Monday, August 31, 2009

Beneath Ceaseless Skies 24 - Scott H. Andrews

Beneath Ceaseless Skies 24 : Sorrow's Blade - Rita Oakes
Beneath Ceaseless Skies 24 : Father's Kill - Christopher Green

Bold swording.

2 out of 5

There's a wolf in there. No bears, though.

3 out of 5

1 out of 5

Father's Kill - Christopher Green

There's a wolf in there. No bears, though.

3 out of 5

Sorrow's Blade - Rita Oakes

Bold swording.

2 out of 5

Save the Dragons 1 - Dave Freer

"Some of that could possibly be from the fumes. An evil ooze of greenish-blue smoke was spilling slowly down the stairs.

Danny turned to the other three surviving smartly-attired Carpaccio Corporation account executives. "Reckon we're going to have to go in there."

Senior Accounts Manager (collections and repayments) Smooth Mario O'Hogan nodded. Cleared his throat uneasily. "Yeah. The monster's gone." He looked at the scattered bloody remains of Junior Executive Vincent De Scali (contracts).

The two of them cautiously made their way up the stairs to where the six inch thick steel door had been torn off its hinges."

3.5 out of 5

Origin - Ari Goelman

Supervillain sperm mod surprise.

3.5 out of 5

Charms - Shweta Narayan

Fire Woman.

3 out of 5

Finisterre - Maria Deira

Werewolf? Mum?

3 out of 5

Salt's Father - Eric Gregory

Servitor wild fix return bomb.

3.5 out of 5

Bespoke - Genevieve Valentine

Time for clothes.

3 out of 5

The Ghost Of Onions - Marcie Lynne Tentchoff

Tuna or choppery?

2.5 out of 5

The Best New Stories of 2009

2009 Best New Stories

4.5 out of 5

Free SF Reader

Fire and Sleet - James Enge []]

Not Free SF REader

The Lost Princess Man - John Barnes [New Space Opera 2]
One Of Our Bastards Is Missing - Paul Cornell [Solaris New SF 3]
Paradiso Lost - Albert E. Cowdrey [FSF 683]
Rendezvous At Angels Thirty - Tom Ligon [Analog 939]
Firehorn - Robert Reed [FSF 683]

4 out of 5

Free SF Reader

The Best Monkey - Daniel Abraham [Solaris New SF 3]
Off-Track Betting - Madeleine Ashby [Flurb 7]
This Must Be the Place - Elliott Bangs [Strange Horizons]
TVA Baby - Terry Bisson []
Placa del Fuego - Tobias S. Buckell [Clarkesworld 34]
An Education Of Scars - Philip Brewer [Futurismic]
All About the Sponsors - Jeffrey R. DeRego [Escape Pod]
Six Bullets For John Carter - Chad Eagleton [Beat To A Pulp]
Within Your Soul I Sightless See - Eugie Foster [HPL's Mag of Horror 5]
High Stakes - Sarah A. Hoyt [Darwin's Evolutions]
Soul Mate - Shelly Li [Cosmos]
Open Your Eyes - Paul Jessup [Apex]
The Ascendant - Ted Kosmatka [Subterranean Online 10]
Rolling Steel - Jay Lake and Shannon Page [Clarkesworld 31]
Crimes and Glory - Paul J. McAuley [Subterranean Online 10]
In the Autumn Of Empire - Jerry Oltion [Diamonds In the Sky]
Another End of the Empire - Tim Pratt [Strange Horizons]
Scales - Alastair Reynods - []
Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs - Leonard Richardson [Strange Horizons]
This Was Education - Jeff Somers - []
The Culture Archivist - Jeremiah Tolbert [Federations]
The Nostalgist - Daniel H. Wilson []

Not Free SF Reader

Silent Blade - Ilona Andrews [Samhain]
Artifacts - Stephen Baxter [Solaris New SF 3]
Miles To Isengard - Leah Bobet [Interzone 220]
The Qualia Engine - Damien Broderick [Asimov's 403]
Gunfight On Farside - Adam-Troy Castro [Analog 938]
Morality - Stephen King [Esquire]
Act One - Nancy Kress [Asimov's 398]
To Raise A Mutiny Betwixt Yourselfs - Jay Lake [New Space Opera 2]
From the Heart - John Meaney [New Space Opera 2]
A Clown Escapes From Circus Town - Will McIntosh [Interzone 221]
The Art Of the Dragon - Sean McMullen [FSF 684]
The Spiral Briar - Sean McMullen [FSF 682]
Memory Dust - Gareth L. Powell [Interzone 220]
The Fixation - Alastair Reynolds [Solaris New SF 3]
Sinbad the Sand Sailor - R. Garcia y Robertson [Asimov's 402]
Defect - Kristine Kathryn Rusch [New Space Opera 2]
Lion Walk - Mary Rosenblum [Asimov's 396]
The Price Of Silence - Deborah J. Ross [FSF 682]
Dog-Eared Paperback Of My Life - Lucius Shepard [Other Earths]
The Highway Code - Brian Stableford [We Think, Therefore We Are]
Colliding Branes - Rudy Rucker and Bruce Sterling [Asimov's 397]
Rescue Mission - Jack Skillingstead [Solaris New SF 3]
Palimpset - Charles Stross [Wireless]
Adaptogenia - Wayne Wightman [FSF 683]
The Island - Peter Watts [New Space Opera 2]
Inevitable - Sean Williams [New Space Opera 2]
The Tenth Muse - Tad Williams [New Space Opera 2]
Fearless Space Pirates Of the Outer Rings - Bill Willingham [New Space Opera 2]
This Peaceable Land Or The Unbearable Vision Of Harriet Beecher Stowe - Robert Charles Wilson [Other Earths]

On the Destruction of Copenhagen by the War-Machines of the Merfolk - Peter M. Ball

Merpeeps, still not with the long title liking. Plus giant killer robots.

3.5 out of 5

Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs - Leonard Richardson

Destructosaurus entertainment demons from Mars.

4 out of 5

River Of Heaven - Rachel Manija Brown

Star snacks.

3 out of 5

Second-Hand Information - Jennifer Linnea

Second-handed in.

2.5 out of 5

A Journal Of Certain Events Of Scientific Interest From The First Survey Voyage Of The Southern Waters By Hms Ocelot - Helen Keeble

Mermen attack. Possibly angry about stupid names for stories too long to fit in a title box.

3 out of 5

If Wishes Were Horse - Tiffany Angus-Bodie

No more chickens for me, babe.

3 out of 5

Gardens Of the Sun 2 1 - Paul J. McAuley

"It was a bitter irony that the Quiet War had driven them to the place where they had long dreamed of establishing new settlements and exploring new ways of living: the three major political blocs on Earth had gone to war against the peoples of the Jupiter and Saturn systems precisely because the Outers, evolving away from so-called base human stock, diverging in unpredictable directions, had been threatening to expand into every part of the Solar System and create a patchwork diversity of posthumans changing human destiny in unimaginable ways, relegating Earth to a powerless and unsophisticated mudpuddle. The Quiet War had been a war against evolution, an attempt to bring every faction of the Outer community under the leash, to put an end to uncontrolled exploration and development, to establish Earth's hegemony over the entire Solar System.

The refugees had managed to escape all that, but they knew that they had won only a temporary reprieve. A year. Maybe two. They were not only an affront to Earth's desire for control and order, but they also possessed stolen technical data about the new fast-fusion motor that, developed by Greater Brazil, had enabled Earth to win the Quiet War. Uranus was twice as far from the sun as Saturn, but it was not far enough to guarantee their safety."

4 out of 5

The Hidden World 8 - Edmond Hamilton

" I felt the thick arms of the big flesh monster’s lower body grip me tightly, felt him bear me to the floor with his great weight. I struck out with all my strength at the features of the thing. As we rolled and swayed there in that flashing moment the single great staring eye, the strange apertures of the mouth, were directly beside my own face, within an inch of mine.
Those nightmare features so close to my own sickened me. I felt my strength fast waning. I had a glimpse of Darrell struggling wildly with the other monster beside me and then the grip of great arms was tightening in a spine crushing grasp!"

3 out of 5

Space-Time For Springers - Fritz Leiber

Superkitten research.

3.5 out of 5

Time In A Rice Bowl - Rick Kennett

Ernie Pine gets involved in a case of Chinese wizardy and ghosts.

3.5 out of 5

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Queen Of the Iron Sands 1 My Father Brought the Sky Home - Scott Lynch

"I had a good couple of years there. New clothes were a rare thing, and none of us were in any danger of gaining much weight, but dad and I did have our one shared indulgence, that stream of Amazings that never stopped coming, plus the occasional Air Wonder Stories or Zeppelin Stories or Weird Tales. About the latter, we actually argued from time to time. Dad was fond of H.P. Lovecraft, while I adamantly was not. I wanted adventures where the heroes won the day with daring and scientific miracles, not stories where they ran into the night crapping their pants because of monsters that were just too awful to contemplate.

“Well, Violet, that’s probably because you’ve never had to pay income taxes,” said dad sagely, when I tried to explain my grand theories of literature one morning at breakfast.

At least we could both agree that Robert E. Howard was pretty swell. Conan the Cimmerian would pay his income taxes, all right— he’d pay ‘em in crushed skulls. There was no pants-crapping when that fellow was around, unless you were on the wrong team.

Dad and I shared something else, but I would never call this an indulgence. No, imaginary reader, something so absolutely vital was no indulgence for either of us. I went up with him for the very first time in the summer of 1930, in a borrowed plane, since I was too big to share dad’s seat and he would have killed anyone dumb enough to suggest that his little girl tuck herself into the crop-dust bin on his old Jenny."

4 out of 5

The Hidden World 7 - Edmond Hamilton

"He paused, then spoke again to them for a brief moment, then turned to give a short order to someone behind him. Instantly in answer to that order there emerged onto the broad balcony from the door through the wall behind it a half score flesh creatures, armed with the ray cubes and guarding some figure or figures that walked forward among them."

2.5 out of 5

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Suite 101 Interview With - Gordon Van Gelder

With Cat Rambo :-

"In January, 1997, Gordon Van Gelder became the editor of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. In 2000, he became its publisher as well, and the magazine has remained a steady and influential presence in the field. In a recent Locus interview, he said, "Science fiction will never be accepted fully by the mainstream and it shouldn't be, because if it is, it's doing something wrong."

3.5 out of 5

Strange Horizons Interview - Gordon Van Gelder

"I hear more people picking up a copy of The Year's Best Science Fiction and they say, "Where do these stories come from?" They look at the index page and say, "What's this thing called Asimov's Science Fiction?" I know a lot of people subscribe to the different magazines after reading the Year's Best anthology. This is completely backward to the way it used to be."

5 out of 5

SF Canada An Interview With - Gordon Van Gelder

"Went to college and majored in English/creative writing. Sophomore year, Joan Vinge spoke on campus and her husband, Jim Frenkel, came along. He was running Bluejay Books at the time, he had an opening for a summer intern at the time and eventually gave me the job.

And thus was I turned to the dark side of the Force."

4 out of 5

Writing-World.Com Interview With - Gordon Van Gelder

"Yes, I was. In fact, I'd been the editor at St. Martin's for a Best from F&SF anthology, which is how I'd gotten to know Ed Ferman. And when Kris Rusch decided to resign, Ed called me up and said, "I'm looking to hire a new editor. You're probably not interested, but I thought I'd ask anyway." I said I might be interested, we talked more, and about six weeks later he gave me the job. I continued working at St. Martin's for more than three years after taking the F&SF job, up until I took over as publisher of the magazine."

4.5 out of 5

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Stories of John Morressy - Dave Truesdale

An overview, with summaries of each piece.

5 out of 5

The Hidden World 6 - Edmond Hamilton

"Far across this second level Darrell and I could see scores of great cylinder mechanisms like the one before us, each served by a chain lift that brought ceaseless supplies of rock up to it from beneath. Each swiftly converted these rock masses into the dark liquid that flowed away to the great reservoir tanks located here and there.
From the tanks it was piped away in all directions, carrying the dark synthetic food-liquid by force of gravity down through a great pipe system to all of this strange world-city’s lower levels, the whole countless hordes of the flesh creatures being able thus at any moment to obtain the necessary amount of food liquid from the nearest tube and nozzle."

3 out of 5

First Flight - Mary Robinette Kowal

Time Wright.

3.5 out of 5

The Hidden World 5 - Edmond Hamilton

" There could be no doubt that the walls about us were radiating their own intense heat and light. I held the sphere as exactly as possible to the shaft’s center and we fell on downward, away from those glowing walls of rock.
Within moments the glow about and beneath us had become intense, terrible, and we could see that they were of solid rock no longer but of glowing, half melting, half fusing rock, becoming less and less solid.
We could glimpse flashing portions of the walls flowing and moving slowly in thick molten currents, their fierce light strong upon us. It was as though we were falling through the center of a fiery hell. The terrific heat that radiated from the walls seemed to wither us as we crouched there!
The metal of the sphere had become burning to the touch, the air within it all but stifling. As we choked and panted I knew that even to brush against the molten walls through which we were falling would be to annihilate our sphere in their searing heat. It seemed incredible that they had not flowed in upon the shaft and closed it."

3.5 out of 5

The Flowers Of Aulit Prison - Nancy Kress

Unreal, schizo punishment.

4.5 out of 5

Makers 24 - Cory Doctorow

"Sammy had been through a rehab and knew how they went. You laid off a bunch of people in one fast, hard big bang. Hired some unemployment coaches for the senior unionized employees, scheduled a couple of “networking events” where they could mingle with other unemployed slobs and pass around home-made business cards.

You needed a Judas goat, someone who’d talk up the rehab to the other employees, whom you could rely on. Death Waits had been his judas goat for the Fantasyland goth makeover. He’d tirelessly evangelized the idea to his co-workers, had found goth tru-fans who’d blog the hell out of every inch of the rehab, had run every errand no matter how menial."

4 out of 5

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Time Traveler Show - Isaac Asimov

A lecture given to Johns Hopkins university in 1974, with a Q&A afterwards.

4 out of 5

The Black Wolf 1 - Calvin Daniels

"Black Wolf hung back in the shadows, letting their familiar darkness wrap him in secrecy. It was the place he was most at home. Watching from the shadows ready to strike when the time was right, and that time drew near. He could sense it, muscles beginning to tense in preparation.
His eyes moved quickly around the warehouse below. It was an area large enough to welcome trucks to carry away the boxes left earlier by other trucks.
Tonight there would be just such a pick up. Black Wolf could see the wooden crates in the dim light of the light bulbs hanging naked from the high ceiling. Their crude light was what helped him stay hidden in the rafters above."

1 out of 5

Shepherding A Lamb's Lost Legacy - John J. Miller2

On Harold Lamb :-

""Imagine rummaging through an old stack of pulp magazines and coming across a lost story called 'The Three Musketeers' by Alexander Dumas," says Howard Jones. "If nobody had heard of it, you'd feel compelled to tell people what they were missing.""

4.5 out of 5

Gardens Of the Sun 7 ii - Paul J. McAuley

"Standing in the adjacent room, watching her through a polarised patch of wall, Captain Doctor Aster Gavilán, the interrogation team's chief, told Sri that the girl had endured pain induction for more than twenty hours now, yet still showed no sign of cooperation.

'We began with drugs, of course, but they didn't work. Her metabolism is different; her nervous system is very different. So now we are using pain, but she has withstood more pain than anyone ever tested in this device. She feels it. I know that she feels it. Elevated levels of histamine in her blood, activity in her nervous and endocrine systems, brain scans . . . She is not blocking the pain at any level. But she hasn't broken. Amazing.'

'That isn't what I'd call it,' Sri said."

4 out of 5

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Republic Of Thieves Prologue The Minder - Scott Lynch

"“Tam, don’t be a louse,” said Beth, completely ignoring Locke. “You will clutch something before we go back, or work a tease so someone else can clutch. I’ll not give you another choice--”              
“Excuse me,” said Locke, hesitantly.
“What do you want?”
“They can each have one of mine,” said Locke.
“What?” Beth turned to him. “What are you talking about?”               From under his tunic, Locke produced two thin leather purses and a fine silk handkerchief, only mildly stained.
“Three pieces,” he said. “Three of us. Just say we all clutched one and we can go home now.”
“Where in all the hells did you—“
“In the crowd,” said Locke."

3.5 out of 5

Red Seas Under Red Skies 1-3 - Scott Lynch

Note: Some annotations by the author are included in this excerpt.

"Locke Lamora stood on the pier in Tal Verrar with the hot wind of a burning ship at his back and the cold bite of a loaded crossbow’s bolt at his neck.

He grinned and concentrated on holding his own crossbow level with the left eye of his opponent; they were close enough that they would catch most of one another’s blood, should they both twitch their fingers at the same time.

‘Be reasonable,’ said the man facing him. Beads of sweat left visible trails as they slid down his grime-covered cheeks and forehead. ‘Consider the disadvantages of your situation.’

Locke snorted. ‘Unless your eyeballs are made of iron, the disadvantage is mutual. Wouldn’t you say so, Jean?’

They were standing two-by-two on the pier, Locke beside Jean, their assailants beside one another. Jean and his foe were toe-to-toe with their crossbows similarly poised; four cold metal bolts were cranked and ready scant inches away from the heads of four understandably nervous men. Not one of them could miss at this range, not if all the gods above or below the heavens willed it otherwise.

‘All four of us would appear to be up to our balls in quicksand,’ said Jean."

4.5 out of 5

The Lies Of Locke Lamora Prologue The Boy Who Stole Too Much - Scott Lynch

"‘Tell me, Locke. The Thiefmaker said you arranged the murders of two other Shades’ Hill boys, and that he didn’t pick up on your involvement until the second was already done.’ Chains steepled his fingers before his face and gazed calmly at the boy with the death-mark around his neck. ‘I want to know why you killed them, and I want to know how you killed them, and I want to hear it from your own lips. Right now.’ "

3 out of 5

Philip Jose Farmer International Bibliography Interview - Win Scott Eckert

On finishing the daughter of Doc Savage novel, and more.

4.5 out of 5

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Makers 23 - Cory Doctorow

"She pored over the stack of menus in the kitchen. “Does Food in Twenty Minutes really deliver in 20 minutes?”

“Usually 15. They do most of the prep in the vans and use a lot of predictive math in their routing. There’s usually a van within about ten minutes of here, no matter what the traffic. They deliver to traffic-jams, too, on scooters.”

Suzanne made a face. “I thought Russia was weird.” She showed the number on the brochure to her phone and then started to order."

3.5 out of 5 - Virgil Finlay

Ok, Finlay's an artist, but there are a large number of galleries here. Brilliant stuff.

5 out of 5

Raiders Of the Universes - Donald Wandrei

Run out of stuff in ours, you see.

2 out of 5

The Second Satellite - Edmond Hamilton

"Earth-men war on frog-vampires for the emancipation of the human cows of Earth's second satellite."

3 out of 5

Dia Chjermen's Tale the Delmoni Atrocity - Kij Johnson

Ship shortage microbot skystrike slaughter survival.

4 out of 5

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Hidden World 4 - Edmond Hamilton

" The door was near the ground, the corridor through the sphere slanting upward. It was in this corridor that the two flesh monsters were standing, their backs toward us. They were gazing in the other direction through the transparent wall or window of the control room to the river bank, where their fellows were now hastening.
Without a sound Darrell and I crept through the door’s round opening into the corridor behind the two great creatures, noting that each held in its grasp one of the ray-cubes. Up the corridor’s slanting floor, into the sphere, we moved toward them. Another moment would have seen us directly upon them but at that instant Darrell’s foot slipped upon the floor of the metal sided corridor."

3.5 out of 5

Bone Shop 09 - Tim Pratt

""The Throne," Daniel said, and everyone turned to look at him, most of the sorcerers obviously irritated at his interruption. Daniel blushed at the attention, but kept going. "I can sense life, you know, life-force, and... there wasn't life there. Whatever the Throne was, it's not alive, not like anything else I've ever seen."

"It wasn't a ghost," the Chamberlain said.

"Or an illusion of any kind," Sorenson added.

"Nothing from out of nature at all," said a hulking, confused-looking guy with dirt on his face. Granger, his name was, some kind of nature magician.

"Huh," Sauvage said. "Maybe it is an angel then." He looked around. "So your homework assignment is: how the fuck do we kill some angels?" "

3.5 out of 5

Bibliophile Stalker Interview - Aliette de Bodard

"The novel is called Servant of the Underworld, and is a fantasy-mystery set in Aztec times, featuring death-priest-cum-investigator Acatl (and ghostly jaguars, bloodthirsty gods and fingernail-eating monsters). It's a wild, fast-paced ride through a blood-soaked land where the old gods are manifest, and quick to demand their due in all kinds of unpleasant ways."

4 out of 5

Keeping An Eye On - Jay Lake

"SoY: If a reader has never heard of you before reading this, as unlikely as that may be, what is the one single piece of work of yours (novel, short story, Hawaiian shirt, etc.) would you like them to read? (This can be for whatever reason you would like)"

4 out of 5

Realms Of Light 10 - Lawrence Watt-Evans

"“No, not the entire clan,” it agreed. “Just some of the key personnel of Nakada Enterprises who agreed to be recorded, but are still alive.”
“Still alive? What about the dead ones?”
“Oh, when anyone I had recorded died, I would assess the situation, and either activate the recording and transfer it back to the secure household systems on Prometheus, or erase it.”
“Activate it? So there are some human-based uploads living in the household systems?”
“Oh, yes. There were eight when I was recorded myself.”"

4 out of 5

The Warded Man 1-7 - Peter Brett

"“A lake is to a pond what a mountain is to a hill,” Ragen said, giving Arlen
a moment to digest the thought. “Out on the water, the Laktonians are safe
from flame, rock, and wood demons. Their wardnet is proof against wind
demons, and no people can ward against water demons better. They’re fisher-
folk, and thousands in the southern cities depend on their catch for food.
“West of Lakton is Fort Rizon, which is not technically a fort, since you
could practically step over its wall, but it shields the largest farmlands you’ve
ever seen. Without Rizon, the other Free Cities would starve.”
“And Krasia?” Arlen asked.
“I only visited Fort Krasia once,” Ragen said. “The Krasians aren’t wel-
coming to outsiders, and you need to cross weeks of desert to get there.”
“Sand,” Ragen explained. “Nothing but sand for miles in every direction.
No food nor water but what you carry, and nothing to shade you from the
scorching sun.”
“And people live there?” Arlen asked.
“Oh, yes,” Ragen said. “The Krasians used to be even more numerous
than the Milnese, but they’re dying off.”"

2 out of 5

Crime On His Hands - Charles Ardai

An interview about Hard Case crime, and particularly, the covers.

4 out of 5

Frankenstein Dead and Alive 1 - Dean Koontz

"Thanks to gifts carried on the lightning bolt that brought him to life in an earlier and more primitive lab, Deucalion did not need doors. Locks were no impediment to him. Intuitively, he grasped the quantum nature of the world, including the truth that on the deepest structural level, every place in the world was the same place."

3 out of 5

Death's Head Day Of the Damned 1 - David Gunn

"The lizard’s mistake is to move. The moment it swaps granite for red dirt and the temptation of food, it’s dead. Because my blade hisses through the air to open its spine from skull to tail.

It’s a small lizard.

All the big ones are eaten.

Picking it up with metal fingers, I hold it over the fire until its flesh crisps and the skin peels. The man I offer to share with doesn’t want to. So I bite off its head, chewing happily.

“Sven,” Anton says. “That’s disgusting.”

It’s not disgusting at all. It’s hot and salty from the grass and the saline bugs filling its stomach. Believe me, I’ve tasted worse."

3.5 out of 5

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Hidden World 3 - Edmond Hamilton

"Darrell and I, almost to the jungle’s dark mass, flung ourselves toward it with one last effort. As we did so I heard a sudden humming in the air behind us. Then, even at the moment that we hurled ourselves inside the jungle’s thick cover, I half turned and saw the swarming metal spheres, their white beams flashing still, emerging from the shaft into the open air!
The next instant their great swarm or mass was halting, hanging there above the shaft, their beams of light stabbing and circling swiftly in all directions through the night, questing and searching. Crouched there in the thick undergrowth behind the trunk of a great tree, we realized that our bolt to the jungle’s protection had saved us, for they had apparently not glimpsed us.
But as we crouched there I glimpsed Kelsall and Fenton, still running toward the clearing’s tip over its bare surface. Then dozens of the circling beams caught the two men in their illumination and as they did so scores of the hovering spheres leaped through the air toward them!"

3.5 out of 5

Realms Of Light 9 - Lawrence Watt-Evans

"But below that – remember I said there was room in there for a dozen human minds? It looked very much as if that's what was there. I couldn't be sure; the programs weren't active, and I wasn't about to start them up without giving it a little thought. That was what it looked like, though – it looked as if someone had copied a bunch of people into these files.
That would explain why Yoshio had kept this in Nightside City; uploading human minds is illegal on Prometheus, and in most other places I know anything about. Not in Nightside City, though; not much was illegal there."

4 out of 5

Makers 22 - Cory Doctorow

"“Death, I’d like a word, please?”

“I’d be delighted.” Death talked like someone who’d learned to talk by being a precocious reader. He over-pronounced his words, spoke in complete sentences, and paused at the commas. Sammy knew that speech pattern well, since he’d worked hard to train himself out of it. It was a geek accent, and it made you sound like a smart-ass instead of a sharp operator. You got that way if you grew up trying to talk with a grown-up vocabulary and a child’s control of your speech-muscles; you learned to hold your chin and cheeks still while you spoke to give you a little precision-boost. That was the geek accent."

3.5 out of 5

Two Worlds and In Between - Caitlin R. Kiernan

Crotch eating zombie party.

4 out of 5

Bela's Plot - Caitlin R. Kiernan

Out of luck on the Drac gear.

3.5 out of 5

Self-Made Man - Poppy Z. Brite

Tooling up for Thai takeaway.

3.5 out of 5

A Taste Of Blood and Altars - Poppy Z. Brite

Damn baby vampires.

3.5 out of 5

The Hidden World 2 - Edmond Hamilton

"“The whole thing seems incredible, doesn’t it?” I asked. “Incredible for us to expect a fourth light shaft to appear at this exact spot.”
I indicated with a wave of my hand the thick walls of jungle that rose around our river bordered clearing and Darrell and Fenton gazed silently around at my gesture.
Kelsall, though, shook his head. “No, Vance,” he said. “If a fourth light shaft appears it will do so here and at a half hour before midnight. I’m certain of that—for the appearance of the other three have been superhumanly exact in time and place.”
“But there’s nothing unusual here,” I said. “We’ve explored this clearing and the region immediately around it and we’ve found nothing unusual—no sign of the presence of human life even.”
“There was nothing strange or unusual at Kismaya, or south of Moram Island, or before the Callarnia,” Kelsall reminded me. “Yet the light shafts appeared there. And though no other humans lie within leagues of us I think that there is nothing human behind the mystery of these light-shafts which we have come here to solve.”"

3 out of 5

Control Freak 13 - Christa Faust

"The red headed woman leaned forward and took Caitlin's hand. "Lady Belladonna," she said, her eyes holding Caitlin's for a long moment. "These mannerless hussies are Lady Nightshade and Lord Hemlock."

"Lady Hemlock," the boy said, taking Caitlin's hand and bringing it to his lips. His glossy lipstick left a smear on the back of her hand. "My ravishing twin, the Lady Nightshade and I were born 59 seconds apart. 59 torturous seconds during which I was separated from my one true love. But only 59 seconds, because even then, I could not bear a full minute without her. Of course, our traumatic birth was the only such occurrence.""

3.5 out of 5

The Carbon 14 Interview - Christa Faust

"Christa Faust is one of a new breed of writers infusing horror fiction with a sharp and delicious jolt of erotica, cracking the dry husk of taboo to proffer the dark fruits therein. As famed "sexpert" Susie Bright explains in her introduction to THE BEST AMERICAN EROTICA 1995, "Horror-erotica dares the reader to be sickened and aroused simultaneously, senses betrayed."

4 out of 5

Epiphany - Christa Faust

Dead for you, angel.

3.5 out of 5

Realms Of Light 8 - Lawrence Watt-Evans

" “Who the hell are you, using Hsing's ID?” the landlord demanded.
“I'm Carlisle Hsing,” I said. “It's my ID.”
“Hsing is on Prometheus,” Hirata said. “Or off-planet, anyway; for all I know she's on Pandora or Earth or Fomalhaut II. Who are you really?”
He could hear me, but he couldn't see me; the entryway didn't have a proper screen. And of course, I could have faked the image if there were one.
“It's really me, Mis' Hirata,” I said. “I came back for my brother.” Before he could say anything else, I added, “I know I don't have any right to be here, but I needed a com, and you didn't change the codes. I'll be happy to pay you half a month's rent.”
I love expense accounts."

3.5 out of 5

The Hidden World 1 - Edmond Hamilton

"Moram Island, according to this new dispatch, was one of the innumerable islands lying off the western tip of Dutch New Guinea, a few miles to the north of the equator. Besides a number of Dutch planters and officials it was occupied by the brown-skinned islanders who had always lived there and it was from planters and islanders alike that this second report now came. The gist of the thing was that, a little before morning on the preceding day, a terrific beam of light had been seen on the sea south of the island.
It had seemed miles to the south indeed, so far that it must have been almost exactly over the equator itself. A great perpendicular shaft of intense blue brilliance, it had shot up from the waters southward like a great beacon through the night, had hovered a minute or two, and then had flashed down and out of sight.
The awed watchers on Moram Island had thought it at first the beam of some ship’s searchlight. But the coming of dawn a little later had disclosed no craft whatever to the southward, making the thing seem quite inexplicable."

3 out of 5

Cuckoo - Madeleine E. Robins

Changeling recovery.

3 out of 5

The Kiss - Lewis Shiner

Retrovirus Ouroboris assassination.

3.5 out of 5

Fool's War 10 - Sarah Zettel

"Intercom to Al Shei." Schyler's voice sounded tentatively through the cabin.

Al Shei paused in folding up her prayer rug and glanced at Resit, who was laying her kijab back over her hair.

"What is it, Watch?" Al Shei closed her prayer rug in its drawer.

"Guild Master Ferrand's on the line. We...we've lost our Fool."

"We've what?" said Resit before Al Shei could even speak.

"They are declaring Dobbs' contract void for violation of Guild regulations." Schyler's tone vacillated between bewildered and incredulous."

4 out of 5

Fool's War 11 - Sarah Zettel

"One of the founders, yes, I am...I was," he corrected himself. "One of the original Guild Masters. I was found three months after Hal Clarke was borne. I worked with the Guild through most of its history. I helped build Guild Hall. I hunted out others of our kind. I helped give them bodies and trained them to go out among the Humans." The slow heavy bitterness she had heard earlier crept back into his voice. "It took me the better part of two centuries to see that the idea of waiting out human fear and using the Fool's Guild as a teaching tool was doomed from the start."

Dobbs forced her sore hands to keep still. "Doomed? Ye of little faith, Theodore Curran."

Now it was Curran's turn to snort. "You're how old? Twenty-five? You've been Master of Craft for all of ten years? Dobbs, that's the blink of an eye. You haven't seen anything yet." There was a long pause this time. "You haven't seen how many of our people have been murdered at a Guild Master's command because they didn't want to join us. You haven't seen independent-minded cadets have the urge to freedom filtered right out of them.

"You haven't seen the oldest of us who dreamed of living freely come to the realization that they have power the way things are. You didn't see them start working to keep the Guild functioning, not towards any goal, just functioning the way it was so they could keep their power."

4 out of 5

Science Fiction In Croatia - Aleksandar Žiljak

Traces the history of the genre in that particular country.

5 out of 5

Zen - Jerome Bixby

Obvious coloured females and megabreeding.

2 out of 5

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Monster Hunter International 1-7 - Larry Correia

"I had not been able to see it from the angle of our approach, and when we had been directly under the letters, I had been too preoccupied to notice. It was the same name that had been printed on the little boat of evil in my dream.

Trying not to panic, I keyed my mike. "This is Pitt. I need to talk to Harbinger, right now!"

"Pitt. What's wrong?" crackled the response in my ear.

"We have to get off this ship, fast."

"Why? Say again."

"There are seven Master vampires onboard, some giant flying monsters, and a super-evil armored thing. Or at least there were. I think they might have gone ashore last night."

"How do you know that?" said an amused voice. Grant Jefferson.

"I dreamed it last night. I saw them." I knew that everyone was listening to me.

Somebody laughed at me over the radio net.

"He's panicking on the ladder. Big dummy. Told you guys. Pitt, go sit in the boat," Grant ordered.

"Grant, you stupid son of a bitch, shut up and listen. I saw the name of the ship in my dream. The monsters came ashore in a lifeboat with the name Antoine-Henri painted on it."

The radio net was silent. I hung from the ladder. Twenty feet below, Holly stared up at me incredulously. Five feet above, the Hunters were assembled and either scoffing at me, or hopefully, pondering what I had to say. The stenciled letters on the ghost ship taunted me.

Finally Harbinger's voice came back on. "Pitt, get your ass up here."

I climbed the rest of the way as fast as I could, clambered over the railing and slipped and sprawled onto the gray-painted deck. I leapt to my feet and looked for Harbinger. The Hunters had spread out, using whatever cover was available, and had secured the front of the ship. The Hind roared overhead, tearing at us with wind.

"What's going on?" Harbinger asked. He held a Tommy gun in his hands and there was murder in his eyes. He angrily glared at the chopper and made a whirling motion with his finger. Julie was still in the door, she gave him a thumbs-up, shouted something at the pilot and the chopper backed off enough that we could converse.

"I had a dream last night. I saw you guys talking about this mission. You were picking which Newbies to go. Then I saw a lifeboat land on a little beach by a swamp; the boat had the name Antoine-Henri on it. There were seven Master vampires on board, and some sort of dark evil cloaked thing that was wearing armor. They were taking orders from it. Then it saw us and some winged demon-looking things attacked. I woke up after that."

The Director of Operations studied me carefully. I could not tell what he was thinking. Several of the other Hunters were glancing nervously our way. This episode was costing them valuable daylight. Finally he keyed his neck mike.

"Julie, do another pass around the ship. Check for missing lifeboats."

"Got it, Earl," crackled in my ear. The Hind took off in a burst of speed, nose suddenly down as it headed toward the rear of the freighter. He kept watching me. I readied my 870 and studied the deck. We had thirteen Hunters armed to the teeth, and Julie with a sniper rifle overhead. I did not feel safe at all. Sam and Grant detached themselves from the perimeter and trotted over to join us.

"What the hell is going on?" Grant demanded. His black armor was still polished bright, and somehow not dirtied from the rappel down. His personal weapon was an extremely expensive, customized, suppressed Knights SR25 .308 carbine. "We don't have time for this nonsense, Harbinger. Send him back to the boat. Pitt can't handle it and he's freaking out."

"Shut up, Grant," I snapped.

Harbinger held up his hand, cutting us both off. Julie had come back on the radio.

"I don't think there were any lifeboats mounted. Looks like they have inflatable rafts for that." Her voice was distorted with static.

My spirits sank. Grant laughed at me. Harbinger frowned. Sam spit a glob of chew overboard. I suddenly felt very stupid. Maybe it had just been some weird fluke coincidence of my subconscious.

Not a chance.

"You saw me. In your meeting last night. You at least sensed me somehow. I thought something, and it surprised you. I was in the corner of the conference room," I told Harbinger desperately. "Then I was gone, and that's when the monsters landed. When the big one touched the ground, that's when everybody got that weird feeling."

As I have said before, Harbinger was not a man that I would want to play poker with. He did not normally display his emotions, but right now they were as easy to read as the name on the side of this cursed ship. His jaw dropped open, and his eyes widened. That had shocked him.

"How in the hell—"

He was interrupted midsentence as Julie came back on the radio.

"Earl. I take back what I said. Looks like they had a motor launch or something. There is a pulley system rigged near the end of the ship. Looks like it was used to lower or haul something out of the water. It's empty and the cables are dragging in the water, I repeat it is empty and the cables are in the water. There was a boat of some kind, but it is gone."

"Thanks, Julie. Keep your eyes peeled," he responded, took his hand away, thought better of it, and then keyed his mike again. "Boone, get over here. We need to have a little meeting."

Sam clutched his .45-70 warily. "No way, Earl. Seven Masters? That don't sound right. They don't work together. At least they never have."

"Are you guys crazy? The Newbie is full of it. He needs—"

"Grant. Get back on the perimeter," Harbinger stated flatly.

"But I—"

"Go," the Director snapped. Grant angrily complied.

Boone joined us with a worried look. Harbinger gave him a quick rundown. Julie had told me that Harbinger was much older than he looked, but right now he appeared to have aged a decade right in front of us. Boone looked at all of us as if we were crazy.

"So are you supposed to be like a psychic or something?"

"Not that I know of. I'm an accountant.""

4 out of 5

Gardens Of the Sun 7 i - Paul J. McAuley

"‘So I imagine that Yuli must have had a strange childhood. Growing up with only her mother. And it's hard for me to think of Avernus as a mother . . . You know, of course, the irony of her chosen name. Avernus was a volcano in Italy, a place where poisonous fumes meant that birds crossing over it fell dead from the air. Avernus: without birds. Without life. And she who fashions life for places with poisonous air or no air at all took the name of that place, you see? Because she transforms killing airs to life. A clever woman, a genius. Yes! No denying that. But odd. Living at a slant to the rest of us. In her own world, with her own codes and principles.'

Sri suspected that Gunter knew more about Yuli than he claimed, but she wasn't able to get past his little act. He told Sri several stories about Yuli that she'd heard from other sources, asked questions of his own. How had Yuli been caught? Where was she being held, and in what conditions?

‘I'm certain that she is being treated humanely. Whatever Outers might think, Brazilians are not barbarians.'"

3.5 out of 5

Saturday, August 22, 2009

SF/F/H Reviewer Linkup Meme 2nd Edition - John Ottinger

A big, big list put together by John Ottinger :-

(There's enough whacky variety of stuff on the list I figured I may as well list me this time, too)

John has posted the final list to Grasping for the Wind. I reproduce the version as on 21 August 2009; but there could be more additions & latest version will be found in his original post.


Romanian French Chinese Danish Portuguese German


7 Foot Shelves

The Accidental Bard

A Boy Goes on a Journey

A Dribble Of Ink

Adventures in Reading

A Fantasy Reader

The Agony Column

A Hoyden's Look at Literature

All Booked Up

Alexia's Books and Such...

Andromeda Spaceways

The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Ask Daphne

ask nicola

Audiobook DJ


Australia Specfic In Focus

Author 2 Author



Barbara Martin

Babbling about Books

Bees (and Books) on the Knob

Best SF

Bewildering Stories

Bibliophile Stalker


Big Dumb Object

The Billion Light-Year Bookshelf

Bitten by Books

The Black Library Blog

Blog, Jvstin Style

Blood of the Muse

The Book Bind



Booksies Blog


The Book Smugglers


The Book Swede

Book View Cafe [Authors Group Blog]

Breeni Books


Cheaper Ironies [pro columnist]

Charlotte's Library

Circlet 2.0

Cheryl's Musings

Club Jade

Cranking Plot

Critical Mass

The Crotchety Old Fan


Daily Dose - Fantasy and Romance

Damien G. Walter

Danger Gal

It's Dark in the Dark

Dark Wolf Fantasy Reviews

Darque Reviews

Dave Brendon's Fantasy and Sci-Fi Weblog

Dead Book Darling

Dear Author

The Deckled Edge

The Doctor is In...

Dragons, Heroes and Wizards

Drey's Library

The Discriminating Fangirl

Dusk Before the Dawn


Enter the Octopus

Errant Dreams Reviews

Eve's Alexandria


Falcata Times

Fan News Denmark [in English]

Fantastic Reviews

Fantastic Reviews Blog

Fantasy Book Banner

Fantasy Book Critic

Fantasy Book Reviews and News

Fantasy Cafe

Fantasy Debut

Fantasy Dreamer's Ramblings


Fantasy Magazine

Fantasy and Sci-fi Lovin' Blog

Feminist SF - The Blog!


Fiction is so Overrated

The Fix

The Foghorn Review

Follow that Raven

Forbidden Planet

Frances Writes

Free SF Reader

From a Sci-Fi Standpoint

From the Heart of Europe

Fruitless Recursion

Fundamentally Alien

The Future Fire


The Galaxy Express


Game Couch

The Gamer Rat

Garbled Signals

Genre Reviews


Got Schephs

Graeme's Fantasy Book Review

Grasping for the Wind

The Green Man Review

Gripping Books



Hero Complex

Highlander's Book Reviews


The Hub Magazine

Hyperpat's Hyper Day


I Hope I Didn't Just Give Away The Ending

Ink and Keys

Ink and Paper

The Internet Review of Science Fiction



Jenna's Bookshelf

Jumpdrives and Cantrips


Keeping the Door

King of the Nerds


Lair of the Undead Rat

Largehearted Boy

Layers of Thought

League of Reluctant Adults

The Lensman's Children

Library Dad

Libri Touches

Literary Escapism

Literaturely Speaking

ludis inventio

Lundblog: Beautiful


Mad Hatter's Bookshelf and Book Review

Mari's Midnight Garden

Mark Freedman's Journal

Marooned: Science Fiction Books on Mars


Michele Lee's Book Love

Missions Unknown [Author and Artist Blog Devoted to SF/F/H in San Antonio]

The Mistress of Ancient Revelry

MIT Science Fiction Society

Monster Librarian

More Words, Deeper Hole

Mostly Harmless Books

Multi-Genre Fan

Musings from the Weirdside

My Favourite Books


Neth Space

The New Book Review


Not Free SF Reader



OF Blog of the Fallen

The Old Bat's Belfry

Only The Best SciFi/Fantasy

The Ostentatious Ogre

Outside of a Dog



Pat's Fantasy Hotlist

Patricia's Vampire Notes

The Persistence of Vision

Piaw's Blog


Post-Weird Thoughts

Publisher's Weekly



Random Acts of Mediocrity

Ray Gun Revival

Realms of Speculative Fiction

Reading the Leaves

Review From Here

Reviewer X

Revolution SF

The Road Not Taken

Rob's Blog o' Stuff

Robots and Vamps


Sandstorm Reviews

Satisfying the Need to Read

Science Fiction and Fantasy Ethics

Science Fiction Times


Sci-Fi Blog


Sci-Fi Fan Letter

The Sci-Fi Gene

Sci-Fi Songs [Musical Reviews]

SciFi Squad

Scifi UK Reviews

Sci Fi Wire

Self-Publishing Review

The Sequential Rat

Severian's Fantastic Worlds

SF Diplomat



SF Gospel


SF Revu

SF Safari

SF Signal

SF Site

SFF World's Book Reviews

Silver Reviews

Simply Vamptastic

Slice of SciFi

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

Solar Flare

Speculative Fiction

Speculative Fiction Junkie

Speculative Horizons

The Specusphere


Spiral Galaxy Reviews

Spontaneous Derivation

Sporadic Book Reviews

Stainless Steel Droppings

Starting Fresh

Stella Matutina

Stuff as Dreams are Made on...

The Sudden Curve

The Sword Review


Tangent Online

Tehani Wessely

Temple Library Reviews

Tez Says

things mean a lot [also a publisher]

True Science Fiction


Ubiquitous Absence



Urban Fantasy Land


Vast and Cool and Unsympathetic

Variety SF


Walker of Worlds

Wands and Worlds


The Wertzone

With Intent to Commit Horror

The Wizard of Duke Street

WJ Fantasy Reviews

The Word Nest


The World in a Satin Bag




Young Adult Science Fiction



Cititor SF [with English Translation]




Foundation of Krantas

The SF Commonwealth Office in Taiwan [with some English essays]

Yenchin's Lair






Fernando Trevisan

Human 2.0

Life and Times of a Talkative Bookworm

Ponto De Convergencia




Fantasy Seiten

Fantasy Buch

Fantasy/SciFi Blog


Welt der fantasy

Bibliotheka Phantastika

SF Basar

Phantastick News



Phantastick Couch


Fantasy News

Fantasy Faszination

Fantasy Guide

Zwergen Reich

Fiction Fantasy


Romanian French Chinese Danish Portuguese German

The Waters Of Meribah - Tony Ballantyne

Don't need his head now all the tentacle stuff is good to go.

3.5 out of 5

Moxyland - Lauren Beukes

What if Stroctorow grew up in Africa? Or perhaps, given the outlook, one of Pat Cadigan's Synners did, as Moxyland is perhaps more along those lines.

The story posits the existence of an Africa that has come out the other side of the decimation of a generation by AIDs - and the large numbers of parentless young people as a result - and also a cleanup of the dangerous crime levels, at least in terms of the area this tale takes place in.

However, to do so has required a definite tilt to corporate fascist dystopia. The behaviour of these companies is leaning somewhat Richard Morganatic.

Average people do lots of daily business through their mobile phones - and can hence easily be disconnected as a punishment, or even worse. Worse being is that the cops can literally zap people through their phones, so no unwieldy tasers needed, just call down the lightning, so to speak. Through in some genemod tracker dogs, too. No-one running around blowing people away with automatic weapons, burning people as witches, or other such to be seen here, though. Chemical and biological tagging of offenders is used so that the dogs can hunt them down later. Low-tech biosolutions compared to what might be employed in the wealthier west.

The Rural areas, capitalised as such, still seem to be severely disadvantaged, and other countries still worse off than South Africa.

Cape Town's technology level is such that MMO games are popular, as are fancy-mobile-phone assisted Live Action ARG/RPGs along with that. Doesn't change the fact that there are street kids galore, and people that don't have access to the network, and plenty of refugees from elsewhere.

The novel follows four characters. A rich kid that is an independent media producer, a walking corporate advertisement addicted photographer, a street activist, and a corporate programmer with subversive sympathies. All of whom think they can make a difference, or at least get ahead. In for a shock, this lot.

This is a very good, and very polished first novel. Well done.

4 out of 5

Makers 21 - Cory Doctorow

"The worst of it was that there weren’t enough of them anymore. The goth scene, which had shown every sign of surging and re-surging every five years, seemed finally to be dying. Numbers were down. A couple of goth-themed parks in the area had shuttered, as had the marshy one in New Orleans (admittedly that might have been more to do with the cholera outbreak).

Last month, he’d shut down the goth toddler-clothing shop and put its wares on deep online discount. All his little nieces and nephews were getting bat-wing onesies, skull platform-booties and temporary hair-dye and tattoos for Christmas. Now he just had to get rid of the other ten million bucks’ worth of merch.

“Morning, Death,” he said. The kid’s real name was Darren Weinberger, but he insisted on being called Death Waits, which given his pudgy round cheeks and generally eager-to-please demeanor, was funny enough that it had taken Sammy a full year to learn to control his grin when he said it."

3.5 out of 5

The Vigilant - Dirk Strasser

St Kilda djinn defense.

3.5 out of 5

Friday, August 21, 2009

Max At Sea - Dave Eggers

"Sort of. That is, he saw what he saw but couldn’t believe any of it. He saw animals. Animals? Creatures of some kind. Huge and fast. He thought they might be oversized sorts of humans covered in fur, but they were bigger than that, hairier than that. They were ten or twelve feet tall, each four hundred pounds or more. Max knew his animal kingdom, but he had no name for these beasts. From behind, they resembled bears, but they were larger than bears, their heads far bigger. Even so, their movements were nimble, deft—they had the quickness of deer or small monkeys. And they all looked different, as humans do: one had a long broken horn on its nose; another had a wide flat face, stringy hair, and pleading eyes; another seemed like a cross between a boy and a goat. And another—

It had been a giant rooster. This was the weirdest one by far. Max slapped himself, making sure he was awake. He was awake, and there was a giant rooster before him, no more than twenty yards away in the full glow of the raging fire. It was at once comical—it looked like a giant man in a rooster suit—and powerful and menacing.

The rooster seemed frustrated, staring at another creature, of similar height and heft but with a different shape. This one had a mop of reddish hair and a leonine face, with a large horn, like a rhino’s, extending from its nose. It looked female, if that was possible for such an ugly thing. She was in the middle of beating a large nest, resting on the ground, with a log."

The Locust 1 - Douglas Clegg

Naked boozeboy spying.

3.5 out of 5

Shadow Life - Paul J. McAuley

Alien bugs old news, on ebay.

3.5 out of 5

Lighter Than You Think - Nelson Bond

"So this rod, which enables you to defy the law of gravity, is electrical?" "Electricaceous," corrected Pat. "You see, I have transmogrified the polarifity of certain ingredular cellulations. A series of disentrigulated helicosities, activated by hypermagnetation, set up a disruptular wave motion which results in--counter-gravity!"

3 out of 5

The Birthing House 1-2 - Christopher Ransom

"Conrad Harrison found the last home he would ever know by driving the
wrong way out of Chicago with a ghost in his car."

3 out of 5

Zero Data - Charles Saphro

Crowning roasting.

2 out of 5

Touched By the Bomb - Sarah Smith

Dead in Japan.

2.5 out of 5

Electric Velocipede Interview - John Langan

Largely on new novel

4 out of 5

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - Seth Grahame-Smith

"As Mr. Darcy walked off, Elizabeth felt her blood turn cold. She had never in her life been so insulted. . The warrior code demanded she avenge her honour. Elizabeth reached down to her ankle, taking care not to draw attention. There, her hand met the dagger concealed beneath her dress. She meant to follow this proud Mr. Darcy outside and open his throat.

But no sooner had she grabbed the handle of her weapon than a chorus of screams filled the assembly hall, immediately joined by the shattering of window panes. Unmentionables poured in, their movements clumsy yet swift; their burial clothing in a range of untidiness. Some wore gowns so tattered as to render them scandalous; other wore suits so filthy that one would assume they were assembled from little more than dirt and dried blood. Their flesh was in varying degrees of putrefaction; the freshly stricken were slightly green and pliant, whereas the longer dead were grey and brittle – their eyes and tongues long since turned to dust, and their lips pulled back into everlasting skeletal smiles.

A few of the guests, who had the misfortune of being too near the windows, were seized and feasted on at once. When Elizabeth stood, she saw Mrs. Long struggle to free herself as two female dreadfuls bit into her head, cracking her skull like a walnut, and sending a shower of dark blood spouting as high as the chandeliers."

3.5 out of 5

Tangent Online Interview - Donald A. Wollheim

"TANGENT: What was the real reason you broke away from ACE books?

DONALD A. WOLLHEIM: It was for economic reasons. ACE books was a very profitable and very steady company until the death of A. A. Wyn in 1967, who was its founder. It then came under new management who made certain changes, mostly economic investments in other fields, which made the situation more and more...uncomfortable, I'll put it this way. Until it just became my feeling that there was no getting along. So I decided to strike out for myself.

TANGENT: They had more or less new priorities at ACE?

WOLLHEIM: Well, it's not that. You know, a company makes a certain amount of money, and if they start spending it by buying other corporations they--their idea was to create a conglomerate, which was the thing in those days. They bought two or three other publishing companies and invested money and then found themselves in tight financial straits. And things were getting very ugly as far as their profitable side was concerned. It felt like to me that we were on a losing streak and I was naturally getting a little uneasy about all this."

4.5 out of 5

Sky Pirates 16 - John Shirley

"Jann glanced at Derv--who nodded. "Time enough." Jann checked his weapons--a sword in one hand, hand cannon in the other--and then rose up howling. Shouting "Paradine!" he led a rush toward the four guards.

They started up and for precious seconds stared in confusion, fumbling at their side arms and then Jann was firing, his men spreading out and firing beside him. The sentries spun and died as more Veln emerged from the ship--but they were caught by surprise as Moss and his men emerged shrieking from the dunes on their right flank, cutting them down.

Jann rushed into the spacecraft and found the interior of the ship but lightly defended. Jann cut down two Veln rushing toward him along the entry corridor, ran to the cross-hall--and stepped back just in time to avoid two pulses of killing light. The bulkhead to his right blackened and bubbled."

4 out of 5

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hall Of Mirrors - Fredric Brown

Time immortality revelation decision.

4 out of 5

Makers 20 - Cory Doctorow

"“It’s the goddamned fatkins agitprop games,” Eva said. “They come free with everything now—digital cameras, phones, even in cereal boxes. You have to eat a minimum number of calories per level or you starve to death. This one is a champeen.”

“I’m nationally ranked,” the little girl said, not looking up from the menu.

Perry looked across the table and discovered that Suzanne had covered Lester’s hand with hers and that Lester was laughing along with her at something funny. Something about that made him a little freaked out, like Lester was making time with his sister or their mom.

“Suzanne,” he said. “What’s happening with you these days, anyway?”

“Petersburg is what’s happening with me,” she said, with a hoarse little chuckle. “Petersburg is like Detroit crossed with Paris. Completely decrepit and decadent. There’s a serial killer who’s been working the streets for five years there and the biggest obstacle to catching him is that the first cops on the scene let rubberneckers bribe them to take home evidence as souvenirs.”"

3 out of 5 Interview - Tim Pratt

"but I could do without ever meeting the revivified mummy of John Wilkes Booth"

4 out of 5

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Sword-Edged Blonde 1 - Alex Bledsoe

"I opened the sword cabinet and took out my old Fireblade Warrior three-footer, the one with the narrow dagger hidden in the hilt. I had bigger swords, but this one wouldn’t attract attention and, since I’d filed the distinctive Fireblade monogram off the blade, it looked a lot more fragile and decrepit than it actually was. I slipped it into the shoulder scabbard and strapped it across my back, outside my jacket.

I grabbed the basics for a short overnight trip and threw them into a saddlebag. I put five pieces of gold in my pocket and the remainder in the hollow heel of my right boot. Then I locked up the inner office and went downstairs."

3 out of 5

Gardens Of the Sun 6 - Paul J. McAuley

"The salvage yard hung in the middle of a Sargasso Sea of derelict ships. More than sixty of them now, and one or two still arriving every week, even though it was a year and counting since the war had ended. Their shapes sharply silhouetted against Saturn's foggy bulk, flashing like fugitive stars as they tumbled slowly through black vacuum. Those damaged beyond repair were stripped of reusable components, their fusion and attitude motors were dismounted, and their lifesystems, hulls and frames were rendered into chunks of scrap metal, fullerene composite and construction diamond. But most were powerless and frozen but otherwise intact, killed when their cybernetic nervous systems had been zapped by microwave bursts or EMP mines during the investment of the Saturn System. Salvage and refurbishment of these brain-dead ships was fairly straightforward, apart from having to deal with the remains of the dead."

4 out of 5

Gardens Of the Sun 5 - Paul J. McAuley

"'Ken died in the war. I'm Felice Gottschalk now. And when I walk out of this room I will be someone else, and you and your friends will never find me.'

'If you help us, then in time it might be possible to find Zi Lei. You help us; we help you.'

'Don't worry, I'm not going to kill you. I killed a man once, and I never want to do it again,' the spy said, and quick as thought slapped a second patch on Keiko Sasaki's forehead and caught her as she slumped sideways.

He walked out of the storeroom as a Brazilian marine, Ari Hunter. Trooper Hunter was a skin, a few entries in the files of the Brazilian military, but he wore the spy's face and fingerprints and retinal and metabolic patterns, and he possessed the spy's DNA. He also looked like an Outer, but that didn't matter. He only had to deal with the AIs and robots that controlled the security gates and the garages. They believed that Ari Hunter required a rolligon because he was on a mission to investigate an anomalous signal near the northern end of Latium Chasma.

This time the spy could drive across the surface of the little moon without worrying about being targeted by the Brazilians. His mission was logged and approved -- although he would not be making the return part of the journey, of course. He planned to retrieve and refuel the dropshell and quit Dione. It wasn't an ideal craft, but he couldn't risk stealing anything else. It had just enough thrust to reach escape velocity, and then he could spiral out to Iapetus in a long, lazy orbit that would take more than a hundred days. That was all right. He had plenty of air and water and food, and would spend most of the time drowsing in hibernation. And when he woke, he would set out again to find the woman he loved. It was a holy mission. Nothing could stop him."

4.5 out of 5