Monday, May 23, 2011

Asimov's 422 - Sheila Williams

A poor issue at 3.06 with the best work being by Fulda. James Patrick Kelly swaps out your brain for you a new one in his column.

Asimov's 422 : CLEAN - John Kessel
Asimov's 422 : WHERE - Neal Barrett
Asimov's 422 : I WAS NEARLY YOUR MOTHER - Ian Creasey
Asimov's 422 : GOD IN THE SKY - An Owomoyela
Asimov's 422 : MOVEMENT - Nancy Fulda
Asimov's 422 : THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD - Steve Bein
Asimov's 422 : LOST IN THE MEMORY PALACE I FOUND YOU - Nick Wolven
Asimov's 422 : PURPLE - Robert Reed

Father erasure.

3 out of 5


Perry K H I D.

2.5 out of 5


Parallel relatives.

3.5 out of 5


Big light conversion.

3 out of 5


Mutant mind kids.

3.5 out of 5


Taxi suit time.

3.5 out of 5


Retro crumpet.

2.5 out of 5


Bad master story.

3 out of 5



2.5 out of 5

Purple - Robert Reed

Bad master story.


3 out of 5

Lost In The Memory Palace I Found You - Nick Wolven

Retro crumpet.


2.5 out of 5

The Most Important Thing In the World - Steve Bein

Taxi suit time.


3.5 out of 5

Sunday, May 22, 2011

God's War - Kameron Hurley

You don't tend to find too much loopy science fantasy in novel form these days, so this is a refreshing change.

Here we have a planet with a harsh environment that is only livable thanks to some hardcore organic modification, adaptation and treatment based around insects.

New advances interesting enough to interstellar gene pirates who can take them and use them for their own ends.

The protagonist is a down and out edge case, a failed soldier, a failed hunter down and beheader of deserting soldiers. Failed boxer, and whatever else. Still good at getting people killed. O r selling her womb when in need of cash.

So, science fantasy - her crew getting involved in the nasty dirty work behnd the messed up racism, sexism and inter-country pointless war include a werewolf, and magician. Quite possibly the 'magic' is some sort of hereditary genetic modification that allows insect control. Here it functions just like a wizardly superpower though. This particular group is able to perform amazing feats of medicine thanks to said bug control, too, such as the repair and regeneration of people that should be toast.

Nyx and her crew have opposition in a job that involves some alien gene pirate types as things continue to be nasty, brutish, sweaty and bug-ridden.

Also, somewhat amazingly, a non-yank non-pommie milieu this particular world.

Much like Leigh Brackett, though, the fantastic elements have a rational feel.

So, a rather interesting effort that sags a fair bit in the middle, but has a very good start and end, enough to make it a 3.5+.



3.5 out of 5

The Fuller Memorandum - Charles Stross

A continuation of the mashup of Spy Homage (this time to the Quiller series by Adam Hall) and Lovecraftian technogeekery.

The usual sort of shenanigans, but getting bleaker as we discover who Bob's boss actually is and that largely, doomsday cults of Elder Gods are probably right.

Also feature's Bob's SO Mo quite a bit, given he gets a bit tied up at times.


3.5 out of 5

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Deep Fathom - James Rollins

Let's see, what does this book have :-

Giant squid
Nuclear missiles
Minisub chases
Atlantis
Hero dogs
Underwater escape buildings
Robot arm fights
Evil commandos
Artificial Intelligences that can talk
Death rays from space
Decapitation
Time travel communication

And I think this is just in the last couple of chapters!

Again, you can't really get cooler thrillers than the ones James Rollins writes.

(call it 3.75)
4 out of 5

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Analog 958 - Stanley Schmidt

An okish issue at 3.28. A double Benford SETI article to add in to the rest. One fine story with Jordan's first contact tale.

Analog 958 : HIDING PLACE - Adam-Troy Castro
Analog 958 : IAN'S IONS AND EONS - Paul Levinson
Analog 958 : THE FLARE WEED - Larry Niven
Analog 958 : SMALL PENALTIES - Alastair Mayer
Analog 958 : TWO LOOK AT TWO - Paula S. Jordan
Analog 958 : BLESSED ARE THE BLEAK - Edward M. Lerner
Analog 958 : REMEMBERING RACHEL - Dave Creek
Analog 958 : QUACK - Jerry Oltion
Analog 958 : BALM OF HURT MINDS - Thomas R. Dulski

Triple decision crime.

3 out of 5


Time travel meddling can balance out, businesswise.

3.5 out of 5


Solar sail seed.

3.5 out of 5


Spam fly exile.

3.5 out of 5


Alien and pets.

4 out of 5


Virtual enabler.

3 out of 5


Diplomacy investigation.

2.5 out of 5


Reality homeopathy investigation.

3 out of 5


Neighbor gifts, sleepy.

3.5 out of 5




4 out of 5

Balm Of Hurt Minds - Thomas R. Dulski

Neighbor gifts, sleepy.


3.5 out of 5

Is Anybody Out There? - Marty Halpern and Nick Gevers

A quite consistent anthology with a lot of solid stories from the likes of Irvine, Di Filippo and Finch, but no standouts. Quite a variety of approaches to be found here, as well. So the editors have done a solid job for an original anthology.

The theme is the Fermi Paradox - why, despite all the stars out there and time gone buy no alien intelligences have contacted Earth.

Here's a classic example, though, of what people think is wrong with publishers these days. Note, not the editors, the publishers.

Here's a book from a long running anthology series - years and years - that has never, ever had a non-US edition. Some of the books are available to buy here, some are not. There is no reason why this is not available. I asked the editors about it. He was kind enough to send me a digital copy, as I always used to buy the science fiction anthologies they put out in recent years. Not this one of course, as not possible.

He suggested I write to the publisher. I did (knowing full well that it is 99.99% pointless to do so.)

Points for them being in the one in one thousand times they actually answer - due to using the editor's name, presumably.

They, too, said the book should be available. This was several months ago. The Amazon release date when you look it up is June 1, 2010.

So, not one sale for almost A YEAR. And probably forever, looking at that sort of delay. But, months after realising this was wrong, nothing is done. Doesn't speak highly of publishing professionalism.

A shame, as a decent book that is worth getting and these usually have prices that are a good deal. Can't see what the price on this one is at Amazon, of course.

There are serious stories, fun stories, oddball stories, nostalgic stories. Something for everyone here, really. If you can buy it, worth a look.


Is Anybody Out There : The Word He Was Looking for Was Hello - Alex Irvine
Is Anybody Out There : Residue - Michael Arsenault
Is Anybody Out There : Good News from Antares - Yves Meynard
Is Anybody Out There : Report from the Field - Mike Resnick & Lezli Robyn
Is Anybody Out There : Permanent Fatal Errors - Jay Lake
Is Anybody Out There : Galaxy of Mirrors - Paul Di Filippo
Is Anybody Out There : Where Two or Three - Sheila Finch
Is Anybody Out There : Graffiti in the Library of Babel - David Langford
Is Anybody Out There : The Dark Man - Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Is Anybody Out There : One Big Monkey - Ray Vukcevich
Is Anybody Out There : The Taste of Night - Pat Cadigan
Is Anybody Out There : Timmy Come Home - Matthew Hughes
Is Anybody Out There : A Waterfall of Lights - Ian Watson
Is Anybody Out There : Rare Earth - Felicity Shoulders and Leslie What
Is Anybody Out There : The Vampires of Paradox - James Morrow

Them aliens look pretty familiar.

3.5 out of 5


Just stopped 'em with time travel.

3.5 out of 5


Writer alien.

3 out of 5


Humans too scary to talk to, particularly with sport and X-Men.

3.5 out of 5


Are the aliens hiding in brown dwarf stars flashing green lights?

3.5 out of 5


Mirror Sickness? Aliens?

3.5 out of 5


Astronaut volunteer.

3.5 out of 5


They is tagging our stuff.

3 out of 5


Just one out of phase alien.

3.5 out of 5


Space Caterpillar smoke rings.

2 out of 5


Extra brain?

3 out of 5


Tatkusha out entity.

3.5 out of 5


Spare the Rod, AI Eye.

3 out of 5


Alien spawn corpse, rocky.

3 out of 5


Nonsense sentences, but aliens.

3.5 out of 5





3.5 out of 5

The Vampires of Paradox - James Morrow

Nonsense sentences, but aliens.


3.5 out of 5