Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Black Seas of Infinity - Dan Henk

A youg man with off the wall inventing ideas involving moving to an artificial body is drafted into a secret military project. The discovery of an alien ship, to his surprise. This occupies him for a decade until disillusionment causes a parting of the ways and his transfer. Not too pleased, he comes back, breaking in and ending up in a superhuman body. This leads to a strange odyssey across a USA falling part due to civil war as the backdrop, into Mexico and out into an interstellar space that is far from empty. A slightly surreal first person violet odyssey that is definitely a bit different. Well worth a look.


3.5 out of 5

Magic Gifts - Ilona Andrews

Some living Vikings, a big dead Viking, a dwarf and a woman bad with jewellery.


4 out of 5

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Blessed Are The Dead That The Rain Falls Upon - Martin Livings

The cop and the Feminoid.


3.5 out of 5

Blood Walk - Lee Killough

A cop comes across a couple of murders and tracks down the killer, an elegant and clever woman. Unfortunately for him, she's a vampire. In the struggle he ends up biting her and ending up with a blood problem and a no-longer-human problem. Which means he leaves his big city cop job to track her down - not so good in a city if you are chasing someone through a building and can't enter an apartment uninvited to back up your partner! A little Night Stalker, a fair bit Forever Knight this one as he discovers his maker is crazy, her maker, others and a vampire hunter.


3.5 out of 5

The Return of the Sorcerer - Clark Ashton Smith

A solid selection of good Smith stories, including a couple of his best.

Return of the Sorcerer : The Return Of The Sorcerer - Clark Ashton Smith
Return of the Sorcerer : The City Of Singing Flame - Clark Ashton Smith
Return of the Sorcerer : The Vaults Of Yoh-Vombis - Clark Ashton Smith
Return of the Sorcerer : The Double Shadow - Clark Ashton Smith
Return of the Sorcerer : The Monster Of The Prophecy - Clark Ashton Smith
Return of the Sorcerer : The Hunters From Beyond - Clark Ashton Smith
Return of the Sorcerer : The Isle Of The Torturers - Clark Ashton Smith
Return of the Sorcerer : A Night In Malneant - Clark Ashton Smith
Return of the Sorcerer : The Chain Of Aforgomon - Clark Ashton Smith
Return of the Sorcerer : The Dark Eidolon - Clark Ashton Smith
Return of the Sorcerer : The Seven Geases - Clark Ashton Smith
Return of the Sorcerer : The Holiness Of Azedarac - Clark Ashton Smith
Return of the Sorcerer : The Beast Of Averoigne - Clark Ashton Smith
Return of the Sorcerer : The Empire Of The Necromancers - Clark Ashton Smith
Return of the Sorcerer : The Disinterment Of Venus - Clark Ashton Smith
Return of the Sorcerer : The Devotee Of Evil - Clark Ashton Smith
Return of the Sorcerer : The Enchantress Of Sylaire - Clark Ashton Smith


A man in need of a job takes one his wishes he hadn't. Pretty much the first request he gets, because of his skills in Arabic, is to translate some part of Abdul Alhazred's Necronomicon.

It appears he has become embroiled in a mortal dispute between two sorcerers, brothers, and one of them ain't alive anymore.

3.5 out of 5


A writer follows in the footsteps of others, and finds a trans-dimensional city.

4 out of 5


Martian Odyssey mummy and vampire doom.

4.5 out of 5


Sorcerers, summonings and some nasty transmogrifications.

2.5 out of 5


Unpublished poet given alien travel offer, his monstrous bodily form desirable for revolutionary reasons.

3 out of 5



A habitue of bookshops and writer of the supernatural meets a gargoyle there. In what presumably is taking the piss out of himself, the owner of the shop berates him for knowing nothing about which he writes, whereas he has firsthand information.

This bloke is a sculptor, and he tells him how he gets his models.

Not such a nice end.

3.5 out of 5


A group does bad things to a powerful man they don't like too much. They make a deadly serious mistake with some mystical objects in the process.

2.5 out of 5


Unreal how colourless that joint was.

3 out of 5


Drugs, necromancers, and occult combustion.

3 out of 5


You should not be mean to boys that grow up to be all powerful necromancers. Especially when they invite you to dinners inhabited by untold monsters.

4 out of 5


A cocky adventurer runs into Tsaggothua and others, who give him a few mandated directions on what he must do.

4 out of 5


A priest investigates another of their order who likes the whole Azathoth and Elder Gods thing just a bit too much. Not to mention the Book of Eibon.

However, he falls prey to his servant, time travel, and a gorgeous enchantress, in that order.

4.5 out of 5


A monster kills some religious types, and a man experienced with supernatural matters is asked to assist. They are surprised at its true nature.

3 out of 5


A pair of Necromancers, exiled from one city because of their practices, make themselves and empire of the undead.

They grow lax and redolent, and one of their raisings himself was a sorcerer with some necromantic knowledge.

Revolution.

3 out of 5


A sexy statue unearthed gives a bunch of monks the horn, and resists attempts at destruction.

3.5 out of 5


A man wants to build an 'ultimate evil receiver'.

Yeah, he's crazy.

3.5 out of 5


A man, tired of a woman playing hard to get, becomes a hermit. While minding his own business he comes across a woman and her lupine companion.

She invites him home, and he is smitted. The wolf, actually a werewolf, warns him against this lamia, and the woman he left comes looking for him.

No one can sway him.

4 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Down These Strange Streets - Gardner Dozois and George R. R. Martin

A very mediocre collection of stories, made worse by the sameness. Apparently there are no strange streets in Europe, Asia, Africa or Oceania going by this selection. The fantasy writers write about the USA, the historical writers, Rome. So bonus points to Gabaldon and Denton at least for being a bit more interesting. Mediawise, of course, the US streets are the least strange to anyone. Very disappointing and a poor book.

Down These Strange Streets : Dead By Dahlia - Charlaine Harris
Down These Strange Streets : The Bleeding Shadow - Joe R. Lansdale
Down These Strange Streets : Hungry Heart - Simon R. Green
Down These Strange Streets : Styx And Stones - Steven Saylor
Down These Strange Streets : Pain And Suffering - S.M. Stirling
Down These Strange Streets : It's Still The Same Old Story - Carrie Vaughn
Down These Strange Streets : The Lady Is A Screamer - Conn Iggulden
Down These Strange Streets : Hellbender - Laurie R. King
Down These Strange Streets : Shadow Thieves - Glen Cook
Down These Strange Streets : No Mystery No Miracle - Melinda Snodgrass
Down These Strange Streets : The Difference Between A Puzzle And A Mystery - Daniel Abraham
Down These Strange Streets : The Curious Affair Of The Deodand - Lisa Tuttle
Down These Strange Streets : Lord John And The Plague Of Zombies - Diana Gabaldon
Down These Strange Streets : Beware The Snake - John Maddox Roberts
Down These Strange Streets : In Red With Pearls - Patricia Briggs
Down These Strange Streets : The Adakian Eagle - Bradley Denton

Head off.

2.5 out of 5


Find Tootie.

3.5 out of 5


John Taylor, a box and a heart.

3 out of 5


Gordianus goes to Babylon for some lemur faking.

3.5 out of 5


Shadowspawn kill.

3 out of 5


Vampire problem.

3 out of 5


Spirit feel.

3 out of 5


Hybrid moments, SalaMan.

3.5 out of 5


Garrett, a box, Dead Man.

3 out of 5


Old one deal.

3 out of 5


Bit of a monster.

3 out of 5


Gargoyles and bits.

2.5 out of 5


Jamaican zombies.

3 out of 5


Caesar don't like 'em.

3 out of 5


Werewolf detective.

3 out of 5


Aleutian military magic.

3 out of 5




2 out of 5

The Adakian Eagle - Bradley Denton

Aleutian military magic.


3 out of 5

In Red With Pearls - Patricia Briggs

Werewolf detective.


3 out of 5

Beware the Snake - John Maddox Roberts

Caesar don't like 'em.


3 out of 5

Lord John And The Plague Of Zombies - Diana Gabaldon

Jamaican style.


3 out of 5

The Curious Affair Of The Deodand - Lisa Tuttle

Gargoyles and bits.


2.5 out of 5

The Difference Between A Puzzle And A Mystery - Daniel Abraham

Bit of a monster.


3 out of 5

No Mystery No Miracle - Melinda M. Snodgrass

Old one deal.


3 out of 5

Shadow Thieves - Glen Cook

Garrett, a box, Dead Man.


3 out of 5

Hellbender - Laurie R. King

Hybrid moments, SalaMan.


3.5 out of 5

The Lady Is A Screamer - Conn Iggulden

Spirit feel.


3 out of 5

It's Still the Same Old Story - Carrie Vaughn

Vampire problem.


3 out of 5

Pain and Suffering - S. M. Stirling

Shadowspawn kill.


3 out of 5

Styx and Stones - Steven Saylor

Gordianus goes to Babylon for some lemur faking.


3.5 out of 5

Hungry Heart - Simon R. Green

John Taylor, a box and a heart.


3 out of 5

The Bleeding Shadow - Joe R. Lansdale

Find Tootie.


3.5 out of 5

Dead By Dahlia - Charlaine Harris

Head off.


2.5 out of 5

The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith Vol 5 The Last Hieroglyph - Clark Ashton Smith

There are several strong stories in this fifth volume.

The Last Hieroglyph : The Dark Age - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : The Death of Malygris - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : The Tomb-Spawn - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : The Witchcraft of Ulua - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : The Coming of the White Worm - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : The Seven Geases - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : The Chain of Aforgomon - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : The Primal City - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : Xeethra - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : The Last Hieroglyph - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : Necromancy in Naat - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : The Treader of the Dust - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : The Black Abbot of Puthuum - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : The Death of Ilalotha - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : Mother of Toads - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : The Garden of Adompha - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : The Great God Awto - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : Strange Shadows - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : The Enchantress of Sylaire - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : Double Cosmos - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : Nemesis of the Unfinished - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : The Master of the Crabs - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : Morthylla - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : Schizoid Creator - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : Monsters in the Night - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : Phoenix - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : The Theft of the Thirty-Nine Girdles - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : Symposium of the Gorgon - Clark Ashton Smith
The Last Hieroglyph : The Dart of Rasasfa - Clark Ashton Smith


The last surviving people of an advanced civilisation realises all their technology has failed, and they are now vulnerable to the primitives around them.

Despite an offer of assistance from a group of warriors, they are unable to cope.

3.5 out of 5


Some sorcerers mess with a now dead necromancer who was just that bit much more clever than they are.

4 out of 5


A couple of jewelers on a treasure hunting expedition discover a statue is a lot uglier, more realistic and animate than they would expect.

4 out of 5


Sorcerous sage's ruler scorns short babe.

3.5 out of 5


A fancy sword is needed to get rid of a polar bear heart-eating monstrosity, once human.

3 out of 5



A cocky adventurer runs into Tsaggothua and others, who give him a few mandated directions on what he must do.

4 out of 5


Drugs, necromancers, and occult combustion.

3 out of 5


Big mountain town not fond of tourists.

3 out of 5


Xeethra should have listend to his uncle Pornos (he who should be careful with pronunciation) and behaved himself and not run off to make a deal with a demon for a soul.

2.5 out of 5


As astrologer follows the horoscope in the stars, and when you end up with a mummy, a merman, and a salamander as guides to lead you to an ancient wizard guy, even if you have a faithful dog, it is more of a horrorscope.

4 out of 5


A man is enlisted to help a younger generation of Necromancers get rid of the older.

2.5 out of 5


A man gets lost in 'The Testaments of Carnamagos'. Not a good idea to accidentally read incantations you are not sure of. Poof.

4 out of 5


Magic arrows are needed for some adventurers to dispose of an immortal evil priest and retinue.

3.5 out of 5


A queen that dies for love summons the one who caused her demise. Trystys Necrotis.

3 out of 5


Toads are gross. A large witch that looks like a toad and has toad powers, and seduces people is much grosser.

4 out of 5


A king and his magician know where the bodies are buried, literally. They have made a garden out of them. Highly grotesque.

3.5 out of 5


Far future automobile satire.

3.5 out of 5


Drunk dude bedevilled by dark stuff.

2.5 out of 5


A man, tired of a woman playing hard to get, becomes a hermit. While minding his own business he comes across a woman and her lupine companion.

She invites him home, and he is smitted. The wolf, actually a werewolf, warns him against this lamia, and the woman he left comes looking for him.

No one can sway him.

4 out of 5


A chemist experiments with drugs to investigate supernatural senses and other dimensions.

2.5 out of 5


Even demons sick of writerly procrastinations.

3.5 out of 5


Crustacean king succumbs to sorcery.

4 out of 5


A man has a thing for a lamia, first an impostor, then the real thing.

3.5 out of 5


Devil summoning scientist fails to get the top man.

3.5 out of 5


Roboghostbuster shock for werewolf.

3.5 out of 5


Hardcore firelighting heartbreak.

3.5 out of 5


Satampra Zeios is back, with a scam to divest a whole lot of temple girls of their girdles, by robbery and the aid of a concoction.

4 out of 5


A drunken encounter with Medusa leads to a trip via Pegasus, and some cannibals are left severely disappointed.

4 out of 5


A married pair of space explorers end up on a planet of reptile beings, and find it a little harrowing.

3 out of 5



4 out of 5

The Nemesis Worm - Guy Haley

Richards and Klein get called in because what appeared to be Richards had been involved in a murder - however a cult wants their own little digital deity.


4 out of 5

The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith Vol 4 The Maze of the Enchanter - Clark Ashton Smith

Not as good as the previous two, however The mandrakes is a standout.

The Maze of the Enchanter : The Mandrakes - Clark Ashton Smith
The Maze of the Enchanter : The Beast of Averoigne - Clark Ashton Smith
The Maze of the Enchanter : A Star-Change - Clark Ashton Smith
The Maze of the Enchanter : The Disinterment of Venus - Clark Ashton Smith
The Maze of the Enchanter : The White Sybil - Clark Ashton Smith
The Maze of the Enchanter : The Isle of the Torturers - Clark Ashton Smith
The Maze of the Enchanter : The Dimension of Chance - Clark Ashton Smith
The Maze of the Enchanter : The Dweller in the Gulf - Clark Ashton Smith
The Maze of the Enchanter : The Maze of the Enchanter - Clark Ashton Smith
The Maze of the Enchanter : The Third Episode of Vathek: The Story of the Princess Zulkaïs and the Prince Kalilah
The Maze of the Enchanter : Genius Loci - Clark Ashton Smith
The Maze of the Enchanter : The Secret of the Cairn - Clark Ashton Smith
The Maze of the Enchanter : The Charnel God - Clark Ashton Smith
The Maze of the Enchanter : The Dark Eidolon - Clark Ashton Smith
The Maze of the Enchanter : The Voyage of King Euvoran - Clark Ashton Smith
The Maze of the Enchanter : Vulthoom - Clark Ashton Smith
The Maze of the Enchanter : The Weaver in the Vault - Clark Ashton Smith
The Maze of the Enchanter : The Flower-Women - Clark Ashton Smith

Spousal slayage profitable, until her vestigial visage wreaks vegetable vengeance.

4.5 out of 5


A monster kills some religious types, and a man experienced with supernatural matters is asked to assist. They are surprised at its true nature.

3 out of 5


Alien mountain climber meeting abduction brain operation tortuous communication deterioration.

3 out of 5


A sexy statue unearthed gives a bunch of monks the horn, and resists attempts at destruction.

3.5 out of 5


Poet has a thing for frigid pale woman.

4 out of 5


A group does bad things to a powerful man they don't like too much. They make a deadly serious mistake with some mystical objects in the process.

2.5 out of 5


A rocket planet chase and pursuit of Japanese skies towards San Francisco ends up anywhere but.

Another planet with telepathic monster overlords, in fact.

3.5 out of 5


Three earth adventurers on Mars, go underground with some locals. It gets a tad Wyndham from there.

3 out of 5


Hunter's penetration of loathsome labryinth leaves him many bricks shy of a load.

4 out of 5


A particular pastoral location draws artistic types, to their cost.

2.5 out of 5


Strange light, strange beings, ends in strange journey and return.

2.5 out of 5


A man looks for a woman who has a sleeping sickness. She is abducted and taken to the death god Mordiggian. It seems he only wants dead people though, to her abductors dismay. His priests are also easy to annoy.

3.5 out of 5


You should not be mean to boys that grow up to be all powerful necromancers. Especially when they invite you to dinners inhabited by untold monsters.

4 out of 5


Be nice to necromancer prisoners, generally speaking.

3.5 out of 5


Martian Alien Underlord's visitors are in for a long term stay if not helpful.

3.5 out of 5



Two men are sent to retrieve a mummy of a wizard by their king. Dutch courage is definitely required as they can't work out whether it is worse to obey or disobey.

4 out of 5


A sorcerer is bored with his self-styled omnipotence. Wandering off lacking in aids, some flower-sirens and reptile magician do more than relieve his tedium.

3 out of 5



3.5 out of 5

The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith Vol 3 A Vintage From Atlantis - Clark Ashton Smith

The volume with the two best stories. The Holiness of Azedarac and The Vaultos of Yoh-Vombis, so a little better again than the second.

A Vintage From Atlantis : The Holiness of Azédarac - Clark Ashton Smith
A Vintage From Atlantis : The Maker of Gargoyles - Clark Ashton Smith
A Vintage From Atlantis : Beyond the Singing Flame - Clark Ashton Smith
A Vintage From Atlantis : Seedling of Mars - Clark Ashton Smith
A Vintage From Atlantis : The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis - Clark Ashton Smith
A Vintage From Atlantis : The Eternal World - Clark Ashton Smith
A Vintage From Atlantis : The Demon of the Flower - Clark Ashton Smith
A Vintage From Atlantis : The Nameless Offspring - Clark Ashton Smith
A Vintage From Atlantis : A Vintage from Atlantis - Clark Ashton Smith
A Vintage From Atlantis : The Weird of Avoosl Wuthoqquan - Clark Ashton Smith
A Vintage From Atlantis : The Invisible City - Clark Ashton Smith
A Vintage From Atlantis : The Immortals of Mercury - Clark Ashton Smith
A Vintage From Atlantis : The Empire of the Necromancers - Clark Ashton Smith
A Vintage From Atlantis : The Seed from the Sepulcher - Clark Ashton Smith
A Vintage From Atlantis : The Second Interment - Clark Ashton Smith
A Vintage From Atlantis : Ubbo-Sathla - Clark Ashton Smith
A Vintage From Atlantis : The Double Shadow - Clark Ashton Smith
A Vintage From Atlantis : The Plutonian Drug - Clark Ashton Smith
A Vintage From Atlantis : The Supernumerary Corpse - Clark Ashton Smith
A Vintage From Atlantis : The Colossus of Ylourgne - Clark Ashton Smith
A Vintage From Atlantis : The God of the Asteroid - Clark Ashton Smith

Account of astronomic argument's awful outcome.

3 out of 5


A necromancer bails town so he doesn't become possible raw material for another necromancer.

Ending up with monks, evil diabolical dwarves, and a colossus is somewhat of an improvement, if not a pleasant one.

4 out of 5


Poisoned body's state is insane.

3 out of 5


Plutonium comes from Pluto, and lots of the interplanetary drugs are very trippy, even literally.

3 out of 5


Sorcerers, summonings and some nasty transmogrifications.

2.5 out of 5


A man, through a strange crystal and knowledge from the Book of Eibon communes with an ancient Hyperborean sorcerer.

4 out of 5


Premature burial precautions.

3.5 out of 5


A discovery leads a man to have a bad Swamp Thing type experience.

4 out of 5


A pair of Necromancers, exiled from one city because of their practices, make themselves and empire of the undead.

They grow lax and redolent, and one of their raisings himself was a sorcerer with some necromantic knowledge.

Revolution.

3 out of 5


An explorer on Mercury comes to, dazed and confused, and is carried to the city of the titular beings. In order to be so, they must use the elements of living people.

Not wanting explorers to let people know about them on other planets, they choose him as one of the ingredient people.

Even if he escapes, it is not very nice on the surface of Mercury.

4 out of 5


An archaeological expedition gets itself into a bad way until it stumbles onto the titular area:

"I still feel like a sort of dirigible," he commented. "Say, I think we'd better leave this out of our report to the museum. A city, a people, all invisible, in the heart of the Lob-nor — that would be too much for scientific credibility."

"I agree with you," said Furnham, "the whole business would be too fantastic, outside of a super-scientific story. In fact," he added a little maliciously, "it's even more incredible than the existence of the ruins of Kobar."

3 out of 5


A beggar prophesises that man's greed will be his undoing. More to the point, some emeralds, and he meant it literally.

3 out of 5


Fancy pirate grog is scary.

3.5 out of 5


A man on motorcycle gets lost in the mist. He seeks shelter at a large house. A strange old man lives there, who is almost never seen. Bad things happened to his wife. Ghoulish offspring.

2.5 out of 5


On this planet, the flora is top dog. With their own priest cult and everything. When a man's fiance is due to be a sacrifice, he tries to do something about it.

3.5 out of 5


A man labors long to build a time machine. When he finally travels, the entities he meet make him pretty insignificant.

3 out of 5


Martian Odyssey mummy and vampire doom.

4.5 out of 5


Football interruption UFO kidnapping upheaval.

3.5 out of 5


A City reunion.

3.5 out of 5



Stone man muncher goes to church after dinner.

4 out of 5


A priest investigates another of their order who likes the whole Azathoth and Elder Gods thing just a bit too much. Not to mention the Book of Eibon.

However, he falls prey to his servant, time travel, and a gorgeous enchantress, in that order.

4.5 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Beyond the Singing Flame - Clark Ashton Smith

A City reunion.


3.5 out of 5

The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith Vol 2 The Door To Saturn - Clark Ashton Smith

The second in a series, and better at 3.43.

The Door To Saturn : The Door to Saturn - Clark Ashton Smith
The Door To Saturn : The Red World of Polaris - Clark Ashton Smith
The Door To Saturn : Told in the Desert - Clark Ashton Smith
The Door To Saturn : The Willow Landscape - Clark Ashton Smith
The Door To Saturn : A Rendezvous in Averoigne - Clark Ashton Smith
The Door To Saturn : The Gorgon - Clark Ashton Smith
The Door To Saturn : An Offering to the Moon - Clark Ashton Smith
The Door To Saturn : The Kiss of Zoraida - Clark Ashton Smith
The Door To Saturn : The Face by the River - Clark Ashton Smith
The Door To Saturn : The Ghoul - Clark Ashton Smith
The Door To Saturn : The Kingdom of the Worm - Clark Ashton Smith
The Door To Saturn : An Adventure in Futurity - Clark Ashton Smith
The Door To Saturn : The Justice of the Elephant - Clark Ashton Smith
The Door To Saturn : The Return of the Sorcerer - Clark Ashton Smith
The Door To Saturn : The City of the Singing Flame - Clark Ashton Smith
The Door To Saturn : A Good Embalmer - Clark Ashton Smith
The Door To Saturn : The Testament of Athammaus - Clark Ashton Smith
The Door To Saturn : A Captivity in Serpens - Clark Ashton Smith
The Door To Saturn : The Letter from Mohaun Los - Clark Ashton Smith
The Door To Saturn : The Hunters from Beyond - Clark Ashton Smith

A sorcerer of the god worshipping sort escapes a sorcerer of the burn the heretics sort by using a magic door of last resort back to the planet Saturn, thanks to the god Zhothaqquah.

One follows the other, and both are stranded, but make the best of the situation with the natives and some amusing misunderstandings.

3.5 out of 5


Metal Tloon and Koums.

3 out of 5


A man regrets leaving an oasis.

2.5 out of 5


Seller's art escape.

3 out of 5


A wandering minstrel has finally organised a tryst. He doesn't expect to get lost on the way there through a forest of ill repute. Nor does he expect do do any vampire slaying in a sorcerous castle.

3.5 out of 5


A 20th century man is offered a chance to see the head of Medusa, by a man claiming to have both it and time travel powers.

He agrees, but is horrified by all the statues that were once men, and trying to flee, ends in a confrontation.

3.5 out of 5


An explorer investigates the ancient temples of Mu.

3.5 out of 5



As astrologer follows the horoscope in the stars, and when you end up with a mummy, a merman, and a salamander as guides to lead you to an ancient wizard guy, even if you have a faithful dog, it is more of a horrorscope.

4 out of 5


Murder of and lured in by.

3.5 out of 5


A murderer encounters a graveyard inhabitant.

2.5 out of 5


Knight worm interloper.

2 out of 5


A man meets a traveller, and soon learns of triplanetary conflict.

4 out of 5


A Rajah has a girl executed for being unfaithful. He shouldn't have hired her lover as his new elephant handler some years later, however.

3 out of 5


A man in need of a job takes one his wishes he hadn't. Pretty much the first request he gets, because of his skills in Arabic, is to translate some part of Abdul Alhazred's Necronomicon.

It appears he has become embroiled in a mortal dispute between two sorcerers, brothers, and one of them ain't alive anymore.

3.5 out of 5



A writer follows in the footsteps of others, and finds a trans-dimensional city.

4 out of 5


Rival morticians criticise each other. One has the misfortune to die first.

3.5 out of 5


Multiple Execution victim's Cthulhoid comeback depopulation.

3.5 out of 5


By a dwarf race that likes a bit of experimenting.

3.5 out of 5



A man goes travelling with his Chinese assistant in a time sphere. He happens to accidentally intervent in a low tech society's war, and meets some other travellers.

He settles, and sends a message back to a woman he knew via the time sphere technology.

4 out of 5



A habitue of bookshops and writer of the supernatural meets a gargoyle there. In what presumably is taking the piss out of himself, the owner of the shop berates him for knowing nothing about which he writes, whereas he has firsthand information.

This bloke is a sculptor, and he tells him how he gets his models.

Not such a nice end.

3.5 out of 5



3.5 out of 5

The Red World of Polaris - Clark Ashton Smith

Metal Tloon and Koums.


3 out of 5

The Face By the River - Clark Ashton Smith

Murder of and lured in by.


3.5 out of 5

A Captivity In Serpens - Clark Ashton Smith

By a dwarf race that likes a bit of experimenting.


3.5 out of 5

The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith Vol 1 The End of the Story - Clark Ashton Smith

The first of a series of collections that includes some appendices and notes about the work.

The End of the Story : To the Daemon - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : The Abominations of Yondo - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : Sadastor - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : The Ninth Skeleton - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : The Last Incantation - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : The End of the Story - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : The Phantoms of the Fire - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : A Night in Malnéant - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : The Resurrection of the Rattlesnake - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : Thirteen Phantasms - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : The Venus of Azombeii - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : The Tale of Satampra Zeiros - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : The Monster of the Prophecy - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : The Metamorphosis of the World - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : The Epiphany of Death - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : A Murder in the Fourth Dimension - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : The Devotee of Evil - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : The Satyr - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : The Planet of the Dead - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : The Uncharted Isle - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : Marooned in Andromeda - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : The Root of Ampoi - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : The Necromantic Tale - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : The Immeasurable Horror - Clark Ashton Smith
The End of the Story : A Voyage To Sfanomoë - Clark Ashton Smith

Give me a story, D.

3 out of 5


A man trying to get away from an unpleasant bureaucray runs into a monster, a skeleton of royalty, and a lich. He prefers the bureaucracy, to this.

3.5 out of 5


Demon lamia chat.

3 out of 5


A man daydreaming about his fiancee gets a bit lost in thought. Nine skeletons of women with infants is a bit more than he can take. Luckily, the one with a bit more meat on her bones finds him.

3 out of 5


A master magician reminisces about an old girlfriend, and realises that necromancy cannot return his innocence, even if it can the girl.

4 out of 5


A student disappears, and in his effects is found the story of a visit to an abbey, and the discovery of a conflict between a holy knight and the inhabitants of a now ruined chateau.

When the student investigates, he finds a beautiful woman. The abbot goes looking for him, and tells him she is a vampire.

3.5 out of 5


Blazing grief.

3 out of 5


Unreal how colourless that joint was.

3 out of 5


Serpent prank on horror writer goes rather badly wrong.

3 out of 5


Green ghost clone women.

2.5 out of 5


Love goddess jealousy dreadful lethal lurgy.

4 out of 5


Two not too bright thieves and brigands think that an easy way to some money, given that they are broke, is a temple of the Elder God Tsathoggua.

Er...No.

3.5 out of 5


Unpublished poet given alien travel offer, his monstrous bodily form desirable for revolutionary reasons.

3 out of 5


A bit of aphroditeoforming and interplanetary conflict.

4 out of 5


A man's strange, pale, quiet acquaintance studies the ancient tomes of Hyperborea, Atlantis and Mu, and tells him that life and death states are fluid.

One day, he invites him to his family sarcophagus. A shock awaits.

3.5 out of 5


Interdimensional murderer pedantic rival's death desire leads him to take a fateful trip.

3.5 out of 5


A man wants to build an 'ultimate evil receiver'.

Yeah, he's crazy.

3.5 out of 5


Poet porking count's wife pilfered by demon.

3 out of 5


Antique dealing astronomy buff has out of this world relationship.

3.5 out of 5


Shipwreck delirium.

3 out of 5


Space mutineers new home eventually leads to monstrous journey and reprieve.

3.5 out of 5


A circus giant recounts how he got to be that way, via a society of very large women.

3.5 out of 5


History proves a bit too hot.

3.5 out of 5


The huge and monstrous flora and fauna on Venus make one explorer not very interested in returning.

3.5 out of 5


Masters of science go star cruising, but settle for new terra firma.

3 out of 5



3.5 out of 5

The Cobra Trilogy - Timothy Zahn

A great value three book omnibus, DRM free.

Cobra Trilogy : Cobra - Timothy Zahn
Cobra Trilogy : Cobra Strike - Timothy Zahn
Cobra Trilogy : Cobra Bargain - Timothy Zahn


An episodic novel that tells the story of a young man who signs up for a space force army when it seems that war with an alien race is inevitable.

He then is picked to get what is the 24 million dollar man treatment - full bionics, plus weapons implants.

The various novel sections follow him in training, in first guerilla action on a planet, coming home, as a colonist, and then as a politician.

3.5 out of 5


There are identical twins in the next generation of Moreaus - and one of them wants to become a Cobra.

When a lost colony is discovered by their Troft neighbours - the 'switchability' of th ese very identical boys is seen as an asset for the diplomatic/covert mission to check out the new people.

With the aim being to come to an understanding, hopefully avoid war, but if not, have enough Cobra firepower to get out of there.

3 out of 5


There's some political disagreement on the Cobra Worlds, as a governor uses the growing numbers of people that have signed up for Cobra training only to be rejected or washed out as a power base, looking to oust Corwin Moreau.

At the same time, the next generation of Moreau's only child that wants to be a Cobra is female - something that has not be done.

Along with this, a pattern has been noticed in the outages happening to the spy satellites left in the last book - and it looks like a new secret mission will be necessary, with Troft help. A female Cobra will be a useful element of surprise.

The story gets involved with local politics there, as things go wrong.

3.5 out of 5



3.5 out of 5

Manhattan In Reverse - Peter F. Hamilton

With 3.71 average here, Hamilton shows he is a very fine proponent of the short form when not afflicted with the late 20th century auctorial bloatblight. The new Myo story is rather good, too.

Manhattan in Reverse : Watching Trees Grow - Peter F. Hamilton
Manhattan in Reverse : Footvote - Peter F. Hamilton
Manhattan in Reverse : If at First - Peter F. Hamilton
Manhattan in Reverse : The Forever Kitten - Peter F. Hamilton
Manhattan in Reverse : Blessed by an Angel - Peter F. Hamilton
Manhattan in Reverse : The Demon Trap - Peter F. Hamilton
Manhattan in Reverse : Manhattan in Reverse - Peter F. Hamilton

Caesar murder, by Jupiter.

3.5 out of 5


Exodus rules.

4 out of 5


Rewind personality advantage.

3.5 out of 5


Kid stasis.

4 out of 5


Twin reproduction insurance.

3.5 out of 5


Paula's shared punishment plan.

3.5 out of 5


Protosentient metal detection totem case.

4 out of 5



4.5 out of 5

Manhattan In Reverse - Peter F. Hamilton

Protosentient metal detection totem case.


4 out of 5

Black Gate 15 - John O'Neill

Just a 3.18 average here with one standout by Avery. The usual plethora of reviews etc. in this magathology. Including pointing out another sword and sorcery series from Warhammer called Brunner the Bounty Hunter.

Black Gate 15 : A River Through Darkness and Light - John C. Hocking
Black Gate 15 : The Oracle of Gog - Vaughn Heppner
Black Gate 15 : The Gifts of Li Tzu-Ch'eng - Derek Künsken
Black Gate 15 : Groob's Stupid Grubs - Jeremiah Tolbert
Black Gate 15 : Into the Gathering Dark - Darrell Schweitzer
Black Gate 15 : An Uprising of One - Jamie McEwan
Black Gate 15 : Eating Venom - Harry Connolly
Black Gate 15 : Dellith's Child - Nye Joell Hardy
Black Gate 15 : Apotheosis - Rosamund Hodge
Black Gate 15 : The Vintages of Dream - John R. Fultz
Black Gate 15 : Purging Cocytus - Michael Livingston
Black Gate 15 : The Lions of Karthagar - Chris Willrich
Black Gate 15 : A Pound of Dead Flesh - Fraser Ronald
Black Gate 15 : Novel Excerpt The Desert of Souls - Howard Andrew Jones
Black Gate 15 : The Shuttered Temple - Jonathan L. Howard
Black Gate 15 : The War of the Wheat Berry Year - Sarah Avery
Black Gate 15 : Roundelay - Paula R. Stiles
Black Gate 15 : The River People - Emily Mah
Black Gate 15 : Cursing the Weather - Maria V. Snyder
Black Gate 15 : The Laws of Chaos Left Us All in Disarray - S. Hutson Blount
Black Gate 15 : World’s End - Frederic S. Durbin
Black Gate 15 : What Chains Bind Us - Brian Dolton

That's a Southron demon, the Archivist points out to the bad guy.

3.5 out of 5


Lods of the Nephilim.

3 out of 5


Divine Nu Wa.

3.5 out of 5


Goblin food.

3 out of 5


Enough Elf stuff.

3 out of 5


Climb tower, get rid of king.

2.5 out of 5


Family return, bad taste.

3 out of 5


Lap sea monster.

3 out of 5


Need a new god.

3 out of 5


Wizard bottle.

3 out of 5


Mallet saw.

3 out of 5


Blim discovery.

3 out of 5


Necromancers and minions need killing.

3.5 out of 5


One dead parrot.

3 out of 5


Party trappish

3 out of 5


Stisele in charge.

4 out of 5


Death decision and Queen of Hell.

3.5 out of 5


Warrior trial.

3 out of 5


Serving the right one for mum.

3 out of 5


Skinless power.

3.5 out of 5


A monkey half-god, a Princess.

3.5 out of 5


Spirit brothers.

3 out of 5



3 out of 5

Cursing the Weather - Maria V. Snyder

Serving the right one for mum.


3 out of 5

The River People - Emily Mah

Warrior trial.


3 out of 5

Candle To the Devil - Sue Isle

Mary Benet story.


3 out of 5

Novel Excerpt The Desert Of Souls - Howard Andrew Jones

One dead parrot.


3 out of 5

Life On Mars - Jonathan Strahan

An ok for original anthology bunch of stories for kids at 3.25.

Life On Mars : Attlee and the Long Walk - Kage Baker
Life On Mars : The Old Man and the Martian Sea - Alastair Reynolds
Life On Mars : Wahala - Nnedi Okorafor
Life On Mars : On Chryse Plain - Stephen Baxter
Life On Mars : First Principle - Nancy Kress
Life On Mars : Martian Chronicles - Cory Doctorow
Life On Mars : Goodnight Moons - Ellen Klages
Life On Mars : The Taste of Promises - Rachel Swirsky
Life On Mars : Digging - Ian McDonald
Life On Mars : LARP on Mars - Chris Roberson
Life On Mars : Martian Heart - John Barnes
Life On Mars : Discovering Life - Kim Stanley Robinson

Collective kids.

3 out of 5


Descrutinised Scaper adventure.

3.5 out of 5


Great Change find.

3.5 out of 5


You could always marry an Earthworm girl.

3.5 out of 5


Brain blight and ugly Martians.

3 out of 5


Game, new planet, all the same thing, really.

3.5 out of 5


Martian baby.

3 out of 5


Nerve ripper woody lifted.

3 out of 5


Big one, Tash.

3 out of 5


With science.

3 out of 5


All bad choices lead there, botterogator.

3.5 out of 5


Bloody bacteria, fix here maybe.

3.5 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

The Old Man and the Martian Sea - Alastair Reynolds

Descrutinised Scaper adventure.


3.5 out of 5

Martian Heart - John Barnes

All bad choices lead there, botterogator.


3.5 out of 5

LARP On Mars - Chris Roberson

With science.


3 out of 5

Digging - Ian McDonald

Big one, Tash.


3 out of 5

A Pound of Dead Flesh - Ronald Fraser

Necromancers and minions need killing.


3.5 out of 5

Shapeshifters Anonymous - J. A. Konrath

And Santa's coming to get them.


3 out of 5

What Chains Bind Us - Brian Dolton

Spirit brothers.


3 out of 5

Paris Is A Bitch - Barry Eisler

When people mess up your dinner with your spy girlfriend with an assault team.


3.5 out of 5

The Lions Of Karthagar - Chris Willrich

Blim discovery.


3 out of 5

Test of Mettle - Kevin Hearne

Javelina creep dead sorry.


3 out of 5

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Of Blood and Honey - Stina Leicht

I read the excerpt and thought this is just another novel - although a Northern Ireland seventies setting appealed as a refreshing change of pace, so I didn't get back to it for a while.

Luckily, it improves enough to go over the 3.5 range enough to round up to 4, with the story of a neophyte (and naive) and newlywed freedom fighter who happens to be one of the Fey. Throwing in strange Fallen Angels and a conflict with priests into The Troubles complicates things even further, along with some rather big family secrets.. As does his wheelman work for his particular army.

Good stuff.


4 out of 5

World's End - Frederic S. Durbin

A monkey half-god, a Princess.


3.5 out of 5

The House On Rue Chartres - Richard A. Lupoff

Lovecraft brothel with pirate ghosts. And E. Hoffman Price.


3.5 out of 5

The Laws Of Chaos Left Us All In Disarray - S. Hutson Blount

Skinless power.


3.5 out of 5

Purging Cocytus - Michael Livingsotn

Mallet saw.


3 out of 5

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Beautiful Naked and Dead - Josh Stallings

A somewhat nihilistic bouncer has a friend killed, ending up with her big puppy.

Plus a burning desire to flip the life state of the mobsters responsible to mortally challenged - discovering a twin sister and the odd dodgy cop are tied up in this sordid tale.


3.5 out of 5

Transference Station - Stephen Hunt

Our slightly disreputable lacking in memory trader ship captain is in need of a job - so will not turn down a highly lucrative offer from a 700 year old brain in a year to transport a well preserved scientist to a new planetary claim.

On an odd, dangerous planet.


3.5 out of 5

Sliding Void - Stephen Hunt

This was surprisingly good. The story of a trader captain and her motley crew of AI and aliens in need of a new cargo coinciding with an overthrown ruler on a barbaric planet's need for escape.

His 'wizard' adviser - an ex-crewmember of the Gravity Rose.

Plotting and entanglements await.

Shades of Poul Anderson - so a definite compliment. time to get the rest of the series.


4 out of 5

Echoes of the Well of Souls - Jack L. Chalker

A Well of Souls reboot - with a horribly boring first half of random American ramblings until we see some signs of the Well and transformations later on - but still feels all aimless and padded, glimpses of Brazil and Chang notwithstanding.


2.5 out of 5

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Necrochip - Liz Williams

If a woman wants you to pay her to have sex with her after she is dead - might just not be human.


3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Forge of the Titans - Steve White

Forge of the Titans is a good old fashioned psionics novel. Apparently that Greek Titans and Gods legend thing - real, but they are energy entities that can do stuff, not mythological creatures.

A young yank naval recruit gets co-opted into a secret program becaus he has latent psionic ability - as apparently did his grandfather - and along with a couple of other talents gets drawn into an extraterrestrial conflict involving the same gods and their allies and opponents. The not so nice variety liking to use humans as quantum energy batteries, with lethal results. And if the wrong guys win, the people of Earth get to go terminal Duracell.

A little better than a three.


3 out of 5

The Vintages of Dream - John R. Fultz

Wizard bottle.


3 out of 5

Apotheosis - Rosamund Hodge

Need a new god.


3 out of 5

Dellith's Child - Nye Joell Hardy

Lap sea monster.


3 out of 5

Roundelay - Paula R. Stiles

Death decision and Queen of Hell.


3.5 out of 5

Eating Venom - Harry Connolly

Family return, bad taste.


3 out of 5

An Uprising of One - Jamie McEwen

Climb tower, get rid of king.


2.5 out of 5

Into the Gathering Dark - Darrell Schweitzer

Enough Elf stuff.


3 out of 5

The War of the Wheat Berry Year - Sarah Avery

Stisele in charge.


4 out of 5

Groob's Stupid Grubs -- Jeremiah Tolbert

Goblin food.


3 out of 5

The Gifts Of Li Tzu-ch'eng - Derek Kunsken

Divine Nu Wa.


3.5 out of 5

The Oracle Of Gog - Vaughn Heppner

Lods of the Nephilim.


3 out of 5

The Shuttered Temple - Jonathan L. Howard

Party trappish


3 out of 5

A River Through Darkness and Light - John C. Hocking

That's a Southron demon, the Archivist points out to the bad guy.


3.5 out of 5

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Crown of the Blood - Gav Thorpe

A general of competence but ambition wants to score the campaign with the most kudos as his command for the next season. The Prince who is his sponsor suggests a way to do this via an old law which draws him in to an Empire spitting political conflict, with ambitions growing ever greater.

The non-Roman style empire conflict fantastic part comes into this thanks to the Brotherhood and their academic and magical cult ways of communication - and control of the Blood Royal Dynasty. Therefore, a new general they do not have under control is not welcome.


3.5 out of 5

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Empire State - Adam Christopher

Pocket Universe Fringe.

A detective in Empire State - apparently just a city - gets drawn into a case to find a woman's missing lover, who turns out to be doppelganger. Not the only one. Which leads to the discovery of a parallel universe, two rival superheroes, mad scientists and then of course a battle to destroy your Pocket Universe as tends to happen. In airships, given the retro rocketpack and fedora setting. Unfortunately, again, your garden variety seen a zillion times before New York City setting as you will guess by the name.


3.5 out of 5

I Alien - Mike Resnick

Just a 3.24 - mostly average and decent stories in 50-50 ratio, with one standout by Janis Ian.

I Alien : Diary of a galactic emigre - Laura Resnick
I Alien : Injustice collector - Kristine Kathryn Rusch
I Alien : Creature for hire - Paul E. Martens
I Alien : Pedagogy - Michael A. Burstein
I Alien : Last wave - Kay Kenyon
I Alien : Eagle has landed - Robert J. Sawyer
I Alien : Correspondence with a breeder - Janis Ian
I Alien : Resident alien - Barbara Delaplace
I Alien : Xenoforming Earth - Tom Gerencer
I Alien : Skeptic - Jennifer Roberson
I Alien : Natural selection - Laura Frankos
I Alien : Aortic insubordination - Batya Swift Yasgur and Barry N. Malzberg
I Alien : Harvesting - Nina Kiriki Hoffman
I Alien : What must be - Josepha Sherman
I Alien : And I will sing a lullaby - Paul Crilley
I Alien : Aquarius - Susan R. Matthews
I Alien : First contract - Linda J. Dunn
I Alien : Anakoinosis - Tobias S. Buckell
I Alien : Threshold - Terry McGarry
I Alien : Nobodies - Adrienne Gormley
I Alien : Loaves and the fishes - John DeChancie
I Alien : Alien ground - Anthony R. Lewis
I Alien : Hi colonic - Harry Turtledove
I Alien : Acts - William Sanders
I Alien : Life happens - Ralph Roberts
I Alien : You by Anonymous - Stephen Leigh
I Alien : Me - Mike Resnick

Waffle planet failure.

3.5 out of 5


Human colonist kid killing Proceedings.

3.5 out of 5


Declining popularity problem.

3.5 out of 5


Alien lesson.

3 out of 5


Fishy alien chute.

3.5 out of 5


Probe watcher.

3 out of 5


Writing with a lack of humanity, over time.

4 out of 5


Ambassador student.

3 out of 5


Naag strategy.

3.5 out of 5


Sidebar manipulation.

3 out of 5


Drone selection for knitting.

3 out of 5


Nasty virus.

3 out of 5


Dimension knife.

3 out of 5


Exiled, but dad killed my brother, not me.

3.5 out of 5


Mummy daddy beast.

3 out of 5


Fruiting body.

3 out of 5


Tween and Earth.

3 out of 5


Whiffet slave reliance.

3.5 out of 5


Memory murder.

3.5 out of 5


Murderer lawgiver.

3 out of 5


Organisation suicide.

2.5 out of 5


Vavacq hate.

3.5 out of 5


Planets are smelly poo poo.

3 out of 5


Comedy travel.

3.5 out of 5


Kinda cute dwarf spheroid galaxy, but burn 'em anyway Doc.

3.5 out of 5


Elephant self-involvement.

3.5 out of 5


Just a fourth level apprentice Star Maker.

3 out of 5




3 out of 5

The Slab - Jeff Mariotte

A novel set in an area called The Salton Sea - and the people that live there cheap in trailers on the Slab - polluted and nasty as it may be.

Even nastier, a monster lurks in the deep, and as the carefully woven strands of the different people in the strand come together they realise that their oddball occasional psychic gifts are the key to stopping it.

One of them being a local sheriff and arrayed against him nasty developers and goons, the military, his own deputy and others.

This was better than I thought it would be, certainly.


3.5 out of 5

Me - Mike Resnick

Just a fourth level apprentice Star Maker.


3 out of 5

Acts - William Sanders

Comedy travel.


3.5 out of 5

Life Happens - Ralph Roberts

Kinda cute dwarf spheroid galaxy, but burn 'em anyway Doc.


3.5 out of 5

Hi Colonic - Harry Turtledove

Planets are smelly poo poo.


3 out of 5

Alien Ground - Anthony R. Lewis

Vavacq hate.


3.5 out of 5

Loaves and the Fishes - John DeChancie

Organisation suicide.


2.5 out of 5

Nobodies - Adrienne Gormley

Murderer lawgiver.


3 out of 5

Threshold - Terry McGarry

Memory murder.


3.5 out of 5

First Contract - Linda J. Dunn

Tween and Earth.


3 out of 5

Aquarius - Susan R. Matthews

Fruiting body.


3 out of 5

And I Will Sing A Lullaby - Paul Crilley

Mummy daddy beast.


3 out of 5

What Must Be - Josepha Sherman

Exiled, but dad killed my brother, not me.


3.5 out of 5

Harvesting - Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Dimension knife.


3 out of 5

Grandmother's Footsteps - Gwyneth Jones

Haunted house renovation is no fun.


3.5 out of 5

Aortic Insubordination - Barry N. Malzberg and Batya Swift Yasgur

Nasty virus.


3 out of 5

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Cold Commands - Richard Morgan

The Cold Commands definitely has the middle book syndrome going on. The three are separated. Ringil is off doing some slaver slaughtering, Archeth is involved in politics working on keeping people alive and putting together an investigation into a strange island. Egar is busy getting into trouble with other people's wives and discovering Dwenda cults.

So a bit on the slow side at times with things not coming together until the end with Ringil becoming rather more Kane-like as time goes on.


3.5 out of 5

Friday, December 16, 2011

Natural Selection - Laura Frankos

Drone choosing knitting people.


3 out of 5

After the Rain: after the floods edition - Tehani Wessely

A fund raising anthology of higher quality than expected for a quick whipup, with a good variety of stories and subgenres.

After the Rain : From the dry heart to the sea - Joanne Anderton
After the Rain : Powerplant - Dave Luckett
After the Rain : Daughters of the deluge - Lyn Battersby
After the Rain : When the bone men come - Peter Cooper
After the Rain : The birth of water cities - Angela Rega
After the Rain : Wet work - Jason Nahrung
After the Rain : Fruit of the pipal tree - Thoraiya Dyer
After the Rain : Europe after the rain - Lee Battersby
After the Rain : Heaven - Jo Langdon
After the Rain : Visitors - Peter M Ball
After the Rain : Mouseskin - Kathleen Jennings
After the Rain : Offerings - Suzanne J Willis
After the Rain : The shadow on the city of my sky - Robert Hoge

Basic Town defense failure lifting.

3.5 out of 5


Crashlanded dreams of electric sheep.

3.5 out of 5


God, it's a bit wet around this Noah thing.

Lilith.

3.5 out of 5


Innkeeper pray.

3 out of 5


Need for young.

3 out of 5


Morticia jacking.

3.5 out of 5


Little dolphin time.

3.5 out of 5


Hitler Youth find.

3 out of 5


Life stuff bits.

2.5 out of 5


Giant invisible Kaiju?

3.5 out of 5


Animal stories.

3 out of 5


Various types of women.

3 out of 5


Dead, with scarecrows.

3.5 out of 5



3.5 out of 5

Point - John Meaney

The sequel to Edge is still interesting, with its blend of scary psychology and hypnotist and cyberpunk special forces infiltration as the loss of young family for both Josh Cumberland and knife fighter supremo Matt Carlsen leads to an alliance aimed at finishing the job of taking down the Tyndall Empire and the government. As well as hypnotists vs hypnotist.

Some brutal infighting, too, perhaps a little reminiscent of the close combat poetry of Peter O'Donnell's Modesty Blaise writing.

Be well suited to some shorter works this character ensemble, too, I think. Anything Meaney comes up with (under whichever alias) is worth a look.


3.5 out of 5

Wet Work - Jason Nahrung

Morticia jacking.


3.5 out of 5

The Birth of Water Cities - Angela Rega

Need for young.


3 out of 5

Europe After the Rain - Lee Battersby

Hitler Youth find.


3 out of 5

Mousekin - Kathleen Jennings

Animal stories.


3 out of 5

When the Bone Men Come - Peter Cooper

Innkeeper pray.


3 out of 5

Vegas Knights - Matt Forbeck

A couple of blokes are actually able to do some real magic tricks after some training with a professor. So of course you use them to try and win money at Blackjack in Las Vegas.

Which brings them to the attention of the local organised crime magic Cabal, who has to decide whether to bump them off or recruit them.

Very nasty doings lurk behind this organisation, some of the large scale no longer alive idea.


3 out of 5

Monday, December 12, 2011

Powerplant - Dave Luckett

Crashlanded dreams of electric sheep.


3.5 out of 5

Offerings - Suzanne J. Willis

Various types of women.


3 out of 5

Black Wings - S. T. Joshi

3.33 for an original anthology is not too bad. Mostly your garden variety average to good stories here, with two standounts. Partridge's Lesser Demons and by far the best Barron's Broadswords. As you would expect, some rubbish like Kiernan and Smith's shopping list. Although at least the latter you could use as an insomnia cure.

Overal, solidly interesting.

Black Wings : Pickman's Other Model - Caitlín R Kiernan
Black Wings : Desert Dreams - Donald R Burleson
Black Wings : Engravings - Joseph S Pulver, Sr.
Black Wings : Copping Squid - Michael Shea
Black Wings : Passing Spirits - Sam Gafford
Black Wings : The Broadsword - Laird Barron
Black Wings : Usurped - William Browning Spencer
Black Wings : Denker's Book - David J Schow
Black Wings : Inhabitants of Wraithwood - W H Pugmire
Black Wings : The Dome - Mollie L Burleson
Black Wings : Rotterdam - Nicholas Royle
Black Wings : Tempting Providence - Jonathan Thomas
Black Wings : Howling in the Dark - Darrell Schweitzer
Black Wings : The Truth about Pickman - Brian Stableford
Black Wings : Tunnels - Philip Haldeman
Black Wings : Violence Child of Trust - Michael Cisco
Black Wings : Lesser Demons - Norman Partridge
Black Wings : The Correspondence of Cameron Thaddeus Nash - Ramsey Campbell
Black Wings : An Eldritch Matter - Adam Niswander
Black Wings : Substitution - Michael Marshall Smith
Black Wings : Susie - Jason Van Hollander

Endecott show.

2.5 out of 5


Gwai-ti.

3.5 out of 5


Phoenix Other Planes.

3.5 out of 5


Knifed, so give him a ride to witness Cthulhu Rules hit.

3.5 out of 5


Lovecraft's ghost cancer story living.

3.5 out of 5


Dark space alien boy breeding visitation.

4.5 out of 5


Meta Bard attack Musky.

3 out of 5


Is dimensionally warped.

3.5 out of 5


Criminal art woman fade.

3.5 out of 5


With evil bits.

3 out of 5


Body over the side.

3 out of 5


Body over the side.

3 out of 5


I am crazy and bad.

3.5 out of 5


Genetically speaking, etc.

3.5 out of 5


Monster dreams from.

3.5 out of 5


Kid lock.

2.5 out of 5


Demon book bloodface aftermath.

4 out of 5


One way rantings.

3.5 out of 5


Getting monstrous.

3.5 out of 5


Shopping horror.

2.5 out of 5


Sick with scary child ideas.

3.5 out of 5



3.5 out of 5

Susie - Jason Van Hollander

Sick with scary child ideas.


3.5 out of 5

Substitution - Michael Marshall Smith

Shopping horror.


2.5 out of 5

An Eldritch Matter - Adam Niswander

Getting monstrous.


3.5 out of 5

Violence Child of Trust - Michael Cisco

Kid lock.


2.5 out of 5

The Correspondence of Cameron Thaddeus Nash - Ramsey Campbell

One way rantings.


3.5 out of 5

Tunnels - Philip Haldeman

Monster dreams from.


3.5 out of 5

The Truth About Pickman - Brian Stableford

Genetically speaking, etc.


3.5 out of 5

Howling In the Dark - Darrell Schweitzer

I am crazy and bad.


3.5 out of 5

Tempting Providence - Jonathan Thomas

Lovecraft homecoming.


3 out of 5

Rotterdam - Nicholas Royle

Body over the side.


3 out of 5

The Dome - Mollie L. Burleson

With evil bits.


3 out of 5

Inhabitants of Wraithwood - W. H. Pugmire

Criminal art woman fade.


3.5 out of 5

Denker's Book - David J. Schow

Is dimensionally warped.


3.5 out of 5

Usurped - William Browning Spencer

Meta Bard attack Musky.


3 out of 5

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sojan the Swordsman and Under the Warrior Star - Michael Moorcock and Joe R. Lansdale

A fixup of Moorcock's Sojan The Swordsman stories so that they resemble a novel with some alteration.

An ex-Earthman and now mercenary warrior puts his talents to good use with sword and shield and pistol where he can help or just relieve his own boredom.

3 out of 5


A man out of place and on the run ends up at a secret project that has created its own universe in a bottle.

Agreeing to be their lab rat and with no other prospects ends up a war leader after rescuing both a prince and princess.

Now he gets to help them defeat Lovecraftian hive mind controlling giants and mantis people.

3.5 out of 5



3.5 out of 5

Sojan the Swordsman - Michael Moorcock

A fixup of Moorcock's Sojan The Swordsman stories so that they resemble a novel with some alteration.

An ex-Earthman and now mercenary warrior puts his talents to good use with sword and shield and pistol where he can help or just relieve his own boredom.


3 out of 5

Under the Warrior Star - Joe R. Lansdale

A man out of place and on the run ends up at a secret project that has created its own universe in a bottle.

Agreeing to be their lab rat and with no other prospects ends up a war leader after rescuing both a prince and princess.

Now he gets to help them defeat Lovecraftian hive mind controlling giants and mantis people.


3.5 out of 5

Friday, December 9, 2011

Stories From the Quiet War - Paul J. McAuley

I love McAuley's Quiet War stories. The only problem with this collection is that it doesn't have all of them! Maybe he'll do another, and then an omnibus. :)

What is does have is a new story not available anywhere else in Karyl's War, a novella. And a very good one about what happens to one roaming man when Earth attacks the Saturn system and what he finds afterwards.

So, great book, great deal.

Stories From the Quiet War : Making History - Paul J. McAuley
Stories From the Quiet War : Incomers - Paul J. McAuley
Stories From the Quiet War : Second Skin - Paul J. McAuley
Stories From the Quiet War : Reef - Paul J. McAuley
Stories From the Quiet War : Karyl's War - Paul J. McAuley

War torture story.

3.5 out of 5


Spy seeking stuffup space war city save memorial story.

4 out of 5


Spies sort of like us.

4 out of 5


24 hour deep sea proxy people.

4 out of 5


He gets taken prisoner and put to work - offered ship fixing duty instead of 6 years prison camp labour, where he finds the daughter of Avernus.

4 out of 5



5 out of 5

Karyl's War - Paul J. McAuley

He gets taken prisoner and put to work - offered ship fixing duty instead of 6 years prison camp labour, where he finds the daughter of Avernus.


4 out of 5

Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures - Robert E. Howard

I'm not that big of fan of historical fiction, but some of these are good and very good - and the Sword Woman stories are better than that. And some of the fragments look like the stories would be very good from those, too.

I did find the introduction talking about Howard's sources and inspiration fascinating. And Harold Lamb and Stanley Lane-Poole non-fiction mentioned is available at Project Gutenberg and Archive.org and such places which makes it even cooler.

Howard Andrew Jones analysis of the work is also extremely interesting. I have actually read the intro and this a few times now.

Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures : Spears of Clontarf - Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures : Hawks Over Egypt - Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures : The Road of Azrael - Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures : The Lion of Tiberias - Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures : Gates of Empire - Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures : Hawks of Outremer - Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures : The Blood of Belshazzar - Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures : Red Blades of Black Cathay - Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures : The Sowers of the Thunder - Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures : Lord of Samarcand - Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures : Sword Woman - Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures : Blades for France - Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures : The Shadow of the Vulture - Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures : The Road of the Eagles - Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures : Untitled Fragment The Track of Bohemund - Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures : Untitled Fragment The Slave-Princess - Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures : Untitled Fragment He knew de Bracy - Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures : Untitled Fragment The wind from the Mediterranean - Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures : Untitled Fragment The Persians had all fled - Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures : The Sign of the Sickle - Robert E. Howard - Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures : Mistress of Death - Robert E. Howard - 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.

4 out of 5


A Castilian soldier seeks revenge on a general in Cairo over the ambushing and death of his fellow knights. He ends up helping along some political destabilisation that benefits Spain.

4 out of 5


Where a knight and a Chagatai warrior rescue the former lover's sold as part of a deal between Western and Eastern lords. The madness over this slip of a girl consumes many lives - including those of a band of Vikings wrecked on the coast with their king in exile.

3.5 out of 5


Mangled princes, and a captive crusader that a Turkish ruler finds rather too supernaturally resilient for his liking.

3 out of 5


Drinking, swordplay, lots of yelling, politics, and a bargaining wench.

3 out of 5


Skull shield and cursed sword make Cormac Fitzgeoffrey a scary man.

3 out of 5


Cormac has no time for fools or butchers, but jewellery will pay the bills.

3 out of 5


A veteran Crusader, now less gullible, falls in a saving act. Nursed back to health by a creamy cheeked smart woman, he now has a small problem to deal with named Genghis Khan.

4 out of 5


Manly playing with large shafts in pubs is cut short by some battles, and the Mongol hordes descend on Jerusalem. Yet another Gael finds himself in the thick of it, with a similar life expectancy.

3 out of 5


A young Scotsman watches a battle go awry, but later is happy with a home in the area, and the chance to do some claymore wielding Turk lopping, but it is a very dangerous business.

3.5 out of 5


A woman bails on the fiance she is disgusted by, and meets a rogue knight type in the forest, who has other plans for her.

She isn't the type to go quietly:

"Saint Denis deliver me from such tender care as this hell-cat has shown," quoth Perducas under his breath."

She almost kills him, finding out what he is up to, and decides the military life is for her when she hears of a sword-woman named 'Black Margot'.

When the Commander she is talking to doesn't think so:-

"Bah! I spit on you all! There is no man alive who can face me with weapons and live, and before I die, I'll prove it to the world. Women! Cows! Slaves! Whimpering, cringing serfs, crouching to blows, revenging themselves by taking their own lives, as my sister urged me to do. Ha! You deny me a place among men? By God, I'll live as I please and die as God wills, but if I'm not fit to be a man's comrade, at least I'll be no man's mistress. So go ye to hell, Guiscard de Clisson, and may the devil tear your heart!"

Attacked in her room at night with the man she almost disposed of, she finds a talent for slaughter, dispatching all of her attackers. They begin to believe her military value:

"Aye, Dark Agnes!" said Etienne, lifting himself on elbow. "A star of darkness shone on her birth, of darkness and unrest. Where ever she goes shall be blood spilling and men dying. I knew it when I saw her standing against the sunrise that turned to blood the dagger in her hand."

Ambushed again, the man whose life she spared helps her out.

4 out of 5


"But as I rode through the twilight, I found no regret in my heart that I had traded my life of drudgery for one of wandering and violence. It was the life for which mysterious Fate had intended me, and I fitted it as well as any man: drinking, brawling, gambling, and fighting. With pistol, dagger or sword I had proved my prowess again and again, and I feared no man who walked the earth. Better a short life of adventure and wild living than a long dreary grind of soul-crushing household toil and child-bearing, cringing under the cudgel of a man I hated."

After that is masks and mayhem and rescue for Dark Agnes.

3.5 out of 5


http://www.gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0608101.txt

Not much sorcery to be seen in this historical adventure, but it is the origin of the character that Roy Thomas and others adapted with such success for Marvel in comics form, so of interest to fans of Conan and Red Sonja as she currently stands, chainmail bikini wearing barbarbian Hyrkanian warrior.

It is also a sterling Robert E. Howard tale, as well as being the origin of the flame haired swordswoman.

Von Kalmbach is a knight who managed to injure the Turkish leader in battle in the past, when his other 31 comrades died. When it is learned he is still alive, an assassin is sent after him:

""Enough of excuses," interrupted Ibrahim. "Send Mikhal Oglu to
me. ... The man whose very name was a shuddering watchword of horror to all western Asia was soft-spoken and moved with the mincing ease of a cat..."

"...nor could Ibrahim guess that he was taking the first steps in a feud which should spread over years and far lands, swirling in dark tides to draw in thrones and kingdoms and red-haired
women more beautiful than the flames of hell..."

Von Kalmbach is drinking in a small town outside Vienna when he realises an invasion is coming, and rides quickly for the city, where a defense is being mustered.

Looking around, he is surprised: "Turning toward the abandoned gun, he saw a colorful, incongruous figure bending over the massive breech.

It was a woman, dressed as von Kalmbach had not seen even the
dandies of France dressed. She was tall, splendidly shaped, but lithe. From under a steel cap escaped rebellious tresses that rippled red gold in the sun over her compact shoulders. High boots of Cordovan leather came to her mid-thighs, which were cased in baggy breeches. She wore a shirt of fine Turkish mesh-mail tucked into her breeches. Her supple waist was confined by a flowing sash of green silk, into which were thrust a brace of pistols and a dagger, and from which depended a long Hungarian saber. Over all was carelessly thrown a scarlet cloak.

This surprizing figure was bending over the cannon, sighting it in a manner betokening more than a passing familiarity, at a group of Turks who were wheeling a carriage-gun just within range.

"Eh, Red Sonya!" shouted a man-at-arms, waving his pike. "Give 'em hell, my lass!""

Thomas and company certainly lifted her temperament, and physical presence, wholesale : "A terrific detonation drowned her words and a swirl of smoke blinded every one on the turret, as the terrific recoil of the overcharged cannon knocked the firer flat on her back. She sprang up like a spring rebounding and rushed to the embrasure, peering eagerly through the smoke, which clearing, showed the ruin of the gun crew. The huge ball, bigger than a man's head, had smashed full into the group clustered about the saker, and now they lay on the torn ground, their skulls blasted by the impact, or their bodies mangled by the flying iron splinters from their shattered gun. A cheer went up from

the towers, and the woman called Red Sonya yelled with a sincere joy and did the steps of a Cossack dance.

Gottfried approached, eying in open admiration the splendid swell

of her bosom beneath the pliant mail, the curves of her ample hips and rounded limbs. She stood as a man might stand, booted legs braced wide apart, thumbs hooked into her girdle, but she was all woman. She was laughing as she faced him, and he noted with fascination the dancing sparkling lights and changing colors of her eyes. She raked back her rebellious locks with a powder-stained hand and he wondered at the clear pinky whiteness of her firm flesh where it was unstained.

"Why did you wish for the Sultana Roxelana for a target, my girl?" he asked.

"Because she's my sister, the slut!" answered Sonya. "

Pretty soon, Gottfried is very happy she is there:

"It was Red Sonya who had come to his aid, and her onslaught was no less terrible than that of a she-panther. Her strokes followed each other too quickly for the eye to follow; her blade was a blur of white fire, and men went down like ripe grain before the reaper. With a deep roar Gottfried strode to her side, bloody and terrible, swinging his great blade. Forced irresistibly back, the Moslems wavered on the edge of the wall, then leaped for the ladders or fell screaming through empty space.

Oaths flowed in a steady stream from Sonya's red lips and she
laughed wildly as her saber sang home and blood spurted along the
edge. The last Turk on the battlement screamed and parried wildly as she pressed him; then dropping his scimitar, his clutching hands closed desperately on her dripping blade. With a groan he swayed on the edge, blood gushing from his horribly cut fingers.

"Hell to you, dog-soul!" she laughed. "The devil can stir your
broth for you!"

With a twist and a wrench she tore away her saber, severing the
wretch's fingers; with a moaning cry he pitched backward and fell
headlong.""

The somewhat bewildered knight still does not know what to make of her: ""By God, my girl," said he, extending a huge hand, "had you not come to my aid, I think I'd have supped in Hell this night. I thank--"

"Thank the devil!" retorted Sonya rudely, slapping his hand aside. "The Turks were on the wall. Don't think I risked my hide to save yours, dog-brother!"

And with a scornful flirt of her wide coattails, she swaggered off down the battlements, giving back promptly and profanely the rude sallies of the soldiers."

He enquires about this woman: "Eh, she's a devil, that one! She drinks the strongest head under the table and outswears a Spaniard. She's no man's light o' love. Cut--slash--death to you, dog-soul! There's her way."

"Red Sonya from Rogatino--that's all we know. Marches and fights
like a man--God knows why. Swears she's sister to Roxelana, the
Soldan's favorite. If the Tatars who grabbed Roxelana that night had got Sonya, by Saint Piotr! Suleyman would have had a handful! Let her alone, sir brother; she's a wildcat. Come and have a tankard of ale."

After an ill advised excursion against the enemy, Sonya pulls Gottfried to safety, and after telling him of the death of a leader, she displays no patience for sensitive men: Gottfried sat down on a piece of fallen wall, and because he was shaken and exhausted, and still mazed with drink and blood-lust, he sank his face in his huge hands and wept. Sonya kicked him disgustedly.

"Name o' Satan, man, don't sit and blubber like a spanked schoolgirl. You drunkards had to play the fool, but that can't be
mended. Come--let's go to the Walloon's tavern and drink ale."

After some more heavy fighting and a respite, the Turks try some sneaking to get to von Kalmbach, but again Sonya is there: "Tshoruk snarled like a wolf and struck him savagely on the head
with a scimitar hilt. Almost instantly, it seemed, the door crashed inward. As in a dream Gottfried saw Red Sonya framed in the doorway, pistol in hand. Her face was drawn and haggard; her eyes burned like coals. Her basinet was gone, and her scarlet cloak. Her mail was hacked and red-clotted, her boots slashed, her silken breeches splashed and spotted with blood.

With a croaking cry Tshoruk ran at her, scimitar lifted. Before he could strike, she crashed down the barrel of the empty pistol on his head, felling him like an ox. From the other side Rhupen slashed at her with a curved Turkish dagger. Dropping the pistol, she closed with the young Oriental. Moving like someone in a dream, she bore him irresistibly backward, one hand gripping his wrist, the other his throat. Throttling him slowly, she inexorably crashed his head again and again against the stones of the wall, until his eyes rolled up and set. Then she threw him from her like a sack of loose salt."

As she says : ""The bells of Saint Stephen!" cried Sonya. "They peal for victory!""

The defenders have won, and the Turks retreat. Sonya and von Kalmbach spare one of the sneakers they have caught, and send him back with a grim message for the attackers.

4.5 out of 5


The conflict between corsairs and Cossack raiders gets complex as a captive prince becomes involved, with other twists and identity turns to follow.

3.5 out of 5


A knight discovers a plot after killing an oddly out of place Crusader.

3.5 out of 5


Cormac Fitzgeoffrey finds a princess masquerading as a slave girl and decides to broker a deal.

4 out of 5


A Highlander good with his weapons.

3.5 out of 5


A slave market.

3.5 out of 5


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

4 out of 5



4 out of 5

Sign of the Sickle - Robert E. Howard

Flashing sickle and falling grain
Witness the glory of Tamerlane.
The nations stood up, ripe and tall;
He was the sickle that reaped them all.
Red the reaping and sharp the blows,
Deserts stretched where the cities rose.
The sands lay bare to the night wind’s croon,
For the Sign of the Sickle hung over the moon.
Yet the sickle splintered and left no trace,
And the grain grows green on the desert’s face.


3.5 out of 5

A Word From the Outer Dark - Robert E. Howard

My ruthless hands still clutch at life–
Still like a shoreless sea
My soul beats on in rage and strife.
You may not shackle me.



My leopard eyes are still untamed,
They hold a darksome light–
A fierce and brooding gleam unnamed
That pierced primeval night.



Rear mighty temples to your god–
I lurk where shadows sway,
Till, when your drowsy guards shall nod
To leap and rend and slay.



For I would hurl your cities down
And I would break your shrines
And give the site of every town
To thistles and to vines.



Higher the walls of Nineveh
And prouder Babel’s spires–
I bellowed from the desert way–
They crumbled in my fires.



For all the works of cultured man
Must fare and fade and fall.
I am the Dark Barbarian
That towers over all.


4 out of 5

Up John Kane! - Robert E. Howard

Up, John Kane, the grey night’s falling;
The sun’s sunk in blood and the fog comes crawling;
From hillside to hill the grey wolves are calling;
Will ye come, will ye come, John Kane?
What of the oath that you swore by the river
Where the black shadows lurk and the sun comes never,
And a Shape in the shadows wags its grisly head forever?
You swore by the blood-crust that stained your dagger,
By the haunted woods where hoofed feet swagger,
And under grisly burdens misshapen creatures stagger.
Up, John Kane, and cease your quaking!
You have made the pact which has no breaking,
And your brothers are eager their thirst to be slaking.
Up, John Kane! Why cringe there, and cower?
The pact was sealed with the dark blood-flower;
Glut now your fill in the werewolf ’s hour!
Fear not the night nor the shadows that play there;
Soundless and sure shall your bare feet stray there;
Strong shall your teeth be, to rend and to slay there.
Up, John Kane, the thick night’s falling;
Up from the valleys the white fog’s crawling;
Your four-footed brothers from the hills are calling:
Will ye come, will ye come, John Kane?


4.5 out of 5

Untitled Fragment The Slave-Princess - Robert E. Howard

Cormac Fitzgeoffrey finds a princess masquerading as a slave girl and decides to broker a deal.


4 out of 5

Untitled Fragment The Persians Had All Fled - Robert E. Howard

Lots of dead Tatar leaders in this battle.


3.5 out of 5

Untitled You Have Built A World Of Paper And Wood - Robert E. Howard

You have built a world of paper and wood,
Culture and cult and lies;
Has the cobra altered beneath his hood,
Or the fire in the tiger’s eyes?

You have turned from valley and hill and flood,
You have set yourselves apart,
Forgetting the earth that feeds the blood
And the talon that finds the heart.

You boast you have stilled the lustful call
Of the black ancestral ape,
But Life, the tigress that bore you all,
Has never changed her shape.

And a strange shape comes to your faery mead,
With a fixed black simian frown,
But you will not know and you will not heed
Till your towers come tumbling down.


3.5 out of 5

Untitled Fragment The Wind From The Mediterranean - Robert E. Howard

A slave market.


3.5 out of 5

Little Machines - Paul J. McAuley

A very good collection at 3.50. McAuley has an effortless advanced competence, or so it seems when you are reading. Also a massive range, being able to produce work from interesting occult detectives to the more low rent lowest common denominator Michael Crichton type science fiction thriller.

Luckily for us he chooses to turn his attention to science fiction most of the time where his large talent for advanced speculation can continually delight and amaze us with what he comes up with, including a particular fondness for advanced biology. Plenty of strange aliens.

This is the exact opposite of a garden variety major publisher hugely overpriced volume. This is a fantastic price (e.g. 2.99 currently) and extremely high quality.

Buy it.

Little Machines : The Two Dicks - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : Residuals - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : 17 - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : All Tomorrow's Parties - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : Interstitial - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : How We Lost The Moon A True Story by Frank W. Allen - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : Under Mars - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : Danger: Hard Hack Area - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : The Madness of Crowds - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : The Secret of My Success - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : The Proxy - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : I Spy - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : The Rift - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : Alien TV - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : Before the Flood - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : A Very British History - Paul J. McAuley
Little Machines : Cross Roads Blues - Paul J. McAuley

Political Phil.

3.5 out of 5


Little evil aliens, bad movies.

3 out of 5


I'm no dummy, I want to go up.

3.5 out of 5


The answer to Freddie Mercury's question is 'we do', you silly, misguided, toasted human weapon.

4.5 out of 5


Testosterone boosted worm tech booger discovery.

3.5 out of 5


Big zapper boo-boo buggers satellite.

4.5 out of 5


Shuttle ride.

2.5 out of 5


Biopunk convention.

3.5 out of 5


Pheromone collection.

3 out of 5


Health treatment killings.

3.5 out of 5


Odd books.

3 out of 5


Finally I think I get you, crazy as I am.

3 out of 5


Some crypto natives and naked judgement.

4 out of 5


There's still stuff to find.

3.5 out of 5


Doing some Alien TV pattern ritual.

3.5 out of 5


Ministry of Space.

3.5 out of 5


Blues source change instruction loop.

4 out of 5



4 out of 5

Untitled Fragment He Knew De Bracy - Robert E. Howard

A Highlander good with his weapons.


3.5 out of 5

Before the Flood - Paul J. McAuley

Doing some Alien TV pattern ritual.


3.5 out of 5

Timur-Lang - Robert E. Howard

The warm wind blows through the waving grain –
Where are the glories of Tamerlane?
The nations stood up, ripe and tall –
He was the sickle that reaped them all.
But the sickle shatters and leaves no trace –
And the grain grows green on the desert’s face.


3.5 out of 5

Alien TV - Paul J. McAuley

There's still stuff to find.


3.5 out of 5

The Tide - Robert E. Howard

Thus in my mood I love you
In the drum of my heart’s fast beat,
In the lure of the skies above you
And the earth beneath your feet.

Now I can lift and crown you
With the moon’s white empery,
Now I can crush and drown you
In my passion’s misty sea.

I can swing you high and higher
Than any man of earth,
Draw you through stars and fire
To lands of the ultimate birth.

Were I like this forever
You’d only too little to give,
But here tonight we sever
For life loves life to live.

And the higher a man may travel
The lower may he fall
And the skein that I must unravel
It was never meant for all.

And what do you know of glory,
Of the heights that I have trod,
Of the shadows grim and hoary
That hide my face from God!

Would you understand my story,
My torments and my hopes,
Or the red dark Purgatory
Where my soul in horror gropes!

Now I am man and lover
Rising with you at side
To peaks where the splendors hover–
But drifting with the tide.

And the tide? It is mine to shake it,
To battle the winds and spray,
To batter the tide and break it
Or batter my heart away.

So I leave you–that you never
The grim day have to face
When I would be gone forever
And a stranger in my place.
Tonight, tonight we sever
For my race is my own race.


3 out of 5

The Rift - Paul J. McAuley

Some crypto natives and naked judgement.


4 out of 5

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Untitled Fragment The Track Of Bohemund - Robert E. Howard

A knight discovers a plot after killing an oddly out of place Crusader.


3.5 out of 5

The Tavern - Robert E. Howard

There stands, close by a dim, wolf-haunted wood,
A tavern like a monster, brooding thing.
About its sullen gables no birds sing.
Oft a lone traveller, when the moon is blood,
Lights from his horse in quest of sleep and meal.
His footfalls fade within and sound no more;
He comes not forth; but from a secret door
Bearing a grisly burden, shadows steal.
By day, ’neath trees whose silent, green leaves glisten,
The tavern crouches, hating day and light.
A lurking vampire, terrible and lean;
Sometimes behind its windows may be seen
Vague leprous faces, haggard, fungus-white,
That peer and start and ever seem to listen.


3.5 out of 5

I Spy - Paul J. McAuley

Finally I think I get you, crazy as I am.


3 out of 5

The Symbol - Robert E. Howard

Eons before Atlantean days in the time of the world’s black dawn, Strange were the kings and grim the deeds that the pallid moon looked on.
When the great black cities split the stars and strange prows broke the tide, And smoke went up from ghastly shrines where writhing victims died.
Black magic raised its serpent head, and all things foul and banned, Till an angry God hurled up the sea against the shuddering land.
And the grisly kings they read their doom in the wind and the rising brine, And they set a pillar on a hill for a symbol and a sign.
Black shrine and hall and carven wall sank to eternal sleep,
And dawn looked down on a silent world and the blue unbroken deep.
Now men go forth in their daily ways and they reck not of the feel Of the veil that crushed, so long ago, the world beneath its heel.
But deep in the seaweed-haunted halls in the green unlighted deep, Inhuman kings await the day that shall break their chains of sleep.
And far in a grim untrodden land on a jungle-girded hill,
A pillar stands like a sign of Fate, in subtle warning still.
Carved in its blind black face of stone a fearful unknown rune Leers in the glare of the tropic sun and the cold of the leprous moon.
And it shall stand for a symbol mute that men are weak and blind, Till Hell roars up from the black abyss and horror swoops behind.
For this is the screed upon the shaft, oh, pallid sons of men:
“We that were lords of all the earth, shall rise and rule again.”
And dark is the doom of the tribes of earth, that hour wild and red, When the ages give their secrets up and the sea gives up its dead.



3.5 out of 5

The Proxy - Paul J. McAuley

Odd books.


3 out of 5

A Song of the Werewolf Folk - Robert E. Howard

Sink white fangs in the throat of Life,
Lap up the red that gushes
In the cold dark gloom of the bare black stones,
In the gorge where the black wind rushes.
Slink where the titan boulders poise
And the chasms grind thereunder,
Over the mountains black and bare
In the teeth of the brooding thunder.
Why should we wish for the fertile fields,
Valley and crystal fountain?
This is our doom–the hunger-trail,
The wolf and the storm-stalked mountain.
Over us stalk the bellowing gods
Where the dusk and the twilight sever;
Under their iron goatish hoofs
They crunch our skulls forever.
Mercy and hope and pity–all,
Bubbles the black crags sunder;
Hunger is all the gods have left
And the death that lurks thereunder.
Glut mad fangs in the blood of Life
To slake the thirst past sating,
Before the blind worms mouth our bones
And the vulture’s beak is grating.


3.5 out of 5

The Secret of My Success - Paul J. McAuley

Health treatment killings.


3.5 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 :-

For November

http://freesf.strandedinoz.com/

Not Free SF Reader List Updated

For November

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

Danger: Hard Hack Area - Paul J. McAuley

Biopunk convention.


3.5 out of 5

Under Mars - Paul J. McAuley

Shuttle ride.


2.5 out of 5

Residuals - Paul J. McAuley and Kim Newman

Little evil aliens, bad movies.


3 out of 5

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Alien Contact - Marty Halpern

At 3.72, an excellent reprint anthology. The editor gives an introduction as to how he chose the stories which is also of some interest. There's a good variety of work.

Alien Contact : The Thought War - Paul J. McAuley
Alien Contact : How to Talk to Girls at Parties - Neil Gaiman
Alien Contact : Face Value - Karen Joy Fowler
Alien Contact : The Road Not Taken - Harry Turtledove
Alien Contact : The Aliens Who Knew I Mean Everything - George Alec Effinger
Alien Contact : Recycling Strategies for the Inner City - Pat Murphy
Alien Contact : The 43 Antarean Dynasties - Mike Resnick
Alien Contact : The Gold Bug - Orson Scott Card
Alien Contact : Kin - Bruce McAllister
Alien Contact : Guerrilla Mural of a Siren's Song - Ernest Hogan
Alien Contact : Angel - Pat Cadigan
Alien Contact : The First Contact with the Gorgonids - Ursula K. Le Guin
Alien Contact : Sunday Night Yams at Minnie and Earl's - Adam Troy Castro
Alien Contact : A Midwinter's Tale - Michael Swanwick
Alien Contact : Texture of Other Ways - Mark W. Teidemann
Alien Contact : To Go Boldly - Cory Doctorow
Alien Contact : If Nudity Offends You - Elizabeth Moon
Alien Contact : Laws of Survival - Nancy Kress
Alien Contact : What You Are About To See - Jack Skillingstead
Alien Contact : Amanda and the Alien - Robert Silverberg
Alien Contact : Exo-Skeleton Town - Jeffrey Ford
Alien Contact : Lambing Season - Molly Gloss
Alien Contact : Swarm - Bruce Sterling
Alien Contact : MAXO Signals - Charles Stross
Alien Contact : Last Contact - Isaac Asimov


Boltzman brain zombie survival.

3.5 out of 5


Ordinary party and alien chicks = run away.

3.5 out of 5


Mene study.

3 out of 5


Don't invent a hyperdrive, get more advanced other stuff for shooting teddy bear aliens that visit.

3.5 out of 5


Don't you worry about that, nuhp nuhp.

4.5 out of 5


Found claw rebuilding, ship?

3.5 out of 5


Bigarse monument tour.

4 out of 5


Ender Wiggin cannon fodder finds a hybrid Formic.

3.5 out of 5


A boy and a alien assassin come to an understanding.

5 out of 5


Painting Willa in whatever.

3.5 out of 5


Alien exile is a fracking crime.

4 out of 5


Alien corroboree.

3 out of 5


Down home lunar diversion tale.

4 out of 5


Alien beastie xmas chat.

3.5 out of 5


Telelog SETI contact fear.

4 out of 5


Space navies? You guys are crazy. No to mention inefficient.

4 out of 5


Alien trailer trash.

3.5 out of 5


Alien desperate dog school.

4.5 out of 5


Arrowhead Squidward multiplicity torture marriage probabilities.

4 out of 5


Need to get you a male body.

3.5 out of 5


Buggy movie gear.

3.5 out of 5


Starmandog.

3.5 out of 5


Interspecies business shocks.

4 out of 5


Interstellar spam

3 out of 5


Ripped off.

4 out of 5



4.5 out of 5

Guerrilla Mural of a Siren's Song - Ernest Hogan

Painting Willa in whatever.


3.5 out of 5

Texture of Other Ways - Mark W. Tiedemann

Telelog SETI contact fear.


4 out of 5

The Gold Bug - Orson Scott Card

Ender Wiggin cannon fodder finds a hybrid Formic.


3.5 out of 5

Recycling Strategies For The Inner City - Pat Murphy

Found claw rebuilding, ship?


3.5 out of 5

The Road Not Taken - Harry Turtledove

Don't invent a hyperdrive, get more advanced other stuff for shooting teddy bear aliens that visit.


3.5 out of 5

The Outgoing Of Sigurd The Jerusalem-farer - Robert E. Howard

The fires roared in the skalli-hall,
And a woman begged me stay –
But the bitter night was falling
And the cold wind calling
Across the moaning spray.
How could I stay in the feasting-hall
When the wild wind walked the sea?
The feet of the winds drew out my soul
To the grey waves and the cloud’s scroll
Where the gulls wheel and the whales roll,
And the abyss roars to me.
Man the sweeps and bend the sail –
We need no oars tonight,
For the sharp sleet drives before the gale
That dashes the spray across the rail
To freeze on helmet and corselet scale,
And the waves are running white.
I could not bide in the feasting-hall
Where the great fires light the rooms –
For the winds are walking the night for me
And I must follow where gaunt lands be,
Seeking, beyond some nameless sea,
The dooms beyond the dooms.


3.5 out of 5

Never Beyond the Beast - Robert E. Howard

Rise to the peak of the ladder
Where the ghosts of the planets feast –
Out of the reach of the adder –
Never beyond the Beast.
He is there, in the abyss brooding,
Where the nameless black fires fall;
He is there, in the stars intruding,
Where the sun is a silver ball.

Beyond all weeping or revel,
He lurks in the cloud and the sod;
He grips the doors of the Devil
And the hasp on the gates of God.
Build and endeavor and fashion –
Never can you escape
The blind black brutish passion –
The lust of the primal Ape.


4 out of 5

The Marching Song of Connacht - Robert E. Howard

he men of the East are decked in steel,
They march with a trumpet’s din,
They glitter with silks and golden scales,
And high kings boast their kin–
We of the West wear the hides of wolves,
But our hearts are steel within.

They of the East ride gallant steeds,
Their spears are long and brown;
Their shields are set with sparkling stones,
And each knight wears a crown–
We fight on foot as our forebears fought,
And we drag the rider down.

We race the steed of the Saxon knight
Across the naked fen–
They of the East are full of pride,
Cubs of the Lion’s den.
They boast they breed a race of kings–
But we of the West breed Men.


4 out of 5

A Legend of Faring Town - Robert E. Howard

Her house, a moulting buzzard on the Hill
Loomed gaunt and brooding over Faring town;
Behind, there sloped away the barren down
And at its foot an ancient, crumbling mill.
And often in the evening bleak and still,
With withered limbs wrapped in a sombre gown
And leathery face set in a sombre frown,
She sat in silence on her silent sill.
She came to Faring town long years ago–
With her a winsome child, the ancients said,
She vanished, where, the people did not know–
Meg mended ropes for ocean vessels’ sails
And let the people think the child was dead–
She did not speak, but there were darksome tales.
One night the village flamed with sudden red–
From off Meg’s roof we saw the cinders stream.
She came not forth–we entered–and in the gleam,
Saw her crouching, like a thing of dread,
Above a skeleton within her bed.
“Child slayer!” I still hear the women scream–
High a red and cinder spitting beam;
We hanged her and the flames consumed the dead.
A book we found, and written piteously
In Meg’s sad scrawl: “Today my darling died
“But she shall sleep forever by my side–
“They shall not give her to the cruel sea.”
We cringed and gazed in terror and in shame
Where still a form swung black against the flame.


3 out of 5