Saturday, December 18, 2010

Horn - Peter M. Ball

Virgin dick's fairy queen unicorn porn kill hunt.


3.5 out of 5

Apexology - Jason Sizemore

Apexology is a better than good book, with a broad range of styles and sub-genres of horror selected.

It turned out to be better than I thought it would be, with the selections solidly and consistently readable, with the upper tier being as different as the exponentially increasing weird dread of Paul Jessup to the highly amusing debutantes and Cthulhu provided by Pagliasotti.

No bad stories, either, which is extremely well done given you won't have any fingers or toes left after counting the number of tales in this volume.

Also, Apex specialised in science fiction horror, so you get more of that than you likely will in almost any other book. That is, more than one story. Many horror editors have a distinct aversion to such, it would seem.

For people looking for a large dose of right smack-bang in the middle horror, give Apexology a shot.

Apexology : It Tasted Like the Sea - Paul Jessup
Apexology : Summon Bind Banish - Nick Mamatas
Apexology : To Every Thing There is a Season - Dru Pagliassotti
Apexology : Life's a Beach - Alethea Kontis and Ariell Branson
Apexology : Kusatenda Uroyi - Gill Ainsworth
Apexology : Lottery - Gene O'Neill
Apexology : Cerbo en Vitra ujo - Mary Robinette Kowal
Apexology : The Spider in the Hairdo - Michael A. Burstein
Apexology : The Dark Side - Guy Hasson
Apexology : With the Beating of their Wings - Martel Sardina
Apexology : Enough to Make a Devil - R. Thomas Riley
Apexology : Flash of Light - Jason Sizemore
Apexology : Transylvania Mission - Lavie Tidhar
Apexology : Inside Looking Out or Falling Through the Worlds - Mari Adkins
Apexology : Powered - Deb Taber
Apexology : Disturbing Things - B.J. Burrow
Apexology : Eulogy for Muffin - Jennifer Brozek
Apexology : Hands of Heritage - Elizabeth Engstrom
Apexology : The Junkyard God - M. Zak Anwar and O.M.R. Anwar
Apexology : Bessie Green's Thumb - Fran Friel

For the wolf commandos. Yeah, nazi werewolves. The usual.

3.5 out of 5


Saw momma.

3 out of 5


Family feud all over again.

3.5 out of 5


Host cut smash.

3.5 out of 5


Yog-Sothoth in jail.

3.5 out of 5


For R'lyeh Coming Out.

4 out of 5


Transformation vixen hunt..

3.5 out of 5


Crowley likes the penis.

3 out of 5


Body harvested boy bits bonk breathe no more.

3.5 out of 5


Rooms of chopped up me, and others.

4 out of 5


Trying the dead thing.

3 out of 5


Pandemonium garden fertiliser.

3.5 out of 5


Staking dad Van Helsing.

3 out of 5


Invasion host.

3 out of 5


Damn, I'm possessed.

3.5 out of 5


Wild Hunt Mummy.

3.5 out of 5


Searat murder talk.

3 out of 5


Big Dog spare.

3.5 out of 5


Pool of Fallen Heroes.

3.5 out of 5


Ghost murder hunt.

3.5 out of 5



4 out of 5

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Fife of Bodidharma - Cordwainer Smith

Short Story

Number of words : 2900
Percent of complex words : 10.3
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 16.0


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 10.5
Flesch : 64.5
Flesch-Kincaid : 8.2


PEOPLE

Goldsmith

Made the fife and died as a result.

Bodidharma the Blessed One

Ancient religious leader who is given the fife.

German explorer

Found the fife.

Wolfgang Huene

A nazi who hates Hitler and finds the fife.

Hagen von Griin

One of the German rocket scientists who worked at Huntsville, Alabama.



TECHNOLOGY

Magical fife

A musical instrument. A chancy prediscovery of psionic powers with sonic triggering. Made of gold.

Onyx

A type of quartz.

Case No. 34 of the Dorotheum

Where the fife resided in Germany.


PLACES

Cathay

Another name for part of China.

Loyang

Chinese city.

Anyang

City in South Korea.

Rhine

German river.

Cape Canaveral

Site of USA space launches.


ORGANISATIONS

Northern Wei dynasty

Ancient Chinese rulers.

Toba Tartars

Chinese barbarians.

Volkssturm

German military group.

Harappa

A proto-Indian culture.


ANIMALS

Tiger and wolf and fox and jackal and snake and spider

Encountered by the Bodidharma.


VEHICLES

B-29s

Allied planes.


PLOT

A goldsmith makes a fife with special properties which has different owners over time from Bodidharmas to nazis. Eventually a rocket scientist uses it as a replacement strut in a launch and wonders if it matters in what setting he left it.


2.5 out of 5

Nancy - Cordwainer Smith

Short Story

Number of words : 4700
Percent of complex words : 8.5
Average syllables per word : 1.4
Average words per sentence : 10.5


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 7.6
Flesch : 77.0
Flesch-Kincaid : 5.1

PEOPLE

Gordon Greene

Originally Giordano Verdi. A Space Service officer.

Wallenstein

An old man.

Karl Vonderleyen

An old lieutenant of the service.



ORGANISATIONS

Space Service

Goes into the Up-and-Out.


TECHNOLOGY

Nancy

An imaginary virus created friend.

Sokta virus

Designed to be implanted in a person and released in the case of needing companionship in space.


PLANTS

Geraniums

A type of flower.


FOOD

Dago Red

A wine.


PLOT

Man cannot cope in space alone, so missions always have more than one person. However, if one dies then there is a problem. The sotka virus enables a person to experience an imaginary companion after it is triggered. In a military interview, such a story is recounted.


3.5 out of 5

Angerhelm - Cordwainer Smith

Novelette

Number of words : 8100
Percent of complex words : 10.0
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 12.3


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 9.0
Flesch : 70.9
Flesch-Kincaid : 6.4


PEOPLE

Assistant

To Mr Spatz.

Mr Spatz

His boss.

Khruschev

Russian Prime Minister.

Secretary of State

USA cabinet member.

Undersecretary

Deputy to the Secretary of State.

Nelson Angerhelm

Of 2322 Ridge Drive, Hopkins, Minnesota. A 62-year-old retired poultry farmer. He had served in World I.

Colonel Plugg

A US army officer.

Lieutenant Colonel Potariskov

The Soviet Assistant Military Attache.

Colonel Tice Angerhelm

Nelson's younger brother, deceased.

Theiss Ankerhjelm

Swedish admiral a couple hundred years ago. A West Pointer in the Adjutant General's office.

Don Juan

Famous womaniser.

Soviet Ambassador

Head of the Soviet diplomatic mission.

Jensen

Angerhelm's pastor.

Mrs. Prai Jesselton

Tice's old girlfriend.


ORGANISATIONS

Department of the Army

US government department.

Signal Corps

Army intelligence gatherers.

Soviet Embassy

Diplomatic mission to the USA.

SAC base

Army facility.

FBI

Federal Bureau of Intelligence. USA national cops.


VEHICLES

Sputniks

Russian spacecraft.


CONCEPTS

Galactic clearance

Security rating. Galactic clearance came a little bit after Universal clearance.


PLACES

Minneapolis

US city.

Plattsburg

Town in New York.

Hopkins

A town in Minnesota, a diplomatic no travel zone.


VEHICLES

Chevrolet

A car.

Willys roadster

An old car.



PLOT

The intelligence communities of the USA and the Soviet Union are concerned about a message from a dead colonel to his retired brother in Minnesota. Especially as it doesn't matter what country you are in when you receive the broadcast and you can tell what it is.


3 out of 5

Induction - Greg Egan

Short Story

Number of words : 5300
Percent of complex words : 12.9
Average syllables per word : 1.6
Average words per sentence : 23.3


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 14.5
Flesch : 50.2
Flesch-Kincaid : 12.0


PEOPLE

Ikat

An astronaut on the moon.

Pope

Religious leader.

Qing

Ikat's colleague.

Mother

Of Ikat.

Father

Of Ikat.

Vikram Ali

Represents Khamoush Holdings.

Armstrong

First man on the moon.



TECHNOLOGY

Launch gun

Used for shooting payloads a long way into space at near light speeds.

Stage Nine

The ten-kilometre section of the barrel where the pellets would be accelerated from sixteen to eighteen per cent of light speed.

Maglev railway

Hover transport route.

Coil gun

Small space payload launcher.

Harbour Bridge

Sydney transport structure due for decommissioning.

Nanoware

Small manufacturing technology that is programmable.


ORGANISATIONS

Council of Islamic Scholars in Brussels

Religious academic group.

URC

Chinese government.

Magic Beans Inc.

Part of Khamoush Holdings.


PLACES

Potomac

River in Washington, DC, USA.

Procellarum

A moon base.

Bangkok

City in Thailand.

Prosperity B

A star in the target system.

Prosperity A

The larger companion star.

Duty

Prosperity A's fourth planet.

Aksai Chin

Part of China near India in the Tibet area.

Tokelau

Islands ruled by New Zealand.

Kowloon

Part of Hong Kong.

Mumbai

City in India.

Patience

A smaller planet in the prosperity system.


VEHICLES

Orchid Flower

Sent by launch gun and containing tiny pellets to be launched into space. The pellets that comprised the seed were not physically connected, but they would move in synch in a rigid pattern, forming a kind of sparse crystal whose spacing allowed it to interact strongly with the microwave radiation in the gun.

Pioneer 10

Early spacecraft.



CONCEPTS

Acorporeals

People that have left their bodies.


PLOT

Ikat is an astronaut on the moon, working on a project to launch a payload to nearby stars. Along with her friend Qing.

Then, in the future, people have the ability to be scanned and become posthuman, and the company that bought the rights to some of their early work has an offer for them - they can explore locally in person the new system. And from there, do further exploration.


4 out of 5

In Numbers - Greg Egan

Short Story

Number of words : 6900
Percent of complex words : 11.9
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 15.2


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 10.8
Flesch : 60.9
Flesch-Kincaid : 8.5


PEOPLE

Doctor Dreyfus

The medico on the Cyclops.

Andrew Callaghan

An engineer that has gone crazy due to the condition.

Jenny

Another crew member and cyberneticist.

Captain Salih al-Qasbi

Ship's leader.

Thomas Bwalya

Life-support engineer.

Greta Nordstrom

Communications engineer.

Kayathiri Sangaralingam

Drive specialist.



VEHICLES

Cyclops

A spaceship attempting to travel a record distance.


TECHNOLOGY

DDC-XV

A mixture of anti-viral agents.


CONCEPTS

Legionnella Six

A disease.

Cyclops Syndrome

Condition affecting Andrew Callaghan and the crew.

Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen experiment

Famous quantum mechanics work.


TECHNOLOGY

NMR spectra

Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy - a technique that exploits the magnetic properties of certain nuclei.

PET scans

Position emission tomography. A technique which produces a three-dimensional image or picture of functional processes in the body.

Nanomachines

Tiny robots that can be weapons or medical repair devices.


ORGANISATIONS

ISUSAT

A spaceflight centre.


MEDIA

The Plague

Work by Camus that inspired David to become a doctor.


PLOT

Dreyfus in the doctor on a ship that is attemping a voyage further out than anyone has gone before. The crew are beginning to come down with what seems like a disease that makes them crazy and dangerous, and in need of restraint.

It looks like it will affect all of them, so he has to make provision for everyone to be safe and to be fed by robot until they return.

However the condition seems to dissipate. He theorises that it may be because they have gone too far away from the rest of humanity, that there is some sort of quantum effect of life. If you go too far from Earth, your body will not be able to take it.


4 out of 5

The Star Surgeon's Apprentice - Alastair Reynolds

Novelette

Number of words : 10500
Percent of complex words : 7.5
Average syllables per word : 1.4
Average words per sentence : 9.7


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 6.9
Flesch : 76.5
Flesch-Kincaid : 4.5

PEOPLE


Peter Vandry

A boy who needs to get offworld in a hurry.

Master Khorog

Shipmaster and pirate.

Mister Zeal

The ship's surgeon.

Happy Jack

He and his gang are after Peter on Mokmer.

Lobot girl

An Iron Lady drive engineer.

Baby

A young Flux Swimmer.


PLACES

Juntura Spaceport

Where Peter wants to get a ride anywhere but here.

Mokmer

The planet he wants to leave.

Bafq Gap and Belterra Sphere

Places he doesn't want to go.

Frovolo

A planet he wants to get to, in the Frovolo Hub.

The Napier Belt

Before Frovolo.

Jelgava

Has a good antique weapons market.

Crab Pulsar

Has a strong magnetic field.


ORGANISATIONS

Kalarash Empire

An old civilisation.


WEAPONS

Bone gun

A sonic disruptor weapon.

Tranquilizer gun

Small, non-lethal weapon that looks like a soldering iron.


VEHICLES

Iron Lady

A pirate ship that is really the Devilfish.


TECHNOLOGY

Freezer

Ship cryogenics.

Ramscoop

Ship drive.


CONCEPTS

Lobots

Humans with brain surgery modifications to make them dumb and docile.

Wethead

An unmodified human.

St. Elmo's Fire

An electrical weather phenomenon.


RACES

Flux Swimmers

Creatures that live among stars and create magnetic fields. Can be used as a weapon as a result.


PLOT

Peter needs to get offplanet as some thugs are after him. He gains passage on the Iron Lady in trade and in labour, where he is to work as the apprentice surgeon for a crew of cyborgs.

The ship is really a pirate ship and also uses lobotomised human cyborgs as labour.

When the ship gets in a conflict he learns that they are actually the infamous crew of the pirate ship Devilfish, and that their advantage is a captive pair of Flux Swimmers, who have magnetic abilities that can be used to disable other ships.

Peter is horrified by this information given to him by a slightly less dumbed down lobot girl who tends them, and he decides to help her do something about bumping off the cyborg crew. That is, metal powers, cyborgs = bad combination for them if the Baby Flux Swimmer can be given enough food to make it strong enough to use its nascent abilities at this range.

The problem with this plan is the girl also has metal in her head, and it will kill her if Peter can't convince her to let him operate first, very, very fast.


4.5 out of 5