Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hugh Cook the Wordsmith and the Warrior - Grant Stone

An article about the kiwi fantasy writer and his struggles. Planet Stories is going to do one of these books, too.

4.5 out of 5

The Big Interview - Greg Egan

"People with no interest in science are very well catered for in science fiction; 99% of SF is written for them. I make no apology for contributing to the 1% that treats science as something of interest in its own right."

4.5 out of 5

Makers 51 - Cory Doctorow

"Then a dismal thought struck him. “Wait though, wait. They’re using their own goop for the printers. Every design we print makes them richer.”

Perry laughed again, really merry. “Oh, that kind of thing never works. They’ve been trying to tie feedstock to printers since the inkjet days. We go through that like wet kleenex.”

“Isn’t that illegal?”

“Who the fuck knows? It shouldn’t be. I don’t care about illegal anymore. Legal gets you lawyers. Come on, dude—what’s the point of being all into some anti-authoritarian subculture if you spend all your time sucking up to the authorities?”"

3 out of 5

Friday, October 30, 2009

Infestation - Garth Nix

Vampire$ slayer scenario not alien to Judas.

4 out of 5

Yearly Summaries 2009 - Rich Horton

A work in progress, Analog and Asimov's done so far.

5 out of 5

13 Bullets 13 - David Wellington

"Deanna was as unabashed as ever. She’d shown her work to every person she could find who was even slightly willing to look at it. Most of the time she got polite silence in response. Some people would deem her work “interesting” or “engaging” and go on for a while about theories of body politics or post-feminism until they ran out of steam. The people who actually appreciated her work scared Caxton. They didn’t seem all there—and worse, they made her wonder if maybe Deanna wasn’t altogether normal herself."

3 out of 5

The Sci-Fi Guys Interview - James Enge

Talking about Morlock and Blood Of Ambrose in the main.

Note the interview is at a file hosting site, so put the link for the blog in to.

Blog here :-

4 out of 5

Wolfbreed 1 - S. Andrew Swann

""Do they provide you with nothing?" Manfried muttered more to himself than to the prisoner. She appeared beyond hearing him. Her eyes were unfocused, their unusually deep green hue reflecting into a void that was invisible to him.

Her left leg trailed behind her, and that ankle was caked with blood and rust where a gray-black metal manacle had rubbed it raw. The blood was awful, and the stench worse, the foot swollen with infection and turned at a nasty angle. At some point she had broken the bone, and it looked as if she had collapsed in an attempt to walk toward the door.

The sight was so appalling that he never once considered the fact that he had never heard her cry out in pain."

3.5 out of 5

Wolf's Cross - S. Andrew Swann

Pass a leg, please.

3.5 out of 5,QemGrh1A

13 Bullets 12 - David Wellington

"Caxton remembered Arkeley’s report, had all but memorized it. She knew that unless the vampire’s heart was destroyed it would get up again. She had only a few seconds. Bullets were pretty much useless—even if she emptied her clip into his chest she knew she couldn’t be assured of hitting the heart dead on. She looked to her side, to the boxes of tools, and found what she wanted. A pile of palings had been left in the pit, the kind of wooden poles surveyors use to mark out where a new highway will go. She lifted one, a square-cut, mud-stained length of unfinished wood maybe six feet long and an inch and a half thick. It even had a day-glo orange ribbon tied to its flat end like a pennon on a lance. She took it up in both hands, lifted it over her head to stab directly downwards.

With all of her strength she brought it down, sharp end first, right into the vampire’s rib cage, right into that white skin like carved marble. It might as well have been stone she attacked. The stake shivered all the way up its length, driving long splinters into the meat of her hand. Its point splayed out, twisted and broken.

She brushed away the debris and found a tiny pink point on the vampire’s skin where she’d stabbed him."

3.5 out of 5

13 Bullets 11 - David Wellington

"Before she could do more than free her weapon from its holster the vampire’s hand closed on her neck. As fast as she had moved away from him, he had come at her even faster. He picked her up and threw her away, even as two more gunshots made the night air jump and shiver. She was flying and this time she knew she was going to hit hard, knew it was going to hurt. She collided with a sawhorse painted orange and white. It caught her right her navel, right at the top of her thighs and she kept going, twisting over it, agony jarring through her femurs as they flexed and twisted and nearly shattered. She slumped forward and her momentum carried her over the barrier and into the exposed pit beyond, the place where the road had been peeled away."

3 out of 5

The Kraken Wakes - John Wyndham

Another astronomical event causes bad things to happen to poor hapless humanity. Things crash on the planet, and the seas begin to rise. This is a problem as monkey based bipeds required fairly significant amounts of dry land to go about their business on a daily business.

However, there are other lifeforms on earth, and some of them live beneath the waves. They are fairly happy about what is going on. The remnants of humanity have to make do with less and less land.

2.5 out of 5

Sticks - Karl Edward Wagner

Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of the Old Ones? Kent Allard's nephew!

4 out of 5

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Makers 50 - Cory Doctorow

"“Perry, I’m the chairman of the Boston ride collective. I’m their rep on the co-op’s board. You can’t fire me. You didn’t hire me. They did. So stop breathing through your nose like a locomotive and calm down. None of us wanted that lawyer to go after that kid.”"

2.5 out of 5

Child Of An Ancient City - Tad Williams

Sad stories say so much, says the vamp.

4 out of 5

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Revise the World 12 - B. W. Clough

"“Here, you tell him, Mag. Is it news to you that Titus and I are sleeping together?”

Titus’s mouth dropped open in horror. Mag balanced the heap of towels on a chair and began to fold them. “‘Course not. As I recollect, you hooked him Monday night — Nat spotted it right off. Fact, Shell, your mojo is so good, I was gonna ask you to share some of the secrets of your boo-doir. The way Cap here stares at you like he’s dumbstruck, it’s a fine sight to see.”"

4 out of 5

Makers 49 - Cory Doctorow

"“You built this entire thing from scratch in three weeks?”

The Imagineers laughed. “No, no—no way! No, almost all the code and designs came off the net. Most of this stuff was developed by New Work startups back in the day, or by those ride weirdos down in Hollywood. We just shoved it all into this box and added the models for some of our old rides from the archives. This was easy, man—easy!”

Sammy’s head swam. Easy! This thing was undeniably super-cool. He wanted one. Everyone was going to want one!:"

3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Epoch 6 - Cory Doctorow

Ah, I quit.

3.5 out of 5

13 Bullets 01 - David Wellington

"The SWAT team arrived at the corner before he did, sliding out of an armored van, four agents carrying MP5s. They wore full helmets and riot armor but it wasn’t standard issue. Their commanding officer had insisted I give them a chance to modify their kit. We all knew what we were getting into, he told me; we’d all seen plenty of movies before.

So the SWAT guys had crucifixes hot-glued all over them, everything they could get, from big carved wood Roman Catholic models with gruesome Jesuses hanging down to dime-store nickel-plated crosses like you would find on a charm bracelet. I bet they felt pretty safe under all that junk.

Lares laughed out loud and tore off his red sweater. Underneath it his torso was one rippling mass of muscle. White skin, hairless, poreless, writhed over the submerged lumps of his vertebrae. He looked a lot less human with his shirt off. He looked more like some kind of albino bear. A wild animal. A mankiller."

4 out of 5

99 Coffins - David Wellington

"Caxton pried her own gaze away from those eyes and grabbed at the amulet around her neck. She tried to bring the shotgun up, thinking only to blast those damned eyes right out of his head. With an easy, swooping motion he closed the distance between them and knocked the weapon right out of her hand, sending it spiraling down the side of the hill. It slid quite a ways on the wet grass.

He grabbed her head in both of his hands and brought his face within inches of her own. She could smell the blood of the dead policeman on his breath. His eyes went wide and his stare bored right into her but with the charm in her hand he couldn’t quite connect. With a grunt of disgust he let go of her."

3.5 out of 5

13 Bullets 10 - David Wellington

"“No, I don’t think so.” Arkeley took his weapon from its holster. “When I took down Lares he was feeding his ancestors. He brought them blood. I did some more research and I found others who’d seen similar behavior. Vampires lust for blood, but they worship the creatures who gave them the curse. When I threatened Malvern back in the hospital I brought this on us. Roll down your window and lean back.”

She did as he asked only a moment before he lurched across her body and fired two shots into the Chevy on her left. The half-dead driver threw his hands across his face but they exploded in clouds of bone fragments and withered flesh. His head cracked and pulled apart and the car spun off the road and smacked into a tree. Caxton watched in her rear-view as its headlights swiveled out crazily, pointing in different directions, a moment before they went dark."

3.5 out of 5

13 Bullets 09 - David Wellington

"In the center of the room, near the coffin, Justinia Malvern sat in her wheelchair, the empty blood beaker clutched in one near-lifeless hand. Her other hand rested on the keyboard of a laptop computer perched on top of the coffin."

3 out of 5

13 Bullets 08 - David Wellington

"“If you were human you would try to make it last,” the Fed told her. Caxton had never seen him enjoy anything so much. “You’d know it was your last taste, ever, and you’d try to savor it. But you’re not human, and you can’t resist, can you?”

The vampire’s mouth drew back in a kind of sneer. Then a long gray tongue snaked out between all those teeth and started lapping hungrily at the blood in the beaker, licking long black streaks up the side. It was gone in a moment."

3.5 out of 5

13 Bullets 07 - David Wellington

"“Hello, Deputy. You’re on schedule—it’s just about feeding time at the zoo.” It was the man in the lab coat who spoke. He pushed the wheelchair closer to them than Caxton would have liked. She felt nothing from the vampire, no sense of humanity, just coldness. It was like standing next to the freezer cabinet in a grocery store on a hot summer day. The chill was palpable, and real, and wholly unnatural.

“Special Deputy,” Arkeley corrected.

“Feeding time?” Caxton asked, appalled.

The vampire’s eye brightened noticeably."

3 out of 5

13 Bullets 06 - David Wellington

"“Trooper,” the Commissioner said, without looking at her. “What do you think of this piece of shit? Should I run him out of town?”

She was pretty sure it was a rhetorical question but she answered anyway. “Sir,” she said, “he’s the only living American to have successfully hunted vampires, Sir.” She stayed at attention, staring up at the brim of her hat like she’d been taught."

3.5 out of 5

13 Bullets 05 - David Wellington

"“When a vampire drinks your blood,” he told her, his voice almost friendly, “his curse gets inside of you. It eats at you, at your corpse. The next night you rise and you do his bidding because he’s all that’s left in your heart and your brain. You live for him. You serve him. The curse burns inside of you and makes you an unclean thing. Your body starts to decay faster than it should. Your skin peels off like a cast-aside shroud. Your soul curdles. We call them half-deads. In Europe they used to be called the Faceless.”

“This guy was a vampire’s slave?” Caxton asked. “I’ve heard about vampires having slaves but I didn’t know you could cut their arms off and they would keep moving. They don’t talk about that in the movies.”"

3 out of 5

13 Bullets 04 - David Wellington

"“Come on, be serious. Nobody’s seen a vampire since the Eighties. I mean, there was that one they caught in Singapore two years ago, the one they burned at the stake. But that was a long way from here.”"

3.5 out of 5

13 Bullets 03 - David Wellington

"Lares knelt next to one of the coffins, his hands bracing him on the wooden lip. He lowered his head over the body and his back began to shake. One of his laughing eyes kept me pinned the whole time. With a horrible retching sound he vomited a half pint of blood into the coffin, right over the corpse’s face. He clutched at his sides and heaved again, and again, until the skull was bathed in clotted gore.

Steam rose from the hot blood in the cold room. Steam wreathed the skull, the rib cage of the corpse. Steam coalesced like watery light around the bones, wrapping the vampire remains in illusory flesh and skin. The body plumped out and began to take on something like human form as the blood dripped into the corpse’s mouth."

3.5 out of 5

Revise the World 11 - B. W. Clough

"She patted him on the cheek. “Let me handle the grasping, dear. Tonight after lights-out I’ll come to your tent, okay? All you’ll have to do is lie back and think of England.”"

2.5 out of 5

Undocumented - Rachel Swirsky

Crackback families.

3 out of 5

The Curandero and the Swede - Daniel Abraham

Red Virgin power story.

3 out of 5

Revise the World 10 - B. W. Clough

“Yes — I mean, no!” He knew she was teasing him, but couldn’t help flushing with embarrassment. “You know precisely what I mean, Shell. Until this month I’ve never seen a female in trousers. Or with bare legs, for that matter. Now, dressed like that, you look so right.”

Mag blinked at him over her glasses. “Guess I didn’t really believe it deep down till now. You surely are a time traveler, Captain.”

3.5 out of 5

Bone Shop 18 - Tim Pratt

Kill hellraiser boyfriend. Get memory wipe. Get elected.

3.5 out of 5

The Pirate Captain's Daughter - Yoon Ha Lee

Takes the whole name thing too seriously and the wrong way.

3 out of 5

Great Golden Wings - Rachel Swirsky

Dragon movie time.

3 out of 5

Status Quo - Mack Reynolds

Financial cold war.

3 out of 5

Freedom - Mack Reynolds

Top shootings.

3 out of 5

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo 1 - Stieg Larsson

"He was anything but pleased.

For the detective, the “Case of the Pressed Flowers” had been nagging at him for years–his last, unsolved and frustrating case. The situation was doubly absurd because after spending literally thousands of hours brooding, on duty and off, he could not say beyond doubt that a crime had indeed been committed.

The two men knew that whoever had mounted the flowers would have worn gloves, that there would be no fingerprints on the frame or the glass. The frame could have been bought in camera shops or stationery stores the world over. There was, quite simply, no lead to follow. Most often the parcel was posted in Stockholm, but three times from London, twice from Paris, twice from Copenhagen, once from Madrid, once from Bonn, and once from Pensacola, Florida. The detective superintendent had had to look it up in an atlas."

3.5 out of 5

Still Scary After All These Years - Jonathan Maberry

Round table type discussion with a heap of people: Joe Lansdale, Ramsey Campbell, Elln Datlow, Christopher Golden and more.

4.5 out of 5

Innsmouth Free Press 2 - Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The second 'fiction issue' isn't as good as the first, 2.93 as compared to 3.17. The website does have other material, interviews, reviews, faux articles etc.

Innsmouth Free Press 2 : Innsmouth Free Press 2 - Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles
Innsmouth Free Press 2 : Prayer at Dark River - Mary Robinette Kowal
Innsmouth Free Press 2 : What's in a Shell? - Nathalie Boisard-Beudin
Innsmouth Free Press 2 : Partum - Lori M. Myers
Innsmouth Free Press 2 : What Appollonius Rhodius Didn't Say - Berrien C. Henderson
Innsmouth Free Press 2 : The Stones at Spurn Point - Rafe McGregor
Innsmouth Free Press 2 : Scream Saver - Ann K. Schwader
Innsmouth Free Press 2 : Beneath the Red City - Matthew Bey

Weak non-arrival.

2.5 out of 5

Dolls all the way down. With tentacles.

3 out of 5

Leaky bad luck.

2.5 out of 5

Beaky deliverer.

3 out of 5

Order Of Dagon submerging.

3 out of 5

Distributed Tindalos immigration.

3.5 out of 5

Little dog boy traitor.

3 out of 5

2 out of 5

Apex Magazine 12 - Jason Sizemore

There's an interview with Brand Massey. A 3.25, so a fairly standard minor magazine score, with the Jessup reprint the best, but Sizemore's is reasonable, too.

Apex Magazine 12 : A Poor Man's Roses - Alethea Kontis
Apex Magazine 12 : To Dream of Stars An Astronomer's Lament - Peter M. Ball
Apex Magazine 12 : Yellow Warblers - Jason Sizemore
Apex Magazine 12 : Ghost Technology From the Sun - Paul Jessup

Bloody Bastard.

2.5 out of 5

At the pointed end.

3 out of 5

Alien crucifixion mistake.

3.5 out of 5

Rabbitars against necromancy? Need more help.

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

Yellow Warblers - Jason Sizemore

Alien crucifixion mistake.

3.5 out of 5

To Dream Of Stars An Astronomer's Lament - Peter M. Ball

At the pointed end.

3 out of 5’s-lament-by-peter-m-ball/

A Poor Man's Roses - Alethea Kontis

Bloody Bastard.

2.5 out of 5

Fire and Water - James Enge

To try and catch your shoes, and not get poisoned or eaten or usurped.

4.5 out of 5

Payment Deferred - James Enge

Golem have to do better than that to fool this Maker.

4 out of 5

Blood From A Stone - James Enge

That monster didn't eat my horse.

3.5 out of 5

Interlude Telling the Tale - James Enge

Multiple mouthed Morlock harmony.

3.5 out of 5

The War Is Over - James Enge

Pointed declaration of preference for oats over beer.

4 out of 5

Ultima Thule - Mack Reynolds

Interplanetary Paine.

2.5 out of 5

Fifty Per Cent Prophet - Randall Garrett

Not always predictive.

3 out of 5

Oasis - Rachel Caine

Cork it.

3 out of 5

No Love Lost - Rachel Caine

Light lust.

2.5 out of 5

Midnight At Mart's - Rachel Caine

Convenience power.

3.5 out of 5

Ladies' Night - Rachel Caine

Got the dancing horn.

3 out of 5

Claimed - Rachel Caine

Djinn forcing.

2.5 out of 5

Dead Spot - Rachel Caine

Dead spot.

2.5 out of 5

Embers - Rachel Caine

Life, death not actually quite the same thing, apparently.

3 out of 5

Queen Of the Night - Adrian Tchaikovsky

Miscasting mishaps.

3 out of 5

To Own the Sky - Adrian Tchaikovsky

Those Magnificent Makers of Their Flying Machines.

3 out of 5

The Prince - Adrian Tchaikovsky

Hiring and down and out bad news Mantis.

3.5 out of 5

Fallen Heroes - Adrian Tchaikovsky

Fly's Tisamon Firecalling.

4 out of 5

Loyalties - Adrian Tchaikovsky

Balkus spidering.

3 out of 5

The Dreams Of Avaris - Adrian Tchaikovsky

Ancient looting problem.

3.5 out of 5

Ironclads - Adrian Tchaikovsky

Sixth Army Dragonfly duel.

3.5 out of 5

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Test Of Patience - Rachel Caine

Grave Djinn discovery.

3 out of 5

Pixies and Fairies Yes There Is A Difference - Kim Harrison

They both like to fight each other though.

3.5 out of 5

Amelie's Story - Rachel Caine

Protection disagreement.

3 out of 5

Lunch Date - Rachel Caine

Only kind of stinky.

3 out of 5

Sam's Story - Rachel Caine

Crazy Edgars and young Michaels.

3 out of 5

Faith Like Martyrs - Rachel Caine

Prophecy death.

3.5 out of 5

The True Blood Of Martyrs - Rachel Caine

Frozen party gift.

3 out of 5

Falling For Grace - Rachel Caine

Just one kid for this demon lord, angel boy.

3 out of 5

Godfellas - Rachel Caine

Ghostly gunman.

3.5 out of 5

Duty - Rachel Caine

Mashed visitor nofollow.

3.5 out of 5

The Dead God Dreaming - Rachel Caine

Bloody replacement.

3.5 out of 5

City Of Souls 1 - Vicki Pettersson

"He paused in his dance of love long enough to locate me. Thank God superheroes didn't have the power to kill with looks alone. Because my ally and onetime lover – Hunter Lorenzo – shot me a look so wilting I would have keeled over in that moment. Instead, I swallowed hard, and set down my champagne glass, excusing myself to little notice. Hunter kept dancing, Cher pulled out some bills, and Suzanne headed to the stage to cop a feel. I didn't laugh.

Vanessa hadn't shown. Hunter had just burst from a cake. I didn't know exactly what that meant, but like another superhero spotting the bat signal against the night sky, I knew that whatever it was, it couldn't be good."

3.5 out of 5

Talents Incorporated - Murray Leinster

This wasn't what I thought it would be due to the title.

What you do get is a space war type story.

Big aggressive expansionist wants to add little guy to his planetary empire. Little guy being another planet, of course.

Outgunned, etc., however they have a small organisation that can take a shot at some ESP predictions of what is going to happen in the future. If you can pull that off, you certainly get a rather interesting military advantage.

2.5 out of 5

Cold Moon - Rachel Caine

Night kids.

3 out of 5

An Affinity For Blue - Rachel Caine

Horny voodoo Evangelist.

3.5 out of 5

The Helpful Hand Of God - Tom Godwin

Vogarian resistance problem.

2.5 out of 5

Under the Shouting Sky - Karl Bunker

Just a breathless, alien finding job.

3.5 out of 5

Little Red Riding Hood - Allan Guthrie

No killing grandma crack.

3.5 out of 5

I'm No Killer - Allan Guthrie

Set them up and off me.

3.5 out of 5

Bring Me Another Corpse - Allan Guthrie

Best people are dead.

3.5 out of 5

Love Rex - Allan Guthrie

Hi dad, long time no see. Have a bullet.

3.5 out of 5

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sofanauts 30 - Sheila Williams and Brian Bieniowski

The couchsitters again are Tolbert and VanderMeer with the usual bossman, talking to the editors at the magazine about the state of the publication. Electronic subscriptions means subscriptions have grown quite a lot this last year apparently. However, making even minor changes to communications or business processes apparently involves approval from the parent company, of which they are just one in a large stable of publications.

So, very interesting.

5 out of 5

Deluge 36 - Brian Keene

"The island shivered, and then surged upward, knocking Gail, Warren and Novak off their feet. The handgun slipped from Gail’s grasp and slid away from her. She realized that it was plunging toward the water, and that she was suddenly clinging to a slippery slope. She scrabbled for a grip on the smooth surface, but her fingertips couldn’t find a purchase. Warren zipped past her, following the pistol’s trajectory.

Gail screamed, and then the island roared."

3.5 out of 5

Deluge 37 - Brian Keene

"“So what now?” Riffle asked.

“Get on over by the rail.”

“I knew it. You’re gonna kill me after all. Fucking lying bastard.”

Morgan sighed. “No, Riffle. I’m not going to shoot you. I’m going to give you a chance. The same chance your boss offered me.”

Riffle’s eyes went wide. “W-what?”

“You’re going overboard. You can take your chances in the water. If I were you, I’d swim for the island. You wanted to stand beside your shipmates. I’m sure they’ll welcome you.”

“You’re crazy if you think I’m jumping into that shit.”

“You jump or I will shoot you. If you think I’m kidding, just try me.”"

3.5 out of 5

Slammer 1 - Allan Guthrie

"‘We have to take Mafia to the Digger,’ Fox said, half an hour later.

Glass had been working here long enough to know that Officer Fox was talking about the segregation unit. God alone knew why it was called the Digger. Prison was so full of slang you hardly knew where to begin. And if you asked how one thing got its name, you had to ask about another, and before long you didn’t care any more, so you stopped asking.

The Digger it was.

Glass looked at his colleague. ‘Why us?’

Fox was at least fifty, fat and proud of it. He was the kind of man who’d walk around all day with his hand down his trousers if he could get away with it. ‘Our job, Crystal, isn’t it?’"

3.5 out of 5

Sleep With the Devil 1 - Day Keene

"HE WAS IN NO SPECIAL HURRY to kill Bennett. He would know when the right time came. It might be tomorrow; then again, this waiting might go on for months. At the moment, Ferron merely envied Whit Bennett. Right now Whit was probably sitting in some air-conditioned bar, working on a tall cold Collins and a babe."

3 out of 5

Raiding the Ivory Tower 2 - Lee Horsley

"LH: As my online search for some of my favorite writers suggests, a lot of the best mid-century crime novels are still out of print, but some publishers have clearly worked very effectively to rescue the lost writers of the paperback revolution and in doing so have fostered a growing interest in noir--Hard Case Crime, Serpent’s Tail, Black Mask, No Exit Press. The current resurgence will probably not re-establish the “lost” noir writers any more securely than did the publishing efforts of the 1970s and ’80s, when Black Box Thrillers and Vintage/Black Lizard, for example, first made their mark. But all of these imprints have contributed to the marketing of noir as noir, and to a sense that literary noir is as deserving of popular and critical attention as cinematic noir. "

4.5 out of 5

The Mad hatter Author Interview - Paul J. McAuley

"MH: What was the inspiration behind The Quiet War?

McAULEY: We have to go back more than a dozen years, when I started writing novellas and novelettes set on various moons of the gas giants and ice giants of the outer reaches of the Solar System. As I deepened and widened my research into the landscapes and histories of those moons, I was overwhelmed by their amazing variety and exoticism. For decades, SF has been imagining all kinds of strange and bizarre worlds that might be orbiting other stars, and all the time they were right here in our backyard."

4.5 out of 5

Epoch 5 - Cory Doctorow

Big Mac End? Just more out of control tech like stone axes.

3.5 out of 5

Epoch 4 - Cory Doctorow

Speeding up the turnoff.

3.5 out of 5

Friday, October 23, 2009

Epoch 3 - Cory Doctorow

We're not bastards enough to destroy him out of hand yet.

3.5 out of 5

Epoch 1 - Cory Doctorow

Maybe gotta do some inhuman AI Murder

3.5 out of 5

Makers 48 - Cory Doctorow

"Suzanne said, “Look, you can’t let crazy people set your agenda. If you want to visit this Death kid, you should. If you don’t, you shouldn’t. But don’t let Freddy psy-ops you into doing something you don’t want to do. Maybe he does have a rat in your building. Maybe he’s got a rat at the hospital. Maybe, though, he just scored some stills off a flickr stream, maybe he’s watching new photos with some face-recognition stuff.”

Perry looked up from his screen, still scowling. “People do that?”"

4 out of 5

Rapunzel - Tanith Lee

Double story, dad.

3 out of 5

Ode To Katan Amano - Caitlin R. Kiernan

Be a good sexbot, or I'll deactivate you.

3.5 out of 5

Carnival Park - Greg Van Eekhout

Just want a good balloon man.

3 out of 5

The Sofanauts 27 - Damien G. Walter

Talking about the Writers Of the Future contest.

4 out of 5

Witchgrave - Rachel Caine

Witchy witchkiller hiring.

4 out of 5

Modus Vivendi - Randall Garrett

Stigma Psi.

3.5 out of 5

The World SF News Blog interview - Ashok Banker

"It also helped that I told US editors (and later UK editors too) to go to hell when they tried to get me to revise the books in order to appeal to a wider (read: ‘whiter’) readership, and I refused flatly."

5 out of 5

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Save the Dragons 13 - Dave Freer

"In a dark fortress, one of those few which still held life, on that cinder of a sphere called "Fire" by some, the Demon Lord Strate sat at his vast, ledger-piled desk. Despite their appearance, those ledgers were not bound in anything we would recognize as leather. Nor are the pages paper. No. More fiendish materials were called for here. He sighed. This bloody vinyl stuff got him down. In the old days there'd been plenty of imps to keep the real leather well oiled.

He turned his attention back to the endless financial transactions listed there, satisfaction growing in him. Before this he had been the least of the Lords of Fire, which some humans, mistakenly, call Hell. His demesne was small, and cold. He had only been allowed a trivial part in the overthrow of the Overlord, curse even the scattered fragments of that foreign tyrant."

3.5 out of 5

Save the Dragons 12 - Dave Freer

"Well, at least it had made questioning him easier. He hadn't known what he was saying or to whom. Now Squigs knew who his foes were, and what they were doing, if not why. A hooded, cloaked, daemonic figure called M'lord . . . no place to tie him to, or more of an identity. But the suited types were the minions of a Mr. Carpaccio, also called The Man, a once minor "corporation" boss from Chicago . . . Squigs even had the address. The Man who now had more money than he knew what to do with. The Man who had offered a million dollar bounty for his, Squigs Harkness-Smythe's, body. The Man who was gathering dragon teeth frantically before releasing the dragon equivalent of myxomatosis. And The Man had known about the explosives before the last attack. There was a spy in their midst, a spy who was prepared to kill to keep his or her identity secret."

3.5 out of 5

Save the Dragons 11 - Dave Freer

If Squigs had thought that getting three hundred-pipe bombs made had been a mission impossible, getting the heroes out of bed and mobilized at three the next morning was a feat nothing short of superhuman. Still, by dint of having very long arms and quick reflexes he managed it.

2.5 out of 5

13 Bullets 02 - David Wellington

"Lares spun around on his side without any warning at all, far faster than a human being could move. He got one knee under him and grabbed at the SWAT’s arm to pull himself up. He had no trouble whatsoever getting a grip on all those crosses. The SWAT started to react, bringing his MP5 up, ducking down in a firing crouch. Lares grabbed his helmet in two hands and twisted it right off. The policeman’s head came with it.

For a second the decapitated SWAT stood there in a perfect firing crouch. Blood arced up from his gaping neck like a water fountain. Lares leaned forward and lapped at it, getting blood all over his face and chest. He was mocking us. He was goddamned making fun of us."

4 out of 5

Hanging By A Thread - Randall Garrett

Screamer ruin test.

2.5 out of 5

Hawk Carse - Anthony Gilmore

Hawk Carse's Iapetan pirate revenge.

2 out of 5

When Push Comes To Shove 1 - Mercedes Lackey and Steve Libbey and Cody Martin

Vicki, Red Saviour and Bella find out some disturbing info about their fearless leaders and the supernazi aliens.

3.5 out of 5

Raiding the Ivory Tower 1 - Lee Horsley

"This is the first segment of an interview with British educator and crime-fiction authority Lee Horsley, conducted by American novelist Megan Abbott"

The author has written a study called 'The Noir Thriller'.

4.5 out of 5

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Makers 47 - Cory Doctorow

"Everyone needs to unwind now and then, but sources at the hospital where Death Waits lies abed say that he has had no visits from the cult leaders since he took his beating in their service.

No doubt these three have more important things to do—like play catch."

3 out of 5

Camouflage - Adrian Tchaikovsky

Very spickly, soldier says.

3 out of 5

Spoils Of War - Adrian Tchaikovsky

Roach slave child save.

3.5 out of 5

An Old Man In A Lean Season - Adrian Tchaikovsky

I wanna get out of this stinging place.

3.5 out of 5

The Sun Of the Morning - Adrian Tchaikovsky

Throwing off the fly shackles.

3.5 out of 5

The Naturalist - Adrian Tchaikovsky

Observationalist specimen.

3 out of 5

The Passing Of Ku Sui - Anthony Gilmore

Hawk Carse, and your brain transplanting mad scientist type.

2.5 out of 5

Psichopath - Randall Garrett

Get some new axioms.

3 out of 5

The Very Difficult Diwali of Sub-Inspector Gurushankar Rajaram - Jeff Soesbe

Flying monkeys vs elephants. With chonks.

4 out of 5

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Prologue To Analogue - Leigh Richmond

Witch clean soap.

3 out of 5

Makers 46 - Cory Doctorow

"Lester came over and gave him a big, bearish hug. Then Hilda joined them. “You stink,” Lester said, “Seriously, dude. Like the ass of a dead bear.”

That broke them up and set them to laughing together, a giggling fit that left them gasping, Lester on all fours. Perry’s arm forgot to hurt and he moved to kiss Hilda on the cheek and instead she turned her head to kiss him full on the lips, a real juicy, steamy one that made his ear-wax melt."

3 out of 5

Bone Shop 17 - Tim Pratt

"You guys told Somerset he was the boss. I challenged him to single combat, and won. By the old rules, that makes me the boss."

"The old rules aren't in effect anymore," Viscarro said. Something about him reminded Marla of Somerset, and not in a good way. "We're a democracy now."

"Sure. And if duly elected, I'll keep it that way. I'm all for progress. But for now I'm declaring my interest. Consider this my stump speech." She pointed to Somerset's head. "This is the stump."

4 out of 5

The Color Of Magic - Terry Pratchett

This is one very funny book, at least funny if you are familiar with a few of the conventions of fantasy with writing with wizards, and magic, and all that sort of thing.

The book follows the misadventures of Rincewind the wizard, an inept guy who has the misfortune to be in the situation where, basically, his suitcase is smarter than he is.

5 out of 5

Monday, October 19, 2009

Trouble With Water - H. L. Gold

Gnome sweetener.

4.5 out of 5

Snulbug - Anthony Boucher

Man a bit of a demon.

3.5 out of 5

Revise the World 09 - B. W. Clough

"“A license,” Titus finished for him. This was the tamest, most milk-and-water society he could imagine. No smoking, no booze, no guns — surely the entire 21st century could not be equally bloodless? If it was, he might as well cut his throat at once before he perished of galloping ennui. Even those thrice-damned Doomsters had let him down, lying low instead of taking another shot at him. He lay in bed at night and yearned not for the future but the past: for motorcycles sputtering and bucking underneath him, or the tap-tap of his sword-sheath against his left cavalry boot, or carbines glinting in the African sun, or Polar gales thrashing a fine icy fog off the white sastrugi. Larger than life, they called him? He was the same size as ever. It was the world round him which had shrunk and become tame. "

3.5 out of 5

Superluminal 07 - Vonda N. McIntyre

"Pilots had the reputation of being not completely stable. Radu had never paid the idea much attention. He did not know why talented people often fostered rumors of madness; truly insane people were unpleasant to be around. The only pilot Radu knew at all closely was Laenea Trevelyan, and she was exceptionally sane. Vasili was a bit eccentric, surely, but — mad? Radu tried to dismiss the pilot’s threat to kill him. No one had ever threatened him before. Back on Twilight, people lucky enough to escape the plague had resented him for contracting it and recovering. He was marked by his scars, and some people hated him for living while their own families died. But even in grief and fury, no one back home had ever threatened his life."

3.5 out of 5

E For Effort - T. L. Sherred

Historical record breakthough chaos.

4 out of 5

That Only A Mother - Judith Merril

Don't know baby.

2.5 out of 5

The Country Of the Kind - Damon Knight

Violent man gets odiferously ostracised.

4 out of 5

Helen O'Loy - Lester Del Rey

Metal woman's family.

3 out of 5

The Quest For Saint Aquin - Anthony Boucher

Robotheology aims.

3 out of 5

Fondly Fahrenheit - Alfred Bester

Hot for crime android.

4 out of 5

It's A Good Life - Jerome Bixby

When Anthony is born, he uses his abilities to transport his whole town to somewhere else. After that, everyone is extremely careful around him, as when he comes across something he doesn't like his extreme powers of transmutation and transfiguration can do bad things, and he is also somewhat telepathic and has degrees of animal control. Basically a young, sociopathic supervillain.

3 out of 5

Twilight - John W. Campbell

Future science dwindling.

3.5 out of 5

Microcosmic God - Theodore Sturgeon

Genius idea factory proves impenetrable.

4.5 out of 5

The Person From Porlock - Raymond F. Jones

Alien scientific interference.

5 out of 5

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Revise the World 08 - B. W. Clough

"“Antarctica is too exciting,” Piotr said. “We want someplace boring. Where nobody goes and nothing happens. And I have just the thing. My family leases a beach house on St. Simon’s Island, in a gated community down the Georgia coast. Private, exclusive, and relaxing.”

“What does one do at a beach?”

Dr. Piotr sparkled with enthusiasm. “Lie on the sand, swim in the ocean, drink blender cocktails, surf-cast, paraboard. And there’s four gorgeous golf courses. The back nine at the Hampton Club takes you right through the wetlands — miss the green and your ball is gone forever, eaten by alligators.”"

3 out of 5

Endosymbiont - Blake Charlton

A young cancer patient in the future starts to question her reality in the hospital she is currently living in. This leads to a story on human anti-AI fears and posthuman ethical transfer research with a choice of whether or not an Ouroborous situation, termination, or something lesser is appropriate.

3.5 out of 5

Revise the World 07 - B. W. Clough

"A tap on the door, and Lash came fussing in, holding his perpetual small machine. “‘Morning, Titus. What would you say to cognitive and psychological tests today?”

“I say to Hades with it,” Titus replied. “My thought was to go over to that museum and view some more films. Perhaps that dancing doctor thing of Shell’s.”

Lash clutched his machine. “You didn’t sleep well last night, I understand. We wanted to check on your brain function.”"

3.5 out of 5

The Words Of Guru - C. M. Kornbluth

Planet busting phoneme.

4 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20The%20Words%20Of%20Guru.html

With These Hands - C. M. Kornbluth

Starving artist inefficiencies.

3.5 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20With%20These%20Hands.html

What Sorghum Says - C. M. Kornbluth

Roman trip machine.

3 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20What%20Sorghum%20Said.html

Virginia - C. M. Kornbluth

New inventions can cost you money.

2.5 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Virginia.html

Two Dooms - C. M. Kornbluth

Different German discovery.

3 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Two%20Dooms.html

Time Bum - C. M. Kornbluth

Time police sentence.

3.5 out o f5,%20C%20M%20-%20Time%20Bum.html

Thirteen O'Clock - C. M. Kornbluth

Grandpa's magic gangster racket.

4 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Thirteen%20O'clock.html

Theory Of Rocketry - C. M. Kornbluth

Educational ambition test.

4.5 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Theory%20Of%20Rocketry.html

That Share Of Glory - C. M. Kornbluth

Night court terminated for metal war avoidance gem deal.

4.5 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20That%20Share%20Of%20Glory.html

The Slave - C. M. Kornbluth

Cyclops hunt.

3.5 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20The%20Slave.html

Sir Mallory's Magnitude - C. M. Kornbluth

Man pattern disguise.

3 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Sir%20Mallory's%20Magnitude.html

The Silly Season - C. M. Kornbluth

UFO cry wolf Martian trick.

3 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20The%20Silly%20Season.html

Shark Ship - C. M. Kornbluth

Not Live Without A Net.

3.5 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Shark%20Ship.html

Murder Is My Business - Brett Halliday

"He hit the open door with his left shoulder in a lunge that carried him well into the center of the room. A woman sat in a chair by the window. She dropped a water tumbler from which she had been helping herself to his cognac. Otherwise she remained perfectly calm.

Shayne’s alert gray eyes swiftly circled the room, returning to her face while he slowly pocketed the gun. "Carmela Towne," he said in a flat tone.

Carmela pushed herself up from the chair with both hands gripping the arms. Her black eyes searched his face and she said, "Michael," making three syllables of his name, her voice throaty and a little blurred.

"Some day you’ll get yourself shot," he said, and went toward her."

3.5 out of 5

Nobody's Angel 1 - Jack Clark

""It must be kind of scary."

"What’s that?"

"All those drivers."

"What drivers?"

"The ones getting shot. It must be kind of weird."

I’ll bet, I thought, and I glanced in the mirror. He was slouched in the corner of the seat, looking towards the lake. His face had lost some battle years ago and was now dotted with scores of tiny craters. His hair was long and streaked with grey. He was too old to be dressed in trendy black, to be nightclubbing on a quiet Tuesday night. He was the kind of guy who would always go home alone."

3.5 out of 5

Memory 1 - Donald E. Westlake

""What happened?" How the oval opening around the teeth could twist and turn, so mobile and cunning. Now it expressed itself puzzled. "Don’t you know?"

"He hit me with the chair."

"And we brought you here. And now you’re awake again, and just as fine as new."

"Where are the bandages?" He remembered the cold wet forehead, and his hand brushing it, and no bandages there.

"Oh, you have lots of bandages," she said. "Around your head, and—no, higher than that—and all around your chest, because you have broken ribs, too, you know.""

3.5 out of 5

The Rocket Of 1955 - C. M. Kornbluth

Killer launch.

3 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20The%20Rocket%20Of%201955.html

The Reversible Revolutions - C. M. Kornbluth

Rich Syndicate prison.

2.5 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20The%20Reversible%20Revolutions.html

Return From M-15 - C. M. Kornbluth

Rich Syndicate prison.

3.5 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Return%20From%20M-15.html

The Remorseful - C. M. Kornbluth

Visitor wanker destruction.

3.5 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20The%20Remorseful.html

The Perfect Invasion - C. M. Kornbluth

More space spy Fleeting, with robots.

3 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20The%20Perfect%20Invasion.html

Passion Pills - C. M. Kornbluth

Ugly shrimp assist.

3 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Passion%20Pills.html

No Place To Go - C. M. Kornbluth

Tinkering without me.

2.5 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20No%20Place%20To%20Go.html

Ms Found In A Chinese Fortune Cookie - C. M. Kornbluth

Writing monopoly maintenance.

3.5 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Ms%20Found%20In%20A%20Fortune%20Cookie.html

Mr Packer Goes To Hell - C. M. Kornbluth

Sorcerer gang.

3.5 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Mr%20Packer%20Goes%20To%20Hell.html

Masquerade - C. M. Kornbluth

Fake Satan.

3 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Masquerade.html

The Marching Morons - C. M. Kornbluth

Unfrozen average bloke's lemming solution lack of life lesson.

4 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20The%20Marching%20Morons.html

Make Mine Mars - C. M. Kornbluth

Frostbite drug ship story.

3 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Make%20Mine%20Mars.html

The Luckiest Man In Denv - C. M. Kornbluth

Anti-LA leadership plan.

3 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20The%20Luckiest%20Man%20In%20Denv.html

The Last Man Left In the Bar - C. M. Kornbluth

Future sorrows, drowned.

3 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20The%20Last%20Man%20Left%20In%20The%20Bar.html

King Cole Of Pluto - C. M. Kornbluth

Salvage and pirates.

3 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20King%20Cole%20From%20Pluto.html

Kazam Collects - C. M. Kornbluth

Plane contest.

3.5 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Kazam%20Collects.html

Iteration - C. M. Kornbluth

Soap perfect housewife.

3 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Iteration.html

Interference - C. M. Kornbluth

We got ourselves a ship colony.

3 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Interference.html

I Never Ast No Favors - C. M. Kornbluth

Some Tough Tony bull.

3 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20I%20Never%20Ast%20No%20Favours.html

The Goodly Creatures - C. M. Kornbluth

Space writing experience.

3.5 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20The%20Goodly%20Creatures.html

The Corpse Wore Pasties 1 - Johnny Porkpie

"The heel of the stiletto caught on the strap of the black lace bra she had dropped a few moments earlier. She kicked it out of the way without looking. The underwear skittered across the stage.

She held the bottle next to her breasts, so the audience could see that the pasties covering her nipples matched the skull-and-crossbones on the label. Then she lifted it to her face, and licked the large yellow letters on the label that spelled out the word POISON. She tilted her hand. Bright green liquid flowed out of the bottle and down across her chest. Green dripped down between her breasts, over her ribcage, around her navel, and soaked into the cloth of her panties.

She threw her head back, and lifted the bottle to her mouth. A strange look crossed her face as the green flowed past her lips. A trickle of green dripped out of the corner of her mouth, down her cheek, and along the sinews of her neck.

Cherries whispered something.

The woman on stage seemed to swallow, then suddenly stopped moving. Her eyes widened. She grabbed her throat, and spit the liquid all over the front row of the audience. The bottle fell from her hand, hit the stage with a dull thunk, and rolled in a lazy circle around her feet, liquid pooling in its wake.

Great. Forget paper towels, I was going to need a mop to clean up after this act.

She made a strangling sound, as if trying to scream, but instead started gagging."

4 out of 5

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Revise the World 06 - B. W. Clough

"“I was indeed listening! I was thinking how Mrs. Scott would have enjoyed the liberalism of your modern era.”

“Mrs. Scott — oh, Captain Scott’s wife, the artist. Kev brags how he’s descended from one of her pals. Yes, I reads he was something of a feminist. How did you like her?”

Cautiously, Titus said, “She was a topper. An absolutely beautiful creature.”

She chewed on that for a second,extracting the true meaning. “She scared the lot of you spitless.”

He fought back a grin. “Iadmit I avoided her as much as possible.”

“And now, poor Titus! You’re marooned on a planet full of liberated women.”

“If Buck Rogers managed, so can I.” Damn it, was she pitying him? That was intolerable. Quickly he changed the subject. “Shell,where do I find a tobacconist’s?”"

4 out of 5

Ensign Flandry 1-8 - Poul Anderson

"Ensign Dominic Flandry, Imperial Naval Flight Corps, did not know whether he was alive through luck or management. At the age of nineteen, with the encoding molecules hardly settled down on your commission, it was natural to think the latter. But had a single one of the factors he had used to save himself been absent—He didn't care to dwell on that.

Besides, his troubles were far from over. As a merchant ship belonging to the Sisterhood of Kursoviki, the Archer had been given a radio by the helpful Terrans. But it was crapout; some thimblewit had exercised some Iron Age notion of maintenance. Dragoika had agreed to put back for her home. But with a foul wind, they'd be days at sea in this damned wallowing bathtub before they were even likely to speak a boat with a transmitter in working order. That wasn't fatal per se. Flandry could shovel local rations through the chowlock of his helmet; Starkadian biochemistry was sufficiently like Terran that most foods wouldn't poison him, and he carried vitamin supplements. The taste, though, my God, the taste!

Most ominous was the fact that he had been shot down, and at no large distance from here. Perhaps the Seatrolls, and Merseians, would let this Tigery craft alone. If they weren't yet ready to show their hand, they probably would. However, his misfortune indicated their preparations were more or less complete. When he chanced to pass above their latest kettle of mischief, they'd felt so confident they opened fire."

3.5 out of 5

Gomez - C. M. Kornbluth

Unified field theory discovery lost in hormone wash, perhaps.

4 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Gomez.html

The Golden Road - C. M. Kornbluth

Mixed dead fight.

3 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20The%20Golden%20Road.html

Friend To Man - C. M. Kornbluth

Posse alien.

3 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Friend%20To%20Man.html

Forgotten Tongue - C. M. Kornbluth

Optimus Pepper book delivery.

3.5 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Forgotten%20Tongue.html

Fire-power - C. M. Kornbluth

Star spy boss just get on with it.

3.5 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Fire-Power.html

Everybody Knows Joe - C. M. Kornbluth

Never learn.

2.5 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Everybody%20Knows%20Joe.html

The Events Leading Down To the Tragedy - C. M. Kornbluth

Documented bad.

2.5 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20The%20Events%20Leading%20Down%20To%20Tragedy.html

The Education Of Tigress McArdle - C. M. Kornbluth

Want it all woman botromise.

3.5 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20The%20Education%20Of%20Tigress%20McCardle.html

Dominoes - C. M. Kornbluth

Bull market time snap.

3.5 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Dominoes.html

Dimension Of Darkness - C. M. Kornbluth

Want to get back to a decent world.

3 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Dimension%20Of%20Darkness.html

Dead Center - C. M. Kornbluth

Superman smart ectoplasm ship find.

3.5 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Dead%20Center.html

Crisis! - C. M. Kornbluth

Planetary trade relations.

3 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20Crisis.html

The Core - C. M. Kornbluth

Ordinary ship rating time.

3 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20The%20Core.html

The City In the Sofa - C. M. Kornbluth

Battle ready.

3 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20The%20City%20In%20the%20Sofa.html

The Advent On Channel Twelve - C. M. Kornbluth

"Poopy Panda is like unto the child of my flesh and you have made of him a devouring dragon."

4 out of 5,%20C%20M%20-%20The%20Advent%20On%20Channel%20Twelve.html

Dreamsnake 05 - Vonda N. McIntyre

"In the morning, Snake milked Sand into a serum bottle. She could not use him to administer the vaccine, for each person required only a small amount. Sand would inject too much of it too deeply. For vaccinations, she used an inoculator, an instrument with a circle of short, needle-sharp points that pressed the vaccine down just beneath the skin. She returned the rattler to his compartment and went outside."

4 out of 5

Dreamsnake 04 - Vonda N. McIntyre

"“Ao, when I vaccinate the others, will you all let me vaccinate you, too?”

The collector looked doubtful. “Creepty-crawlies, poisons, magics, witches—no, not for us.”

“It’s none of that. You won’t even see the serpents.”

“No, not for us.”"

4 out of 5

Dreamsnake 02 - Vonda N. McIntyre

"Mist rose in a white streak against darkness. The cobra hissed, swaying, and Sand echoed her with his warning rattle. Then Snake heard the hoofbeats, muffled by the desert, and felt them through her palms. Slapping the ground, she winced and sucked in her breath. Around the double puncture where the sand viper had bitten her, her hand was black-and-blue from knuckles to wrist. Only the bruise’s edges had faded. She cradled her aching right hand in her lap and twice slapped the ground with her left. Sand’s rattling lost its frantic sound and the diamondback slid toward her from a warm shelf of black volcanic stone. Snake slapped the ground twice again. Mist, sensing the vibrations, soothed by the familiarity of the signal, lowered her body slowly and relaxed her hood."

4.5 out of 5

Dreamsnake 03 - Vonda N. McIntyre

"She knew she could not return to the healers’ station. Not yet. Tonight had proved that she could not stop being a healer, no matter how inadequate her tools. If her teachers took Mist and Sand and cast her out, she knew she could not bear it. She would go mad with the knowledge that in this town, or that camp, sickness or death occurred that she could have cured or prevented or made more tolerable. She would always try to do something."

4 out of 5

The Star Stealers - Edmond Hamilton

Hey! You! Get offa my Sun!

3.5 out of 5

The Cosmic Cloud - Edmond Hamilton

Poor galactic visibility? Won't worry a blind alien attack fleet.

3 out of 5

The Comet Drivers - Edmond Hamilton

This should be easy. We have heaps of ships. Hang on, why's a big round astronomical object have a massive cube fleet of its own?

3.5 out of 5

Outside the Universe - Edmond Hamilton

Another crazy Interstellar Patrol adventure. The standard sort of mad colossoal scale Hamilton stuff, as you can see by the chapter titles.

1: The Swarm From Space
2: Chased Through the Void
3: Death-Beam and Crimson Ray
4: A Struggle Between the Stars
5: For the Federated Suns!
6: Into the Infinite
7: The Gates of a Universe
8: The Hall of the Living Dead
9: A Dash for Freedom
10: Flight and Pursuit
11: Into the Andromeda Universe
12: The Council Decides
13: The Sailing of the Fleet
14: Back to the Galaxy
15: An Armageddon of Universes
16: From Outside the Universe!
17: Outward Once Again

Here, they find what they think are strange meteors, but no, it is a huge alien fleet from another universe. Cue a capture and a visit to your good old intergalactic collecting zoo.

Serpent aliens, attractor ships, and throw in a third universe in Andromeda, for some gas being aliens and some sun shifting technology.

Plus some new death beams, of course.

I think no less than three times our Patrol stalwart declares they have won, here.

You want inter-universal ship chases with huge fleets and ten thousand times the speed of light, this is your man.

3.5 out of 5

The Star Hunter - Edmond Hamilton

"The wrath of the King of Orion flamed across the void.

Out from the Hyades sped his hunters, and from Mintaka, and Saiph and Aldebaran, grim ships of war sped headlong between the stars in vengeful search for the small and secret ship that had dared violate their domain."

3 out of 5

Requiem - Edmond Hamilton

Last of Earth broadcast.

3 out of 5

For Camelot's Honor Epilogue - Sarah Zettel

"You were not hers to take,” she said, the fury in her words as cold as the death beneath her hand. “Never hers. Nor yet was it Geraint’s place to bring you down. You were mine. Mine!” She lifted her head, her face white as the moon. “Listen to me sister. Hear me well where you have gone. I might have spared them. I might have at the last remembered they were yours and remembered they share blood with my own son. But your son has killed my love. Your son, all your sons will pay at the last, no matter what mercy they may beg for themselves or theirs.”

She stood then, and turned without glancing backward. With her pale lantern to light the way, she led her men, the living and the dead, away into darkness."

3.5 out of 5

Murder In the Void - Edmond Hamilton

"Yet Crane's determination to wrest Doctor Alph's stolen brain from the other spy was strengthened rather than weakened. That weirdly living brain was a doom hanging over Earth!"

4 out of 5

A Yank At Valhalla - Edmond Hamilton

Ragnarok by plane.

Keith runs into a storm while flying, and when he can see, he gets Bifrost, and a valkyrie, and not just any valkyrie.

He's also landed in the middle of a clash of Aesir and Jotun, and either side might kill him.

A twist on the legends, as these Norse types are apparently a first race of Earth - and actually the centre of the earth with their radiation technology.

Even with an injection of new technology such as he brings, doom is still at hand.

3.5 out of 5

Superluminal 06 - Vonda N. McIntyre

"Radu pushed himself up on one elbow and took her foot in his other hand. Her toenails were like claws, cat claws, tiger claws, retractable and heavy and quit sharp. Orca flexed her foot and the claws extended. One dimpled the flesh of his hand, very gently.

“Good protection,” she said. “You need it sometimes, in the sea. They aren’t much against sharks, but then there aren’t many dangerous sharks where I live.” She retracted her claws and reached for her shoes."

3 out of 5

For Camelot's Honor 24 - Sarah Zettel

"She let them wonder. She stood on the bridge and raised the spear high. “Urien!” she cried out and her voice rang in the darkness. “Urien Y Tarw! Adara’s ghost calls you to the bridge! Urien! Yestin’s ghost calls you to the bridge! The dead of Pont Cymryd murdered by your word rise up this night and call you forth!”"

3 out of 5

The Woman From Altair - Leigh Brackett

Imported bride dream death.

3.5 out of 5

The Veil Of Astellar - Leigh Brackett

Interdimensional space vampire X-crystal life showdown.

3.5 out of 5

The Truants - Leigh Brackett

Space kids go home.

3.5 out of 5

The Skull - Philip K. Dick

Dead man kill mission - me?

4 out of 5

Makers 45 - Cory Doctorow

"“You know we’re engaged in some very high-stakes litigation here, right, Darren?”

He hated it when people called him Darren.

“Death,” he said. His toothless lisp was pathetic, like an old wino’s.

“Death, OK. This high-stakes litigation needs a maximum of caution and control. This is a fifteen-year journey that ends when we’ve broken the back of the company that did this to you. It ends when we take them for every cent, bankrupt their executives, take their summer homes, freeze their accounts. You understand that?”

Death hadn’t really understood that. It sounded pretty tiring. Exhausting. Fifteen years. He was only nineteen now. He’d be thirty-four, and that was only if the lawyer was estimating correctly.

“Oh,” he said."

3.5 out of 5

Stranger At Home - Leigh Brackett

A man comes back home to his wealth and his wife and a big old hound or two after a few years of hard labor. A result of amnesia after an assault on a fishing trip with some friends.

His return starts a cycle of violence and murder among the group of friends on his original trip"

“Aha!” said the M.E. “Enter the femme fatale.”


"By this time the reporters had arrived. Somehow the rumor had got around that Vickers had turned up silently out of the night, and that, coupled with the honey-sweet smell of murder, had brought them swarming."


Vickers said, “You wanted my wife.”


“You tried to kill me.”




Vick himself an the police have to try and work out the twists in this case before he or anyone else gets hurt, if they can.

A little California noir.

4 out of 5

The Starmen - Leigh Brackett

I'm an interstellar trading lord, how about you?

An earth man finds out that we aren't alone, and he is one of the few that has the genetics for space travel.

Therein lies the conflict, this genetic issue. Those that have it, and the conservative faction would rather like to keep their moneymaking and power monopoly thanks very much, while a rebel group would like for everyone to eventually be able to do space in a big way. The previous leader of which has disappeared into the depths of space.

Still, pretty reasonably handled by Brackett, and worth a look.

3.5 out of 5

The Sorcerer Of Rhiannon - Leigh Brackett

Ancient Martian enemy awakening love for diplomacy.

4 out of 5

So Pale So Cold So Fair - Leigh Brackett

A local crimelord has a problem when the body of a reporter enemy's old lover is dumped on the newsman's doorstep.

4 out of 5

The Queer Ones - Leigh Brackett

Lightning ship alien smuggling scare.

3.5 out of 5

The Shadows - Leigh Brackett

Dog remnant rare space friends.

4 out of 5

Shadow Over Mars - Leigh Brackett

Hardboiled Martian mysticism.

An old woman prophesises Rick as the titular figure, a man who may rule the planet.

However, new corporate exploitation is in full swing, and this would spoil their plans somewhat.

So, people would like to ventilate or perforate him:
"Your mate is awake," Kyra said. Her speech was pure High Martian, and a little difficult for Rick to follow. "Mate?" He shook his head. "No. Just a swell girl I almost died with." He got up. Mayo was sitting up on a second heap of furs and bright cloths. She smiled.

Interplanetary corporations don't play nice:
"He watched the Martians fight and go down under the blasters of Storm's men. Guards came. The hall was choked with warriors. The huge white-haired Venusians, the blasters, and the black apes cut them down."

Storm, the headkicker fancies his own chances, speaking of hardboiled.:
"You've got it so it practically runs itself." He leaned over and crushed out his cigarette. He went on casually, "You're getting flabby, Ed. Physically, I mean. You're turning into the typical tycoon, the guy who sits behind the desk and grows a veranda, and only gets a kick out of doing tricks with his brain. I've watched you, when I've had to take some of these tough boys to the wall. You don't like it, Ed. It makes you sick. What happened in Ruh made you sick, and you were so scared you almost passed out. You're getting old, Ed, beginning to slow down and get cautious. I've put over the first blow, but there'll be other blows. Other companies, hijacking, throat-cutting, all the rest of it. Mars isn't a world you can afford to get old on, Ed."

So, a mystical object signifying rule, The Collar of Ruh, is a prize in this story. Brackett's Mars of course isn't short of ancient races and technology and ritual, either, all of which Rick will have to endure, not to mention the dangerous opponent Storm.

Pretty good novel, overally. Perhaps 3.75.

4 out of 5

Sea-Kings Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

Matt Carse, an archaeologist of the most definitely rogueish sort of tomb raider is looking to score, when the discovery of the mythical Sword of Rhiannon catapults him back into time, and into the body of a man well suited to be a barbarian adventurer.

Landing in the middle of a group of people that really don't like his country, he has to go from galley slave to dealing with possession by an ancient powerful scientist and war.

A great old-style planetary romance shortish novel that ratchets up the adventure as it goes along, hero, comic sidekick, femme fatale, winged men, fish women, ancient super weaponry and more.

Great stuff.

4.5 out of 5

The Road To Sinharat - Leigh Brackett

An environmental lesson from the serial immortals of said joint.

3.5 out of 5

Retreat To the Stars - Leigh Brackett

Shoot the state spy, we've got a spaceship to fly.

3.5 out of 5

The Moon That Vanished - Leigh Brackett

"Few men have ever reached the Moonfire," the Venusian said. "They were the strong ones, the men without fear."

4 out of 5

The Last Days Of Shandakor - Leigh Brackett

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

4.5 out of 5

The Lake Of the Gone Forever - Leigh Brackett

Transuranic memories.

3.5 out of 5

The Halfling - Leigh Brackett

Catmen cult girl dance of revenge.

4 out of 5

I Feel Bad Killing You - Leigh Brackett

"Hank said that Surfside was a dirty town, dirty from the gutters up. He said any man with the brains of a sick flea would know that most of the liquor places were run illegally, and most of the hotels, too, and that two-thirds of the police force was paid to have bad eyesight."

4 out of 5