Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Mad Apprentice - Trudi Canavan

Guild magic fighting.


2.5 out of 5

Asimov's 428 - Sheila Williams

A very poor issue at 2.94. Melton's Shadow Angel is decent and inventive, however.

Asimov's 428 : THE OBSERVATION POST - Allen M. Steele
Asimov's 428 : D.O.C.S. - Neal Barrett
Asimov's 428 : DANILO - Carol Emshwiller
Asimov's 428 : SHADOW ANGEL - Erick Melton
Asimov's 428 : THE ODOR OF SANCTITY - Ian Creasey
Asimov's 428 : GRANDMA SAID - R. Neube
Asimov's 428 : STALKER - Robert Reed
Asimov's 428 : BURNING BIBLES - Alan Wall

Cuba kill.

3 out of 5


You killed grandpa.

2.5 out of 5


Something with a J.

2.5 out of 5


Ship Dive seduction.

3.5 out of 5


Smelly religion.

3 out of 5


New Prozac cholly plague house.

3 out of 5


Robot variety.

3.5 out of 5


Useless printing.

2.5 out of 5




2 out of 5

Burning Bibles - Alan Wall

Useless printing.


2.5 out of 5

Stalker - Robert Reed

Robot variety.


3.5 out of 5

Grandma Said - R. Neube

New Prozac cholly plague house.


3 out of 5

The Odor of Sanctity - Ian Creasey

Smelly religion.


3 out of 5

Shadow Angel - Erick Melton

Ship Dive seduction.


3.5 out of 5

Danilo - Carol Emshwiller

Something with a J.


2.5 out of 5

D.O.C.S. - Neal Barrett

You killed grandpa.


3 out of 5

The Observation Post - Allen M. Steele

Cuba kill.


3 out of 5

Analog 962 - Stanley Schmidt

Start and the end are serious, but rather more lighthearted fun in the middle for some good variety along with articles on space on space and winding down of a Tevatron.

The Johnston story is the best in a quality issue.

Analog 962 : Analog 962 - Stanley Schmidt
Analog 962 : OF NIGHT - Janet Catherine Johnston
Analog 962 : THE LAST OF LUST - Jerry Oltion
Analog 962 : THE BULLFROG RADIO ASTRONOMY PROJECT - Brad R. Torgersen
Analog 962 : THE SOCK PROBLEM - Alastair Mayer
Analog 962 : THE LYCANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE - Carl Frederick
Analog 962 : ENERGIZED: CONCLUSION: PART IV OF IV - Edward M. Lerner


Ship step shift crew losing ghost.

4 out of 5


Virus reversal.

3.5 out of 5


Interstellar radio pirate enforcement problem.

3.5 out of 5


Now gaining them with new motor.

3 out of 5


Q-slapping the wuggy bips.

3.5 out of 5


Doing something about lawless space.

3 out of 5




4 out of 5

Energized 4 - Edward M. Lerner

Doing something about lawless space.


3 out of 5

The Lycanthropic Principle - Carl Frederick

Q-slapping the wuggy bips.


3.5 out of 5

The Sock Problem - Alastair Mayer

Now gaining them with new motor.


3 out of 5

The Bullfrog Radio Astronomy Project - Brad R. Torgesen

Interstellar radio pirate enforcement problem.


3.5 out of 5

The Last Of Lust - Jerry Oltion

Virus reversal.


3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Of Night - Catherine Janet Johnston

Ship step shift crew losing ghost.


4 out of 5

Forever Bound - Joe Haldeman

Ten way soldierboy jack-in love.


4 out of 5

The Book of Cthulhu - Ross E. Lockhart

Just about a very good anthology at a 3.48 average. A mixture of reprint and originals, with some very good in the former such as Jihad Over Innsmouth and some reasonable in the latter like The Men From Porlock.

All the usual multiformat DRM-free webscriptions goodness, too.

Book of Cthulhu : Andromeda Among the Stones - Caitlin R. Kiernan
Book of Cthulhu : The Tugging - Ramsey Campbell
Book of Cthulhu : A Colder War - Charles Stross
Book of Cthulhu : The Unthinkable - Bruce Sterling
Book of Cthulhu : Flash Frame - Silver Moreno-Garcia
Book of Cthulhu : Some Buried Memory - W. H. Pugmire
Book of Cthulhu : The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins - Molly Tanzer
Book of Cthulhu : Fat Face - Michael Shea
Book of Cthulhu : Shoggoths in Bloom - Elizabeth Bear
Book of Cthulhu : Black Man with a Horn - T. E. D. Klein
Book of Cthulhu : Than Curse the Darkness - David Drake
Book of Cthulhu : Jeroboam Henley's Debt - Charles R. Saunders
Book of Cthulhu : Nethescurial - Thomas Ligotti
Book of Cthulhu : Calamari Curls - Kage Baker
Book of Cthulhu : Jihad over Innsmouth - Edward Morris
Book of Cthulhu : Bad Sushi - Cherie Priest
Book of Cthulhu : The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife - John Hornor Jacobs
Book of Cthulhu : The Doom that Came to Innsmouth - Brian McNaughton
Book of Cthulhu : Lost Stars - Ann K. Schwader
Book of Cthulhu : The Oram County Whoosit - Steve Duffy
Book of Cthulhu : The Crawling Sky - Joe R. Lansdale
Book of Cthulhu : The Fairground Horror - Brian Lumley
Book of Cthulhu : Cinderlands - Tim Pratt
Book of Cthulhu : Lord of the Land - Gene Wolfe
Book of Cthulhu : To Live and Die in Arkham - Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
Book of Cthulhu : The Shallows - John Langan
Book of Cthulhu : The Men from Porlock - Laird Barron

Machen Merry.

3.5 out of 5


Elder Earth shifters.

3 out of 5


Azathoth, daikaiju and a monstrous kid.

3.5 out of 5


Yellow warning movie burn.

3.5 out of 5


Child feast.

3 out of 5


Incest, matricide and gills with a side order of ancient evil.

3.5 out of 5


Shoggoth streetwalker severe shagging.

4 out of 5



Prehistoric mutant master replacement martial decision.

4.5 out of 5


Masked man deadness.

3 out of 5


Weak old god blow-up slowdown.

3 out of 5


Semando Gbomi.

3.5 out of 5


Idol dream.

3 out of 5


Restaurant dimensions.

3 out of 5


Dagon hit ordered.

4.5 out of 5


Steel chef vs monster.

4 out of 5


Seabride cut.

3.5 out of 5


Kermie Facility.

3.5 out of 5


Egyptian evil Sesh’tet.

3.5 out of 5


Old coal One reporting, minus a few h heads.

4 out of 5


Book of Doches monster.

3 out of 5


A Priest of Cthulhu or two.

3.5 out of 5


Dexter Ward's strange Rats In the Garden.

3.5 out of 5


Spirit jackal.

3.5 out of 5


Navarre's Vapors Case.

3.5 out of 5


Bruce island end.

3.5 out of 5


An old fashioned horror town awaits some hunters.

3.5 out of 5




4 out of 5




The Men From Porlock - Laird Barron

An old fashioned horror town awaits some hunters.


3.5 out of 5

A Few Things I Know About Whileaway - Joanna Russ

Bears. Also gnats.


3.5 out of 5

To Live and Die In Arkham - Joseph S. Pulver

Navarre's Vapors Case.


3.5 out of 5

The Fairground Horror - Brian Lumley

A Priest of Cthulhu or two.


3.5 out of 5

Lost Stars - Ann K. Schwader

Egyptian evil Sesh'tet.


3.5 out of 5

The Doom That Came To Innsmouth - Brian McNaughton

Kermie Facility.


3.5 out of 5

The Dream Of The Fisherman's Wife - John Hornor Jacobs

Seabride cut.


3.5 out of 5

Calamari Curls - Kage Baker

Restaurant dimensions.


3 out of 5

Black Man With A Horn - T. E. D. Klein

Masked man deadness.


3 out of 5

As Simple As That - Zenna Henderson

Torn Time.


3 out of 5

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Infernal History Of The Ivybridge Twins - Molly Tanzer

Incest, matricide and gills with a side order of ancient evil.


3.5 out of 5

Some Buried Memory - Wilum H. Pugmire

Child feast.


3 out of 5

Mammoths of the Great Plains - Eleanor Arnason

Extinct, frozen, stewarded, revived, frolicing in casino rivers.


4.5 out of 5

The Unthinkable - Bruce Sterling

Azathoth, daikaiju and a monstrous kid.


3.5 out of 5

The Tugging - Ramsey Campbell

Elder Earth shifters.


3 out of 5

Andromeda Among the Stones - Caitlin R. Kiernan

Machen Merry.


2.5 out of 5

To Hold the Bridge - Garth Nix

Hopefully not dying.


3 out of 5

Diary Of A Galactic Emigre - Laura Resnick

Waffle planet failure.


3.5 out of 5

Slow As A Bullet - Andy Duncan

Run long problem.


3 out of 5

Attlee and the Long Walk - Kage Baker

Collective kids.


3 out of 5

From the Dry Heart To the Sea - Joanne Anderton

Basic Town defense failure lifting.


3.5 out of 5

The King of Norway - Cecelia Holland

Conn row.


3 out of 5

Pickman's Other Model - Caitlin R. Kiernan

Endecott show.


2.5 out of 5

Murder In Laochan - Aliette De Bodard

New Dragon poison.


3.5 out of 5

Fallen Boys - Mark Morris

Ghost mine.


3 out of 5

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Black Sun - Graham Brown

Not up to the standard of the first and also a little longer, which doesn't really help matters. Slowish and thriller are not too good things.

The old NRI crew from the first book are drawn back in thanks to the power producing potential of the stones.

A supervillain Hong Kong billionaire - crippled, so desperate - an EM sensing kid, some Russian spooks are also added in to the Mayan mania as a desperate Arnold Moore wants Danielle and Harker and McCarter to work out what is going on.

Whereas the yankee president is a little disturbed about the whole possible end of the world scenario.


3 out of 5

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hunt the Space-Witch! - Robert Silverberg

A collection of novellas from the 1950s. Silverberg details discovering Planet Stories magazine and not being quite old enough to write for it before it folded, and then the other magazines he became involved with publishing that type of story. Even as a one man magazine. These are all pretty good with the last three the best. There's a novel version of The Silent Invaders and Silverberg says he likes the shorter version better - so do I.

A well put together collection.

Hunt the Space Witch : Slaves of the Star Giants - Robert Silverberg
Hunt the Space Witch : Spawn of the Deadly Sea - Robert Silverberg
Hunt the Space Witch : The Flame and the Hammer - Robert Silverberg
Hunt the Space Witch : Valley Beyond Time - Robert Silverberg
Hunt the Space Witch : Hunt the Space-Witch! - Robert Silverberg
Hunt the Space Witch : The Silent Invaders - Robert Silverberg
Hunt the Space Witch : Spacerogue - Robert Silverberg

A man is teleported through time to be the pawn for an artificial intelligence on a future Earth, stymied by damage and on a planet now run by huge aliens.

3.5 out of 5


A wet Earth thanks to a prior alien invasion has the local Sea Lords running a protection racket on the City States, although there is actually a pirate problem. Also a race of genetically engineered people under the sea are a source of conflict.

When the previous alien invaders return the land and sea dwellers must team up to defeat the amphibious and hence flexible aliens from getting a beachhead and underbeachhead.

3.5 out of 5


A Galactic Empire with a doddering Emperor faces simmering discontent. When a High Priest on a rebellious world is tortured to death over the location of an Empire breaking mythic weapon, things spill over via his son. Except at this point, no-one knows what this Hammer is and even if it exists.

3.5 out of 5


An alien experiments with a zoo - full of sentients snatched from spacetime. He does throw in some rejuvenation into the bargain, but eventually the group decides they don't like their prison and work out how to leave.

3.5 out of 5


Two blood brother spacers get separated - and one has fallen into the Cult of the Witch as a result of living too long on an extremely unpleasant planet. When his friend does the same, he ends up in their clutches too - but with the idea of obtaining freedom.

3.5 out of 5


An alien agent has undergone surgery to pass as a human and fight an espionage war with their galactic enemies on Earth - to try and sway the humans to their side.

However, evolution has gotten in the way, and a super race of mutants with advanced mental abilities co-opt him to work with them for a better cause.

3.5 out of 5


A nobleman whose family has been casually destroyed gathers what is left of his resources and sets out to infiltrate the organisation of the ruler who ordered it. This first involves smuggling and seduction before he can trigger his final weapon.

3.5 out of 5




4.5 out of 5

Spacerogue - Robert Silverberg

A nobleman whose family has been casually destroyed gathers what is left of his resources and sets out to infiltrate the organisation of the ruler who ordered it. This first involves smuggling and seduction before he can trigger his final weapon.


3.5 out of 5

The Silent Invaders - Robert Silverberg

An alien agent has undergone surgery to pass as a human and fight an espionage war with their galactic enemies on Earth - to try and sway the humans to their side.

However, evolution has gotten in the way, and a super race of mutants with advanced mental abilities co-opt him to work with them for a better cause.


3.5 out of 5

Spears of Clontarf - Robert E. Howard

The Irish and allies (including Turlough Dubh) vs The Danes and similar in a pitched battle to break the power of the Viking raiders forever.


3.5 out of 5

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hunt the Space-Witch! - Robert Silverberg

Two blood brother spacers get separated - and one has fallen into the Cult of the Witch as a result of living too long on an extremely unpleasant planet. When his friend does the same, he ends up in their clutches too - but with the idea of obtaining freedom.


3.5 out of 5

Valley Beyond Time - Robert Silverberg

An alien experiments with a zoo - full of sentients snatched from spacetime. He does throw in some rejuvenation into the bargain, but eventually the group decides they don't like their prison and work out how to leave.


3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Stay - Nicola Griffith

The protagonist of the piece is recovering from the death of her lover. She takes herself off to do the hermit thing in Silver John country. No monsters of the supernatural variety though, but a friend who wants her help in finding his own ex-lover.

The problem is, there's a bad guy too, a serial abuser. And more than one person in trouble. Cue capably violent antihero thanks to past training when necessary.


3.5 out of 5

Asimov's 426 - Sheila Williams

A mixed bag and an overall not very good 3.13. Four decent stories, the best of which is Cornell's third Jonathan Hamilton outing.

Asimov's 426 : DAY 29 - Chris Beckett
Asimov's 426 : PUG - Theodora Goss
Asimov's 426 : DUNYON - Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Asimov's 426 : THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERE - Norman Spinrad
Asimov's 426 : BRING ON THE RAIN - Josh Roseman
Asimov's 426 : TWELVERS - Leah Cypess
Asimov's 426 : THE MESSENGER - Bruce McAllister
Asimov's 426 : THE COPENHAGEN INTERPRETATION - Paul Cornell

Lutanian forget.

2.5 out of 5


Boring, no secret passage.

2.5 out of 5


Bar of the Lost City desperate.

3.5 out of 5


Cetaceans in the key of C.

3.5 out of 5


Artificial womb propaganda.

3 out of 5


Non-Paradoxical parenting.

3 out of 5


Fake alien Balance tampering ship story. Fake woman too. Most likely.

3.5 out of 5



3 out of 5

The Copenhagen Interpretation - Paul Cornell

Fake alien Balance tampering ship story. Fake woman too. Most likely.


3.5 out of 5

The Messenger - Bruce McAllister

Non-Paradoxical parenting.


3 out of 5

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Twelvers - Leah Cypress

Artificial womb propaganda.


3 out of 5

Bring On the Rain - Josh Roseman

Nomad solar water colony storm chase battle.


3.5 out of 5

The Music of the Sphere - Norman Spinrad

Cetaceans in the key of C.


3.5 out of 5

Dunyon - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Bar of the Lost City desperate.


3.5 out of 5

Pug - Theodora Goss

Boring, no secret passage.


2.5 out of 5

Day 29 - Chris Beckett

Lutanian forget.


2.5 out of 5

Analog 961 - Stanley Schmidt

A solid issue at 3.36, with interesting articles on theories, on string theory, the failure of the LHC to turn into a black hole. Also reviews of several anthologies.

The pick of the fiction is Lovett's Beanstalk take.

Analog 961 : COORDINATED ATTACKS - Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Analog 961 : JAK AND THE BEANSTALK - Richard A. Lovett
Analog 961 : PLUS C'EST LA MEME CHOSE - Arlan Andrews
Analog 961 : A WITNESS TO ALL THAT WAS - Scott William Carter
Analog 961 : DEATH AND DANCING IN NEW LAS VEGAS - Ernest Hogan
Analog 961 : ONE OUT OF MANY - Kyle Kirkland
Analog 961 : ENERGIZED 2 - Edward M. Lerner

Bombing bitterness.

3.5 out of 5


"It's amazingly easy to whip your body into condition to climb 35,786 kilometers."

Then to Mars with Miranda.

4 out of 5


Weird Hal spam upstage.

3.5 out of 5


A robot? Crap!

3 out of 5


NeoMartian music legend, with ninja bugs and the odd mermaid.

3.5 out of 5


NeuroFac Sci-Reg.

3 out of 5


"systems shut down, like unplugging a TV before a lightning storm. A CME washing over the powersat would still do some damage, but robots and spare parts staged inside metal sheds would handle any necessary repairs. Unless— Marcus said, “If those guys reactivate PS-1, the CME damage will be bad. Very bad. Maybe start-over-from-scratch bad.” Thad looked conflicted. “They're out there, willing to die for their cause. We're in here. If you are nuts enough to leave the shelter, they're armed.” Marcus started unfolding his datasheet. “What are you doing?’ Savvy asked. “Maybe we can net to the command center from here.” Only the shelter walls were lined with metal. A Faraday cage. If they opened the hatch a crack and tossed out the datasheet, it could transmit a message to the command center. “Call down to NASA. They can order PS-1 into safe"—inert—"mode.” Thad shook his head. “Won't work. Our long-range comm is off for the CME.”"

3 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Energized 2 - Edward M. Lerner

""systems shut down, like unplugging a TV before a lightning storm. A CME washing over the powersat would still do some damage, but robots and spare parts staged inside metal sheds would handle any necessary repairs. Unless— Marcus said, “If those guys reactivate PS-1, the CME damage will be bad. Very bad. Maybe start-over-from-scratch bad.” Thad looked conflicted. “They're out there, willing to die for their cause. We're in here. If you are nuts enough to leave the shelter, they're armed.” Marcus started unfolding his datasheet. “What are you doing?’ Savvy asked. “Maybe we can net to the command center from here.” Only the shelter walls were lined with metal. A Faraday cage. If they opened the hatch a crack and tossed out the datasheet, it could transmit a message to the command center. “Call down to NASA. They can order PS-1 into safe"—inert—"mode.” Thad shook his head. “Won't work. Our long-range comm is off for the CME.”""


3 out of 5

One Out Of Many - Kyle Kirkland

NeuroFac Sci-Reg.


3 out of 5

Death And Dancing In New Las Vegas - Ernest Hogan

NeoMartian music legend, with ninja bugs and the odd mermaid.


3.5 out of 5

A Witness To All That Was - Scott William Carter

A robot? Crap!


3 out of 5

Plus C'est La Meme Chose - Arlan Andrews

Weird Hal spam upstage.


3.5 out of 5

Jak And The Beanstalk - Richard A. Lovett

"It's amazingly easy to whip your body into condition to climb 35,786 kilometers."

Then to Mars with Miranda.


4 out of 5

Coordinated Attacks - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Bombing bitterness.


3.5 out of 5

Lesser Demons - Norman Partridge

Demon book bloodface aftermath.


4 out of 5

Blood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard - Mark Finn

Pretty much a perfect biography. While Finn is obviously a writer that has a great affection for his subject it doesn't mean he sugar coats it, either. I have zero interest in early Texas history for example, but that part of the book was good, too, when he was setting the scene for Howard's life. Not a great interest in biography as such, either.

It covers his whole life, the period of time and how he came to write what he did in more detail, his friendships, as well as the aftermath if you like, of what has happened with his work since then.

This is definitely significantly better than I thought it would be.


5 out of 5

The Hammer and the Flame - Robert Silverberg

A Galactic Empire with a doddering Emperor faces simmering discontent. When a High Priest on a rebellious world is tortured to death over the location of an Empire breaking mythic weapon, things spill over via his son. Except at this point, no-one knows what this Hammer is and even if it exists.


3.5 out of 5

Swordsmen In the Sky - Donald A. Wollheim

A short anthology of planetary romance stories, with Brackett by far the highlight. The Anderson is reasonable and Hamilton's is fun, complete with lightsaber duels.

Swordsmen In the Sky : Swordsman of Lost Terra - Poul Anderson
Swordsmen In the Sky : The People of the Crater - Andre Norton
Swordsmen In the Sky : The Moon that Vanished - Leigh Brackett
Swordsmen In the Sky : A Vision of Venus - Otis Adelbert Kline
Swordsmen In the Sky : Kaldar World of Antares - Edmond Hamilton

"Can you pipe your way out of hell, barbarian?"

3.5 out of 5


Garin's in Tav.

2.5 out of 5


"Few men have ever reached the Moonfire," the Venusian said. "They were the strong ones, the men without fear."

4 out of 5


Tork or not, take me, Lotan!

2.5 out of 5




2.5 out of 5

Kaldar World of Antares - Edmond Hamilton

Stuart Merrick is an adventurous sort, broke with no rellos - so a good subject to transport to another world on a planetary romance adventure. This time fighting spider-men with a trusty blaster AND a lightsaber by his side.


3 out of 5

Monday, August 22, 2011

Spawn of the Deadly Sea - Robert Silverberg

A wet Earth thanks to a prior alien invasion has the local Sea Lords running a protection racket on the City States, although there is actually a pirate problem. Also a race of genetically engineered people under the sea are a source of conflict.

When the previous alien invaders return the land and sea dwellers must team up to defeat the amphibious and hence flexible aliens from getting a beachhead and underbeachhead.


3.5 out of 5

Just Outside Our Windows Deep Inside Our Walls - Brian Hodge

Drawn a boy.


3.5 out of 5

Slaves Of The Star Giants - Robert Silverberg

A man is teleported through time to be the pawn for an artificial intelligence on a future Earth, stymied by damage and on a planet now run by huge aliens.


3.5 out of 5

Mr Pigsny - Reggie Oliver

Slug men.


3.5 out of 5

Sunday, August 21, 2011

At the Riding School - Cody Goodfellow

Hunt mystery school beast stable mistress rebellion.


3.5 out of 5

Wings of Fire - Jonathan Strahan

A good anthology of flaming big lizard stories at 3.44 with serveral standouts by McCaffrey, Bear, Murphy, Lynn, Dickson, Shepard and Reed.

Wings of Fire : The Rule of Names - Ursula K. Le Guin
Wings of Fire : The Ice Dragon - George R. R. Martin
Wings of Fire : Sobek - Holly Black
Wings of Fire : King Dragon - Michael Swanwick
Wings of Fire : The Laily Worm - Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Wings of Fire : The Harrowing of the Dragon of Hoarsbreath - Patricia A. McKillip
Wings of Fire : The Bully and the Beast - Orson Scott Card
Wings of Fire : Concerto Accademico - Barry Malzberg
Wings of Fire : The Dragon's Boy - Jane Yolen
Wings of Fire : The Miracle Aquilina - Margo Lanagan
Wings of Fire : Orm the Beautiful - Elizabeth Bear
Wings of Fire : Weyr Search - Anne McCaffrey
Wings of Fire : Paper Dragons - James P. Blaylock
Wings of Fire : Dragon's Gate - Pat Murphy
Wings of Fire : In Autumn A White Dragon Looks Over The Wide River - Naomi Novik
Wings of Fire : St. Dragon and the George - Gordon R. Dickson
Wings of Fire : The Silver Dragon - Elizabeth A. Lynn
Wings of Fire : The Dragons of Summer Gulch - Robert Reed
Wings of Fire : Berlin - Charles de Lint
Wings of Fire : Draco Draco - Tanith Lee
Wings of Fire : The Dragon on the Bookshelf - Harlan Ellison and Robert Silverberg
Wings of Fire : Gwydion and the Dragon - C. J. Cherryh
Wings of Fire : The George Business - Roger Zelazny
Wings of Fire : Dragon's Fin Soup - S. P. Somtow
Wings of Fire : The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule - Lucius Shepard

What do you call a dragon? Well, if it isn't the right thing, it isn't like you will have to worry about it for long.

4 out of 5


I'm melting.

3 out of 5


Demon crocodile cult mum.

3 out of 5


Just plane die.

3.5 out of 5


Masery kill.

3 out of 5


Wormspoor cold.

3.5 out of 5


Count Winkle Bork King.

3 out of 5


Reptiled symphony.

2 out of 5


Artos reading.

3.5 out of 5


Whipped boiled dragon rejection not so tasty.

3.5 out of 5


The last dragon makes a deal with a museum.

4.5 out of 5


Teleportin' time-shiftin' meteor shootin' dragon recruitin'.

4.5 out of 5


Crabby about dead one.

3.5 out of 5


Icy bloody demand for mum needs dragon empathy transformation.

4 out of 5


Emperor Lien.

3 out of 5


Human, dragon and knight team-up vs the bad guys.

3.5 out of 5


Dragon besieges, sneaks, server and scarpers.

4 out of 5


Dracaleology weaponry.

4 out of 5


Borderlands gang.

3 out of 5


Sacrifice snack.

3.5 out of 5


Mortal time end, zabil.

3 out of 5


Madog Glasog shape.

3 out of 5


Stage fight.

3.5 out of 5


Chinese special.

3 out of 5


Really big canvas cost story.

4 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Gwydion and the Dragon - C. J. Cherryh

Madog Glasog shape.


3 out of 5

The Dragon On The Bookshelf - Robert Silverberg and Harlan Ellison

Mortal time end, zabil.


3 out of 5

Draco Draco - Tanith Lee

Sacrifice snack.


3.5 out of 5

Berlin - Charles De Lint

Borderlands gang.


3 out of 5

In Autumn A White Dragon Looks Over The Wide River - Naomi Novik

Emperor Lien.


3 out of 5

The Dragon's Boy - Jane Yolen

Artos reading.


3.5 out of 5

Concerto Accademico - Barry N. Malzberg

Reptiled symphony.


2 out of 5

The Bully And The Beast - Orson Scott Card

Count Winkle Bork King.


3 out of 5

The Harrowing Of The Dragon Of Hoarsbreath - Patricia A. McKillip

Wormspoor cold.


3.5 out of 5

The Laily Worm - Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Masery kill.


3 out of 5

Sobek - Holly Black

Demon crocodile cult mum.


3 out of 5


Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2011 - Rich Horton

At a 2.88 average this is the worst Year's Best volume I have ever seen of the long way over 100 I have said.

Exceptions are the excellent Watts standout and the very good Anders tale, along with decent stories by Hand and Gaiman.

A nice price and DRM free, however, which is very cool and commendable. Certainly a weak year for stories, too.

SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : The Fermi Paradox is Our Business Model - Charlie Jane Anders
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : Stereogram of the Gray Fort in the Days of Her Glory - Paul M. Berger
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : Under the Moons of Venus - Damien Broderick
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : Arvies - Adam-Troy Castro
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : Braiding the Ghosts - C.S.E. Cooney
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : Amor Fugit - Alexandra Duncan
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : The Green Book - Amal El-Mohtar
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : No Time Like the Present - Carol Emshwiller
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : The Interior of Mr. Bumblethorn's Coat - Willow Fagan
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : The Thing About Cassandra - Neil Gaiman
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon - Elizabeth Hand
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : The Red Bride - Samantha Henderson
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : Holdfast - Matthew Johnson
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : The Other Graces - Alice Sola Kim
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : Merrythoughts - Bill Kte'pi
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : The Sultan of the Clouds - Geoffrey A. Landis
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : Flower Mercy Needle Chain - Yoon Ha Lee
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : Abandonware - An Omowoyela
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : Ghosts Doing the Orange Dance - Paul Park
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : Amor Vincet Omnia - KJ Parker
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : Dead Man's Run - Robert Reed
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen's Window - Rachel Swirsky
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : The Word of Azrael - Matthew David Surridge
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : A Letter from the Emperor - Steve Rasnic Tem
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : The Things - Peter Watts
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : Bloodsport - Gene Wolfe
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : The Magician and the Maid and Other Stories - Christie Yant
SF and F Best of the Year 2011 : Standard Loneliness Package - Charles Yu

Just a million year exploitation job.

4 out of 5


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

3 out of 5


Non-born, for a while.

2.5 out of 5


Ghost stop.

3 out of 5


Ourania dream.

2.5 out of 5


Different hands.

2.5 out of 5


Much cheaper in the past.

3 out of 5


Sleepy worm.

2 out of 5


Mum found my imaginary girlfriend.

3.5 out of 5


Cryptoaviation discovery.

3.5 out of 5


Var, not again.

2.5 out of 5


Charm knot.

3 out of 5


Subspaced.

2.5 out of 5


Wingless wishbone.

2.5 out of 5


Venus terraform fall.

3 out of 5


Machine talk.

3 out of 5


A trial.

1.5 out of 5


Total defense training.

3.5 out of 5


Upload murder, coach.

3.5 out of 5


Magic type straw men.

3 out of 5


Sword death.

2.5 out of 5


Nils diary.

3 out of 5


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

4.5 out of 5


Chess tyrant chop.

3 out of 5


Audra-rora defense.

2.5 out of 5


I am too nice.

3 out of 5


Rote gab picture, with stabbity.

3 out of 5




2 out of 5

Braiding the Ghosts - C. S. E. Cooney

Ghost stop.


3 out of 5

The Thing About Cassandra - Neil Gaiman

Mum found my imaginary girlfriend.


3.5 out of 5

The Magician And The Maid And Other Stories - Christie Yant

Audra-rora defense.


2.5 out of 5

Brave New Worlds - John Joseph Adams

A reprint anthology covering many decades of dystopian short stories that cover the range from over the top fantasy in the manner on George Orwell's 1984 to tweaks on more possible near futures.

There's a brief intro and a dystopian reading list at the end, which some will find useful.

As is usual, there is an excellent accompanying website http://www.johnjosephadams.com/brave-new-worlds/ with more info, interviews, notes, etc.

At 3.64 a high quality book with only a few average stories.


Brave New Worlds : The Lottery - Shirley Jackson
Brave New Worlds : Red Card - S. L. Gilbow
Brave New Worlds : Ten With a Flag - Joseph Paul Haines
Brave New Worlds : The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas - Ursula K. Le Guin
Brave New Worlds : Evidence of Love in a Case of Abandonment - M. Rickert
Brave New Worlds : The Funeral - Kate Wilhelm
Brave New Worlds : O Happy Day! - Geoff Ryman
Brave New Worlds : Pervert - Charles Coleman Finlay
Brave New Worlds : From Homogenous to Honey - Neil Gaiman & Bryan Talbot
Brave New Worlds : Billennium - J. G. Ballard
Brave New Worlds : Amaryllis - Carrie Vaughn
Brave New Worlds : Pop Squad - Paolo Bacigalupi
Brave New Worlds : Auspicious Eggs - James Morrow
Brave New Worlds : Peter Skilling - Alex Irvine
Brave New Worlds : The Pedestrian - Ray Bradbury
Brave New Worlds : The Things that Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away - Cory Doctorow
Brave New Worlds : The Pearl Diver - Caitlín R. Kiernan
Brave New Worlds : Dead Space for the Unexpected - Geoff Ryman
Brave New Worlds : Repent Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman - Harlan Ellison®
Brave New Worlds : Is This Your Day to Join the Revolution? - Genevieve Valentine
Brave New Worlds : Independence Day - Sarah Langan
Brave New Worlds : The Lunatics - Kim Stanley Robinson
Brave New Worlds : Sacrament - Matt Williamson
Brave New Worlds : The Minority Report - Philip K. Dick
Brave New Worlds : Just Do It - Heather Lindsley
Brave New Worlds : Harrison Bergeron - Kurt Vonnegut
Brave New Worlds : Caught in the Organ Draft - Robert Silverberg
Brave New Worlds : Geriatric Ward - Orson Scott Card
Brave New Worlds : Arties Aren't Stupid - Jeremiah Tolbert
Brave New Worlds : Jordan's Waterhammer - Joe Mastroianni
Brave New Worlds : Of a Sweet Slow Dance in the Wake of Temporary Dogs - Adam-Troy Castro
Brave New Worlds : Resistance - Tobias S. Buckell
Brave New Worlds : Civilization - Vylar Kaftan


Society choices.

3.5 out of 5


A story set in the author's Ragamuffin universe, again featuring, Pepper, whose superhuman talents would appear to lend themselves to being his favorite agent of change.

A society has handed over their voting to emulation of how AIs model predictions of how they would and/or should vote. Not everyone agrees this is such a great idea, some going so far as to disagree in a 'let's blow this the hell up' fashion.

A more overt in the middle of the action tale.

4 out of 5


Scheduled nastiness ration.

3.5 out of 5


Tunnel Loader worth.

3.5 out of 5


A youth subculture's rebellion style is interwoven into their art, and a new twist is that with the particular instantiation technologies available, they can make stuff live. If they get a bit of technical advice and don't get arrested.

Told in a style that reflects their lingua franca. A little Dark Angel, even.

3.5 out of 5


Premature Aging Population.

3 out of 5


Cannibalising the young.

4.5 out of 5


Handicap gravity uplift termination.

4 out of 5


Behaviour modification commercialisation.

4 out of 5


Precrime failure.

5 out of 5


Interrogation Protocols.

3.5 out of 5


Promethium vision holed.

3 out of 5


Mandatory Porting.

3.5 out of 5


Bad propaganda.

3 out of 5


Joker fan not keen on digital watches, but does quite like a jelly bean.

3.5 out of 5


Corporate performance pressure.

4 out of 5


American fascist Orwellian Dilbert hell sacking bejewelled transformation.

3 out of 5


Anomaly growth check Emergence.

3.5 out of 5


Future walk tendencies.

3.5 out of 5


Retroactive anti-terror.

4 out of 5


"Neither has ever missed a Sacrament of Extramarital Intercourse."

3.5 out of 5


Breeding dinosaur kid kill cleanup.

4.5 out of 5


Getting a banner kid.

3.5 out of 5


Population space premium.

4 out of 5


Taking out the different.

3.5 out of 5


Not from the larger pool.

4 out of 5


Any sex violence.

3.5 out of 5


Getting hairy.

3.5 out of 5


Friday night mum executing lights.

3.5 out of 5


"Well we know where were goin
But we dont know where we've been"

4 out of 5


My baby's a future State Human Services champ.

3.5 out of 5


Her assignment shot through.

3.5 out of 5


Stone loser.

3.5 out of 5




4.5 out of 5

Ten With A Flag - Joseph Paul Haines

My baby's a future State Human Services champ.


3.5 out of 5

O Happy Day! - Geoff Ryman

Any sex violence.


3.5 out of 5

Independence Day - Sarah Langan

Mandatory Porting.


3.5 out of 5

Sacrament - Matt Williamson

Interrogation Protocols.


3.5 out of 5

How The Pooka Came To New York City - Delia Sherman

Shipped, with a horse trainer.


3.5 out of 5

Curses - Jim Butcher

Were Billy Goat faerie style on the Cubs.


3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Geriatric Ward - Orson Scott Card

Premature Aging Population.


3 out of 5

Jordan's Waterhammer - Joe Mastroianni

Tunnel Loader worth.


3.5 out of 5

When the Great Days Come - Gardner Dozois

A collection of most of his best stories. For some reason Horse of Air is not here, with maybe a couple of others. It also leaves out his weakest other work, substituting a few I hadn't come across before. Recidivist was interesting. He is not very prolific, basically coming up with around a story a year over time along with his editing work.

A Prime book bought from Wizard's Tower Press - another DRM-free only retailer, which is good, given I've pretty much given the other kind the arse as not worth the hassle if your name isn't Alastair Reynolds. They have a combination of new and old work of all types. From short stories to Melissa Scott's very fine Shadow Man for example. They also sell in pounds, so we might find better prices on some of them elsewhere often. This doesn't usually affect us, Angry Robot being the only other pounds retailer available and their prices are the same.

Dozois' work is mostly SF with the odd fantasy story, generally tending to the bleak. Also generally high quality, averaging 3.67 for this batch for example

A 4.25ish book rounded up, with an intro by Robert Silverberg.

When the Great Days Come : Counterfactual - Gardner Dozois
When the Great Days Come : The Hanging Curve - Gardner Dozois
When the Great Days Come : Recidivist - Gardner Dozois
When the Great Days Come : When the Great Days Came - Gardner Dozois
When the Great Days Come : The Peacemaker - Gardner Dozois
When the Great Days Come : Fairy Tale - Gardner Dozois
When the Great Days Come : Chains of the Sea - Gardner Dozois
When the Great Days Come : Solace - Gardner Dozois
When the Great Days Come : A Cat Horror Story - Gardner Dozois
When the Great Days Come : Disciples - Gardner Dozois
When the Great Days Come : Ancestral Voices - Gardner Dozois and with Michael Swanwick
When the Great Days Come : Dinner Party - Gardner Dozois
When the Great Days Come : A Dream at Noonday - Gardner Dozois
When the Great Days Come : A Special Kind of Morning - Gardner Dozois
When the Great Days Come : Morning Child - Gardner Dozois
When the Great Days Come : A Kingdom by the Sea - Gardner Dozois
When the Great Days Come : Community - Gardner Dozois
When the Great Days Come : A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows - Gardner Dozois

Twenty year civil guerilla war coverage.

4.5 out of 5


Slow pitch series ender.

3.5 out of 5


Flying around the AI Change.

3.5 out of 5


Rat's eye armageddon.

3.5 out of 5


Sea sacrifice.

3.5 out of 5


Cinderella existence not all it is cracked up to be.

3.5 out of 5


Invasion top dog talking people termination time.

3.5 out of 5


Sick and need destroying.

3 out of 5


Fast Dead Thing Ghostland runaway ball chopping swimming evil.

4 out of 5


Lacking Last Days layabout Left Behind.

4 out of 5


Dark Angel First Contact zap insanity removal mercy regret.

4.5 out of 5


Hillbilly secession Guard.

3 out of 5


Childhood memory death.

3.5 out of 5


Oh what a lovely war.

4.5 out of 5


Weapon parental effects.

4 out of 5


Hammertime dreamtime.

3.5 out of 5


Two for one Intervention.

2.5 out of 5


You left me you steely old battleaxe, piss off.

4 out of 5




4.5 out of 5

Community - Gardner Dozois

Two for one Intervention.


2.5 out of 5

Dinner Party - Gardner Dozois

Hillbilly secession Guard.


3 out of 5

Solace - Gardner Dozois

Sick and need destroying.


3 out of 5

Recidivist - Gardner Dozois

Flying around the AI Change.


3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Flandry's Legacy - Poul Anderson

An omnicollection of the end of Flandry's career when he is an Admiral and some other Technic history stories.

Flandry's Legacy : A STONE IN HEAVEN - Poul Anderson
Flandry's Legacy : THE GAME OF EMPIRE - Poul Anderson
Flandry's Legacy : A TRAGEDY OF ERRORS - Poul Anderson
Flandry's Legacy : THE NIGHT FACE - Poul Anderson
Flandry's Legacy : THE SHARING OF FLESH - Poul Anderson
Flandry's Legacy : STARFOG - Poul Anderson

From the last book Flandry was disheartened and disillusioned, if not quite broken.

A Vice-Admiral here, he has had fifteen years or so to get over it.

When the daughter of his old mentor comes to him with a serious problem, he finds enough of interest in the mission and the woman herself to get back into action and find some of the old Flandry again.

Plots against the Empire to stop, people to save, and all that good stuff.

3.5 out of 5


Flandry is a Fleet Admiral, and doesn't appear until the second part of the book really - although his daughter does.

The Empire is under threat again from a competent leader - and this is what causes Flandry to stir himself into possible danger - to have a conversation with the man that is a threat and to gauge what may be going on.

This is really somewhat similar to an early story, but with a more removed point of view as far as the elder Flandry is concerned. There is action for the younger.

3 out of 5


Some end of Galactic Empire star roving.

3 out of 5


Long Night exploitation errors.


Post-Empire, this particular planet is at a lower technology level, and doesn't want to use atomics - so has no spaceflight.

Others see it as a possible useful base for such. Surprising are volcanoes and mountain apes, but even worse is a literally crazy ritual the locals have.

3 out of 5


Cultural anthropology team's cannibal puberty blues cure.

4 out of 5


Ranger Universe discoveries.

3.5 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight of Terra - Poul Anderson

This omnicollection deals with an experienced Flandry, with the first story highly excellent and the rest only so-so.

Sir Dominic Flandry The Last Knight of Terra : THE PLAGUE OF MASTERS - Poul Anderson
Sir Dominic Flandry The Last Knight of Terra : HUNTERS OF THE SKY CAVE - Poul Anderson
Sir Dominic Flandry The Last Knight of Terra : THE WARRIORS FROM NOWHERE - Poul Anderson
Sir Dominic Flandry The Last Knight of Terra : A KNIGHT OF GHOSTS AND SHADOWS - Poul Anderson

Flandry checks out a planet that is incommunicado. He finds out the place is deadly, the locals have to take a drug regularly or die. A local police force cum priesthood control this and get rather wealthy.

Flandry decides he'd like on contracting this action out elsewhere, but needs some underground allies to help.

4.5 out of 5


Flandry gets into to grass roots work on a planet with some nasty conditions, and ends up in deadly shipboard combat, all with the help of a local woman.

3 out of 5


Flandry has to deal with an opposite number with a telepathic advantage.

3 out of 5


A different tone here as an older Flandry learns he has a son from a previous relationship.

However, a bit more of the same as a struggling Terran Empire still requires his assistance to attempt to hold some of it togther - him, and a slave girl, and his faithful assistant, of course.

2.5 out of 5




3 out of 5

At The Edge Of Ellensburg - Livia Llewellyn

Drug dealer deadly pursuit trip, no swallowing.


4 out of 5

Horses - Livia Llewellyn

Of the pale Trident variety, no abortion, suicide by gunfight.


3.5 out of 5

Young Flandry - Poul Anderson

An omnibus of three novels set early in Flandry's career.

Young Flandry : ENSIGN FLANDRY - Poul Anderson
Young Flandry : A CIRCUS OF HELLS - Poul Anderson
Young Flandry : THE REBEL WORLDS - Poul Anderson

Flandry is fresh out of the military joint at 19, and shows some quick thinking and nereve in a confrontation between two races on an outpost world.

An old diplomat and spymaster recognises a possible super agent, when he sees one, and apparently there is a large shortish of such even in the massive empire, so he gives Flandry a job.

He uncovers a very big secret, on more than one front, and is sometimes on the run from his own side.

3.5 out of 5


Different to the earlier stuff, except perhaps towards the end.

Flandry, not having a great time on a backwater planet decides to get mixed up in some trouble involving a large bribe, and, of course, a babe.

So they end up betrayed, on the run, and seeking help to stay alive and develop what may be her psychic powers.

"I believe I have deduced it," Ydwyr said. "You are swinging free, dangerously but concealingly near the pulsar. From the relativistic region you will launch your courier torpedoes, strapped together and hyperdrives operating simultaneously. What with distortion effects, you hope my folk will mistake the impulses for this boat's and give chase. If your decoy lures them as far as a light-year off, you will be outside their hyperwave detection range and can embark on a roundabout homeward voyage. The sheer size of space will make it unlikely that they, backtracking, will pick up your vibrations." "Right," Flandry said admiringly. "You're a sharp rascal. I look forward to some amusing chit-chat."

Fairly average, this one.

3 out of 5


A Governor using his power to increase his own personal wealth has one enemy that is a problem - an Admiral - so he decides to arrest him.

Popular enough to have his men rescue him, this starts a rebellion.

The usual approaches are taken, but his boss decides one Dominic Flandry should be given a ship to go poking around.

This poking around includes getting the rebel Admiral's wife out of the clutches of said slimy governor, if he can stay alive long enough to sort out the situation.

With some interesting multi-form aliens and a love triangle, Flandry has to decide what to do, and what the official story will be.


3.5 out of 5



3.5 out of 5

Dead Easy - William Mark Simmons

The fourth in this series goes for an everything plus the kitchen sink - floating past you thanks to hurricane devastation.

The vampire voodoo queen of New Orleans, werewolves, werepanthers, zombies, Deep Ones, Nyarlathotep and friends, and the return of Captain Nemo. Along with Chris and his two-headed girlfriend/enemy.

On top of this through in some Celtic legends, Cuchulain, a couple of sea goddesses who fancy adopting his kid and you have a book that is considerably more entertaining than the last couple.


3.5 out of 5

The Devil's Churn - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

A woman sees an impossibly handsome man come out of the water near a cliffside beach - with a tail at times, no less. This leads to impregnation and a book of magic. The results of which cause problems for two generations of descendants and those around them. The death of the woman brings the family back into close contact at her house and the past comes literally back to life.


3 out of 5


Monday, August 15, 2011

The Parasite - Neal Asher

A comet miner being used for smuggling gets infected with an alien parasite that augments him physically. And back on Earth now is causing infections that kill as a World Health parasitologist and her Golem partner try and find him - as do the corporate assassins sent by the criminal CEO behind it.


3.5 out of 5

Harbinger of the Storm - Aliette de Bodard

The second in this series is a bit slower than the first. The machinations between the various members of the Mexica ruling class continue as the struggle to install a new leader after the last one became mortally challenged gets murderous.

Short a few council members and a Guardian our High Priestly protagonist has to attempt to stay alive along with his student and sister. This involves making deals with people who have been trying to kill you and again visiting various Gods and Goddesses to attempt to stop worse ones being charge.


3.5 out of 5

Habeas Corpses - William Mark Simmons

Chris is accumulating followers, whether used to be vampire bloodnut bodyguards, cat-vampires or a yard full of zombies that like to argue about which movies to watch.

Various inhuman types are still out to get him, however, whether vampire politicians or Dr Mengele and other assorted evil nazis.

A new trick in that he can now take over bodies that have bled. So he is accumulating superpowers in impressive fashion.


3 out of 5

City of Ruins - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Boss has been leading her team of divers and people with the genetic markers to survive the stealth tech all over to try and recover it before the Empire types gets their hands on it.

This leads her to a planet that appears to have some - and suffer devastating disasters where the ground just collapses in places. The natives are patriarchal and not keen on outsiders knowing about this.

The two of course are related. What Boss does not expect to find is a functioning Destiny Ship, complete with a crew. Their ancapa drive as they call it is not just stealth tech it can do the good old hyperspace jump manoeuvre, and did so back to the base under this planet.

5000 years of language drift separates the two crews, who have to communicate and work something out they can both live with (and not get shot with).


3.5 out of 5

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dead On My Feet - Wm Mark Simmons

Dead On My Feet isn't as good as the first book in the series. Overall I think these books are a little longer than they need to be given the style, which means there is a tendency to drag in the middle.

Get rid of the Dracula problem for now, then you move on. Who next? The Countess Elizabeth Bathory if you prefer a more anglicised spelling.

Who is in the middle of some really nasty experiments aimed at biological warfare and is not all that she seems to be. And the Csjethe hero of the piece just happens to be a little Hungarian to make the politics more interesting.


3 out of 5

Friday, August 12, 2011

Exodus - Steve White and Shirley Meier

A military science fiction space opera with a couple of tweaks. A really good officer instrumental in helping his side win a space battle is critically injured in doing so. He gets the 'we can only freeze him until we have the technology treatment'. He wakes up to discover the side he was fighting for now have come to a comfortable political arrangement. His old lover is decades older, as is his counterpart - who has a daughter that is also older than he is, but no less interesting.

The conflict this time comes from an alien race who are fleeing astronomical disaster in giant generation ships - but in normal space. They do not have the wormhole style space gate trick this society does. But they do have really, really big and well armed ship. When a right-wing nervous idiot commander gives the order to fire when both sides are considering surrender it gets a hell of a lot of people killed and some human real estate taken over. This leads to desperate space war on both sides - and would appear to be continued in a following book. Apparently also part of a series (there are references to previous wars against highly original arachnoid or insectoid bug aliens.) Which certainly doesn't sound as interesting as this.

Said unfrozen oldster now looks young thanks to the brainless clone technique used to revive him. He now has to work with the people that are his old enemies from what seems to him to be only a very short time ago, but is old history to everyone else.

The aliens view death differently, too, as it appears they have some sort of literal reincarnation thing going on.



3.5 out of 5

Supergods - Grant Morrison

Morrison gives us his take on what is important in USA comic book history. He is knowledgeable about this, but appears to have fiction black spots. Talks about Batman with no mention of the Shadow. Fantastic Four and Superman, no Doc Savage. The Punisher and mentions Charles Bronson, but not The Executioner, from which it is a wholesale lift?

Otherwise, it is an interesting tour of comic history up until quite recently, with some behind the scenes discussions. Morrison is quite candid about his own motivations, appears. This does lead to the by far the weakest points of the book, however, when he goes on at length about his own drug-addled woo-woo mysticism and visions for way too many paragraphs. Highly skippable those, when they aren't directly related to how he was writing parts of the Invisibles for example.

Also a theory of the flipping of poles of pop culture that is entertaining too, as he goes from the invention of Superman, Batman and Captain Marvel through The Authority and Event Fatigue and beyond.

Overall, very good though.


4.5 out of 5

The Mayan Conspiracy - Graham Brown

A solid science fiction thriller. A possible source of cold fusion is to be found in Brazil in ancient stray ruins. The problem is the yet another secret US government organisation's first team sent in to look for it almost all died. And the only guy left reports monsters. Plus, the head of the organisation is bent. And his next-in-line is better and not.

Cue ambitious young field operative recruiting some dodgy mercenaries (who could have been running away from Roland's Thompson Gun in a previous generation), a pilot out in the cold, academics and the standard traitor to go and look again. The discovery is not what they expect - a time traveller being the source of legends, and a bunch of genetic creations with strange biochemistry and exoskeletons that are in the way.

3.5 out of 5

Black Rain - Graham Brown

A solid science fiction thriller. A possible source of cold fusion is to be found in Brazil in ancient stray ruins. The problem is the yet another secret US government organisation's first team sent in to look for it almost all died. And the only guy left reports monsters. Plus, the head of the organisation is bent. And his next-in-line is better and not.

Cue ambitious young field operative recruiting some dodgy mercenaries (who could have been running away from Roland's Thompson Gun in a previous generation), a pilot out in the cold, academics and the standard traitor to go and look again. The discovery is not what they expect - a time traveller being the source of legends, and a bunch of genetic creations with strange biochemistry and exoskeletons that are in the way.

3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Devil Colony - James Rollins

So this time Sigma Force only have to deal with bizarre secret societies involving pale Native American Mormons, and European supervillains.

And perhaps a tiny problem with a Yellowstone supervolcano as Painter Crowe's niece gets her activist self into a hell of a lot more trouble than she thought after attempting to blow up a newly discovered artifact.

And of course you keep secret gold artifacts hidden in Fort Knox guarded by traitors. Good think you have biker antiheroines to help out, there.

Very good again.


4 out of 5