Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shell Scott short story bibliography - Dean Davis

Lists magazine appearances, and also collections they appeared in.

4 out of 5

Richard SPrather - Kevin Burton Smith

Talking about the writer and his 'Shell Scott' private eye:-

"Like, that hair. A bristly white-blonde buzz cut standing at permanent attention. A perpetual tan. Those bushy white eyebrows. And no dowdy fedora and trench coat either for this ex-Marine -- it never rains in Southern California, baby. Scott preferred Hawaiian shirts and snazzy teal blue suits. He preferred sporty wheels, too; Caddy convertibles in either canary yellow or robin's egg-blue.

Let's face it -- the guy was a doofus."

4.5 out of 5

In Paradise - Bruce Sterling

Phone dead? Let's walk instead.

3 out of 5

Computer Virus - Nancy Kress

House arrest.

5 out of 5

A Kiss Like Money - Victor Gischler

Pretty Penny's dead dad double gutshot PI stash recovery.

3.5 out of 5

X's For Eyes - Victor Gischler

Girlfriend's comic strip revenge.

3.5 out of 5 Xs.htm

The Scent Of Jasmine - Victor Gischler

Getting the husband's cash.

3 out of 5

The Royal Crown Killer - Victor Gischler

Some close bodyguard work, switch.

4 out of 5

Headless Rollo - Victor Gischler

Got 'em with the Boston Cream.

3 out of 5

Santa and the Concubines - Victor Gischler

We got the Fat Man out.

3 out of 5

Velvet Clinch - Victor Gischler

Could be the secretary, could be the daughter, could be both, or some other combo.

3 out of 5

Gun Monkeys 1 - Victor Gischler

""What the fuck was that?"

Blade grinned big. "That would be the Boston cream."

We tumbled out of the Chrysler and ran up the walk and into Rollo's house to the scream of car alarms set off by the blast. I kicked in the door, and we found what was left of Rollo still sitting in a ladderback chair blown back about ten feet from the kitchen table."

3.5 out of 5

Smoke - Victor Gischler

Acting pipe monster.

3.5 out of 5

Misty's World - Victor Gischler

My teeth aren't worth that much blood.

3.5 out of 5

Night School - Victor Gischler

I'll screw you, teach, not gonna shoot people though. Oops.

3.5 out of 5

In the Shadows Of Wrigley Field - John Weagly

Underpants pro stickup.

3.5 out of 5

Signs Over the Pacific - R. J. Astruc

Airship steering's fucked, but it's the End of the World. Party!

3.5 out of 5

Wishing On Whores - John Weagly

No more problems.

3.5 out of 5

Sisters Under the Skin - Naomi Johnson

Lost girl.

3 out of 5

They Take You - Kyle Minor

Five Mormon ones, ok, well technically one's hanging, one's in the well...

3.5 out of 5

Red Hair and Black Leather - Jordan Harper

Sloppy Satan scumbag shooter skull slammer.

4 out of 5

Random Acts Of Fatherhood - Robert Pesa

Lightning road train murder mystery.

4 out of 5

She Watches Him Swim - Claude Lalumiere

Too comfortable, so no help.

3.5 out of 5

Organic Chicken Tortilla Soup with Chopped Finger Garnish - Anonymous-9 Anonymous-9

Purist soup.

3.5 out of 5

Killer Orgasm - Anonymous-9 Anonymous-9

Need to pay attention with unattaching husbands.

4 out of 5

Claw Marks - Anonymous-9 Anonymous-9

Where's my next bloody meal coming from?

3.5 out of 5

Murder Necrophilia Suicide - Anonymous-9 Anonymous-9

You really do want to kill your family, it'll be good.

3.5 out of 5

Conversations With the Bookless - Anonymous-9 Anonymous-9

Interview with the pseudonymous writer of some seriously polished and seriously hardboiled stories.

You like Vachss? Check her out.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tequila Spike - Anonymous-9 Anonymous-9

Kill mom, save kid. Or scumbag boyfriend after former, anyway.

4 out of 5

Lenny And Earl Go Shooting Off Their Mouths - Ray Morrison

You're not a hippie, but you annoy me enough to shoot you.

3.5 out of 5

Fruits - Steve Mosby

She's apples, buried.

3 out of 5

Hard Bite - Anonymous-9 Anonymous-9

Don't monkey with hit and run revenge.

5 out of 5

Killing Time - Jane K. Cleland

Sheet caught murder.

3 out of 5

The Secret Lives Of Cats - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Moggiecam corpse discovery.

3.5 out of 5

Hand-Me-Down-Town - Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Down and Outer Club redevelopment.

3.5 out of 5

O Pioneer - Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Colon New World seeker.

3 out of 5

Blythe Magic - Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Degenerative PK power.

3 out of 5

A Hole In Her Head - Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Painting tumour pain guide.

3 out of 5

Ask Arlen - Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Alien advice.

2.5 out of 5

Precipice - John Jackson Miller

Just give me something to shoot, Sith-style.

3 out of 5

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Boy Who Loved Clouds - Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Grass laying love.

3 out of 5

Distance - Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Pioneer baseball game.

3.5 out of 5

Live and Let Spy - Ryk Spoor

Filling in the weird database, and the furniture.

3.5 out of 5

Seas Of Venus - David Drake

An omnibus of two novels written in the same setting as Henry Kuttner's Free Companion mercenary companies and domed cities on Venus - and the changes brewing in the society there. See Clash By Night, and Fury, by the aforementioned author, online, for comparison. Well worth it.

Also includes a non-fiction account of the author's trip to Belize.

A young man, who father is a senior politician in one of the Domed cities of Venus is recruited by his uncle, a commander in one of the free mercenary companies that operation on the surface, and seas. He wants someone he can trust completely for an upcoming city vs city minor war.

One of the other senior officers completely opposes this commander, and gets this company suckered. This leaves them on a desperate mission to steal a capital ship and try and lure their opponents, who outnumber them heavily, into a trap.

Pretty reasonable story - and as I suspected, it is deliberately a homage to Henry Kuttner's Clash by Night, for those that like that.

The lengthy tours of naval military hardware will get tedious for some, although generally it makes sense where done.

3.5 out of 5

Another novel in homage to Henry Kuttner's Clash by Night Venus setting. Here we have the history of two young men who join the Free Companions for different reasons - one out of university, one out of disgust for his wealthy class.

The terrors of small water craft combat, and the crazed between battle sex, drugs and rock 'n roll entertainments designed to keep the troops malleable are all detailed here.

Finally, these two young men decide that the wretched state of most of the population kept mostly under control by a cycle of contrived war entertainment and occasional big party needs to change.

Plenty of monsters to be found in the Venus wildlife, perhaps just as likely to kill you as enemy fire. Fans of Neal Asher's work will like some of the beasties to be found here.

3 out of 5

3.5 out of 5

The Jungle - David Drake

Another novel in homage to Henry Kuttner's Clash by Night Venus setting. Here we have the history of two young men who join the Free Companions for different reasons - one out of university, one out of disgust for his wealthy class.

The terrors of small water craft combat, and the crazed between battle sex, drugs and rock 'n roll entertainments designed to keep the troops malleable are all detailed here.

Finally, these two young men decide that the wretched state of most of the population kept mostly under control by a cycle of contrived war entertainment and occasional big party needs to change.

Plenty of monsters to be found in the Venus wildlife, perhaps just as likely to kill you as enemy fire. Fans of Neal Asher's work will like some of the beasties to be found here.

3 out of 5

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Heroes - Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Psyching out the time travelling General assassins.

3.5 out of 5

The Doctor's Wife - Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Helping out the other Charley.

3.5 out of 5

Murder In Quotes - Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

HAL HOL poison.

3 out of 5

The Naming Of A King - Diana L. Paxson

Stone Initiation.

3 out of 5

Beneath Ceaseless Skies 17 - Scott H. Andrews

A poor issue, only 2.5.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies 17 : The Tinyman and Caroline - Sarah L. Edwards
Beneath Ceaseless Skies 17 : System, Magic, Spirit - T.D. Edge

Not an elf, just shared out.

3 out of 5

What a Ring, Doghmart Wizard.

2 out of 5

1.5 out of 5

System Magic Spirit - T. D. Edge

What a Ring, Doghmart Wizard.

2 out of 5

The Tinyman and Caroline - Sarah L. Edwards

Not an elf, just shared out.

3 out of 5

Dress Circle - Miranda Siemienowicz

Rocky skirting.

3.5 out of 5;col1

The Narrows - Simon Bestwick

Everything gone. Pray for Death.
(issuu is also shit for reading online)

3 out of 5

Fantasy Book Critic Interview - James Enge

He ain't never gonna be respectable.


4.5 out of 5

Surface Action - David Drake

A young man, who father is a senior politician in one of the Domed cities of Venus is recruited by his uncle, a commander in one of the free mercenary companies that operation on the surface, and seas. He wants someone he can trust completely for an upcoming city vs city minor war.

One of the other senior officers completely opposes this commander, and gets this company suckered. This leaves them on a desperate mission to steal a capital ship and try and lure their opponents, who outnumber them heavily, into a trap.

Pretty reasonable story - and as I suspected, it is deliberately a homage to Henry Kuttner's Clash by Night, for those that like that.

The lengthy tours of naval military hardware will get tedious for some, although generally it makes sense where done.

3.5 out of 5

The Slows - Gail Hareven

Big baby larvae.

3 out of 5

Message Found In A Gravity Wave - Rudy Rucker

Big Flash more fun.

3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Doctor Dodge - Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Avoiding Death, Reed Richard.

2.5 out of 5

Beggars Might Ride - Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Certainly worse things than this gig.

3.5 out of 5

A Little Bit Of An Eclipse - Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Lunar real estate dodgy deal.

3.5 out of 5

The Devil His Due - Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

You were a big bunch of great nothing, kid.

3.5 out of 5

As the Angels In Heaven - Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Shagging the wife? You crazy?

3.5 out of 5

Who Have No Eyes - Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Yep, can't see a thing.

3 out of 5

Photo Finish - Ryk Spoor

A big leftover werewolf and Atalantean problem.

3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Diana Comet - Sandra McDonald

Crossdress me some of that hot firefighter action credentials.

3.5 out of 5

Nira and I - Shweta Narayan

Girly kissing outlaw.

3 out of 5

Turning the Apples - Tina Connolly

Comabody dealer.

3.5 out of 5

Husbandry - Eugene Fischer

Minds going.

3 out of 5

As He Was - Kit St. Germain

Dolly Mal-feasance.

2.5 out of 5

Lily Glass - Veronica Schanoes

Flowery act.

2.5 out of 5

The Rising Waters - Benjamin Crowell

Debbie does Turing Test.

3 out of 5

Baby In the Basket - Cecil Castelluci

Stinky future shift.

2.5 out of 5

Palos Of the Dog Star Pack - J. U. Giesy

A bloke, with a bit of help from an Asian guru learns to astral travel - even as far as other planets.

He met such a handy guy in Melbourne, fo all places, Dr Nikola-style. A hotbed of strange mindpower characters, it seems.

This is of World War 1 vintage, and sort of reads like it. Pulp adventure, not really at all.

Lots of pomp and drapery description as far as the kings and princess etc. that our hero meets on the new world, in his travels.

When there's a military problem to be solved, rather than strapping on a sword and leading a fleet of the locals into battle a la Carter, he's a bit more practical.

He can also travel back and forth to Earth pretty easily, immaterial style. Hence, his solution is a lot more Corwinian, or Pellucidarian, if you like. Try and make heaps of guns, win the armaments race.

2.5 out of 5

Speed Speed the Cable - Kage Baker

If we can protect it, that is. You ain't necessarily worth protecting, though, Dicko.

3 out of 5,%20Speed%20the%20Cable.pdf

Robin Hood's Treasure - Clayton Emery

Silliness in Sherwood.

3 out of 5

Ships In the Night - Jack McDevitt

Local visitor encourages Dickens dating discussion.

3.5 out of 5

Slights 1 - Kaaron Warren

"This wall was only there to keep the sound of the highway from reaching the wealthy residents in the suburbs behind it. If the wall wasn’t there, my mother may not have died. The papers loved it. “Wall of Death – the quiet life versus the long life,” all that."

3.5 out of 5

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Last Monster - Gardner F. Fox

Got the Space Plague. Hope this thing we found cures us before he kills us.

2.5 out of 5

When Coyote Came to Town - Diana L. Paxson

Dancing fool.

3.5 out of 5

Luendi 4 - Charles R. Saunders

Dead, white and mouthy scary.

3.5 out of 5

Libraries In Science Fiction - James Gunn

An essay about just that.

4 out of 5

Sunday, May 24, 2009

El Presidente - Mike Resnick

He looks simple enough to be in charge.

3.5 out of 5

One Of Us - Alma Alexander

I shot, I shot him down.

3.5 out of 5

Collector's Item - Robert F. Young

Long history.

2.5 out of 5

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Black World 1 The Mystery Planet - Raymond A. Palmer

"An' how do you know that mystery pirate ain't twice as fast as a Patrol?" challenged Hanson. "How'n blazes is it she gets away so easy every time?"

"She is fast," admitted Rand, "but not that fast. Why you poor fool, don't you know yerself no rocket tube lining'll stand up under the blasts it'd take to build that kind'y speed? Hey, bartender, set 'em up again, will yuh? I might as well get drunk too!"

Carver was aware of Ina's cool voice. "They say the mystery pirate is a girl," she observed.

He shook his head. "Just a fairy story," he said. "The ship is also supposed to be the invention of someone by the name of Mitchell, who used to be something of a scientist on Earth, maybe twenty years ago. He was convicted of something or other, I never did bother to find out what, and sent to the Lunar Penal colony. But he escaped. Ever since, he's been among the Missing. When the mystery pirate appeared three years ago, the rumor grew that it was Mitchell. But I doubt that very much. The records of the Stellar Patrol say he died during his escape."

3.5 out of 5

Walpurgis III 1 - Mike Resnick

""The wholesale slaughter of planetary populations is a matter of complete indifference to me," said Jericho, his gaze leaving Mela's round, sweating face to follow the flight of a hawk as it swooped down to snare a sparrow amid much squawking and fluttering of wings. "But it stands to reason that the Republic wouldn't seek my services unless and until they had lost a number of their own operatives. How many men have tried to assassinate Conrad Bland, and how did they fail?"

"We have sent twenty-three men after him, fifteen on their own and four two-man teams," admitted Mela. "None of them has been heard from again.""

4 out of 5

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Dump - Joe R. Lansdale

Got me a monster.

3 out of 5

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Home Is Where - Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Stasi clothes.

2.5 out of 5

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wood Song - Kate Daniel

Coney nymph sprout.

3 out of 5

CBR News On the History Of Pulp - Will Murray

Among other things, apparently expanding to The Avengers and The Whiperer (James Gordon).

4.5 out of 5

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Vengeance Of Martin Brand 1 - Raymond A. Palmer

""Come and get me, boys!--If you can!"

Martin Brand clenched one space-browned fist around the fighter's throttle and threw the ship into a screaming, roaring bank that ended in a terrific dive straight down, parallel with the breath-taking forty-thousand feet of cliff that was one side of the Liebnitz Mountains. With his other hand he pressed a switch on the control panel--a switch that had all the earmarks of having been crudely installed by one who was not a mechanic.

There was a faint hum, then from a speaker mounted over his head.

Brand grinned as the strains of Wagner's inspired music dinned in his ears. He turned up the volume still further, until the roar of the music drowned out the drone of his rockets.

"Now come on, you lousy ambushers!" he roared.

Behind the ship against the rocky wall of the Liebnitz, a brilliant, soundless puff of light momentarily erased the inky moon-shadows at the mountain's foot.

"Missed!" exclaimed Brand triumphantly. "And you had me boxed!"

Suddenly, across his sights flashed a hurtling dot. Brand tripped his guns. Once again the bright light puffed, this time as one of Brand's shells exploded in the hull of the enemy ship.

"That's it!" screamed Brand. "The luck of 'Suicide' Martin Brand! Back on Earth I'm a legend, but right here, I'm a damn fool--a fool even the devil won't kill.""

3.5 out of 5

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hungerford Bridge - Elizabeth Hand

“What the hell is the emerald foliot?”

(a bit like an echidna beetle)

The Stolen Church - Jonathan Carroll

Bed secrets.

3 out of 5

Predecessors - Jeff VanderMeer

Big bird composition loop.

3.5 out of 5

Deja Dead 1 - Kathy Reichs

"I wasn't thinking about the man who'd blown himself up. Earlier I had. Now I was putting him together. Two sections of skull lay in front of me, and a third jutted from a sand-filled stainless steel bowl, the glue still drying on its reassembled fragments. Enough bone to confirm identity. The coroner would be pleased."

3 out of 5

The Man Who Invented Flying Saucers Raymond A Palmer - John Keel

About the Amazing stories editor, as well as some UFOlogy.

4 out of 5;col1

Luendi 3 - Charles R. Saunders

I come from the South, and you want me.

3.5 out of 5

Blood Relations - Lewis Shiner

Got us a down home swamp monster.

3.5 out of 5

Luendi 2 - Charles R. Saunders

Surprise attack, regime change, not swampy.

3 out of 5

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Luendi 1 - Charles R. Saunders

Baster diamonds.

3 out of 5

(doing himself no favors by having most of his website as images???)

The Homemaker - Alma Alexander

“We don’t need a cat,” I heard her father snap one evening.

2 out of 5

The Sargasso Of Space - Edmond Hamilton

Martian Queen save.

3 out of 5

Dwellers In the Mirage - Abraham Merritt

Prophecy of witch women and octopus gods.

Or at least ending up there. Another Lost Race type fantasy excursion to another place.

In a more perhaps Harold Lamb early episode Leif is told by a Uighur tribe that he is the descendant of ancient kings.

When he and his friend find a hidden land (via the title), straight from the chained on pedestal naked girl sacrifice he is in for some adventure - and becoming rather closely acquainted with one of his ancestors, personality wise.

Throw in some pygmy people, monsters, strange flora and fauna and the weird antagonist and femme fatale mentioned earlier and you have a pretty decent story.

3.5 out of 5

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Harold Lamb Adventure Author Extraordinaire - Howard A. Jones

An overview of his discovery of the author's work.

4 out of 5

Talbot Mundy Master of the Mystical Adventure - R. T. Gault

An overview of the writer, with a bit of a publishing history.

4 out of 5

The Curved Saber - Howard A. Jones

The Official Harold Lamb website, highly informative, detailing all the work for the adventure writer.

5 out of 5

Bordered In Black - Larry Niven

Overcee project farm people find.

3 out of 5

How We Went To Mars - Arthur C. Clarke

Short, dodgy trip.

3 out of 5

Travel By Wire - Arthur C. Clarke

Radio-waving problems.

3 out of 5

The Big Blow - Joe R. Lansdale

Beating up a storm.

2.5 out of 5

The White Road - Abraham Merritt

"All his life he had known the White Road. You saw it first as a slit, a hair-line of white light, just the width of your eyes and somewhere, it seemed behind them — somewhere between your brain and your eyes, in your own head. In childhood, it had been after you had gone to bed; sometimes as soon as your lids closed, sometimes when you were dropping off to sleep. Later it might come in broad daylight, while you sat thinking or reading. But at those times you never got far on the White Road."

3 out of 5

When Old Gods Wake - Abraham Merritt

"An ageless face . . . the nose long and curved and delicate. The lips full but sharply cut, archaically sensuous . . . hair as red as his own and eyes as blue as. Joan's. A face as devoid of human equivalence as it was timeless . . . yet human . . . as though the seed from which it had sprung into godhood had been human. Incalculable, unreadable . . . but still within it something that could be read up to that point where the humanness of it merged into the god . . . might be read more plainly if the god would within it merge more fully into the humanness. Nothing of benevolence in it . . . but neither was there shade of malevolence, cruelty . . . humanless, in human mask."

3 out of 5

Shadow On the Stars - Robert Silverberg

A space and time extravaganza.

With interstellar conflicts looming and battle fleets flying around, the invention of time travel makes things more interesting.

It also allows a bloke to team up with himself to combat this threat of serious war, and it is then one man against a fleet of 500.

The Graveyard Book 1 When Nobody Came To the Graveyard - Neil Gaiman

Dead, gotta stay here (in flash).

3 out of 5

Promises Promises - Ilona Andrews

"I plucked a creased note from the table. Eight weeks ago, Curran, the Beast Lord of Atlanta, the lord and master of over fifteen hundred shapeshifters, and my personal psycho sat in the kitchen of my apartment in Atlanta and wrote out a menu on this piece of paper. I’d lost a bet to him, and according to the terms, I owed him one naked dinner. He’d added a disclaimer to the menu, explaining that he’d settle for bra and panties, since he wasn’t a complete beast, an assertion very open to debate.

He’d set a date, November 15th, which was today. I knew this because I had checked the calendar three times now. I called him that evening and set the place. my house near Savannah, and the time, five p.m. It was eight thirty now."

4 out of 5

Friday, May 15, 2009

Norse Code 3 - Greg Van Eekhout

"A Valkyrie's job had always been to find soldiers for the Einherjar, and the corpse-choosers' traditional method had been to pick their way through combat zones, sorting through burned bodies and piles of guts and limbs, selecting the best of the fallen to be brought to Valhalla.

Radgrid had devised a new way to find recruits. She realized that many of the best warriors among the Einherjar--like Volsung, and Sigurd the Worm-Slayer--were descendants of Odin, from a line established on earth in the early dawning of man. Over the ages, the records of lineage had been lost, but Radgrid believed the bloodline was still unbroken. If geneticists could learn the deep language of blood and find the descendants of Genghis Khan, then couldn't they also find the many-generations-removed sons of Odin? So she'd built and staffed the NorseCODE labs."

3.5 out of 5

The Cambist and Lord Iron A Fairy Tale Of Economics - Daniel Abraham

Life exchange rate.

4.5 out of 5

The Reign Of the Wintergod - Eugie Foster

Hell already frozen over, kids. Fuckers.

4 out of 5

Wild Cards Dealing With Aces and Jokers - Ric Croxton

In-depth podcast discussion of the first 12 books of the series.

5 out of 5

Fantasy Book Critic Interview - Lou Anders

He boldly goes into a lot of stuff.

4.5 out of 5

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Deeds Of Men - Marie Brennan

Death and faeryiing in Coldharbour.

3 out of 5

Serial - Jack Kilborn and Blake Crouch

Crazy ride, crazy driver.

3.5 out of 5

The Sin Eater - Emma Bull

Inter-team trouble and a university being gamma stalked, along with re-Chaz-ing.

3.5 out of 5

The Defenders - Philip K. Dick

Robots reckon war is illogical human stupid stuff.

3.5 out of 5

Metrophage - Richard Kadrey

If you like old school cyberpunk, you should feel right at home with Metrophage.

Although Jonny Qabbala is a dodgy low-rent drug dealer as opposed to a dodgy netjockey type it most definitely has a similar feel.

Crazed rich criminals doing bizarre things to people with drugs, people want Jonny for various reasons. He gets into trouble with body modded gangs, all that sort of noir-punk good stuff is to be found here.

3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Beneath Ceaseless Skies 16 - Scott H. Andrews

Your standard BCS issue, a 3 and a 3.5.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies 16 : The Sacrifice Pit - Brian Dolton
Beneath Ceaseless Skies 16 : Clockwork Heart Clockwork Soul - Kris Dikeman

Belly slashing grace.

3 out of 5

No good will come of bloody robots and demons.

3.5 out of 5

3 out of 5

Clockwork Heart Clockwork Soul - Kris Dikeman

No good will come of bloody robots and demons.

3.5 out of 5

Serial Opening - Jack Kilborn and Blake Crouch

"The hardest thing about killing a hitchhiker is finding one to pick up.

Donaldson could remember just ten years ago, when interstates boasted a hitcher every ten miles, and a discriminating killer could pick and choose who looked the easiest, the most fun, the juiciest. These days, cops kept the expressways clear of easy marks, and Donaldson was forced to cruise off-ramps, underpasses, and rest areas, prowl back roads, take one hour coffee breaks at oases.

Recreational murder was becoming more trouble than it was worth."

4 out of 5

The Sacrifice Pit - Brian Dolton

Belly slashing grace.

3 out of 5

Norse Code 2 - Greg Van Eekhout

"The giant hunched her shoulders and faced Hermod, panting a dank wind. "I take it you've really never slain a giant before?"

"You were going to be my first."

"You have to put more muscle behind a blow like that. That's why Thor was so good at giant-killing. He had the arms to swing that hammer of his. And he usually went right for the head, just dashed our brains out. Flesh wounds with us count for little.""

3.5 out of 5

Norse Code 1 - Greg Van Eekhout

"“There are two qualifications for one to earn a place on Odin’s mead bench. The fighter must be a blood descendant of Odin. Well, that’s a preference more than a hard-and-fast qualification, but, anyway, we have determined that you’re of Odin’s blood. The second qualification—and this one is essential—is that the fighter die bravely on the field of combat.”

She presented the sword to him, bowing her head in observance of a formality she didn’t really feel.

Hoover looked at her, appalled. “A blood descendant of . . . ? I don’t even know what you’re talking about, and you’re going to kill me? You’re going to murder me?”

“Murder?” Grimnir scoffed. “Hardly. It’ll be a fair fight. And,” he added with a wink at Mist, “there’s always the possibility you could beat me. Now, take up your sword and prepare to be glorious.”

Hoover covered his face with his hands. His shoulders shook. “Please, I don’t understand any of this. I’m not . . . whatever you think I am. I’m an actuary.”"

3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Tribes Of Bela - Albert E. Cowdrey

Bearpig breeding betrayal last stand.

4 out of 5

The Mirage Returns 2 - Steve Libbey

Got your reality altering pulp hero, got your powers coming back, got your crazy prophecies. Maybe some super-nazis, too.

3.5 out of 5

The Mirage Returns 1 - Steve Libbey

Echo director Fata Morgana finds herself on the trail of a scarily powerful meta, thanks to an old issue of Weird Tales, she ends up having drinks with 30s pulp hero, Dr. Dusk.

3.5 out of 5

An Interview with - Gordon Van Gelder

Also a discussion in the comments with Pablo Defendini of, which is where the interview is hosted.

4.5 out of 5

Blogging the Muse - Robert Reed

14th in an author interview series, which does mention a 'Great Ship' novella called 'Alone'.

Not seen that one, I think.

4 out of 5

Reed All About It - Jeff Korbelik

An article from the Lincoln Journal-Star, complete with through goldfish tank picture, and Asimov's t-shirt.

"If I needed to put together a resume, I would say I was one of the great experts at apocalyptic crap. I can generate 100 ways in which the Earth dies."

3.5 out of 5

Today Next Week And 50 Years Down The Road - Robert Reed

Interviewed by Steven Hampton and Tony Lee for the Zone. Sister Alice, Marrow, putting together a collection, and more.

4 out of 5

The Dragon Page Cover To Cover - Robert Reed

As one guest on the December 8th 2003 show. Number 91.

3.5 out of 5

Science Fiction Weekly Interview - Robert Reed

With Nick Gevers, long in-depth piece.

5 out of 5

The Surreal World Of Robert Reed - John Taylor

Article from Omaha World-Herald. Newspaper with delusions of grandeur?

Decent article though.

Transformers the Veiled Threat 1 - Alan Dean Foster

"Erasto Khalfani had seen much in his twenty-nine years, and he felt he was prepared for virtually all of life’s surprises. But his world of experiences could not have prepared him for what was occurring before his eyes at this moment.

The truck began to move. Not forward or reverse like a truck should, but rather every aspect of it was in motion. Parts folded and flipped in upon themselves, creating a completely new image in front of his eyes. Within seconds a towering figure loomed over Erasto. It rose up on two legs, one arm pointing directly at him, no more than a foot from his face. Erasto had stared into the barrel of various weapons during his life, and he knew that he was currently looking directly into the maw of the largest cannon he had ever seen. His AK-47 dropped harmlessly to his feet as he gawked in sheer terror at the being in front of him.

And then it spoke.

“I believe it is time for you to, how do you say? ‘Walk the plank.’?”"

3 out of 5

Wake 1-8 - Robert J. Sawyer

" He handed Caitlin the eyePod, and she immediately started feeling it all over with her fingers. The unit was longer now. An extension had been added to the bottom and it was held on with what felt like duct tape; it was a prototype after all. But the extension had the same width and thickness as the original unit, so the whole thing was still a rectangular block. It was substantially larger than Caitlin's iPod — she had an old screenless version of the iPod Shuffle, since an LCD didn't do her any good. But it wasn't much bigger than Bashira's iPhone, although the unit Dr. Kuroda had built had sharp right angles instead of the rounded corners of Apple's devices.

"Okay," said Kuroda. "I think I explained before that the eyePod is always in communication with your post-retinal implant via a Bluetooth 4.0 connection, right?"

"Yes," said Caitlin, and "Right," added her mom"

3.5 out of 5

Legion Of the Living Dead - Brant House

Secret Agent X here has an enemy who can give him a little bit of a run for his money in the disguise stakes.

Then there's at catwoman, this case, the Leopard Lady.

So you got your supervillain, you got your femme fatale, you got your death traps, all the old standards are out to play in this adventure.

2.5 out of 5

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Hunt Through Napoleon's Web - Raymond Benson

"“Well... it looks like she’s been kidnapped.”

He wasn’t sure he’d heard Michael correctly. “Say that again?”

“She’s been kidnapped!”

“Are you serious?”

“Yes. And there’s a ransom demand.”

“How much do they want?”

“They don’t want money, Gabriel. They want you. ”"

3 out of 5

Hunt Among the Killers Of Men - David J. Schow

"Miraculously, the assembled gun actually fit the holster that was part of the stage costume—an unanticipated plus, there.

The white facial pancake and black lipstick and liner she rapidly applied made her indistinguishable from the others, male or female. This, she had counted on.

Feeling like an ingénue in a chorus line, she filed onstage with the rest, having no idea whatsoever about marks, timing, position, or the number to which they were supposedly herky-jerking around. It did not matter. She needed five seconds, tops, before she was blown.

Outside the Pearl, a dirigible bloated with neon circled the convex windows.

In a single liquid move, Qingzhao pivoted, crouched, sighted, and fired.

The bullet rocketed across the room and hit the plexi about a foot away from Kuan-Ku Tak Cheung’s head. The tempered material spiderwebbed but did not shatter. The round left a broad, opaque splatter like a paintball round.

Which began to effervesce. Acid."

4 out of 5

Hunt Beyond the Frozen Fire - Christa Faust

"I’d ask what a nice girl like you is doing in a place like this," Gabriel told the brunette sitting at the bar with her back to him. "But I already know exactly what you’re doing."

The brunette spun, reaching for the revolver beside her glass, but Gabriel grabbed her wrist before she could raise it to draw a bead between his eyes.

"I also know you’re not a very nice girl," Gabriel said, tightening his grip and meeting her furious gaze without flinching.

The bar was a murky, nameless Moldovan hole-in-the-wall, spitting distance from the Transdniestrian border. The angry brunette was Dr. Fiona Rush, professor in Cambridge University’s prestigious archeology department and partner in Gabriel Hunt’s latest Eastern European expedition. She had also been Gabriel’s lover, which made it all the worse when she’d double crossed him and run off with the legendary jewel-encrusted Cossack dagger they’d come here to find. There were some who claimed that the kindjal was cursed, that it would bring sorrow and strife to anyone who possessed it. After everything he’d been through in the past few days, Gabriel was inclined to agree."

4 out of 5

Hunt At World's End - Nicholas Kauffman

"No one knew how old the Death’s Head Key was. It had been given its name in 1581 when the explorer Vincenzo de Montoya found it on a trip through Asia and noticed its bow was shaped like a skull, with concavities where the eye sockets might have been and a diamond-shaped groove between them. No one, not even de Montoya, knew what it unlocked—but whatever it was, Gabriel could guess from the look of the thing that it was no simple door. Most keys had a single blade that fit into the keyway of a lock, but the Death’s Head Key had three, one straight and the other two flanking it at forty-five degree angles. De Montoya had reportedly worn it around his neck as a good luck charm, but it hadn’t kept up its end of the bargain. His luck ran out when he disappeared during an Amazon expedition a few years later, and the Death’s Head Key had been lost with him.

Lost, until Gabriel found it, still dangling from the broken neck of de Montoya’s skeleton at the bottom of a deep pit in the rain forest.

Now, watching the blond man stuff the Death’s Head Key in his pocket, Gabriel couldn’t help feeling it was about to become lost once again."

3.5 out of 5

Delivering Tomorrow Today - Robert Friedman

Borrowing Waldo Magic.

3 out of 5

Hunt Through the Cradle Of Fear - Charles Ardai

""What makes you think I’ll be useful to you alive?" Gabriel said.

"You really don’t have a choice, do you?" DeGroet said. He pointed to either side of him with his stick. The five men around him came in closer. Gabriel looked from man to man, from face to face. Molnar’s showed the fiercest emotion, but all of them looked as though they’d be glad to tear him limb from limb.

"That’s where you’re wrong, Lajos," Gabriel said. "There’s always another choice." He let the scimitar drop, turned, and hurled himself into space."

4 out of 5

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Chance Island - Mark Teppo

Tasty. Waste no bits.

3 out of 5

Charlie The Purple Giraffe Was Acting Strangely - David D. Levine

Where's that cartoon fourth wall then?

3.5 out of 5

Brightness Falls From the Air 1 - James Tiptree Jr

"Dawn is tenderly brightening to daylight over the beautiful small world called Damiem. The sun, called here Yrrei, is not yet up, and the pearl-colored zenith shows starless; Damiem is very far out on the Galactic Rim. Only two lights inhabit the sky. One is a great, complex, emerald splendor setting toward the west; that is the Murdered Star. The other is a fiery point, hurtling down from overhead.

The landing field in the foreground is lush with wildflowers and clearly not much used.

Waiting at the edge of the field, under the streamer-tree withes, is an open electric ground-jitney, hitched to a flat freight trailer. Three Humans, a woman and two men, are in the jitney's front seat.

Their eyes are fixed on the descending ship; they do not notice the small animal quietly approaching the freight trailer. It is a handsome, velvety-purple arachnoid about a half meter in diameter; the Dameii call it Avray, meaning doom or horror. It is very rare and shy. In another instant it has disappeared into or under the trailer, as the Humans begin to speak.

"They seem to be sending down the big shuttle," says Cory Estreèl. "I wonder how many extra we'll get?""

4 out of 5

The Surgery Of Self - Mark Teppo

Siamese shadow twin spook.

3.5 out of 5

Faith Hidden in the Hands of the Blind - Mark Teppo

Booking bets by the page.

4 out of 5

Open Your Eyes - Paul Jessup

If one of Asher's Polity ships took the mutant lovechild of Robinson's Stardance and Westerfeld's Evolution's Darling down to Reynold's Chasm City for a good unsafe rogering, and then kicked the bizarre outcome back out into space, well, you might get something like Open Your Eyes.

This is somewhere in the borderland between extremely long novella and short novel. Good to get some of those again!

Call this very bizarre space opera a 4.25.

4 out of 5

Epiphany - Michael Connelly

Afterword to the No Good From A Corpse collection talking about youthful inspiration watching Brackett's Marlowe.

3.5 out of 5

Black Gate An Interview With - James Enge

There was more of those Morlock stories not published even back in 2007.

4.5 out of 5

Friday, May 08, 2009

How the Mermaid Lost Her Song - Mark Teppo

Most likely a bloke's fault. Unless it was a squid or a turtle.

3.5 out of 5

Lightbreaker 1-9 - Mark Teppo

"The Chorus were a whispering echo beneath these questions, and—exquire!—responding to my curiosity, they arced across the road. Phantasmal snakes wiggling through ethereal space, they kissed the smoldering flesh of the deer, and the contact returned a taste of the hot human presence within.

The deer jerked as if it had just been shocked, the invasive soul reacting to my spectral inquisition. The animal snorted, hot blood spattering from its nose, and bolted. The sound of its movement through the heavy brush was pure panic—that unidirectional flight of instinct-driven terror.

My throat and nose tingled as the Chorus returned, flush with stolen memories. They brought me spoil like worker ants returning to their hive queen. Sensory data belonging to the traveling spirit coursed into my awareness, and for a few moments, I was overwhelmed by this rush of images and scents and textures.

There. A flicker of memory caught my attention. The Chorus wrapped it tightly, and when I squeezed, all of its secrets gushed out. Memory is nothing more than ego impressions imprinted onto raw sense data, consciousness lattices laid over the chemical cages of the brain. It is the psychological bindings—the way these structures become our identities—that anchors the spirit to the flesh. These secrets linger with the soul. The Chorus stretched this illicit memory so I could clearly dissect it. Yes, there. The touch of another spirit. More than flesh, more than spit or blood. Spirit touch. And with that touch, came other details. The ones I remembered. As I inhabited the foreign memory, my tongue unconsciously touched my lips and tasted her skin again; I inhaled deeply as if I could actually smell her on the night air.


He knew Katarina. Shortly before this man had become a rogue spirit, he had been in close physical contact with her.

The Chorus, indelibly bound up in the cosmological memory of my past, sang in their eagerness to find her. Their collective voices, usually a persistent chatter of ancient skulls, became an undulating wind of wordless need. In the dark pit beneath them, I felt the twist of a long-buried root, as if its movement was giving birth to a breath of air that the Chorus magnified into a wind."

3.5 out of 5

Origin Story - Tim Pratt

A brother details the outlandish extremes his gifted sibling goes to to turn his great talents to the job of self-developed super heroing.

4 out of 5

Phases Of Gravity 1 - Dan Simmons

"The other memory still returned to him in dreams. The gravity. The one-sixth gee. The sheer exhilaration of bouncing across the glaring, rock-strewn surface with only the lightest touch of their boots to propel them. It awakened an even earlier memory in Baedecker; he was a child, learning to swim in Lake Michigan, and his father was holding him under the arms while he kicked and bounced his way across the sand of the lake bottom. What marvelous lightness, the supporting strength of his father's arms, the gentle rise and fall of the green waves, the perfect synchronization of weight and buoyancy meeting in the ribbon of balance flowing up from the balls of his feet.

He still dreamed about that."

Star Dragon - Mike Brotherton

Probably a bit closer to 3.25 than 3.5, this novel, but ended up better than I thought it was going to be, after having looked at the start before.

A trip to study a strange stellar life form in an odd double dwarf system is troubled thanks to tensions between the crew and the science involved.

Beasts that can hang out in stars can also be classed as dangerous and unpredictable, given not much chance normal or even post-humans will understand them straight away.

Those onboard, despite having advanced travel technology still have to deal with the fact that back home a huge length of time will have passed compared to what they have experienced.

Then there's the ship AI with personality, 'Papa'. A rather odd addition.

3.5 out of 5

Deluge 24 - Brian Keene

“Put her down, you fucker!”

Earl laughed. Even as Henry charged him, his root-like fingers bored into Moxey, burrowing through fur and skin. Blood welled from the wounds. The cat’s howls reached a frenzied, frantic pitch. Earl flexed his arms and ripped Moxey in half. Henry screamed as parts of her splashed into the mud. The puddles turned red. Earl tossed the halves aside and beckoned Henry forward.

“That’ssss… right. Come get… soft… some.”

3.5 out of 5

Deluge 23 - Brian Keene


“Mr. Garnett?”

The figure shuffled toward him. Moxey arched her back and hissed.


“No… not Garnett… soft… you little… shit bag…”

“Earl Harper,” Henry tried to disguise the sudden tremble in his voice. He hated the sound. “What the hell is wrong with you?”

Then the thing that had been Earl Harper emerged from the ruins and Henry saw for himself what was wrong with him."

3.5 out of 5

Going Deep 3 - James Patrick Kelly

Space call is genetic, kid.

3.5 out of 5

Deluge 25 - Brian Keene

"She hadn’t intended to kill him. That hadn’t been her plan. Sarah had been sure that she could amputate the infected limb and cauterize the wound before the white fuzz spread any farther. But when she’d spoken to Kevin, looked him in the eyes and heard his voice—and saw the fungus moving on its own—instinct had taken over.


4 out of 5

N-Words - Ted Kosmatka

Another good story by Kosmatka. I suppose the writer he reminds me of the most with the recent handful of stories is Robert Reed. Certainly good company.

The future issue he is taking a look at is cloning. The US has banned certain lines of research on religious grounds, so all the best cutting edge work happens elsewhere.

First with dogs, then the extinct Tasmanian Tiger, prehistoric mammoths, and, of course, finally making it to the Homo genus.

A leading scientist gets a Neanderthal skull. The results surprise, and a new minority becomes a target for racism.

A bit of flashforward and flashback here that seems to work ok.

Hopefully he can continue to come up with regular work given the recent quality.

4 out of 5

The Mountains Of Majipoor 1 - Robert Silverberg

"Where was the road? It was miraculous that Korinaam was able to see it at all, let alone to follow every twist and turn.

Though it was warm enough inside the floater, Harpirias found himself starting to shiver, and could not stop. From such glimpses of the pass as he had had in the early stages of the climb, he knew that the road was a treacherous one, switching back from side to side above terrible abysses as it rose between the two stolid mountains. Even if Korinaam did not simply steer the floater over the edge on one of the sharper turns, the wind was only too likely to pick the vehicle up and send it crashing down the slope.

Harpirias sat still, saying nothing, fighting to keep his teeth from chattering. It was not proper for him to show fear. He was a knight of the Coronal's court, a beneficiary of the severe and rigorous training that such a phrase implied. Nor was his ancestry that of a coward. A thousand years before, his celebrated ancestor Prestimion had ruled this world in glory, doing deeds of high renown, first as Coronal, then as Pontifex. Could a descendant of the resplendent Prestimion permit himself to display cowardice before a Shapeshifter?"

3.5 out of 5

Burning Bright Day 30 - Melissa Scott

"The orbiter canted again as he spoke, and when it came level again, Lioe was looking at a scene she recognized. Twin lakes lay to either side of a piece of land like a small mountain, falling steeply to the sea on one side and more gently into settled country on the other. That was Plug Island, where the first-in settlers had first dammed the shallow lagoon to create more land for their growing city. Double headlands cradled each of the lakes; the desalination complex and the thick white walls of the tidal generating stations that closed each lake off from the sea gleamed in the sunlight. Outside the generating stations' walls, surf bloomed against the storm barriers that defended the Plug Island lagoons; it frothed as well against the base of the cliffs to either side. They were coming into Newfields. Even as she thought it, the orbiter rolled a final time, then steadied into the familiar approach. They flashed over the clustered houses of the Ghetto where the off-worlders, and especially the hsai, lived -- still on the inner edges of the island, overlooking the land, away from the sea -- and then dropped low over the administrative complex. The orbiter touched down easily on stained and tire-marked pavement, and she leaned back in her couch, no longer watching the blocks of warehouses that flashed past beyond the empty field. Not long now, she thought, not long. I'll find a room in the Ghetto, and I'll call some clubs, and I'll have a Game to run. She smiled, losing herself in a dream."

4 out of 5

The Crystal Crypt - Philip K. Dick

Martian City destroyer hunt.

3.5 out of 5

Prophet 1 - Mike Resnick

"I hope you're not looking for trouble," said the bartender. "They say Mendoza is a pretty tough customer."

"What I'm looking for is none of your business," said the man coldly.

"Fine by me," said the bartender with a shrug. "I just figured that since you don't know him, probably you've been hired by someone who does know him. Thought I could save you a little misery."

"Save your thoughts for Mendoza."

"Well," said the bartender with a shrug, "at least you've been warned."

"All right, I've been warned," said the man. "Now point him out to me."

"See that fellow sitting by himself in the corner?" asked the bartender. "The one dressed all in black?"

The man nodded. "He's armed like he's going into battle," he said. "Laser pistol, sonic gun, projectile pistol. Probably got a knife tucked into that boot, too."

"Actually, he's got a knife in each boot," said the bartender. He paused. "Are you really sure you want to go through with this?"

"It's my work," said the man, turning to face his prey.

"You could talk," suggested the bartender. "The Iceman's always willing to talk instead of fight."

3.5 out of 5

Oracle 1 - Mike Resnick

The End of the Line was filled with the usual crowd of adventurers and misfits, humans and aliens, when she entered it. The aliens -- seven Canphorites, a pair of Lodinites, two Domarians, and one each from a trio of races she had never seen before -- were clustered together at a number of small tables. Most of them couldn't metabolize the bar's offerings, and were obviously waiting for the large casino, which consisted of some two dozen tables and an equal number of exotic games of chance, to open its doors. A small sign, written in various human and alien languages, announced that that happy moment would occur at sunset.

The heads of a quartet of alien carnivores, each snarling in mute defiance, were positioned above the long hardwood bar, and in a glass case just next to the changemaker was a tattered copy of a poem written by Black Orpheus, the Bard of the Inner Frontier, which he had created and autographed when he had stopped on Last Chance for an evening some two centuries ago.

Twenty humans, some dressed in colorful and expensive garments, others wearing the dull browns and grays of miners and prospectors, stood at the bar or sat at tables. None of them paid her any attention as she entered the tavern, looked around for a moment, and finally approached the bartender.

"I'm looking for a man known as the Iceman," she said. "Is he here?""

3.5 out of 5

The White Rabbit - Joe R. Lansdale

Book of the dead bunny.

3.5 out of 5

The Pioneers - Mike Resnick

Fixing them planets.

3 out of 5

Soothsayer 1 - Mike Resnick

"Well, the human natives call it Westerly."

"Thanks a heap."

"You couldn't pronounce what the aliens call it. It's listed on the star maps as Romanus Omega II." He paused. "It's an oxygen world, of course."

"Any idea what the natives are like?"

"I imagine they breathe oxygen," he said. "What difference does it make? We're only going to perform for a human audience."

"You don't crawl down chimneys or through sewers," she replied. "If I'm going to run into an alien in tight quarters, I want to know what my options are."

"Same as always: run like hell."

3.5 out of 5

The Paratwa - Christopher Hinz

"Saw-beard pivoted, aimed his thruster at Gillian. He was far too late. Gillian, biting down hard, ignited his defensive web, heard the near-invisible crescents -- front and rear -- hum softly as they came to life. Saw-beard fired. Gillian, braced against the ledge, was hit by the discrete blast of energy, feeling it as a gentle nudge against his front crescent.

A single-tube thruster, thought Gillian. A one-second recharge interval before it can be used again.

All the time in the world.

Gillian flexed his right wrist and compressed his knuckles, launching the Cohe wand from its slip-wrist holster into his waiting palm. He squeezed the egg.

The twisting black beam whipped up the side of the mech-wall, the leading fifteen to twenty inches of the hot particle stream disintegrating everything in its path, the remainder of the beam merely a trail of harmless light. The fourth smuggler, perched twenty feet above the alley, screamed as twill tubes, relays, and conduits exploded, showering him beneath a mix of hot liquids and pressurized gases. Live wires arced, the alley's gloom vanished in a sizzling display of electrical madness. The smuggler -- along with a mélange of exploding flares -- was jolted from the mech-wall -- his arms flailing wildly, thruster rifle flying from his grasp, his crescent web turning the color of red wine as it soared to full power, trying to neutralize the thrashing high-voltage cables.

The smuggler was still in midair when Gillian twisted his wrist and turned the Cohe's deadly energy on Saw-beard. For an instant, the black beam seemed to coil in upon itself, lancing into an expanding spiral as it hurtled high into the air. Gillian squeezed the egg harder and jerked his wrist; the Cohe's deadly energy stream performed a U-turn, plunged toward the ground. Saw-beard opened his mouth in astonishment as the Cohe's devastating energy sliced off the barrel of his thruster."

3.5 out of 5

Ash Ock 1 - Christopher Hinz

"Noise. A shock wave of insane melodies, blasting into her head: the endless mass scream of a thousand terrified people, the deep bass roar of thruster fire, and high above it all, the shrill echoes of fresh victims. And Susan suddenly realized that she was moving closer to those primal cries, closer to the source of death.

And there he was, not more than ten feet away from her, a madman with a pair of flashing daggers. Susan felt abruptly unreal, as if her body had gone blind, as if this were all just a bad dream, happening in some other place, some other time.

He looked like a typical ICN banker, wearing a sharply creased gray suit, with a stylish sunshield visor circling his forehead, draping a pair of faintly polarized disks across his eyes. He had short-cropped blond hair, a hooked nose, and a slate-colored blade in each hand.

And there was something bizarre about the daggers.

Susan could not focus on them, could not actually see the knives clearly. It was as if she were looking at a kinetic holo projection with the beams out of alignment, creating blurred edges. A crazed killer with three-dimensional cartoon images clutched in his fists.

But those images were administering death -- real and final."

3.5 out of 5

Liege Killer Prologue - Christopher Hinz

"Kelly stared up at the ice-crusted ceiling. "Maybe," he said softly, "there could be a cave-in down here. We could report that the Costeaus were probably artifact-hunting..."

"That's irresponsible! I'm not going to have this on my conscience, Kelly! This could be the beginning of a bad situation and we're duty bound to report it."

Kelly's jaw tightened. "All right, dammit! We'll report. But no speculation. We tell E-Tech exactly what we've found and let them come to conclusions. I don't want any extra trouble from this."


Kelly brushed past him and stomped back toward the generator car. Bronavitch paused to stare at the two empty stasis cradles.

Two of them. He could not shake the fear. Stories that he had learned as a schoolboy came back to him; stories made even more terrifying by two hundred years of legend.

He shuddered. It was neither the time nor place to dwell on such things. He turned and quickly followed Kelly back out into the tunnel."

4 out of 5

The Three Planeteers 1 - Edmond Hamilton

"..sauntered through the crowded, krypton lit street bordering the great New York spaceport, casually, as though there was not a reward on their heads. An Earthman, a Venusian, and a huge Mercurian, looking merely like three ordinary space-sailors in their soiled, drab jackets and trousers.

But inwardly John Thorn, the lean, dark-headed Earthman of the trio, was queerly tense. He felt the warning of that sixth sense which tells of being watched. His brown, hard-chinned face showed nothing of what he felt, and he was smiling as though telling some joke as he spoke to his two companions.

"We're being followed," he said. "I've felt it, since we left the spaceport. I don't know who it is."

Sual Av, the bald, bow-legged Venusian, laughed merrily as though at a jest. His bright green eyes glistened, and there was a wide grin on his ugly, froglike face.

"The police?" he chuckled.

Gunner Welk, the huge Mercurian, growled in his throat. His shock of yellow hair seemed to bristle on his head, his massive face and cold blue eyes hardening belligerently.

"How in hell's name would the Earth police spot us so quickly after our arrival?" he muttered.

"I don't think it's the police," John Thorn said, his black eyes still smiling casually. "Stop at the next corner, and we'll see who passes us.""

3.5 out of 5

The White Abacus 1 - Damien Broderick

"'Telmah is Orwen's near-clone,' Carmel observed. She aksed a multi-dimensional genome display grid, dropping it into the hologram. 'All his DNA is derived from his father, with the exception of an X-chromosome fragment from Orwen's spouse, Gerutha.' A small section of the rotating helix glowed gold on blue. Codons marched beside the schematic. Where had the committee obtained this kind of forbidden information? Cell samples seized by the surveillance systems at shuttle embarkation, presumably. I was shocked, but fascinated. The Real was more complex than I had anticipated, dreaming and gaming before my birth."

3 out of 5

The Dreaming Dragons 1 - Damien Broderick

"He hated the desert sun, and he kept coming back to it.

In the tangled DNA-spaghetti of his cells sat a bundle of genes selected by fifty thousand years of hostile light, maybe a hundred thousand, light hard enough to peel you to the bone. From childhood, these genes had layered the surface of his flesh with a skin potentially the colour of charred firewood.

Alf Dean Djanyagirnji snorted, the steering wheel jouncing his palms. Under the inherited mask, his fallible city flesh was eager to pop and blister mockingly between the raised welts that the old tribal men had scored on his body. Six months of indoor research and the senior lecturer's podium were sufficient to bleach him back to the modest dusty tan of an immigrant Sicilian peasant, or a dedicated weekend surfer.

"Bunyips to the right of them," Alf declaimed, for something to say. "Rainbow Serpents to the left." No comment from the kid.

One of the forms taken by the Rainbow Serpent, the bunyip was said to relish human meat. It was not choosy about skin colour. White or black, straight down the hatch. Fair enough of course. (And that was an irritating turn of phrase to run through your head. Fair enough, indeed!) The beast's own appearance varied rather freely, depending on your informant. Stout as a wallowing hippo, or lean and crabby, emu-necked. A fat belching seal, or elongated and sinewy as a python. With its feet on backwards. Alf had always liked that optional touch. The bunyip would watch him, as he pursued it, without the need to turn its horrid head."

4 out of 5

Transit To Scorpio 1 - Kenneth Bulmer

"The Scorpion calls

Although I have had many names and been called many things by the men and beasts of two worlds, I was born plain Dray Prescot.

My parents died when I was young, but I knew them both and loved them deeply. There was no mystery about my birth and I would consider it shameful now to wish that my real father had been a prince, my real mother a princess.

I was born in a small house in the middle of a row of identically similar houses, an only child, and a loved one. Now I find myself often wondering what my parents would make of my strange life and how they would greet with delight or that delicious family mockery my walking with kings and my dealing as an equal with emperors and dictators, and all the palaces and temples and fantastic settings of distant Kregen, that have fashioned me into the man I am today."

3 out of 5

Sword Of Fire 1-3 - Emmett McDowell

"The cage, he saw, was about two and a half meters long, very narrow and barely high enough for him to sit up in. It was only one of a whole row of such cages, and they were all occupied by men and women like himself.

His gun was gone. His pack, even his clothes had been taken away from him. He grasped one of the bars, pulled himself to a sitting posture. His neck felt stiff and for a moment his head swam dizzily. Then the scene jarred into focus.

Afternoon sunlight overlaid everything like an angry orange wash. Striped tents had been pitched along the river bank. Four of the purple-shelled octopods squatted about a cloth spread on the ground beneath the largest pavilion.

Its sides had been raised to permit the free flow of air, and he could see the creatures plucking food from strange vessels and goblets with their snakey tentacles.

All about, the tents green men and copper-skinned hunters milled in a senseless jostling confusion like a circus breaking its stand.

Suddenly, his eyes narrowed. The octopods were being waited on by a hairless pink skinned species of human. That made four distinct races he'd observed since landing. He ticked them off on his fingers--the cave people, the red-haired fighting men, the green and stolid porters. Now these bald, hairless white slugs of men."

3.5 out of 5

Captives Of the Weir-Wind 1 - Ross Rocklynne

"Julian Darnay came edging into the control room of his pirate ship, broad shoulders brushing against the hatch entrance, his dark, discontented eyes roved around the maze of space navigation instruments, came to rest on Mercury Bill, his pilot and partner.

"Where are we?"

"Ten million miles east of here and there," signed Mercury Bill, so named because he was a slow-motion man.

"That," said Julian coldly, "is no answer."

"Good enough for a ship without a destination."

"Who said we haven't got a destination? Our destination is a ship--any merchant ship we pick upon our detectors."

Mercury Bill swung around in the bucket-shaped control chair, almond-shaped, opaque eyes very, very patient. He lighted a mumbo weed, blew out greenish smoke. He said:

"Let's don't fool ourselves, Julian. What do you say we look back a few weeks and see what's been happening. Every merchanter we've sighted lately has been so heavily convoyed by the Old Guard we couldn't get within a thousand miles of it. Just because you and your father--God rest him--invented the fastest, trickiest, fanciest spaceship that ever rode the ether is no sign it can run the gauntlet the Old Guard is laying down these sad days. In fact, I guess the Old Guard would rather swing us and the Acheron into a trap than capture all the nasty pirates and pirate ships between here and Saturn." His brows, a thick light fuzz which alone betrayed the decade difference in age between him and the younger man, arched. "Eh.""

3 out of 5

In the Witch's Tent - Fritz Leiber

Witchiepoo advice and tent relief.

3.5 out of 5

The Cloud Of Hate - Fritz Leiber

Spendthrift boys discourse, draw when threatened, and are somewhat disturbed by sword-fighting smog.

4 out of 5

The Circle Curse - Fritz Leiber

Travelling at length tiresome, less sad blokes decide Lankhmar not so bad now.

3 out of 5

Induction - Fritz Leiber

The meeting of the Mouser and Fafhrd, at least according to Sheelba.

3.5 out of 5

The Sadness Of the Executioner - Fritz Leiber

The Death of Newhon uses the boys to help in the proper death of heroes.

4.5 out of 5

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Lawyers Ghouls and Mummies - Ryk Spoor

Doing the vampire security cover story kidnap rescue.

3.5 out of 5

Queen Of the Martian Mysteries an Appreciation Of Leigh Brackett - Michael Moorcock

A lengthy one, too, and used as the Introduction to the Haffner edition Martian Quest.

4.5 out of 5

Leigh Brackett - Bill Pronzini

One page introduction to her story in the Hardboiled anthology.

You can find it by Google Books now apparently. It is Page 348. Search for Leigh Brackett works, too.

3.5 out of 5

Leigh Brackett - David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer

Multi-page introduction to 'The Enchantress of Venus' in the The Space Opera Renaissance. Amazon's Search Inside will let you see it.

Search for Leigh Brackett, select page 92.

4.5 out of 5

Interplanetary Romance Swords and Sense of Wonder - Cynthia Ward

An overview and bibliography of the Sword and Planet Interplanetary Romance sub-genre.

4.5 out of 5

Fantastic Fiction - Leigh Brackett

Bibliography of work, including books containing some short stories. Also some cover images.

4 out of 5

Leigh (Douglass) Brackett (1915-1978) - Petri Liukkonen

A brief overview and bibliography focusing on movies and novels.

3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Two Sams - Robert Reed

Time for empires and cancer cures.

3.5 out of 5

Two Sams - Robert Reed

Gone In A Flash - Ryk Spoor

Doing your fictional research for real vampire killing.

3 out of 5

Forgotten Fabulists - Christopher Roden

World fantasy convention panel talking about writers of interest that have disappeared, from print. That being the operative word, no mention if anything online by any of these people, given some from quite a while ago - multiple panelists are paper publishers it seems. Certainly some online from some of them, but several I hadn't heard of.

4 out of 5

Endless Night - Barbara Roden

Cold and scary.

3.5 out of 5

Sugar - Leah Bobet

A case of a fat vampire gamma, as in sustenance preferred of, not large, rotund and fanged.

3 out of 5

Bar None 1-3 - Tim Lebbon

""Why Cornwall?"

"I told you, it's a solid place. Bar None will be safe. It's been arranged, and it won't change when the time comes."

"What if I don't want to leave?"

Michael leans forward. "Life is opportunity, and living is the greatest opportunity of all."

"Who are you?"

He smiles, looks at his watch. "Yesterday, I was Michael. But it's gone midnight now, and soon it'll be time for me to go."

"We can't just up and leave," I say. "There could be anything out there."

His face becomes stern. "There is," he says. "Factions that don't agree. People who have moved on. And not everyone who survived is quite as willing to accept things as you and your friends. But survival is an ongoing condition, and the weak must not prevail."

"Are we weak?" I ask. I think of the long days and weeks we've spent here, drinking and theorising and hoping that Jessica's new plants will take, to feed us through the next autumn and winter.

"I think you know the answer to that," he says.

"I want to stay. It's not so bad here."

Michael shakes his head, and I see a brief flash of yellow in his eyes. He sighs, the first sign of impatience, and holds out his hands. "What is there to stay for? Life won't get any easier, believe me. The beer is running out, and at Bar None the cellar is endless. Survive. Evolve."

"Sounds like a fairy tale," I say, smiling.

Michael does not return my smile. "If you like."

I nod, sit up straighter. "What about the others?"

"I've talked to them."

"Already?" I glance at my watch, letting the moonlight illuminate the dials. It's just past one a.m.

"I'm still Michael. To you, and all of them."

"You're not normal." Like a frightened child I gather my duvet, but stop short of pulling it up to my chin.

Michael simply shakes his head, but I'm not sure whether he's denying my accusation, or agreeing."

3.5 out of 5

The One-armed Elek - Stepan Chapman

You're going to rip my arm out of its socket, mate, see if you don't.

3 out of 5

The One-Armed Elek - Stepan Chapman

Haunted - Marta Randall

You killed me, mum.

3 out of 5

Haunted - Marta Randall

Sea Changes - Marta Randall

Caught myself a fishy man.

3.5 out of 5

Sea Changes - Marta Randall

Undeniably Cute: A Cautionary Tale - Marta Randall

Think we'll stay with the beer and pretty savages.

3 out of 5

Undeniably Cute: A Cautionary Tale - Marta Randall

On Cannon Beach - Marta Randall

Too cold to hang around here.

3 out of 5

On Cannon Beach - Marta Randall

Apex Magazine 8 - Jason Sizemore

An article by Lavide Tidhar about doing an Apex anthology, an interview with Fran Friel and T. M. Wright.

Definitely a better quality issue.

Apex Magazine 8 : Apex Magazine 8 - Jason Sizemore
Apex Magazine 8 : Hideki and the Gnomes - Mark Lee Pearson
Apex Magazine 8 : Clockwork, Patchwork and Ravens - Peter M. Ball
Apex Magazine 8 : When the Thorns Are the Tips of Trees - Jason Sanford
Apex Magazine 8 : Gone Fishin’ - John R. Platt

Twelve moons a' whacky.

3 out of 5

Crow moll.

3.5 out of 5

Thorn die memorial attack growth.

3.5 out of 5

Big one story is a killer.

3 out of 5

3.5 out of 5

Gone Fishin' - John R. Platt

Big one story is a killer.

3 out of 5

When Thorns Are the Tips Of Trees - Jason Sanford

Thorn die memorial attack growth.

3.5 out of 5

Clockwork and Patchwork Ravens - Peter M. Ball

Crow moll.

3.5 out of 5

Hideki and the Gnomes - Mark Lee Pearson

Twelve moons a' whacky.

3 out of 5

Anthologies Like Predators Closing In - Lavie Tidhar

"I used to think editing an anthology merely meant choosing some stories you liked, banging them together into a book and – voila! – you had an anthology, easier than frying two eggs and altogether less messy.

I still wish that were the case."

4 out of 5

Memories Of My Sister - Aliette de Bodard

That's my bloke, you smelly-soon-to-be-ex-demon.

3.5 out of 5

Last Son Of Tomorrow - Greg van Eekhout

Mine Enemy Grows Older. So does the wife.

3 out of 5

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Abyss and Apex 30 - Wendy S. Dalmater

An issue of a little more interest, given the presence of Sparhawk, de Bodard, and Nestvold. The middle of whom has produced a pretty reasonable story. The other aren't too bad as far as average type stories goes. The others aren't good enough, having writing, research and generally not very interesting failins.

Abyss and Apex 30 : The Midnight Girls - Lisa A. Koosis
Abyss and Apex 30 : No Cord Or Cable - Bud Sparhawk
Abyss and Apex 30 : Dancing For The Monsoon - Aliette de Bodard
Abyss and Apex 30 : In The Middle Of Nowhere With Company - Ruth Nestvold
Abyss and Apex 30 : Deep Moves - William Highsmith

Sense of confusion release.

2.5 out of 5

Alien patricide please.

3 out of 5

Destroyed in the rain.

3.5 out of 5

One Librarian bird.

3 out of 5

Chess notation inefficient. e4 better for space. Plus, KP-KP4 highly redundant.

3 out of 5

2 out of 5

Monday, May 04, 2009

Dancing For the Moonsoon - Aliette de Bodard

Destroyed in the rain.

3.5 out of 5