies by Paul Collins, growing out of a magazine. Just a touch under your standard original anthology quality at 3.27, but nothing in the way of poor. Quite consistent.

Distant Worlds : Armstrong - Jack Wodhams
Distant Worlds : The Dreamers of Deliverance - Cherry Wilder
The Faces Of Midnight - Darrell Schweitzer
Distant Worlds : Vandal - Trudy Rose
Distant Worlds : Concern - Michael Hailstone
Distant Worlds : The Specialists - Wynne Whiteford
Distant Worlds : Requiescat in Pace - Howard Goldsmith
Distant Worlds : Take the Dilemma By the Horns - John J. Alderson
Distant Worlds : Where Silence Rules - Keith Taylor
Distant Worlds : Beyond Our Shores a Colony - Leanne Frahm and Paul Collins
Distant Worlds : The Last Day of Christmas - David J. Lake

First Man on Mars, long stay.

3 out of 5


Concepta, my Butt!

3 out of 5


Multiple Fyttes for Sir Julian.

3 out of 5


Shitsophrenia.

3 out of 5


You got none for the average bloke, us Venusians not talking to you primitives.

3.5 out of 5


Superior race PR statis Mars.

3.5 out of 5


Mourning picket.

3 out of 5


Supplying the alien invaders, aussie style.

3.5 out of 5


An escaped slave is stuck in the middle of pirates and blood avengers on a haunted island.

3.5 out of 5


Multiple koogie kill watch.

3.5 out of 5


Aphrodisiac sterilisation.

3.5 out of 5





3.5 out of 5

Polaris Of the Snows - Charles B. Stilson

Lord of the Ice, not of the Jungle, as a young man sets out on journey after the death of his father.

Like Tarzan, Polaris' mother died young, and he has grown up in isolation. No animal families, though, as he i sfully grown by the time his father departs.

No lions or tigers, but plenty of huskies and polars bears and killer whales for opponents, and presumably the odd walrus, given what he feeds his teams.

On his journey he finds fighting humans, and a woman - Americans, of course, like his father.

That's not all though, as looking after this new flower of fhumanity and taking her with he him, he finds a trail in the snow, leading to the land of Sardanes.

Which is dogless, much much warmer, and a fair bit ancient greek.

The leadership doesn't take too kindly to impressive strangers and their notions of democracy, though.

Also, given the population is carefully managed by disposal by fire of the elderly and children that are disabled, deformed, or not healthy.

Luckily Polaris' good nature does win him a couple of friends, but he is a dangerous man to be around, for human, or for beast.

Wild men, of course, have to go and try out civilisation sometime, and find rivals there.

All reasonable enough.


3 out of 5

Vishnu At the Cat Circus - Ian McDonald

Too much AI and uploading could be bad for lots of universes.


4 out of 5

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The January Dancer - Michael F. Flynn

A solid novel, with an interesting setting.

This is perhaps somewhere between the over the top caricature that inhabits Mike Resnick's Birthright universe and the barbarism is the natural state of mankind melancholoy in Poul Anderson's Terran Empire.

A harper finds a grizzled scarred old man in a bar, and inveigles a tale out of him, this is the framing narrative for the story of the desperate manoeuvring over an ancient alien artifact that allows a sort of voice activated mind control.

There's also a spot of Irish Troubles loyalist vs rebel guerilla warfare on one of the planets - wherein one of the main characters comes from.

Super agents of order, pirates, spies, collectors, military commanders and more want to get their hands on this 'Twisting Stone' or 'January Dancer' as the captain who rediscovered it named it.

So a bunch of sneaky, twisting plotting by all concerned, with revelations about harpers and stones to come.

Probably finishes in a bit much of a rush to be clear to everyone - possibly this is a case of deliberate sequelitis.


3.5 out of 5

Black World - Raymond A. Palmer

It seems in the old space operas you come across that bloodnut women are often trouble.

In this case, the one a Stellar Patrolmen meets on holiday is full of mystery.

One broken open to reveal she is a space pirate, with the best ship in the system. The professor he has been told to escort on his secret mission to Pluto is also involved.

Her piracy has an aim - in good old-style American fashion a spaceliner company stole her father's invention and made a lot of money out of it, and it killed him. So she wants revenge.

Her idea is to out invent them and run them into the ground. some of her fellow pirates may not want to wait that long and have rather more large-scale martial aims.

Can Patrolman and Pirate end up doing what is best for everyone?


3 out of 5

Kyle Meets the River - Ian McDonald

Soccer divisions, compounded virtually.


3.5 out of 5

The Faces of Midnight - Darrell Schweitzer

Multiple Fyttes for Sir Julian.


3 out of 5

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Hex Is In - Mike Resnick

Piano raining bets.


3.5 out of 5

Concern - Michael Hailstone

You got none for the average bloke, us Venusians not talking to you primitives.


3.5 out of 5

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Darwinian Pool Room - Isaac Asimov

Evolution game.


3 out of 5

A Loint Of Paw - Isaac Asimov

Time statute limitations.


3 out of 5

The Talking Stone - Isaac Asimov

Pet rock?


2.5 out of 5

The Singing Bell - Isaac Asimov

Some extraterrologist blaster murder.


2.5 out of 5

Buy Jupiter and Other Stories - Isaac Asimov

Just a 3.09 average, but Asimov's before story writings are as entertaining as ever, certainly enough to bump a basically 2.75 book up to the round to 3 territory.

Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : Day of the Hunters - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : Shah Guido G - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : Button Button - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : The Monkey's Finger - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : Everest - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : The Pause - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : Let's Not - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : Each an Explorer - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : Blank! - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : Does a Bee Care? - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : Silly Asses - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : Buy Jupiter! - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : A Statue for Father - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : Rain Rain Go Away - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : Founding Father - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : Exile to Hell - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : Key Item - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : The Proper Study - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : 2430 AD - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : The Greatest Asset - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : Take a Match - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : Thiotimoline to the Stars - Isaac Asimov
Buy Jupiter and Other Stories : Light Verse - Isaac Asimov


Dinosaurs. With rayguns. Only small ones though.

3.5 out of 5


Dark Atlantis lacks support.

3 out of 5


Past document problem.

2.5 out of 5


Don't need a roomful.

2 out of 5


Mountain Martians.

3 out of 5


You people are sick, need less radioactivity.

3 out of 5


Keeping teaching alive on Mars.

3 out of 5


Interplanetary pollination psionic push payoff.

3.5 out of 5


Time particle between stall.

3 out of 5


Immortal habitat unimportance.

3 out of 5


Apparently testing nukes on other planets is the done thing in galactic society.

3.5 out of 5


Really big ad.

3 out of 5


Chrono funnel dinochicken grapple.

3 out of 5


They're melting.

2.5 out of 5


Human fertiliser.

3.5 out of 5


Earth punishment horror.

3.5 out of 5


Multivac feelings.

3 out of 5


Military mind conforming.

3 out of 5


Not much but human brains.

3 out of 5


Need some random ecology offworld experiments.

3.5 out of 5


Jump Fusionist primitive.

3.5 out of 5


Graduation time speech.

3.5 out of 5


Busted robot art.

3.5 out of 5




3 out of 5

The Specialists - Wynne Whiteford

Superior race PR statis Mars.


3.5 out of 5

Out Of Sight - Isaac Asimov

Waiters can be dodgy, too.


3.5 out of 5

The Curious Omission - Isaac Asimov

The other Alice, pointy head.


3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Star - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

My cat's not dead. Probably psychic though.


3.5 out of 5

Blood Trail - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Time Bureau detective secondment.


3.5 out of 5

What Fluffy Knew - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Moggie mini alien massacre.


3 out of 5

The Dead Line - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Spy bigamy revealed.


3.5 out of 5

Substitutions - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Vegas Death employee xmas eve double act.


3.5 out of 5

ProtectVision - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Father's oversight a killer estrangement.


4 out of 5

Thiotimoline To the Stars - Isaac Asimov

Graduation time speech.


3.5 out of 5

Take A Match - Isaac Asimov

Jump Fusionist primitive.


3.5 out of 5

The Greatest Asset - Isaac Asimov

Need some random ecology offworld experiments.


3.5 out of 5

2430 AD - Isaac Asimov

Not much but human brains.


3 out of 5

The Proper Study - Isaac Asimov

Military mind conforming.


3 out of 5

Key Item - Isaac Asimov

Multivac feelings.


3 out of 5

Rain Rain Go Away - Isaac Asimov

They're melting.


2.5 out of 5

A Statue For Father - Isaac Asimov

Chrono funnel dinochicken grapple.


3 out of 5

Silly Asses - Isaac Asimov

Apparently testing nukes on other planets is the done thing in galactic society.


3.5 out of 5

Blank! - Isaac Asimov

Time particle between stall.


3 out of 5

Each An Explorer - Isaac Asimov

Interplanetary pollination psionic push payoff.


3.5 out of 5

Let's Not - Isaac Asimov

Keeping teaching alive on Mars.


3 out of 5

The Pause - Isaac Asimov

You people are sick, need less radioactivity.


3 out of 5

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Hunting Season - Frank M. Robinson

Citizen sentence escape revolution.


4 out of 5

The Make-Weight - Harold Lamb

An I will not murder you note doesn't cover blind ponies.


3 out of 5

Universal Grammar - Mary Soon Lee

Games with the visitors.


3.5 out of 5

Crew-dog - Mary Soon Lee

Wrong dog planet people too smart kill.


3.5 out of 5

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Nebula Awards Showcase 2007 - Mike Resnick

Some articles included here too along with the fiction, one on self-justification re: Nebulas, and another about the Andre Norton award. Also a short fiction roundtable including Ellen Datlow, Martin H. Greenberg, and Ben Bova, discussing trends.

Plus a list of past winners. Haldeman's novel isn't remotely award worthy, so the excerpt is a waste of space to me. Also an incredibly dull Ellison piece, here, is also a missed opportunity.

Nebula Awards Showcase 2007 : MAGIC FOR BEGINNERS - Kelly Link
Nebula Awards Showcase 2007 : I LIVE WITH YOU - Carol Emshwiller
Nebula Awards Showcase 2007 : THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT - Dale Bailey
Nebula Awards Showcase 2007 : STILL LIFE WITH BOOBS - Anne Harris
Nebula Awards Showcase 2007 : IDENTITY THEFT - Robert J. Sawyer
Nebula Awards Showcase 2007 : MY MOTHER DANCING - Nancy Kress
Nebula Awards Showcase 2007 : CAMOUFLAGE [EXCERPT] - Joe Haldeman
Nebula Awards Showcase 2007 : THE FAERY HANDBAG - Kelly Link
Nebula Awards Showcase 2007 : MEN ARE TROUBLE - James Patrick Kelly
Nebula Awards Showcase 2007 : THE RESURGENCE OF MISS ANKLE-STRAP WEDGIE - Harlan Ellison


Foxy lady Library larceny lives.

3.5 out of 5


Multi personality generosity.

3.5 out of 5


No Triffids, Kraken, Cuckoos or Lichen.

4 out of 5


A well-built werewolf still has to eat Billy.

4.5 out of 5


Ballbuster artificial transfer fossil defense detection.

3.5 out of 5


Only human.

3.5 out of 5


I'm a shapeshifting alien. But I do look good in a bikini.

3 out of 5


Accessory home hunt.

4 out of 5


Dame overload detection devilish.

4 out of 5


Hollywood players.

2 out of 5




4 out of 5

The Resurgence Of Miss Ankle-strap Wedgie - Harlan Ellison

Hollywood players.


2 out of 5

Friday, May 15, 2009

Camouflage - Joe Haldeman

I'm a shapeshifting alien. But I am hot.


3 out of 5

Beyond Our Shores A Colony - Paul Collins and Leanne Frahm

Multiple koogie kill watch.


3.5 out of 5

The Engineer Reconditioned - Neal Asher

There are some earlier stories here from publications I've never heard of, and certainly would never, ever find, so it is good they are republished here. Some of them certainly read as early, too. However, the title story - The Engineer - (I believe the Reconditioned part comes because The Engineer was a collection, too, but this one has had more stories added) is up there with Asher's more recent best work. Hopefully his other stories from obscuresville will also appear again, too.

As such, clearly won't be in the class of The Gabble and Other Stories - which benefit from being in his most interestin setting - however, this is right on the 3.50 mark that a good collection aims for.

Also, there are tales from multiple future histories here other than the Polity, which give a change of pace.

Engineer Reconditioned : The Engineer - Neal Asher
Engineer Reconditioned : Snairls - Neal Asher
Engineer Reconditioned : Spatterjay - Neal Asher
Engineer Reconditioned : Jable Sharks - Neal Asher
Engineer Reconditioned : The Thranke - Neal Asher
Engineer Reconditioned : Proctors - Neal Asher
Engineer Reconditioned : The Owner - Neal Asher
Engineer Reconditioned : The Torbeast's Prison - Neal Asher
Engineer Reconditioned : Tiger Tiger - Neal Asher
Engineer Reconditioned : The Gurnard - Neal Asher

A Polity research team finds a Jain - some Separatists find them. The Cable Hogue finds everyone.

4 out of 5


Mollusc built in crew one time mate.

3.5 out of 5


Leeching headless Skinner.

4 out of 5


Flake boy.

3 out of 5


You got the alien worship thing the wrong way round, bible basher boy.

4 out of 5


And alien ambassador Earth assistance.

3.5 out of 5


Dagon Daybreak Warrior strike aspect.

3.5 out of 5


Hallack shift.

3.5 out of 5


The Owner's got a Great Ship. Plenty of orders, too.

3 out of 5


Parasite sheep.

3 out of 5




4 out of 5

The Engineer - Neal Asher

A Polity research team finds a Jain - some Separatists find them. The Cable Hogue finds everyone.


4 out of 5

The Gurnard - Neal Asher

Parasite sheep.


3 out of 5

Tiger Tiger - Neal Asher

The Owner's got a Great Ship. Plenty of orders, too.


3 out of 5

The Torbeast's Prison - Neal Asher

Hallack shift.


3.5 out of 5

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Owner - Neal Asher

Dagon Daybreak Warrior strike aspect.


3.5 out of 5

Coyote Horizon - Allen M. Steele

According to the author's introduction, this is the first part of a duology. The Coyote trilogy is done, and this is the first of the Coyote chronicles. Apparently people didn't think the story was finished when you have a sudden first contact turnup, lost spaceship, etc. No big shock there.

However, at 3.31, the stories here aren't as interesting in general. They centre mostly only two characters, Hawk Thompson - on parole and a Customs Officer now, whose life changes when he meets an alien ambassador, and Sawyer Lee, a hunter and guide.

Things get somewhat strange when Goldstein's old equerry, Walking Star Cassidy discovers new abilities, and can teach others, including Hawk.

There's also a deliberate attempt to begin to map the rest of the planet, while the situation on Earth breaks down further, with the collapse of the Union.

New philosophical movements that challenge old monotheistic conservatives - you can guess what will happen. The latter, of course, will want to kill people and blow things up.

Coyote Horizon : A Man Of Constant Sorrow - Allen M. Steele
Coyote Horizon : Walking Star - Allen M. Steele
Coyote Horizon : True Religion - Allen M. Steele
Coyote Horizon : The Order Of the Eye - Allen M. Steele
Coyote Horizon : Beyond the Meridian Sea - Allen M. Steele
Coyote Horizon : Carlos's Pizza - Allen M. Steele
Coyote Horizon : The New Brighton Story - Allen M. Steele
Coyote Horizon : Apotheosis - Allen M. Steele

Parole terrorist stop alien ambassador gift.

3.5 out of 5


Got your telepathic tribe here.

3.5 out of 5


Doesn't react well to alien AI artificats.

3 out of 5


Maybe a telepathic monk commune, instead.

3 out of 5


Exploration Expedition Union disintegration.

3.5 out of 5


Just a teacher.

3.5 out of 5


Found the escapee.

3 out of 5


Religious ship sabotage.

3.5 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Apotheosis - Allen M. Steele

Religious ship sabotage.


3.5 out of 5

The New Brighton Story - Allen M. Steele

Found the escapee.


3 out of 5

Carlos's Pizza - Allen M. Steele

Just a teacher.


3.5 out of 5

Proctors - Neal Asher

And alien ambassador Earth assistance.


3.5 out of 5

The Thrake - Neal Asher

You got the alien worship thing the wrong way round, bible basher boy.


4 out of 5

Jable Sharks - Neal Asher

Flake boy.


3 out of 5

Spatterjay - Neal Asher

Leeching headless Skinner.


4 out of 5

Snairls - Neal Asher

Mollusc built in crew one time mate.


3.5 out of 5

Nebula Awards Showcase 2008 - Ben Bova

This anhtology includes some articles, by Resnick on the evolution of publishing among one. Card on genres. Bits about poetry and scripts, and a list of awards in minor categories and a list of past winners.

Also a story from the grandmaster, and one other nominee story picked. Only a 3.58 for this bunch.

Nebula Awards Showcase 2008 : Echo - Elizabeth Hand
Nebula Awards Showcase 2008 : Burn - James Patrick Kelly
Nebula Awards Showcase 2008 : Two Hearts - Peter S. Beagle
Nebula Awards Showcase 2008 : The Woman In Schrodinger's Wave Equations - Eugene Mirabelli
Nebula Awards Showcase 2008 : The Listeners - James Gunn
Nebula Awards Showcase 2008 : Seeker [excerpt] - Jack McDevitt

Post-Fall solar powered vigil. With cool dogs.

3.5 out of 5


Local yokel pyro protest saviour secret.

4 out of 5


Griffin snacking leads to senile sovereign's swan song.

4.5 out of 5


Shacked up shagging stimulates science.

3 out of 5


Big Ear, Little Ear, dead.

3.5 out of 5


Going to look at some aliens.

3 out of 5




4 out of 5

Seeker - Jack McDevitt

Going to look at some aliens.


3 out of 5

The Scent Of Copper Pennies - Tim Pratt

Over in some worlds. Maybe dead.


3 out of 5

Bunny Didn't Tell Us - David J. Schow

Car crim burial.


3 out of 5

Where Silence Rules - Keith Taylor

An escaped slave is stuck in the middle of pirates and blood avengers on a haunted island.


3.5 out of 5

Beyond the Meridian Sea - Allen M. Steele

Exploration Expedition Union disintegration.


3.5 out of 5

The Order Of the Eye - Allen M. Steele

Maybe a telepathic monk commune, instead.


3 out of 5

True Religion - Allen M. Steele

Doesn't react well to alien AI artifacts.


3 out of 5

Walking Star - Allen M. Steele

Got your telepathic tribe here.


3.5 out of 5

A Man Of Constant Sorrow - Allen M. Steele

Parole terrorist stop alien ambassador gift.


3.5 out of 5

Interzone 221 - Andy Cox

Definitely a down issue, only a little over 3--the highlights being Will McIntosh's strange factory entertainment tale, and Bruce Sterling. Includes a review of the Caryatids by Ian Sales, and an interview with the same bloke.

Again the audiovisual review stuff is chopped off.

INTERZONE221 : A CLOWN ESCAPES FROM CIRCUS TOWN - Will Mcintosh
INTERZONE221 : FISHERMEN - Al Robertson
INTERZONE221 : SAVING DIEGO - Matthew Kressel
INTERZONE221 : FAR & DEEP - Alaya Dawn Johnson
INTERZONE221 : HOME AGAIN - Paul M. Berger
INTERZONE221 : BLACK SWAN - Bruce Sterling

Pig born rebellion, with Green Arrow.

4 out of 5


Cross to draw.

3 out of 5


Junkies, hopefully on planets that don't get eaten.

3 out of 5


Leilani, pineapple nut.

3 out of 5


Pilot return present.

2.5 out of 5


Finding the best Italy.

3.5 out of 5




3 out of 5

Black Swan - Bruce Sterling

Finding the best Italy.


3.5 out of 5

On Venus Have We Got A Rabbi - William Tenn

Space Age Jew certainly can be blue.


2.5 out of 5

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Home Again - Paul M. Berger

Pilot return present.


2.5 out of 5

Far and Deep - Alaya Dawn Johnson

Leilani, pineapple nut.


3 out of 5

Saving Diego - Matthew Kressel

Junkies, hopefully on planets that don't get eaten.


3 out of 5

Fishermen - Al Robertson

Cross to draw.


3 out of 5

A Clown Escapes From Circus Town - Will McIntosh

Pig born rebellion, with Green Arrow.


4 out of 5

Interzone 220 - Andy Cox

The good stuff is at the end of this issue. Including a review of Neal Asher's fab collection 'The Gabble and Other Stories'. Back to back stories from Leah Bobet and Gareth L. Powell about desperate trips transporting the helpless, even. Semi-trailers and hyperspace capable ships move in rather different arenas, of course. A nice surprise to see more Powell.

Readers poll breakdown, but the AV portion is chopped off barring the rather fetching Smallville cover with Supergirl Laura Vandervoort.

Other than that, the only bad part is a lot of space wasted trying to bore me to death with dull crappy Christopher Priest rubbish.

INTERZONE220 : MONETIZED - Jason Stoddard
INTERZONE220 : SINNER BAKER FABULIST PRIEST; RED MASK BLACK MASK GENTLEMAN BEAST - Eugie Foster
INTERZONE220 : AFTER EVERYTHING WOKE UP - Rudy Rucker
INTERZONE220 : SPY VS SPY - Neil Williamson
INTERZONE220 : MILES TO ISENGARD - Leah Bobet
INTERZONE220 : MEMORY DUST - Gareth L. Powell

Finding the magic nano popularity.

3 out of 5


Multiple meat market murder.

3.5 out of 5


Teek teep high.

3 out of 5


Going ACME postal.

3.5 out of 5


Semi-nuke shortstuff rebellion.

4 out of 5


Octopus citadel jump matrix dreaming end.

4 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Memory Dust - Gareth L. Powell

Octopus citadel jump matrix dreaming end.


4 out of 5

Miles To Isengard - Leah Bobet

Semi-nuke shortstuff rebellion.


4 out of 5

Spy vs Spy - Neil Williamson

Going ACME postal.


3.5 out of 5

After Everything Woke Up - Rudy Rucker

Teek teep high.


3 out of 5

Monetized - Jason Stoddard

Finding the magic nano popularity.


3 out of 5

Fantasy and Science Fiction 683 - Gordon Van Gelder

An issue of two halves, to use a good old silly cliche. A high average at 3.67, brought on by several standouts, and a bunch of average. This many 4.5's is worth having a few average, though.

The reprints - the Varley is one of my least favorite of his, but the never heard of Gary Jennings story was hilarious, so right there.

Cowdrey's third Kohn story is rather excellent, too.

A lot of whacky in this issue, certainly, a fair helping of which come with a very nasty sting. Not too surprising in the case of a military story, or corporate satire of course.

Chris Moriarty likes M. M. Buckner's Watermind a lot.

FSF683 : Firehorn - Robert Reed
FSF683 : The Motorman's Coat - John Kessel
FSF683 : Retrograde Summer - John Varley
FSF683 : Corona Centurion(TM) FAQ - Terry Bisson
FSF683 : Paradiso Lost - Albert E. Cowdrey
FSF683 : Adaptogenia - Wayne Wightman
FSF683 : Sooner or Later or Never Never - Gary Jennings
FSF683 : Economancer - Carolyn Ives Gilman
FSF683 : The Spaceman - Mike O'Driscoll

Gotta give gullible AI a good monster hoax.

4.5 out of 5


Unclothed deal.

3 out of 5


Clone twin meeting.

3 out of 5


Artificial hearts need their printer ink.

3 out of 5


Alien War colony bubble space romance secret orders telepathic dwarf diplomatic slaughter.

4.5 out of 5


Bugs are definitely gonna get us.

4 out of 5


Fairdinkum, mate, that septic dirty beast's a right drongo.

4.5 out of 5


Don't trust the voodoo science.

3.5 out of 5


Dark Side Of the Moon Mouse Fantasy.

3 out of 5




4 out of 5

The Spaceman - Mike O'Driscoll

Dark Side Of the Moon Mouse Fantasy.


3 out of 5

Take the Dilemma By the Horns - John J. Alderson

Supplying the alien invaders, aussie style.


3.5 out of 5

Economancer - Carolyn Ives Gilman

Don't trust the voodoo science.


3.5 out of 5

Sooner Or Later Or Never Never - Gary Jennings

Fairdinkum mate, that septic dirty beast's a right drongo.


4.5 out of 5

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Adaptogenia - Wayne Wightman

Bugs are definitely gonna get us.


4 out of 5

Paradiso Lost - Albert E. Cowdrey

Alien War colony bubble space romance secret orders telepathic dwarf diplomatic slaughter.


4.5 out of 5

Corona Centurion FAQ - Terry Bisson

Artificial hearts need their printer ink.


3 out of 5

The Motorman's Coat - John Kessel

Unclothed deal.


3 out of 5

Firehorn - Robert Reed

Gotta give gullible AI a good monster hoax.


4.5 out of 5

The Creeping Death - Maxwell Grant

Unlike the last Shadow adventure, which had South American miscreants out to make much moolah, 'Creeping Death' has a French megalomaniac out to take over the world. Everyone will certainly agree that we can't have that, so it is up to a secret service agent and The Shadow to end his Oriental poisoning Gallic dreams of conquest.

A step up from the last couple as this ends in a thrilling bombs and bullets showdown at the old crazy's cliffside redoubt, where even with someone on his side on the scene The Shadow is stretched to the limit.


3.5 out of 5

Shadowed Millions - Maxwell Grant

A plot that involves dodgy Americans of both flavours, both South and North - hence coming to the attention of our favorite pulp hero.

He does not take too kindly to international gangster plots involving the titular amounts.

" A weird, creepy laugh floated across the water. A strange, fantastic laugh
it was - a laugh that would never be forgotten by those who heard it from the
Cordova. The tones of that laugh were chilling. They formed mockery that seemed
voiced from another world. It was the laugh of The Shadow."

The Shadow's path again crosses that of stalwart detective Joe Cardonia.

Here he also gets a hand for the finale from faithful assistants Harry and Cliff.


3 out of 5

Kings Of Crime - Maxwell Grant

The Shadow's opponent here is a more ordinary sort of criminal. Your good old-fashioned crime lord. Just out for your garden variety gambling and corruption and vice and all that great stuff that makes pursuing the career of captain of criminal industry so fulfilling.

That and being to order your "gorillas" around to go shoot people, and have names like Big Tom and Wheels.

Supeheros, however, take a dim view of such employment opportunities, and you generally won't like the career counselling that The Shadow brings to the table.

Rising words turned to a laugh. It was a long peal of taunting merriment,
a shuddering tone that made the listeners quail. Even Herbert Carpenter was
frozen by that sinister laugh, despite the fact that he was here at The
Shadow's bidding.
"Once before, you heard my warning," came that awe-inspiring voice. "You
did not heed that warning - although it came from The Shadow."
"The Shadow!"
The name was echoed by startled, feeble lips.
"Crime came to Seaview City," continued the voice of The Shadow. "Crime
came. Crime conquered. Crime was ended - by my will."

...

"BACK in prison, Herbert Carpenter went about his tasks in true penitence. He realized fully the penalty of crime. He had been a crook. He had sided with
crooks. The part that he had played in ending the work of crooks had been trifling, indeed, compared with the mighty performance of The Shadow, or even
with that of the police."


3 out of 5

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Coyote Frontier - Allen M. Steele

The third collection of Coyote stories continues to maintain a high standard, and this group of eight related tales is of similar quality to the first collection.

A European Alliance ship arrives at Coyote, which opens the way for negotiations between Earth and the Coyote Federation. The big news is they have Starbridge technology, which, when built, will make travel time between the two worlds near-immediate, as opposed to a work of decades or at least a lengthy period, given improving ship technology.

This brings political manoeuvring, diplomacy and skullduggery, as Earth is desperate, given their extreme depletion of resources, even with a few fledging off-planet colonies. Coyote is still the only immediately inhabitable world found.

Not everyone on Coyote agrees with what happens, and pro and anti-development feelings exist, and the planet has a definite history of rebellion. Then there's the Spindrift story and the disappearance of the Galileo to be considered.

The main series continues to impress.

Coyote Frontier : Bridge Of Stars - Allen M. Steele
Coyote Frontier : The Wayfaring Stranger - Allen M. Steele
Coyote Frontier : The Black Mountains - Allen M. Steele
Coyote Frontier : A Dialogue Concerning The Two Chief World Systems - Allen M. Steele
Coyote Frontier : Emissary To Earth - Allen M. Steele
Coyote Frontier : Quartet For Four Seasons - Allen M. Steele
Coyote Frontier : Parson's Rebellion - Allen M. Steele
Coyote Frontier : Will The Circle Be Broken - Allen M. Steele

A European Alliance starship arrives at Coyote, complete with Starbridge technology and an old ally.

4 out of 5


A shipjumping second officer ends up in a Savant study.

4 out of 5


Communicating with the natives.

3.5 out of 5


Taking the new captain to see the locals.

3 out of 5


Carlos and Wendy make an official visit to get Coyote recognised, and get deeply involved in politics and diplomacy.

4 out of 5


A billionaire's arrival, a lot of horses, a son's revenge, and development plans.

3.5 out of 5


Unhappy with developments, some of Coyote get revolutionary again.

4 out of 5


A wedding and a Spindrift visitor.

3.5 out of 5




4.5 out of 5

Will the Circle Be Broken - Allen M. Steele

A wedding and a Spindrift visitor.


3.5 out of 5

Parson's Rebellion - Allen M. Steele

Unhappy with developments, some of Coyote get revolutionary again.


4 out of 5

Quartet For Four Seasons - Allen M. Steele

A billionaire's arrival, a lot of horses, a son's revenge, and development plans.


3.5 out of 5

Emissary To Earth - Allen M. Steele

Carlos and Wendy make an official visit to get Coyote recognised, and get deeply involved in politics and diplomacy.


4 out of 5

A Dialogue Concerning The Two Chief World Systems - Allen M. Steele

Taking the new captain to see the locals.


3 out of 5

The Black Mountains - Allen M. Steele

Communicating with the natives.


3.5 out of 5

The Wayfaring Stranger - Allen M. Steele

A shipjumping second officer ends up in a Savant study.


4 out of 5

Night Shade Books April 2009 - Jeremy Lassen

Apparently this month is short fiction month. Hard to imagine a better way to celebrate it than buying this great anthology/omnibus. Six books, including two collections and two anthologies. A Jonathan Strahan megaspecial if you like. The two Eclipse volumes, the second of which is certainly one of the best original anthologies going around, ever, this side of, well, Gardner Dozois teamed with Jonathan Strahan.

The two Year's Best volumes are easily the best presented Year's Best ebooks ever, given you get a html version, and a read online version. The Horton Year's Bests you can get at Fictionwise Multiformat, but not the fantasy it seems, and the Hartwell likewise, but horribly DRM infested, even if ok price (and they missed a volume - how you miss one in a series beats me.)

St Martins's and Constable and Robinson couldn't organise a shag in a brothel, as far as Year's Best (or almost any ebooks with consistency) are concerned.

On top of what would be an outstanding deal with just these four, you get two novels. A short horror novel from Tim Lebbon, or really long novella if you want to go with the short fiction month theme. With loads of beer appreciation. That's gotta be ok, to start with.

Then there's Mark Teppo's new Lightbreaker, taking a Magician type approach to the urban fantasy novel, as in Hermetic style. His research for which would appear to shine through there.

Anyway, this is again an outstanding grouping of material, and would be extremely well worth it all separately, but at the bundle price it is nuts to miss out.

Night Shade should be applauded for this. On that note, they now have over two dozen books available at webscriptions, via bundles. If you haven't been getting those, go have a look now. There's a nice little library there for the taking.

http://www.webscription.net/m-8-night-shade-books.aspx


---

Lightbreaker - Mark Teppo
Bar None - Tim Lebbon
Eclipse One - Jonathan Strahan
Eclipse Two - Jonathan Strahan
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year I - Jonathan Strahan
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year II - Jonathan Strahan

---

An urban fantasy novel that is a lot more Hellblazer, Mage and Highlander than it is high heels, hot pants and horizontal vampire mambo. There's even a Watcher society and sword fighting.

A predilection for Heremetic magic, souls and Tarot (and a bit of Crowley) is on display among the superpowered types doing battle beyond the ken of mortals.

Fortunately the extended flights of magical fantasy a la Moore and Promethea are left till towards the end, with a rather more grounded epilogue.

With an atmosphere like this you tend to get a taste for the nasty. There are certainly some parts of this novel that some would call horror.

The author gives a book writing soundtrack at the end, and Fields Of the Nephilim feature prominently, which will give you further idea of the sort of supernatural content you will encounter in Lightbreaker.

There's also gratuitous prophetic abuse of bookshop staff.


3.5 out of 5


Bar None is a supernatural postapocalyptic homage to beer.

Each chapter has the title of a particular brew.

It opens up with a few surviving people holed up in a manor with a well stocked cellar, but supplies are getting a little low, particularly in the beer department.

A stranger turns up one night, and they ply him with food and grog while talking about what he has seen. It turns out that night he appears to all of them pretty much simultaneously for a chat, something that is rather impossible.

Basically, he has told them about the pub at the end of the world - the 'Bar None'.

So, Road Trip time. Apart from the millions of corpses, etc., it appears that are things out there that are not human, even if the group has not given them names. So it isn't just a matter of driving down there with something over the nose to word off corpse-stench.

3.5 out of 5


The start of an original anthology series, but not a good one. Not bad, just pretty average at 3.23. However, there are some highlights, with three good stories from Duncan, Nix and Dowling.

Some others were selected for Year's Best Fantasy type collections, too. That points out that this is basically a fantasy anthology. The editor invokes the anthology series of Terry Carr (Universe) and Damon Knight (Orbit) as role models to go by. Whether any of them produced a volume of their series with as little SF as this one? Don't know having never read them all, or not likely to, but seems unlikely in Carr's case from the few of those I have seen.

As far as fantasy goes, this tends definitely to the more mundane or ironic, in general, and those with more mainstream genre fantasy interests might not find much of interest here. Nix and the Dann/Brandon satirical type story perhaps.
An example of this is Shepard's story about a hopefuly screenwriter's relationship with a producer's Russian mistress - just the odd passing line mentioning something that was maybe supernatural in her background. Blink and you could miss most of it.

Horror fans, particuarly if they like Dowling's Dan the investigator of monsters of the human psychopath type variety should be happy with his work.

Eclipse 1 : Unique Chicken Goes in Reverse - Andy Duncan
Eclipse 1 : Bad Luck Trouble Death and Vampire Sex - Garth Nix
Eclipse 1 : The Last and Only or Mr Moscowitz Becomes French - Peter S. Beagle
Eclipse 1 : The Lost Boy A Reporter At Large - Maureen F. McHugh
Eclipse 1 : The Drowned Life - Jeffrey Ford
Eclipse 1 : Toother - Terry Dowling
Eclipse 1 : Up the Fire Road - Eileen Gunn
Eclipse 1 : In The Forest Of The Queen - Gwyneth Jones
Eclipse 1 : Quartermaster Returns - Ysabeau Wilce
Eclipse 1 : Electric Rains - Kathleen Ann Goonan
Eclipse 1 : She-Creatures - Margo Lanagan
Eclipse 1 : The Transformation of Targ - Jack Dann and Paul Brandon
Eclipse 1 : Mrs Zeno's Paradox - Ellen Klages
Eclipse 1 : The Lustration - Bruce Sterling
Eclipse 1 : Larissa Miusov - Lucius Shepard

Jesus chook pose.

4 out of 5


"'Oh yeah,' I said. I’d forgotten I was a wizard too, a green wizard, not a somewhat sorcerous private eye with a proclivity for bizarre sex and firearms."

4 out of 5


Going fairy froggy.

3 out of 5


Dissociative Disorder.

3 out of 5


Octopus advice maybe dodgy.

3 out of 5


Forced in denture.

4 out of 5


Bigfoot baby makes talk show host disappear!

3 out of 5


Frog communion death.

3 out of 5


Undead requisition.

3 out of 5


Dark load of.

2.5 out of 5


Witchy tits.

3 out of 5


Evil overlord mellower.

3.5 out of 5


Microbrownie limit.

3 out of 5


"You’ve secretly discussed artificial intelligence for forty thousand years?"Thirty thousand," the metaphysician admitted. "Unfortunately, it took us ten thousand years to admit that the system’s behavior had some unaccountable aspects."

3 out of 5




3 out of 5



Here's a very impressive 3.87. This is significantly better than the first volume, and pretty much identical in quality to Fast Forward 2, except, of course, for the cover. However, a little more variable, so less of a kick from this book. A little stronger at the top end, but weaker in the rest. The Ford story is more like a 3.25.

This time, the best is in the midddle, in Ted Chiang, but the openers are the next two best stories, other than David Moles and his Cory Doctorow by way of R. Garcia y Robertson polished posthuman adventure. People may not be familiar with the latter, but has some stories online, check them out, well worth it.

Don't really expect to see Dr Doom pastiches in books like this, but Daryl Gregory delivers one.

Terry Dowling surprisingly pops up with another Wormwood story, and no less than Gardner Dozois and Rich Horton on the Asimov's forum said they found this confusing. Probably not much of a surprise if they haven't read wormwood. You can find Nobody's Fool online though, see free sf or google. However, part of the whole point of the Wormwood set of stories is that with alien invasion and terraforming existence is hopelessly complicated and scary and weird and unfathomable for most of humanity. Some of this is supposed to come through in the very dense level of strange alien Dowling tries to impart, here. I do tend to like that sort of thing.

Alastair Reynolds, apparently, can do no wrong. Also likes golden robots quite a bit, wonder how many C-3PO and other figues he has, perhaps.

A must get book.

Please webscriptionise them, so we can carry them around, given their large and expensive nature.

Eclipse 2 : The Hero - Karl Schroeder
Eclipse 2 : Turing's Apples - Stephen Baxter
Eclipse 2 : Invisible Empire of Ascending Light - Ken Scholes
Eclipse 2 : Michael Laurits is: Drowning - Paul Cornell
Eclipse 2 : Night of the Firstlings - Margo Lanagan
Eclipse 2 : Elevator - Nancy Kress
Eclipse 2 : The Illustrated Biography of Lord Grimm - Daryl Gregory
Eclipse 2 : Exhalation - Ted Chiang
Eclipse 2 : Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom - David Moles
Eclipse 2 : The Rabbi's Hobby - Peter S. Beagle
Eclipse 2 : The Seventh Expression of the Robot General - Jeffrey Ford
Eclipse 2 : Skin Deep - Richard Parks
Eclipse 2 : Ex Cathedra - Tony Daniel
Eclipse 2 : Truth Window: A Tale of the Bedlam Rose - Terry Dowling
Eclipse 2 : Fury - Alastair Reynolds


Jessie and the Jets big moth story, Capital performance, one night only.

4.5 out of 5


Eaglets For Andromeda beam record.

4.5 out of 5


Kill Emperor? Consider It Announced.

3 out of 5


You're a Lief Saver, mate.

4 out of 5


Hickory waveries.

3 out of 5


Confined foretelling.

3.5 out of 5


Superhero invasion damage, new Doom.

4 out of 5


Brain dissection end of universe equilibrium optimism.

5 out of 5


Posthuman griefer game pullback.

4.5 out of 5


Magazine ghost girl goodbye.

4 out of 5


Just shoot me now.

3.5 out of 5


Personality pullover pyre.

3.5 out of 5


Kill my grandfather, marry my grandmother. Now, kill her, or kill the hot future wife?

3.5 out of 5


Nobody's double view.

3.5 out of 5


Galactic Emperor two suit, secret now less fishy.

4 out of 5




4.5 out of 5




A new series of books, or so we hope. I read this fully expecting not to like the fantasy part as much as the SF part, and that certainly turned out to be the case. What I have basically classified as SF to myself averages around 3.80, the fantasy part, 3.60.
Anyway, I have always looked at these sort of things as Best SF with bonus material.
In fact, fantasy is broadly defined here, from with boys, to child slaughtering horror.
The breakdown of genre is SF a bit under half - and the odd nebulous story that you could call SF would take it a bit over half, for those that are mostly interested in this as a science fiction book. For the rest, perhaps 60:40 fantasy to horror, by my classification, for those interested in that sort of thing one way or the other.
The editor gives a brief introduction, which is an historical overview of various 'Year's Best' series, and his own favorite editors of the past. Not sure whether it is short of choice, or for space reasons as he was trying to pack in as much story as possible. If that is the case, then perhaps publishers in a similar situation could consider longer editorial introduction with perhaps a url in the book, or even that as an excerpt or promo.
The story intros are brief, with a little bit of biography, and a little bit of introduction, and keeps to the right side of the line of reading like advertising. Speaking of which, this book actually has relevant advertisements for other books by the publisher. Normally, most people don't like advertising, but in the case of books, I find it good to have what else is available, with publisher's URL prominently available. Even if you just do the old fashioned one page list like was done in the past, that is fine. However, in this case you exactly get pretty high quality cover reproduction and blurbs, so quite well done.
So, to rate this, I give the SF part a 4.5, and the fantasy part a 4. If you like the non-SF genres more, I would think you are likely to call it the reverse.

SF and F Best 01 : How To Talk To Girls At Parties - Neil Gaiman
SF and F Best 01 : El Regalo - Peter S. Beagle
SF and F Best 01 : I Row-Boat - Cory Doctorow
SF and F Best 01 : In The House Of The Seven Librarians - Ellen Klages
SF and F Best 01 : Another Word For Map Is Faith - Christopher Rowe
SF and F Best 01 : Under Hell Over Heaven - Margo Langanan
SF and F Best 01 : Incarnation Day - Walter Jon Williams
SF and F Best 01 : The Night Whiskey - Jeffrey Ford
SF and F Best 01 : A Siege Of Cranes - Benjamin Rosenbaum
SF and F Best 01 : Halfway House - Frances Hardinge
SF and F Best 01 : The Bible Repairman - Tim Powers
SF and F Best 01 : Yellow Card Man - Paolo Bacigalupi
SF and F Best 01 : Pol Pot's Beautiful Daughter (Fantasy) - Geoff Ryman
SF and F Best 01 : The American Dead - Jay Lake
SF and F Best 01 : The Cartesian Theater - Robert Charles Wilson
SF and F Best 01 : Journey Into The Kingdom - M. Rickert
SF and F Best 01 : Eight Episodes - Robert Reed
SF and F Best 01 : The Wizards of Perfil - Kelly Link
SF and F Best 01 : The Saffron Gatherers - Elizabeth Hand
SF and F Best 01 : D.A - Connie Willis
SF and F Best 01 : Femaville 29 - Paul Di Filippo
SF and F Best 01 : Sob In The Silence - Gene Wolfe
SF and F Best 01 : The House Beyond Your Sky - Benjamin Rosenbaum
SF and F Best 01 : The Djinn's Wife - Ian McDonald

Ordinary party and alien chicks = run away.

3.5 out of 5

Witch boy sororal rescue.

4 out of 5

Asimovian reef revival survival.

4.5 out of 5

Taxonomically sheltered upbringing.

4 out of 5

Religiously correct landscaping writ large.

3 out of 5

Purgatory point scoring.

3.5 out of 5

Parental supervision control program subversion.

4.5 out of 5

Death booze corpse recall putdown getaway.

4 out of 5

Witch girl's zombie baby scorched earth revenge.

4.5 out of 5

Butterfly piecemeal.

2.5 out of 5

Broken soul ghost ransomer's burning to edit.

3 out of 5

Fallen biotech magnate takes insults badly.

4 out of 5

Surfeit of spirits.

3 out of 5

Tomb sex death escape is smoking.

4 out of 5

AI's secret hiring post double death act suicide
promotion of philosophy.

4 out of 5

Rules for snogging. 1. Check for life. 2. Check if human.

3 out of 5

Tv invasion cancelled. Maybe.

4 out of 5

Scary sorcery lacks youthful replenishment.

4 out of 5

Archaeological expedition earthquake overflight.

3.5 out of 5

Space cadet Shanghai surprise.

4 out of 5

Tsunami refugeee imagineering exodus.

4 out of 5

Horrific writer's fate well deserved.

4 out of 5

Making a universal mess of it.

2.5 out of 5

Computer cops crimp AI's carnal cavorting with calisthenic chick.

4 out of 5



4.5 out of 5



The second volume in this series is slighly down on the first, 3.67 as compared to 3.71.

Or to put it another way, 17 above average stories compared to 18, 6 average stories compared to 4, and 1 dodgy story compared to 2.

In an anthology of science fiction and fantasy, it delivers as advertised, as half the stories are science fiction, and half are fantasy. In fact, in somewhat of a surprise, it appears I have rated the fantasy stories 1 point higher as a group than the SF.

So, looking at the separately, each half of this anthology rates a high or around 4, as opposed to rounding up to get there.

There's a broad range in both genres, from the fluffy and completely disposable Goss speculation, to the is it or isn't it fantasy-but-quite-possibly-twisted horror of Rickert, and from Egan's space blasting posthuman mathematicians to Sterling's not too far future dodgy Eastern Europeans.

Three standout stories here, and perhaps I might get asked to give up my no-membership in the Greg Egan fan club by first comparing him to Kelly Link i nthe Starry Rift, and now going on to suggest that perhaps Daniel Abraham has the best tale here.

Anyone got a new excerpt from Incandescence to help banish the stench of da fairy pollution? :)

SF and F Best 02 : The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate - Ted Chiang
SF and F Best 02 : The Last and Only or Mr. Moskowitz Becomes French - Peter S. Beagle
SF and F Best 02 : Trunk and Disorderly - Charles Stross
SF and F Best 02 : Glory - Greg Egan
SF and F Best 02 : Dead Horse Point - Daryl Gregory
SF and F Best 02 : The Dreaming Wind - Jeffrey Ford
SF and F Best 02 : The Coat of Stars - Holly Black
SF and F Best 02 : The Prophet of Flores - Ted Kosmatka
SF and F Best 02 : Wizard's Six - Alex Irvine
SF and F Best 02 : The Cambist and Lord Iron A Fairy Tale of Economics - Daniel Abraham
SF and F Best 02 : By Fools Like Me - Nancy Kress
SF and F Best 02 : Kiosk - Bruce Sterling
SF and F Best 02 : Singing of Mount Abora - Theodora Goss
SF and F Best 02 : The Witch's Headstone - Neil Gaiman
SF and F Best 02 : Last Contact - Stephen Baxter
SF and F Best 02 : Jesus Christ Reanimator - Ken Macleod
SF and F Best 02 : Sorrel's Heart - Susan Palwick
SF and F Best 02 : Urdumheim - Michael Swanwick
SF and F Best 02 : Holiday - M. Rickert
SF and F Best 02 : The Valley of the Gardens - Tony Daniel
SF and F Best 02 : Winter's Wife - Elizabeth Hand
SF and F Best 02 : The Sky is Large and the Earth is Small - Chris Roberson
SF and F Best 02 : Orm the Beautiful - Elizabeth Bear
SF and F Best 02 : The Constable of Abal - Kelly Link

Wormhole time tender's raconteur replay.

4 out of 5


Going fairy froggy.

3 out of 5


Dwarf mammoths are heavy. Supreme planetary overlords have bloody big houses. Multigendered metalflesh relations are jolly complex, old chap.

4 out of 5


Antimatter lightspeed starblast instantiation means mathematical archaeology discovery decision.

4.5 out of 5


Girl, Interrupted keeper drained.

3 out of 5


Not much wizardry here.

2.5 out of 5


Fairy boyfriend rescue.

3.5 out of 5


Hobbit descent discovery doctrine defiance.

3.5 out of 5


Kid pack kill decision.

3 out of 5


Life exchange rate.

4.5 out of 5


Vegetation shortage book bashers.

3.5 out of 5


Fabrication pirates.

3.5 out of 5


Khan Alph the weather here, mum!

3 out of 5


Visibly grave talk.

4 out of 5


Ripped off.

4 out of 5


Second coming, blogging, shooting.

3 out of 5


Time to get my kitten killing Freak on.

3.5 out of 5


Learn your letters, Nimrod.

4 out of 5


Dead kid clowning just like the old man.

4 out of 5


Extrauniversal octopus minds are all grabby-blasty-tentacle, but slow to choke.

4 out of 5


A rocky end for local entrepreneur's saga.

4 out of 5


Chinese Mexican astronomical intelligence.

3.5 out of 5


The last dragon makes a deal with a museum.

4.5 out of 5


Just a sweet transsexual goddess, like mum.

3.5 out of 5




4 out of 5











4.5 out of 5

Friday, May 8, 2009

Lightbreaker - Mark Teppo

An urban fantasy novel that is a lot more Hellblazer, Mage and Highlander than it is high heels, hot pants and horizontal vampire mambo. There's even a Watcher society and sword fighting.

A predilection for Heremetic magic, souls and Tarot (and a bit of Crowley) is on display among the superpowered types doing battle beyond the ken of mortals.

Fortunately the extended flights of magical fantasy a la Moore and Promethea are left till towards the end, with a rather more grounded epilogue.

With an atmosphere like this you tend to get a taste for the nasty. There are certainly some parts of this novel that some would call horror.

The author gives a book writing soundtrack at the end, and Fields Of the Nephilim feature prominently, which will give you further idea of the sort of supernatural content you will encounter in Lightbreaker.

There's also gratuitous prophetic abuse of bookshop staff.


3.5 out of 5

Star Of Gypsies - Robert Silverberg

A gypsy future.

A tale of a future King of the Gypsies, so to speak, and his efforts and adventures in leading his people to the right planet among the stars for the Rom.

Unfortunately, this seemed all pretty tedious and lacking in interest or flamboyance, for this sort of thing. Probably appeal a little to those interested in this group though, I think.


2.5 out of 5

Atomsk - Cordwainer Smith

A short spy novel, written under the Carmichael Smith name.

The name Atomsk being one Soviet variants for something like 'Atom City'. This isn't a testing site to produce super powered mutants or hide ailen info on the X-Files type program, though.

Instead, it is a key part of the possible development of Soviet nuclear capability.

An American major goes on a spy mission to infiltrate and find out what actually is going on here.


3.5 out of 5

Bridge Of Stars - Allen M. Steele

A European Alliance starship arrives at Coyote, complete with Starbridge technology and an old ally.


4 out of 5

Born Bad - Andrew Vachss

A collection in the main of quite short stories, excerpt for those concerning the mercenary Cross. Mostly crime, but a few science fiction stories, a couple of sport, and certainly you could call many of them horror if you prefer. Hence the Stoker award nomination.

At 3.62, very high quality.

Born Bad : A flash of white - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Alibi - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Anytime I want - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Born bad - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Cain - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Cough - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Crime partner - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Bandit - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Cripple - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Mad dog - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Statute of limitations - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Crossfire - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Value received - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Head case - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Kidnap - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Date rape - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Dead game - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Dialogue - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Drive-by - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Dumping ground - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Exit - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Family resemblance - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Hostage - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : It's a hard world - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Joyride - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Lynch law - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Man to man - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Plan B - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Placebo - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Rules of the road - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Step on a crack - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Stone magic - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : The promise - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : The unwritten law - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Treatment - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Bum's rush - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Tunnel of love - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Bad babies - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Into the light - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Warrior - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : White alligator - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Witch hunt - Andrew Vachss
Born Bad : Working roots - Andrew Vachss

Stalker toothed.

3.5 out of 5


Buying in the revenge game.

3.5 out of 5


Plastic coated abuse finishing.

3.5 out of 5


I'm just evil, ask my brother.

3.5 out of 5


Bloody dogbeaters, very.

4 out of 5


Silent stall shooter.

3 out of 5


Easy Eddie crazy.

3.5 out of 5


Getting a dog, hard way.

3.5 out of 5


'A mind isn't always a terrible thing to waste.'

4 out of 5


Well trained feeders.

3.5 out of 5


Cross hired to remove a rapist father.

4 out of 5


One stalker removal setup for Cross.

4 out of 5


Terminal divorce first cab.

3.5 out of 5


Stalker party game split for Cross.

4.5 out of 5


Princess is snatched to get Cross to do a job and get a chip. Table turning time, with kestrel.

4.5 out of 5


Sister, dad, bullet.

3.5 out of 5


Last dogfight.

3.5 out of 5


I don't kill call girls, just whores. Ok, maybe one waitress by mistake.

3.5 out of 5


Diss shottied.

3 out of 5


Dog food pack.

4 out of 5


Pool payoff putout pain.

3.5 out of 5


Was just going to kill one, but now seeing you all are, lot sounds good.

3.5 out of 5


Make a sniper a hostage negotiator, gonna shoot someone eventually.

4 out of 5


I think I'll let you have my spot in it.

3.5 out of 5


But bad stack's a drag.

3.5 out of 5


Sucked and hooked.

3.5 out of 5


Queer service joint limited.

3 out of 5


Not lucky for Penny, but punt's over.

3.5 out of 5


I know how to fix things, including doberman puppies and monsters machines.

3.5 out of 5


Inside car sheep shooting.

3.5 out of 5


Basher showdown.

3.5 out of 5


Cross deals out a dose of some old medicine.

4 out of 5


Don't like them laughing.

3 out of 5


Million dollar cheating time setup.

4 out of 5


Final variety, well paid.

4 out of 5


Us targets in the game now.

3.5 out of 5


Charter Rulers.

3.5 out of 5


Part credit rules, new Family.

4 out of 5


Things change Outside, no more buying kid bits.

3.5 out of 5


Golden boy fighter.

3.5 out of 5


Big white bears, too.

4 out of 5


Mum's a monster, now me, too.

3.5 out of 5


Walking for that junk.

3 out of 5




4.5 out of 5