Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Doc Sidhe - Aaron Allston

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Imagine if there was a counter earth, stuck in the 30s, where, basically, elves and trolls are real.

The coolest thing, however, is that Doc Savage is real, too. Except for the fact he is a Daoine Sidhe sorcerer, and has a higher mortality rate for his crew.

A down on his luck kickboxer and his girlfriend end up there, via a conjurer's circle, and a plot to change the magical rules of relations between the two worlds.

Oh, and the evil villain is Doc's son. This is an excellent homage, a good urban fantasy, and a bit of the Untouchables, to boot. As in, it don't end happily for everyone.

4 out of 5

Monday, August 28, 2006

Dr Nikola Returns - Guy Boothby

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The antiheroic Nikola, it appears, is after some sort of amazing longevity discovery, known by a certain group of monks, who, of course, live in a mountain fastness.

An adventurer named Bruce falls in with him, and much impersonation of Asians and arduous travel through Asia ensues. On reaching the monastery, their ruse is finally discovered, and it appears they are for the long leap. Some fast thinking and clever work by Nikola, and a few secret ingredients gets them out, amazingly enough, with a book of information he was after.

A little Nikola cunning leads to their escape, but the pursuit is hot, and a close thing, but at the end, Chinese assassins are still on their trail.

3.5 out of 5

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Hyborian Age - Robert E. Howard

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This is not a story as such, but an account of the fictional history of Howard's world through the ages, to the time of Kull and Atlantis down to the entitled time when Conan ran amok. Quite nicely done.

4 out of 5

The Gland Men of the Island - Malcolm Afford

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A story by one of the few Australians to make it into the SF magazines of the time. A mad scientist is plotting to make supermen, always a good time to be had there.

2.5 out of 5

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Out Of The Silence - Erle Cox

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A quite sophisticated effort. A Victorian man living outside the town of Glen Cairn discovers an artifact, while looking to dig a water hole for his wine-growing property. Unlike the reader, he hasn't read the prologue, so does not know that an advanced human woman is contained within.

Amidst some highly entertaining social satire, she uses him to learn from, and looks to implement the weeding out of the 'inferior' races, as they had done in the past before they were destroyed. This past history is detailed through the later part of the novel, and is not dull.

The protagonist is basically incapable of thinking too logically about this stunning traveller through time, and it is up to his friend, and once-girlfriend to attempt to bring him to his senses. With the help of what is apparently, amazingly, an honest and brave politician, the Prime Minister, who is happily in Melbourne at the time, they manage to stall her for a time from bringing back to life her childhood friend, and superior! Who happens to be contained in a similar artifact, in what is now the Himalayas.

4.5 out of 5