Thursday, June 24, 2010

Heartland - Mark Teppo

Heartland is just as solid as as the previous novel, Lightbreaker.

Although this second foray into the thaumaturgical hangs together somewhat more cohesively than the first, I think.

The stakes are raised in this book, and an old flame returns to rather complicate things.

What do occult secret societies do? Fight each other over power, of course, especially when some sort of succession is involved.

Things are rather more at the sharp end if the Spear of Destiny and the Holy Grail are involved - which, of course, will call for swordplay amidst all the magic.

Quite enjoyed this novel.


3.5 out of 5

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Off the Map - Michael Chislett

Odd London.


3 out of 5

Asimov's 414 - Sheila Williams

Nothing of particular note here, but de Bodard provides the best, with another entry in a future history of - ninja Jaguar Knights?

ASIMOVS414 : THE OTHER GRACES - Alice Sola Kim
ASIMOVS414 : HAGGLE CHIPS - Tom Purdom
ASIMOVS414 : THE JAGUAR HOUSE IN SHADOW - Aliette de Bodard
ASIMOVS414 : EDDIE'S ANTS - D.T. Mitenko
ASIMOVS414 : AMELIA PILLAR'S ETIQUETTE FOR THE SPACE TRAVELER - Kristine Kathryn Rusch
ASIMOVS414 : A HISTORY OF TERRAFORMING - Robert Reed

Subspaced.

2.5 out of 5


Get the other cat.

3 out of 5


Knight future.

3.5 out of 5


Spec Colony rival.

3.5 out of 5


Trip hyperbole.

3 out of 5


Atum future embarkation.

3.5 out of 5




3 out of 5

A History of Terraforming - Robert Reed

Atum future embarkation.


3.5 out of 5

Amelia Pillar's Etiquette For The Space Traveler - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Trip hyperbole.


3 out of 5

Eddie's Ants - D. T. Mitenko

Spec Colony rival.


3.5 out of 5

The Jaguar House In Shadow - Aliette de Bodard

Knight future.


3.5 out of 5

Haggle Chips - Tom Purdom

Get the other cat.


3 out of 5

The Other Graces - Alice Sola Kim

Subspaced.


2.5 out of 5

Analog 951 - Stanley Schmidt

The thing with science fiction magazines is they can jump up and surprise you, at least those that don't consist of only a story or two.

This one had a pretty ordinary start, then jumped up with the very good and highly inventive Venusian Burns tale, and followed with some reasonable work, finishing up with a fun Stephen Baxter Novella.

A fine article on the matter/antimatter question too, by Cramer. Plus a few artificial volcanoes.

ANALOG951 : DOCTOR ALIEN'S FIVE EMPTY BOXES - Rajnar Vajra
ANALOG951 : THE LONG WAY AROUND - Carl Frederick
ANALOG951 : QUESTIONING THE TREE - Brad Aiken
ANALOG951 : FLY ME TO THE MOON - Marianne J. Dyson
ANALOG951 : BUG TRAP - Stephen L. Burns
ANALOG951 : THE SINGLE LARRY TI OR FEAR OF BLACK HOLES AND KEN - Brenda Cooper
ANALOG951 : THE ANDROID WHO BECAME A HUMAN WHO BECAME AN ANDROID - Scott William Carter
ANALOG951 : PROJECT HADES - Stephen Baxter

Cilia ness.

2.5 out of 5


Lunaroo stuck.

3 out of 5


Not humane medicine.

2.5 out of 5


Lunar Winkler Smith.

3 out of 5


Trouble, Venus needs posto.

4 out of 5


Adult playing with singularity.

3.5 out of 5


Married an erotic professional golddigger, killed himself, tried again.

3.5 out of 5


Magmoid attack, Doctor Jones.

3.5 out of 5



3.5 out of 5

Project Hades - Stephen Baxter

Magmoid attack, Doctor Jones.


3.5 out of 5

The Android Who Became A Human Who Became An Android - Scott William Carter

Married an erotic professional golddigger, killed himself, tried again.


3.5 out of 5

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Single Larry Ti Or Fear Of Black Holes And Ken - Brenda Cooper

Adult playing with singularity.


3.5 out of 5

Bug Trap - Stephen L. Burns

Trouble, Venus needs posto.


4 out of 5

Fly Me To the Moon - Marianne J. Dyson

Lunar Winkler Smith.


3 out of 5

Questioning the Tree - Brad Aikin

Not humane medicine.


2.5 out of 5

Whose Ghosts These Are - Charles L. Grant

Retired beat and making them.


3.5 out of 5

Our Temporary Supervisor - Thomas Ligotti

Quine resign.


3 out of 5

Shite-hawks - Muriel Gray

Made out of any old junk.


2.5 out of 5

Simeon Dimsby's Workshop - Richard A. Lupoff

Pulp painting potted.


3.5 out of 5

The Long Way Around - Carl Frederick

Lunaroo stuck.


3 out of 5

Doctor Alien's Five Empty Boxes - Rajnar Vajra

Cilia ness.


2.5 out of 5

Friday, June 18, 2010

Interzone 227 - Andy Cox

Exactly the same as the last issue, four above average stories, one average, and one poor. This one tailing off towards the end.

The whole bunch of reviews is here this time, however.

Best story is Jim Hawkins Zambian tale, easily. Maybe he can give another one a go before 40 years pass again.

Interzone 227 : THE HISTORY OF POLY-V - Jon Ingold
Interzone 227 : DANCE OF THE KAWKAWROONS - Mercurio D. Rivera
Interzone 227 : CHIMBWI - Jim Hawkins
Interzone 227 : FLYING IN THE FACE OF GOD - Nina Allan
Interzone 227 : JOHNNY'S NEW JOB - Chris Beckett
Interzone 227 : THE GLARE AND THE GLOW - Steve Rasnic Tem

Memory drug trial.

3.5 out of 5


Flock Inspiration.

3.5 out of 5


Zambian flying pig fusion warrior climb return.

4 out of 5


Frozen space friend goodbye.

3.5 out of 5


Down the well accusation.

3 out of 5


Lightbulb off.

2 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

The Glare and the Glow - Steve Rasnic Tem

Lightbulb off.


2 out of 5

Johnny's New Job - Chris Beckett

Down the well accusation.


3 out of 5

Flying In the Face of God - Nina Allen

Frozen space friend goodbye.


3.5 out of 5

Chimbwi - Jim Hawkins

Zambian flying pig fusion warrior climb return.


4 out of 5

Dance of the Kawkaroons - Mercurio D. Rivera

Flock Inspiration.


3.5 out of 5

The Lost District - Joel Lane

Ghost girlfriend resident.


3.5 out of 5

The History of Poly-V - Jon Ingold

Memory drug trial.


3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pump Jack - Donald R. Burleson

Gonna drill you, suckah!


3 out of 5

Monkey Suit - Alastair Reynolds

Short Story

Number of words : 4800
Percent of complex words : 10.2
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 14.5


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 9.9
Flesch : 65.3
Flesch-Kincaid : 7.8



PEOPLE

Raoul

The next in line ship-fixer.

Branco

Formantera crewman who died in very unlikely circumstanes.

Captain Luarca

Of the Formantera. An ultra.


VEHICLES

Lighthugger

A four kilometer long spaceship spike of armour and ablative ice.

Formantera Lady

A lighthugger.


PLACES

Yellowstone

A good system to get away from. Melding Plague-ridden.

Andromeda

A star.


TECHNOLOGY

C-drive

Powers a spaceship.

Suit

Protective technology for working outside a spaceship, has a limited form of AI.

Melding Plague

Does very bad things to both organics and inorganics.

Volition Box

Builds a predictive model of its user in the suit to give them an edge and assist in movement and work. A beta-level simulation.


RACES

Ultras

Go in for space travel and serious body modification.


PLOT

Raoul is a crewman on the Formantera Lady. In a freak accident, fellow crewman and head outside ship repair worker has been killed. His is the best equipped repair suit, so Captain Luarca orders Raoul to fix it as the speediest option, and use it himself to get on with the job.

He does, but find the volition box in the suit resisting him, when he wants to return back inside the ship. He gives in, and decides to take the path it will allow him. To his horror, he finds a small piece of Melding Plague on the ship, which they have now caught in time thanks to Branko and his suit.


4 out of 5

Magic Bleeds - Ilona Andrews

Magic Bleeds

You wouldn't think that a niece and her aunt trying to slaughter each other with lengthy pieces of sharp metal as painfully as possible would be funny.

However, Andrews manages it. This is literally laugh out loud funny in several places. If you can pull off horror, humour, and adventure along with romance in one novel then you really can't ask for much more. I thought it might be a little difficult to keep up the quality of the last novel and the recent novella, but it has been handled happily.

The situation becomes even more fraught with peril for Kate Daniels, as along with homicidal demigoddess aunts with a posse of undead mage servants, she also has to deal with scheming lycanthropes, bigoted knights, and being left in her undies, holding the dinner by big headed furry boyfriends. Plus a stressed out gun maniac best friend.

I even hate poodles, and there's a poodle in here, and I liked it. So this book has to be good.

I put it on a par with the previous work. That is, very good.

Oh, and Tim Bradstreet cover. Which some people might consider using edged weapons to get, in general.


4 out of 5

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Liking What You See: A Documentary - Ted Chiang

Novelette

Number of words : 12800
Percent of complex words : 12.7
Average syllables per word : 1.6
Average words per sentence : 17.3


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 12.9
Flesch : 57.3
Flesch-Kincaid : 9.6



PEOPLE

Tamera Lyons

A first year student at Pembleton and a user of calliagnosia.

Maria deSouza

Third-year student, President of the Students for Equality Everywhere (SEE).

Joseph Weingartner

A neurologist and calliagnosia expert.

Richard Hamill

Founder of the Saybrook School.

Rachel Lyons

Tamera's mother.

Martin Lyons

Tamera's father.

Ina

Tamera's roommate.

Jeff Winthrop

Third-year student at Pembleton. Hired to be anti-calli.

Adesh Singh

Third-year student at Pembleton.

Walter Lambert

President of the National Calliagnosia Association.

Annika Lindstrom

A second-year student who likes being blokes looking at her.

Jolene Carter

A third-year student.

Garrett

Tamera's ex-boyfriend.

Warren Davidson

A 1st-year student that tried calli.

Alex Bibescu

Professor of religious studies at Pembleton.

Anton

A Pemberton teaching assistant of Tamera's.

Daniel Taglia

Professor of comparative literature at Pembleton.

Marc Esposito

Fourth-year student at Waterston College. Would never go calli.

Cathy Minami

Thinks calli is anti-feminist.

Lawrence Sutton

Fourth-year student. Likes calli making advertising less annoying.

Lori Harber

Third-year student at Maxwell College. Radical ugly.

Ellen Hutchinson

Professor of sociology at Pembleton.

Rebecca Boyer

Spokesperson for People for Ethical Nanomedicine.

Winston Churchill

English politician.

Martin Luther King

American Civil rights activist.



ORGANISATIONS

Pembleton University

Tertiary education institution considering a calli initiative.

Saybrook School

The high school Tamera went to, for calliagnostics.

Students for Equality Everywhere

SEE. A social justice group.

American College Network

University television.

Wyatt/Hayes

Dodgy PR firm for the cosmetics industry.

SemioTech Warriors

Culture-jamming group responsible for lots of media vandalism.

National Calliagnosia Association

An advocacy group.

NeoMind Buddhists

A pro calliagnosia sect.

Northrop

A university.

People for Ethical Nanomedicine

A lobbyist front.


CONCEPTS

Code of Ethical Conduct

At Pembleton, some rules for students.

Calliagnosia

A neurological condition meaning no aesthetic reaction to the people see.

Prosopagnosia

Inability to recognise faces.


TECHNOLOGY

Spex

Wearable computing.

Visage

Software that, through spex shows you what people would look like with cosmetic surgery.

Neurostat

Procedure for controlling seizures. Helped with developing calliagnosia.

Dermatology computer virus

Alters broadcasts so that people exhibit conditions such as acne and varicose veins.

Jouissance

A shampoo.


MEDIA

EduNews

A university current affairs program.


PLOT

Tamera is a student whose parents chose calliagnosia for. This is a condition where you are not affected by how people look. When she goes to university the students there consider all trying it, and holding an election over the issue.

Tamera is also a very good looking girl, and her less than ordinary looking high school boyfriend left her. She has her calli turned off for a while, and thinks if she talks to him, and he does, he might want to get together again, because of her looks.

Lobbyist for the cosmetics industry try to thwart it, for obvious greedy reasons. Other people are naturally opposed, but the lobbyist group goes Max Headroom, using technology to enhance the appeal of their spokeswoman, when their message is aired. This appears like it will lead to a technological arms race between media used in that way, and the public.


4 out of 5

No More A-roving - Linda E. Rucker

Just A-'rowin.


3.5 out of 5

First Catch Your Demon - Graham Joyce

And hope she's not a scorpion woman.


3.5 out of 5

Monday, June 14, 2010

Viper - Alastair Reynolds

Short Story

Number of words : 5600
Percent of complex words : 12.9
Average syllables per word : 1.6
Average words per sentence : 11.9


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 9.9
Flesch : 60.6
Flesch-Kincaid : 7.7



PEOPLE

Stockard

A correctional officer running VIPER.

Paula Wills

Warden of MIF-17.

Grodin

Heinous serial killer recidivist.

Avery Culhane

Murderer that is up for parole, having served his sentence and passed his psych evaluations.

Catherine

Stockard's wife. Severely injured by Culhane.

The Colonel

Supplies Stockard with a fake disk.


ORGANISATIONS

National Institute of Corrections

Oversees prisoner rehabilitation.

Bureau of Prisons

Runs the correctional facilities.

Federal Prison Industries

FPI controls prison labor.


PLACES

Merced

Has an instant vehicle building plant.

MIF-17

Mobile Incarceration Facility 17, a travelling prison.

Delhi

Major Indian city.


TECHNOLOGY

Virtual interactive parole evaluation resource

A helmet, machine and drug combination to allow running simulations of future scenarios in a person's mind.


PLOT

Stockard uses Viper technology to check that dangerous prisoners who have passed psych tests and are due for parole actually won't reoffend. The gear allows simulation of future scenarios and temptations inside the prisoner's mind. It wasn't available in the past when Culhane, the prisoner Stockard is there to test, almost killed his wife. Or similarly when a worse killer Grodin reoffended.

Stockard is actually in there to insert a false disk in the test, and ensure Culhane stays in prison forever.


4 out of 5

On the Oodnadatta - Alastair Reynolds

Novelette

Number of words : 10000
Percent of complex words : 10.3
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 12.4


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 9.1
Flesch : 66.7
Flesch-Kincaid : 7.0



PEOPLE

Rawlinson

Head of the Road Train repair operation.

Paco Muller

A new road train mechanic and saboteur from Chile.

Anton

Sapphire's right hand man.

Sapphire

Entertainer that decides to go into cryostasis.

Leitner

Head of the U-Life team.

Dubois

Another entertainer that went into U-Life storage.

Blaine

The transient driving the road train.


PLACES

Birdsville Track

Desert Road.

Adelaide

Capital of South Australia.

Valparaiso

City in Chile.

Anna Creek

A station.

Pan American Highway

In South America.

Atacama foothills

Pan American Highway travels through here.

Perth

Western Australian capital.

Jakarta

City in Indonesia.

Siberia

Russian freezing wasteland.

Oodnadatta

Trail across the central Australian desert.


ORGANISATIONS

Cadman

Company that runs the road trains.

Mack

American maker of large road transport.

Mitsubishi

Japanese Maker of large road transport.

Sons of Namatjira

Aboriginal terrorist group.

Ultralife

Company involved with cryogenic preservation of people.

Arizona Buddhist Militia

Even they have Stingers.


TECHNOLOGY

Sleevetop

Small mobile computing device.

LA MetNet

Californian weather network.

Monocrystal

Very strong material used in road trains.


VEHICLES

Road Train

Large commerical ground transport.


WEAPONS

Stingers

Portable surface to air missiles.

Patriot IIs

A missile upgrade on Stingers.


ANIMALS

Fats

Specially bred cattle.


CONCEPTS

The Big One

The meltdown of Chernorange in California.

Neural Consolidation

Chopping your head off to save money on your cryostorage.


MEDIA

Flintstones

Prehistoric cartoon family.


RACES

Transients

People that have been removed from their bodies, often employed as operators of machinery, like road trains.

Mangaroos

Cybernetically enhanced warrior hybrid kangaroos.


PLOT

Sapphire is an entertainer that wanted to go into cold storage as her career started a decline. On waking, she finds that nuclear disaster affected California and the companies that were storing people like her. She is offered a deal to get a new body if she works for a year operating a road train. Disembodied people don't need to sleep, etc., so make good workers for this sort of thing.

What she doesn't know is that the artist Dubois she upstaged at his own going into cryo farewell party has been part of the deal. The Sons of Namatjira do not like the road trains carrying cattle pregnant with babies that will be quickly grown into bodies with such transients. They did the deal with Dubois, and Blaine, the current tranny road train driver, and a new Chilean mechanic, to give them the ability to ambush this particular trip, aided by their heavily armed cybernetically enhanced hybrid kangaroo warriors. They kill the cattles and their clones. Blaine no longer wants this job, and it is this unpleasant situation that Sapphire is revied into, as the next transient in line forthe job.


4 out of 5

Gardens of the Sun - Paul J. McAuley

I didn't like this as much as The Quiet War. Perhaps because it felt more meandering, and not as tightly focused as the earlier novel. This may have been deliberate, to show that the post combat, and post Brazilian governmental collapse was messy and people didn't know what they were doing. Certainly characters like Cash Baker epitomised this as he tried to work out whether to be smuggler, pilot, military, terrorist, chauffeur, emigrant, or whatever.

Perhaps also a bit odd to see bits and pieces of the earlier Quiet War stories used and even changed quite a bit, leading to a little deja vuwhat?

The gene wizards also didn't feature as much directly, and they were definitely one of the most interesting parts of the earlier book. Macy, Casha nd Loc do still get around a bit, though.


3.5 out of 5

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Catching Crumbs From the Table - Ted Chiang

Vignette

Number of words : 770
Percent of complex words : 25.2
Average syllables per word : 1.9
Average words per sentence : 28.6


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 21.5
Flesch : 14.8
Flesch-Kincaid : 18.3



PEOPLE

Humphries

Histocompatibility genetics expert.

Sugimoto

A gene therapist.


TECHNOLOGY

Digital neural transfer

Information access method.

ExaCollider

Physics research machine.


PLACES

Gobi desert

Covering part of Southern Mongolia.


CONCEPTS

Neurogenesis

Process by which neurons are made, particularly before birth.

Textual hermenutics

Interpreting metahuman science.



RACES

Metahumans

Modified humans.


PLOT

Written in academic scientific style, discussing the worth of whether humans should try and analyse the intellectual achievements of metahumans.


3.5 out of 5

Luminous - Greg Egan

Number of words : 12600
Percent of complex words : 13.1
Average syllables per word : 1.6
Average words per sentence : 15.3


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 11.4
Flesch : 54.0
Flesch-Kincaid : 9.5


PEOPLE

Bruno

Alison's ex-lover and co-operator. Mapper of mathematical defects.

Alison

Bruno's ex-lover and co-operator. Has idea that mathematics might be wonkier than we think.

Julia and Ramesh

Friends of theirs.

Andrew Wiles

Princeton researcher.

Lu Xun

A writer.

Andy Warhol

Artist.

Mao

Chinese leader.

Pinochet

Chilean dictator.

Yuen Ting-fu

Alison's supervisor for her Ph.D. on advanced applications of ring theory.

Cantor

A famous mathematician.


PLACES

Shanghai

Large Chinese city.

Hotel Fleapit

In Shanghai.

Hanoi

Vietnamese city.

Yuyuan Bazaar

Market in Shanghai.

Helsinki

Finnish city.

Zurich

Swiss city.


TECHNOLOGY

Necrotrap

Implanted carrying technology that breaks if disconnected from the host's biology.

Luminous

Chinese supercomputer made of light.

Surgical grade tissue repair cream

Good for stopping bleeding.


CONCEPTS

Mandarin

Chinese dialect.

Fermat's Last Theorem

No three positive integers a , b, and c can satisfy the equation an + bn = cn for any integer value of n.

Platonist

Follower of Plato's ideas.

Big Bang

Universe creation event.


ORGANISATIONS

Industrial Algebra

Aggressive UK IT company that wants their secrets.

Star TV

International Asian broadcaster.

Fu-tan University

Where Alison studied ring theory.

Exxon

Large corporation.

McDonnell-Douglas

Large corporation.

People's Institute for Advanced Optical Engineering

In Minhang. Houses Luminous and Yuen works there.


RACES

Han

A Chinese race that Bruno looks nothing like.

Australopithecus

Early human ancestor.


MEDIA

1984

Science fiction novel by George Orwell.

Winston Smith

Major character in 1984.


ANIMALS

Sea-urchin

Small, shiny ball-shaped ocean creature.


PLOT

Bruno wakes, having been found by an agent, but their precautions defeat her.

In June 1994, his fellow student Alison and he had a discussion, where she said:
"You're claiming that . . . mathematics might be strewn with primordial defects in consistency? Like space might be strewn with cosmic strings?"

"Exactly." She stared back at me, feigning nonchalance. "If space-time doesn't join up with itself smoothly, everywhere . . . why should mathematical logic?"

Which led to them researching such defects with success, and to agents of IA wanting their secrets to use in financial manipulations.

To further their work they manage to obtain some time on the most advanced computer in the world, thanks to Alison's old supervisor. They are quite shocked to find that what they are doing is being resisted - and stunned when they are contacted with information from this far side realm.


5 out of 5

http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/b974/Luminous/Greg-Egan/?

Nunivak Snowflakes - Alastair Reynolds

Short Story

Number of words : 7000
Percent of complex words : 14.6
Average syllables per word : 1.6
Average words per sentence : 11.4


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 10.4
Flesch : 59.5
Flesch-Kincaid : 7.8



PEOPLE

Naluvara

An Innupiat healer in Nunivak.

Dr Tania Tollefson

Naluvura's soon to be ex-girlfriend and time travel message sender.

Apik

Naluvura's friend who also has a thing for Tania.

Ugrook

Elderly hunter and patient of Naluvura's.

Ubu, Jim, Angie and Dawn

Other intelligent spacetime infectees.



PLACES

Nunivak

Naluvaru's town. An Eskimo melting pot.

Bering Sea

Where Nunivak is.

Spike's

Local watering hole.

Soweto

Part of Johannesburg in South Africa.

Wind Farm

Place in Nunivak Tania warns Naluvara to stay away from.



ORGANISATIONS

Netsilik

An Innupiat family.

Radio Wainwright

Local shortwave station.

Barrow—Cultural Contingencies

Concerned with possible Eskimo extinction.


RACES

Tannik

Innupiat term for Caucasians.

Chugach

Innupiat term for Southern American Indians.

Innpuiat

Northern America cold-dwelling natives.



VEHICLES

Seaplane

Flying vehicle that can land on water.

Snowcat

Ice working tractor type vehicle.


TECHNOLOGY

Mukluks

Animal skin boots used in the Arctic.

Mass-sensor

Used for checking spacetime variations.


WEAPONS

Uzis

Submachine guns.


CONCEPTS

The Change

What happens after intelligent spacetime.


PLOT

Naluvara is a local shaman and healer with an artificial arm. However, the former is due to the fact that he is infected with viral intelligent spacetime, and so becomes a person of interest for the military, who are trying to combat it. Even though such action may not be necessary.

His girlfriend Tania has been sending him messages via dead fish and other means, but from the future, to warn him of what has been going on. It also freaked out various governments to get a greeting, frozen in 26,000 year old fish they just uncovered, all in their local language.


3.5 out of 5

Byrd Land Six - Alastair Reynolds

Short Story

Number of words : 6600
Percent of complex words : 11.4
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 9.6



READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 8.4
Flesch : 67.8
Flesch-Kincaid : 6.2

PEOPLE

Dr Everard

Researcher at BL6.

Villiers

In command at Byrd Land Six.

Vaughan Williams

A composer.

Weber

Colleague of Everard's.

Cookie

Byrd Land Six meteorologist.

Navarre

Worker at Byrd Land Six.

Chu

Theorist involved with the Franson pairs.


MEDIA

Sinfonia Antartica

A Williams composition.


PLACES

Getz ice shelf

Where Byrd Land Six is, in Antarctica.

Byrd Land Six

BL6, an Antarctic research station.

Punta Arenas

Chilean city.

McMurdo

Another Antarctic base.

Russkaya

Another Antarctic base.


VEHICLES

Antonovs

Ski-equipped transport vehicles.

Skidoo

A snowmobile, personal transport on the ice.


TECHNOLOGY

Franson pair

Entangled doubles that allow remote operation on site in real time, despite vast distances.

Anemometer

Meteorological data collector.


CONCEPTS

Teleoperation

Working with machines remotely, even from another planet.


PLOT

Everard works at BL6 in not the best assignment. Strange things begin happening with the weather. Even worse, they find their meteorologist as a human icy pole.

Working out something strange is going on with the appearance of Villiers, he explains: 'Take two locations, such as BL6 and the lunar base, connected by a Franson link.' His hand—which, Everard noted, was entirely steady—drew an A and B on the paper, two or three inches apart, then a dashed line between them. 'Information can now flow between A and B instantaneously. As Chu pointed out, causality can only be maintained if A and B become isolated from the rest of the universe. Provided no information from either A or B can escape elsewhere, the linking creates no causal violation.' He drew a dumbbell shape which enclosed A, B and the dashed line of the link. 'Now, no one took Chu's prediction very seriously. Except possibly Mother Nature.' Grinned. 'She's encapsulated us, you see. Locked us in. The ultimate Iron Curtain.'

When they check it out, Villiers is killed by a teleoperated robot, and Everard eventually talks to Chu in the paired facility. Only one lot can get out, and Chu is alone where she is, so says she will nuke the BL6 facility so that Everard and Weber can get the hell out of there.


4 out of 5

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Soiree - Alastair Reynolds

Short Story

Number of words : 4800
Percent of complex words : 13.2
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 13.4


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 10.6
Flesch : 63.4
Flesch-Kincaid : 7.7



PEOPLE

Alice Hodgkin

A human personality.

Gil Peterson

A human personality and Alice's colleague.

Captain Prescott Fisher

Of the Starcrosser.

Georgina Crane

Starcrosser, antimatter physics and swimming expert.


PLACES

Benevolence

An interstellar colony planet.

Glimmer Bay

Near Benevolence's equator.


VEHICLES

Starcrosser

Human Interstellar ship.


ORGANISATIONS

Planetary Coordination Commitee

Running the show on Benevolence.


CONCEPTS

Singularity

When machine intelligence overtakes human.


A human ship reaches the planet Benevolence, and upon awakening are surprised to find people there ahead of them. They are welcomed and put at their ease about fitting in.

However, that is not the whole story. The Starcrosser left to escape the Singularity. However, humanity's successors beat them there. The first time they were awakened the humans turned violent, killed one of their hosts and were in turn killed. However, the Benevolents worked out how to reanimate bodies and restore minds, and went through the process again, perfecting the simulation and illusion.

They decided that some of their number needed to forego their greater civilisation and instead live as humans, and integrate the newcomers. This sacrifice of course makes Alice sad.


4 out of 5

On the Oodnadatta - Alastair Reynolds

Neural disincorporation farewell showup revenge bovine baby host roadtrain massacre mangaroo mission deal.


4 out of 5

Monkey Suit - Alastair Reynolds

Volition box Melding Plague ship chip dead man fix.


4 out of 5

Nunivak Snowflakes - Alastair Reynolds

Time travelling dead fish rain arm stealing mail delivery.


3.5 out of 5

Viper - Alastair Reynolds

Murderer parole test mobile prison psych-out.


4 out of 5

Soiree - Alastair Reynolds

I gotta be human? Makes me want to cry.


4 out of 5

Byrd Land Six - Alastair Reynolds

Freezing entangled isolation nuclear sacrifice escape.


4 out of 5

Thursday, June 10, 2010

WANTED

For Analysis, copies of Leigh Brackett's

The Ark of Mars
The Teleportress of Alpha C

Silent Partner
The Tiger Among Us/Fear No Evil/13 West Street
An Eye For An Eye

Rio Bravo
Follow the Free wind

The Cutie - Greg Egan

Short Story

Number of words : 4400
Percent of complex words : 10.4
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 19.3


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 11.9
Flesch : 58.0
Flesch-Kincaid : 10.0



PEOPLE

Diane

A woman who doesn't want a kid.

Frank

A man who does want a kid.

Bach

A composer.

Angel

The Cutie.


ORGANISATIONS

EFT

Manufacturers of the Cutie kit.


TECHNOLOGY

Cabbage Patch Doll

A toy.

Video Baby

A toy.

Computer Crib

A toy.

Black Box

Part of the system used for making and monitoring Cuties.


CONCEPT

Cutie

A child substitute made by genetic modification of the donor's DNS. Stupider than puppies.




PLOT

A man who really wants a child cannot find a willing partner and decides to carry a Cutie to term. A genetically modified person that is made to look like a cute baby, but to be dumb and not live long enough to make it past this stage.


4 out of 5

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Reavers of Skaith - Leigh Brackett

Novel

Number of words : 60000
Percent of complex words : 6.9
Average syllables per word : 1.4
Average words per sentence : 12.7


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 7.8
Flesch : 75.7
Flesch-Kincaid : 5.9



PEOPLE


Eric John Stark

N'Chaka, wild man of Mercury. The Dark Man of prophecy.

Simon Ashton

Stark's mentor and father figure. Reunited after finding him on
Skaith, and now Stark's counsel.

Gelmar

Chief Wandsman of Skeg.

Baya

A Farer woman working for Gelmar. Hates Stark deeply.

Gerrith

Wise woman of Irnan, and prophet.

Yarrod

An Irnanese leader and martyr. Now a rallying cry for his people in battle.

Breca

Halk's shieldmate, slain in battle.

Halk

An apostate Wandsman, now with Yarrow, a warrior. Breca's shieldmate.

Mordach

Chief Wandsman of Irnan.

Kazimni

An Irnan military leader.

Hargoth

Priest-king of the Towers. The Corn King.

Kell a Marg

A leader of the Children of Skaith-Our-Mother. The Skaith-Daughter.

Gerd

The leader of the Northhounds with Stark.

Ferdias

One of the Lords Protector.

Klatlekt

Hairless, horny, four-armed and tentacled doorkeeper of the Fallarin.

Alderyk

King of the Fallarin.

Houndmaster

Keeper of the Northhounds at Yurunna.

Grith

One of Stark's Northhounds.

Tuchvar

From Tregad, an apprentice houndmaster.

Pedrallon

A red Wandsman Coordinator, disgraced for being pro-migration. In
captivity and despair.

Sabak

Ildann's son.

Delvor

Warlord of Tregad.

Sanghalain

Ruler of Iubar, in the White South.

Morn

Comrade of Sanghalain, has the mind-touch.

Jal Bartha

A Wandsman.

Llandric

A Wandsman of Pedrallon's.

Penkawr-Che

A raider ship captain. An Antarean.

Gorrel

One of the Lords Protector. Dying.

Norverann

Priestess of the Nithi.

Cethlin

The Bridegroom.

Ceidrin

Cethlin's brother.

Ironmaster

Thyran warleader.

Vaybars

Fallarin friend of Alderyk.

Delbane

Oldest of the Kings of the White Islands.

Aud

Youngest of the Kings of the White Islands.

Wendor

An Irnan man.


PLACES

Pax

The chief habitable planet of Vega.

Skaith

A newly discovered world in the Orion Spur, with a dying sun.

Skeg

The spaceport on Skaith.

Fertile Belt

Most of the Skaith population live past here.

The Barrens

Area of Skaith interior.

Worldheart

Where lies the Citadel of the Lords Protector.

Irnan

A city-state of Skaith in the temperate zone.

Izvand

A city in the Barrens.

Bleak Mountains

A large range.

Witchfires

Mountain range near Thyra.

House of the Mother

Children of Skaith-Our-Mother dwelling.

The Citadel

Dwelling of the Lords Protector. Now a smoking ruin.

Yurunna

A strong city. Where the Yur are bred, and other mutations.

Ged Darod

City of the Wandsmen.

The Place of Winds

Where the Fallarin live.

Tregad

A city-state, east of Irnan and north of Ged Darod.

Iubar

A City-state.

Sol One

Mercury.

Andapell

Pedrallon's city.

Plain of Worldheart

Where Penkawr-Che held Stark captive.

Leaning Man

A rock formation.

Thermal Pits

Near the Witchfires.

House of Winter

Nithi ritual dwelling.

Thyra

Skaith city-state.

Cereleng

Chief seaport and capital of Andapell.

Hall of Joyful Rest

Inside the Children of Skaith's House.

Sea of Skorva

Where the Izvand live. Froze early.

Palace of the Twelve

Seat of authority in Ged Darod.

Shallafonh

City of the Ssussminh.

Holy Isle

Of the White Islanders, a giant iceberg.

Sun Temple

In Ged Darod.

Temple of the Dark Goddess

In Ged Darod.

Hercules Cluster

Site of a ship battle between the Union and Penkawr-Che's raiders.





CONCEPTS

Galactic Union

A democratic federation of star-worlds flung across half the Milky Way.

Three Ladies

A constellation viewed from Skaith.

Strayer

A god with a hammer.

Flying Dutchman

A mythical ghost ship.

Second Wandering

Current upheaval on Skaith.

The Trinity

My lady Cold and her lord Darkness, and their daughter Hunger.

Universal

Galactic common language.


ORGANISATIONS

Ministry of Planetary Affairs

Simon Ashton's employer on Pax.

Galactic Center

Based at Pax.

Lords Protector

Skaith Rulers. Heads of the Wandsmen.

Wild Bands

Groups of bandits.

Diviners

Children of Skaith-Our-Mother priests.

Lesser Hearths of the Seven Hearths of Kheb : The Reavers of Skaith -
Leigh Brackett

A suffering group of lesser tribes.

Guild of Masons

Children of Skaith builders.

Four Kings

Rulers of the White Islands.




RACES

Harsenyi

Nomads.

Farers

Wanderers and hedonists.

Children of the Sea-Our-Mother

Ocean dwellers that find people tasty. A genetic hybrid experiment
that is reverting.

Little Sisters of the Sun

Desert altered humans.

Children of Skaith-Our-Mother

White furred people, genetically modified.

Wandsmen

The ruling class of Skaith.

Irnan

One of the migrating peoples. Have applied to emigrate off the dying
planet via the Galactic Union.

The Ochar

A once powerful tribe. The First-Come.

The Fallarin

A winged people created through mutation. Flightless, but psychokinetic.

Hann

A Lesser Hearth tribe.

Marag

A Lesser Hearth tribe.

Kref

A Lesser Hearth tribe.

Thuran

A Lesser Hearth tribe.

Qard

A Lesser Hearth tribe.

Thorn

A Lesser Hearth tribe.

The Nithi

A tribe of goddess worshippers.

People of the Towers

Hargoth's sorcerer-priests.

Ssussminh

Morn's telepathic people.

People of the White Islands

Desperate and very martial tribe.


ANIMALS

Northhounds

Large intelligent telepathic canines.

Tarf

Servants of the Fallarin.



TECHNOLOGY


Water of Vision

An Irnan tool of foresight.

Tlun

A mind-expanding drug.

Robe and the Crown

Destroyed Irnan tool of Gerrith's.

The finger-bones of the Spring Child

People of the Towers divination device.


MEDIA

Hymn of Life

Song of the Little Sisters of the Sun.

Hymn of Deliverance

Song of the People of the Towers.


VEHICLES

Planet hopper

Small transport craft from a spaceship used for in-atmosphere travel.

Arkeshti

Penkawr-Che's ship.


The book starts with a betrayal, that of the raider Penkawr-Che's.
Rather than ferry Ashton to the Galactic Union, he has sold him and
Stark both into captivity. So yet again Stark has to try and escape
and build alliances that can hold together the cities he has taken for
the rebels and others.

This time, as the title suggests, he leads his band of followers by
sea, to Pedrallon's home and the white islands.

Meanwhile, all is converging on Ged Daron as the planet cools, and crops fail.
Gerrith's final sacrifice gives a boost to the pro-migration force
when they need it, and Stark still commands the Northhounds left
alive. He has to take the city of the Wandsmen fast, before all the
technology that can communicate with the starships leaving the
spaceport is destroyed, leaving them all doomed.


4 out of 5

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Hounds of Skaith - Leigh Brackett

Novel

Number of words : 60000
Percent of complex words : 6.7
Average syllables per word : 1.4
Average words per sentence : 11.7


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 7.4
Flesch : 77.8
Flesch-Kincaid : 5.3






PEOPLE


Eric John Stark

N'Chaka, wild man of Mercury. The Dark Man of prophecy.

Simon Ashton

Stark's mentor and father figure. Reunited after finding him on Skaith.

Gelmar

Chief Wandsman of Skeg.

Baya

A Farer woman working for Gelmar.

Gerrith

Wise woman of Irnan, and prophet.

Yarrod

An Irnanese leader and martyr.

Breca

Halk's shieldmate, slain in battle.

Halk

An apostate Wandsman, now with Yarrow, a warrior. Breca's shieldmate.

Mordach

Chief Wandsman of Irnan.

Jerann

Irnan Council chief.

Kazimni

An Irnan military leader.

Amnir

A Komrey trader, that died in conflict with Stark.

Hargoth

Priest-king of the Towers.

Vasth

A Wandsman.

Kell a Marg

A leader of the Children of Skaith-Our-Mother. The Skaith-Daughter.

Fenn

One of the Children of Skaith-Our-Mother. A courtier.

Ferdic

One of the Children of Skaith-Our-Mother. A courtier.

Flay

The old Northhound king-dog.

Gerd

The leader of the Northhounds with Stark.

Ferdias

One of the Lords Protector.

Yetko

An Harsenyi.

Ekmal

An Ochar chief.

Jofr

Ekmal's son.

Ildann

Hearth-Keeper of the Hann.

Romek

Keeper of the Hearth of Ochar.

Klatlekt

Hairless, horny, four-armed and tentacled doorkeeper of the Fallarin.

Alderyk

King of the Fallarin.

Houndmaster

Keeper of the Northhounds at Yurunna.

Mika

The Houndmaster's favorite bitch.

Grith

One of Stark's Northhounds.

Tuchvar

From Tregad, an apprentice houndmaster.

Varik

A Farer boy.

Pedrallon

A red Wandsman Coordinator, disgraced for being pro-migration.

Sabak

Ildann's son.

Clain

A red Wandsman.

Delvor

Warlord of Tregad.

Welnic

Red Wandsman of Tregad.

Sanghalain

Ruler of Iubar, in the White South.

Morn

Comrade of Sanghalain, has the mind-touch.

Jal Bartha

A Wandsman.

Llandric

A Wandsman of Pedrallon's.

Penkawr-Che

A ship captain.



PLACES

Pax

The chief habitable planet of Vega.

Pax

The major city of the chief habitable planet of Vega.

Twilight Belt

Habitable zone on Mercury.

Skaith

A newly discovered world in the Orion Spur.

Skeg

The spaceport on Skaith.

Fertile Belt

Most of the Skaith population live past here.

The Barrens

Area of Skaith interior.

Worldheart

Where lies the Citadel of the Lords Protector.

Irnan

A city-state of Skaith in the temperate zone.

Izvand

A city in the Barrens.

Komrey

City-state of Skaith.

Bleak Mountains

A large range.

Witchfires

Mountain range near Thyra.

House of the Mother

Children of Skaith-Our-Mother dwelling.

The Citadel

Dwelling of the Lords Protector. Now a smoking ruin.

Yurunna

A strong city. Where the Yur are bred, and other mutations.

Orion Spur

Largely unexplored area of the galaxy.

Ged Darod

City of the Wandsmen.

Hearth of Hann

Where the Hann live.

Ennaker

Skaith name for a Star also called Fregor by those that live on its third world, and Chunt.

The Place of Winds

Where the Fallarin live.

Tears of Lek

A lake.

Tregad

A city-state, east of Irnan and north of Ged Darod.

Greath Sea of Skaith

An ocean to the south.

Iubar

A City-state.


CONCEPTS

Galactic Union

A democratic federation of star-worlds flung across half the Milky Way.

Three Ladies

A constellation viewed from Skaith.

Great Migrations

People moving because of the changing conditions on Skaith.

Dark Goddess

Deity worshipped by the Outdwellers.

Great Wandering

When more of Skaith was nomadic.

Strayer

A god with a hammer.

Skaith-Mother, Sea-Mother, Sky-Father

Skaith deities.




ORGANISATIONS

Ministry of Planetary Affairs

Simon Ashton's employer on Pax.

Mercury Metals and Mining

Stark's parents worked here when they were killed.

Galactic Center

Based at Pax.

Lords Protector

Skaith Rulers. Heads of the Wandsmen.

Wild Bands

Groups of bandits.

Diviners

Children of Skaith-Our-Mother priests.

Earth Police Control

Ashton's old employer when he found Stark as a boy.

Lesser Hearths of the Seven Hearths of Kheb

A suffering group of lesser tribes.



RACES

Harsenyi

Nomads.

Farers

Wanderers and hedonists.

Children of the Sea-Our-Mother

Ocean dwellers that find people tasty. A genetic hybrid experiment that is reverting.

Little Sisters of the Sun

Desert altered humans.

Children of Skaith-Our-Mother

White furred people, genetically modified.

Wandsmen

The ruling class of Skaith.

Irnan

One of the migrating peoples. Have applied to emigrate off the dying planet via the Galactic Union.

The Ochar

A powerful tribe. The First-Come.

Yur

The Well-Created. Strangely modified beings.

The Fallarin

A winged people created through mutation. Flightless, but psychokinetic.

Hann

A Lesser Hearth tribe.

Marag

A Lesser Hearth tribe.

Kref

A Lesser Hearth tribe.

Thuran

A Lesser Hearth tribe.

Qard

A Lesser Hearth tribe.

Thorn

A Lesser Hearth tribe.


ANIMALS

Northhounds

Large intelligent telepathic canines.

Runners

Monsters that prey on people in the desert storms, very strong.

Swiftwing

Sky-piercer. Wind-rider. Lightning-brother. A bird of war.

Tarf

Servants of the Fallarin.



TECHNOLOGY


Water of Vision

An Irnan tool of foresight.


MEDIA

Hymn of Life

Song of the Little Sisters of the Sun.


VEHICLES

Planet hopper

Small transport craft from a spaceship used for in atmosphere travel.

Arkeshti

Penkawr-Che's ship.


The second part of the Skaith trilogy follow directly from the first. Stark has turned the Citadel of the Lords Protector into a flaming ruin, and now leads a pack of Northounds - the most powerful creatures on the planet. With Ashton at this side this allows him to attempt to put together more forces and alliances that can oppose the Wandsmen and their feudal grasp on power.

He travels to other places than in the first, to the tribes of the Lesser Hearths, and the Fallarin, and uses some lateral thrinking to help the former take down the Ochar, who work for the Wandsmen.

With new allies, he also has to break the hold the centre for mutation Yurunna has.

Finally, he needs to get Ashton off planet, with some envoys, to try and get some high tech aide via politics, in case things turn ugly back on Skaith, where he has decided to stay.


4.5 out of 5

The Ginger Star - Leigh Brackett

Novel

Number of words : 55000
Percent of complex words : 6.7
Average syllables per word : 1.4
Average words per sentence : 11.0


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 7.1
Flesch : 77.8
Flesch-Kincaid : 5.1



PEOPLE

Eric John Stark

N'Chaka, wild man of Mercury. The Dark Man of prophecy.

Simon Ashton

Stark's mentor and father figure. Missing in the field.

Gelmar

Chief Wandsman of Skeg.

Baya

A Farer woman working for Gelmar.

Gerrith

Wise woman of Irnan, and prophet. The Sun Woman.

Yarrod

An Irnanese leader who helps Stark.

Breca

A warrior in Yarrow's fake Pod. Halk's shieldmate.

Halk

An apostate Wandsman, now with Yarrow, a warrior. Breca's shieldmate.

Mordach

Chief Wandsman of Irnan.

Jerann

Irnan Council chief.

Kazimni

An Irnan military leader.

Old One

Elder of Stark's boyhood tribe on Mercury.

Atril

One of Yarrow's men. Wake's brother.

Wake

One of Yarrow's men. Atril's brother.

Amnir

A Komrey trader.

Horgath

Priest-king of the Towers.

Kintoth

Towers fighting captain.

Slee

An Outdweller woman.

Slaifed

An Outdweller guide.

Ironmaster

Leader in the Iron House.

Vasth

A Wandsman.

Kell a Marg

A leader of the Children of Skaith-Our-Mother. The Skaith-Daughter.

Fenn

One of the Children of Skaith-Our-Mother.

Ferdic

One of the Children of Skaith-Our-Mother.

Flay

The old head Northhound.

Gerd

A young Northhound.

Ferdias

One of the Lords Protector.


PLACES

Pax

The chief habitable planet of Vega.

Pax

The major city of the chief habitable planet of Vega.

Twilight Belt

Habitable zone on Mercury.

Skaith

A newly discovered world in the Orion Spur.

Skeg

The spaceport on Skaith.

Fertile Belt

Most of the Skaith population live past here.

The Barrens

Area of Skaith.

Worldheart

Where lies the Citadel of the Lords Protector.

Irnan

A city-state of Skaith in the temperate zone.

Izvand

A city in the Barrens.

Lamp of the North

Moon of Skaith.

Komrey

City-state of Skaith.

Thyra

A Skaith city near the Witchfires.

Bleak Mountains

A large range.

Witchfires

Mountain range near Thyra.

Iron House

Thyran dwelling of authority.

House of the Mother

Children of Skaith-Our-Mother dwelling.

Tlavia

Queen City of the High North before the Wandering.

Plain of Worldheart

Where the Northhounds prowl.


CONCEPTS

Galactic Union

A democratic federation of star-worlds flung across half the Milky Way.

Galactic Arbitrary Time

A standard reference for use on multiple planets.

Three Ladies

A constellation viewed from Skaith.

Great Migrations

People moving because of the changing conditions on Skaith.

Pod

A collection of people so thoroughly sensitized by a species of group therapy that they no longer existed as individuals but only as interdependent parts of a
single organism.

Total Fulfillment

Endgame desire of Pods.

Pod-Master

Trainer of Pods.

Darkness, and his lady Cold, and their daughter Hunger

Tower deities.

Winter Dreaming

Towers ritual.

Dark Goddess

Deity worshipped by the Outdwellers.

Great Wandering

When more of Skaith was nomadic.



ORGANISATIONS

Ministry of Planetary Affairs

Simon Ashton's employer on Pax.

Mercury Metals and Mining

Stark's parents worked here when they were killed.

Galactic Center

Based at Pax.

Lords Protector

Skaith Rulers.

Wild Bands

Groups of bandits.

Diviners

Children of Skaith-Our-Mother priests.

Earth Police Control

Ashton's old employer when he found Stark as a boy.



RACES

Harsenyi

Nomads.

Outdwellers

Iron-clawed beastly band near Thyra.

People of the Towers

The Thyrans say they're great magicians. The Gray Maggots.

Farers

Wanderers and hedonists.

Children of the Sea-Our-Mother

Ocean dwellers that find people tasty. A genetic hybrid experiment that is reverting.

Little Sisters of the Sun

Desert altered humans.

Children of Skaith-Our-Mother

White furred people, genetically modified.

Wandsmen

The ruling class of Skaith.

People of the Barrens

Those who live in the interior.

Irnan

One of the migrating peoples. Have applied to emigrate off the dying planet via the Galactic Union.


ANIMALS


Rock-lizard

Large reptile.

Northhounds

Large intelligent telepathic canines.

Snow-dragon

Really large winged reptile.


PLANTS

Love-weed

A plant used as an euphoric drug.


TECHNOLOGY

The Robe and Crown of Fate

Worn by Gerrith, a veil and diadem.

Water of Vision

An Irnan tool of foresight.

Holy Breath of the Goddess

Freezing death weapon.

The Eye of the Mother

A large crystal and telepathic device.


FOOD

Khamm

An Irnan booze, like sweet white lightning.


MEDIA

The Long Wandering, The Destruction of the Red Hunters, The Coming of Strayer

Thyran ballads.

The Hymn of Deliverance

Ritual song of the Towers.




Eric John Stark discovers that his mentor Simon Ashton has gone missing while ona field assignment for his his employers in the Galactic Union.

His investigations take him to the newly discovered and primitive planet Skaith, an exotic place currently rife with conflict, because the sun is dying, making life harder and harder all the time.

Here, a minority class in the Wandsmen rule the rest of the planet, but rebellion is in the offing, as people in the inner areas want to migrate and take the past offer of being shipped off a planet that is no longer livable. Conservative feudal rulers dont like their labor base just leaving, of course.

Further, there is a prophecy that matches Stark's arrival, that of the Dark Man. This religious symbolism is an aid to the cause and morale of the rebels. The hereditary prophetess Gerrith becomes an ally through all the treachery and betrayal and violence, including parts of the the civil war, that Stark has to endure to find his mentor at the Citadel of the Lords Protector, on the plain of Worldheart where the telepathic Northhounds roam.


4 out of 5

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Asimov's 413 - Sheila Williams

An interesting article by James Patrick Kelly centred around Free, and also Silverberg on Satan, and a bunch of Spinradian book reviews.

ASIMOVS 413 : THE EMPEROR OF MARS - Allen M. Steele
ASIMOVS 413 : PETOPIA - Benjamin Crowell
ASIMOVS 413 : MONKEY DO - Kit Reed
ASIMOVS 413 : THE PEACOCK CLOAK - Chris Beckett
ASIMOVS 413 : VOYAGE TO THE MOON - Peter Friend
ASIMOVS 413 : DREADNOUGHT NEPTUNE - Anna Tambour
ASIMOVS 413 : EARTH III - Stephen Baxter

Prefer planetary romance to reality.

3.5 out of 5


Jelly kicking.

3 out of 5


So smother the fucker.

2.5 out of 5


Fabbro follow.

3 out of 5


Majesty Glory mission.

3 out of 5


Careful with that Fact, Eugene.

3 out of 5


Long Tripp.

3.5 out of 5




2.5 out of 5

Earth III - Stephen Baxter

Long Tripp.


3.5 out of 5

Voyage To the Moon - Peter Friend

Majesty Glory mission.


3 out of 5

The Peacock Cloak - Chris Beckett

Fabbro follow.


3 out of 5

Monkey Do - Kit Reed

So smother the fucker.


2.5 out of 5

Petopia - Benjamin Crowell

Jelly kicking.


3 out of 5

The Emperor Of Mars - Allen M. Steele

Prefer planetary romance to reality.


3.5 out of 5

Dreadnought Neptune - Anna Tambour

Careful with that Fact, Eugene.


3 out of 5

Friday, June 4, 2010

Edge - John Meaney

Here's a near future thriller that teams an ex-military special forces information warfare specialist and a neurolinguistic programming excerpt.

Set in a UK that has devolved into a bit of the old bread and circuses. Knife fighting has been legalised - hence, big arena spectaculars on tv are the thing, rather than Manchester United versus Arsenal. Kids even do it at school.

The political landscape has changed - different country names - blocs of power in the USA, that sort of thing. And it is all starting to fall apart.

When our protagonist discovers illegal research being carried out by the powers that be, he decides on a rather showy revelation of such. Involving, of course, an arena spectacular.


3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, June 1, 2010