Thursday, April 29, 2010

More Soviet Science Fiction - Isaac Asimov

Asimov looks at the stages of SF in his introduction, and talks about where Soviet SF was, as he thought.

More Soviet Science Fiction : The Heart of the Serpent - Ivan Yefremov
More Soviet Science Fiction : Siema - Anatoly Dnieprov
More Soviet Science Fiction : The Trial of Tantalus - Victor Saparin
More Soviet Science Fiction : Stone from the Stars - Valentina Zhuravleva
More Soviet Science Fiction : Six Matches - Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

Tellur warp.

3 out of 5


Improving machine.

3 out of 5


Virus escape Venus.

3.5 out of 5


Meteor life.

3 out of 5


Neutrino acupuncture.

3 out of 5




2.5 out of 5

Six Matches - Arkady Strugatsky and Boris Strugatsky

Neutrino acupuncture.


3 out of 5

Stone From the Stars - Valentina Zhuravleva

Meteor life.


3 out of 5

The Trial of Tantalus - Victor Saparin

Virus escape Venus.


3.5 out of 5

Siema - Anatoly Dnieprov

Improving machine.


3 out of 5

The Heart of the Serpent - Ivan Yefremov

Tellur warp.


3 out of 5

Fantasy and Science Fiction 689 - Gordon Van Gelder

A better issue at 3.29, headed by the Popkes version of 'Fiends of the Eastern Front'.
Reviews of Kim Stanley Robinson and Ilona Andrews' Edge book are also included.

FSF689 : WHY THAT CRAZY OLD LADY GOES UP THE MOUNTAIN - Michael Libling
FSF689 : THIEF OF SHADOWS - Fred Chappell
FSF689 : DR DEATH VS THE VAMPIRE - Aaron Schutz
FSF689 : THE CROCODILES - Steven Popkes
FSF689 : A HISTORY OF CADMIUM - Elizabeth Bourne
FSF689 : THE REAL MARTIAN CHRONICLES - John Sladek
FSF689 : REMOTEST MANSIONS OF THE BLOOD - Alex Irvine
FSF689 : SEVEN SINS FOR SEVEN DWARVES - Hilary Goldstein
FSF689 : SILENCE - Dale Bailey
FSF689 : FOREVER - Rachel Pollack
FSF689 : THE ATCHISON TOPEKA and SANTA FE - Robert Onopa
FSF689 : THE GYPSY'S BOY - Lokiko Hall

Oh God, Kev, the lives!

3.5 out of 5


Hopefully not poison ones.

3.5 out of 5


Killer League, Teflon Boy.

3.5 out of 5


Nazi zombie return.

4 out of 5


Terrible pictures.

2.5 out of 5


The old rules.

3 out of 5


Dead lover issues.

3 out of 5


Chesty releases.

3 out of 5


Dead high school chase.

3.5 out of 5


Dead El swap.

3.5 out of 5


Model railway Lilliput.

3.5 out of 5


Wind spirit advance.

3 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Corkscrew of Space - Poul Anderson

Martian Freedom drunken rant.


2 out of 5

The Crocodiles - Steven Popkes

Nazi zombie return.


4 out of 5

The Gypsy's Boy - Lokiko Hall

Wind spirit advance.


3 out of 5

The Atchison Topeka And Santa Fe - Robert Onopa

Model railway Lilliput.


3.5 out of 5

Forever - Rachel Pollack

Dead El swap.


3.5 out of 5

Silence - Dale Bailey

Dead high school chase.


3.5 out of 5

Seven Sins For Seven Dwarves - Hilary Goldstein

Chesty releases.


3 out of 5

Remotest Mansions Of The Blood - Alex Irvine

Dead lover issues.


3 out of 5

Dr Death vs the Vampire - Aaron Schutz

Killer League, Teflon Boy.


3.5 out of 5

The Real Martian Chronicles - John Sladek

The old rules.


3 out of 5

A History Of Cadmium - Elizabeth Bourne

Terrible pictures.


2.5 out of 5

Thief of Shadows - Fred Chappell

Hopefully not poison ones.


3.5 out of 5

Why That Crazy Old Lady Goes Up The Mountain - Michael Libling

Oh God, Kev, the lives!


3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fantasy and Science Fiction 688 - Gordon Van Gelder

Lucius Shepard declares The Road pretty ordinary, a collection of pieces called Anime Nation mentioned that sounds interesting, too.

On the fiction front, not too much of note here, fairly similarly to last time.

FSF688 : AMOR FUGIT - Alexandra Duncan
FSF688 : STAR-CROSSED - Tim Sullivan
FSF688 : WAITING FOR THE PHONE TO RING - Richard Bowes
FSF688 : CLASS TRIP - Rand B. Lee
FSF688 : FORT CLAY LOUISIANA: A TRAGICAL HISTORY - Albert E. Cowdrey
FSF688 : MAKE-BELIEVE - Michael Reaves
FSF688 : EPIDAPHELES AND THE INSUFFICIENTLY AFFECTIONATE OCELOT - Ramsey Shehadeh
FSF688 : THE FROG COMRADE - Benjamin Rosenbaum
FSF688 : THE FAIRY PRINCESS - Dennis Danvers
FSF688 : BLUE FIRE - Bruce McAllister

Ourania dream.

2.5 out of 5


Black hole digger bubble.

3.5 out of 5


Lord of Light Lizard Pavane.

3 out of 5


Pink mouthful parts.

3 out of 5


Headsman photo soul.

3.5 out of 5


Arrowhead cave gunfight.

3 out of 5


Vulture ripper Door.

3 out of 5


Kissing foolishness.

2.5 out of 5


Screwbot checkout.

3.5 out of 5


Blood Drinker story.

3 out of 5




3 out of 5

Class Trip - Rand B. Lee

Pink mouthful parts.


3 out of 5

Blue Fire - Bruce McAllister

Blood Drinker story.


3 out of 5

The Fairy Princess - Dennis Danvers

Screwbot checkout.


3.5 out of 5

The Frog Comrade - Benjamin Rosenbaum

Kissing foolishness.


2.5 out of 5

Epidapheles And The Insufficiently Affectionate Ocelot - Ramsey Shehadeh

Vulture ripper Door.


3 out of 5

Waiting For The Phone To Ring - Richard Bowes

Lord of Light Lizard Pavane.


3 out of 5

Star-crossed - Tim Sullivan

Black hole digger bubble.


3.5 out of 5

Fort Clay Louisiana: A Tragical History - Albert E. Cowdrey

Headsman photo soul.


3.5 out of 5

Amor Fugit - Alexandra Duncan

Ourania dream.


2.5 out of 5

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Judas Strain - James Rollins

Bacteria revolt, Marco Polo.

The Sigma team is again split - as Seichan crashing her motorbike at Gray's parents place sends him on the run with her and his parents, as Monk and Lisa investigate a biohazard on Christmas Island. Unsurprisingly, the Guild has their hand in this. This teamup also adds their favorite Vatican priest-spy-researcher to solve the historical clue and try and save the world. With Kat in early motherhood, Kowalski enters the fray.

The bad stuff leads back to Marco Polo's time.

Plus, hordes of crabs and cannibals vs pirates! With maniac monster diseased patients, all on a cruise ship being used as a hospital. Throw in an Australian billionaire and a mysterious Indian assassin.

Very exciting stuff.


4 out of 5

The Trade of Queens - Charles Stross

The Trade of Queens

Goes nuclear

Miriam's grandmother, and associates, the former unhappy with the matchmaking fraternity losing control of their power if the progressive faction's breeding plans come to fruition, and the latter not being happy that their army was nuked strike back.

Multiple small nuclear attacks attempted on Washington DC. The conservatives have little conception of the military and technological might of the USA, however, so Miriam and the progressive faction are horrified and realise all of them need to get out of Dodge before they are disintegrated in glowing fashion.

Luckily they have access to the world of New Britain - something the USA does not at the current point of time. But this world is in the process of anti-monarchical revolution of its own.

A book that seems runs out of space to pack in what it wants to talk about - the conflicts, the move, a couple of dead US presidents, etc. So I think this got away from the author to some degree. Some of the earlier novel should have been condensed to give the exploration of what is here more space.

Apparently also a publishing decision to divide these books up how they have been, which has clearly caused some problems.


3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Revolution Business - Charles Stross

Or, Clan War time. With another reactionary clan, led by the United State republican party.

Miriam is pregnant, and an heir to the throne, no less, so plenty of manoeuvring around here, along with trying to keep her alive.

However, there's a little matter of some nuclear weapons. Or, what are the superpowers that give spies screaming nightmares? Telepathy/mind control, invisibility, and teleportation. A limited form of the latter is of course what the Clan worldwalkers have. So doesn't matter where you put your handy nuclear weapons unless you defend against them in the same manner they day.

So the stakes have been raised from massacring each other with our world obtained automatic weapons.

Their other world research also continues in a more scientific manner, working out that no, it really probably isn't magic in that sense, what is going on here.

Not as good as the earlier series, and a definite cliffhanger.


3.5 out of 5

Black Order - James Rollins

Zero Point Energy super nazis experiments.

The Sigma teams gets split in this outing, to their detriment. Painter Crowe included. He is the one in the thick of it this time, along with a doctor asked to help out in discovering why a whole town in the mountains became ill.

Pierce has a girl and a mysterious book to protect. The pregnant Kat and Monk also have people that would like to remove them from the frame in the hunt for the keys to this technology.

More than one writer has used the end of the second world war competition for German technology and research as the backstory for a work - here Rollins ties it in to actual history giving the details of the strange things they may have been looking into.


3.5 out of 5

Cyberskin - Paul Collins

Something of a fixup here as this cyberpunk tales takes some short story material and makes a novel out of it.

Calloway, the antihero in question works for a company whose job is making movies.

The difference is that the people he blows away he kills for real.

Often terminally ill cases that agree to 'star' in the movie for money they can leave to those surviving them, but not always.

There's also virtual reality, crazy biotech, artificial intelligence and more surrounding this.

Plus an augmented Doberman named Crunch.

The actual framing of some of the sections in movie script type jargon/layout actually detracts I think, as what is going on is considerably more interesting than the film industry angle.

Imprinted intelligences, drug research of a bizarre nature and the setting is a post-nothing-good-has-happened-to-this-environment Melbourne for a large part of it.

Around the 3.25 mark.


3.5 out of 5

Cyberskin - Paul Collins

Something of a fixup here as this cyberpunk tales takes some short story material and makes a novel out of it.

Calloway, the antihero in question works for a company whose job is making movies.

The difference is that the people he blows away he kills for real.

Often terminally ill cases that agree to 'star' in the movie for money they can leave to those surviving them, but not always.

There's also virtual reality, crazy biotech, artificial intelligence and more surrounding this.

Plus an augmented Doberman named Crunch.

The actual framing of some of the sections in movie script type jargon/layout actually detracts I think, as what is going on is considerably more interesting than the film industry angle.

Imprinted intelligences, drug research of a bizarre nature and the setting is a post-nothing-good-has-happened-to-this-environment Melbourne for a large part of it.

Around the 3.25 mark.


3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Zoo City - Lauren Beukes

An interesting novel that subverts the whole twee girl and special animal bond fantasy sub-genre.

In this case, you don't get to associate with such a beast because you are the chosen one, special, or anything like that.

Here, more the opposite. For example, if you are a junkie killer who writes internet scams for a crimelord is when you will score the non-human companion.

Metaphysical punishment is what these creatures appear to be - and obviously if you are dragging a sloth, bunny, goat or crocodile around you become fairly easy to identify. The beginnings and current situation for this strange phenomenon is revealed to some degree in background 'excerpts' of the media in this particular milieu. Punishment, apocalypse, or something worse coming?

e.g., one of the background parts from the novel :

""I didn't have the tapir when I got here. She came on the second night, after I was jumped by a couple of the 4161's from Melbourne. Lucky my mate Len was already inside, and knew their game. He gave me a shank when I arrived, and it ended up in the neck of one of them, a tattooed fuckwit called Cal.

That night, at about the same time Cal was dying in a hospital in Geelong, the tapir appeared outside my cell. I heared her scratching at the door of solitary confinement. Scared the hell out of me. The guards said she was still covered in jungle mud when they found her.

I mean, there's cameras everywhere. And this thing's from a different continent. How come no one saw her arrive? How did she get here? If she can walk through walls or fly or something, why can't she carry me out of here?

Anyway, I love her. They let me look after her good, take her on walks around the yard. She's a stupid-looking creature and she's dopey as shit, but when they see her at my side, they remember what happened to Cal. They remember not to fuck with Carter.""

Hence Zoo City - a ghetto for such unfortunates and their animal encumbrances. The fantasy angle is expanded upon as people in this situation may have psychic abilities. The anti-heroine of the piece is a recovering drug addict and worse, and a psychic locator, able to make cash by having people hire her to find stuff they have lost. Even her sloth is crippled.

Working off a debt to some bad people by writing and participating in hooking suckers over the net she also has a client employing her locator talents come to a nasty end. This gets her involved in something far more sordid than drugs and extracting money from the gullible: the music industry.

A pair of teen sibling pop sensations have issues - one being that the female of the pair likes to be a disappearing party girl. So, a somewhat youthful investigator with knowledge of the scene that doesn't smell 'cop' as soon as you see her, and a handy supernatural talent appears to be useful to the management of our pop idols.

It is all good up to here, but it seems to me that the actual find the missing person part is extended and somewhat aimless. Not sure if this is supposed to be a commentary on her existence or if it could just do with being shorter. Stories of the private investigation type tend to suffer at greater length, I think. I'd imagine more than a few people might think a little more of this space could have gone on a little more of the supernatural situation the world finds itself in. Or even the protagonist in particular.

What does make this more interesting is the South African setting. In fact, the author could even have thrown in a local music playlist perhaps, to add flavour.

After seeing the above, yes, it does end in the sort of violent depravity it is setting up.

So, interesting novel, but not as seamlessly excellent as her first book.


3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Blood Dancer - Diana L. Paxson

Goddess frenzy satiation fever.


3.5 out of 5

Interzone 226 - Andy Cox

A rock-solid issue at 3.42, with a bunch of book reviews, including Ian Sales ruminating on The New Space Opera 2.

Pretty consistent other than one very Rivera and one rubbish Swirsky.

Interzone 226 : INTO THE DEPTHS OF ILLUMINATED SEAS - Jason Sanford
Interzone 226 : HIBAKUSHA - Tyler Keevil
Interzone 226 : IN THE HARSH GLOW OF ITS INCANDESCENT BEAUTY - Mercurio D. Rivera
Interzone 226 : HUMAN ERROR - Jay Lake
Interzone 226 : AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN - Rachel Swirsky
Interzone 226 : AQUESTRIA - Stephen Gaskell

Death skin, Sahr.

3.5 out of 5


Irradiated, but still live and scavenging.

3.5 out of 5


Alien love drug.

4 out of 5


Multi billion artifact release.

3.5 out of 5


Crinked.

2 out of 5


Planet avatar.

3 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Aquestria - Stephen Gaskell

Planet avatar.


3 out of 5

Again And Again And Again - Rachel Swirsky

Crinked.


2 out of 5

Human Error - Jay Lake

Multi billion artifact release.


3.5 out of 5

In The Harsh Glow Of Its Incandescent Beauty - Mercurio D. Rivera

Alien love drug.


4 out of 5

Hibakusha - Tyler Keevil

Irradiated, but still live and scavenging.


3.5 out of 5

Into The Depths Of Illuminated Seas - Jason Sanford

Death skin, Sahr.


3.5 out of 5

Asimov's 411 412 - Sheila Williams

Some whacked out Spinrad book talk, and just about ok issue at 3.28 - with the clear standout being the excellent Popkes novella.

ASIMOVS411 : THE UNION OF SOIL AND SKY - Gregory Norman Bossert
ASIMOVS411 : UNFORESEEN - Molly Gloss
ASIMOVS411 : ADRIFT - Eugene Fischer
ASIMOVS411 : THEY LAUGHED AT ME IN VIENNA AND AGAIN IN PRAGUE AND THEN IN BELFAST AND DON'T FORGET HANOI! BUT I'LL SHOW THEM! I'LL SHOW THEM ALL I TELL YOU! - Tim McDaniel
ASIMOVS411 : MINDBAND - Pamela Sargent
ASIMOVS411 : MALICK PAN - Sara Genge
ASIMOVS411 : ALTEN KAMERADEN - Barry B. Longyear
ASIMOVS411 : PRETTY TO THINK SO - Robert Reed
ASIMOVS411 : JACKIE'S-BOY - Steven Popkes

Mother of.

3 out of 5


Random death.

3 out of 5


FloatNet refugees.

3.5 out of 5


Psycho robot demonstration.

3.5 out of 5


Cozy Corner control wet.

2.5 out of 5


Nanner small.

3 out of 5


Lots of ways to get me, Wolff.

3 out of 5


Disneyland emergency matter.

3.5 out of 5


Talking elephants and dragons.

4.5 out of 5




3 out of 5

Jackie's Boy - Steven Popkes

Talking elephants and dragons.


4.5 out of 5

Pretty To Think So - Robert Reed

Disneyland emergency matter.


3.5 out of 5

Alten Kameraden - Barry B. Longyear

Lots of ways to get me, Wolff.


3 out of 5

Malick Pan - Sara Genge

Nanner small.


3 out of 5

Mindband - Pamela Sargent

Cozy Corner control wet.


2.5 out of 5

They Laughed At Me In Vienna And Again In Prague And Then In Belfast And Don't Forget Hanoi! But I'll Show Them! - Tim McDaniel

Psycho robot demonstration.


3.5 out of 5

Adrift - Eugene Fischer

FloatNet refugees.


3.5 out of 5

Unforeseen - Molly Gloss

Random death.


3 out of 5

Steppe - Piers Anthony

An interesting story that is a precursor of work like Larry Niven's Dream Park, but on a bigger scale.

A very settled Galactic Society uses a live action roleplaying historical scenario as entertainment and an outlet for those that seek adventure. The game scale has compressed time to allow for different eras to be played out. Interestingly this Galactic society is displayed as largely post-literate, from a book from 1976.

A group of players decides to gain an advantage by time travel - but snatching a Uigur man just about to die from the 800s to use his knowledge to tactical advantage.

However, he is intelligent and cunning, and decides to use his knowledge for himself, getting into the game - as staying in Galactic society is better than being a dead Steppe dweller. So time for alliances, raids, etc.

The other nice twist is that the game substitutes spaceships and stunners for the historical weaponry, so the scale is interstellar, while still talking about 'bows' and 'horses', and this actually works.

And if you know a bit of your Asian nomad barbarian history, you might have some inkling of what is coming.


3.5 out of 5

The Union Of Soil And Sky - Gregory Norman Bossert

Mother of.


3 out of 5

Analog 949 - Stanley Schmidt

A 3.19. The last story is the most interesting. There are columns on comets and medical robotics.

ANALOG949 : PAGE TURNER - Rajnar Vajra
ANALOG949 : HANGING - A THREAD - Lee Goodloe
ANALOG949 : A TALENT FOR VANESSA - David W. Goldman
ANALOG949 : QUARK SOUP - Bond Elam
ANALOG949 : FISHING HOLE - Rick Cook
ANALOG949 : TEACHING THE PIG TO SING - David D. Levine
ANALOG949 : THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED - H.G. Stratmann
ANALOG949 : FARALLON WOMAN - Walter L. Kleine

Leprechaun bug universe.

3 out of 5


Exsuit Waterstation issue.

3.5 out of 5


And maybe for everybody.

3 out of 5


Reboot.

3 out of 5


Restaurant dodgy.

3 out of 5


Making strategic sense.

3.5 out of 5


Attack of.

3 out of 5


Black Box Tara ship.

3.5 out of 5



3 out of 5

Farallon Woman - Walter L. Kleine

Black Box Tara ship.


3.5 out of 5

The Day the Music Died - H. G. Stratmann

Attack of.


3 out of 5

Teaching the Pig To Sing - David D. Levine

Making strategic sense.


3.5 out of 5

Fishing Hole - Rick Cook

Restaurant dodgy.


3 out of 5

Quark Soup - Bond Elam

Reboot.


3 out of 5

A Talent For Vanessa - David W. Goldman

And maybe for everybody.


3 out of 5

Hanging - Lee Goodloe

Exsuit Waterstation issue.


3.5 out of 5

Page Turner - Rajnar Vajra

Leprechaun bug universe.


3 out of 5

Monday, April 5, 2010

Glass Dragons - Sean McMullen

Glass Dragons continues the tongue-in-cheek story of what happens to this world after Silverdeath.

Dragons in these books are wizards who can manage a sorcerous transform.

Laron is still involved, and Velander, and Terikel, but the focus changes to a young man who can sing a bit and is a decent brawler, and also to an untalented master of music.

The two end up meeting after the latter is framed for a royal assassination, and then the misadventures with Princess protection, Elder escorting, brothels, glass dragons, sailing ships and more begin.

Perhaps seeming a little aimless at times switching between characters.

However: vampire dragon!


3.5 out of 5

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Novel

Number of words : 40000
Percent of complex words : 5.7
Average syllables per word : 1.4
Average words per sentence : 9.6


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 6.1
Flesch : 80.2
Flesch-Kincaid : 4.5

: Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

CHARACTERS

Richard Gunn Urquhart : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Rick, man with a destiny, and ability to cast a long Shadow.

Llaw's grandmother : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

A seeress who forsees Rick's destiny.

Karadok : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Ancient Martian king of Ruh.

Beudach : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Chief of the fighting men of the Ruh.

Llaw : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

A Martian dwarf.

Haral : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Last of the line of Karadoc.

Parras : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Seer of Ruh.

Ed Fallon : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Head of the Terran Exploitations Company.

Jaffa Storm : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

His right hand man. Rather large Terro-Mercurian.

Hugh St. John : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Unionist politician.

Vargo : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Venusian muscle leader.

Mayo McCall : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Anti-Terran activist and technician.

Jimmy : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Press-ganged rebel.

Eran Mak : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Civilised Martian Low-Canaler bandit and leader.

Christy : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

One of Fallon's.

Kyra : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

A Winged One woman.

William Lee Yancey : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

A young ship crewman Rick leaves money too that helps him get back on Mars.



ANIMALS

Black Apes : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Used as press-gang hounds by the Terran Exploitations Company.


ORGANISATIONS

Terran Exploitations Company : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Just as bad as they sound.

Crimpers : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Press-gang groups.

Moderates : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Political group of compromise between Earth and Mars.

Pan-Martians : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Pro Mars political group.

Union Party : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Unionist political group that wants to promote Earth's role on Mars.

Interplanetary Co-ordination Authority : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Interworld legislative body.Has a Labor Board.

First Interplanetary Bank of Mars : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Has an office in New York.

MPG : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Martian Planetary Government.

MPP : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Martian Planetary Patrol.




PLACES

Thieves' Quarter : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Dodgy part of Ruh.

Phobos : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Moon of Mars.

Street of Nine Thousand Joys : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Street where you can purchase time with ladies of questionable virtue, in Ruh.

Ruh : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Martian City-State.

King City : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Capital of Ruh.

Deimos : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

The other Moon of Mars.

Administration Pylon : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Large building, holds the TEC offices.

New Town : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

City being built.

Arianrhod : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Has cliff caves.

Old City : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

In Ruh.

Kahora : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Martian Trade city.

Polar Cities : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

The Thinkers live here, in a fabled cold region.

Darkside : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Cold shadowed side of the planet.

Number Five Drift : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Where one of the press gangs works.

Tower of Destiny : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Place of seers.

Vhia : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Trade City of Venus.

Jekkara : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Martian Low Canal city.

Caer Hebra : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Ancient city.

Thieves' Quarter : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Dodgy part of Ruh.

Losanglis : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Earth city.

Valkis : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Low Canal city.

Jekkara Port : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

City spaceport.

Madame Kan's : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Dodgy bar in Jekkara.


RACES

Marshies : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Derogatory term for the locals.

Middle-Swampers : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Venusians. Used as muscle by Fallon.

The Thinkers : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

First race of Mars. Still live in the Polar Cities.

Winged Ones : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Ancient Martian flyers.

Shunni : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Martian tribe.



PLANTS

Yrl-wood : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Martian tree.


CONCEPTS

Low Martian : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Common dialect.

Goliath : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Biblical giant.

High Martian : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Ancient dialect.


TECHNOLOGY

Venusian spider-silk : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Used to make clothes.

Blaster : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Energy hand weapon.

Collar of Ruh : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Symbol of authority.

Visaplate : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Part of a telescreen.

Fallonite : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

The chemically amorphous substance that was already beginning to
revolutionize the Terran plastic industry.

Florent mirror : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Uses infra red instead of visible light.

Tsamo : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

A Martian knockout drug.

Thought Projector : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Thinker shield to keep people out.



MEDIA

Banner of the Twin Moons : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Ruh war symbol.

Winged Victory of Samothrace : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Old earth statue.


WEAPONS

Banning Shocker : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Large non-lethal beam weapon.

Mickey shocker : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Handgun beam weapon, non-lethal.

Disintegrators : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Thinker weapon.

Mental amplifiers : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Thinker weapon.

Energy projectors : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Thinker weapon.


VEHICLES

Mary Ellen Dow : Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Ship they wanted Rick to leave on.


PLOT


Rick is not too keen on being pressganged into the rapacious and
growing aptly named Terran company.

He also runs into prophecy when it is told that he will be an
important player in the future of Mars - although he is not anyone of
any particular note.

Others of import include a Winged Race woman, a technician who also
opposes Fallon and company, a local gangster and a politician. If
they can work out some sort of arrangement and leadership they will
have the resources to oppose Fallon and his even less scrupulous and
violent enforcer Jaffa Storm and his force of hired Venusian thugs.


3.5 out of 5

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Sorcerer of Rhiannon - Leigh Brackett

Novelette

Number of words : 10000
Percent of complex words : 7.5
Average syllables per word : 1.4
Average words per sentence : 11.4


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 7.6
Flesch : 74.1
Flesch-Kincaid : 5.8


: The Sorcerer of Rhiannon - Leigh Brackett


CHARACTERS

Max Brandon : The Sorcerer of Rhiannon - Leigh Brackett

A grave-robber. Or adventurous explorer, depending on who you ask.

Jarthur : The Sorcerer of Rhiannon - Leigh Brackett

Head of the Society for the Preservation of Martian Relics.

Sylvia Eustace : The Sorcerer of Rhiannon - Leigh Brackett

Wants to marry Brandon. A bit of an adventurer herself.

Dhu Kar : The Sorcerer of Rhiannon - Leigh Brackett

Venusian. Brandon's rival.

Tobul : The Sorcerer of Rhiannon - Leigh Brackett

Lord of the Seven Kingdoms. Dead.

Kymra : The Sorcerer of Rhiannon - Leigh Brackett

Tobul's rival.


ORGANISATIONS

Society for the Preservation of Martian Relics : The Sorcerer of Rhiannon - Leigh Brackett

Respecters of Martian culture.


RACES

Prira Cen : The Sorcerer of Rhiannon - Leigh Brackett

The Blue Hairs, the oldest race of Mars.

Sorcerers of the Lost Islands : The Sorcerer of Rhiannon - Leigh Brackett

Rulers of Mars 40,000 years ago.


PLACES

Rhiannon : The Sorcerer of Rhiannon - Leigh Brackett

Place where the Lost Sorcerers ruled.

Lost Islands : The Sorcerer of Rhiannon - Leigh Brackett

Sorcerer hangout.

Phobos : The Sorcerer of Rhiannon - Leigh Brackett

Moon of Mars.


TECHNOLOGY

Circlet : The Sorcerer of Rhiannon - Leigh Brackett

Allows one of the dead minds to control a body.


WEAPONS

Needle gun : The Sorcerer of Rhiannon - Leigh Brackett

Handgun.

Projector : The Sorcerer of Rhiannon - Leigh Brackett

Can finish off one of these dead minds.

Prism : The Sorcerer of Rhiannon - Leigh Brackett

A negative energy device of destruction.


PLOT

Max Brandon is a charismatic archaeologist of questionable ethics, that ends up in trouble in the desert. He is looking for the Lost Islands of Rhiannon, where the ancient Sorcerer race dwells.

He gets more than he bargained for when he is possessed by a dead sorcerer, thanks to good old-fashioned super science crown. Even worse, the woman who wants to make an honest man of him is also taken by Tobul's arch enemy of another race.

Super science destruction looms, until a rival archaeologist arrives and they decide to make a deal - two ancient Martian figures with a body sharing arrangement could make a difference for Mars.


3.5 out of 5