Saturday, May 31, 2008

Kallaka's Cousins - Cat Rambo

http://media.rawvoice.com/escapepod/media.libsyn.com/media/escapepod/EP160_KalakkaksCousins.mp3

Ghosts and bad service have commercial uses.


3 out of 5

Friday, May 30, 2008

My Father's House - Brian A. Hopkins

My Father's House - Brian A. Hopkins

Custodian crew colony conflict slingshot.


3.5 out of 5

The Bird Catcher - S. P. Somtow

The Bird Catcher - Somtow Sucharitkul

Little girls are made of stuff quite nice. Especially if very rare.


3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Little Brother - Cory Doctorow

http://craphound.com/littlebrother/Cory_Doctorow_-_Little_Brother.htm

Fightback by the Bay.


A deliberate Orwellian title, for a deliberate Orwellian scenario. A supposed terrorist attack in San Francisco leads the US Department of Homeland Security - a title George himself could easily have thought up - into serious overreaction.

Kidnapping and torture of children, massive staff increases, random no reason searches of people taking a different train than they used to, that sort of crazy thing.

A novel about a tech-hip angry teenager, and his friends and family, as he puts it on the line to do something about the fascists in charge who are way worse than any terrorist goes.

Saw some people say that this is Doctorow's best novel, and they'd probably be right. This sort of hip nearish future tech and political exploration certainly would seem to be his forte, that and the short story.

I think I saw Nancy Kress say on her blog that she didn't quite buy it, as her government might not go that far. I think that is part of the author's point, so that they won't. Especially for somewhere that is indulging in anti-Constitutional prevention is worse than the crime antics currently, with such a prison-as-growth-industry area. There there are the illegal phonetaps, and Echelon/Carnivore and all that fun stuff reading all your email.

So while they may not be carting off 14 year old whiteboy hackers and waterboarding them, how about the brownboys or girls? An issue the author brings up. Some of the abuses being talked about do happen already, so clearly some cautionary tale-telling at work.

Not to mention detaining an Australian for several years in just such a place as one of those Doctorow mentions.

Presumably the actual terrorists are sitting around laughing their arses off at all the wastes of money.

Some interesting other bits - Doctorow puts in little plugs for his favorite bookshops before each chapter, but he manages to write it in a way that doesn't sound like shilling.

There's an afterword by an actual security expert who deals with things like the security technology on display in the book that Marcus, the protagonist and friends are involved with.

A fine work, with some notes on further reading to go along.


4 out of 5

Hal Spacejock - Simon Haynes

http://www.spacejock.com.au/Hal1Download.html

Hal Spacejock has the competence of Arnold Rimmer, and the confidence of his alternate world self Ace, with none of the intelligence or panache. He also has Dave Lister's sense of style.

He is also so broke that if he was an inanimate object, you would really need superglue to be on sale at the local hardware shop.

This utter lack of liquidity has led to a visit by Brutus the legbreaker robot. As a consequence, Hal decides that taking on a dodgy job is his only option. Spacejock is also the only option for the unscrupulous tycoon that wants a cargo shipped into a war zone.

Even if Hal is too stupid to realise what is going on, the robot pilot Clunk that his employer sends over is not.

Clunk soon realises that Hal probably couldn't fly a paper plane, let alone a spaceships, without the ship's computer, and takes over operation.

The rest of the book involves a lot of blithely cheerful anachronistic space adventure. Much of the writing is deadpan, but occasionally interspersed with hilarity. Wait till you get to the color-coded ship piloting lesson.

The pair get shot at by battleships, and pursued by the villains Terry and Farrell (who bear no resemblance to symbiotic Star Trek aliens or coffee shop owners).

You have to say one thing for Spacejock though, he is no chicken. If there is shooting to be done, he's happy to shoot first.

Throw in some truths about where old robots do go after the job is done, when not to jump into hyperspace, and the most novel air to air ship missiles I have seen and you have a very entertaining romp.

Straight comedy SF is pretty rare, so it is very pleasing to come across this book, and even better, there are two sequels.


4 out of 5

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Steps In the Dance - Eric Flint

Steps in the Dance - Eric Flint

"Why not? In the end, if you stripped away all the trappings and the mythologies, the nobility of Europe owed its present exalted position to the crude fact that its ancestors had been the toughest men of their time. That, or the richest, or both. Today, three years after the Ring of Fire, only a handful of lunatic counts and the emperor of the Turks—who was known as Murad the Mad—tried to deny that the up-timers were both mighty and wealthy."


3 out of 5

Postage Due - Eric Flint

Postage Due - Eric Flint

"This is a joke, right?" she repeated. Her voice rose with the last word, a firm statement transmuting into a real question.

"A joke. It's got to be."

Desperation was creeping into her voice.

Anne now glared at Mike Stearns, her glare almost instantly being transferred to the handclasp.

"Stop holding hands with your wife!" she snapped. "It's disgusting."


3 out of 5

Portraits - Eric Flint

Portraits - Eric Flint

"Well, if anyone ever sees it I'll probably get away with it just because it was done by Rubens. You know, the Rubens. But they don't call them 'hillbillies' for nothing. Seeing me half-naked, wrapped in an American flag and holding pom-poms and a cheerleader's baton . . ." She brought her eyes back to the portrait, and shook her head ruefully. "I still don't know what possessed me to agree to this."


3 out of 5

Tight Squeeze - Dean Ing

Tight Squeeze - Dean Ing

Mac swung himself up to a sitting position and realized dizzily that he was mother-naked. His ribs felt pulverized. "You guys sure mauled me up," he said accusingly.

"Unavoidable, my dear grease-monkey. You needed a little artificial respiration; I never was too good at that."

"Well, whoever did the job rates a prize of some sort," Mac answered, "but my ribs tell me he had more enthusiasm than practice."


3.5 out of 5

Silicon Palm - Jeff Duntemann

Silicon Psalm - Jeff Duntemann

Smiling Man, MAC.


3 out of 5

STORMY vs the Tornadoes - Jeff Duntemann

http://www.duntemann.com/stormy.htm

"Well, here's the trailers. Ask your software expert what made him think stacking old trailers in the butt end of nowhere would save lives."


4 out of 5

Monday, May 26, 2008

Casting the Runes - M. R. James

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext05/8jgst10.txt

Knocking the writing problem on the head.


3.5 out of 5

Caesar's Ghost - Eugie Foster

http://media.rawvoice.com/pseudopod/media.libsyn.com/media/pseudopod/Pseudo091_CaesarsGhost.mp3

"Your ferret is dead, you didn't microwave him."


3.5 out of 5

The Osteomancer's Son - Greg Van Eekhout

http://media.rawvoice.com/podcastle/media.libsyn.com/media/podcastle/PC008_TheOsteomancersSon.mp3

Hierarch restructuring.


4 out of 5

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Diamond Lens - Fitz-James O'Brien

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/23169/23169-h/23169-h.htm

Mad microscopist's evaporated babe.


3.5 out of 5

Looking Backward - Edward Bellamy

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/25439/25439-h/25439-h.htm

If you had told me," I replied, profoundly awed, "that a thousand years instead of a hundred had elapsed since I last looked on this city, I should now believe you."

"Only a century has passed," he answered, "but many a millennium in the world's history has seen changes less extraordinary."


3 out of 5

A Voyage To Laputa - Jonathan Swift

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext97/gltrv10h.htm

"A phenomenon solved by modern philosophy and astronomy. The Laputians’ great improvements in the latter. The king’s method of suppressing insurrections."


3 out of 5

She - H. Rider Haggard

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/3155/3155-h/3155-h.htm

"When this was done She bade Billali and the six bearer mutes to retreat behind a grove of flowering magnolias about a hundred yards away, and remain there under pain of death till we had vanished. They bowed humbly, and went, and, as he departed, old Billali gave me a friendly shake of the hand, and whispered that he had rather that it was I than he who was going on this wonderful expedition with "She-who-must-be-obeyed," and upon my word I felt inclined to agree with him. In another minute they were gone, and then, having briefly asked us if we were ready, Ayesha turned, and gazed up the towering cliff."


3.5 out of 5

Around the Moon - Jules Verne

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext93/moon10a.txt

"At this moment the bottom of the projectile deviated somewhat from the lunar surface, in order to follow the slightly lengthened elliptical orbit. From this point, had the earth been at the full, Barbicane and his companions could have seen it, but immersed in the sun's irradiation she was quite invisible. Another spectacle attracted their attention, that of the southern part of the moon, brought by the glasses to within 450 yards. They did not again leave the scuttles, and noted every detail of this fantastical continent."


2.5 out of 5

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea - Jules Verne

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext01/2000010ah.htm

"Unintentionally?" the stranger replied, raising his voice a little. "Was it unintentionally that the Abraham Lincoln hunted me on every sea? Was it unintentionally that you traveled aboard that frigate? Was it unintentionally that your shells bounced off my ship's hull? Was it unintentionally that Mr. Ned Land hit me with his harpoon?"

I detected a controlled irritation in these words. But there was a perfectly natural reply to these charges, and I made it.

"Sir," I said, "you're surely unaware of the discussions that have taken place in Europe and America with yourself as the subject. You don't realize that various accidents, caused by collisions with your underwater machine, have aroused public passions on those two continents. I'll spare you the innumerable hypotheses with which we've tried to explain this inexplicable phenomenon, whose secret is yours alone. But please understand that the Abraham Lincoln chased you over the Pacific high seas in the belief it was hunting some powerful marine monster, which had to be purged from the ocean at all cost."


3.5 out of 5

Mellonta Tauta - Edgar Allan Poe

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/p/poe/edgar_allan/p74h/

Balloon future.


3 out of 5

Frankenstein - Mary Shelley

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext93/frank15.txt

"Abhorred monster! Fiend that thou art! The tortures of hell are too mild a vengeance for thy crimes. Wretched devil! You reproach me with your creation, come on, then, that I may extinguish the spark which I so negligently bestowed."


3.5 out of 5

A Voyage To the Moon - Cyrano De Bergerac

http://www.princeton.edu/~stengel/cyrano.html

"And for my part, Gentlemen,", said I, "that I may put in for a share, and guess with the rest; not to amuse myself with those curious Notions wherewith you tickle and spur on slow-paced Time; I believe, that the Moon is a World like ours, to which this of ours serves likewise for a Moon."


3 out of 5

The New Atlantis - Francis Bacon

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext00/nwatl11h.htm

"These are (my son) the riches of Salomon's House.

"For the several employments and offices of our fellows; we have twelve that sail into foreign countries, under the names of other nations, (for our own we conceal); who bring us the books, and abstracts, and patterns of experiments of all other parts. These we call Merchants of Light.

"We have three that collect the experiments which are in all books. These we call Depredators.

"We have three that collect the experiments of all mechanical arts; and also of liberal sciences; and also of practices which are not brought into arts. These we call Mystery-men.

"We have three that try new experiments, such as themselves think good. These we call Pioneers or Miners.

"We have three that draw the experiments of the former four into titles and tables, to give the better light for the drawing of observations and axioms out of them. These we call Compilers.

"We have three that bend themselves, looking into the experiments of their fellows, and cast about how to draw out of them things of use and practise for man's life, and knowledge, as well for works as for plain demonstration of causes, means of natural divinations, and the easy and clear discovery of the virtues and parts of bodies. These we call Dowry-men or Benefactors.

"Then after divers meetings and consults of our whole number, to consider of the former labours and collections, we have three that take care, out of them, to direct new experiments, of a higher light, more penetrating into nature than the former. These we call Lamps.

"We have three others that do execute the experiments so directed, and report them. These we call Inoculators.

"Lastly, we have three that raise the former discoveries by experiments into greater observations, axioms, and aphorisms. These we call Interpreters of Nature.


3.5 out of 5

The City Of the Sun - Tommaso Campanella

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext01/tcots10.txt

"The great ruler among them is a priest whom they
call by the name Hoh, though we should call him Metaphysic.
He is head over all, in temporal and spiritual matters, and all
business and lawsuits are settled by him, as the supreme au-
thority. Three princes of equal power -- viz., Pon, Sin, and
Mor -- assist him, and these in our tongue we should call Power,
Wisdom, and Love. To Power belongs the care of all matters
relating to war and peace. He attends to the military arts, and,
next to Hoh, he is ruler in every affair of a warlike nature.
He governs the military magistrates and the soldiers, and has
the management of the munitions, the fortifications, the storm-
ing of places, the implements of war, the armories, the smiths
and workmen connected with matters of this sort."


3 out of 5

Utopia - Sir Thomas More

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2130/2130-h/2130-h.htm

"“The island of Utopia is in the middle two hundred miles broad, and holds almost at the same breadth over a great part of it, but it grows narrower towards both ends. Its figure is not unlike a crescent. Between its horns the sea comes in eleven miles broad, and spreads itself into a great bay, which is environed with land to the compass of about five hundred miles, and is well secured from winds. In this bay there is no great current; the whole coast is, as it were, one continued harbour, which gives all that live in the island great convenience for mutual commerce. "


3 out of 5

The Voyages And Travels Of Sir John Mandeville - Anonymous Anonymous

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext97/tosjm10h.htm

"Of the Palace of the King of the Isle of Java. Of the Trees that bear meal, honey, wine, and venom; and of other marvels and customs used in the Isles marching thereabout."


3 out of 5

A True Story - Lucian of Samosata

http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/luc/true/tru01.htm

Buzzard cavalry in Cloudcuckooland.


3 out of 5

Last and First Men - Olaf Stapledon

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0601101h.html

"For another branch of the degenerated fifth species had retained a more terrestrial habit and the ancient human form. Sadly reduced in stature and in brain, these abject beings were so unlike the original invaders that they are rightly considered a new species, and may therefore be called the Sixth Men. Age after age they gained a precarious livelihood by grubbing roots upon the forest-clad islands, trapping the innumerable birds, and catching fish in the tidal inlets with ground bait. Not infrequently they devoured, or were devoured by, their seal-like relatives. So restricted and constant was the environment of these human remnants, that they remained biologically and culturally stagnant for some millions of years.

At length, however, geological events afforded man's nature once more the opportunity of change. A mighty warping of the planet's crust produced an island almost as large as Australia. In time this was peopled, and from the clash of tribes a new and versatile race emerged. Once more there was methodical tillage, craftsmanship, complex social organization, and adventure in the realm of thought.

During the next two hundred million years all the main phases of man's life on earth were many times repeated on Venus with characteristic differences. Theocratic empires; free and intellectualistic island cities; insecure overlordship of feudal archipelagos; rivalries of high priest and emperor; religious feuds over the interpretation of sacred scriptures; recurrent fluctuations of thought from naïve animism, through polytheism, conflicting monotheisms, and all the desperate "isms" by which mind seeks to blur the severe outline of truth; recurrent fashions of comfort-seeking fantasy and cold intelligence; social disorders through the misuse of volcanic or wind power in industry; business empires and pseudo-communistic empires--all these forms flitted over the changing substance of mankind again and again, as in an enduring hearth fire there appear and vanish the infinitely diverse forms of flame and smoke. But all the while the brief spirits, in whose massed configurations these forms inhered, were intent chiefly on the primitive needs of food, shelter, companionship, crowd-lust, love-making, the two-edged relationship of parent and child, the exercise of muscle and intelligence in facile sport. Very seldom, only in rare moments of clarity, only after ages of misapprehension, did a few of them, here and there, now and again, begin to have the deeper insight into the world's nature and man's. And no sooner had this precious insight begun to propagate itself, than it would be blotted out by some small or great disaster, by epidemic disease, by the spontaneous disruption of society, by an access of racial imbecility, by a prolonged bombardment of meteorites, or by the mere cowardice and vertigo that dared not look down the precipice of fact."


3.5 out of 5

The Red One - Jack London

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext97/tred110h.htm

"Possessed of more than a cursory knowledge of astronomy, he took a sick man’s pleasure in speculating as to the dwellers on the unseen worlds of those incredibly remote suns, to haunt whose houses of light, life came forth, a shy visitant, from the rayless crypts of matter. He could no more apprehend limits to time than bounds to space. No subversive radium speculations had shaken his steady scientific faith in the conservation of energy and the indestructibility of matter. Always and forever must there have been stars. And surely, in that cosmic ferment, all must be comparatively alike, comparatively of the same substance, or substances, save for the freaks of the ferment. All must obey, or compose, the same laws that ran without infraction through the entire experience of man. Therefore, he argued and agreed, must worlds and life be appanages to all the suns as they were appanages to the particular of his own solar system.

Even as he lay here, under the breadfruit tree, an intelligence that stared across the starry gulfs, so must all the universe be exposed to the ceaseless scrutiny of innumerable eyes, like his, though grantedly different, with behind them, by the same token, intelligences that questioned and sought the meaning and the construction of the whole. So reasoning, he felt his soul go forth in kinship with that august company, that multitude whose gaze was forever upon the arras of infinity."

...

"“Once, O Ngurn,” Bassett repeated, “let the Red One speak so that I may see it speak as well as hear it. Then strike, thus, when I raise my hand; for, when I raise my hand, I shall drop my head forward and make place for the stroke at the base of my neck. But, O Ngurn, I, who am about to pass out of the light of day for ever, would like to pass with the wonder-voice of the Red One singing greatly in my ears.”

“And I promise you that never will a head be so well cured as yours,” Ngurn assured him, at the same time signalling the tribesmen to man the propelling ropes suspended from the king-post striker. “Your head shall be my greatest piece of work in the curing of heads.”"


3.5 out of 5

The Chessmen of Mars - Edgar Rice Burroughs

http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/1153

""You deserted us, Tara of Helium," said John Carter. "It is not what the guests of John Carter should expect.""


3 out of 5

The Funeral Ruined - Ben Peek

http://www.fantasybookspot.com/node/2660

Red sky at night, red sky in the morning, a machete to the arm still fracking hurts. You dead blokes aren't helping.


3.5 out of 5

Brown Water - Gareth L. Powell

http://garethlynpowell.blogspot.com/2008/05/friday-flash-fiction-37.html

Space roulette lucky only for some.


3.5 out of 5

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Test to Destruction - Keith Laumer

Test to Destruction - Keith Laumer

Interrogation space assist overlord.


4 out of 5

T'N'T Telzey and Trigger - James H. Schmitz

http://www.webscription.net/10.1125/Baen/0671578790/0671578790.htm

Starting with the afterword, Guy Gordon, the co-editor, tries to pin down the elements that make Schmitz so entertaining. If you want to know more about Schmitz, you could check the esteemed Mr. Gordon's Schmitz Encyclopedia website, it is outstanding.

This, also, is a really good collection, whether one T or two in each story, there are no bad stories to be found here, as Telzey and Trigger get into a lot of trouble, and back out of it, in their own inimitable styles.

Hub : TnT Telzey and Trigger 1 Company Planet [Telzey Amberdon] - James H. Schmitz
Hub : TnT Telzey and Trigger 2 Resident Witch [Telzey Amberdon] - James H. Schmitz
Hub : TnT Telzey and Trigger 3 The Pork Chop Tree [Trigger Argee] - James H. Schmitz
Hub : TnT Telzey and Trigger 4 Compulsion [Telzey Amberdon; Trigger Argee] - James H. Schmitz
Hub : TnT Telzey and Trigger 5 Glory Day [Telzey Amberdon; Trigger Argee] - James H. Schmitz
Hub : TnT Telzey and Trigger 6 Child of the Gods [Telzey Amberdon] - James H. Schmitz
Hub : TnT Telzey and Trigger 7 Ti's Toys [The Telzey Toy; Telzey Amberdon] - James H. Schmitz
Hub : TnT Telzey and Trigger 8 The Symbiotes [Telzey Amberdon; Trigger Argee] - James H. Schmitz


Telzey finds Mind Control useful to get you out of a surgical torture jam, when looking for information.

4 out of 5


An interstellar detective agency needs a Psi, and Telzey knows just the girl for a transfer.

3.5 out of 5


Potential worldtree addict problem.

3.5 out of 5


Trigger needs Telzey's xenotelepathy help, with a strange alien lifeform:

"That incredible species! Waiting on the three worlds they'd filled wherever they could grow, worlds transformed into deadly psi forts—waiting for the return of an enemy they'd fought, how long ago? Fifty thousand human years? A hundred thousand? They'd been convinced the Veen would be back and attempt again to enslave or destroy them. And they'd been ready to receive the Veen. What giant powers of attack and defense they'd developed in that long waiting while their minds lay deeply hidden!"

4 out of 5


"Well—" Trigger shrugged. "Let's freshen up and change our clothes before we have visitors. What do you wear on Askanam in the palace of a Regent who might be thinking of featuring you in the upcoming arena games?" "Something quietly conservative, I suppose," Telzey said. "All right. Just so it goes with my purse." The cosmetics purse didn't contain cosmetics but Trigger's favorite gun, and was equipped with an instant ejection mechanism."

Some psi havoc to be caused after this and a teleporter's panty raid.

3.5 out of 5


Picking Telzey as the psionic you try and control to use in your schemes perhaps not the wisest move.

3 out of 5


Telzey, captured again, this time by your mad scientist type for his compound of artificial creations and drugged humans - wanting a copy of Miss Amberdon for his entertainment and reserach into creating Psis.

Creating a double-team opponent? Oops.

4.5 out of 5


Trigger and Telzey have an Imskian type situation to deal with, and some body snatching villains into the bargain.

3 out of 5





4 out of 5

The Symbiotes - James H. Schmitz

The Symbiotes - James H. Schmitz

Trigger and Telzey have an Imskian type situation to deal with, and some body snatching villains into the bargain.


3 out of 5

Ti's Toys - James H. Schmitz

Ti's Toys - James H. Schmitz

Telzey, captured again, this time by your mad scientist type for his compound of artificial creations and drugged humans - wanting a copy of Miss Amberdon for his entertainment and research into creating Psis.

Creating a double-team opponent? Oops.


4.5 out of 5

Friday, May 23, 2008

Child Of the Gods - James H. Schmitz

Child of the Gods - James H. Schmitz

Picking Telzey as the psionic you try and control to use in your schemes perhaps not the wisest move.


3 out of 5

Glory Day - James H. Schmitz

Glory Day - James H. Schmitz

"Well—" Trigger shrugged. "Let's freshen up and change our clothes before we have visitors. What do you wear on Askanam in the palace of a Regent who might be thinking of featuring you in the upcoming arena games?" "Something quietly conservative, I suppose," Telzey said. "All right. Just so it goes with my purse." The cosmetics purse didn't contain cosmetics but Trigger's favorite gun, and was equipped with an instant ejection mechanism."

Some psi havoc to be caused after this and a teleporter's panty raid.


3.5 out of 5

Compulsion - James H. Schmitz

Compulsion - James H. Schmitz

Trigger needs Telzey's xenotelepathy help, with a strange alien lifeform:

"That incredible species! Waiting on the three worlds they'd filled wherever they could grow, worlds transformed into deadly psi forts—waiting for the return of an enemy they'd fought, how long ago? Fifty thousand human years? A hundred thousand? They'd been convinced the Veen would be back and attempt again to enslave or destroy them. And they'd been ready to receive the Veen. What giant powers of attack and defense they'd developed in that long waiting while their minds lay deeply hidden!"


4 out of 5

The Pork Chop Tree - James H. Schmitz

Compulsion - James H. Schmitz

Potential worldtree addict problem.


3.5 out of 5

Resident Witch - James H. Schmitz

Resident Witch - James H. Schmitz

An interstellar detective agency needs a Psi, and Telzey knows just the girl for a transfer.


3.5 out of 5

Company Planet - James H. Schmitz

Company Planet - James H. Schmitz

Telzey finds Mind Control useful to get you out of a surgical torture jam, when looking for information.


4 out of 5

Harvest Time - James H. Schmitz

Harvest Time - James H. Schmitz

Some cleaning up of some nogoodnik murderous types for Tate and Trigger.


3 out of 5

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Omega Hedgehogs - Jack McDevitt

http://www.sfwa.org/members/mcdevitt/Omega-Ch1.html

"It looked like a nova. Behaved like a nova. But it was something else."
...
"The first pictures had come in, and they'd popped the champagne. Sylvia Virgil, the director of operations, had come down and gotten wobbly. But that night nobody cared. They'd stood around looking at a sky filled with dusty clouds like great walls, vast star nurseries that rose forever. It was eerie, gothic, ominous, illuminated by occasional smears of light, like the Monument and the White Eagle. The 'walls' were, of course, thousands of light years across. And they'd watched everything through the eye of the Weatherman. Soon, he'd told himself, they would be everywhere."


3.5 out of 5

Chindi Prolog - Jack McDevitt

http://www.sfwa.org/members/mcdevitt/Chindi-prolog.html

"In all the time since the superluminals had left Earth, they'd found only one other living civilization, if you could call it that."


3 out of 5

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Remember Lemuria - Richard S. Shaver

http://manybooks.net/titles/shaverrother07I_Remember_Lemuria.html

"Fear rides the ways down here," he whispered, his sharp-pointed, cat-like ears quivering an alert. "Fear is a smell down here that is ever in the nose--a bad smell, too."

there's also really big people, and space battle fleets.


2.5 out of 5

Man Of Many Bodies - Robert Silverberg

Man of Many Bodies - Robert Silverberg

"Sorry," Harry said. "But you—a demon?"

"I'm a small one," the demon said, a little crestfallen. "But it's not your place to poke fun at me—you runt."


3 out of 5

The Prize Of Peril - Robert Sheckley

The Prize of Peril - Robert Sheckley

Early running man.


4 out of 5

Monday, May 19, 2008

How I Proposed to My Wife: An Alien Sex Story - John Scalzi

http://scalzi.com/whatever/?p=638

"Which is another thing. I think this whole adventure proves I’m with you for better or for worse. You’d better step up on that.” “I could propose to you now,” I said. “While you’re covered in a rash from fucking an alien?” Claire said. “I don’t think so, Charlie.”"


4 out of 5

Starship Sofa Interview - Ted Chiang

http://podcast.starshipsofa.com/podcast/StarShipSofa_No_88_Ted_Chiang.mp3mp3.mp3

Not so much on the author interview linking around here, but the international man of mystery and his story writing super powers are revealed. Well done space couch man!


4.5 out of 5

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Crowd Of Bone - Greer Gilman

A Crowd of Bone - Greer Gilman

Clawing and cawing for Clews.


2.5 out of 5

The Hotel Astarte - M. K. Hobson

http://www.demimonde.com/SFWA/astarte.html

"His Warlock advisors are a bunch of hicks who think that knowing something about moon-cycles and crop-blessing gives them the right to meddle in politics."


3 out of 5

Clerical Error - Mark Clifton

Clerical Error - Mark Clifton

"Man," Kingston exploded with heavy irony, "you imply that psychiatry isn't an exact science? Of course it is a science! Why, man, we have all sorts of intricate laboratories, and arrays of nice shiny tools, and flashing lights on electronic screens, and mechanical pencils drawing jagged lines on revolving drums of paper, and charts and graphs, and statistics. And theory? Why, man, we've got more theory than you ever dreamed of in physical science! Of course it's a science. Any rational man has to agree that the psychiatrist is a scientist. We ought to know. We are the ones who define rationality!"


3.5 out of 5

Deepsix 3 - Jack McDevitt

http://www.sfwa.org/members/McDevitt/deepsix03.html

"ARCHIVE

TO: NCA HAROLD WILDSIDE

FROM: DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

SUBJECT: DEEPSIX PROJECT

HUTCHINS, BE ADVISED PRESENCE OF PREDATORS ON DEEPSIX. ORIGINAL PROJECT RECORDS SUGGESTS EXTREME CAUTION. I AM INFORMED THAT THE REIGNING EXPERT ON THE SUBJECT, RANDALL NIGHTINGALE, IS ON BOARD YOUR SHIP. TAKE HIM WITH YOU WHEN YOU GO DOWN.

GOMEZ

*

TO: NCA WENDY JAY

FROM: DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

SUBJECT: ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES

ATTN: GUNTHER BEEKMAN. WE HAVE DIVERTED WILDSIDE TO ESTABLISH ARCHEOLOGICAL INSPECTION TEAM ON DEEPSIX. PRISCILLA HUTCHINS WILL LEAD EFFORT. REQUEST YOU AND CAPT. CLAIRVEAU RENDER EVERY ASSISTANCE.

GOMEZ"



3 out of 5

Infinity Beach 1 - Jack McDevitt

http://www.sfwa.org/members/McDevitt/

Extremely loud signals.


4 out of 5

City Fishing - Steve Rasnic Tem

City Fishing - Steve Rasnic Tem

Kidding the gauntlet.


3.5 out of 5

What the Thunder Said - Lavie Tidhar

What the Thunder Said - Lavie Tidhar

Warez power failure.


3.5 out of 5

The Hat Trick - Fredric Brown

The Hat Trick - Fredric Brown

Two cent rat theory.


3.5 out of 5

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Daughter Of the Monkey God - M. K. Hobson

Daughter of the Monkey God - M. K. Hobson

Right brain damage.


3 out of 5

The Most Reprinted Authors and Stories in Mystery Anthologies - Steve Lewis

http://www.mysteryfile.com/blog/?p=240

A list from a fictionmags originated query, apparently. Gives most popular authors, and most popular stories.


4 out of 5

Hybrid - Keith Laumer

Hybrid - Keith Laumer

Tree team-up, at length.


3.5 out of 5

Bears Discover Fire - Terry Bisson

http://podcast.starshipsofa.com/podcast/Bears_Discover_Fire_by_Terry_Bisson.mp3

Hibernatin's a big ol' waste of time.


4 out of 5

Hell Notes - M. K. Hobson

Hell Notes - M. K. Hobson

Cheerful Panda spirit restaurant. With eyeballs.


4 out of 5

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Balloon Tree - Edward Page Mitchell

http://www.horrormasters.com/Text/a1124.pdf

Cactus save.


3 out of 5

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Demon Star Alien Cat - Greg Van Eekhout

http://gregvaneekhout.livejournal.com/187632.html#cutid1

Detroit Rock City revival.


3.5 out of 5

Monday, May 12, 2008

John Charrington's Wedding - E. Nesbit

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0602501h.html

Best if the groom's still alive, really.


3.5 out of 5

Mr. Justice Harbottle - J. Sheridan Le Fanu

http://gaslight.mtroyal.ca/justharb.htm

Hanging judge, yes.


3.5 out of 5

Young Goodman Brown - Nathaniel Hawthorne

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext96/manse10.txt

Witchocrites.


3 out of 5

The New Mother - Lucy Lane Clifford

http://www.geocities.com/orwellus/newmother.htm

Wooden tail tale.


2.5 out of 5

The Ash-Tree - M. R. James

http://gaslight.mtroyal.ab.ca/jamesX05.htm

Keep dead witches and bloody big spiders away from the house.


4 out of 5

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lupton's guest: a memory of the eastern Pacific - Louis Becke

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/24896/24896.txt

Soul-catcher heartless summoning.


4 out of 5

Spirit-led - Ernest Favenc

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0600691.txt

Skeleton find shocker.


4 out of 5

The Ghost From the Sea - J. E. P. Muddock

http://www.horrormasters.com/Text/a0991.pdf

Murderer reverse busted.


3 out of 5

Cyclopaedia of Ghost Story Writers - Alastair G. Gunn

http://www.jb.man.ac.uk/~agg/ghosts/

Looks to be basically all the old and dead variety.

3.5 out of 5

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Three Unbroken 35 Advance - Chris Roberson

http://www.solarisbooks.com/books/three-unbroken/free/page35.asp

At the point.

3.5 out of 5

Beachcomber - Mike Resnick

http://www.fortunecity.com/tattooine/farmer/2/Beachcomber.htm

Robot travel runaway.


3 out of 5

ERB: The Man Who Held The Hero's Horse - Mike Resnick

http://www.fortunecity.com/tattooine/farmer/2/ERB.htm


4 out of 5

Your Collar - Elizabeth Bear

http://subterraneanpress.com/index.php/magazine/spring-2008/fiction-your-collar-by-elizabeth-bear/

Gold's really a load of bull compared to the good stuff, queenie.


4 out of 5

Friday, May 09, 2008

Stone Eggs - James P. Blaylock and Adriana Campoy

http://subterraneanpress.com/index.php/magazine/spring-2008/fiction-stone-eggs-by-adriana-campoy-and-james-p-blaylock/

Icthyology house trip isn't pants.


3 out of 5

Connoisseurs - Mike Resnick

http://subterraneanpress.com/index.php/magazine/spring-2008/fiction-connoisseurs-a-lucifer-jones-story-by-mike-resnick/

Jail cordon bleu can leave you feeling green.


3 out of 5

By the Liter - Ekaterina Sedia

http://subterraneanpress.com/index.php/magazine/spring-2008/fiction-by-the-liter-by-ekaterina-sedia/

Soul gang search.


3.5 out of 5

Air and Angels - Beth Bernobich

http://subterraneanpress.com/index.php/magazine/spring-2008/fiction-air-and-angels-by-beth-bernobich/

Booze, bonk, and interstellar balloon blaze.


4 out of 5

Five Good Things About Megan Sheedy - A. M. Dellamonica

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2008/20080421/five_good_things-f.shtml

Collaboration contact dust buster.


4 out of 5

The Hero Pulped - Matthew Cheney

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2008/20080414/cheney-c.shtml

Or, he who not entered the crazed world of The Spider before.


3.5 out of 5

Valiant On the Wing - Chris Szego

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2008/20080414/valiant-f.shtml

Goat girl stronghold surprise.


3.5 out of 5

The Wizard in the Space Station: A Look Back at the Works of the Late Sir Arthur C. Clarke - Nicholas Seeley

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2008/20080414/seeley-a.shtml

A retrospective.


4 out of 5

In Ashes - Helen Keeble

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2008/20080407/ashes-f.shtml

Hot tempered dragon lady momma.


3.5 out of 5

Ki Do The Way Of Trees - Sarah Thomas

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2008/20080331/trees-f.shtml

It is still too long. Take the axe to it.


2 out of 5

A Word Without Ghosts - Paul Jessup

http://www.darkfantasy.org/fantasy/?p=533

She's got Jack.


2.5 out of 5

The Cinnamon Cavalier - Richard Bowes

http://www.darkfantasy.org/fantasy/?p=343

Bikkie bloke's big babe bash bite.


3 out of 5

Erased - Elena Gleason

http://www.darkfantasy.org/fantasy/?p=512

Fadeout, no teleporting.


2.5 out of 5

The 21st Century Isobel Down - Stacy Sinclair

http://www.darkfantasy.org/fantasy/?p=504

Prefer coco pops. Or knitting.


3 out of 5

Petrella - Charlene Brusso

http://www.darkfantasy.org/fantasy/?p=458

"Petrella is made of wood. ...Like a foreign statue carved in stone"

Could be why priest is confused enough to want to shag it.


3 out of 5

Hub 52 - Lee Harris and Alasdair Stuart and Trudi Topham

http://www.hub-mag.co.uk/images/hub_52.pdf

A view of new Who 3 and 4, and a reprint of Richard Morgan's article ranting about SF people who rant about SF people on the internet.

Hub 52 : Until Pebbles Grow - Daniel Good

2 out of 5




1.5 out of 5

Until Pebbles Grow - Daniel Good

http://www.hub-mag.co.uk/images/hub_52.pdf

Dying at its roots, indeed.


2 out of 5

Hub 51 - Lee Harris and Alasdair Stuart and Trudi Topham

http://www.hub-mag.co.uk/images/hub_51.pdf

Reviews of some audio, a Who episode, and a quite interesting overview of the Third Doctor.

Hub 51 : God-Shaped Box - D.K. Thompson

2.5



2 out of 5

God-shaped Box - D. K. Thompson

http://www.hub-mag.co.uk/images/hub_51.pdf

Deity capture search.


2.5 out of 5

Hub 50 - Lee Harris and Alasdair Stuart and Trudi Topham

http://www.hub-mag.co.uk/images/hub_50.pdf

Reviews of A Clockwork Orange of all things, Needful Things, and th esecond new Who episode.

Made it to 50 issues, even if only sort of weekly now. A pretty decent effort.

Hub 50 : Home Protection - Martin McGrath

3 out of 5




3 out of 5

Home Protection - Martin McGrath

http://www.hub-mag.co.uk/images/hub_50.pdf

Mother of pearl handled guns always means someone will get shot.


3 out of 5

Hub 49 - Lee Harris and Alasdair Stuart and Trudi Topham

http://www.hub-mag.co.uk/images/hub_49.pdf


Short reviews of Jericho, a Ramsey Campbell novel, and the start of the new Doctor Who season.

Hub 49 : Robert's Obsession - Sarah Vickers

3 out of 5



2.5 out of 5

Robert's Obsession - Sarah Vickers

http://www.hub-mag.co.uk/images/hub_49.pdf

The girl gets the girl, Princess or no.


3 out of 5

Clarkesworld 20 - Sean Wallace and Nick Mamatas

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/issue_20

Clarkesworld continues the recent run of improvement that has continued the last few months. This time with two stories, neither of which end as well as they start.

A good article about a bunch of modern 'fantasists' (no, not talking about their favorite porn) and how D&D etc. influenced them. Also an interview with fab artist John Picacio, talking about his Moorcockian start.

Clarkesworld 20 : A Buyer's Guide to
Clarkesworld 20 : Birdwatcher - Garth Upshaw

An Orca ate my footsie. Beware of the dogs.

3.5 out of 5

Crowkiller eggboy endless.

3 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Birdwatcher - Garth Upshaw

http://www.clarkesworldmagazine.com/upshaw_05_08.html

Crowkiller eggboy endless.


3 out of 5

A Buyer's Guide To Maps Of Antarctia - Catherynne M. Valente

http://www.davidlouisedelman.com/jump225/infoquake/audio-video/

An Orca ate my footsie. Beware of the dogs.


3.5 out of 5

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Guardian - Jeff Duntemann

http://www.duntemann.com/guardian.htm

I want your Skull-ulls. The dead Princess ones, anyway. Otherwise it's the heat-ray for you, religious monkeyboy.


3.5 out of 5

Catastrophe Baker and the Cold Equations - Mike Resnick

http://www.fortunecity.com/tattooine/farmer/2/Catastrophe.htm

Zenobia its going to be warm enough around here.


4 out of 5

Behemoth B-Max - Peter Watts

http://www.rifters.com/real/Behemoth.htm

According to Watts, this is one of those American split the book in two deals. Not having read the earlier two as yet, what I would characterise this as most like would be 'Revelation Ocean' rather than 'Revelation Space', with that everybody is out to get everybody type of feel with the Ultras.

You have here modified humans whose brains work differently, opposed to their wealthy creators, and crazy viruses, both organic and machine affecting everyone.

Interesting, though. Maybe a 3.75, because this is not yet finished, as two of the architects of the mess go back up to the ground to see if they can finish things off.


4 out of 5

Hothouse Flowers - Mike Resnick

http://www.fortunecity.com/tattooine/farmer/2/Hothouse.htm

Lengthened infirmity situation requires euthanatory weeding.


4 out of 5

Bully! - Mike Resnick

http://www.fortunecity.com/tattooine/farmer/2/Bully.htm

Teddy Roosevelt, Congo drongo.


4 out of 5

Winter Solstice - Mike Resnick

http://www.fortunecity.com/tattooine/farmer/2/Solstice.htm

Backwards living and wizardry? I'd rather have spaceships again, thanks.


3.5 out of 5

Recommended Reading List - Gardner Dozois

http://www.sfwa.org/reading/rec_dozois.htm

A list of older work to give younger readers something to go by, he says.


4 out of 5

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Not Fade Away - Spider Robinson

.http://media.libsyn.com/media/spiderweb/SOTW032.mp3

Didn't off me? You bastards!


3.5 out of 5

Bibliophile Stalker Interview - Neil Clarke

http://charles-tan.blogspot.com/2008/05/feature-interview-with-neil-clarke.html

Some stuff about setting up and running the magazine, hence the odd anthology and future plans.


4.5 out of 5

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Best Australian Science Fiction Writing - Ken Gelder

http://www.theage.com.au/news/Reviews/The-Best-Australian-Science-Fiction-writing/2005/02/11/1108061845066.html

A review of Rob Gerrand's large anthology.


3.5 out of 5

Science Fiction In Australia - Michael Levy

http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/review_essays/levy80.htm

A look at Strange Constellations, the MUP Encyclopedia, and Centaurus, among other bits and pieces.


3.5 out of 5

Monday, May 05, 2008

God Is An Iron - Spider Robinson

http://media.libsyn.com/media/spiderweb/SOTW028.mp3

Messy wirehead irony.


3 out of 5

For Fear Of Dragons - Carrie Vaughn

http://media.rawvoice.com/podcastle/media.libsyn.com/media/podcastle/PC002_ForFearOfDragons.mp3

Big lizard bravery.


3.5 out of 5

The Likely Lad - Kage Baker

http://www.starshipsofa.com/podcast/Kage_Baker_Likely_Lad.mp3

Pirate Playfriend.


3 out of 5

True Names 8 - Cory Doctorow and Benjamin Rosenbaum

http://www.archive.org/download/CoryDoctorowPodcast120TrueNameswithBenjaminRosenbaumPart08/Cory_Doctorow_Podcast_121_-_True_Names_With_Benjamin_Rosenbaum_-_Part_08_64kb.mp3

Drink down the sky and get the party started. Doesn't say if the sky comes in stubbies, cans, or longnecks, though. Guess posthumans make whatever they want.


4 out of 5

True Names 7 - Cory Doctorow and Benjamin Rosenbaum

http://www.archive.org/download/CoryDoctorowPodcast119TrueNameswithBenjaminRosenbaumPart07/Cory_Doctorow_Podcast_120_-_True_Names_With_Benjamin_Rosenbaum_-_Part_07_64kb.mp3

Joining yourselves for battle.


3 out of 5

True Names 6 - Cory Doctorow and Benjamin Rosenbaum

http://www.archive.org/download/CoryDoctorowPodcast119TrueNameswithBenjaminRosenbaumPart06/Cory_Doctorow_Podcast_119_-_True_Names_With_Benjamin_Rosenbaum_-_Part_06_64kb.mp3

Where's my impartial little sprite then?


3 out of 5

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Canadian Speculative Fiction A Very Brief Introductio - Robert Runte

http://www.uleth.ca/edu/runte/ncfguide/cansf.htm


3.5 out of 5

Amerikano Hiaika - Wil McCarthy

http://www.wilmccarthy.com/hiaika4.htm

Multiple investigations.


3.5 out of 5

Three Unbroken 34 Great Strength - Chris Roberson

http://www.solarisbooks.com/books/three-unbroken/free/page34.asp

Phalanx gamble.


3 out of 5

Friday, May 02, 2008

Living In Sin - Ian R. MacLeod

http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/stories/livsin.htm

God its hot.


3 out of 5

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Uncle Vernon's Lie - Patrick Samphire

http://www.magicalrealism.co.uk/view.php?story=5

Crazy old rellie doomed.


3 out of 5

The God Of Forgotten Things - Steven Savile

http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/stories/godofforgottenthings.htm

Nostalgia is kid's stuff.


3 out of 5

The Great Wall Of Mexico - John T. Sladek

http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/classics/classics_archive/sladek/

Secret journal preferable.


2 out of 5

The Disinterred - Mark W. Tiedemann

http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/originals/originals_archive/tiedemann/tiedemann1.html

Demony pit party.


3 out of 5

Hard Time - Mark W. Tiedemann

http://www.electricvelocipede.com/htm/hardtime.htm

Prison reality tv fraternisation.


4 out of 5

The Despoblado - Steven Utley

http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/originals/originals_archive/utley2/utley21.html

One boat trip, the odd hermit and local colour.


3.5 out of 5

Five Males From Pavement - Steven Utley

http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/originals/originals_archive/utley3/utley31.html

In the Navy, you can support a Paleozoic time tunnel expedition, possibly on a multiple earth.


4 out of 5

The Country Doctor - Steven Utley

http://www.wheatlandpress.com/downloads/beastsOfLove_CountryDoctor.pdf

Alien medic rather freaky.


3.5 out of 5

The Beasts Of Love - Steven Utley

http://www.wheatlandpress.com/downloads/beastsOfLove_BeastsOfLove.pdf

Why I am still with this old gargoyle? There's always the Guns and Roses solution.


3 out of 5

Once More With Feeling - Steven Utley

http://www.wheatlandpress.com/downloads/beastsOfLove_OnceMore.pdf

Old girlfriend hallucination.


3.5 out of 5

The Sea Was Wet as Wet Can Be - Gahan Wilson

http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/classics/classics_archive/wilson/

Poetic party pooper punishment.


3.5 out of 5

The Color of Angels - Terri Windling

http://www.endicott-studio.com/rdrm/forcoa.html

"Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you," Tat said. "I mean it. I never want to see you again."

"Yeah I know. But you'll feel differently in an hour, thank god. Half-seven. The Italian place. Okay?"


3 out of 5

Red Rock - Terri Windling

http://www.endicott-studio.com/rdrm/forrr.html

"My mother," Creek says, "she's tough as old leather. I like my women soft, myself."

...

"When we reach asphalt he brakes abruptly. "I'm loosing it." He's shivering. "Fuckin' peyote's gone bad on me. I think you'd better drive."


3 out of 5

Three Unbroken 33 Withdrawal - Chris Roberson

http://www.solarisbooks.com/books/three-unbroken/free/page33.asp

Territory taken.


3 out of 5