Thursday, July 31, 2008

Whispers From the Stone - Howard A. Jones

http://www.blackgate.com/downloads/black_gate_12.pdf

Goat sacrifice, dead kings, snake swords and giant cricket monsters mean a hard day's work for this pair of blokes.


3.5 out of 5

Knives Under the Spring Moon - Ed Carmien

http://www.blackgate.com/downloads/black_gate_12.pdf

Maggie May-hem.


3 out of 5

The Last Theorem - Arthur C. Clarke and Frederik Pohl

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2008/07/26/nosplit/boextract126.xml

"What none of these ambitious athletes had was a true one-sixth gravity practice arena. They had to do the best they could, usually by using equipment counterweighted to give the equivalent of lunar gravity. All of which meant that it was not only ingenuity that was called for. Also required was quite a lot of money."


3.5 out of 5

The Soldiers Of Serenity - Todd McAulty

http://www.blackgate.com/downloads/black_gate_12.pdf

A Bad Day For Sales.


4.5 out of 5

The Wily Thing - Constance Cooper

http://www.blackgate.com/downloads/black_gate_12.pdf

Wet cat guile.


3 out of 5

Houses Of the Dead - Martha Wells

http://www.blackgate.com/downloads/black_gate_12.pdf

Gul darnit, they're toast.


3 out of 5

Payment In Full - James Enge

http://www.blackgate.com/downloads/black_gate_12.pdf

Hi guys, I'm clay.


3.5 out of 5

Oblivion Is the Sweetest Wine - John R. Futz

http://www.blackgate.com/downloads/black_gate_12_part1.pdf

Spider-girl, babe!


4 out of 5

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Newts - Kevin J. Anderson

http://www.starshipsofa.com/podcast/Arual_Delights_No_35_Kevin_J_Anderson.mp3

Eunuch last stand decision.


4 out of 5

The Rainmaker - Mary Rosenblum

http://www.starshipsofa.com/podcast/Aural_Delights_No_31_Mary_Rosenblume.mp3

Forecasting is murder.


3.5 out of 5

Secret Life - Jeff VanderMeer

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

Cleaning out the shadow cabinet.


3 out of 5

Toujoirs Voir - David Brin

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

Time, space, captain?


3 out of 5

Balzac's War - Jeff VanderMeer

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

"So, she's a dog..."


4 out of 5

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Nicholas - Jeff VanderMeer

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

Meerkat commerce.


3.5 out of 5

Monday, July 28, 2008

Gold - Lewis Shiner

Gold - Lewis Shiner

"So. Where you get this damn pistol?"

"From Lafitte himself."

"Lafitte is dead. He disappears thirty years ago. The Indians down in Yucatan, they cook him and eat him I think."

"Is the pistol Lafitte's, or is it not?"

"You are not Lafitte, yet you have his pistol. Any man could."


3 out of 5

Golfing Vietnam - Lewis Shiner

http://www.lewisshiner.com/liberation/golfing.html

Oz tour rock state stunt.


3.5 out of 5

Nine Hard Questions About The Nature Of The Universe - Lewis Shiner

Nine Hard Questions about the Nature of the Universe - Lewis Shiner

No anal probe, some penile, and some strange non-interference.


4 out of 5

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Mad Moon - Stanley G. Weinbaum

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0604211h.html

Loony girl hallucination romance.


3 out of 5

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Seven Slayers - Paul Cain

http://www.munseys.com/diskfive/sevenslayersdex.htm

Cain's writing is perhaps so hardboiled you could call it hard distilled, almost as though he's been told the boss is gonna have him chilled if he uses up too many valuable words, except perhaps in Pigeon Blood.

Seven Slayers : Black - Paul Cain
Seven Slayers : Red 71 - Paul Cain
Seven Slayers : Parlor Trick - Paul Cain
Seven Slayers : One Two Three - Paul Cain
Seven Slayers : Murder In Blue - Paul Cain
Seven Slayers : Pigeon Blood - Paul Cain
Seven Slayers : Pineapple - Paul Cain

Town auction, well armed.

3.5 out of 5


"He tossed the cigar out through the narrow space of open window, leaned back, said: “Am I a swell dick?—or am I a swell dick?”

3 out of 5


Tail lighted.

2.5 out of 5


"I talked to my driver like a father. I got down on my knees and begged him to keep that car in sight.""

3.5 out of 5


Make the last days exciting, please. I'll pay.

3.5 out of 5


Ruby debts means no divorce needed.

4 out of 5


“I still don't get it,” he stuttered. “How many times can you kill one guy?

3 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

Pineapple - Paul Cain

http://www.munseys.com/diskfive/sevenslayers.htm#1_0_8

"I still don't get it," he stuttered. "How many times can you kill one guy?"


3 out of 5

Murder In Blue - Paul Cain

http://www.munseys.com/diskfive/sevenslayers.htm#1_0_6

Make the last days exciting, please. I'll pay.


3.5 out of 5

Parlor Trick - Paul Cain

http://www.munseys.com/diskfive/sevenslayers.htm#1_0_4

Tail lighted.


2.5 out of 5

Red 71 - Paul Cain

http://www.munseys.com/diskfive/sevenslayers.htm#1_0_3

"He tossed the cigar out through the narrow space of open window, leaned back, said: “Am I a swell dick?—or am I a swell dick?”


3 out of 5

Black - Paul Cain

http://www.munseys.com/diskfive/sevenslayers.htm#1_0_2

Town auction, well armed.


3.5 out of 5

One Two Three - Paul Cain

http://www.munseys.com/diskfive/sevenslayers.htm#1_0_5

"I talked to my driver like a father. I got down on my knees and begged him to keep that car in sight.""


3 out of 5

Pigeon Blood - Paul Cain

http://www.munseys.com/diskfive/sevenslayers.htm#1_0_7

Ruby debts means no divorce needed.


4 out of 5

Ripper - Carroll John Daly

http://www.munseys.com/book/19376/Lurking_Shadows

Five Rats, One Kid, Ripper, Marshall!


3.5 out of 5

Stompin' At the Savoy - Lewis Shiner

http://www.lewisshiner.com/liberation/stompin.html

Santa, Muties, help?


4 out of 5

You Want Candy - Jay Lake

http://efanzines.com/DrinkTank/DrinkTank38.pdf

Take the blue pill.


3 out of 5

Unitteld - Jay Lake

http://efanzines.com/DrinkTank/DrinkTank64.pdf

Three part dad.


2 out of 5

Under the Purplefan Trees - Jay Lake

http://www.revolutionsf.com/fiction/purplefan/01.html

Captain is rooted.


3 out of 5

Three the Rivals - Jay Lake

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2003/20030317/rushes-three.shtml

Uppity kids.


3 out of 5

This Is A Story - Jay Lake

http://jaylake.livejournal.com/1424769.html

But not a good one.


2.5 out of 5

The Symbols At Their Doors - Jay Lake

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2003/20030519/rushes-five.shtml

Not crazy about the sharp man.


3 out of 5

Stinkpot's Private Reserve - Jay Lake

http://www.forteanbureau.com/feb2004/Lake/

"rob the graves of popes for the secret herbs"


3.5 out of 5

Stars In the Sky - Jay Lake

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2003/20030721/rushes-seven.shtml

Dirt deck escape.


3 out of 5

Speciation - Jay Lake

http://www.ideomancer.com/sf/Lake-Speciation/Lake-Speciation.htm

Meatpuppet is Murder, Hoi Polloi.


4 out of 5

Smoke - Jay Lake

http://jaylake.livejournal.com/1430736.html

Can't do this, can you, crybaby?


3 out of 5

The Set Of All Even Primes - Jay Lake

http://www.forteanbureau.com/dec2003/Lake/index.html

"Is this:

a) An oxymoron.
b) Impossible.
c) A mistake."


3 out of 5

The Scent Of Rotting Roses - Jay Lake

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2002/20021118/rotting_roses.shtml

Reunification scavenging rejection.


4 out of 5

The Rivers Of Eden - Jay Lake and Ruth Nestvold

http://futurismic.com/2005/07/18/the-rivers-of-eden-by-jay-lake-and-ruth-nestvold/

A plague on all your houses.


3.5 out of 5

Proud Walkers - Jay Lake

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2003/20030616/rushes-six.shtml

Cold pommies.


3 out of 5

Passive Voices - Jay Lake

http://jaylake.livejournal.com/1373552.html

Hot irresponsibility.


3 out of 5

Over the Walls Of Eden - Jay Lake

http://jaylake.livejournal.com/1419337.html

Not Milton, Wolfey.


3.5 out of 5

One Is All Alone - Jay Lake

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2003/20030120/rushes-one.shtml

The scaring of the Green.


3.5 out of 5

Old Genghis Two-Steppe - Jay Lake

http://www.forteanbureau.com/feb2004/Lake/

"a classical Mongolian recipe involving mare's milk and calf brains"


3.5 out of 5

May - Jay Lake

http://www.ideomancer.com/fl/Lake-May/Lake-May.htm

Pig's arse! I've had a gutful.


3 out of 5

March - Jay Lake

http://www.ideomancer.com/fl/Lake-March/Lake-March.htm

Steampunk first division animals.


3.5 out of 5

Mandrill's Ass Red - Jay Lake

http://www.forteanbureau.com/feb2004/Lake/

"Sorry, but on advice of counsel we cannot serve this particular brew to government employees or healthcare workers."


2.5 out of 5

Keel's Mothman Lager - Jay Lake

http://www.forteanbureau.com/feb2004/Lake/

"grain from the Appalachian feuding belt"


2.5 out of 5

June - Jay Lake

http://www.ideomancer.com/fl/Lake-June/Lake-June.htm

"I can't have you kill your aunt. It would look bad on television." Juno thought for a moment. "Where's that idiot Uly? Doesn't he like to sniff paint thinner with you?"


3.5 out of 5

January - Jay Lake

http://www.ideomancer.com/fl/Lake-January/Lake-January.htm

Beating up those meddling kids can calm you down.


3 out of 5

Jack's House - Jay Lake

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2002/20021223/house.shtml

Ratcat battle.


3.5 out of 5

The Inertia Of Corpses - Jay Lake

http://jaylake.livejournal.com/1448227.html

"I shouldn't think he'd be dead." Rosskamp looked over the edge of the cliff, idly fingering his pistol.

Martini snorted, not even trying to hide her contempt. "After a fall like that? Spiderman would be dead."


4 out of 5

In the Green Jungles Of Envy - Jay Lake

http://jaylake.livejournal.com/1416307.html

Lay off.


2.5 out of 5

After Aquilonia and Having Left Lankhmar: Sword-and-Sorcery Since the 1980s - Steve Tompkins

http://www.thecimmerian.com/?p=1263

Great article detailing books of interest to Sword and Sorcery fans, and the trend to big and fatness.


5 out of 5

Imago - Jay Lake

http://jaylake.livejournal.com/1404553.html

Getting a bet down on the wastrel.


3.5 out of 5

February - Jay Lake

http://www.ideomancer.com/fl/Lake-February/Lake-February.htm

Goat ghost trap.


3.5 out of 5

Friday, July 25, 2008

Headed West - Jay Lake

http://jaylake.livejournal.com/1218309.html#cutid1

"Other than the Earth stopping in place, the rest of physics seemed to still be working. Atmospheric dynamics would be catching up soon."


3.5 out of 5

Hard Times In the State Of Nature - Jay Lake

http://jlake.com/podcasts/2007-11-02-WFC_Reading-Hard_Times_in_the_State_of_Nature.mp3

Hear?


2 out of 5

Gospel Truth - Jay Lake

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2003/20030421/rushes-four.shtml

Need better lackeys.


2.5 out of 5

For the Twelve - Jay Lake

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2003/20031215/rushes-twelve.shtml

Green guerillas.


3 out of 5

Feghoot In Uruk - Jay Lake

http://jaylake.livejournal.com/?skip=20&tag=fiction

Gilgamesh jazz.


3.5 out of 5

Eleven Went To Heaven - Jay Lake

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2003/20031117/rushes-eleven.shtml

No-one wanted to be 12th man, presumably.


3 out of 5

Editing the Wild Anthology - Jay Lake and Ruth Nestvold

http://www.irosf.com/q/zine/article/10208

What it says, mostly for writers.


3.5 out of 5

Dressed All In Green-Oh - Jay Lake

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2003/20030217/rushes-two.shtml

Getting the ceremonial point.


3 out of 5

Dogs In the Moonlight - Jay Lake

http://www.forteanbureau.com/oct2003/Lake/index.html

Kill the lot, girlfriends, neighbours, whatever. Maybe not worry about the chupacabras.


4 out of 5

Deka Logos - Jay Lake

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2003/20031020/rushes-ten.shtml

Tourist attractions, multiple, but dull.


2.5 out of 5

The Decline Of Purpose - Jay Lake

http://www.forteanbureau.com/june2003/Lake/index.html

Anyone want The Spear Of Destiny?


3.5 out of 5

The Dead Man's Child - Jay Lake

http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/fiction/online/885/the-dead-mans-child

Wanna mainline high line.


3.5 out of 5

Daddy's Caliban - Jay Lake

http://jaylake.livejournal.com/1242753.html

Old Tower cool crap.


3 out of 5

The Courtesy Of Guests - Jay Lake

http://www.ideomancer.com/sf/Lake-Guests/Lake-Guests.htm

Bone Song.


3.5 out of 5

Clean - Jay Lake

http://efanzines.com/DrinkTank/DrinkTank72.pdf

Cart talk.


3 out of 5

The Cleansing Fire Of God - Jay Lake

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2003/20030929/cleansing_fire.shtml

"Armorica deserves better than the poison of Father Church!"


3 out of 5

Christmas Season - Jay Lake

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2002/20020617/christmas_season.shtml

Reindeer snags.


4 out of 5

Champy's Monster Bitter - Jay Lake

http://www.forteanbureau.com/feb2004/Lake/index.html

"distinctive flavor of lake monster milt"


3 out of 5

Brighly Shining - Jay Lake

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2003/20030915/rushes-nine.shtml

Musing on flaming zeppelins.


3.5 out of 5

Hespira 1 - Matthew Hughes

http://www.archonate.com/hespira

"The time for the connection with Massim Shar's agent was drawing near. When she had brought me the platter of pastes, the server had pointed out to me the different strengths of the eighteen sauces, advising me to save for last the meat puree doused in Sheeshah's Nine Dragons sauce, predicting that once it struck my palate, the dish's other, subtler flavors would be unable to register. I now scooped up a good pinch of the stuff, made sure my tumbler of improved water was full and to hand, and popped the laden bread into my mouth. There was a pause -- my taste buds may well have gone into shock for a moment -- then the full weight of Master Jho-su's genius crashed upon my senses. My eyes widened, simultaneously flinging a gush of tears down my cheeks, my tongue desperately sought an exit from my mouth, and my nose and sinuses reported that they had been suddenly and inexplicably connected to a volcanic flume."


3.5 out of 5

Bird Of Leaves - Jay Lake

http://www.farragoswainscot.com/2007/birdofleaves.html

Fired (except for the tiger).


2.5 out of 5

Clone Barbecue - Jennifer Pelland

http://www.apexbookcompany.com/apex-online/2006/04/short-fiction-clone-barbecue/

Goes hard, is tasty.


3.5 out of 5

Beer Of the Damned - Jay Lake

http://www.forteanbureau.com/feb2004/Lake/index.html

"Tentacle marks on the bottle are considered a sign of authenticity with this brew"


4 out of 5

Aprill With His Shoures Soote - Jay Lake

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2003/20030818/rushes-eight.shtml

Spaketh whut?


2.5 out of 5

April - Jay Lake

http://www.ideomancer.com/fl/Lake-April/Lake-April.htm

Needs some chips.


2 out of 5

The Big Idea - Greg Egan

Where he talks about the underpinnings of Incandescence.


4.5 out of 5

http://scalzi.com/whatever/?p=1064

Honing the New Edge 3 - Howard A. Jones

http://bg-editor.livejournal.com/22488.html

The third part of his series on Sword and Sorcery.


4 out of 5

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Zigzags Of Treachery - Dashiell Hammett

http://www.munseys.com/book/14408/ZIGZAGS_OF_TREACHERY

"I've testified before juries all the way from the city of Washington to the state of Washington, and I've never seen one yet that wasn't anxious to believe that a private detective is a double-crossing specialist who goes around with a cold deck in one pocket, a complete forger's outfit in another, and who counts that day lost in which he railroads no innocent to the hoosegow."


3 out of 5

The Tenth Clew - Dashiell Hammett

http://www.munseys.com/book/14406/TENTH_CLEW,_THE

"I threw my right fist at his face—threw it with every ounce of my 180 pounds behind it, re-enforced by the memory of every second I had spent in the water, and every throb of my battered head."


3.5 out of 5

The Second-Story Angel - Dashiell Hammett

http://www.munseys.com/book/14405/SECOND-STORY_ANGEL,_THE

"But Carter would not submit without a struggle. The gods do not send a real flesh-and-blood feminine crook into a writer's rooms every evening in the week. The retention of such a gift was worth contending for. The girl must have within her, he thought, material for thousands, tens of thousands, of words of fiction. Was that a boon to be lightly surrendered?"


4 out of 5

Ruffian's Wife - Dashiell Hammett

http://www.munseys.com/book/14402/RUFFIAN_S_WIFE

"She stared at him in horror, her back pressed against the wall, sick with her own part in this death, sick with Guy's callous brutality of voice and mien. Guy did not see these things. He was looking thoughtfully at the dead man. “I told you I'd give him a bellyful if he wanted it,” he boasted. “I told him the same thing five years ago, in Malta.”


3.5 out of 5

The Road Home - Dashiell Hammett

http://www.munseys.com/book/8225/ROAD_HOME,_THE

"You're going back to New York with me. Maybe man-hunting isn't the nicest trade in the world but it's all the trade I've got, and this jewel bed of yours sounds phoney to me."


3 out of 5

One Hour - Dashiell Hammett

http://www.munseys.com/book/14401/ONE_HOUR

"I was more or less stumped. You can't shoot a man just because he refuses to obey an order — even if he is a criminal."


3.5 out of 5

Nightmare Town - Dashiell Hammett

http://www.munseys.com/book/14400/NIGHTMARE_TOWN

"The stick spun sidewise with thud of knob on temple — spun back with loaded ferrule that missed opposite temple only because the first blow had brought its target down on knees. Steve saw suddenly that Kamp had gone down. He spun his stick and battered a passage to the thin man, kicked a head that bent over the prone, thin form, straddled it; and the ebony stick whirled swifter in his hand — spun as quarter-staves once spun in Sherwood Forest. Spun to the clicking tune of wood on bone, on metal weapons; to the duller rhythm of wood on flesh."


4 out of 5

Night Shots - Dashiell Hammett

http://www.munseys.com/book/14399/NIGHT_SHOTS

"...and that he saved himself from prison at least once by turning state's evidence and sending his associates there. And I know that his wife died under rather peculiar circumstances while heavily insured, and that he was for some time held on suspicion of having murdered “her, but was finally released because of a lack of evidence against him. Those, I understand, are fair samples of the old boy's normal behaviour, so there may be any number of people gunning for him.”


4 out of 5

Mike Alec Or Rufus - Dashiell Hammett

http://www.munseys.com/book/14398/Mike,_Alec,_or_Rufus

"Couldn't this bird, after renting his apartment as Blanche Eveleth and getting everything lined up, have stayed in his apartment for a couple of days letting his beard grow? Come down and knock the job over? Beat it upstairs, get the hair off his face, and get into his female rig in, say, fifteen minutes?


3 out of 5

The Man Who Killed Dan Odams - Dashiell Hammett

http://www.munseys.com/book/14404/MAN_WHO_KILLED_DAN_ODAMS,_THE

"But the fugitive's feet, as he wheeled, had become entangled in the trailing trousers. The trousers had tripped him. He had gone to his knees at the very instant of the two guns' roaring."


3.5 out of 5

Death On Pine Street - Dashiell Hammett

http://www.munseys.com/book/14397/DEATH_ON_PINE_STREET

"I had had people try to frame me before — no detective stays in the business long without having it happen — but I had never got used to it. There's a peculiar deadliness about the thing — especially if you know how erratic juries can be — that makes your flesh crawl, no matter how safe your judgment tells you you are."


3.5 out of 5

Bodies Piled Up - Dashiell Hammett

http://www.munseys.com/book/14396/Bodies_Piled_Up

"It was unlocked. I opened it. Slowly, rigidly, a man pitched out into my arms — pitched out backward — and there was a six-inch slit down the back of his coat, and the coat was wet and sticky. That wasn't altogether a surprise: the blood on the floor had prepared me for something of the sort. But when another followed him — facing me, this one, with a dark, distorted face — I dropped the one I had caught and jumped back. And as I jumped a third man came tumbling out after the others. From behind me came a scream and a thud as the maid fainted. I wasn't feeling any too steady myself. I'm no sensitive plant, and I've looked at a lot of unlovely sights in my time, but for weeks afterward I could see those three dead men coming out of that clothespress to pile up at my feet: coming out slowly — almost deliberately — in a ghastly game of 'follow your leader.'"


4 out of 5

The Assistant Murderer - Dashiell Hammett

http://www.munseys.com/book/14403/ASSISTANT_MURDERER,_THE

“Well, what are you waiting for?” the detective asked. “You want to make it a fancy caper — kill her on her birthday or a legal holiday?”


3.5 out of 5

Afraid Of A Gun - Dashiell Hammett

http://www.munseys.com/book/14394/AFRAID_OF_A_GUN

"... He wasn't a coward (not then); a knife, which most men dread, hadn't seemed especially fearful in those days. It travelled at a calculable and discernible rate of speed; you could see it coming; judge its speed; parry, elude it; or twist about so that its wound was shallow. And even if it struck, went deep, it was sharp and slid easily through the flesh, a clean, neat separation of the tissues. But a bullet, a ball of metal, hot from the gases that propelled it, hurtling invisibly toward you — nobody could say how fast — not to make a path for itself with a fine keen edge, but to hammer out a road with a dull bluntnose, driving through whatever stood in its way. A lump of hot lead battering its irresistible tunnel through flesh and sinew, splintering bones! That he could not face."


3 out of 5

Who Killed Bob Teal? - Dashiell Hammett

http://manybooks.net/titles/hammettdother05bobteal.html

"I found Dean in the detectives' assembly-room in the Hall of Justice.


3.5 out of 5

Arson Plus - Dashiell Hammett

http://manybooks.net/titles/hammettdother05arson_plus.html

"An enterprising incendiary couldn't have found a lovelier spot in which to turn himself loose, if he looked the whole county over."


3 out of 5

The House Of Kaa - Richard B. Sale

http://www.munseys.com/diskfive/hokadex.htm

Trying to pull off a snake smuggling plot or get him with a giant python? Don't think that will work on The Cobra.


3 out of 5

Snowbirds - Lewis Shiner

http://www.lewisshiner.com/liberation/snowbirds.html

Skywritten invasion future warning.


3.5 out of 5

The God Gun - Barrington J. Bayley

http://www.geocities.com/bayleyfan/godgun.html

Polymatch prismatic deitycide.


3 out of 5

The Infinite Searchlight - Barrington J. Bayley

http://www.geocities.com/bayleyfan/infinitesearchlight.html

Consciousness transmission.


3.5 out of 5

Deadly Beloved excerpt - Max Allan Collins

http://www.thrillingdetective.com/fiction/07_12_04.html

"But I was happy. The light was no longer on my face, and I was quite confident he’d leave the light off when he returned, out of deference to his bride. I was just drifting off when the gunshot exploded the silence.

I sat upright, and another shot blammed.

Then I was off the bed but not out the door, no, I detoured to Mike’s bag, even as another gunshot split the night, and goddamn it, another.

Mike’s .45 automatic was in my hand as I quickly pushed out through that already-ajar door.

I saw the horrible tableau at once.

To the left of our room, down a couple of doors, Mike was sprawled on his back on the pavement near a Pepsi machine, his bare chest puckered with entry wounds and blood pooling beneath him, glistening with neon reflection."


3.5 out of 5

No Good From A Corpse excerpt - Leigh Brackett

http://www.thrillingdetective.com/fiction/99_02.html

""Clive looked up, not as though he saw anything clearly. His lips pulled back from his teeth. Beauvais called him three names in a voice as soft as a lover's touch and hit him left and right across the mouth with the barrel of the .38.

"That's for the two you gave me."

Blood ran down Clive's throat. He started to strangle. Big Fella let him drop in the sand.

"Let's go," he said. "I hurt. I wanta go somewheres and lay down."

"Sure." said Beauvais. "Sure. We'll just haul him over to the canal and throw him in. He'll like that. He used to swim there when he was a kid."

Big Fella chuckled. He nudged Clive's jaw with his boot. "Hear that, pally? We're goin' for a swim.""


4 out of 5

Mutation Planet - Barrington J. Bayley

http://www.geocities.com/bayleyfan/mutationplanet.html

Dominating the alien.


3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wet Wings - Mercedes Lackey

Wet Wings - Mercedes Lackey

Psi-cop raven release.


3.5 out of 5

They Bite - Anthony Boucher

They Bite - Anthony Boucher

Mummy double act not handy.


4 out of 5

Monday, July 21, 2008

Down On the Farm - Charles Stross

http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=story&id=61

DSS = Deeply Scary Sorcerers. No chess at the Funny Farm please.


4 out of 5

After the Coup - John Scalzi

http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=story&id=49

This interstellar diplomacy is bongkas!


4 out of 5

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Brujo - Lewis Shiner

Brujo - Lewis Shiner

Christine. Not a car, but a girl in a witch battle.


4 out of 5

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Family Vacation - John Kessel

http://www.infinitematrix.net/stories/shortshorts/riohondo/kessel-rh7.html

Dead eye flight.


3.5 out of 5

A Twistmas Carol - John Varley

http://www.infinitematrix.net/stories/shortshorts/varley1.html

Reversal of writing.


3 out of 5

Beyond Bedford Falls - John Varley

http://www.infinitematrix.net/stories/shorts/beyond_bedford_falls.html

Not enough movies.


3 out of 5

The Millenium Party - Walter Jon Williams

http://www.infinitematrix.net/stories/shortshorts/riohondo/williams-rh1.html

Just the right brain for the occasion.


3.5 out of 5

Mirabeau - Jessica Amanda Salmonson

http://www.infinitematrix.net/stories/shortshorts/salmonson3.html

Chop-chop you wankers.


3 out of 5

The Magnificent Transmogrification - Jessica Amanda Salmonson

http://www.infinitematrix.net/stories/shortshorts/salmonson2.html

I'm all wet and a bit fishy.


3 out of 5

Islands - Jessica Amanda Salmonson

http://www.infinitematrix.net/stories/shortshorts/salmonson1.html

Wish this had more buffalo.


2.5 out of 5

Woodsman and Water Nymph - Jessica Amanda Salmonson

http://www.infinitematrix.net/stories/shortshorts/salmonson4.html

Metal swap axe murder.


3.5 out of 5

The Alchemy Of Stone 1 - Ekaterina Sedia

http://www.darkfantasy.org/fantasy/?p=713

“You should open the window,” she said.

“You don’t need air,” Loharri said, petulant. He was in one of his moods again.

“But you do,” she pointed out. “You are one fart away from death by suffocation. Fresh air won’t kill you.”


3.5 out of 5

The Valley Of the Giants - Benjamin Rosenbaum

http://www.fantasybookspot.com/node/2812

Big breast fetish.


3 out of 5

Sorrel's Heart - Susan Palwick

http://trashotron.com/agony/audio/2008/2008-news/071808-palwickr.mp3

Time to get my kitten killing Freak on.


3.5 out of 5

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Cosmic Express - Jack Williamson

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/26066/26066-8.txt

"A darned shame," Eric grumbled, "to come forty million miles, and meet
such a reception as this!"


2 out of 5

Roxie - Robert Reed

http://podcast.starshipsofa.com/podcast/Aural_Delight_No_33_Robert_Reed.mp3

Dog destiny via bolide.


4 out of 5

Three Unbroken 42 Increase - Chris Roberson

http://www.solarisbooks.com/books/three-unbroken/free/page42.asp

"Now, Fair Winds and the other bombers in the squad were at considerable hazard almost as soon as they lifted off the runway, forced to run a gauntlet over contested ground, through the swarms of Mexic fighters who might be lying in wait for them, all to drop a precious few bombs without much hope of hitting the targets in the first place. The overall mission plans for Great Strength still called for western advancement towards Ruosi, even with the danger of their flank falling before the Mexica on either side. It was a failed policy, which everyone but those in command, it seemed, had long realized."


3 out of 5

Serpent - James Patrick Kelly

http://www.archive.org/download/Free_Reads_20_Serpent/serpent.mp3

Definitely cage it.


2.5 out of 5

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Gene Drain - Lewis Shiner

http://www.lewisshiner.com/liberation/genedrain.html

Change the mind channel, you devo.


3.5 out of 5

Head Hunters 1 - Mercedes Lackey and Dennis Lee

http://media.podiobooks.com/secretworldchroniclebooktwo/PB-SecretWorldChronicleBookTwo-16.mp3

Echo has 'recruited' Red Djinni to give them an in with the underground to try and recruit some not so lily-white metas, given how horribly short of manpower they are. In your usual seedy underground bar, Bulwark and his rookie team discover there are multiple levels of who is playing who, here.


4 out of 5

Overkill - Elizabeth Bear

http://www.shadowunit.org/overkill.html

"They're all evil," Lau said, in commiseration. "It's what makes them hosts, and Not Chaz. And it's what makes us the Good Guys, right? The good part? Something has to oppose evil, and antiheros are only interesting in Clint Eastwood movies. In real life, you kind of want to hit them with a shoe." She bounced on her toes to draw his attention. "Even if you do think you're the goddamn Batman."

...

Maria nodded, with a sidelong glance at Lau. She extended Lau's empty firearm, the slide locked open. Lau took it, exchanged the magazine, and re-holstered the weapon, as Maria said, "O.K. Corral. Bullets flying everywhere, and none of 'em hit you. You're Wyatt Earp."

"Actually," says Chaz, "that gunfight wasn't at the OK Corral. It was a block away--"

"On Fremont Street," Brady finished, with an eyeroll. He punched Chaz in the uninjured arm, and Chaz grinned. "Shut up, kid."

Lau held up her arms, crossed at wrists as if blocking something, hoping her hands weren't shaking visibly. "I am not. See these? Bullets and bracelets. Wonder Woman. Bulletproof."


4.5 out of 5

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Appointment In Tomorrow - Fritz Leiber

http://www.archive.org/download/XMinus1B/xminusone_561107_AppointmentInTomorrow.mp3

Power of the mind not funny.


4 out of 5

Zombie - Richard Kadrey

http://www.infinitematrix.net/stories/shortshorts/kadrey31.html

Human husk gamble.


3.5 out of 5

Heat Island - Richard Kadrey

http://www.infinitematrix.net/stories/shortshorts/kadrey18.html

I'm dissembling, girl.


3 out of 5

Food Chain Blues - Richard Kadrey

http://www.infinitematrix.net/stories/shortshorts/kadrey25.html

Machine going-away party.


3.5 out of 5

SETI - Richard Kadrey

http://www.infinitematrix.net/stories/shortshorts/kadrey34.html

Mouse alien midwife.


3 out of 5

Ballistic - Elizabeth Bear and Emma Bull and Sarah Monette and Amanda Downum

http://www.shadowunit.org/ballistic.html

The case of the imaginary bullets.


4 out of 5

Endgames - Emma Bull

http://www.shadowunit.org/endgames.html

The Shadow Unit doesn't mind fast food, but here tries to stop a lot of people becoming fried.


3 out of 5

Pirate Sun Prologue - Karl Schroeder

http://www.kschroeder.com/my-books/pirate-sun/excerpt/prologue

"At the moment Rush Asteroid was shading the drydock from that sun. The silhuetted asteroid was furred along its black outline by the trees that covered it. A cloud bank had formed in the cooler air of that long shaft of shadow, and tendrils of gray were closing around the drydock as Venera arrived. The tug's crew were making their final adjustments. While she hovered--literally--her eyes played across the panorama of infinitely-receding cloud and sky that lay beyond the city. This maze troubled the eye in every direction. There was no up or down to Venera's world--save for what you made yourself--only the light of nearby suns providing any orientation at all to the tugboat’s crew. Even that vanished at night. This lack of direction made journeys like this one hazardous for even the most experienced pilot. They made communication over international distances unreliable; sporadic, at best."


3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Abbess's Prayers - L. Timmel Duchamp

The Abbess's Prayers - L. Timmel Duchamp

Passion nun, cold bum.


3 out of 5

Ms Peach Makes a Run for Coffee - L. Timmel Duchamp

Ms. Peach Makes a Run for Coffee - L. Timmel Duchamp

Fire Zone bean.


3.5 out of 5

The Forbidden Words Of Margaret A. - L. Timmel Duchamp

The Forbidden Words of Margaret A. - L. Timmel Duchamp

Personal censor act.


3.5 out of 5

Transcendence - L. Timmel Duchamp

Transcendence - L. Timmel Duchamp

Dessert episode.


3 out of 5

A Case Of Mistake Identity - L. Timmel Duchamp

A Case of Mistaken Identity - L. Timmel Duchamp

Austen relationship unreality.


3.5 out of 5

Shadow Over Mars 1-4 - Leigh Brackett

http://www.webscription.net/chapters/0343893843/0343893843.htm

"WIND moved sighing through the broken walls, and the dusk came down to join it. Far out across the Western wastes Phobos rode the last pale glow of the sun edging the rim of Mars. Ruh lay silent, barred and shuttered, but not asleep.

With night, shadows crept through the streets. Some of them came drifting in through secret portals in the city wall and then sought the heights of the King City, where they vanished. Upon entering the flaring torchlight in the throne-room, however, they became men.

Fighting men. Of different ages, sizes, coloring, in the harness of different city-states, but all alike in one thing—the look they bore. The look of wolves in a cage.

They sat around a table of blood-red wood worn hollow by the arms of centuries of war-chiefs. Haral the boy king, leaned forward like a bent blade from his high seat, and the eyes of Beudach, who stood always at his right hand, were as steel in the fire.

Only one shadow remained in the Quarters. It was small and hunched and swift-moving, and its eyes burned emerald in the Phobos-light. It went from door to door, whispering, asking, and the name it said was "Rick."

High up against the stars, in the ruined Tower of Destiny, Parras, the Seer, bent his fresh young face above his looking bowl. His mind reached out across the sea-bottoms, the sand deserts, the age-worn hills. It touched other minds, asking, and the name it said was "Rick."

To the green-eyed shadow and the mind of the seer came an unvarying answer.

"Not yet.""


3.5 out of 5

Alpha Centauri Or Die 1-4 - Leigh Brackett

http://www.webscription.net/chapters/4410177015/4410177015.htm

"There were no more men in space. The dark ships strode the ways between the worlds, lightless, silent, needing no human mind to guide them. The R-ships, carrying the freight and the passengers, keeping order, keeping the law, taking the Pax Terrae to the limits of the Solar System and guarding there the boundary which was not now ever to be crossed."


3.5 out of 5

Monday, July 14, 2008

Leigh Brackett Much More Than the Queen of Space Opera! - Bertil Falk

http://www.bewilderingstories.com/issue250/brackett1.html

A lengthy article about her career and life.


4.5 out of 5

The Unclassifiable Leigh Brackett - James Sallis

http://www.grasslimb.com/sallis/GlobeColumns/globe.09.brackett.html

A shortish overview type article.


3.5 out of 5

Leigh Douglass Brackett - Kevin Burton Smith

http://www.thrillingdetective.com/trivia/brackett.html

A multi-media bibliography, detailing her work of interesting to crime fiction people.


4 out of 5

A Conquest Of Two Worlds - Edmond Hamilton

A Conquest of Two Worlds - Edmond Hamilton

Nuking Martians and Jovians is not nice, boss.


3.5 out of 5

Song of Bullfrogs Cry of Geese - Nicola Griffith

Song of Bullfrogs, Cry of Geese - Nicola Griffith

Chronic Fatal Syndrome.


3.5 out of 5

Touching Fire - Nicola Griffith

Touching Fire - Nicola Griffith

Laser-hot National Treasure moves.


4 out of 5

Down the Path Of the Sun - Nicola Griffith

Down the Path of the Sun - Nicola Griffith

Floating Diggy.


3 out of 5

Mirrors and Burnstone - Nicola Griffith

Mirrors and Burnstone - Nicola Griffith

Bye, Jinks.


3.5 out of 5

General T'ang in Valley Dam - Cordwainer Smith

http://www.cordwainer-smith.com/twasbrillig/valleydam.pdf

A Chinese general comes to an American man for help.


3.5 out of 5

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Return To the Stars 1-6 - Edmond Hamilton

http://www.webscription.net/chapters/4477461275/4477461275.htm

"Gordon fled with Lianna across the cracked concrete apron, his whole mind and soul fixed on the light of the open port. He heard Korkhann's lighter footfalls pattering behind him. For a moment he thought that after all the Gray One had given up and that nothing was going to happen. And with a silent thunderclap the darkness came and beat him down floundering to his knees.

Lianna slipped away from him. He groped for her by sheer instinct, hearing her whimper. He fought, blind and squirming, across vast heaving blacknesses toward a far-off spark of light.

There were hands and voices. The spark brightened, growing dizzily. Gordon surfaced through cold ringing dimensions of dread; saw faces, uniforms, men, saw Lianna upheld in Harn Horva's arms, felt himself lifted and carried forward. Far off there was a whistling rush as of a balked and angry wind retreating. And two men carried Korkhann past him, half-conscious.

Harn Horva's voice roared out above all, "Prepare for take-off!"

Gordon was only partly aware of the clanging hatches, the warning hooters and the roaring thrust of the launch. He was in the lounge and Lianna was clinging to him, trembling like a frightened child, her face bloodless and her eyes wide.

Later, after the cruiser had leaped up into the sky and Teyn was dropping fast behind them, Gordon still held and soothed her. By then, Korkhann had come back to consciousness. His eyes were haunted but he said, with a kind of haggard pride, "For a moment . . . for a moment I did it, all alone!"

"Korkhann, who . . . what . . . was it?" said Gordon. "The Gray One."

"I think," whispered Korkhann, "that it was not of this universe. I think an ancient evil has awakened. I . . ."

Kuttner Sharpens His Literary Sword - Joe R. Lansdale

http://subterraneanpress.com/index.php/magazine/spring-2008/lansdale-unchained-kuttner-sharpens-his-literary-sword/

A reprint of his introduction to Paizo Planet Stories book Elak Of Atlantis.


4.5 out of 5

Edmond Hamilton's Star Kings - Various Various

http://www.pulpgen.com/pulp/edmond_hamilton/star_kings.html

Details the publishing history and makeups of the short Star Kings series.


4 out of 5

The Lighter Side - Keith Laumer

http://www.webscription.net/10.1125/Baen/0743435370/0743435370.htm

A collection devoted in the main to humour, of different flavors, from the darker opening tale to the more madcap hijinks found in Time Trap. So there is probably something that most people will find amusing.

Laumer is pretty consistent, almost all his stories or books are ok or better by me, with only the very infrequent letdown, so while not much of the outstanding on display, he is worth the time.

Lighter Side Keith Laumer : In the Queue - Keith Laumer
Lighter Side Keith Laumer : The Planet Wreckers - Keith Laumer
Lighter Side Keith Laumer : The Body Builders - Keith Laumer
Lighter Side Keith Laumer : Time Trap - Keith Laumer
Lighter Side Keith Laumer : The Devil You Don't - Keith Laumer
Lighter Side Keith Laumer : The Exterminator - Keith Laumer
Lighter Side Keith Laumer : The Big Show - Keith Laumer
Lighter Side Keith Laumer : Goobereality - Keith Laumer
Lighter Side Keith Laumer : Prototaph - Keith Laumer
Lighter Side Keith Laumer : The Great Time Machine Hoax - Keith Laumer

Bureaucracy disappointment.

3.5 out of 5


"The day of the Galacular is over!" Izlik stated in positive tones. "What is a mere fractured continent, when compared with a lone hero, fighting for his life? When I release my epic of the struggle of one beleaguered being, beset by a bewildering bestiary of bellicose berserkers, our fortunes will be made!"

3.5 out of 5


Servo pounding.

3 out of 5


When a man's car breaks down and a girl appears out of nowhere, just after a goofy looking alien on a motorbike, Roger Tyson finds himself in the middle of a Time Agent story:
"Our studies," S'lunt said, strolling slowly as Roger progressed on all fours at his side, "have not been entirely fruitless. We have made certain determinations regarding the nature of the spatio-temporal distortion. Using a special tracer beam to follow our explorers through the point of tangency through which it is possible to pass from one display to another, we have determined that a progressive degeneration of temporal binding forces is at work, allowing artifacts and fauna of each era to wander into anachronistic settings, thus engendering massive energy imbalances which must end in disaster! On the basis of those findings, we designed and constructed the Reinforcer. With the aid of this device, the selected agent would, we hoped, be enabled to pass not only transversely across the Museum, but longitudinally along the Axial Channel as well, thus tracing the phenomenon to its source, and, hopefully, discovering the identity of the power behind it."

However, this one is pretty much pure farce, as this dialogue sample from a confrontation with a nefarious type suggests:

"Go ahead, just try it!" Roger challenged. "You escapee from a root cellar! We'll fight you on the beaches! We'll fight you in the cities! We'll slice you up into French fries!"

Bad gender switching alien jokes, and much temporal cavorting silliness abound.

3 out of 5


Alien demon invasion is the Devil without some quantum advice.

3.5 out of 5


Maybe human vermin.

3 out of 5


Reality tv triangle cooling off.

3.5 out of 5


Commercial simulation quite real.

3 out of 5


No point to insurance.

3.5 out of 5


This book is not as wack as Time Trap is, for example, but is certainly no Dinosaur Beach.

A guy and his mate with a broken down circus show to try and save find out that an elderly relative has produced a supercomputer that just may be running the world.

Working out what it can do demonstrates that time viewing may be possible - so, what would be a good show? Dinosaurs! However, they didnt count on actually ending up in different times and palces personally.

In this latter part the novel gets a little more serious with the situations they find themselves in, but comes full circle in tone by the end.

3.5 out of 5





3.5 out of 5

The Great Time Machine Hoax - Keith Laumer

The Great Time Machine Hoax - Keith Laumer

This book is not as wack as Time Trap is, for example, but is certainly no Dinosaur Beach.

A guy and his mate with a broken down circus show to try and save find out that an elderly relative has produced a supercomputer that just may be running the world.

Working out what it can do demonstrates that time viewing may be possible - so, what would be a good show? Dinosaurs! However, they didnt count on actually ending up in different times and places personally.

In this latter part the novel gets a little more serious with the situations they find themselves in, but comes full circle in tone by the end.


3.5 out of 5

Prototaph - Keith Laumer

Prototaph - Keith Laumer

No point to insurance.


3.5 out of 5

Goobereality - Keith Laumer

Goobereality - Keith Laumer

Commercial simulation quite real.


3 out of 5

The Big Show - Keith Laumer

The Big Show - Keith Laumer

Reality tv triangle cooling off.


3.5 out of 5

The Exterminator - Keith Laumer

The Exterminator - Keith Laumer

Maybe human vermin.


3 out of 5

The Devil You Don't - Keith Laumer

The Devil You Don't - Keith Laumer

Alien demon invasion is the Devil without some quantum advice.


3.5 out of 5

Time Trap - Keith Laumer

Time Trap - Keith Laumer

When a man's car breaks down and a girl appears out of nowhere, just after a goofy looking alien on a motorbike, Roger Tyson finds himself in the middle of a Time Agent story:
"Our studies," S'lunt said, strolling slowly as Roger progressed on all fours at his side, "have not been entirely fruitless. We have made certain determinations regarding the nature of the spatio-temporal distortion. Using a special tracer beam to follow our explorers through the point of tangency through which it is possible to pass from one display to another, we have determined that a progressive degeneration of temporal binding forces is at work, allowing artifacts and fauna of each era to wander into anachronistic settings, thus engendering massive energy imbalances which must end in disaster! On the basis of those findings, we designed and constructed the Reinforcer. With the aid of this device, the selected agent would, we hoped, be enabled to pass not only transversely across the Museum, but longitudinally along the Axial Channel as well, thus tracing the phenomenon to its source, and, hopefully, discovering the identity of the power behind it."

However, this one is pretty much pure farce, as this dialogue sample from a confrontation with a nefarious type suggests:

"Go ahead, just try it!" Roger challenged. "You escapee from a root cellar! We'll fight you on the beaches! We'll fight you in the cities! We'll slice you up into French fries!"

Bad gender switching alien jokes, and much temporal cavorting silliness abound.


3 out of 5

The Body Builders - Keith Laumer

The Body Builders - Keith Laumer

Servo pounding.


3 out of 5

The Planet Wreckers - Keith Laumer

The Planet Wreckers - Keith Laumer

"The day of the Galacular is over!" Izlik stated in positive tones. "What is a mere fractured continent, when compared with a lone hero, fighting for his life? When I release my epic of the struggle of one beleaguered being, beset by a bewildering bestiary of bellicose berserkers, our fortunes will be made!"


3.5 out of 5

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Eating hearts - Yoon Ha Lee

http://media.rawvoice.com/podcastle/media.libsyn.com/media/podcastle/PCFlash007_EatingHearts.mp3

Perfect magician, belt up and bonk.


3 out of 5

Legions Of Space - Keith Laumer

http://www.webscription.net/10.1125/Baen/0743488555/0743488555.htm

As the title suggests, this Laumer collection is of the space opera flavour.
It starts and ends with a novel, the first a slightly odd slightly Arthurian bundle of stuff, and the latter an exploration adventure. In the middle are four above average tales of mostly alien encounters in various parts of space.

Legions Of Space : A TRACE OF MEMORY - Keith Laumer
Legions Of Space : THE CHOICE - Keith Laumer
Legions Of Space : THREE BLIND MICE - Keith Laumer
Legions Of Space : MIND OUT OF TIME - Keith Laumer
Legions Of Space : MESSAGE TO AN ALIEN - Keith Laumer
Legions Of Space : PLANET RUN - Keith Laumer

His Name Is Legion.

For a while, anyway.

This novel certainly changes as it goes on. From the start of the book on Earth where an advertisement finds him looking into a case of amnesia - to discoveries of extended lifespans and hunts by the military.

That is not all though, as this ends up way off in space, on another world, and gets going on a somewhat Arthurian theme.

Still another of Laumer's first person tough guys with a sense of humour at the core of it, in admidst all the strange happenings.

3 out of 5


Space grab study death choice denial rules.

3.5 out of 5


No multiple understanding space war co-operation explanation thaw.

4 out of 5


The Big Jump.

4 out of 5


"Dalton's the name, Captain." "That name is known to me. I am Ch'oova. I was with the Grand Armada at Van Doom's world." "The Grand Armada fought well—but not quite well enough."

3.5 out of 5


A big opportunity awaits, and it is the title of the book:

"For a stake like that, every gambler, pirate, soldier of fortune, and con man in forty parsecs would sell his hope of a ringside seat in hell . . ."

... The right man for the job is available, with a partner, but they have to take a rejuvenation treatment first, that could be deadly.

"Face it, Larry. New land on virgin worlds isn't doled out like slices of cake at a church social. They can make all the rules they want, back at Galaxy Central—but on Corazon, it'll be nature's old law. It's not the Statistical Average that survives—it's the son-of-a-bitch that's tougher than the hard case that's hunting him. Maybe the Survey Authorities don't know that—or maybe they're smarter than we give them credit for. You don't tame alien worlds with busloads of bureaucrats." "But this arrangement is an open invitation to lawlessness." Henry nodded. "And you can count on it there'll be plenty of takers."

When he and his new straight man get to their destination, it is somewhat of a lawless hive of scum and villainry, as he expects. Even with an illegal Bolo they will be in big trouble getting out of this one, with all the dodgy dealings around.

An adventure, a survival story, and funny at times, too.

4 out of 5





4 out of 5

Planet Run - Keith Laumer

Planet Run - Gordon R. Dickson

A big opportunity awaits, and it is the title of the book:

"For a stake like that, every gambler, pirate, soldier of fortune, and con man in forty parsecs would sell his hope of a ringside seat in hell . . ."

... The right man for the job is available, with a partner, but they have to take a rejuvenation treatment first, that could be deadly.

"Face it, Larry. New land on virgin worlds isn't doled out like slices of cake at a church social. They can make all the rules they want, back at Galaxy Central—but on Corazon, it'll be nature's old law. It's not the Statistical Average that survives—it's the son-of-a-bitch that's tougher than the hard case that's hunting him. Maybe the Survey Authorities don't know that—or maybe they're smarter than we give them credit for. You don't tame alien worlds with busloads of bureaucrats." "But this arrangement is an open invitation to lawlessness." Henry nodded. "And you can count on it there'll be plenty of takers."

When he and his new straight man get to their destination, it is somewhat of a lawless hive of scum and villainry, as he expects. Even with an illegal Bolo they will be in big trouble getting out of this one, with all the dodgy dealings around.

An adventure, a survival story, and funny at times, too.
A big opportunity awaits, and it is the title of the book:

"For a stake like that, every gambler, pirate, soldier of fortune, and con man in forty parsecs would sell his hope of a ringside seat in hell . . ."

... The right man for the job is available, with a partner, but they have to take a rejuvenation treatment first, that could be deadly.

"Face it, Larry. New land on virgin worlds isn't doled out like slices of cake at a church social. They can make all the rules they want, back at Galaxy Central—but on Corazon, it'll be nature's old law. It's not the Statistical Average that survives—it's the son-of-a-bitch that's tougher than the hard case that's hunting him. Maybe the Survey Authorities don't know that—or maybe they're smarter than we give them credit for. You don't tame alien worlds with busloads of bureaucrats." "But this arrangement is an open invitation to lawlessness." Henry nodded. "And you can count on it there'll be plenty of takers."

When he and his new straight man get to their destination, it is somewhat of a lawless hive of scum and villainry, as he expects. Even with an illegal Bolo they will be in big trouble getting out of this one, with all the dodgy dealings around.

An adventure, a survival story, and funny at times, too.

Message To An Alien - Keith Laumer

Message to an Alien - Keith Laumer

"Dalton's the name, Captain." "That name is known to me. I am Ch'oova. I was with the Grand Armada at Van Doom's world." "The Grand Armada fought well—but not quite well enough."


3.5 out of 5

Mind Out Of Time - Keith Laumer

Mind Out of Time - Keith Laumer

The Big Jump.


4 out of 5

Three Blind Mice - Keith Laumer

Three Blind Mice - Keith Laumer

No multiple understanding space war co-operation explanation thaw.


4 out of 5

The Choice - Keith Laumer

The Choice - Keith Laumer

Space grab study death choice denial rules.


3 out of 5

A Trace Of Memory - Keith Laumer

A Trace of Memory - Keith Laumer

His Name Is Legion.

For a while, anyway.

This novel certainly changes as it goes on. From the start of the book on Earth where an advertisement finds him looking into a case of amnesia - to discoveries of extended lifespans and hunts by the military.

That is not all though, as this ends up way off in space, on another world, and gets going on a somewhat Arthurian theme.

Still another of Laumer's first person tough guys with a sense of humour at the core of it, in admidst all the strange happenings.


3 out of 5

The Something-Dreaming Game - Elizabeth Bear

http://media.rawvoice.com/escapepod/media.libsyn.com/media/escapepod/EP166_SomethingDreamingGame.mp3

Autoerotic asphyxiation communicates alien information preservation.


4 out of 5

Odyssey - Keith Laumer

http://www.webscription.net/10.1125/Baen/0743435273/0743435273.htm

This collection is a bit uneven, thanks to the poor first short novel included here, dragging it down to 3.29.

Some solid stories in the middle, but it is the end that is the good part. The nebula novelette nominee Once There Was a Giant, and the final novel, Dinosaur Beach is just poles apart in quality and complexity from the opening book.

If you just wanted to check out Laumer, the last two would be a pretty good place to start, assuming you don't mind time travel/time agent type books.

Odyssey : GALACTIC ODYSSEY - Keith Laumer
Odyssey : A Trip To The City - Keith Laumer
Odyssey : Hybrid - Keith Laumer
Odyssey : Combat Unit - Keith Laumer
Odyssey : The King Of The City - Keith Laumer
Odyssey : Once There Was A Giant - Keith Laumer
Odyssey : Dinosaur Beach - Keith Laumer


Billy Danger, wanderer.


While that is perhaps a good name for a starship captain/adventurer, as this homeless young itinerant becomes, when accidentally coming across some alien hunters, there isn't too much good about the rest of it.

It meanders from them taking him on a hunt on another planet for dangerous beasts, to that going horribly wrong, to strandings, separations, more looking around all over the galaxy for stuff, a bit of slavery and generally not hanging together all that well.

With a finale:
"The lords and ladies of the House of Ancinet-Chanore may have been out of touch with reality in some ways, but when it came to setting up the stage for a blood-duel on their fancy lawn under the gay lights, they were the soul of efficiency."

2 out of 5


Urban dummies.

3 out of 5


Tree team-up, at length.

3.5 out of 5


Survivor power base consolidation.

3.5 out of 5


I'll tell you something. You think I'm sitting on top of the world, huh? I own this town, and everybody in it. All the luxury and fancy dinners and women I can use. And you know what? I'm bored." "And you think running the Navy might be diverting?"

3 out of 5


"Sure, I'm a contract killer—and if not proud of it, at least not ashamed of it. Like they say, it's a tough, lonely, dirty job—but someone has to do it."

An assignment with Mob complications leads him to a planet where his skills come in handy, along with a big man and his big dog.

4 out of 5


This book starts simply, with a man with a happy home life, who walks out the door an d shows us he is a time agent with a kill and retrieve mission. Things don't go as planned:

"A lot of horror stories had circulated back at Nexx Central about what happened to people who misfired on a jump. They ranged from piecemeal reception at a dozen stations strung out across a few centuries to disembodied voices screaming to be let out. Also, there were several rules against it. The alternative was to set up housekeeping here on the beach, with or without dinosaurs, and hope that a rescue mission arrived before I died of heat, thirst, reptiles, boredom, or old age."

He ends up running into a female agent from a different timeline who looks just like the lover he walked out on. They have even more problems:

"A Nexx agent is a hard man to dispose of: hard to kill, hard to immobilize, because he's protected by all the devices of a rather advanced science. But if he can be marooned in the closed loop of an unrealized alternate realitya pseudo-reality from which there can be no outlet to a future which doesn't exist'then he's out of action forever."

Stuck at Dinosaur Beach, they try to understand what is going on:

"Don't be foolish. We have to do what we can. Which means examine the facts and plan a logical next step." "Logical: that's a good one, Agent Gayl. When did logic ever have anything to do with Timesweep Ops?"

Then there's the whole androids trying to be the Final Authority of Time thing.

That is by no means the end of it as the story here accelerates and gets more complicated and more strange as it goes.

Really rather cool.


4 out of 5





3.5 out of 5

Dinosaur Beach - Keith Laumer

Dinosaur Beach - Keith Laumer

This book starts simply, with a man with a happy home life, who walks out the door an d shows us he is a time agent with a kill and retrieve mission. Things don't go as planned:

"A lot of horror stories had circulated back at Nexx Central about what happened to people who misfired on a jump. They ranged from piecemeal reception at a dozen stations strung out across a few centuries to disembodied voices screaming to be let out. Also, there were several rules against it. The alternative was to set up housekeeping here on the beach, with or without dinosaurs, and hope that a rescue mission arrived before I died of heat, thirst, reptiles, boredom, or old age."

He ends up running into a female agent from a different timeline who looks just like the lover he walked out on. They have even more problems:

"A Nexx agent is a hard man to dispose of: hard to kill, hard to immobilize, because he's protected by all the devices of a rather advanced science. But if he can be marooned in the closed loop of an unrealized alternate reality—a pseudo-reality from which there can be no outlet to a future which doesn't exist—then he's out of action forever."

Stuck at Dinosaur Beach, they try to understand what is going on:

"Don't be foolish. We have to do what we can. Which means examine the facts and plan a logical next step." "Logical: that's a good one, Agent Gayl. When did logic ever have anything to do with Timesweep Ops?"

Then there's the whole androids trying to be the Final Authority of Time thing.

That is by no means the end of it as the story here accelerates and gets more complicated and more strange as it goes.

Really rather cool.


4 out of 5

Friday, July 11, 2008

Once There Was A Giant - Keith Laumer

http://www.webscription.net/10.1125/Baen/0743435273/0743435273__17.htm

"Sure, I'm a contract killer—and if not proud of it, at least not ashamed of it. Like they say, it's a tough, lonely, dirty job—but someone has to do it."

An assignment with Mob complications leads him to a planet where his skills come in handy, along with a big man and his big dog.


4 out of 5

The King Of the City - Keith Laumer

The King of the City - Keith Laumer

I'll tell you something. You think I'm sitting on top of the world, huh? I own this town, and everybody in it. All the luxury and fancy dinners and women I can use. And you know what? I'm bored." "And you think running the Navy might be diverting?"


3 out of 5

Combat Unit - Keith Laumer

Combat Unit - Keith Laumer

Survivor power base consolidation.


3.5 out of 5

A Trip To the City - Keith Laumer

A Trip to the City - Keith Laumer

Urban dummies.


3 out of 5

Galactic Odyssey - Keith Laumer

Galactic Odyssey - Keith Laumer

Billy Danger, wanderer.


While that is perhaps a good name for a starship captain/adventurer, as this homeless young itinerant becomes, when accidentally coming across some alien hunters, there isn't too much good about the rest of it.

It meanders from them taking him on a hunt on another planet for dangerous beasts, to that going horribly wrong, to strandings, separations, more looking around all over the galaxy for stuff, a bit of slavery and generally not hanging together all that well.

With a finale:
"The lords and ladies of the House of Ancinet-Chanore may have been out of touch with reality in some ways, but when it came to setting up the stage for a blood-duel on their fancy lawn under the gay lights, they were the soul of efficiency."


2 out of 5

The Vultures Of Teton Gulch - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0608151.txt

The titular bunch are a gang of murderers, and they have their eyes on half a million in gold.


3 out of 5

The Vultures - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0608151.txt

The titular bunch are a gang of murderers, and they have their eyes on half a million in gold.


3 out of 5

Touch Of Death - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0607981.txt

Dead dude's digits dancing.


3 out of 5

Temptress Of The Tower Of Torture And Sin - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0608121.txt

Heroic girl saves blokes from savage lost Sumerian bunch and their scary sound ritual.


3 out of 5

Taverel Manor - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0608141.txt

Chinese master villains, Egyptian sorcerers, Atlantean myths, Afghan killers, voodoo, magic elixirs, no wonder Steve Costigan is bewildered. Holey crapadoley.


3.5 out of 5

Talons In the Dark - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0601651.txt

Brill's execution murder postponed by leopard man.


3 out of 5

Witch From Hell's Kitchen - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0601771.txt

As dreams of the woman Lilitu haunt the warrior Pyrrhas, necromancy is in his future, it would seem.


3.5 out of 5

People Of the Serpent - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0601671.txt

Swamp Cat more voodoo than tiger Steve Harrison finds, knife work here.


3 out of 5

Manila Manslaughter - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0607341.txt

Rival ship crewmen clash over Spanish chiquita.


3 out of 5

The Last-Ride - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0608131.txt

An unplanned murder during a bank robbery has another sheriff on the trail of those on the lam.


2.5 out of 5

The Lame Man - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0608051.txt

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.


2.5 out of 5

The Road Of the Mountain Lion - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0608031.txt

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


3 out of 5

The Grisly Horror - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0601691.txt

Do not let possessed people near firearms!


3.5 out of 5

Gold From Tartary - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0608021.txt

Kindjahl and scimitar work for Kirby O'Donnell in Shahrazar.


3 out of 5

The Spirit Of Tom Molyneaux - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0607301.txt

Battered boxer's ghostly aid.


2.5 out of 5

Alleys Of Singapore - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0609051.txt

Dorgan and bulldog have some out of the ring fighting to do thanks to a woman and mad scientist.


3 out of 5

The Isle Of Pirate's Doom - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0601661.txt

"Shut up!" growled the pirate. "I'm going to save you for the sake of the lady and the lass, but I don't have to talk to you!" With rare consistency he then continued: "We'll leave this trap the same way I came and went.

So, Black Vulmea is not always completely self-interested. :) Here, he does the right thing, even at risk to himself.


3 out of 5

Solomon Kane - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0607321.txt

Kane comes across Le Loup twice in his life, once after he comes across a dying girl, one of his kills, and once at the temple of the Black God. He leaves him mortality challenged, and watches as his underling, Gulka the gorilla slayer finds a ape who is more than a match for him.


3.5 out of 5

The Teeth Of Gwahlur - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0600761.txt

To quote Mr. Howard - "Conan was basically a direct-actionist. Such subtlety as he possessed had been acquired through contact with the more devious races."

and when a woman tries some subterfuge, about being a goddess :

"Why, you sacrilegious little hussy!" rumbled Conan. "Do you not fear
the gods? Crom! Is there no honesty anywhere?"

For military reasons, Conan has to get the Teeth of Gwahlur from their hiding place in a mystic castle before his political and military opposition.

He decides he can get the girl Muriela to run the same scam she tried on him, on some others. The only problem is that the real goddess Yelaya shows up! Then it is time to scarper, sharpish.


5 out of 5

Future Imperfect - Keith Laumer

http://www.webscription.net/10.1125/Baen/0743436067/0743436067.htm

A collection of stories most concerned with tough guys and action men in bad situations, often of the dystopian variety. Whether natural disaster, forced relocation, corporate control, overpopulation or other reasons.

As a sample, from the final nebula nominated story:

"Now, maybe you think a tough Hunky with a gun in his pants can absorb that kind of surprise with no more reaction than a curled lip and a reflex move toward the hip. I made the reflex move OK: I jumped so hard I bent one of the rods an inch out of line with my head and one foot slipped off and I was hanging by my hands looking up at bones.""

Future Imperfect : CATASTROPHE PLANET - Keith Laumer
Future Imperfect : THE WALLS - Keith Laumer
Future Imperfect : COCOON - Keith Laumer
Future Imperfect : FOUNDER'S DAY - Keith Laumer
Future Imperfect : PLACEMENT TEST - Keith Laumer
Future Imperfect : WORLDMASTER - Keith Laumer
Future Imperfect : The Day Before Forever - Keith Laumer


A planet trashed by Earthquakes sees a man trying to survive, in search of weapons and other useful equipment.

Coming across a survivor of a desperate mission to blow the crap out of a pole to try and stop the coming damage, a strange story of finding life under the ice emerges from this wounded man.

An odd coin, and a woman that speaks no language he knows follow soon afters.

A short, fast action packed novel of chase and evade and violence follows as he tries to work out what is going on.

3.5 out of 5


Too much tv life.

3 out of 5


Sufferin' sucromash, we're out.

3.5 out of 5


You are colonists now, like it or not.

3 out of 5


Too smart for this job.

4 out of 5


"A traitor is a revolutionary who fails," Tarleton stated. "We won't fail."

3 out of 5


Eternity monopoly self opposition.

4 out of 5



3.5 out of 5

The Day Before Forever - Keith Laumer

The Day Before Forever - Keith Laumer

Eternity monopoly self opposition.


4 out of 5

Worldmaster - Keith Laumer

Worldmaster - Keith Laumer

"A traitor is a revolutionary who fails," Tarleton stated. "We won't fail."


3 out of 5

Placement Test - Keith Laumer

Placement Test - Keith Laumer

Too smart for this job.


4 out of 5

Founder's Day - Keith Laumer

Founder’s Day - Keith Laumer

You are colonists now, like it or not.


3 out of 5

Cocoon - Keith Laumer

Cocoon - Keith Laumer

Sufferin' sucromash, we're out.


3.5 out of 5

Xuthal Of the Dusk - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0601051.txt

Conan and the woman with him find a strange city in the desert, after attacks and problems, they finally come across two weird inhabitants, a man and a woman :

"..I am Thalis the Stygian," she replied. "Are you mad, to come here?"

"I've been thinking I must be," he growled. "By Crom, if I am sane, I'm out of place here, because these people are all maniacs."

The strange, deadly black shadows don't care who they take, though, and Conan and Natala must face those, and weird dream warriors, before the end.


4 out of 5

The Man-Eaters Of Zamboula - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0600791.txt

Conan is in Zamboula, and amazingly enough, comes across a girl, and she needs, and is also not what she seems. Royalty, serpent priests, and huge god-servants need some Cimmerian whup-arse, here.


3.5 out of 5

The Servants Of Bit-Yakin - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0600761.txt

To quote Mr. Howard - "Conan was basically a direct-actionist. Such subtlety as he possessed had been acquired through contact with the more devious races."

and when a woman tries some subterfuge, about being a goddess :

"Why, you sacrilegious little hussy!" rumbled Conan. "Do you not fear
the gods? Crom! Is there no honesty anywhere?"

For military reasons, Conan has to get the Teeth of Gwahlur from their hiding place in a mystic castle before his political and military opposition.

He decides he can get the girl Muriela to run the same scam she tried on him, on some others. The only problem is that the real goddess Yelaya shows up! Then it is time to scarper, sharpish.


4.5 out of 5

Iron Shadows In the Moon - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0600971.txt

Conan comes across an Hyrkanian battle leader who has slaughtered the mercenaries he was with. He slays him and allows a girl the dead man had captured to come with him.

Attempting escape they come across pirates, a man ape, and spooky statues at night.


4 out of 5

The Frost-Giant's Daughter - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0600751.txt

Conan meets a very pale woman after fighting a battle in the frozen north. She is haughty, and arrogant, and summons a couple of her brothers to fight Conan. Giant men they might be, but the Cimmerian grabs them, and then grabs the girl.

She calls to her father Ymir, and disappears. Conan wakes up - was it all a dream?


4 out of 5

The Blonde Goddess Of Bal-sagoth - Robert E. Howard

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0608081.txt

Swords in the storm, serpent ships, swimming with sharks, and a sheila scheming with religion.


3.5 out of 5

The Walls - Keith Laumer

The Walls - Keith Laumer

Too much tv life.


3 out of 5

Catastrophe Planet - Keith Laumer

Catastrophe Planet - Keith Laumer

A planet trashed by Earthquakes sees a man trying to survive, in search of weapons and other useful equipment.

Coming across a survivor of a desperate mission to blow the crap out of a pole to try and stop the coming damage, a strange story of finding life under the ice emerges from this wounded man.

An odd coin, and a woman that speaks no language he knows follow soon afters.

A short, fast action packed novel of chase and evade and violence follows as he tries to work out what is going on.


3.5 out of 5

Three Unbroken 41 Dimunition - Chris Roberson

http://www.solarisbooks.com/books/three-unbroken/free/page41.asp

In all her months of training at flight school, of all the dangers and pitfalls of piloting the students had been warned about, no one had ever bothered to mention the principle difficulty with most prolonged bombing operations. Namely, that they were endlessly, tediously boring.


3 out of 5

A Plague of Demons and Other Stories - Keith Laumer

http://www.webscription.net/10.1125/Baen/0743435885/0743435885.htm

A collection of longer work by Laumer - the award nominated novel and story, A Plague of Demons and Test to Destruction, and some other reasonably ordinary stuff. End as a Hero is not too bad though, short and punchy.

Plague Of Demons : A Plague of Demons - Keith Laumer
Plague Of Demons : Thunderhead - Keith Laumer
Plague Of Demons : End as a Hero - Keith Laumer
Plague Of Demons : Doorstep - Keith Laumer
Plague Of Demons : Test to Destruction - Keith Laumer
Plague Of Demons : The Star-Sent Knaves - Keith Laumer
Plague Of Demons : Greylorn - Keith Laumer
Plague Of Demons : Of Death What Dreams - Keith Laumer


Bloke recruited to be poor woman's Iron Man and goes Starship Trooping.

or

Given that he signs up for the Invulnerable Man program, and is assured he won't have to wear a red S, even though he has seen Batman and Robin, and is not an alcoholic womanising billonaire playboy weapons dealer, this is what he is stuck with.

Besides, given the measly one ton lifting capacity of his suit, an army of alien monsters has a lot more survival than going to toe to toe with the Hulk for even the number of seconds you can count on one hand.

4 out of 5


On a planet that is basically nowheresville, an old has-been officer is tasked once again for hazardous duty, getting a beacon going up on a mountain.

The Spider-alien types that the large human naval fleet fought in the past are up to something again, and there's a job that needs doing, complete with kid sidekick.

3 out of 5


" . . . you Psychodynamics people have been telling me the Gool may have some kind of long-range telehypnotic ability that might make it possible for them to subvert a loyal man without his knowledge. You've told me yourself that you blacked out during the attack—and came to on the lifeboat, with no recollection of how you got there. "This is war, Granthan. War against a vicious enemy who strike without warning and without mercy. You were sent out to investigate the possibility of—what's that term you use?—hypercortical invasion. You know better than most the risk I'd be running if you were allowed to pass the patrol line."

However, his encounters and skills have given him power and insight into new technology, so he desperately tries to stay alive to get back home and do it.

The question is, who are the aliens controlling and influencing really, if he can manage to do this?

A nifty little short novel of the slightly paranoid not sure what is going on action variety.

3.5 out of 5


Military bad parents.

3 out of 5


Interrogation space assist overlord.

4 out of 5


Time travel, inter dimensional stuff, all a bit hard to cope.

2.5 out of 5


Omega colony plague hope communication.

3 out of 5


Getting ready for a future punt.

3 out of 5




3 out of 5

Of Death What Dreams - Keith Laumer

Of Death What Dreams - Keith Laumer

Getting ready for a future punt.


3 out of 5

Greylorn - Keith Laumer

Greylorn - Keith Laumer

Omega colony plague hope communication.


3 out of 5

The Star-Sent Knaves - Keith Laumer

The Star-Sent Knaves - Keith Laumer

Time travel, inter dimensional stuff, all a bit hard to cope.


2.5 out of 5

Doorstep - Keith Laumer

Doorstep - Keith Laumer

Military bad parents.


3 out of 5

End As A Hero - Keith Laumer

End as a Hero - Keith Laumer

A lone man in space is stuck in a very sticky situation:
" . . . you Psychodynamics people have been telling me the Gool may have some kind of long-range telehypnotic ability that might make it possible for them to subvert a loyal man without his knowledge. You've told me yourself that you blacked out during the attack—and came to on the lifeboat, with no recollection of how you got there. "This is war, Granthan. War against a vicious enemy who strike without warning and without mercy. You were sent out to investigate the possibility of—what's that term you use?—hypercortical invasion. You know better than most the risk I'd be running if you were allowed to pass the patrol line."

However, his encounters and skills have given him power and insight into new technology, so he desperately tries to stay alive to get back home and do it.

The question is, who are the aliens controlling and influencing really, if he can manage to do this?

A nifty little short novel of the slightly paranoid not sure what is going on action variety.


3.5 out of 5

Thunderhead - Keith Laumer

Thunderhead - Keith Laumer

On a planet that is basically nowheresville, an old has-been officer is tasked once again for harzardous duty, getting a beacon going up on a mountain.

The Spider-alien types that the large human naval fleet fought in the past are up to something again, and there's a job that needs doing, complete with kid sidekick.


3 out of 5

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Retief! - Keith Laumer

http://www.webscription.net/p-347-retief.aspx

A collection of stories and one novel about an Interstellar Diplomat. Retief, the title hero is a man of action, on the ground diplomat, and generally a junior one. He prefers to get problems solved quickly and for the right reasons, as opposed to shuffling them under a paper pile and have them go away.

However, these tales are light-hearted satire, in general, dealing with plots, corporate intrigue and alien opponent deviousness, along with bureaucratic incompetence and opposition.

A pretty decently entertaining bunch coming out at a bit under 3.50 as they do.

The editor of this collection loosely groups them into sections, beginning with a story from nearer the end of Retief's career, then goes back to earlier, as well as featuring a group of stories where his major (even if behind the scenes) opponents come from a race of aliens known as the Groaci.

Retief : DIPLOMAT-AT-ARMS - Keith Laumer
Retief : PROTOCOL - Keith Laumer
Retief : THE BRASS GOD - Keith Laumer
Retief : SEALED ORDERS - Keith Laumer
Retief : PALACE REVOLUTION - Keith Laumer
Retief : CULTURAL EXCHANGE - Keith Laumer
Retief : SALINE SOLUTION - Keith Laumer
Retief : NATIVE INTELLIGENCE - Keith Laumer
Retief : POLICY - Keith Laumer
Retief : ULTIMATUM - Keith Laumer
Retief : THE PRINCE AND THE PIRATE - Keith Laumer
Retief : THE CASTLE OF LIGHT - Keith Laumer
Retief : RETIEF'S WAR - Keith Laumer
Retief : WICKER WONDERLAND - Keith Laumer
Retief : COURIER - Keith Laumer
Retief : PROTEST NOTE - Keith Laumer
Retief : AIDE MEMOIRE - Keith Laumer

Time for a change in the Games of Empires.

4.5 out of 5


No pet food for us, Ambassador.

4 out of 5


Pope joke.

3 out of 5


"I suggest we use Tennessee rules," said Retief. "They're very liberal: biting, gouging, stomping, kneeling, and, of course, choking, as well as the usual punching, shoving, and kicking." "Hmmm. These gambits seem geared to forms employing rigid endo-skeletons; I fear I shall be at a disadvantage." "Of course," Retief said, "if you'd prefer a more plebian type of contest . . ." "By no means. But perhaps we could rule out tentacle-twisting, just to even the balance."

3.5 out of 5


Gambling on it.

3 out of 5


Armed Baggage MEDDLE.

3.5 out of 5


Triple salted rock deal.

4 out of 5


Free Electorate Fun Everywhere.

3 out of 5


A lost cruiser to find.

4 out of 5


"After estivating, the Verpp moult, and then they're Qornt, of course. The Gwil become Boog, the Boog become Rheuk, the Rheuk metamorphosize into Verpp—"

3 out of 5


Not to mention Greenbacks and Groaci.

3.5 out of 5


Dealing with militant Groaci tourism.

3 out of 5


Retief is an interstellar diplomat who prefers a bit of hands (or guns, knives, or whatever is necessary) on peacekeeping, compared to the more paper-pushing-loving members of his bureaucracy.

To get an idea of some of the Yes Minister, or Grass Roots, or The Games still of satire :-

"Oh, prime minister, eh? Who gave him that title?" "Why, he advised the ambassador that it was conferred early this morning by unanimous vote of the Council of Drones." Retief followed Magnan into the lift; the doors closed with a soft whoosh! of compressed air. The car lurched, started heavily upward. "Let's see," Retief mused. "That's the dummy legislature he set up to satisfy the ambassador's passion for democracy, isn't it? It was fortunate he had seventy-three senile uncles handy to appoint; saved the bother of breaking in strangers." "Yours is a distorted view of the evolution of representational government here on Quopp," Magnan said reprovingly. "Closer attention to your Daily Bulletin from the Bird's Nest would go far toward homogenizing your thinking on the subject."

"I thought that was something they "The term refers to voluntary alignment of viewpoint toward a group-oriented polarity; a sort of linkage of moral horsepower for maximal thrust toward the objective." "I'm not sure that pasteurized thinking is rich enough in intellectual vitamins to satisfy my growing curiosity about just what Ikk is up to."

In this particular escapade, a native conflict is being stirred up by his old antagonists, and he gets to go wheeling (the natives have wheels/rotors etc.) around the place to see what he can do about it.

3.5 out of 5


Retief gets in some underwater work, and has a serious bomb issue.

3 out of 5


Retief has piracy and an alien invasion of a peaceful unarmed world to sort out. Needs a Bolo and sneakery.

3.5 out of 5


Aga Kagan landgrab opposition.

3.5 out of 5


Evil Soft Ones? Guess who they might be?

3 out of 5





3.5 out of 5

Aide Memoire - Keith Laumer

Aide Memoire - Keith Laumer

Evil Soft Ones? Guess who they might be?


3 out of 5

Protest Note - Keith Laumer

Protest Note - Keith Laumer

Aga Kagan landgrab opposition.


3.5 out of 5

Courier - Keith Laumer

Courier - Keith Laumer

Retief has piracy and an alien invasion of a peaceful unarmed world to sort out. Needs a Bolo and sneakery.


3.5 out of 5

Wicker Wonderland - Keith Laumer

Wicker Wonderland - Keith Laumer

Retief gets in some underwater work, and has a serious bomb issue.


3 out of 5

Retief's War - Keith Laumer

Retief's War - Keith Laumer

Retief is an interstellar diplomat who prefers a bit of hands (or guns, knives, or whatever is necessary) on peacekeeping, compared to the more paper-pushing-loving members of his bureaucracy.

To get an idea of some of the Yes Minister, or Grass Roots, or The Games still of satire :-

"Oh, prime minister, eh? Who gave him that title?" "Why, he advised the ambassador that it was conferred early this morning by unanimous vote of the Council of Drones." Retief followed Magnan into the lift; the doors closed with a soft whoosh! of compressed air. The car lurched, started heavily upward. "Let's see," Retief mused. "That's the dummy legislature he set up to satisfy the ambassador's passion for democracy, isn't it? It was fortunate he had seventy-three senile uncles handy to appoint; saved the bother of breaking in strangers." "Yours is a distorted view of the evolution of representational government here on Quopp," Magnan said reprovingly. "Closer attention to your Daily Bulletin from the Bird's Nest would go far toward homogenizing your thinking on the subject."

"I thought that was something they "The term refers to voluntary alignment of viewpoint toward a group-oriented polarity; a sort of linkage of moral horsepower for maximal thrust toward the objective." "I'm not sure that pasteurized thinking is rich enough in intellectual vitamins to satisfy my growing curiosity about just what Ikk is up to."

In this particular escapade, a native conflict is being stirred up by his old antagonists, and he gets to go wheeling (the natives have wheels/rotors etc.) around the place to see what he can do about it.



3.5 out of 5

The Castle Of Light - Keith Laumer

The Castle of Light - Keith Laumer

Dealing with militant Groaci tourism.


3 out of 5