Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hyborian Age Gazzeteer: Khorala - Al Harron

"Like Kyros, Khorala is something of a mystery in the Hyborian Age. It doesn’t have hints and references spread through Howard’s work like eastern Khitai, nor does it even have contextual evidence like Sabatea. There is no definite quantification of its nature: is Khorala a place, a person, a state of being? Looking into history, there are clues to be found. With a bit of application, one could make some intriguing suppositions about Khorala, and the place it has in the Hyborian Age."

Or in this case, a LOT of application!

5 out of 5

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Broken Mirrors 04 - Tim Pratt

"The door to her office slammed open. B – the new B? Beta-B? – stood swaying in her doorway, naked except for a pair of tattered boxer shorts. His torso was covered in raised scars, but they looked like purposeful designs, not just evidence of past violence. “You.” He raised his hand and pointed his index finger at Marla. “I know you. I’ve seen you before. In my dreams.”

Then he puked on her rug, his eyes rolled back in his head, and he collapsed to the carpet in an ungainly heap."

3.5 out of 5

Student Body - Floyd L. Wallace

Things change really fast around here.

4 out of 5

Student Body - Floyd L. Wallace

Monday, March 29, 2010

Blood From A Stone - James Enge

Short Story

Number of words : 2000
Percent of complex words : 5.7
Average syllables per word : 1.4
Average words per sentence : 17.5


Fog : 9.3
Flesch : 73.5
Flesch-Kincaid : 7.4

: Blood From A Stone - James Enge


Morlock the Maker : Blood From A Stone - James Enge

Itinerant sword and sorcerer.


Stone monster : Blood From A Stone - James Enge

Morlock's opponent, but not a golem. Possible horse eater. Apparently constructed.

Velox : Blood From A Stone - James Enge

Morlock's horse.


Tyrfing : Blood From A Stone - James Enge

Morlock's magic sword.


Xakth : Blood From A Stone - James Enge

Useful for making ropes.


Northold : Blood From A Stone - James Enge

Under these mountains Morlock grew up.

Ontil : Blood From A Stone - James Enge

Has a palindromic ancient script.

Kirach Kund : Blood From A Stone - James Enge

The River of Skulls, in Dwarvish.

Sarkunden : Blood From A Stone - James Enge

Morlock's next destination.


Morlock is rudely awakened by a stone monster, which he dispatches thanks to blubbing and skills. He also takes it apart to discover it might eat horses, but probably not his. So he has to look elsewhere.

3.5 out of 5

Moving Mountains 1 - Steve Libbey

Ramona is horrified when Tesla says they have to terminate The Mountain. Suggests throwing him a parade instead. Now she has to do it.

4.5 out of 5

Pulp Fantasy Library: Sword Woman - James Maliszewski

"Unbowed, Agnes kills her husband-to-be on their wedding day and flees her father, hoping to make her own way in the world. She eventually makes the acquaintance of Etienne Villiers, who offers to help her find work so that she might not starve. Of course, the work Villiers has in mind is prostitution and Agnes soon makes him regret his intentions, nearly beating him to death in her anger. Agnes nevertheless forgives Villiers and meets another man, Guiscard de Clisson, who teaches her to use a sword so that she might better defend herself in the future. She takes to the blade with astounding speed and then attempts to join Guiscard's mercenary company as a soldier. What happens next sets the stage for the short stories that follow."

4 out of 5

The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett


Number of words : 14900
Percent of complex words : 6.0
Average syllables per word : 1.4
Average words per sentence : 12.1


Fog : 7.2
Flesch : 78.6
Flesch-Kincaid : 5.3

: The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett


Burk Winters : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

An ex-space officer, looking for his Shanga addicted ex-girlfriend.

Johnny Niles : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

A young ship officer, shipmater of Winters.

Kor Hal : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

Head of the Shanga organisation.

Jill Leland : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

Winters' lost old girlfriend.

Halk : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

Keshi assistant of Hal's.

Fand : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

She is a Shanga and Valkis ruler.


Starflight : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

The ship Winters and Niles were on.

Flatcars : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

Ground transport.


Kahora : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

Martian Trade City.

Vhia : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

Venusian city.

N'York : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

Earth city.

Sun City : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

Mercurian city in the Twilight Belt.

Glassite Refuges : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

Outer Worlds population centres.

Tri-Planet : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

A Kahoran hotel.

Jekkara : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

Martian Low Canal city.

Valkis : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

Martian Low Canal city, also site of the Shanga operation and Kings.

Barrakesh : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

Martian Low Canal city.

Kesh : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

Barbarian region of Mars.

Phobos : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

Martian moon.

Caer Dhu : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

Ancient Martian city where Shanga was invented.


Shanga : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

The going back drug. Reverts people to a primitive state.

Neuro-psychic therapy : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

Mental adjustment technique on Mars for stress relief.


High Martian : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

Ancient Martian language.

Pithecanthropus Erectus : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

Early Terran ancestor.


Kings of Valkis : The Beast-Jewel Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

Ancient Martian rulers.


Winters quits the ship he is on to go back to the Shanga organisation on Mars, to try and find Leland, an old lover. The going back drug tempts him with its primitive animalistic reversion and life.

A negotiation and large payment leads him to Valkis and the woman in charge. A fanatic of the Martian old ways - and happy to see Terrans disgrace themselves, especially for sport.

Winters tries to do something about this, and does find Leland. He instigates a conflict between the Shanga beasts and their guards, allowing the pair to escape, but wondering if they can truly get away from the drug, or if it can be stamped out.

4 out of 5

The Gordian Stone - James Enge


Number of words : 508
Percent of complex words : 6.1
Average syllables per word : 1.4
Average words per sentence : 16.4


Fog : 9.0
Flesch : 73.3
Flesch-Kincaid : 7.1

: Gordian Stone - James Enge


Morlock the Maker : Gordian Stone - James Enge

An itinerant swordsman-wizard.

Stone : Gordian Stone - James Enge

Wants to know the meaning of existence.


Morlock is wandering as is his wont, when a stone asks him some questions, not being able to get out and about to discover information. Talking to animals that pass is no good either. So Morlock chops the stone in two, so now they have conversation.

3 out of 5

Bulldozer - Laird Barron


Number of words : 10500
Percent of complex words : 10.5
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 9.2


Fog : 7.9
Flesch : 66.8
Flesch-Kincaid : 6.2

: Bulldozer - Laird Barron


Jonah Koenig : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

A Pinkerton man out to catch a thieving murdering cannibal occultist.

Rueben Hicks : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Black magic killer and Koenig's quarry. Also known as Tom Mullen or Ezra Slade. Nickname Iron Man. Robbed P. T. Barnum and left with a scary tome. Says he is an Opener.

Violet : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

A prostitute who entertains Koenig and he becomes fond of.

Sheriff Murtaugh : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Irishman, the law in Purdon.

P. T. Barnum : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Entrepreneur and employer.

Doc Campion : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Purdon's medical man.

Billy Cullins : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Purdon's undertaker.

Trosper : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

A bartender, not a big fan of Koenig's.

Jake : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Bar muscle and gunman.

Octavia Plantagenet : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Madam at the Honeybee Ranch.

Taylor Hackett : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Bar-H ranch owner.

Norton Smythe : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Gold mining businessman.

Bob Tunny : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Smythe & Ruth Mining Company owner.

Harry Edwards : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Smythe & Ruth Mining Company owner.

Philmore Kavanaugh : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

A journalist.

Dalton Beaumont : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Deputy and cousin of Sheriff Murtaugh.

John Brown : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

An alderman.

Michael Piers : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

A French poet.

Professor Langston Butler : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

An anthropologist originally from England. Had an affair with Hicks.

Levi : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

A deputy.

Tuttle : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

One of Barnum's lawyers.

Chung Han : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Chinese supply man. Also has a brother.

Copernicus : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Ancient astronomer.

Evelyn : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

A Honeybee girl.

Glynna : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

A Honeybee girl.

Reverend Fuller : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Purdon priest.


Belphegor : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

A demon. Also Chemosh and Baal-Peeor.

Saint Vitus' dance : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Chorea, a movement disorder that makes you jerk around.


Pinkertons : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Employer of questionable ethicsh who uses private detective type agents.

Molly Maguires : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

A Gang Koenig broke.

Workers Benevolent Assocation : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Union Koenig busted.

Ancient Order of Hibernia : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Irish Catholic fraternal order.


Colt : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

A type of revolver.

Winchester Model 1886 : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

A type of rifle.

Jim Bowie : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

A type of knife.


Purdon : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

A California mining town with wretched outskirts.

Riverfront Hotel : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Koenig's chosen lodgings in Purdon.

Gold Digger saloon : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Koenig gets some info here earlier in the case.

Cedar Grove : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Where Hicks departs from. The Sanitarium, in particular.

Lubbock : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Koenig finds a letter of Hicks' here.

Albuquerque : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Koenig finds a worse letter of Hicks' here.

Bakersfield : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Koenig finds dismemberment evidence.

Honeybee Ranch : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

A whorehouse. Also called the Bumblebee ranch.

Bar-H Ranch : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Taylor Hackett's spread.

Forty-Mile Camp : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

Where Professor Butler lives.

Anderson Creek Canyon : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

On the way from Purdon to Forty-Mile Camp.

Barnum's House of Curiosities : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

A freak show.


Dictionnaire Infernal : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

A book on demons and devils by Collin de Plancy. Stolen by Hicks.

Pseudomonarchia Daemonum : Bulldozer - Laird Barron

A book, in Latin.


A Pinkerton man is hired by P. T. Barnum to hunt down a crazed ex-employee who robbed him. One one the things taken was an old demonology text. The trail leads through an ever more disturbing chain of disturbing writing through dismemberment. Koenig is a tough bastard, union buster, gang breaker, etc. and is more than happy to be violent, as long as he gets someone guilty, even if not the right person. He also has a Harvard education, so is not just some dumb guy, which helps to explain his successes.

When he tracks him down to your good old frontier Western type town everything seems normal enough. Bars, gunmen, whores, sheriffs, avaricious businessmen, etc.

That is, things do get a little odd, but more so after meeting Professor Butler, one of Hicks' ex-lovers: ""Rueben suffers from a unique breed of mycosis—you've perhaps seen the tumors on his arms and legs, and especially along his spinal column? It's consuming him as a fungus consumes a tree. Perversely, it's this very parasitic influence that imbues him with numerous dreadful abilities. Evolution via slow digestion."


"I established communion with a primordial intelligence, a cyclopean plexus rooted below these hills and valleys. An unclassified mycoflora that might or might not be of terrestrial origin. There are rites to effect this dialogue. A variety of osmosis ancient as the sediment men first crawled from. Older! Most awful, I assure you."

Koenig makes the rather valid assumption that stopping Hicks from living much longer would be a really good idea. Even with his education, dealing with this level of abnormal horror may be beyond him, especially after his own affliction with the condition Hicks is suffering from.

4 out of 5

Bulldozer by Laird Barron: An Appreciation - John Langan

"If I say I could go on and on discussing "Bulldozer," this look at its opening lines offers some explanation why. Of course, my first encounter with the story, I didn't engage in any of this analysis, (not consciously, anyway). I was too caught up in the relentless forward drive of its narrative, in the complexities of its narrator, (Jonah Koenig, just for the record), and in the monstrousness of the man he has pursued to a California mining town that might have been imagined by Gustave Dore. I was busy following the story's leaps back and forth in Koenig's personal history, in the connections it was drawing among a multitude of late-nineteenth century figures and events. I was caught in the way the plot unfolded, to quote the story's end, like "a terrible flower." I won't say I had no appreciation of its accomplishments before I re-read it; it was more a case of my re-reading expanding that appreciation in ways I wouldn't have guessed."

4.5 out of 5

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hour of the Cyclops - Laird Barron

Short Story

Number of words : 4400
Percent of complex words : 11.4
Average syllables per word : 1.6
Average words per sentence : 11.4


Fog : 9.1
Flesch : 63.6
Flesch-Kincaid : 7.2

: Hour of the Cyclops - Laird Barron


Mr Rembrandt : Hour of the Cyclops - Laird Barron

The antihero of the mission, agent of Central. In a new enhanced body for this adventure of despicable aims.

The Ancient Apothecary : Hour of the Cyclops - Laird Barron

Magical opponent and sacrificer of virgins whom you should shoot first ahead of his henchmen.

Dr Chimera : Hour of the Cyclops - Laird Barron

Doctor and test scientist in Rembrandt's organisation.

Dr Sprague : Hour of the Cyclops - Laird Barron

Doctor and test scientist in Rembrandt's organisation.

Mr Spot : Hour of the Cyclops - Laird Barron

The Ancient Apothecary's torturer.

Ms Smyth : Hour of the Cyclops - Laird Barron

The virgin sacrifice. Just a genius Olympic martial artist with a Nobel prize. Also a cellist.


Yellow Ichor No. Five : Hour of the Cyclops - Laird Barron

A blood replacement used on Mr. Rembrandt by Chimera and Sprague.


Central : Hour of the Cyclops - Laird Barron

Mr. Rembrandt's employer. Also servants of the Slitherer From the Stars.


White Mountain : Hour of the Cyclops - Laird Barron

Site of the Ancient Apothecary's lair, a tiny town with an abandoned radar site.

Nome : Hour of the Cyclops - Laird Barron

Town 80 miles northwest of White Mountain, in Alaska, not far from the Bering Sea.

Aldebaran : Hour of the Cyclops - Laird Barron

A star.


The Slitherer From the Stars : Hour of the Cyclops - Laird Barron

An Elder God-like being.

The Ancient Apothecary has kidnapped Ms Smyth and wants to use her in a ritual, being an extremely accomplished virgin. Mr Rembrandt's employer control wants the same thing, for different reasons. He is sent to retrieve her, in a scientifically and arcanely enhanced and tooled up body-that of her Hammer Throwing ex-boyfriend. He manages to get past the guards, and get the girl. When she realises he isn't the boyfriend George, and has rather nastier motives than just rescue you can add quick draw and good shot to her list of talents.
Yellow Ichor No. Five leaks out just like blood does.

4 out of 5

The Draw - Jerome Bixby

Telekinetic fast gun.

3 out of 5

BSFA Survey Response - Richard Morgan

"8. Do you detect a different response to your science fiction/fantasy between the public in Britain and America (or elsewhere)?

Well, yes and no. You do see some minor cultural hiccups sometimes when my work crosses the Atlantic – for instance, there were a number of comments criticising the amount of foul language used by the characters in my last novel, and these complaints were almost exclusively American in origin. The British (and Australians and Norwegians and French and Italians and just about everybody else) just took it in their stride. Ditto complaints about the explicit sex in my books, and bad reactions to the explicit political commentary in a couple of my nearer future scenarios. So it would certainly appear that, in general terms, there is within the US SF&F readership a group of people who are far more uptight and tender in their expectations than any you’d find on this side of the Atlantic. Sort of controversy virgins, I guess you could call them, going to the literary marriage bed in the expectation that it’s all going to be dewy-eyed candle-lit, air-brushed cuddles."

4.5 out of 5

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Empire Strikes Back Draft - Leigh Brackett

Here, apparently, is Brackett's version :

"February 17, 1978 Draft by Leigh Brackett.
Synopsis: While Luke takes advanced Jedi training from Yoda, his friends are relentlessly pursued by Darth Vader as part of his plan to capture Luke."

5 out of 5–-the-empire-strikes-back-leigh-brackett-draft

The Peacemaker - Alfred Coppel

All your space bases belong to us pirates.

3.5 out of 5

The Record of Currupira - Robert Abernathy

Martian weapon record note.

2.5 out of 5

The Goddess of Discord Lives On Mulberry Street - Adam Callaway

Eris mantra.

3 out of 5

Search - Kek Kek

Deadguy Turing version.

3.5 out of 5

The Very Last Drop - Ian Rankin

Rebus ghost guilt.

Deluge 47 - Brian Keene

"“I still want you to rest,” Gail said. “Obviously, you’re in a lot of pain. You’re not going to be much good to us if you don’t recuperate.”

Novak sat down with his back against the wall and positioned himself so that he could see out the broken window. Water dripped from his clothes, running across the floor. He sighed. “And here I thought you guys wanted me along for my sparkling personality. You just need me to help fight monsters.”"

4 out of 5

Deluge 48 - Brian Keene

"Atop of the tank’s stand were a number of household tools—pliers, wrenches, screwdrivers, box-cutter, claw hammer and more. Judging by the dried blood crusting their edges and the captive’s wounds, they’d been converted into instruments of torture. In the corner was a large coffee can half-filled with human waste.

“Jesus,” McCann whispered.

Simon grinned. “Oh, I called on him, among others, to help me, but as you can see, my situation didn’t improve.”

“Hang on,” Gail said. “We’ll untie you.”"

4.5 out of 5

Clownette by Terry Dowling: An Appreciation - Laird Barro

"Terry Dowling knows the heart of fear hasn't strayed far from the caves and he understands the raw, ineluctable fascination of a campfire tale. He is conversant with its rules and rituals-—Did you hear the one about the guy, this salesman, who couldn't get a room at his regular hotel? So the clerk says, "Hey, you could stay in this one room we got in back. We'll give you our special rate . . .""

4.5 out of 5

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Palmetto Man - Danny Rubin

Peter bug love.

3 out of 5

The Nebula Awards Interview - Ted Kosmatka

"What impressed me with “Divining Light” is how it’s grounded in real science, and then transitions into something that seems fantastical. Were you conscious of this transition? What were the challenges in writing the scene? How much research (on the science theory) did you have to do?

Great question. And yes. I wanted to draw a line in the story and say, here, right here is where this steps off from known science and becomes science fiction. Of course, I couldn’t do that, but the impulse was there. There was a lot of research that went into that story. Probably more than any other story I’ve written. One of the issues that I had to overcome in the story is that quantum mechanics itself reads like some impossible fictional conceit. You study quantum mechanics, and your first thought is, there’s no way the universe can really work that way. But it does. Or at least it seems to. "

4 out of 5

The Genesis of Hawkmoon - Michael Moorcock

"I’m not even sure what the year was. I’d had the outline for the series for a year or two, together with a couple of chapters, I think, when Larry Shaw of Lancer asked me for a new fantasy series to follow the first two Elric books and the Blades of Mars series. This would have been in 1965 or 6, I think. I had not actually planned to write any more, but I can rarely resist a request!"

4.5 out of 5

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Charlie Stross The Trade of Queens: Book Six of the Merchant Princes - Charless Stross and Paul Krugman

"Charles Stross And The Family Trade

So, the obvious question: what am I, of all people, doing as host of this symposium? Shouldn’t I be writing about financial catastrophe or something?

The short answer is that Charlie Stross is one of my very favorite authors – one of the handful of living writers of whom I find myself wondering, “When’s his next book coming out? What’s he going to do this time?”

The long answer is that what drew me to science fiction, more than four decades ago – before I got into economics, and in fact part of the reason I went into economics – was a certain kind of possibility: the creation of fictional worlds, different from our own but not too different, as a way to play with ideas about who we are and where we’re going. And I do mean “play” – not being too serious, mixing ideas about society, economics, politics, and so on with derring-do and romance is crucial to keeping things light enough to tolerate.

And nobody does this better than Stross."

4 out of 5

Nameless Tales: Labeling Howard's Untitled Fiction - Al Harron

"Considering the enormous output Robert E. Howard created in his career, it is inevitable that some stories were abandoned, rewritten or otherwise unfinished. Some are fragments ending abruptly, others with a rough outline, and others still remaining only as synopses. When synopses and drafts for published stories are discounted, there are dozens of such documents remaining. Using the clinical “untitled draft/fragment/synopsis” is technically correct, but not descriptive of the content therein. In the case of posthumous collaborations, sometimes a name supplied by the “co-writer” is used, but that is unsatisfying for a number of reasons.

Inspired by archaeological precedent of naming artifacts after a defining characteristic such as place, discoverer or distinctive element, I have designated new titles for nameless tales that are more easily recognizable and more representative of the original text. I originally started this project as a system to name the unnamed Conan stories, so they shall form the first part."

5 out of 5

Why Isn't Greg Egan A Superstar? - Jon Evans

"I have a confession to make. About ten years ago, I pretty much gave up on reading science fiction. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it anymore; it was that I increasingly felt like I had already read all the good stuff, so I decided to take a few years off. But even during that period, there were still a few authors I simply couldn’t not buy if I came across their new work. William Gibson, Neal Stephenson ... and most of all, Greg Egan.

(If you haven’t read any Egan, you so should. He takes the wildest frontiers of today’s science and turns them into truly brainbending speculative fiction that continually challenges the reader’s ideas of both reality and humanity. He’s also a terrific sentence-by-sentence writer. I’d recommend you start with his novel Permutation City1, previously reviewed here by Jo Walton, and/or his collection Axiomatic.)"

4 out of 5

Red Right Hand - Norman Partridge

“That was just a gag, J. W,” the little flapper said. She almost sounded mad. “Claire Ives doesn’t really smoke cigars.”

“Hell if she doesn’t. That girl’s a vixen. Acts like she’s a man. Why, if I’d had a chance—”

“You did, J. W.,” The girl winked at Tate. ‘You had your chance, and you ended up losing your car and your pants.”

4 out of 5

First Blood - Laird Barron

"BARRON: Yes, I’m in the middle of a first novel. The Croning follows a geriatric scientist who has retired with his famous anthropologist wife to her ancestral farmhouse in Western Washington. The wife goes off on a trip and leaves our hero alone to putter about the house. Pretty soon, amidst a bit of spring cleaning, the old fellow begins to turn up bizarre artifacts, photos, and souvenirs suggestive of much unpleasantness in the vein of Bluebeard. He suspects his wife might’ve acquired some unsavory occult practices from her many adventures in the backwaters of the world…. The Croning is something of a throwback to occult/horror novels of the 1960s and ‘70s such as Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby and Tryon’s The Other, and the quiet horror of Grant and Klein. Except that it really isn’t like those stories under the skin, and you’ll see why if you read the book."

4 out of 5

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Kraken 1 - China Mieville

"It would hang, an absurdly massive tentacled sepia event. Architeuthis Dux. The giant squid.

‘It’s 8.62 metres long,’ Billy would say at last. ‘Not the largest we’ve ever seen, but no tiddler either.’ The visitors would circle the glass. ‘They found it in 2004, off the Falkland Islands.

‘It’s in a saline-formalin mix. That tank was made by the same people that do the ones for Damian Hirst. You know, the one he put the shark in?’ Any children would be leaning in to the squid, as close as they could get.

‘Its eyes would have been 23 or 24 centimetres across,’ Billy would say. People would measure with their fingers and children opened their own eyes mimicry-wide. ‘Yeah, like plates. Like dinner plates.’ He said it every time, every time thinking of Hans Christian Andersen’s dog. ‘But it’s very hard to keep eyes fresh, so they’re gone. We injected it with the same stuff that’s in the tank to stop it rotting from the inside.

‘It was alive when it was caught.’

That would mean gasps all over again. Visions of an army of coils, twenty thousand leagues, an axe-fight against a blasphemy from the deep below. A predatory meat cylinder, rope limbs unrolling, finding a ship’s rail with ghastly prehensility. "

3 out of 5

Grinning Unappeased Aboriginal Demons: Every Pict Sure Tells a Story-and an American One at that - Steve Tompkins

"Conan of Cimmeria is not a character much given to understatement, but he is guilty of same when he tells Balthus that "it’s as well on the border as any- where." It is actually far, far better on the border and "Beyond the Black River," as has been emphasized by the other two greatest American writers of heroic fantasy, Fritz Leiber ("the truest and most satisfying of the Conan stories") and Karl Edward Wagner ("a sense of conviction and mounting power that few of the other Conan stories can match") Whence came that conviction and mounting power?

Greil Marcus supplies an answer in his Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music:" History without myth is surely a wasteland, but myths are compelling only when they are at odds with history." "Black River" is extraordinarily compelling precisely because it is so at odds with American history. No shining city on a hill will be built in the primordial Pictish Wilderness. The Picts will not lie down in front of the bulldozer of Hyborian Manifest Destiny but instead hijack the vehicle and put it in reverse; as Leiber points out, "Black River" is based on the first stage of the only historical event which Howard described in considerable detail in his essay The Hyborian Age,,,the eventually triumphant eruption of the ferocious, primitive Picts into medievally civilzed Aquilonia." The Huron sachem in Michael Mann’s The Last of the Mohicans declares that "When the white man came, night entered our future;" in Howard’s pseudo-history, the Picts return as the night which falls on the Hyborian future."

5 out of 5

BSFA Survey Response - John Meaney

"As a writer, my core discipline is science fiction; I take it with me wherever I go.

2. What is it about your work that makes it fit into these categories?

Rigorous physics runs through my dark fantasy, which is really an alternative history deviating from our own during the formation of the solar system – as astute readers have noticed. In my hard sf, the story always depends on some deep concept or mystery from science – for example, time’s arrow. (Not a single fundamental physics equation indicates time flowing from past to future.) Critics sometimes say they cannot tell where real science ends and my fictional science begins. Sometimes I take that as high praise; other times I cry: “It’s all real, didn’t you know?”

But that’s only in the books I’ve written so far…"

3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Broken Mirrors 03 - Tim Pratt

"The Mason pointed at his now-uninhabited body. “Drag that into one of the cells, out of sight. Then we’ll wait for Susan Wellstone and her entourage to show up. You’re wearing the body of one of her lapdogs, so we can mess with her head a bit before I kill her.” She cracked her knuckles. “That’s a rare pleasure, Crapsey, getting to kill one of your enemies twice.”

“Oh, I don’t know. You’ve done it before. I’ve seen it.”

“Sure, but that usually involves using magic or medicine to revive them, and then they’ve only been dead for a couple of minutes, and when the second death comes so close to the first, it’s only a little thrill. But to kill someone ten years after the first time you did it, that’s enough distance to savor the whole experience over again.”"

3 out of 5

Apex Magazine 17 - Jason Sizemore

Here you have a Kowal special. Not a bad thing, as she is definitely a more accomplished writer than the usual Apex level.

Apex Magazine 17 : The Bride Replete - Mary Robinette Kowal
Apex Magazine 17 : Beyond the Garden Close - Mary Robinette Kowal
Apex Magazine 17 : Scenting the Dark - Mary Robinette Kowal
Apex Magazine 17 : Horizontal Rain - Mary Robinette Kowal

Big crop surrender.

3.5 out of 5

Nature jump test.

3 out of 5

Dog. Stay. It's gonna eat me.

4 out of 5

Project troll accident.

3.5 out of 5

4 out of 5

Beyond the Garden Close - Mary Robinette Kowal

Nature jump test.

3 out of 5

The Bride Replete - Mary Robinette Kowal

Big crop surrender.

3.5 out of 5

Monday, March 22, 2010

Conquest Over Time - Michael Shaara

Lappy sewer rat.

1.5 out of 5

Grand Central Arena 43 - Ryk Spoor

" Small blue sparks danced suddenly along Laila's body and rippled almost playfully across Mandallon's hand. The alien priest stiffened. "I… I see her! Creators and watchers, helpers and healers, heed me now! Bring back this woman, Laila Canning, from the place within herself, regather her memories and feelings, her loves and joys, return them to this her mind and body, to we who still walk the Arena!" His other hand joined the first. "Come now, Laila Canning! Return! Satwond norlew hite!""

3 out of 5

Robert E. Howard Exile of Cross Plains - William Maynard

"When Robert E. Howard, an outcast in his native Cross Plains, started down the path that would eventually give the world the genre now known as Sword & Sorcery, he used Paul L. Anderson’s story, “En-ro of the Ta-an” as the template for his various “Am-ra of the Ta-an” story drafts. Anderson would likely be a completely forgotten literary figure but for the efforts of Howard scholar, Rusty Burke. Even without Anderson as a reference point, Howard’s first attempts at creating a noble savage are instantly familiar to the modern reader as being works that are highly derivative of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan, Pellucidar and Caspak novels. Just as the seminal Black Mask writers took the western and successfully brought it to an urban setting creating modern detective fiction in the process, so Burroughs and those he influenced took Rudyard Kipling’s Mowgli tales and laid the foundation for modern myth-making by cross-breeding jungle adventures with the lost worlds tales of Jules Verne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and H. Rider Haggard."

Uncanny X-Men 448

Viper Murderworld.

2 out of 5

Action Comics No. 1

First for that Superman guy.

3 out of 5

Strange 1

Dr Strange reboot.

3 out of 5

Animal Man 1

Me, a bit second-rate.

3.5 out of 5

Ex Machina 1

Political Machine.

4 out of 5

Shanna the She Devil 1

Nazi reborn, with raptors.

3.5 out of 5

Whiteout 1

Cold and alone case.

4 out of 5

Queen & Country 1

Who wants to be top spy then?

4 out of 5

Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things 1

Hmm, strange old man, interesting stuff here.

3.5 out of 5

Free Scott Pilgrim

Or maybe beat him up.

4 out of 5

Hellboy The Epilogues

Red Right Hand ain't yours Raspie.

4.5 out of 5

Savage Dragon 1

No bad cops or bad guys please.

4 out of 5

Noble Causes 1

Pregnancy no illusion.

3.5 out of 5

Casanova 1

Your daddy's crazy.

3 out of 5

A Distant Soil 1

What's with this space power stuff?

3 out of 5

Invincible 1

Just reading and fighting bad guys mum.

4 out of 5

Girls - Girls 1

Unclothed invasion.

3.5 out of 5

Bomb Queen - Bomb Queen 1

This city sucks donkey ring.

2.5 out of 5

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1

The original, online! Way cool. More than just this one, too.

4.5 out of 5

52 Week One

4 out of 5

Y the Last Man Unmanned 1

4 out of 5

Transmetropolitan Back On the Street 1

Spider journalism.

4.5 out of 5

Swamp Thing Saga of the Swamp Thing 1

Getting elemental.

4 out of 5

Sandman Mystery Theatre The Tarantula 1

"In this noir detective tale of intrigue, bigotry and incest, millionaire Wesley Dodds takes on the costumed persona of the Sandman to catch a sadistic killer in 1930s New York. Donning a gas mask, fedora, business suit and cape, Dodds goes after the Tarantula, a brutal kidnapper who is mercilessly preying upon the women of high society. But as the Sandman walks through a world of corruption and deceit, he uncovers the true secret of the murders and their implausible connection to the city's most prominent family."

4 out of 5

Lucifer Devil In the Gateway 1

Meet the new boss.

3 out of 5

Fell 1

Nice place, cop.

4 out of 5

Sandman Preludes and Nocturnes 1

Let me out.

5 out of 5

Preacher Gone To Texas 1

Custer's stand.

4.5 out of 5

Hellblazer Original Sins 1

Bad Johnny.

4 out of 5

Fables Legends In Exiles 1

Snow job.

3.5 out of 5

3.5 out of 5

The Exterminators Bug Brothers 1

Chaos leggy.

3.5 out of 5

Death: The High Cost of Living 1

No, you not so living anymore.

4 out of 5

100 Bullets - First Shot Last Call 1

Murder free case.

4 out of 5

Salem's Daughter 1

Someone made me do it.

2.5 out of 5

Sherlock Holmes 1

Nope, didn't do it.

2.5 out of 5

Athena Voltaire - The Wrath From the Tomb

A bit much of the daughter of Dracula thing.

4 out of 5

Athena Voltaire - The Terror In Tibet

Or Yeti still have more nazis to kill.

4 out of 5

Athena Voltaire - The Flight of the Falcon

Just another nazi-killing monster hunting aviatrix heroine.

4 out of 5

The Lone Ranger 17

Showing that as a cook he makes a really good masked superhero.

3 out of 5

Dellec 1


3 out of 5

DHC's The Rapture 1

Me? Angel of Vengeance? Bugger.

3 out of 5

Michael Turner's Fathom 1

My family's all wet.

2.5 out of 5

Executive Assistant Iris 1

Physical administration.

3.5 out of 5

The Walking Dead 1

Just a great zombie apocalypse.

4.5 out of 5

Magdalena Short Story

Angel stabbity.

3 out of 5

Modesty Blaise strip In Spanish

A series of comic strips - in Spanish! The first of which has Modesty and Willie dressed as Vikings.

4.5 out of 5

Queen Of the Black Coast - Petri Hiltunen

An adaptation of the story that stays very true.,%2BThe%2BQueen%2Bof%2Bthe%2BBlack%2BCoast%2B1991.jpg

4 out of 5

Soulfire V2 1

Faeries and dragons and kids.

2 out of 5


Skinny hippy cuckoo world's end comeback brainblast.

4.5 out of 5

Athena 1

Goddess detective flesh wound.

2.5 out of 5

Surrogates 1

Got us some puppet mastering :-

4 out of 5

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Temple Library Reviews Angry Robot Books - Lee Harris

"But who is Lee Harris? Simple. He is an Angry Robot Overlord come to enslave us with daring fiction without an analog. Hail Angry Robot Books. He is also a Twitter VIP and creator of the one and only Hub Magazine."


"In your opinion, what separates Angry Robot from the other imprints on the market?

We originally set out to play in the “post-YA” market (Marco's phrase), the X-Box generation. We want to attract readers that have maybe tried YA and liked it, but don't know where to go, next. That's not to say our books aren't suitable for genre veterans, of course, but we want to capture the excitement of playing a video game. Actually, I quite like that – a video game in book format. We're also determined to make the most of the opportunities afforded us by technology – eBooks, enhanced eBooks, audio and print-on-demand where appropriate. We're aiming to get to a stage where all major formats are released simultaneously. After all, the format is just a delivery mechanism for the important bit of a book – the words."

4 out of 5

Wild Men of the Wild Sea… and Robert E. Howard - Keith Taylor

"My name is Keith Taylor and this is my first post. A Tasmanian-born long-time resident of Melbourne, I’m married to an — I assure you — lovely and very smart girl named Anna. We have a twenty-year-old son. He’d kill me if I said anything about him on the web, no doubt.

It’s chiefly through the interest and help of Deuce Richardson that I’m here and holding forth at all, so, many thanks, Deuce.

And I’m a writer.

It appears I was born that way. At least, I was a voracious reader from the word go, and writing my own stories at the age of nine, bundles and reams of them, which I would examine, find wanting, and methodically burn in a backyard fire at the end of each year, keeping only the few scripts and ideas I reckoned still had possibilities. I couldn’t stop, either.

I’m best known for the Bard series, and for having written a couple of novels with Andrew J. Offutt, based on Robert E. Howard’s Gaelic pirate Cormac Mac Art and his Danish friend Wulfhere — The Tower of Death and When Death Birds Fly from Ace Books. Having the chance was a pleasure and privilege, but it also taught me that there’s nobody who could write a Robert E. Howard story, or character, except Howard himself."

4.5 out of 5

Saturday, March 20, 2010

On Life - Arthur C. Clarke

"Last March I traveled to Sri Lanka to visit the well-known futurist and science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke. Despite the fact that he's written more than 70 books, Clarke is most famous for a 1968 screenplay - 2001: A Space Odyssey - which he co-authored with director Stanley Kubrick. What he should be most famous for (and is, actually, in scientific circles) is far more impressive: In 1945, at the tender age of 28, Clarke sketched out the idea of orbital communication satellites.

Now 75, Clarke is afflicted with post-polio syndrome; a debilitating disease about which little is known, since - as he himself dryly points out - few polio survivors have lived long enough to contract it.

But if I was concerned about Clarke's mental state, my anxiety was misplaced. I found him as warm, engaging, and tirelessly curious as ever. One of my most treasured hopes, I confess, was that age and illness would have at least weakened Clarke to the point where I could finally beat him at table tennis. This was not to be. In a humiliating repeat of my past experiences, he won every single game - gloating shamelessly all the while."

4 out of 5

Playboy Interview - Arthur C. Clarke

"PLAYBOY: To begin, we wanted to ask——

CLARKE: Hold it. Here's a large ant on your neck. [Flicks it off] Oops! It's a spider. Some of them bite a bit here in Sri Lanka. Nothing fatal, though, if you ask the right questions. [Laughs] Take two.

PLAYBOY: In terms of sheer quantity, you're one of the most prolific authors on earth, one of the planets you consider a home base. You've written 65 books——

CLARKE: Really?

PLAYBOY: You don't keep count?

CLARKE: Well, there's some overlap, I guess. Books published under different titles—65, you say?

PLAYBOY: Our research is impeccable."

5 out of 5

Clarkesworld 42 - Sean Wallace

An interesting article to go along with two pretty decent stories:

Future Brains: Neuroscience Fiction versus Neuroscience Fantasy
by Luc Reid

Clarkesworld 42 : Alone With Gandhari - Gord Sellar
Clarkesworld 42 : The History Within Us - Matthew Kressel

Ronnie Mac Attack Guru.

3.5 out of 5

Universe history pollution Horde stardive.

3.5 out of 5

4.5 out of 5

Alone With Gandhari - Gord Sellar

Ronnie Mac Attack Guru.

3.5 out of 5

The History Within Us - Matthew Kressel

Universe history pollution Horde stardive.

3.5 out of 5

Eric John Stark Begins - Ryan Harvey

"Stark was the most famous creation of Leigh Brackett (1915–1978), one of the first female authors to break down the gender barriers around science-fiction and fantasy publishing. Brackett was a multi-talented writer who could write not only epic space opera and scientific romances, but also hard-boiled mysteries and Westerns. When the pulp market dried up in the mid-'50s, principally her chief publisher Planet Stories, she entered into the burgeoning world of TV writing. She also wrote a number of screenplays, The Big Sleep (co-written with some guy named William Faulkner), Rio Bravo, and The Long Goodbye. Her last work before her death from cancer (at the too young age of sixty-two) was the first draft screenplay to The Empire Strikes Back, although apparently little of her contributions made it into the final draft."

4 out of 5

Friday, March 19, 2010

Robert E. Howard's Three Musketeers - Rehupa Website

"- The picture is also shown on page 388 of "The Last Celt" hb . There it states ( from Left to Right ) , that the figures are Robert E Howard , Truett Vinson and Tevis Clyde Smith ( two friends of REH's ) ."

4 out of 5

Science Fiction’s New Prophet: A PW Web-Exclusive Q&A - Paolo Bacigalupi

"Where many writers steer clear of weighty issues like the future of humankind, science fiction powerhouse Paolo Bacigalupi embraces them. His insights are on full display in his debut collection,PumpSixandOtherStories"

3 out of 5

Fantastic Reviews Author Interview - Paolo Bacigalupi

"There has been a process over the last, say, twenty years, maybe a little more, to really despise the government and the safeguards the government has in place. So what you see is the FDA and the USDA and the Federal Communications Commission, all of these are relatively emasculated agencies at this point. They don't do the things they were supposed to do. In some cases they are almost completely beholden to the corporations that they're supposed to be overseeing. You see that in Colorado with something like the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, which up until very recently was entirely staffed with people with ties to the gas industry. You see stuff like that and you say, okay, there is a role for government. The idea of an absolutely unfettered free market, there can only be horror from that.

Fantastic Reviews (FR): Well, even under the theory. I've studied a lot of economics, and I believe in free-market capitalism, and yet even if you study the basic theory, externalities are part of the theory. There are certain things where, you do things that cause other people to pay the cost, and why should you give a damn about them if someone else is paying for it?

Paolo Bacigalupi (PB): Right, and so clean air, and all these other things, something like the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act are designed to address problems with externalities. The problem right now is we're in a situation where the rhetoric in this rah-rah free-market capitalism - which does absolutely have a lot of benefits - has gotten to the buzzword level where you can't actually have any rational discourse about it. At the same time, the I-want-my-government-so-small-I-can-drown-it-in-the-bathtub theory has gotten so much currency that you end up in a position where we really are playing with fire in a lot of different ways. So those things are always in the back of my mind."

4.5 out of 5

Del Rey: Dark Agnes and Other Historical Adventures By Robert E. Howard - Deuce Richardson

"Robert E. Howard Properties and Del Rey are glad to announce the next planned book in the Howard library series: Dark Agnes and Other Historical Adventures, with planned release in spring 2011.

Following the historical footsteps of El Borak and Other Desert Adventures, which takes us to Arabia at the turn of the 20th century, Dark Agnes will take readers further back in time, from the time of the Crusades up to 16th century France.

We will follow Cormac Fitzgeoffrey, a half-Irish, half-Norman man of war who follows Richard the Lion-Hearted to 12th century Palestine – Outremer – under the banners of the Third Crusade. We will also meet Agnes de la Fere who when faced with an arranged marriage to a brutal husband in 16th century France cuts the ceremony short with a dagger-stroke and flees. Dark Agnes’ instinctive skill in combat wins her the name of Sword Woman. Her skill is tested on the coast of France where she foils a plot by Britain’s devious Cardinal Wolsey to undermine the French king, and again in the benighted alleys of Chartres, as she faces the vengeance of an executed sorcerer who will not die."

4.5 out of 5

Doc Savage Organized - Chuck Welch

A whole heap of stuff about Doc Savage.

Looks pretty impressive.

5 out of 5

Collector's Item - Evelyn E. Smith

Venusian lizardmen love.

2.5 out of 5

The Million-Year Picnic - Ray Bradbury

Mealtime archaeology.

3.5 out of 5

Black Friar of the Flame - Isaac Asimov

"This one is awesomely cheesy, the further it goes on. :) :

"You wish a Total War—a Galactic Crusade," Kane spoke in a whisper, "yet who should know better than I that a Total War has been impossible for these thousand years."


"Oh, pink devils of Sirius! I'm afraid to look. Is that old hag actually moving in our direction?"


"By Vega! Blast me, if you're not right. Good! Storm the Memorial!"


"The entire Sector is patrolled by the lizards. All avenues of approach to the Memorial have been shut off."


"The Lhasinu aren't defeated, or anywhere near defeated; make no mistake about that Even now the Solar Guard is flashing to Earth, and the forces on the outer planets are being called back. In no time at all, the entire Lhasinuic Empire will converge upon Earth and the reckoning will be a terrible and bloody one. We must have help!"


"In two hours, the Lhasinuic demand for surrender had been scornfully rejected and the hundred ships of the Human squadron spread outwards on the expanding surface of an imaginary sphere—the standard defense formation of a surrounded fleet—and the Battle for Earth was on."


"At the prow, a section of armor plate had slid aside and a glittering shaft of metal had lunged outward viciously. One hundred feet long, it narrowed gracefully from a base ten feet in diameter to a needle-sharp diamond point. In the sunlight, the chrome-steel of the shaft gleamed in flaming splendor. And every other ship of the Human squadron was likewise equipped. Each had become ten, fifteen, twenty, fifty thousand tons of driving rapier. Swordfish of space!"

3.5 out of 5

Bulgarian Science Fiction and Fantasy In 2009 - Valentin Ivanov

A selection from about 40 titles he says, with approximate sales level mention.

3 out of 5

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Howard's Forgotten Redhead: Dark Agnes - Ryan Harvey

"It’s strange that Robert E. Howard’s most famous female character is one he didn’t actually create: Red Sonja, the work of comic book writer Roy Thomas and artist Barry Windsor-Smith, based on the historic adventuress Red Sonya from the story “The Shadow of the Vulture.” Red Sonja has been erroneously credited to Howard for years; even the movie Red Sonja lists him as the creator on the main credits.

This accidental attribution might explain the scant attention given to a fierce, red-haired, sword-swinging woman that Howard did create: Dark Agnes of Chastillon, sometimes called Agnes de le Fere. She appears in two stories and a fragment, and if Howard had sold the stories during his lifetime he might have written far more about her. She’s much-neglected in discussions of the author, and none of her stories have been in print since Ace’s 1986 printing of Sword Woman, which was first published by Zebra in 1977 and then re-printed by Berkley in 1979."

4 out of 5’s-forgotten-redhead-dark-agnes/

Swords-and-Sisters: Leigh Brackett and women in fandom - Al Harron

"However, my first introduction to Brackett wasn’t with one of her stories: it was in the introduction to a Robert E. Howard collection. The introduction to The Sword Woman is inspired, heartfelt and full of genuine appreciation for Howard’s skills as an author in a way that seems a million miles away from the prevailing “don’t look for philosophical puzzles, there are none” attitude of the time.

It’s too bad that Robert E. Howard didn’t write more stories about his Sword Woman, Dark Agnes de Chastillion. She was quite a character… more intelligent than Conan, more attractive than Solomon Kane, and as fine a swashbuckler as any of Howard’s heroes. Perhaps she came a litle before her time. Women who could do things were not very popular in fiction back in the ’30s, particularly in the adventure story field. C.L. Moore’s Jirel of Joiry, who gained considerable fame at that time, operated solely in the fantasy field, where there was a good bit more latitude."

4 out of 5

Transition 01 - Vonda N. McIntyre

"J.D. Sauvage, the alien contact specialist, drifted in zero g and waited for a message from an unknown civilization. "

3.5 out of 5

Monstrous Theologies The Theme of Anti-Sacrifice in the Sci-Fi Pulps - Thomas F. Bertonneau

An academic article that also talks about C. L. Moore and Northwest Smith along the same lines.

"Leigh Brackett belonged to the same story-telling generation as Moore and Kuttner; she was married, in fact, to another science fiction writer, Edmond Hamilton, just as Moore was married to Kuttner.(14) The four lived in and around Santa Monica in the 1930s through the 1950s and knew each other well. Responding, as Moore did, to Lovecraft's opening of antique vistas and to Stanley G. Weinbaum's opening of the solar system, Brackett wrote a series of tales involving the antiquated cultures of Mercury, Venus, Mars, and the Asteroids under the ecumenical dominion of a Terran Empire in its brash ascendancy. Brackett's Martian stories parallel Bradbury's, but are more brutal than his, granting a greater degree of robustness to the colonized Martians. Brackett nevertheless, like Moore and Kuttner, ever apologizes for the normative, and this means that she defines the difference between the ethically acceptable and the ethically unacceptable according to the absence or presence of sacrifice. It is significant that, in one of the few explanations that she offered of her interest in the popular forms, she said the following: "The so-called space opera is the folk-tale, the hero-tale, of our particular niche in history" (Preface to The Best of Planet Stories 2-3). "The Beast-Jewel of Mars" (1948) is explicitly devoted to an examination of sacrifice and provocatively links sacrifice to the politics of resentment.

"The Beast-Jewel of Mars" revolves around Shanga, translatable as "the return" or "the going-back" (The Coming of the Terrans 8), a cult "forbidden centuries ago by the city-states of Mars" (9), which has reappeared with the arrival of the earthmen. The cult thus corresponds to a Lucretian lapsus in antiquas religiones. The sacred objects of the cult, the Jewels of Shanga, date back reputedly to "a half a million years ago" (14) when the priests of Caer Dhu carved them by a science now lost. The scheme resembles that in "The Dust of the Gods" by Moore, where a fragment of demonic Pharol's vanished world turns up in the deep rubble of the polar mountains of Mars. Certain plotters, as we have seen, want artifacts from the anomaly, the ones that Smith and Yarol refuse to export but, rather, destroy in situ. In Brackett's story, a Martian named Kor Hal tells protagonist Burk Winters that, despite having inaugurated Shanga as an escape from war and violence, the people of Caer Dhu quickly "perished" and "in one generation . . . vanished from the face of Mars." Brackett gives us a sketch of the Lucretian notion of how the ennui of long-standing security makes the beneficiaries of earlier demonic banishments vulnerable to cultic revival. Only a continuously upheld psychic vigilance can keep such atavistic deformations at bay."

4 out of 5

Red Mist: How Small Presses Rescue Classic Genre Writers from Oblivion - Thomas F. Bertonneau

"No one today writes anything resembling the potent mixture achieved by a Smith, a Bond, a Williamson, or a Brackett. Our entertainments have become effeminate and puritanical in their perversely and contradictorily sexed-up way. The pulp writers were red-blooded; contemporary popular fiction is “blue” in the pornographic sense and “blue” in the sense of its prickly correctness. Give us the red mist of the Lost Venusian Sea! To invest a few dollars in any of these beautifully produced books is to vote for civilization over barbarism."

4 out of 5

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories Online

The Cambist and Lord Iron - Daniel Abraham
The Calorie Man - Paolo Bacigalupi
The Gambler - Paolo Bacigalupi
The People Of Sand and Slag - Paolo Bacigalupi
Pop Squad - Paolo Bacigalupi
Sheena 5 - Stephen Baxter
Two Hearts - Peter S. Beagle
Orm the Beautiful - Elizabeth Bear
Overkill - Elizabeth Bear
Shoggoths In Bloom - Elizabeth Bear
In the Upper Room - Terry Bisson
The Willows - Algernon Blackwood
Black Amazon of Mars - Leigh Brackett
Last Call From Sector 9G - Leigh Brackett
Queen of the Martian Catacombs - Leigh Brackett
Who Goes There? - John W. Campbell
Division By Zero - Ted Chiang
Exhalation - Ted Chiang
The Nine Billion Names Of God - Arthur C. Clarke
Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog - B. W. Clough
Firebird - J. L. Comeau
The Rebel of Valkyr - Alfred Coppel
Catherine Drewe - Paul Cornell
One of Our Bastards Is Missing - Paul Cornell
A Dry Quiet War - Tony Daniel
Qubit Conflicts - Jetse De Vries
Sergeant Chip - Bradley Denton
Pulp Alibis - Paul Di Filippo
The Scab's Progress - Paul Di Filippo and Bruce Sterling
Wikiworld - Paul Di Filippo
Anda's Game - Cory Doctorow
I Robot - Cory Doctorow
I Row-Boat - Cory Doctorow
0wnz0red - Cory Doctorow
Power Punctuation - Cory Doctorow
Scroogled - Cory Doctorow
When SysAdmins Ruled the Earth - Cory Doctorow
Unwirer - Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross
The Man Who Lost Red - Terry Dowling
Privateers' Moon - Terry Dowling
Ship's Eye - Terry Dowling
Patient Zero - Tanarive Due
The Chief Designer - Andy Duncan
Border Guards - Greg Egan
Crystal Nights - Greg Egan
Dark Integers - Greg Egan
Glory - Greg Egan
Steve Fever - Greg Egan
Jeffty Is Five - Harlan Ellison
Fire and Sleet - James Enge
The Political Prisoner - Charles Coleman Finlay
Lusts of the Cat Queen: A Dash Manning Adventure - Melanie Fletcher
Damned If You Don't - Randall Garrett
Ice Dwarves - Doug Goodman
The Cold Equations - Tom Godwin
The Old Die Rich - H. L. Gold
Shade - Steven Gould
The Devil in Mr Pussy - Paul Haines
An Alien Agony - Harry Harrison
Roller Ball Murder - William Harrison
Beyond the Black River - Robert E. Howard
Black Colossus - Robert E. Howard
The Jewels of Gwahlur - Robert E. Howard
The People of the Black Circle - Robert E. Howard
The Scarlet Citadel - Robert E. Howard
A Witch Shall Be Born - Robert E. Howard
Queen of the Black Coast - Robert E. Howard
Red Nails - Robert E. Howard
Retroactive anti-terror - Alex Irvine
Think Like a Dinosaur - James Patrick Kelly
The Juniper Tree - John Kessel
Stories For Men - John Kessel
Save Me Plz - David Barr Kirley
That Share of Glory - C. M. Kornbluth
Theory of Rocketry - C. M. Kornbluth
Computer Virus - Nancy Kress
The Flowers of Aulit Prison - Nancy Kress
Laws Of Survival - Nancy Kress
The Graveyard Rats - Henry Kuttner
Mimsy Were the Borogoves - Henry Kuttner
Approaching Perimelasma - Geoffrey A. Landis
Bubba Ho-Tep - Joe R. Lansdale
Diplomat-At-Arms - Keith Laumer
Exploration Team - Murray Leinster
Lean Times In Lankhmar - Fritz Leiber
The Sadness of the Executioner - Fritz Leiber
First Contact - Murray Leinster
Titanium Mike Saves the Day - David D. Levine
The Chronology Protection Case - Paul Levinson
At the Mountains of Madness
The Call of Cthulhu - H. P. Lovecraft
The Colour Out of Space - H. P. Lovecraft
The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath - H. P. Lovecraft
Dreams In the Witch House - H. P. Lovecraft
The Dunwich Horror - H. P. Lovecraft
The Shadow Out of Time - H. P. Lovecraft
The Thing On the Doorstep - H. P. Lovecraft
Through the Gates of the Silver Key - H. P. Lovecraft
Osama Phone Home - David Marusek
Duel - Richard Matheson
Kin - Bruce McAllister
The Soldiers of Serenity - Todd McAulty
Little Lost Robot - Paul J. McAuley
Verthandi's Ring - Ian McDonald
Henry James This One's For You - Jack McDevitt
Of Mist and Grass and Sand - Vonda N. McIntyre
The Walls of the Universe - Paul Melko
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom - David Moles
Black Sword's Brothers - Michael Moorcock
The Dreaming City - Michael Moorcock
The Stealer of Souls - Michael Moorcock
Quest of the Starstone - C. L. Moore
Shambleau - C. L. Moore
Jihad Over Innsmouth - Edward Morris
Exit Before Saving - Ruth Nestvold
Looking Through Lace - Ruth Nestvold
Moon Moon Moon - Kim Newman
Omnilingual - H. Beam Piper
Mercytanks - Jennifer Pelland
The Pit and the Pendulum - Edgar Allen Poe
Six Lights Off Green Star - Gareth L. Powell
Bone Shop - Tim Pratt
Tim Pratt - Cup and Table
His Master's Voice - Hannu Rajaniemi
The Children's Crusade - Robert Reed
The Sledge-Maker's Daughter - Alastair Reynolds
Melancholy Elephants - Spider Robinson
Biographical Notes - Benjamin Rosenbaum
A Siege of Cranes - Benjamin Rosenbaum
Craters - Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Starsong - Fred Saberhagen
Ti's Toys - James H. Schmitz
The Egan Thief - Gord Sellar
Radiant Green Star - Lucius Shepard
Stars Seen Through Stone - Lucius Shepard
Vacancy - Lucius Shepard
Taken He Cannot Be - Will Shetterly
Caught In the Organ Draft - Robert Silverberg
The Holiness of Azedarac - Clark Ashton Smith
The Mandrakes - Clark Ashton Smith
The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis - Clark Ashton Smith
Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons - Cordwainer Smith
Scanners Live In Vain - Cordwainer Smith
The Days Between - Allen M. Steele
Stealing Alabama - Allen M. Steele
Antibodies - Charles Stross
Elector - Charles Stross
Halo - Charles Stross
Lobsters - Charles Stross
Survivor - Charles Stross
Toast A Con Report - Charles Stross
Tourist - Charles Stross
Thunder and Roses - Theodore Sturgeon
The Dead - Michael Swanwick
Ginungagap - Michael Swanwick
Legions In Time - Michael Swanwick
The Kansas Jayhawk vs. The Midwest Monster Squad - Jeremiah Tolbert
Pride - Mary Turzillo
Anywhere There's A Game - Greg Van Eekhout
Thread A Triptych - Catherynne M. Valente
Options - John Varley
The Things - Peter Watts
The War of the Worlds - Orson Welles
Unsportsmanlike Conduct - Scott Westerfeld
Bag Lady - Walter Jon Williams
Incarnation Day - Walter Jon Williams
The Green Leopard Plague - Walter Jon Williams
Consider Her Ways - John Wyndham