Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sovereign - R. M. Meluch

Breeding program distress.

From a more focused and intense start this one meanders at times aimlessly and disjointedly through the life of the product of a noble line that have special genetic bonds. He ends up offworld as a space navy captain, undergoing their crazed Red mental disease, getting a death collar, putting up with earth people and enemies, etc.


2.5 out of 5

Good News From Antares - Yves Menard

Writer alien.


3 out of 5

Residue - Michael Arsenault

Just stopped 'em with time travel.


3.5 out of 5

The Word He Was Looking For Was Hello - Alex Irvine

Them aliens look pretty familiar.


3.5 out of 5

Monday, March 28, 2011

Only Connect - Greg Egan

Vignette



Number of words : 750
Percent of complex words : 18.1
Average syllables per word : 1.7
Average words per sentence : 28.9


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 18.8
Flesch : 31.3
Flesch-Kincaid : 16.1


PEOPLE

E.M. Forster

A writer.

Kusnanto Sarumpaet

Javanese mathematician. Author of six papers on general relativity and QGT. Found a simple dynamical law related to tetravelt graphs which always leads to the average valence stabilising at four.

Michael Faraday

A physicist who had a notion of lines of force running between electric charges.

Roger Penrose

A physicist and his spin networks are trivalent graphs with each edge labelled by a half integer, corresponding to a possible value of the spin of a quantum particle.

William Thomson

Had a theory of atoms as knotted vortex tubes.

Lee Smolin and Carlo Rovelli

1990s Physicists. discovered an analogous result in quantum gravity, where spin network states have a simple geometric interpretation.

John Baez and Fotini Markopoulou and José-Antonio Zapata

Did ground-breaking work on the possible dynamical laws for spin networks in the early 21st century.


CONCEPTS

Graph

A set of nodes and edges.

QGT

In Quantum Graph Theory, a quantum state describing both the geometry of space and all the matter fields present is built up from combinations of graphs.

Quantum Field Theory

A spin network embedded in a region of space can be used to assign an amplitude to every possible configuration of a field. The quantum states defined in this way consist of lines of flux running along the edges of the network.

Tetravalent graphs

With the four edges emerging from each node giving area to the faces of a “quantum tetrahedron”.

Polymer states

Possibility of open chains of dopant nodes.


TECHNOLOGY

Orbital Accelerator Facility

Currently being used to test for polymer states.


PLOT

The history of the physics and mathematics underpinning the developments of Quantum Graph Theory and Quantum Field Theory.


3.5 out of 5

The Last Ride - Robert E. Howard

A good collection of western stories with the best work at the start. Later there are recurring characters in a couple - The Sonora Kid, and the big knife-wielding Grizzly Elkins. Much lead is flying in these corrupt Western towns. Except in the case of Yellow Donory, who can't get himself shot when he wants to.

Last Ride : The Last Ride - Robert E. Howard
Last Ride : The Extermination of Yellow Donory - Robert E. Howard
Last Ride : Knife Bullet and Noose - Robert E. Howard
Last Ride : The Devil's Joker - Robert E. Howard
Last Ride : Vultures' Sanctuary - Robert E. Howard
Last Ride : Law-Shooters of Cowtown - Robert E. Howard
Last Ride : Gunman's Debt - Robert E. Howard


The only not no-good Laramie comes back to the town his brothers terrorised to try and make up for it - and deal with a group of impostors and their scheme.

4 out of 5


Suicide by gunman failure gives a new outlook.

3.5 out of 5


The Sonora Kid finds out the bloke holding the bag has it in for him, and the knives are out.

3.5 out of 5


The Sonora Kid realises gutshooting a fan for throwing a legless reptile at him was an overreaction that might get his neck stretched.

He defends the sheriff who comes looking for him from his gunman associates after he fails to blow his head off.

3.5 out of 5


A man trying to rescue a girl has an interesting strategy for getting her out of the fortress of an enemy gunman. Offer himself up and tell him he has done a deal with his own gang to get him.

3 out of 5


Put you in jail over dodgy gambling so you can be lynched to cover their bank robbery. Unless you are an incredibly strong crazy man with a good horse.

3.5 out of 5


When a man thinks he has no enemies in Kansas, unless one guy who wants to kill him and he is feuding with shows up, guess who is lying in wait in ambush? Complete with a crooked boss who wants to take over everything.

Time for a Grizzly Elkins teamup.

3 out of 5



4 out of 5

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Reification Highway - Greg Egan

A family of multiversal traders looking for Logic get a big scare when they uncover what may be the pure product.


4 out of 5

Reification Highway - Greg Egan

Short Story


Number of words : 5200
Percent of complex words : 12.2
Average syllables per word : 1.6
Average words per sentence : 12.9


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 10.0
Flesch : 62.2
Flesch-Kincaid : 7.8



PEOPLE

Elena

A multiversal trader.

Khali

Elena's thirteen year old child.

Robert Chalmer

A multiversal trader who found a giant logic lode.

Turing

A computer programmer.


PLACES

Chalmer's Rock

Place where he previously scored big, twenty thousand light years from Earth, where Earth exists. Elena is obsessed with this across the multiverse.


TECHNOLOGY

Exoskin

A sophisticated thin bioelectronic spacesuit

Reified logic

Not made of atoms, has no nuclei. It experienced gravity, and electromagnetism -
allowing it to embed in ordinary matter and able to be handled-but it didn't feel the strong force, so neutrons passed right through it. Altered logic could undermine almost any law of physics - although most often, it was simply used to pump out a quantity of energy limited only by the ingenuity of the logic engineers.

Body Adaptation

Could recycle their own metabolites almost endlessly, phosphorylating ADP by an alternative pathway powered by alpha decay. Inside specialized liver cells, clusters of plutonium atoms were wrapped in giant multi-layered enzymes. which stole energy from the alpha particles in small enough increments to avoid being torn apart.

Portable surveying unit

Logs gravimetric data.

Nanoware replicators

Tiny self-building machines, useful for mining but can be dangerous.

Infrared spectroscopy probe

Used for determining the composition of materials.


VEHICLES

Stalker

Their ship.



PLOT

Elena and Khali are multiversal traders. Khali is her genetically enginereed child. They are enhanced humans. Through faster than light travel by ship and wormholes they move from universe to universe. Among other gear traded, Elena is obsessed with mining Reified Logic and a particular lode Robert Chalmer found. A rare substance that can be used to do almost anything, like provide huge amounts of power or actually change the laws of physics.

When in this universe they travel to this version of Chalmer's Rock, they find strangeness, possible nanotechnology and conditions that can make their actual ideas and logic reality. If everything can be a Thing, what about the primitive basal levels of their minds? They run. Khali is badly freaked out until Elena decks her so they can leave.


4 out of 5

The Moat - Greg Egan

Short Story


Number of words : 4200
Percent of complex words : 11.9
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 17.3


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 11.6
Flesch : 59.9
Flesch-Kincaid : 9.2


PEOPLE

Lawyer

Works at Matheson and Singh's on refugee work.

Ranjit

Brings a lot of work in to Matheson and Singh.

Jack Kelly

Fortress Australia guru.

Rachel

A forensic pathologist, his fiance.

Senator Margaret Allwick

Leader of the Green Alliance.


ORGANISATIONS

Fortress Australia

A racist group.

Matheson and Singh

His employer, a law firm who have refugee assistance as one of their specialties.

Law Society

Frowns on using AI to do legal work.


PLACES

Newtown

Suburb of Sydney.

Macquarie Street

In the Sydney CBD.

Berne

City in Switzerland.


TECHNOLOGY

LEX

Pseudo-intelligent software.


CONCEPTS

RFLP

Restriction fragment length polymorphisms – gene sequences.

Allwick Bill

The Senator's legislation, defeated.


PLOT

In an overpopulated and environmentally suffering Australia, racists groups and the Greens actually agree on something, refugees should be kept out. A bill is tabled to that effect.

A lawyer that works with a firm that does work for refugees has a fiance who is a forensic pathologist, and working on a rape case she has found something disturbing. Evidence of a person with different DNA. It would take wealthy to do something like this, but these people would be immune to viruses that attack normal humans. The implication being that this wealthy group could target the rest of humanity biologically via this method.

Later, the bill fails to pass, the leader of Fortress Australia is discredited as a criminal and no further discoveries have been made by Rachel, but the disturbing possibility awaits.


4.5 out of 5

Before - Greg Egan

A reporter on a junket to an orbital hotel gets to cover the story of an accident at an accelerator facility smashing monopoles together. Strange things happen.


4 out of 5

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Beyond the Whistle Test - Greg Egan

Short Story

Number of words : 5500
Percent of complex words : 12.4
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 17.4


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 11.9
Flesch : 60.3
Flesch-Kincaid : 9.2


PEOPLE

John Halbright

Head of Applied Neural Mapping.

Michael Underwood

Creative music consultant to The Inspiration Factory. Has identified the neural pathways involved in the processing of music.

Bach, Beethoven and Mozart

Composers.

Magda

John's lover.


ORGANISATIONS

The Inspiration Factory

An advertising firm.

Hypersoft

A company ANM a commercial jingle for.

Millworth and Hobbs

A rural soft drink company and the first company to have an ANM tune ad campaign.


CONCEPTS

The Old Grey Whistle Test

Certain record companies in the sixties used to decide whether or not put out a song by using the janitor—usually an old man—and making him listen to it. If the rock and roll hating cleaner could whistle the melody after hearing it once, it was worth doing.


MEDIA

The Old Grey Whistle Test

A British tv show.

Anarchy in the UK

Sex Pistols song, also made into a horrible muzak version.

Song of the Siren

A Song by This Mortal Coil.

ANM tune #180

One of the songs by their neural pathway method.

ANM tune #164

A new version song that sold a lot of soft drink and distracted a lot of people.

The Hall of the Mountain King or The Ride of the Valkyries

Old compositions.

ANM tune #87

Another of their tunes.


PLOT

A company has developed a procedure to work out how the human nervous system processes music, using a sample of people to do so. This works really well, and a soft drink company that was in trouble and uses one of these jingles becomes flooded with orders. A consultant puts it to use in advertising campaigns.

The only problem is that people that hear this get so distracted it can be dangerous. It caused a pilot to crash a plane, killing several hundred people. It has also ruined the musical appreciation of the consultant protagonist. The sample they used was biased, so it is more likely to affect skilled technical people in a bad way. It puts Underwood in hospital, and they have to operate to remove the ability for music appreciation in the old way.


3.5 out of 5

Friday, March 25, 2011

Before - Greg Egan

Short Story


Number of words : 5400
Percent of complex words : 10.8
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 11.8


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 9.0
Flesch : 65.7
Flesch-Kincaid : 7.0


PEOPLE


Martin

A reporter on SciNet assignment at the Hotel Tereshkova.

Zoe

A medic at the Hotel Tereshkova. Has a brief affair with Martin and invites him on a callout.

Madame Mityashin

Hotel Tereshkova designer.

Rykov

Zoe's callout colleague.

Wittgenstein

A philosopher.

Franz

The OES team's liaision.


PLACES

Hotel Tereshkova

In orbit, the dome consists of two concentric plastic shells, with a metre of heavy water between them.

Sumatra

Part of Indonesia.

OMAF

The Orbital Monopole Accelerator Facility. Studies states before the Big Bang, currently. The accelerator itself is a wire-thin cylinder, 50x20 km. Arrays of solar panels distributed along the length feed power into the giant superconducting solenoids. The central cluster of detectors, is housed in a sphere about two hundred metres wide.

Sakharov

The OES has colleagues there.

Geneva

City in Switzerland.


VEHICLES

Orbital Transfer Bus

Moves people from one space facility to another. 15 metres long, 5 wide 1/3 of its length is fuel cells and ion drive.


CONCEPTS

New Standard Model

A theory of physics.

Femtoplasmas

Big Bang hot and small.

Four-space

In a sense, joined to the 'past side' of the Big Bang singularity. It can't be given time coordinates, so it can't belong to the 'history' of the universe.



MEDIA

Phase transition between Lorentzian and Positive Definite Metrics

A paper by one of the OMAF theoretician.


TECHNOLOGY

Monopole

A massive particle. The OMAF is using them for experimenting with in their accelerator.

Suit

Spacesuit that has partial sentience to help with operation and safety.

Hawking radiation

Given off when a micro black hole instantly decays.


ORGANISATIONS

SciNet

Martin's employer, a science media company.

OES

Orbital Emergency Service. Space paramedics.


PLOT

Martin is a journalist on a self-admitted junket to an orbital hotel to cover a conference. He meets an orbital paramedic and has a fling. Afterwards, he mentions that if she gets a callout to a job he could come along and cover it.

This eventuates, so he has to throw on his sentient spacesuit and get down to the Orbital Transfer Bus. The accident is at the OMAF. They discover it is not your garden variety accident. Whatever has happened with their monopole smashing accelerator has killed some people there, because it changed the local spacetime they eventually discover.

A scary situation, as they have to strain to avoid the same fate, and the conditions cut off communication with their base. And are they sure they are really going to get out?


4 out of 5

Gunman's Debt - Robert E. Howard

When a man thinks he has no enemies in Kansas, unless one guy who wants to kill him and he is feuding with shows up, guess who is lying in wait in ambush? Complete with a crooked boss who wants to take over everything.

Time for a Grizzly Elkins teamup.


3.5 out of 5

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Neighbourhood Watch - Greg Egan

Short Story

Number of words : 5900
Percent of complex words : 6.1
Average syllables per word : 1.4
Average words per sentence : 10.1


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 6.5
Flesch : 79.1
Flesch-Kincaid : 4.7


PEOPLE

Monster

Has a contract to protect the local neighbourhood, in return for certain killing ground rights.

David

Leader of the local kids.

Andrew

17, bored and prey out after curfew.

Mrs Bold

Chairman of the local Citizens Against Crime.

Mr Simmons

The local butcher.

Linda

A graffiti vandal.

Bruno

A young lawbreaker.

Pete

A bad boy, too.

Colin

Another bad boy.

Ned Kelly

A famous bushranger.


PLACES

Fall-out shelter

Where the monster resides.


PLOT

A local city area has done a deal with a monster. It is allowed to kill within certain guidelines of place and time if it keeps the area free of crime. It does so for awhile, but decides not to continue with the current contract. It takes care of three young punks out after curfew as part of this deal. It likes killing too much. It kills Mrs Bold, arranger of the contract.

One young boy David is not afraid of the monster like the others, even though he knows it wants to kill. He tells the monster that he dreamed that after he died the monster would die too. After the contract expires and the monster begins to consume him, the boy tells him one last thing - no-one else dreamed of your death, did they?


4 out of 5

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mitochondrial Eve - Greg Egan

Novelette


Number of words : 8900
Percent of complex words : 15.0
Average syllables per word : 1.6
Average words per sentence : 17.0


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 12.8
Flesch : 50.9
Flesch-Kincaid : 10.4


PEOPLE

Paul

A physicist and Lena's boyfriend.

Lena

A communications engineer.

Francis Bacon

A writer.

Cousin Andre

One of the Children of Eve, who tests Paul's ancestry.

William Sachs

The Children's West Pacific Research Director.

High Priest Church of the Sacred UFO

Thinks everyone is from the other inner planets, instead.


CONCEPTS

Ancestor Wars

Dispute between the Children of Eve and Sons of Adam and others over humanity's lines of descent.

Great Tree

Children of Eve description of the overall family history of humanity.

Mitochondrial Eve

Our hypothetical ten-thousand-times-great grandmother.

Mitochondria

There's DNA in the mitochondria, inherited from the mother alone. So it's easier to use mitochondrial DNA to trace your ancestry. Mitochondrial DNA came, not in paired chromosomes, but in tiny loops called plasmids. There were hundreds of plasmids in every cell, but they were all identical, and they all derived from the ovum alone. Mutations aside -- one every 4,000 years or so -- your mitochondrial DNA was exactly the same as that of your mother, your maternal grandmother, great-grandmother, and so on.

Paleogenetics

Study of the ancient human genome.

Out of Africa hypothesis

Theory of human migration, modern Homo sapiens had evolved from the earlier Homo erectus in one place only, and had then migrated throughout the world, out-competing and replacing the local Homo erectus everywhere they went.

Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen correlation

The entanglement of two microscopic particles into a single quantum system.

Y-chromosome Adam

In the cell divisions leading up to sperm production, most of the DNA of the Y chromosome underwent recombination with the X chromosome -- but part of it remained aloof, unscrambled, passed down the purely paternal line with the same fidelity as mitochondrial DNA passed from mother to daughter. In fact, with more fidelity: mutations in nuclear DNA were much less frequent, which made it a much less useful molecular clock.


ORGANISATIONS

Children of Eve

Believers in one mother for humanity, and setting aside differences. Put a lot of effort into researching and promoting this concept.

UNSW physics department

Where Paul works on his research.

Benetton

A clothing company.

Mambo

Surfing gear company.

World Palaeogenetics Forum

Tenth one is held at Cambridge.

Hammer Horror

Producer of horror movies.



PLACES

Sydney

Capital of NSW.

Sakti

City in India.

Ele'ele

City in Samoa.

Arnhem Land

Part of the Northern Territory.

Java

Part of Indonesia.

Lagos

Nigerian city.

London

Capital of England.

Cambridge

University town in England.



MEDIA

Wired

A tech magazine.


PLOT

The Children of Eve organisation wants to prove and convince people that modern humanity is descended from one African mother. Lena is a believer, and when her boyfriend Paul talks about his work they have the idea of using quantum physics to research the genetic bonds. They can get the Children to sponsor this long term project.

However, in opposition the Sons of Adam and others have begun working on the same thing as the Children of Eve previously, but via the history of the Y-chromosome.

Paul is forced to up the ante and takes his research further, interrelating a chunk of human genetic history. When he holds a press conference at an actual Conference on the topic, he announces his findings. They are all wrong, and humans could not be descended from any single person that recently. The Out of Africa theory is not borne out by the research. Only if you go as far back as Australopithecus, perhaps.


4 out of 5

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mister Volition - Greg Egan

Short Story

Number of words : 6300
Percent of complex words : 8.9
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 13.2


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 8.9
Flesch : 67.2
Flesch-Kincaid : 7.2


PEOPLE


Alex

A disturbed user of a new patch.

Tran

A tech guy and a fence.

Mira

Alex's girlfriend.

Nietzsche, Sartre and Camus

Philosophers.


TECHNOLOGY

Patch

A wearable or implantable technology that can provider a variety of functions, particularly biofeedback.

Recursive Visions Introscape 3000

A type of Patch, expensive.

Implant

Personal safety alarm body augmentation.

Blue Monday

Ane executive stress monitor.


PLACES

The Cross

Sydney's Red Light district.

Redfern

Suburb of Sydney.


ORGANISATIONS

Pandemonium

Maker of Recursive Visions Introscape 3000.


CONCEPTS

Ubermensch

German for a superman.


PLOT

A story of the philosophy of the mind. The protagonists mugs someone for their patch, a biofeedback monitor. It turns out to be a pretty new variety. It gives information to you directly via your senses. Alex stresses about his freedom. The patch breaks down his mental processes for him, showing that his mentality is just a system at work, and that he has no choice. So he sets out to see if he can kill someone, or has any free will left.


4 out of 5

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mind Vampires - Greg Egan

Short Story

Number of words : 2600
Percent of complex words : 8.4
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 14.1


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 9.0
Flesch : 69.5
Flesch-Kincaid : 7.8



PEOPLE

Vampire slayer

Disturbed dreamer. Called in by the Headmistress.

Headmistress

Calls him in when she begins menstruating again at 62. Bad things are about.

Jack Rice

School gardener's apprentice who disappeared, and also vampire.

Rice Brothers

Four of them, vampires.

Rice sisters

Three of them, all vampires.

Rice Parents

The usual two, but vampires.


PLACES

Connecticut

Part of New England.


TECHNOLOGY

Kinematograph

Device for projecting pictures.


PLOT

A disturbed man's fevered dreams of vampire hunting and is tormented by light projectors, or we hope so, as otherwise there are vampires feasting on a boarding school where he is called in as a vampire slayer. The gardener's apprentice, his four brothers, three sisters and parents are all vampires. Which is quite a lot for one school to deal with. The now menstruating again 62 year old headmistress that asked for help hangs herself as she couldn't cope, leaving one man alone against the mind vampires.

3.5 out of 5

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Shariann Lewitt - Blue Tyson

Shariann Lewitt is a science fiction author with a dozen or so novels and more than double that in short fiction. She has written a Star Trek book and co-written with Susan Shwartz as Gordon Kendall.



The following descriptions are all courtest of Ian Sales and do sound rather intersting :-



ANGEL AT APOGEE (1987) - young privileged woman becomes space fighter pilot on humanoid world in populated galaxy

BLIND JUSTICE (1991) - ghost ship helps wreak revenge on totalitarian galactic empire

CYBERSTEALTH (1989) - two-man space fighter crew, one human and one alien, uncover a spy in the squadron who's leaking tech secrets to the enemy

DANCING VAC (1990) - sequel to CYBERSTEALTH, human star fighter goes after traitorous alien crewmate behind enemy lines

CYBERNETIC JUNGLE (1992) - street fighter and hot female computer jockey team up to wreak revenge on nasty corporation

SONGS OF CHAOS (1993) - human banished from earth finds himself in bizarre starfaring culture

MEMENTO MORI (1995) - plague results in colony world being quarantined, so some artists sit around in coffee shops and plot a way out

INTERFACE MASQUE (1997) - cybernetic intrigue in a future Venice

REBEL SUTRA (2000) - far future power struggle on an alien planet with echoes of Hindu mythology

WHITE WING (1985), with Susan Shwartz under the name Gordon Kendall - elite space fighter squadron are all that remain of Earth destroyed by alien enemy

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Lynda Williams - Blue Tyson

Lynda Williams is a science fiction author whose Okal Rel Universe series has a double figure work count, both short and long. I have never seen any, though.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: C. M. Gilbert - Blue Tyson

C. M. Gilbert is a curiosity, the author of one novel that I am aware of. It was actually marketed as Sword and Sorcery but isn't. The 1981 novel The Ozine Conquest has a disgruntled steel-handed soldier getting involved with an ancient alien race and a conflict over a space station and the alien transport technology. Complete with Star Traders and a barbarian priestess. On her planet comes the low tech science fantasy bit for a time.

Lost Continent - Greg Egan

Novelette

Number of words : 10800
Percent of complex words : 8.3
Average syllables per word : 1.4
Average words per sentence : 13.5


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 8.7
Flesch : 72.0
Flesch-Kincaid : 6.6



PEOPLE

Ali

A young man in trouble in Khurosan. Ends up in another world as refugee inmate 3739.

Uncle

Ali's relative and guardian.s

Hassan

Ali's older brother, taken by the Scholars.

Father

Ali's parent had his throat cut by the Scholars.

Alex

A fellow inmate. Denisovich of the Desert.

Tran

A fellow inmate. The Rake.

Shahin

An Iranian fellow inmate.

Reza

A Persian translator.

Colonel Kurtz

Nickname for the previous Center Manager.

Rakesh

A Hindustani man.

Cheryl

A guard.

Mr James

A government official.

Ms Evans

A lawyer who assists refugees with the process.

Mr Cole

The replacement for Evans.

Parviz

Another interpreter.

Fernandez

A government interviewer.

Fahim

A fellow Khurosani inmate.

Daniel

An African inmate.

Ben

A local protester against the imprisonment of the refugees.


VEHICLES

Land Cruiser

A four wheel drive made by Toyota in this world.


ORGANISATIONS

Scholars

A Sunni group of armed raiders from another time.


PLACES

Khurosan

A war-torn nation where Ali comes from.

Hindustan

A nation in Ali's world.


CONCEPTS

Mosarfar-e-waqt

A local official in Ali's world, involved with brokering deals.

Stage One

First level of refugee processing.

Stage Two

Second level of refugee processing.

Pol-e-waqt

Bridge from the future to the past in Ali's world.

Form 866

Needed for stage one processing.


PLOT

Ali lives in a strife-ridden country: Khurosan. There is conflict between Sunni and Shi'a and also similar, but raiders from another time. A bridge between the past and future exists, and is guarded and access is brokered. The Scholars are a raider paramilitary group, who kill Ali's father and take his brother. As a result of a conflict he ends up going through another bridge, this one leading to our world. This bridge too is guarded, but Ali didn't realise that you could go to another world, as well as another time. The government in charge, which we assume is likely Australian, wants to rewrite the rules so that this gate is in no-man's land international territory, not local. Therefore the refugees will not be their responsibility.

Ali is in a detention camp along with many others. In Stage One processing no news or outside information at all is allowed, and they are only grudgingly informed of the process. He makes it to Stage Two, finally, but inconsistencies in his story leaves him denied freedom. Many people there have been imprisoned for years.

However, a group of protesters who do understand the law get to the camp, asking for ID numbers so they can help with their cases. Ali throws a stone with a piece of paper wrapped around it with his and a friend's info, before the protesters are forced to leave, and they are stopped.


3.5 out of 5

Learning To Be Me - Greg Egan

Short Story

Number of words : 5900
Percent of complex words : 11.4
Average syllables per word : 1.6
Average words per sentence : 15.7


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 10.8
Flesch : 57.7
Flesch-Kincaid : 9.1



PEOPLE

Worrier

A man who stresses about the philosophy and reality of having his own brain and self replaced with the Jewel.

Eva

His first love and girlfriend at sixteen.

Plato and Descartes and Marx

Philosophers.

St. Augustine, Sartre, heard of Godel, Turing, Hamsun and Ki

More philosophers.

Daphne

His wife, a merchant banker.

Cathy

His lover.



TECHNOLOGY

Ndoli Device

The Jewel. A technology that replaces the human brain gradually enmeshing itself in childhood via nanotech surgical robots and teaching itself the brain functions of the person, so the brain can be replaced later in adulthood.


MEDIA

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

A movie.


PLOT

A man worries about his Ndoli Device process and if he will remain himself after the operation to insert it. His parents underdog the process and don't tell him and he doesn't notice. His wife and later lover do as well and seem no different. This causes even more stress when he is a rare case of the Teacher unit process failing. This causes him and the Jewel to get more out of synch - which means there will be a difference on switchover of that time period. Maybe this happens more than people know, and is covered up. His relationship with his former lover is discarded.


3.5 out of 5

A Kidnapping - Greg Egan

Short Story

Number of words : 5800
Percent of complex words : 11.8
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 18.0


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 11.9
Flesch : 58.2
Flesch-Kincaid : 9.6



PEOPLE

David

A man whose wife refuses to be scanned so she can be uploaded on dying. Sells digital artworks.

Loraine

His wife. An artist who likes physical media.

Detective Nicholson

Works in the Communications Crime Division that David contacts.


MEDIA

Spectral Density

An animated abstract Kreyszig piece in the office.


TECHNOLOGY

Scanning

High-resolution imaging techniques used to generate a detailed map of a body down to the cellular level, including neurons in the brain. This can can them be uploaded on the physical body's death.

Coney Island

An environment for the scanned and resurrected. David's mother lives there.

Visual cortex taps

A body augmentation used for image copying and reproduction.


CONCEPTS

Orbitals

Nations in space.


PLOT

David gets a phone call that his wife has been taken, and will be tortured if he doesn't pay up. However, he calls his wife who is at home and fine. They only have a computer simulation.

This works eventually on David after multiple attempts because his real wife refuses to have a scan done so she can live on after death, unlike his mother. So the only way David will be able to be with her after they die is via this illegal method. They agree to let him be with the simulation after he dies as long as he continues to cough up the big bucks over time.


4.5 out of 5

Into Darkness - Greg Egan

Novelette

Number of words : 7300
Percent of complex words : 9.6
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 16.8


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 10.5
Flesch : 62.4
Flesch-Kincaid : 8.7



PEOPLE

John Nately

High-school science teacher and on his eleventh call as a volunteer Intake Runner.

Angelo

John's driver this time.

Elaine

A fellow Runner and long-time acquaintance.

Dolores

A programmer who produces Intake software for Runners.


TECHNOLOGY

The Intake

A giant black dome, completely non-reflective, blotting out a great bite of the sky. Possibly a wormhole. Appears at random around the world for a few minutes. Inside, any movement which equates to travelling from the future into the past is forbidden. It destroys whatever was in its touchdown path when it leaves.

The Core

The inner part of The Intake. If you can reach here, you will generally be safe.

South Operations Centre

A couple of vans of tracking electronics on someone's lawn to monitor The Intake.


WEAPONS

Demolition Gun

Used by Runners in The Intake.


PLOT


The Intake is a suspected wormhole/hyperspace travelling artifact that haunts the author, appearing at random places and devastating the small area it affects and trapping people inside, many of whom die, some of them because they don't understand it.

It changes the underlying physics of the area which also means the processes of the human body. John is a fit Runner, able to venture inside The Intake and attempt to assist and rescue people, which he volunteers to do along with others.

On his eleventh run he manages to help a child although it turns out she was dying anyway, and a man who has lost his legs.

He meets Elaine at The Core. Their wait for The Intake to depart is longer than usual. Very rarely, it can last for many hours, dooming all those inside. It ends with Elaine snoozing on John's shoulder, as they wait and see if this time it is all over for them, or if it will go away shortly.


4.5 out of 5

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Returning Creation - Janet Morris

Space hooker Gor lite, obliquely.

When told from the woman's point of view. A far future society has a planet where the women have trouble conceiving - and so become courtesans.

Now with this set up, there is almost no sex at all, except off page. Less so than Gor, even, which is distinctly odd when you go to the descriptive trouble of the rest of the baroque setting, here.

Woman as a result of a mating between two superior types whose coupling produced an off-screen 11 out of 10 on the shag-o-meter on Titan.

Mild bondage throughout, with the occasional scene like the one from one of the mummy movies with two beautiful women knife fighting in mesh body suits. The scant outfits are given plenty of wordage.

Baroque and censored I suppose, with the science fantasy weirdness that is her father and cohorts discovered at the end.

Points for producing logical reasons for sexy waist chains to be worn, though.


2.5 out of 5

High Couch of Silistra - Janet Morris

Space hooker Gor lite, obliquely.

When told from the woman's point of view. A far future society has a planet where the women have trouble conceiving - and so become courtesans.

Now with this set up, there is almost no sex at all, except off page. Less so than Gor, even, which is distinctly odd when you go to the descriptive trouble of the rest of the baroque setting, here.

Woman as a result of a mating between two superior types whose coupling produced an off-screen 11 out of 10 on the shag-o-meter on Titan.

Mild bondage throughout, with the occasional scene like the one from one of the mummy movies with two beautiful women knife fighting in mesh body suits. The scant outfits are given plenty of wordage.

Baroque and censored I suppose, with the science fantasy weirdness that is her father and cohorts discovered at the end.

Points for producing logical reasons for sexy waist chains to be worn, though.


2.5 out of 5

The Ozine Conquest - C. M. Gilbert

The Ozine Conquest isn't remotely Sword and Sorcery, despite what the spine and cover might suggest. Although the cover is accurate with its characters including the glowing wand. Mostly an ok book, too.

The start has a soldier who has lost his hand basically now riding a desk, overseeing computer techs etc. So, he is bored and frustrated. Totally not a geek, this guy.

So he sets off and gets in the middle of some aliens - the Ozine, and is transported a conflict on a space station run by an extended family of traders, who provide a base for the Ozine. Who are now all male, and seeking a new female leader.

The barbarian Dann attack the station in spaceships (not too many of those in Sword and Sorcery - especially not flying in attack squadrosn) and Chael lends a hand Luke Skywalker style to man a gun turret.

They fight them off briefly, but traitors lurk and a few of them end up on the run, including the Trader leader of the base. A damaged ship is forced to set down on a closeby habitable planet. This is where you get the primitives with their fur cloaks and priestesses and spears.

The cocky young priestess of the Wolf tribe, the Wolf Witch Ona is at odds with her sister, wife of the chief, and the newcomers are in the middle of it again. So they have to escape. In doing so, finding an ancient city of the Ozine and realising through the odd bit of the priestessly fantastic that Ona is the Regenetrix female leader the Ozine need.

She won't be much good to them if they can't convince the multiple layers of cooling heels and good broke dealing with the needing to be bribed League of Worlds bureaucracy to send help, though, before the barbarian Dann take over the Ozine station and discover all the secrets of this alien race and their far greater technology.

Better than I thought it would be.

A bit more than a 3, say closing on 3.2.


3 out of 5

Law-shooters Of Cowtown - Robert E. Howard

Put you in jail over dodgy gambling so you can be lynched to cover their bank robbery. Unless you are an incredibly strong crazy man with a good horse.


3.5 out of 5

Sword and Sorcery Reader List Updated

And created, too, if you like.

You can find it here : http://freesf.strandedinoz.com/swordandsorcerylist.html

The Infinite Assassin - Greg Egan

Short Story

Number of words : 5900
Percent of complex words : 10.8
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 16.7


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 11.0
Flesch : 60.9
Flesch-Kincaid : 8.9



PEOPLE

Assassin

Tasked with eliminating the producers of S drug-induced whirlpool effects throughout universes.

Blue-haired woman

Offers the assassin assistance in this particular task and universe, but has other motives.


TECHNOLOGY

S

A reality altering drug. "S grants dreamers the power to live vicariously in any parallel world in which they have an alter ego — someone with whom they share enough brain physiology to maintain the parasitic resonance of the link... For one in a hundred thousand, though, dreams are only the beginning. During their third or fourth year on S, they start to move physically from world to world, as they strive to take the place of their chosen alter egos."

Tritium/phosphor

Type of light globe.


ORGANISATIONS

The Company

The assassin's employer.


CONCEPTS

The Whirlpool

Reality shift focus of increasing power caused by mutant S users.

Cantor dust

A fractal set, uncountably infinite, but with measure zero. Assassin is mapped into this by the locals.

Superspace

Higher levels of reality.


PLACES

Leightown

Site of a job for the assassin, and of a whirlpool cult.

Fifth floor Apartment 522

The assassin's S using target lives here.


MEDIA

Fat Single Mothers Must Die

A band.


PLOT

The assassin's job is to put down users of the drug S who develop reality altering superpowers and cause devastating whirlpools that can grow to affect all their infinite lives. These might harm rich people's existence, so he gets called in when wealthy areas are threatened. He has to do this across all the realities they might exist in, in a probabilistic fashion. Chosen as an extremely stable individual, his latest target has help. A whirpool cult there employs their ability to co-ordinate across infinite lives to negate the assassin's skills. This shakes his sense of identity, which he has to rethink at the end.


4.5 out of 5

Combined Free SF Reader and Not Free SF Reader List By Author updated

Combined Free SF Reader and Not Free SF Reader List By Author updated :-

http://freesf.strandedinoz.com/

Australian SF Reader List Updated

I finally got around to recreating this after the blogger arseclownery.

It is now here.

The collection/anthology part I haven't put together again as yet.


http://freesf.strandedinoz.com/australialist.html

Not Free SF Reader List Updated

Note changes :

Free SF Reader List updated :-

http://freesf.strandedinoz.com/freesflist.html

Not Free SF Reader List updated : -

http://freesf.strandedinoz.com/notfreesflist.html

Vultures' Sanctuary - Robert E. Howard

A man trying to rescue a girl has an interesting strategy for getting her out of the fortress of an enemy gunman. Offer himself up and tell him he has done a deal with his own gang to get him.


3 out of 5

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Space Opera Reader List Updated

It can now be found here :-

http://freesf.strandedinoz.com/spaceoperalist.html

The Devil's Joker - Robert E. Howard

The Sonora Kid realises gutshooting a fan for throwing a legless reptile at him was an overreaction that might get his neck stretched.

He defends the sheriff who comes looking for him from his gunman associates after he fails to blow his head off.


3.5 out 5

Knife Bullet and Noose - Robert E. Howard

The Sonora Kid finds out the bloke holding the bag has it in for him, and the knives are out.


3.5 out of 5

The Extermination of Yellow Donory - Robert E. Howard

Suicide by gunman failure gives a new outlook.


3.5 out of 5

Living With the Dead - Molly Brown

Now a town full.


3 out of 5

The Last Ride - Robert E. Howard

The only not no-good Laramie comes back to the town his brothers terrorised to try and make up for it - and deal with a group of impostors and their scheme.


3.5 out of 5

Category Five - Marc Paoletti

Flood walkers.


3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

When The Zombies Win - Karina Sumner-Smith

They'll wear out.


2.5 out of 5

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year 5 - Jonathan Strahan

Just about the same as last year, at 3.20ish. A rather poor year for science fiction stories barring a couple of Reed and Watts. Little of much interest in the fantasy vein, although the man-eating unicorn story was funny.

SF and F Best 05 : Elegy for a Young Elk - Hannu Rajaniemi
SF and F Best 05 : The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains - Neil Gaiman
SF and F Best 05 : Seven Sexy Cowboy Robots - Sandra McDonald
SF and F Best 05 : The Spy Who Never Grew Up - Sarah Rees Brennan
SF and F Best 05 : The Aarne-Thompson Classification Revue - Holly Black
SF and F Best 05 : Under the Moons of Venus - Damien Broderick
SF and F Best 05 : The Fool Jobs - Joe Abercrombie
SF and F Best 05 : Alone - Robert Reed
SF and F Best 05 : Names for Water - Kij Johnson
SF and F Best 05 : Fair Ladies - Theodora Goss
SF and F Best 05 : Plus or Minus - James P. Kelly
SF and F Best 05 : The Man With the Knives - Ellen Kushner
SF and F Best 05 : The Jammie Dodgers and the Adventure of the Leicester Square Screening - Cory Doctorow
SF and F Best 05 : The Maiden Flight of McAuley's Bellerophon - Elizabeth Hand
SF and F Best 05 : The Miracle Aquilina - Margo Lanagan
SF and F Best 05 : The Taste of Night - Pat Cadigan
SF and F Best 05 : The Exterminator's Want-Ad - Bruce Sterling
SF and F Best 05 : Map of Seventeen - Christopher Barzak
SF and F Best 05 : The Naturalist - Maureen McHugh
SF and F Best 05 : Sins of the Father - Sara Genge
SF and F Best 05 : The Sultan of the Clouds - Geoffrey A. Landis
SF and F Best 05 : Iteration - John Kessel
SF and F Best 05 : The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn - Diana Peterfreund
SF and F Best 05 : The Night Train - Lavie Tidhar
SF and F Best 05 : Still Life A Sexagesimal Fairy Tale - Ian Tregillis
SF and F Best 05 : Amor Vincit Omnia - K.J. Parker
SF and F Best 05 : The Things - Peter Watts
SF and F Best 05 : The Zeppelin Conductors' Society Annual Gentlemen’s Ball - Genevieve Valentine
SF and F Best 05 : The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen's Window - Rachel Swirsky

Booze, bears and quantum relatives plague.

4 out of 5


Misty Isle seeking.

3 out of 5


Skating leftovers.

2.5 out of 5


Fairy spies, tinkerbell.

3 out of 5


Fairy spies, tinkerbell.

2.5 out of 5


'Massri’s dinosaur fantasy was off by a factor of at least 7.4.' Sporky.

3 out of 5


No, get that thing.

3.5 out of 5


Wune, Washen and Great Ship chases.

4.5 out of 5


Astronomy breakthrough foundation class.

3 out of 5


Back to Malo.

3 out of 5


Crewmonkeys, lacking oxygen.

3.5 out of 5


He's dead, marry her next.

3 out of 5


Cecil B De Vil's Great Work.

3.5 out of 5


Cryptoaviation discovery.

3.5 out of 5


Whipped boiled dragon rejection not so tasty.

3.5 out of 5


Extra brain?

3 out of 5


Reconstruction bugs me.

3 out of 5


American Gothic joke tail.

2.5 out of 5


Zombie reserve fire Bug.

3.5 out of 5


Merman adjustment.

3 out of 5


Venus terraform fall.

3 out of 5


Checkout world change, small.

2 out of 5


Vermin crunching nookie beast raising.

4 out of 5


No-name no girl chop choice.

3.5 out of 5


Tink time.

2.5 out of 5


Total defense training.

3.5 out of 5


Communal network rejection assimilation Goes There, that's Who.

4.5 out of 5


Long accomodation.

3 out of 5


Magic type straw men.

3 out of 5




3 out of 5

The Maiden Flight Of McCauley's Bellerophon - Elizabeth Hand

Cryptoaviation discovery.


3.5 out of 5

The Care And Feeding Of Your Baby Killer Unicorn - Diana Peterfreund

Vermin crunching nookie beast raising.


4 out of 5

The Miracle Aquilina - Margo Lanagan

Whipped boiled dragon rejection not so tasty.


3.5 out of 5

The Aarne-thompson Classification Revue - Holly Black

Werewolf act.


2.5 out of 5

The Spy Who Never Grew Up - Sarah Rees Brennan

Fairy spies, tinkerbell.


3 out of 5

The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains - Neil Gaiman

Misty Isle seeking.


3 out of 5

Tides From the New World - Tobias S. Buckell

A solid collection of science fiction and fantasy at 3.43. There are several very good stories here.

Tides from the New World : The Fish Merchant - Tobias S. Buckell
Tides from the New World : In the Heart of Kalikuata - Tobias S. Buckell
Tides from the New World : Io Robot - Tobias S. Buckell
Tides from the New World : Anakoinosis - Tobias S. Buckell
Tides from the New World : Aerophilia - Tobias S. Buckell
Tides from the New World : The Shackles of Freedom (with Mike Resnick) - Tobias S. Buckell
Tides from the New World : Her - Tobias S. Buckell
Tides from the New World : In Orbite Medievali - Tobias S. Buckell
Tides from the New World : Four Eyes - Tobias S. Buckell
Tides from the New World : Spurn Babylon - Tobias S. Buckell
Tides from the New World : Trinkets - Tobias S. Buckell
Tides from the New World : Death's Dreadlocks - Tobias S. Buckell
Tides from the New World : Smooth Talking - Tobias S. Buckell
Tides from the New World : Tidess - Tobias S. Buckell
Tides from the New World : Something in the Rock - Tobias S. Buckell
Tides from the New World : A Green Thumb - Tobias S. Buckell
Tides from the New World : All Her Children Fought - Tobias S. Buckell
Tides from the New World : The Duel - Tobias S. Buckell
Tides from the New World : Necahual - Tobias S. Buckell
Tides from the New World : Toy Planes - Tobias S. Buckell

Pepper first contact message hunt murder.

3.5 out of 5


Rickshaw spycraft.

3.5 out of 5


Get lost, cyborgs.

3 out of 5


Whiffet slave reliance.

3.5 out of 5


Airship pilot has personality.

4 out of 5


Doctor's religious restriction dilemma.

4 out of 5


Anatomical life foundation.

3.5 out of 5


Fell off the ring.

2.5 out of 5


Run down spirits.

3.5 out of 5


Slave ship skellies put you off your beer.

3 out of 5


Compelled stretch.

3 out of 5


Sangers of doom.

3 out of 5


Spirited tree location, location, relocation.

4 out of 5


Coastal War magic training.

3 out of 5


Dwarf mine worm disaster.

3.5 out of 5


Car growth industry.

3.5 out of 5


Kid pilot training.

3.5 out of 5


Toad love history.

3 out of 5


Anti aztec air assault.

4 out of 5


I dread to blow off my head.

4 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

The Duel - Tobias S. Buckell

Toad love history.


3 out of 5

All Her Children Fought - Tobias S. Buckell

Kid pilot training.


3.5 out of 5

Something In the Rock - Tobias S. Buckell

Dwarf mine worm disaster.


3.5 out of 5

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Devil's Eye - Jack McDevitt

Thoroughly dull.

In an article recently, Alastair Reynolds points out that well into the future SF is generally not weird enough. Jack McDevitt is a textbook example of this. His recent novels seem to be trending towards the more and more mundane and 1980s like existence of his characters, starships and aliens excepted of course.

Not remotely a patch on a talent for war as mysteries and distrust between humans and aliens distract Alex and Chase.


2.5 out of 5

The Fixer - Jon F. Merz

Not the fast bowler, not the author, no, this Lawson is a vampire assassin. A vampire ninja assassin.

With two cats.

The Fixer in the title is his profession. Vampires are a separate species that can procreate - and he is tasked with maintaining the Balance in their society, one of many.

So this is sort of what you get if you crossed Robert Ludlum with Vampirella - as his arch-enemy Cosgrove, the man he has been assigned to kill and that slaughtered his young love in psychopathic serial killer fashion just wants to raise a vampire Elder demon.

Complicating matters is a hot ex-KGB assassin and fiance of Simbik, Lawson's dead partner. So they both really want to kill Cosgrove as well do the horizontal interspecies ninjutsu.

Fun stuff.


3.5 out of 5

http://freesf.strandedinoz.com/wordpress/2011/03/the-fixer-jon-f-merz/

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: David Kyle - Blue Tyson

David Kyle is the author of three authorised sequels to E. E. Doc Smith's Lensman series, focusing on the other Second Stage Lensmen, Worsel, Tregonsee and Nadreck. He was also a publisher in the past and a writer of non-fiction about SF and has produced a handful of short stories.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Stephen Goldin - Blue Tyson

Stephen Goldin is a science fiction and fantasy author. Of interest is the fact that he wrote the Family D'Alembert book series based on E. E. Doc Smith's work. A 10 book long series. Also one Star Trek novel. He also produced a couple of dozen short stories. He apparently likes 10 book series, as recently he has the Agents of Isis series available. ISIS being the Imperial Special Investigation Service. Others of his work are of interest, and he also has a collection available via E-Reads.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Domino Lady: Sex As A Weapon - Lori Gentile

A good anthology of stories that is very consistent, none rising to any great heights, but several are good and none are below average, so well worth a look. Gets the feel of the thing pretty well.

Domino Lady: Sex As A Weapon : The Domino Lady and the Crimson Dragon - K. G. McAbee
Domino Lady: Sex As A Weapon : Blondes In Chains - C. J. Henderson
Domino Lady: Sex As A Weapon : Target: Domino Lady - Bobby Nash
Domino Lady: Sex As A Weapon : Stealing Joe Crick - Chuck Dixon
Domino Lady: Sex As A Weapon : The Claws of the Cat - Ron Fortier
Domino Lady: Sex As A Weapon : The Strange Case of the Domino Lady and Mr Holmes - Nancy Holder
Domino Lady: Sex As A Weapon : The Devil You Know - Jack Chambers
Domino Lady: Sex As A Weapon : Masks of madness - Martin Powell

The Domino Lady helps a young Chinese woman who has been smuggled in to be a slave prostitute, but escapes.

3.5 out of 5


The Domino Lady teams up with The Black Bat to find out where a bunch of rich women have been going - into mind control prison.

3.5 out of 5


The Domino Lady's alter ego keeps getting cancelled on by a detective who is too busy - but then her masked self needs his help when a clever gangster frames her when she tries to get a hold on one of his underlings.

3.5 out of 5


The Domino Lady has help from Airboy when a couple want to extort an old inventor's fireproofing invention from him.

3.5 out of 5


A bunch of cat ransom request arouses the suspicions of the Domino Lady - who investigates the political hijinks.

3 out of 5


Holmes needs help with a Jekyll serum vial - and invites the Domino Lady to assist.

3 out of 5


The leader of a Satanist cult finds the Domino Lady a worthy opponent, and lets her high priestess get her naked whippy hooks in.

3.5 out of 5


The Domino Lady runs into a problem with pirates, but friends of the Phantom get her help - and they cross paths again in finding who murdered her father.

3.5 out of 5




4 out of 5

Masks of Madness - Martin Powell

The Domino Lady runs into a problem with pirates, but friends of the Phantom get her help - and they cross paths again in finding who murdered her father.


3.5 out of 5

The Devil You Know - Jack Chambers

The leader of a Satanist cult finds the Domino Lady a worthy opponent, and lets her high priestess get her naked whippy hooks in.


3.5 out of 5

Domino Lady – Compliments of the Domino Lady 6 The Strange Case Of The Domino Lady And Mr Holmes

Holmes needs help with a Jekyll serum vial - and invites the Domino Lady to assist.


3 out of 5

The Claws Of The Cat - Ron Fortier

A bunch of cat ransom request arouses the suspicions of the Domino Lady - who investigates the political hijinks.


3 out of 5

Stealing Joe Crick - Chuck Dixon

The Domino Lady has help from Airboy when a couple want to extort an old inventor;s fireproofing invention from him.


3.5 out of 5

Tides - Tobias S. Buckell

Coastal War magic training.


3 out of 5

Anakoinosis - Tobias S. Buckell

Whiffet slave reliance.


3.5 out of 5

Elliptic Orbit - Poul Anderson

That ship full of long dead skellies is full of yanks, Venusian super-agent babe.


3 out of 5

Io Robot - Tobias S. Buckell

Get lost, cyborgs.


3 out of 5

Combined Free SF Reader and Not Free SF Reader List By Author updated

Combined Free SF Reader and Not Free SF Reader List By Author updated :-

http://freesf.strandedinoz.com/

Not Free SF Reader List Updated

Note changes :

Free SF Reader List updated :-

http://freesf.strandedinoz.com/freesflist.html

Not Free SF Reader List updated : -

http://freesf.strandedinoz.com/notfreesflist.html

Blogger continues to go downhill, deleting people's blogs at random. Blogger has done their bizarre autopagination thing so that you can't reliably download archives anymore. You also can't export a blog bigger than 5000 posts. So the two possible ways to do that have been removed, so I have changed where this is for now.

The site it lives on may change, but that will be announced here and in the usual places.

Proxy Planeteers - Edmond Hamilton

Uranium mining life discovery bismuth pile.


2.5 out of 5

Dream's End - Henry Kuttner

Insanity treatment.


3 out of 5

Horror Out of Carthage - Edmond Hamilton

After a mindswitch in the present, it is back to the past for Ken and Edith, where Sharra the takeover woman has her own enemies and conflicts in ancient Carthage.


3 out of 5

Swing Your Lady - Henry Kuttner

Pete Manx has Amazon time issues.


3 out of 5

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Vampire Warlords - Andy Remic

The third of Remic's Gemmell homages starts where the last one left off.

Some warlords realising that waking up ancient Vampire Warlords in triplicate was a rather bad idea for their continued influence and longevity.

Kell and Myriam and Saark knew it was a bad idea to start with, despite a couple of them already being vampiric.

So, Kell decides on a plan to get rid of them.

Given they have converted most of the normal populace of the area to vampire servants - he has to look elsewhere.

Elsewhere being a prison full of hardcases, a significant percentage of whom want to kill him.

Then there's the outcast Blacklippers to add to the strength, with whom he has the same problem.

Plus a wildcard force or two he doesn't know about.

Pretty much just as decent as the first two.


3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Corvus - Paul Kearney

The second of the Macht books now has a veteran Rictus returning home for a time from the latest small scale mercenary conflict he had been working at. A wife, two daughters, a farm, a household of slaves. Along with his second in command.

Not long after they get an unpleasant surprise. A visit from the Warlord Corvus. The man who has been slowly conquering the Macht homelands. The choice is simple. Join up or die. So Rictus does, although he might have signed on anyway. The wrinkle is that the politicians of the major Macht city had also been trying to woo Rictus - to organise their defense and opposition of Corvus. So, a siege beckons.

Corvus has big plans - and also Kufr friends - so very big plans. And also something familiar in his past.

From the ending, it would appear that it is possible Rictus may be returning to where he brought the Ten Thousand out of in the last book.

A good book, if not as good as the first.

4 out of 5

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Troll Hunter - Keith C. Blackmore

An interesting approach to this book. Rather than starting near the end and flashing back, it starts more near a later part, which you may not necessarily realise until later. A structure you just have to trust, but it draws you in well so you do.

It follows a few characters in a setting of war. A southern kingdom against a horde of barbarian Northerners - or that is all we know about them, as they are just the menace.

The flavour of this is definitely along with Gemmell lines. Large, strong warrior has a colleague who is a stone cold killer and enjoys it a lot - and he is a match for him. Somewhat more grey, though. The two of course are survivors as many aorund them fall.

The Troll Hunter part doesn't come into it until nearer the end, so is a little misleading. This is no RPG novel or garden variety fantasy. In fact, the only supernatural element at all is the existence of trolls. Other than being a completely different secondary world, of course.

A couple of bits to amuse, too, with a horseman named Prong and a renegade named Klytus.

You know how people say that all the self-published stuff is crappy - well, here's an example of one that isn't. This is a class novel.

The nation of the two Cavaliers - Bloor, the strong silent type, and Alwan the killer is being bled dry of its men by the constant warring. This has left a gap for repatriated injured soldiers to step into and start running some organised crime rings with little martial opposition. Thus a complicated scenario arises when you throw in a marriage and said monster.

Will have to see what else he has done.


4 out of 5

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Walrus and the Warwolf - Hugh Cook

Certainly funny at times.

This story of Drake Drouay, teenage reprobate, worshipped of their standard god the Demon (who approves of sex, drugs, rock and roll and punting). Finds himself falling afoul of a master and religious uprising and hence ending up on many adventures.

With pirates, the red skinned love of his life, in positions of authority and out, scamming, not scamming, swordfighting, monsters magical artifacts and more, all over the space of a few years.

The latter part lacks of the verve of the former however, but the first two thirds is very good.


3.5 out of 5

Trapped - J. A. Konrath

This is just your average story with an island full of disturbed teenagers, a chaperone or two (one of whom has an evil secret). Plus then you have them on an isolated island with a mad scientist of the 'experiment and make monsters variety.' Therefore there are a few monsters floating around. Only quite a few cannibals and wild people. Plus some violently nasty henchmen.

And a Van Gogh.


3 out of 5

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Barker - Ian Sales

Bantamweight rocketeer propaganda flight disposable.


4 out of 5

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Cold Dish - Ian Sales

Momma's boy's Mimantean Greek destruction, in Cherenkov blue.


3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mistress of Death - Robert E. Howard

One Scotsman, one dead magician, fewer city watch now that we skewered some, but maybe still one magician too many.


4 out of 5