Tuesday, June 30, 2009

An Interview With - Gerald W. Page

"Leigh Brackett, on the other hand, is my favorite writer. Stark and the Star Kings is their first acknowledged collaboration. It is not their first collaboration, however. They were collaborating during the fifties and the sixties, and I think there are two chapters in Return to the Stars that that strike me as being possibly written by her.

A friend of mine, John Guidry, a long time fan who lives in New Orleans, told me he had embarrassed himself after reading…I believe it was Valley of Creation. There was a chapter in that book that he just went crazy over; he thought it was the best piece he had ever read. So, the next time he sees them at a convention, he walks up to Ed and tells him how fantastic that scene was, and how it was the best thing that Ed ever wrote. Ed replied by saying, “Actually Leigh wrote that chapter.”"

4.5 out of 5


An Interview With - Toni Weisskopf

Aberrant Dreams: "How much of Hank’s love for space adventure and historical adventure did you share with him? Jerry told me Hank was buried with a copy of Planet Stories that you had a hard time replacing.
Toni Weisskopf: You can directly attribute the new Baen Leigh Brackett eBook collections to Hank’s influence. He always said she was my toughest competition; I was just glad she was dead before we started dating, or I’d have had to kill her myself… Same with Ava Gardner, come to think of it! Hank never did aim low."

5 out of 5


Monday, June 29, 2009

The New Weird Introduction and Notes - Jeff VanderMeer and Ann VanderMeer

The editors have kindly posted the above sections to the excellent New Weird anthology.

5 out of 5


The Last Days Of Shandakor 1 - Leigh Brackett

Ancient illusions and hokey philosophies are no match for a barbarian horde at the gate, kid.

4.5 out of 5


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Black Legion - Lars Anderson

A nasty gang of connected crooks and a captured lawman means lots of work for the Domino Lady.

3 out of 5


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Made In Tanganyika - Carl Jacobi

Alien shell mini double duel.

2.5 out of 5


Be It Ever Thus - Robert Moore Williams

Just one Thor gun and a dislocated thumb for revolution, Billy.

3 out of 5


Distro 2 - Tim Akers

"It was the vat, the generically smooth, fake features fluttering through phases of pain and disbelief. Cheap vats didn't do emotion well, didn't have all the moving parts to convey true joy, or fear, or anger, not really. They couldn't do pain either, I thought, then switched back to the main barrel and shredded her. She crumpled into rags of flesh and bone, the shattered flare spreading through the room to start a dozen tiny fires.

"Nicely done, Frank. Your vengeance is served now, isn't it?" I whirled around, gun to shoulder. I only stopped when I saw who it was. Who I was. "You've paid the bill for your dear Elsa, haven't you?"

She leaned against the wall, the lines of her face and neck sharp in the magnesium storm. A quiet smile, a simple smile, then she stood upright and walked into the room, her arms folded across her chest.

"Hi, Helen," I said, and dropped the barrel to the floor, "What's up?"

Lovers should not be personalities, at least not the distributed kind. I was new to the whole scene, still excited about the newfound depths of Teef and Gina, anxious to add, to grow, to fill the earth with my mind."

3.5 out of 5


Distro 1 - Tim Akers

"When it happened, when Harry smiled his sick dog smile and turned around, and I was looking at the empty black barrel of a shotgun, seeing it through Peter's eyes, it was more like surprise than fear. I mean, those weren't really my eyes. Not like I had been born with them or anything.

A sharp red pop and the back of Harry's car was no longer part of my delicately extensive sensorium. The pain of it, my skull as it shattered, the velocity of my teeth as they tore through the soft flesh of my mouth, stray pellets burying into my chest, my throat, all this dived through the SenseNet, screaming through the spectrum until it lodged into my many heads. Helen pitched forward off the bar, the scotch still cold as she retched it across the floor. Frank fell down, crumpled against Elsa as the two of them walked down the terraced walkways over Cascade. I lay there, in the bar, on the walkway, running my fingers over the bright red smoothness in my mind. The empty place that had been Peter, now clean and dry and empty, still humming with the impact of the shotgun."

3.5 out of 5


The Feet Of Space - Tim Akers

Spaceship souvenir.

3 out of 5


Suburban Becoming - Tim Akers

Bulldozed. Duh.

2 out of 5


The Kingdom Of Doors and Rooms 3 - Tim Akers

"The air left David with a rush, replaced by a cold vacuum of fear. He was stumbling backwards, some tiny voice inside his head shouting about an uncomfortable fall, and stairs, and time in a hospital that he’d rather not spend, but it was shouted down by a more urgent voice. This voice had the red tinge of panic, and was yelling disappearance and abandoned rooms and what dying might be like. This louder voice had taken control of his wooden legs, and was driving him backwards and away from the unknown danger ahead. He was on the lip of the stairs, and the comfortable control of balance was just beginning to leave him, the first step over the empty distance below had been taken, when he locked eyes on the thing that he had seen."

3 out of 5


The Kingdom Of Doors and Rooms 2 - Tim Akers

"It was not the sort of thing you expected to find when you walked into a room, so David stood there for a few moments, blinking. There were sheep and elephants and crocodiles. A herd of buffalo stood dustily along one wall, each one facing in a different direction. David saw delicate cranes and poorly detailed elephants, and a very brightly painted donkey with an almost human face, grinning down at him with wide, wide teeth. Most of the animals were painted, some well, some by a child, and some had apparently been painted while the artist was blindfolded. A few of the animals had fallen off of their shelves, and lay on the floor in scattered shards.

Even if there had been a bed, which there was not, David was pretty sure that he wouldn’t be able to sleep with all of those painted eyes staring at him. He closed the door tightly and moved on."

3 out of 5


Kingdom Of Doors and Rooms 1 - Tim Akers

"“Grand,” sighed David, “that’s just what I was looking for. Noiselessness. Ideal.”"

2.5 out of 5


Solar 2 Dead Friends - Tim Akers

"“Jo! Wake up, honey. We need you to map us to your body! Can you do that? In your present…condition, I mean?”

“Dead, you mean? In this body, you mean?” The Body smiled and nodded. “Gimme the map.”"

3.5 out of 5


Solar 1 The Bar Of Puppets - Tim Akers

"Julie had to admit, it did seem pretty obvious. If you find yourself in the employ of a young/old sorcerer, and he sends you two counties deep into the sticks to some hick bar because he senses some kind of weird magickal disturbance, and asks you to find the resident thaumaturge and put a boot on him, well, the mumbly old guy in the corner would be candidate number one. He was even drinking red wine. Every damn wino sorcerer Julie has ever known hit the red. Nasty."

3.5 out of 5


The Manor Farther 1 Falling Down - Tim Akers

"She didn't make a sound on the way down. There were no signs of struggle, no indication that she was forced. Her blood soaked through the bedsheets that were wrapped around her waist."

3 out of 5


Approximate Angels - Tim Akers

Queen foetus feed.

3 out of 5


The Song - Tim Akers

Jack's new organ.

2.5 out of 5


The House That George Built - Harry Turtledove

Ruth not hot stuff.

3 out of 5


The Fabulous Clipjoint - Fredric Brown

A young man is shocked when his father is murdered.

This leads him to discovering quite a lot about his extended family, with a bit of help.

The bit of help comes from his Uncle, a carny denizen who does have some investigative knowledge and skills.

The two go on a somewhat unlikely hunt for what is going on, and all is more complicated than it seems.

3 out of 5


The Doll - Tim Akers

Made that girl work just like clockwork. I hope.

3 out of 5


A Walking Of Crows - Tim Akers

You're a terrible assassin son, go do something else.

3.5 out of 5


Death's Daughter - Amber Benson

""You didn't see a big dinosaur looking monster down here when you first came in, did you?"

I looked around the lobby, but whatever I had seen earlier was long gone. I couldn't believe I had spent the entire afternoon hidden in the bathroom waiting for animal control because I was losing my mind, and seeing things that were obviously not real.

Brian gave me a quizzical look, but shook his head.

"Sorry, no dinosaurs. But I did see a cowboy in his underwear playing a guitar in Times Square."

Since Brian had saved me from certain facial disfigurement, I went to dinner with him. He was a nice guy. Short, but nice.

I was gonna kill Patience . . . right before I checked into Bellevue."

4 out of 5


Friday, June 26, 2009

The Most Dangerous Game - Richard Connell

Hunter manhunt.

3.5 out of 5


Nekropolis 1 - Tim Waggoner

"“They say you’re a detective.”

That’s when I realized the vampire wasn’t warm for my undead form. I felt stupid, but I wasn’t about to show it. “They say wrong. When I was alive, I was a cop, yes. But I’m not alive anymore.” I wiggled my detached arm to emphasize my point. “But you helped that woman, the one the lyke killed.”

“Sometimes I do favors for people – for a fee. Preservative spells don’t come cheap, you know.”

“I am in desperate need of a favor. And I can pay. Please!”"

3.5 out of 5


The Book Of Secrets 1 - Chris Roberson

"“Prometheus II: No More Mister Nice God?”

“Shut up, I’m thinking… talking… whatever. Listen. If this is what I think it is” – and this time she didn’t even bother jutting her chin at the paper, we both knew what she meant – “then this could contain a fragment of one of the lost Prometheus plays. Maybe both. And from the length… both sides… um…” she did some quick math. “It could well be more than any of the other fragments found before. Maybe even the whole fucking play! Or BOTH!”

She paused, and then seemed to calm down by will of force. She lit a cigarette, and inhaled deeply, gazing over at the paper with love in her eyes.

“Shit,” she finally said. “I’m going to be famous.”"

4 out of 5


The House On the Borderland - William Hope Hodgson

You could say that The House On the Borderland is what you get if you take a H. P. Lovecraft type set-up and punch a huge chunk of Olaf Stapledon right into the heart of it.

Which is, indeed, a rather strange combination. Swine thing monsters attacking - and the death of the solar system, all in one bok, not to mention in one strange house.

The set-up is visitors on a fishing trip find a book - and inside that book is an account of madness - or at least they hope it is, because it is rather too disturbing otherwise.

I'd give this a 3.75.

3.5 out of 5



Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Warriors Of Silence 1-2 - Pierre Bordage

"“Yeah… And poor Morteen Olligrain, ending up the way he did. Eaten in his mine by a filthy lizard.”

“I told him not to dig so close to the water! No one has ever found any optalium near water, and anyway, you could see the ground was going to cave in.”

“He should have been less stubborn. They’re all like that, those half-breeds from Artilex! Always right!”

“Hey, you, Orangeman! As soon as I hit a good lode I’m comin’ to see you! You stick me in your damn machine and I’m home! And younger too!”

“Enough, Amigoet! A deremat transfer costs at least ten grand! And anyway, that story about getting younger is just a legend. You might get a couple of months out of it, but since your cells keep your biological age in memory, you’ll lose them right back. That’s what they call the Gloson correction effect, right Tixu?”"

3.5 out of 5


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

MIND MELD Guide to International SFF 1 - Karen Burnham

Information from people living in various countries around the world.

4.5 out of 5


Here We Go - Michael Swanwick

I feel your pain. It's fun.

3.5 out of 5


Bradbury Jar 2.0 - Michael Swanwick

Robot bit irrational.

3 out of 5


The Great Dome On Mercury - Arthur Leo Zagat

Space pygmies didn't get us.

2.5 out of 5


Happy Ending - Fredric Brown and Mack Reynolds

Solar System hates you, Number One.

2 out of 5


Identity Theft - Robert J. Sawyer

Ballbuster artificial transfer fossil defense detection.

3.5 out of 5


Arm Of the Law - Harry Harrison

Robot gangbuster.

3 out of 5


Kaleidoscope - Kate Daniel

Magic not still there.

2.5 out of 5


Made In SA - Damien Broderick

SA being San Antonio for those non-septics, not South Africa, or South Australia. Interviewed by John Picacio, no less.

"What do you think about the current state of today’s science fiction literature? Optimistic about its future?

It feels overwhelmed by what Adam Roberts wittily calls fatasies. But a lot more good, even great, sf is being published than ever was, on the whole, in Golden Ages past. Possibly not as fertile and astonishing as the cascade of genius that spilled out in 1952 and 1953, but some fine work is coming along—even if a lot of it is being published by small devoted presses rather than the megacorp publishers, who prefer to be safe with franchises churning out the mixture as before."

4.5 out of 5


Making It Up As I Go Along - Elmore Leonard

"I was reading about channeling at that time. So I made Maximum Bob's wife, Leanne—a former mermaid who panics when an alligator swims into the act—have an out-of-body experience and begin channeling a slave girl, Wanda Grace, who was devoured by an alligator 150 years ago. Wanda says, "I be back when you needs me, Leanne." It drives the judge nuts hearing this squeaky voice coming out of his wife."

4 out of 5


The Ships Like Clouds Risen By Their Rain - Jason Sanford

Mudworld lift underground shift.

4 out of 5


Another End Of the Empire - Tim Pratt

Retirement? For this Dark Lord?

4 out of 5


No one pointed a gun at my head and said become a science fiction writer - Alastair Reynolds

"If you want the texture of an invented future to feel real, it must have some weirdness in it, he argues, because the future "isn't going to look like Star Wars, even if you're in the middle of an intergalactic space war". For Reynolds, the most telling moments in science fiction aren't the massive set pieces, the big, epic reveals, they're the quieter, subtler moments that offer a totally new perspective. He was careful, for example, never to describe the vast, interstellar spacecraft which drives the plot of Revelation Space from the outside, offering only glimpses from odd angles, or close-ups of particular sections, just as in a modern airport a passenger can board an aircraft, cross a continent and disembark without any clear idea of the machine that has carried them on their journey."

4.5 out of 5


Scales - Alastair Reynolds

Just your lizard-machine-human brain in a ship N-space reality level, FTL space battle, then.

4 out of 5


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Robert E. Howard Audio Stories

There are some more of the TTS variety at archive.org :-

You can actually download the whole lot in one zip here, apparently :-


Here's the overview :-


The Last Wish - Andrzej Sapkowski

”" Geralt slowly drew closer, his step soft and springy, tracing a semi-circle from the wall and blue rosebush. The creature glued to the dolphin’s back followed him with her eyes, turning her petite face with an expression of longing, and full of charm. He could still hear her song, even though her tiny, pale lips were held tight and not the smallest sound emerged from them.
The witcher halted at a distance of ten paces. His sword, slowly drawn from its black enameled sheath, glistened and glowed above his head.
“It’s silver,” he said. “This blade is silver.”
The pale little face did not flinch; the anthracite eyes did not change expression.
“You’re so like a rusalka, “the witcher continued calmly, “that you could deceive anyone. All the more as you’re a rare bird, black-haired one. But horses are never mistaken. They recognize creatures like you instinctively and perfectly. What are you? I think you’re a moola, or an alpor. An ordinary vampire couldn’t come out in the sun.”"

3 out of 5


Monday, June 22, 2009

Terra Fantastica - Sergey Gerasimov

"Hard to believe, but there was time when the main type of speculative fiction written in Ukraine was optimistic Sci Fi."

4.5 out of 5


Finding Hope in Philippine SF - Charles A. Tan

"the Philippine condition feels like a cyberpunk setting gone awry"

4 out of 5


SF in South Korea - Gord Sellar

Another lengthy (in 2 senses) article from the above. Very interesting.

5 out of 5


Brazil the Country that Could Have Been and Maybe Will - Jacques Barcia

A writer from Recife writes about Brazil's SF viewpoint.

4.5 out of 5


Crimes and Glory 3 - Paul J. McAuley

"‘Besides, I want off this fucking world. I’ve been here a year, and already I hate it. I want to go back to Earth. To Singapore. It’s fucked up there, but I know my way around, and the gangsters aren’t as crazy bad as they are here. Poor Meyer. And his kids.’ She teared up just a little, and said, ‘Will you get the filth that killed them?’"

3 out of 5


Hungry Enough - Cornelia Read

Cable slicing scene shortener spousal separation.

3.5 out of 5


Tangent Online Interview - William Tenn

"But, just let me say this. Science fiction began out of the industrial and scientific revolutions when men's eyes turned away from the past, as I said in this panel the other day, when Man's eyes turned away from the Golden Age. When the concept of progress began—well, not only progress—but the concept of special power. As in 1984, as in Brave New World. And...Man began to be aware that he was not just a person, not just an animal, but he was a social animal. And then he began to worry about his societies, and the awareness of society, and the difference between societies. Look at Connecticut Yankee; first because it studied time travel, but second because Connecticut Yankee was the first novel anywhere to deal with the clash between two different societies.

And this happened. And science fiction deals with all of these things. The other things that are in science fiction are lovely, but they belong in other kinds of writing. These are the emphases in there. I don't care whether it's hard science, soft science, bullshit science, physics, metaphysics, or aesthetics, it's a disciplined kind of knowledge, and an attempt to understand the world on the basis of fiction. So, these are the things that interest me, the things I care about. The things that excite the hell out of me. And I think that most people in science fiction don't understand it. There seems to be, on one hand, those who want their machines explained, and a blueprint before we get on with the actual story, and on the other hand there are many who say—many of whom are my dear friends—let it be just as diffuse as possible, just so we're kicking off into the unknown. And there are stories in between, which is peculiar to this form. And this...this is what I've spent a large part of my life—which I hate—but is me, which has got to be me, because I'm a modern man. And because I belong to the modern world."

5 out of 5


How the World Was Saved - Stanislaw Lem

N for Not Nothing.

3 out of 5


The Market List Q & A - Ellen Datlow

From the Omni days.

4 out of 5


On An Experience In A Cornfield - Robert Sheckley

Got your weird crop circles here.

2.5 out of 5


Anne Manx In Lives Of the Cat - Larry Weinter

Sample from original audio sf adventure production starring Claudia Christian and Patricia Tallman.

3.5 out of 5


Good Omens In the Beginning - Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

"Best not to speculate, really," said Aziraphale. "You can't second-­guess ineffability, I always say. There's Right, and there's Wrong. If you do Wrong when you're told to do Right, you deserve to be punished. Er."

They sat in embarrassed silence, watching the raindrops bruise the first flowers.
Eventually Crawly said, "Didn't you have a flaming sword?"

"Er," said the angel. A guilty expression passed across his face, and then came back and camped there.

"You did, didn't you?" said Crawly. "It flamed like anything."

"Er, well-"


Book Festival 07 - Terry Pratchett

Talking about why Death is cool.

4 out of 5


Toke - Tim Akers

Smokin' scarecrow murder potted cracker.

3.5 out of 5



It Had To Be Murder - Cornell Woolrich

New floor murder view out the.

3.5 out of 5


I See You Never - Ray Bradbury

No more Ramirez.

2 out of 5


The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas - Ursula K. Le Guin

"Well we know where were goin
But we dont know where we've been"

4 out of 5


The Pygmy Planet - Jack Williamson

Colourful shrinking.

1.5 out of 5


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Secret Service - Charles Ardai

Hmm. Protecting even the cruddy ones. Dunno.

3 out of 5


Operation Brisket - Michael Connelly

Yep, she was naked. Now she's in the ceiling for 60 days.

4 out of 5


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Operation Lorelie - William P. Salton

Record trap.

3 out of 5


Acid Bath - Bill Garson

Steel-Blue telepathic space robot water torture.

3 out of 5


Man With Two Lives - Joe R. Lansdale

Not-dead Grandpa Bill, Wild.

3.5 out of 5


Friday, June 19, 2009

The Gun - Philip K. Dick

Not enough space veggies.

3.5 out of 5



Keep Out - Fredric Brown

Super adaptability drug Martians don't want visitors not like them.

3.5 out of 5


Rendezvous With Rama - Arthur C. Clarke

(note an audio adaptation of this, not the whole unabridged book)

Rama is the name given to a huge alien spacecraft that is at first mistaken for an asteroid by Earth's defenses against such.

When its artificial nature is determined a mission is sent to try and work out what is going on with this craft. The ship is huge enough to have gravity, contain its own body of water, not to mention buildings, and more, so the investigators have their work cut out for them to get the job done in time.

An interesting space mystery, set against the backdrop of Clarke's 22nd century.

4 out of 5


The War Of the Worlds - Orson Welles

A classic effort, twisting Wells into public hoo-ha.

5 out of 5


The State Of the Art - Iain M. Banks

Terran grass is greener.

3.5 out of 5


Childhood's End - Arthur C. Clarke

An alien race comes to Earth, and wants to uplift and change the humans, and basically make them posthuman, evolve them further, and repair what has happened to the planet.

However, some people are not sure whether this is a scam or not, and alien slavery or bondage is not that appealing, and they resist.

In the unsettling school of book.

4 out of 5


The Thousand Headed Man - Kenneth Robeson

A radio adaptation exists apparently :-

After his Calbia escapade Doc learns in London, with the media highly intrigued as to why he is there. He doesn't like paparazzi any more than anyone else. He is soon involved in conflict some distance away by plane, with a gang, some men dressed in many little ugly head suits, and to top it all off, a whole passel of super spitting cobras.

3 out of 5


The Readers Of Boing Boing Interview - Michael Moorcock

At some considerable length. He has a Best Of to come.

4 out of 5


Fantasy Book Critic Interview - Mark Chadbourn

Among material on new work, and old :- You have also written a story set in the Hellboy Universe - how did this come about to be? Is your Story "Ice Wolves" anyway related to the "Fire Wolves" Hellboy story written by Tim Lebbon?

In 2007, I was approached by a Hellboy editor to provide a short story for the anthology, Hellboy: Oddest Jobs. That story, Straight No Chaser, was well-received, and the editor came back to ask me if I wanted to write a Hellboy novel. I'm not really interested in work-for-hire, to be honest – too much like going to an office in a suit and tie – but I've long been an admirer of Mike Mignola and his character and it seemed like something I could have some fun with. Mike was looking for a gothic tale so I pitched him an idea with werewolves and a haunted house which he liked so off I went.

Tim Lebbon is a friend, who coincidentally had also pitched a Hellboy story, which also contained wolves, though not of the 'were' variety – more ancient fire demons. But when we met up at Fantasycon in the UK we realized there were thematic parallels so we decided to drop in some subtle links to each other's story for regular readers."

4.5 out of 5


Methuselah's Children - Robert A. Heinlein

When the general population learns of the Howards and their mutant ability that lets them live much longer than normal people, there is a crackdown, and the government starts hunting them down.

A compromise does happen, even with pressure as th e ability is revealed to be genetic, not a treatment.

Cue Lazarus Long here. The rogue returns to provide a focal point for the mutants, and we get some space adventuring after this.

3 out of 5


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Robert E. Howard Sword and Sorcery Audio Stories

Something a bit different, but here's a compilation :-

A bunch of mp3 audio storiesm of Robert E. Howard's sword and sorcery :-

Solomon Kane

From Librivox

Skulls In the Stars

Rattle Of Bones

Red Shadows


From Librivox

Gods Of the North


Morgan Saletta is serialising the Hour Of the Dragon here :- http://dragonhour.blogspot.com/2008/11/hour-of-dragon.html

At Yakitome Text-to-Speech

There's a range of voices available at this site, don't like this one, make a different one of your own, or via different software. Seem pretty decent to me, much better than the basic Microsoft ones, anyway.

The Hour Of the Dragon PGA
Gods Of the North PGA
Red Nails PGA
Shadows In Zamboula PGA
Beyond the Black River PGA
The Jewels Of Gwahlur PGA
The People Of the Black Circle PGA
The Devil In Iron PGA
A Witch Shall Be Born PGA
Queen Of the Black Coast PGA
Shadows In the Moonlight PGA
Rogues In the House PGA
The Pool Of the Black One PGA
The Slithering Shadow PGA
Black Colossus PGA
The Tower Of the Elephant PGA
The Scarlet Citadel PGA
The Phoenix On the Sword PGA


The Shadow Kingdom PGA
The Mirrors Of Tuzun Thune PGA

Bran Mak Morn

Worms Of the Earth PGA
Kings Of the Night PGA

Note that there are also a bunch of Breckenridge Elkins stories online, too, if you look at librivox.

God that's a merciless question Interview From Weird Tales - China Mieville

Very entertaining :-

"VanderMeer: Here goes. Jack Vance or Robert E. Howard?

Miéville: Vance because of DYING EARTH.

VanderMeer: Vance or Lovecraft?

Miéville: Lovecraft...

VanderMeer: Lovecraft or Clark Ashton Smith?

Miéville: Lovecraft...

VanderMeer: Surprise! Lovecraft or Ursula K. LeGuin OR Ray Bradbury?

Miéville: Lovecraft...

VanderMeer: Lovecraft or Tennessee Williams? (both of whom appeared in WT)

Miéville: (NO! REALLY???) Lovecraft."

5 out of 5


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

BBC Radio Discussion - Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler

A combination chat and double interview.

5 out of 5


The Circle Of Zero - Stanley G. Weinbaum

Future investment probability has to be good one of these chances.

3.5 out of 5


Moxyland 1 - Lauren Beukes

"Damian grabs my arm and pulls me back out of the front line, because I haven’t moved, just as one of the men (women?), towering over the others, grabs Emily by her hair and drags her forward, forcing her to her knees, spitting with contempt, ‘Don’t you dare make me complicit in your garbage!’ The terrorist raises the panga, pulling back Emily’s head by the roots of her hair, exposing her throat. She raises a hand to her mouth, pretends to stifle a yawn. ‘Are you going to chop me into little itty-bitty pieces now?"

4 out of 5


The Moon and the Sun Prologue - Vonda N. McIntyre

"The galleon swept through the fornicating sea monsters. As Yves had planned, as he had hoped, as he had expected from his research, the sea monsters trapped themselves in their rapture. They never noticed the attack until the moment of onslaught."

3 out of 5


Odyssey Interview - Melissa Scott

On how and what she is up to. No SF coming it seems, unfortunately.

4 out of 5


The Golden Age Of Science Fiction - Isaac Asimov

A video essay, if you like.

4 out of 5


Superhero Girl - Jessica Lee

Cancer a tough villain.

3 out of 5


Monday, June 15, 2009

Smoking Waiting For the Dawn - Jason Nahrung

Vampire Hunter reunion family Commission omission.

4 out of 5


The Last Oracle 1 - James Rollins

"It was the first time a homeless man had tried to pay him.

Before he could comprehend the situation, the man tripped toward him, as if suddenly shoved from behind. His mouth opened in an O of surprise. He fell into Gray, who reflexively caught the elderly man.

He was lighter than Gray had expected. Under his jacket, the man's body seemed all bone, a skeleton in a suit. A hand grazed Gray's cheek. It burned feverishly hot. A flicker of fear - of disease, of AIDS - passed through Gray, but he did not let go as the man slumped in his arms.

Carrying the man's weight, Gray shifted his left arm. His hand settled upon a hot welling wetness on the man's lower back. It streamed over his fingers.

Gray pivoted on instinct. He hip-rolled to the side and dove off the sidewalk, with the man still clutched in his arms. The thick grass cushioned their fall. Gray didn't hear the next shots - but two ricocheting flashes sparked off the concrete sidewalk where he'd been standing. Without stopping, he continued to roll until he reached a metal-and-concrete sign planted in the lawn of the Smithsonian Castle. It stood only waist high. He huddled behind it with the old man. The sign read: SMITHSONIAN INFORMATION CENTER IN THE CASTLE.

Gray certainly needed information.

Like who was shooting at him."

3.5 out of 5


The Judas Strain 1 - James Rollins

"It was a dreadful mistake to trespass.

And it cost them more than just blood.

The three stared out as the galleys smoldered down to the waterlines. One of the masts toppled like a felled tree. Two decades ago, father, son, and uncle had left Italian soil, under the seal of Pope Gregory X, to venture forth into the Mongol lands, all the way to the Khan's palaces and gardens in Shangdu, where they had roosted far too long, like caged partridges. As favorites of the court, the three Polos had found themselves trapped - not by chains, but by the Khan's immense and smothering friendship, unable to leave without insulting their benefactor. So at long last, they thought themselves lucky to be returning home to Venice, released from service to the great Kublai Khan to act as escorts for the lady Kokejin to her Persian betrothed.

Would that their fleet had never left Shangdu..."

4 out of 5


Black Order 1 - James Rollins

"Sudeten Mountains between Germany and Poland. The fortifications of Breslau guarded the gateway to the highlands beyond. For the past two years, forced labor from the concentration camp of Gross-Rosen had hollowed out a neighboring mountain peak. A hundred kilometers of tunnels clawed and blasted, all to service one secret project, one kept buried away from prying Allied eyes.

Die Riese...the Giant.

But word had still spread. Perhaps one of the villagers outside the Wenceslas Mine had whispered of the illness, the sudden malaise that had afflicted even those well outside the complex.

If only they'd had more time to complete the research...
Still, a part of Jakob Sporrenberg balked. He didn't know all that was involved with the secret project, mostly just the code name: Chronos. Still, he knew enough. He had seen the bodies used in the experiments. He had heard the screams.


4 out of 5


Map Of Bones Chapter 1 Behind the Eight Ball - James Rollins

"A patrol.

Would the attention spook his contact?

Cursing silently, Gray waited for the truck to finish its round. The patrol vanished momentarily, crossing behind a hulking structure that rose from the middle of the courtyard below. It looked like some rusting spaceship, but was in fact a million-liter steel containment sphere, three stories tall, mounted on a dozen pedestal legs. Ladders and scaffolding surrounded the structure as it underwent a renovation, an attempt to return it to its former glory when it was a Cold War research facility. Even the steel catwalk that had once circumnavigated the globe's equator had been replaced.

Gray knew the giant globe' nickname at the base.

The Eight Ball."

3 out of 5


Sandstorm Fire and Rain - James Rollins

"Harry Masterson would be dead in thirteen minutes

If he had known this, he would’ve smoked his last cigarette down to the filter. Instead he stamped out the fag after only three drags and waved the cloud from around his face. If he was caught smoking outside the guards’ break room, he would be shit-canned by that bastard Fleming, head of museum security. Harry was already on probation for coming in two hours late for his shift last week.
Harry swore under his breath and pocketed the stubbed cigarette. He’d finish it at his next break...that is, if they got a break this night."

3.5 out of 5


The Doomsday Key 1 - James Rollins

"Fearful of waiting any longer, Jason swung to the door. He had no way of knowing where Krista had gone. He hoped she had fled into the surrounding desert. That was what he was going to do. Out there were mazes of gullies and dry washes. He could hide for days if necessary.

As he hurried toward the exit, a dark figure appeared and blocked the doorway. Jason fell back with a gasp. The figure stepped into the hut and whispered in surprise.


Relief flushed through him.


He hurried to her, his arms wide to take her in. They could still both escape.

“Oh, Jason, thank god!”

His relief matched hers—until she lifted a pistol and fired three times into his chest. The shots felt like punches, knocking him backward to the floor. Fiery pain followed, turning the night even darker. Distantly he heard gunfire, explosions, and more screams.

Krista leaned over him. “Your tent was empty. We thought you’d escaped.”"

4 out of 5


Ringside At Cross Plains - Charles R. Saunders

An essay on the boxing stories of Robert E. Howard.

4 out of 5


Floaters - J. A. Konrath and Henry Pereze

POG murders musclemen swing like girls, Jack.

3.5 out of 5


Sunday, June 14, 2009

The White Maiden - Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Ghost maiden attraction power.

3.5 out of 5


1970 WorldCon Speech Age Of Revolution - Robert Silverberg

An address on both the real world changes in the USA at the time, and also on science fiction, in that order.

4 out of 5


Doom From Planet 4 - Jack Williamson

Green fire machines on Mars. Bad.

3 out of 5


The Night Shade Interview - Mark Teppo

"This weekend, I had a chance to sit down and chat with the Bunny Magus himself, Night Shade author Mark Teppo, about his recently-released novel Lightbreaker, its forthcoming sequel Heartland, Urban Fantasy, Western Occultism, industrial music"

4 out of 5


Spawning Ground - Lester Del Rey

Got to get to space again.

3.5 out of 5


Bringing Back Night Shade from the Undead - Jeremy Lassen

Lassen talks about the publisher addressing their structural problems, and also about their historical and contemporary publishing aims, and the hassles of tracking down William Hope Hodgson stories over an hundred years old, for example.

4 out of 5


Nimue's Tale - Madeleine E. Robins

Whoops, broke Merlin.

3.5 out of 5


Questing Beast - Ilona Andrews

An AI does King Pellinore.

3.5 out of 5


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chronicles Interview - Liz Williams

Very length and detailed question and answer session about her stories and novels.

5 out of 5


A Tree Grows Up On Mars - Ken Rand

Yule log revolution.

3.5 out of 5


Annus Mirabilis - Chris Roberson

Doctor Omega meets Einstein.

3.5 out of 5


Friday, June 12, 2009

Glimpses Of A Transit - Gwyneth Jones

'The couch will use the forbidden powers of the void to break down my body, and, and my mind, into information space code, the signals that are the building blocks of being. The code "me" will be t-torn in two, and the two halves will be thrown into a collider, a kind of particle accelerator called the Torus. When they collide I cease to exist. All that I am will be written into the code of a different place. Another couch will make a body for me there, out of the ambient chemistry of the universe.'

3.5 out of 5


Lord Of the Silence - Mark Chadbourn

"Vitality flooded the bedridden man's frame as quickly as it drained from the prisoner. His skin grew taught across strong muscles and bloomed with life. His breathing became deep, the dark hair lustrous. Retrieving his sword from beneath the covers, the man swung himself from the bed and landed athletically on the balls of his feet. "All praise Idriss, the Strong, the Great," he said wryly, as the prisoner fell backwards on to the floor. "I am Vidar, Ghost Warrior, Lord of Silence, Stealth, and Vengeance, and I thank you for your gift."

The prisoner tried to speak, but no words would come.

"Hush now," Vidar said. "Enjoy this moment of repose. You are about to join the ranks of my ghosts, and from now on there will be no rest.""

3.5 out of 5


Destroyer Of Worlds Prologue - Mark Chadbourn

""Reason is overrated." Hunter pours himself a goblet of fruity wine and downs it in one. "What's the point in sitting on your arse and ruminating on the logic of what is, by any rational person's yardstick, complete bug-eyed, screaming craziness? Life's for living. When some git's swinging an axe at your head, or a woman is pressing her lips against yours, you feel it and you react. You start reasoning about either one, you're a dead man." He pours himself another goblet of wine, drinks it quickly.

"Your drinking is a mask, like mine," Math notes wryly.

"We're just two peas in a pod.""

4 out of 5


On the Lualaba River Congo - Ian Tregillis

Iron skin not treated well by crocodile teeth.

3 out of 5


Nebula Awards Interview 2009 - Jack McDevitt

On Priscilla Hutchins, his best of collection at Subterranean and more.

4 out of 5


Nebula Awards Interview 2009 - Gregory Benford

On science (he's done a lot) and science fiction.

4.5 out of 5


Nebula Awards Interview 2009 - Ian McDonald

Ian McDonald on his work - also working on a novel about Turkey!

4.5 out of 5


Nebula Awards Interview 2009 - James Patrick Kelly

Interview by Charles A. Tan about being a podcaster, a shorts dude, and maybe a cyberpunk.

4.5 out of 5


What the Dormouse Said - Steve Perry

Sixties supernatural prep.

3.5 out of 5


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Author's Introduction to Stark and the Star Kings - Leigh Brackett and Edmond Hamilton

"Twenty-six-and-a-half years ago, when we got married, we thought collaboration would be an easy and delightful thing. We could, we thought, begin now to turn out twice as many stories with half the effort.

We tried it.


4 out of 5


Poisoned Air - Captain S. P. Meek

Stop bad guys, but no emotion.

1.5 out of 5


Giants On the Earth - Captain S. P. Meek

Jovians like curvy earth girl sacrifices. Have to do something about that. Maybe with some Martians.

2 out of 5


The Einstein See-Saw - Miles J. Breuer

Swung into hyperspace.

2.5 out of 5


The World Beyond - Ray Cummings

Globe ship spacenap.

2.5 out of 5


Classical Horses - Judith Tarr

Double old death deal.

3 out of 5


If It Ain't Broke - Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Silly nannies.

2.5 out of 5


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Three Blind Mice - Chad Eagleton

Senile heist stash memory.

3 out of 5


Double-D - Chad Eagleton

Dead dick collecting.

3.5 out of 5


Lord Knows - Chad Eagleton

Dead rapper boost.

3.5 out of 5


Dire Planet 1 The Stasis Loop - Joel Jenkins

"Her footsteps crossed the cracked stone dais, leaving no impression in
the fluorescent blue moss that covered the time-weathered stone like a
cushion. Long, pale hair fell about her shoulders in a twisted
profusion, amethyst glistening from sloe eyes smeared with some dark
makeup. The bare flesh that peered from beneath her torn, reflective
cuirass was tinted green, and her lips—the lower being fuller than the
upper—bore a purple hue.

A scabbard slapped against her bare thigh, the narrow hilt of a
rapier-like blade protruding. On her back she wore some sort of firearm
unlike anything Garvey had ever seen, built with a wide bore and massive
vents. The strange woman looked toward the stranded astronaut, and her
lips parted. Just as Garvey Dire thought that she would speak, her lithe
form began to shimmer, and she faded into nothingness like the
apparition that she was."

1 out of 5


Six Bullets For John Carter - Chad Eagleton

"All because of a blonde from Alpha Centauri."

4 out of 5


A Spell For the Revolution 1 - Charles Coleman Finlay

""Not all the red was cast by fire.

He jumped back. The iron clattered off the stone hearth as he dropped it. Blood was smeared everywhere. He checked the bottom of his shoe—he’d slipped in a pool of wet blood on his way in. It was fresh. A woman’s body lay under the table. The top of her head was missing. A man’s broken body, cut to bloody ribbons, was folded against the wall.

“Jesus,” Proctor whispered.

“Funny, that’s who they called on too,” said a voice that made Proctor jump again.

Bootzamon stood framed in the doorway. For just a second he looked like a scarecrow. Then his pipe flared, and he blew out a stream of smoke.

“Mister Bootzamon,” Proctor said, trying hard to keep his voice steady. “What happened here?”

Bootzamon shook his head sadly. “It appears to be an Indian attack. Exactly how old are you, young man?”

“Turned twenty-two this past month,” Proctor answered in reflex. He looked for a way past Bootzamon, remembering that the Covenant’s assassins had come to The Farm dressed as Indians last year. “What makes you say it’s Indians?”

“See, that’s too bad,” Bootzamon said. “My master wants young witches only. ‘Catch the young ones, kill the old.’ I couldn’t find the Walker girl, but I got to thinking you might be young enough to take her place.”

His cockfeather brushed the lintel as he stepped through the door. One arm hung at his side, the gloved hand casually dangling a bloody tomahawk."

4 out of 5


Sufficient Cause - Tina Connolly

Pissu, wife's a bomber in a frame. Pass the chockie bikkies.

3.5 out of 5


It Could Happen - Tina Connolly

Demon writer respect deal.

3.5 out of 5


A Day Out With Stereoscope - Tina Connolly

Alien display rules.

3.5 out of 5


Moon At the Starry Diner - Tina Connolly

Shifty squid fightin' companion.

3.5 out of 5


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The City Quiet As Death - Steven Utley and Michael Bishop

Baby universe giant squid screamer.

3 out of 5


Will You Be an Astronaut? - Greg Van Eekhout

Kid space alien gunner.

3 out of 5


One For the Money 1 - Janet Evanovich

"The next time I saw him, I was three years older. I was on my way to the mall, driving my father's Buick when I spotted Morelli standing in front of Giovichinni"s Meat Market. I gunned the big V-8 engine, jumped the curb, and clipped Morelli from behind, bouncing him off the front right fender. I stopped the car and got out to asses the damage. "Anything broken?"

He was sprawled on the pavement, looking up my skirt. "My leg."

"Good," I said. Then I turned on my heel, got into the Buick, and drove to the mall."

3.5 out of 5


The Alchemist's Wife - Paula R. Stiles

Argent assertion.

3 out of 5


The Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed In the Sun - Paula R. Stiles

Found me a space kid.

3 out of 5


Funny Money - Paula R. Stiles

Miniature financial revolution.

3.5 out of 5


Spider On A Sidewalk - Paula R. Stiles

Aurora Ripusapartis.

3.5 out of 5


Sylgarmo's Proclamation - Lucius Shepard

Cugel's cousin is no fan of his, it appears. Now, to avoid the end of the world.

3.5 out of 5


In the Hall Of the Martian King 1 - John Barnes


"But any trouble that the Hamburgers save you, our own task force will make up for. Battlesphere crewies always drink and fuck themselves silly, and Actium will be worse- two hundred fifty warshuttle crews. And then add in that they're all going up to Triton on a direct ride from here-so after this one port call they're in for thirty-seven more weeks of training on simulators, then two years at Triton, where Forces personnel are confined to base due to terrorist threats. And then at least forty weeks in all getting back down to the Hive.

"Which means their lives are looking to absolutely stink for the next three and a half years, and their last ten days to blow off steam will happen here."

3.5 out of 5

People Of Leaf and Branch - Jay Lake

Shrike House skull hunger.

3.5 out of 5


Deluge 27 - Brian Keene

"“Looked like he’d been shot in the head. Who killed him?”

“I did.”


They sat in awkward silence for a few moments. Then Henry cleared his throat.

“If it makes you feel any better, when I ran by him, it looked like he was starting to melt.”


“Yeah. He was turning liquid.”"

3.5 out of 5


Deluge 26 - Brian Keene

"“Freeze! You take one more step and I’ll blow your fucking lungs out the back of your chest.”

Eyes wide, he thrust his hands higher. “Don’t shoot. Please. The bastard killed my Moxey.”

“Who are you? What do you want?”

“My name’s…” The boy paused, blinking. Then his mouth fell open. “You… you’re naked!”

“So are you, sunshine. Now what the hell are you doing here?”"

4 out of 5


Monday, June 08, 2009

Guy Walks Into A Bar - Lee Child

Russian guitarist ambush too much of a Reacher.

3.5 out of 5


Awakening In Six Parts - Karen M. Roberts

Lost my night owl, Pi.

3.5 out of 5


Sunday, June 07, 2009

Crimes and Glory 2 - Paul J. McAuley

"To his fans–and despite his conviction and fall from grace he still had many fans–he was a gadfly genius, a rogue intellect who took great risks to prove radical theories that the establishment tried to suppress. To his fellow academics, he was a highly irresponsible egotist who used his notoriety to promote fantasies as risible as the lost continent of Mu or the Venusian origin of flying saucers, heedless of the damage he caused to serious scholarship. As far as the UN was concerned, he was a criminal willing to take every kind of risk with Elder Culture technology. He was beyond our reach on Libertaria, but he remained on our watch list."

4 out of 5


The Bastard Saga - Abby Rustad

Soul Sucker, demons, add zombies.

3 out of 5


Innsmouth Free Press 1 - Silvia Moreno-Garcia

As you can probably tell, this is a Lovecraft magazine - but also designed to be a shared world of Innsmouth type project, too. There are articles, lifestyle pieces, etc. as well as stories in this 'Fiction Issue'.

Also, unlike a lot of horror zines that insist on having to be black and some other horrible to read combination 'because they are horror', this manages to be attractive and gloomy at the same time.

Stories are 3.17, so not too bad a first effort. Some of the other stuff is entertaining, too, film crews coming to town, dead singers, etc.

Innsmouth Free Press 1 : And Then And Then And Then - Nick Mamatas
Innsmouth Free Press 1 : By the Sea By the Sea - Caroline Totten
Innsmouth Free Press 1 : The Cthulhu Whisperer - Robert Borski
Innsmouth Free Press 1 : Azathoth Is Here - Pamela K. Kinney
Innsmouth Free Press 1 : A Bedtime Story - Kírk Barrett
Innsmouth Free Press 1 : Swimming Lessons off the North Shore - Paula R. Stiles

Marsh, bananas.

3 out of 5

Purple sister giveaway three rock return.

3 out of 5

Hollywood cuttlefish.

2.5 out of 5

And he's definitely gonna get you.

3.5 out of 5

Voodoo doll crustaceous girl dinner.

3.5 out of 5

Fishy son, fishy horse goodbye.

3.5 out of 5

3.5 out of 5


Swimming Lessons Off the North Shore - Paula R. Stiles

Fishy son, fishy horse goodbye.

3.5 out of 5


A Bedtime Story - Kirk Barrett

Voodoo doll crustaceous girl dinner.

3.5 out of 5


By the Sea By the Sea - Caroline Totten

Purple sister giveaway three rock return.

3 out of 5


The Cthulhu Whisperer - Robert Borski

Hollywood cuttlefish.

2.5 out of 5


Azathoth Is Here - Pamela K. Kinney

And he's definitely gonna get you.

3.5 out of 5


And Then And Then And Then - Nick Mamatas

Marsh, bananas.

3 out of 5


Lone Star Stories 33 - Eric Marin

Much parable, but much that is only vaguely interesting, and also instantly disposable.

Lone Star Stories 33 : Parable Lost - Jo Walton
Lone Star Stories 33 : Pranks - Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Lone Star Stories 33 : The Parable of the Shower - Leah Bobet

There's everything in this story, except anything that isn't wobbly and fishy.

2.5 out of 5

Corporeal holiday.

3 out of 5

Lord, that's sopping and nuddy.

3 out of 5

1.5 out of 5


The Parable Of the Shower - Leah Bobet

Lord, that's sopping and nuddy.

3 out of 5


Pranks - Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Corporeal holiday.

3 out of 5


Parable Lost - Jo Walton

There's everything in this story, except anything that isn't wobbly and fishy.

2.5 out of 5


Dead Heat - Robert Leslie Bellem

What gets rid of rat actresses? Poison, of course. ActressSak?

3.5 out of 5


Any Mother's Son - Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Family Time.

3 out of 5


Abelard's Kiss - Madeleine E. Robins

Lipid love tank.

3 out of 5


The Federation of the Hub: an overview - Guy Gordon

Broadly, and briefly.

3.5 out of 5

The Federation of The Hub - Guy Gordon

Essay with bibliography about Schmitz's Hub stories.

4.5 out of 5

Speaking of Science Fiction The Paul Walker Interviews - James H. Schmitz

Lengthy interview with biographical and work detail.

5 out of 5

Introduction to A Pride of Monsters - James H. Schmitz

"On Earth today we see a sorry lack of appealing monsters to write stories about. "

4 out of 5

The Neutral Heroine Of James H. Schmitz - Janet Kagen

"During a discussion group on the female characters of James H. Schmitz at a recent Boskone (viii) a puzzled male fan piped up with a complaint about Schmitz' The Demon Breed. "What bothered me about Nile Etland," he said, "was that you could have just dropped a guy into that part and it wouldn't have made any difference." (What he meant by this was that Nile Etland didn't do anything "feminine". She didn't have a baby. She was not endowed with "feminine intuition". She was not a lousy driver, etc.)

My answer is a restatement of the fan's problem: what always bothered me about Rod Walker in Heinlein's Tunnel in the Sky was that you could have dropped a female into that part and it wouldn't have made any difference (ix). Rod Walker didn't have an erection. He didn't return from his stoborhunt more defined as a man. Rod Walker is a neutral hero -- his position does not rely on his sexual identity -- just as Nile Etland is a neutral heroine -- her position does not rely on her sexual identity. Because of literary convention, no one was concerned enough to mention Rod Walker, but the question was raised about Nile Etland."

4.5 out of 5

My Lord's Man - Margo Lanagan

Not much to see here. Woman off with gypsies.

2.5 out of 5


Neverland Blues - Adam Browne

Jacko post-Bad.

3 out of 5


The Fooly - Terry Dowling

I'm an Individual ... err.. and apparently you can.

4 out of 5


This Is My Blood - Ben Francisco and Chris Lynch

Bloody eagle worship, I tell ya.

3.5 out of 5


A Guided Tour In The Kingdom Of The Dead - Richard Harland

Got a terminally dry throat, here.

3.5 out of 5


Old Friends - Garth Nix

Giant post-espresso Valkyrie chop-chop planting.

4 out of 5


Saturday, June 06, 2009

With Caesar In the Underworld - Robert Silverberg

Kink tour.

3 out of 5


Hallucination - Isaac Asimov

Energy planet other.

2.5 out of 5


Frustration - Isaac Asimov

Compuwar just hasn't got the mindset.

3.5 out of 5


Left To Right - Isaac Asimov

Robert L. Backward.

3 out of 5


Cal - Isaac Asimov

Robowriter aspirations.

4 out of 5


The City and the City 1 - China Mieville

"“Okay. Vilyem, you guys, we’re going to get you some breakfast, something to drink, if you want.” I motioned to their guards. “Have we spoken to the parents?” I asked.

“On their way, boss; except hers”—pointing to one of the girls—“we can’t reach.”

“So keep trying. Get them to the centre now.”

The four teens looked at each other. “This is bullshit, man,” the boy who was not Vilyem said, uncertainly. He knew that according to some politics he should oppose my instruction, but he wanted to go with my subordinate. Black tea and bread and paperwork, the boredom and striplights, all so much not like the peeling back of that wet heavy, cumbersome mattress, in the yard, in the dark."

3 out of 5


Penguin Essay - Alastair Reynolds

"In House of Suns I wanted to examine an interstellar civilisation from a different, less bracingly pessimistic viewpoint—and that meant creating a new future history. Gone are the inimical alien killing machines; the galaxy of House of Suns , while not without its perils, isn't stalked by death and horror to anything like the degree of the universe of the Revelation Space books."

4 out of 5


Burn Notice the End Game 1 - Todd Goldberg

"When you're a spy, the word belated gets eradicated from your vocabulary. You don't send belated birthday cards. You don't send belated Christmas cards. You don't send belated wedding, anniversary, graduation or congratulations cards. You don't even bother to send belated wishes via e-mail. You tend to miss physical events like birthdays and baptisms and Bar Mitzvahs, because it's nearly impossible to tell a Taliban assassin you'll have to halt his inquisition until Monday so you can make it to T.G.I. Friday's for your buddy's fortieth.

If birthdays, weddings and holidays meant a lot to you, you wouldn't be traveling the world under diplomatic cloak; you'd be sitting in a cubicle, rigging the Secret Santa lottery, drafting memos about the need for casual Fridays, and fantasizing about the person who services the photocopier. Being a spy means never being forced to eat potato skins in a T.G.I. Friday's surrounded by men in Dockers or expressing your emotions through the mystery of Hallmark.

When you're no longer a spy, however, you learn pretty quickly that there's no card that says, Sorry I missed the last dozen Mother's Days. I was busy doing black ops. And yet there I was, in the middle of Target in midtown Miami, staring at row after row of greeting cards, trying to find one that might justifiably say that very thing.

My ex-girlfriend/former IRA operative/current business associate/confusing-person-of-romantic-interest Fiona Glenanne handed me a card. "This one is cute," she said."

4 out of 5


Burn Notice novels - Todd Goldberg

About writing them and other work.

3.5 out of 5


Johnny Mnemonic - William Gibson

Memory boy, samurai girl, cyborg dolphin hook up.

4 out of 5


Gossamer - Stephen Baxter

Wormhole stuffup surfing webs.

4 out of 5


The Logic Pool - Stephen Baxter

Surviving the Cull.

3 out of 5


The Sun-Person - Stephen Baxter

"Cauchy was the ultimate goal. By dragging a wormhole portal around a circuit light years across, the GUTship Cauchy would establish a wormhole bridge—not across space—but across fifteen centuries, to the future."

With sea-squirts.

3 out of 5


The Sun-People - Stephen Baxter

"Cauchy was the ultimate goal. By dragging a wormhole portal around a circuit light years across, the GUTship Cauchy would establish a wormhole bridge—not across space—but across fifteen centuries, to the future."

With sea-squirts.

3 out of 5


The Day Before the Revolution - Ursula K. Le Guin

Political extroversion is tiring.

4 out of 5


Sorcerers Of Majipoor 1 - Robert Silverberg

"Throughout the world it was a time of tension and apprehension. Who could tell what transformations and hazards the death of the Pontifex might bring? Things had been stable for so long: four full decades, and then some, since there had been a change of ruler on Majipoor."

3 out of 5


Valentine Pontifex 1 - Robert Silverberg

"Valentine looked downward. Everything was black, a pool of night rising from the floor. That blackness seemed to be beckoning to him. Come, a quiet voice was saying, here is your path, here is your destiny: night, darkness, doom. Yield. Yield, Lord Valentine, Coronal that was, Pontifex that will never be. Yield. And Valentine yielded, for in that moment of bewilderment and paralysis of spirit there was nothing else he could do. He stared into the black pool rising about him, and he allowed himself to fall toward it. Unquestioningly, uncomprehendingly, he plunged into that all-engulfing darkness."

3.5 out of 5


A Canticle For Leibowitz 1 - Walter M. Miler

"Brother Francis Gerard of Utah might never have discovered the blessed documents, had it not been for the pilgrim with girded loins who appeared during that young novice's Lenten fast in the desert."

3.5 out of 5


The Death Of Doctor Island - Gene Wolfe

Isolated mental adjustment.

3.5 out of 5


Jeffty Is Five - Harlan Ellison

Parents eventual terminal lack of patience with kid with the brilliant new old stuff.

5 out of 5


Winning Peace - Paul J. McAuley

Alien desertion.

3.5 out of 5


Hatch - Robert Reed

Immortal evolution ship return desire.

3.5 out of 5


Verthandi's Ring - Ian McDonald

Multiversal war dump survival massacre.

5 out of 5


Shift - Nalo Hopkinson

Family Tempest.

2.5 out of 5


Greaves This Is Serious - William Mingin


2.5 out of 5


Her Father's Eyes - Kage Baker

Drawing captive boy.

3.5 out of 5


Want's Master - Patricia Bowne

Demonology lecher.

3.5 out of 5


October In the Chair - Neil Gaiman

Monthly avatar stories that most of them don't even like.

2 out of 5


Orange - Neil Gaiman


3 out of 5


The Oort Crowd - Ken MacLeod

Cometary minds.

3.5 out of 5


Patient Zero - Tanarive Due

Immune boy runs out of caretakers.

4.5 out of 5


The Millenium Express - Robert Silverberg

Famous architectural blow up.

4 out of 5


Everywhere - Geoff Ryman

Fun family.

3.5 out of 5


Dying Of the Light 1 - George R. R. Martin

"That other Dirk, the younger one, Gwen’s Dirk. He had promised. But so had she, he remembered. Long ago on Avalon. The old esper, a wizened Emereli with a very minor Talent and red-gold hair, had cut two jewels. He had read Dirk t’Larien, had felt all the love Dirk had for his Jenny, and then had put as much of that into the gem as his poor psionic powers allowed him to. Later, he had done the same for Gwen. Then they had traded jewels.

It had been his idea. It may not always be so, he had told her, quoting an ancient poem. So they had promised, both of them: Send this memory, and I will come. No matter where I am, or when, or what has passed between us. I will come, and there will be no questions.

But it was a shattered promise. Six months after she had left him, Dirk had sent her the jewel. She had not come. After that, he could never have expected her to invoke his promise. Yet now she had.

Did she really expect him to come?"

3 out of 5


A Four Colour Fanboy - George R. R. Martin

"In the beginning, I told my tales to no one but myself.

Most of them existed only in my head, but once I learned to read and write I would sometimes put down bits on paper. The oldest surviving example of my writing, which looks like something I might have done in kindergarten or first grade, is an encyclopedia of outer space, block-printed in one of those school tablets with the marbled black and white covers."

4 out of 5


The Lord Of the Sands Of Time - Issui Ogawa

"“Even if I can fool them at first, they’ll notice soon enough,” answered Cutty. “If they discover we used force, it will only make things difficult later. I’d very much prefer that you dropped the idea.”

“Can’t do it. If the ETs come down on us it’s too late. I need you to print me up a weapon too. A low-powered firearm. No, a sword is better. Projectile weapons are too everyday in this era. Make it as scary-looking as you can.”

“Perhaps a uniforge carbon-titanium blade? With electrodischarge semiconductors embedded in the surface to cut, say, stainless steel?”

“I knew you’d like it,” said Orville."

3.5 out of 5


All You Need Is Kill - Hiroshi Sakurazaka

"One of the Mimics in the pack stood out from the rest. It wasn’t that it looked different from the others. Just another drowned, bloated frog. But there was something about it that set it apart. Maybe proximity to death had sharpened my senses, but somehow I knew that was the one I was meant to fight.

So that’s what I did. I leapt at the Mimic and it lashed out at me with its tail. I felt my body lighten. One of my arms had been cut off. The right arm—leaving the pile driver on the left intact. Lucky me. I pulled the trigger.

The charge fired, a perfect ninety-degree angle.

One more shot. A hole opened in the thing’s carapace.

One more shot. I blacked out."

2.5 out of 5


Usurper Of the Sun - No Jiri

"Two hours after the convergence of probehound and ship, a kilometer-wide gap between the severed edges of the Ring glistened in the sunlight like two giant fluorescent light bulbs standing on end. Since the Ring was no thicker than a sheet of aluminum foil, the bright edgewise shine was proof that some process was under way.

“The edges look lined with fur,” Aki said as she looked at an image capture from the Phalanx’s telescope. What she saw was pure white, reminiscent of a rabbit pelt. A closer look showed a massive number of small fibers growing densely near the severed edges."

3 out of 5


Everything Changes - John Sullivan

Dragon smash puny humans. Of course, being rather civilised, I'd prefer not to have to, so be sensible.

3.5 out of 5


Think Like A Dinosaur - James Patrick Kelly

Lizard people's replication errors multiply.

4.5 out of 5


King Dragon - Michael Swanwick

Just plane die.

3.5 out of 5


Of Time and Texas - William F. Nolan

Bum steer door.

3 out of 5


Sure Thing - Andrew Vachss

Bet it all.

3 out of 5


Clarkesworld 33 - Sean Wallace

A standard sort of fiction issue for a minor mag. With some good fiction, a multi-editor of magazine roundtable piece, a look back by the publisher, and a piece on the Celts. Quite a substantial non-fiction chunk here.

Worth enough to get into rounding up to 4 territory, 3.75+.

Clarkesworld 33 : Walking with a Ghost - Nick Mamatas
Clarkesworld 33 : The Giving Heart - Corie Ralston

Lovecraft AI.

3.5 out of 5

Lovecraft AI.

3.5 out of 5

4 out of 5