Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Big Hello - Alastair Reynolds


Number of words : 950
Percent of complex words : 12.0
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 18.0


Fog : 12.0
Flesch : 59.5
Flesch-Kincaid : 9.4


Galactic Information Network

Has lots of spam etc.

Galactic Community

Everybody out there.


Four billion billion Megawatts

One percent of the energy output of the G-type star your planet orbits!

Primer Package

Intergalactic malware.

Orion Arm Router

Sometimes down.


M13 globular cluster in Hercules

Too dodgy to talk to.


Dyson conversions

Making your Solar System a big sphere around the sun. Not a good idea for humans.


A big old space spam and malware trap, maybe with tips. In Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy style.

4 out of 5


Black holes are cool: Alastair Reynolds and China Miéville - Angela Meyer

From the Melbourne Writers Festival blog

"Reynolds had a former career as an astrophysicist and was a quiet writer of short stories – when the first novel came out the scientific community was very supportive and colleagues who previously ‘seemed very cautious’ of associating with science fiction came out of the woodwork as readers of the genre. Being a sci-fi writer has, oddly, opened up more doors for Reynolds than being a scientist ever did in terms of publication in certain journals, meeting science luminaries, seeing space ships take off and other cool stuff. Miéville complimented Reynolds though on the way his novels play ‘fast and loose’ and aren’t bogged down at all by ‘hard science’. Miéville made an awesome point about sci-fi being a fiction of ‘philosophical speculation’, not just scientific – and that of course there are the human sciences as well – what’s the use of depicting an incredible space ship when the characters don’t talk like real people?"

3.5 out of 5


An Interview with - Alastair Reynolds

"An interview for The Wolf Man Knew My Father, a Welsh pop culture website. Includes thrilling Manics anecdote."


"Revelation Space has gothic elements, Chasm City is a crime thriller, Redemption Ark has aspects of horror and Absolution Gap is pure apocalypse fiction. Why such a strong fascination with the dark side of life?

Alastair Reynolds: I suppose I've always liked horror, especially gothic horror, and I've always had a soft spot for Noir. It's just a reflection of what I read and watch, really."

4 out of 5


The American Book Center Interview With - Alastair Reynolds

"Robin: I know that you read a lot of crime fiction. Which non-SF author has had the most important influence on your work?

Alastair Reynolds: Probably too many to mention, I think. The writer who really blew my mind-outside science fiction-was James Ellroy. I was already writing, but he made me think about a certain way of writing. I really started analysing his books like LA Confidential and Big Nowhere which are brilliant, massive crime novels. And what I really liked about them was the fact that you had tons of different plot threads going on all the time and lots of different characters' viewpoints. And they were kind of dark, but there was also a kind of glamour to them. I just found them really attractive. I tried to analyse how he had written them: how long does he spend with a character before he switches to another; how many pages does he give himself to establish ourselves in a plot before he jumps to another one; and these things. So I was really trying to learn from Ellroy. Jonathan Kellerman does that sort of thing as well. He is a good writer of multiple viewpoints. Basically, I just read a lot of crime."

3.5 out of 5


On Writing - Alastair Reynolds

Complete with whiteboard action.


"That was all well and good, but with thoughts of the 11K trilogy beginning to loom, I realised I needed (cue Jaws music) a bigger whiteboard. Hence, this much larger one, and the barest outline of the story that will take place in the first book. Again, some cryptic notes: "slowcrime", "passive and active ching", "elephant cognition studies", "golems and claybots", as well as thematic intentions - "establish sharp contrast between commercial Moon and savage, pristine Mars" ... and so on. How much of this stuff will filter through into the finished book is anyone's guess, but I think a fair bit of it will.

Cheap plastic crocodile found during walk to town, by the way."



4.5 out of 5


Early influences for better and for worse - Alastair Reynolds

"I'm sometimes asked what it was that started me writing. The truth is, I don't know: it seems to me that I've been creating stories since about the time I could read and write. Almost from the beginning, I was obsessed with anything technological and scientific. I remember being taken to the cinema in Truro by my dad to see a double-bill of "From Russia with Love" and "Goldfinger" (both films would have been less than ten years old at the time), and then writing and illustrating a story in school the next day that had a big laser in it. I think it's fair to say that big lasers have been a recurring theme in my work ever since. I created my own books, stapling together little ten or twenty sheets of paper. I still have one of them - it's about a computer on the moon, which prints out too much paper. Must scan it in one of these days..."

4 out of 5


Timeline For the Revelation Space Universe - Alastair Reynolds

"Timeline for the Revelation Space universe

The Revelation Space universe currently encompasses five novels and a cluster of short stories, of which all but "Monkey Suit" are collected in the books Galactic North and Diamond Dogs and Turquoise Days. There is no Bible or extensive set of background notes - I basically just make it up as I go along and rely on my own shaky recollection not to tie myself in knots. That said, I do have a timeline that I hope is not hideously inaccurate or riddled with dire inconsistency. Feel free to distribute but please do not amend in any way.


2050 – 2080: period of great expansion into the solar system. By 2069 twelve million people live off Earth; mainly around Earth and the Moon. Smaller settlements dotted around whole system, out to fringes of Kuiper Belt. Political fragmentation and social unrest follows massive breakthroughs in bio-sciences.

2081: increasingly violent police actions against rogue states lead to retaliatory actions; onset of war. Emergence of “chimeric” factions: heavily bio-engineered and cyborgized human splinter groups.

2083: ceasefire. Departure of flotilla of colony ships for 61 Cygni-A. At 1/8th of the speed of light, they will not arrive until the twenty-third century.

2090 – 2110: establishment of early colonies on a number of extrasolar planets via Von Neumann robots carrying fertilised human cells. Most such societies fail within two or three generations. End of so-called Amerikano era.

2110-2140: period of turmoil; solar system convulsed by more wars. Emergence of Demarchist states in 2141 signals new era of peace and prosperity. Solar luminosity begins to drop, heralding a new ice age on Earth.

2145 – Nevil Clavain born on Earth.

2155 – first Demarchist settlements around Jupiter. Great freeze sets in on Earth.

2161 - Sandra Voi leads first human expedition into Europa’s ocean

2178 - Great Wall of Mars project begins. Unease at extreme neural experiments being conducted under Demarchist aegis leads to formation of the Earth-based Coalition for Neural Purity; a military pact of conservative states opposed to further technological or social innovation.

2182 - first phase of GWOM completed. Demarchists distance themselves from the more radical factions.

2190 - Experimenters on Mars initiate Transenlightenment. Birth of Conjoiner faction and immediate onset of Coalition-Conjoiner war.

2191 - ceasefire in Conjoiner-Coalition war brokered by Sandra Voi.

2191 – 2205; Conjoiner quarantine period.

2205 - Galiana’s Conjoiners escape from Mars. First relativistic starship constructed and launched from Mars orbit.

2205 – 2250; period of great expansion; numerous interstellar colonies established; recontact with surviving settlements from Amerikano era.

2217 – Conjoiner expedition to Diadem. Discovery of Setterholm’s Worms.

2340 - Denizen uprising; fall of the Europan cities.

2338 – Bernsdottir discovers first Shroud.

2351 – Dan Sylveste born in Chasm City, Yellowstone.

2358 – Shiva-Parvati cordon crisis.

2372 – the Eighty.

2373 – Philip Lascaille’s encounter with the Shroud in the Trans Tau Ceti sector.

2378 – Hostage crisis around Fand.

2405 – Departure of Sylveste expedition to Lascaille’s Shroud.

2415 – Departure of Galiana and Clavain’s expedition into deep space.

2441 – Return of Sylveste’s expedition to Lascaille’s Shroud.

2460 – Dan Sylveste vanishes from Yellowstone for 30 days.

2491 – departure of Resurgam expedition.

2510 - Melding Plague afflicts Chasm City; effective end of Demarchist era.

2517 – Tanner Mirabel arrives in Chasm City.

2524 – Ana Khouri arrives in Chasm City.

2541 – arrival of “Voice of Evening” around Turquoise.

2551 – outbreak of Conjoiner-Demarchist war around Yellowstone. Establishment of Ferrisville Convention.

2566 – abduction of Sylveste from Resurgam.

2567 – expedition into Cerberus/Hades artefact; death of Dan Sylveste.

2582 – Clavain’s return from deep space.

2605 – Galiana’s return from deep space.

2615 – Clavain defects from the Conjoiners. Exploitation of grub technology, including inertia suppression machinery.

2633 – Confrontation between Clavain and Volyova around Delta Pavonis

2651 – arrival of Nostalgia for Infinity around p Eridani system

2673 – Irravel Veda recloned from herself.

2675 – departure of Nostalgia for Infinity from Ararat

2650 – 2850 – events of the human-Inhibitor war

2931 – meeting between Irravel Veda and representative of the Nestbuilder intelligence.

2950 – Emergence of the Green Wave. Systematic dismantling of many solar systems.

3354 – Irravel Veda buries Mirsky in interstellar space.

4161 – Irravel Veda in the Subaru Commonwealth.

40000 – humans abandon host galaxy.

Timeline copyright Alastair Reynolds 2010"

The Sword 1


Now I've got the sword they're looking for. After they killed my whole family.

2.5 out of 5


A Princess of Mars Foreword - Edgar Rice Burroughs

Librivox audio serial.

4 out of 5


Appeals Court 1 - Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow

First of an audio serial.

3.5 out of 5


The Colour Out of Space 2 - H. P. Lovecraft

Audio serial.

"We want to thank Andrew Leman for his amazing voice work and Paul MacLean for joining us on the show!"

5 out of 5


Pulp Market Share 1918 - Jess Nevins

"’m starting here with 1918 because this is the year when dime novels and pulps intersect. In 1918, for the first time, there were as many pulps published as there were dime novels:

* 1910: 40 dime novels, 15 pulps.
* 1911: 35 dime novels, 15 pulps.
* 1912: 34 dime novels, 15 pulps.
* 1913: 30 dime novels, 19 pulps.
* 1914: 29 dime novels, 22 pulps.
* 1915: 30 dime novels, 25 pulps.
* 1916: 26 dime novels, 24 pulps.
* 1917: 32 dime novels, 25 pulps.
* 1918: 22 dime novels, 22 pulps.

4 out o f5


Monday, November 29, 2010

The Hour of the Dragon 22 - Robert E. Howard

The Road to Acheron

5 out of 5


The Hour of the Dragon 21 - Robert E. Howard

Drums of Peril

5 out of 5


The Hour of the Dragon 20 - Robert E. Howard

Out of the Dust Shall Acheron Arise

5 out of 5


The Hour of the Dragon 19 - Robert E. Howard

In the Hall of the Dead

5 out of 5


The Hour of the Dragon 18 - Robert E. Howard

I Am the Woman Who Never Died!

5 out of 5


The Hour of the Dragon 17 - Robert E. Howard

He Has Slain the Sacred Son of Set!

5 out of 5


The Hour of the Dragon 16 - Robert E. Howard

Audio serial of the novel.

5 out of 5


The Hour of the Dragon 15 - Robert E. Howard

Audio serial of the novel.

5 out of 5


The Hour of the Dragon 14 - Robert E. Howard

Audio serial.

5 out of 5


Frostbite 60 - David Wellington

"When he was done, when all the silver was torn out of her body and cast away from her, she breathed a little easier, and then she sank into a fitful sleep. He stood watch over her throughout the night, occasionally howling as the moon rode its arc across the night sky. Occasionally he would lick her face, her ears, to wake her up, to keep her from fading out of existence altogether. Once when he could not wake her he grabbed her by the back of the neck and shook her violently until her eyes cracked open and her tongue leapt from her mouth and she croaked out a whine of outrage."

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 59 - David Wellington

"Silver. He had the upper hand. He had the high ground. Silver silver. A bullet came so close it kicked up shards of rock that got in her eye like dust. She shook her head and feinted to the left, then darted to the right.
A good move—the helicopter swung around wildly to follow her, wobbling, nearly turning on its side. But she was growing weaker.
He howled, so close now she could hear him running. What could he do? Would he give his life for hers, take the bullet meant for her skull? She doubted it. He had wanted to kill her, kill her, kill her—
Silver passed right through her front left paw."

4 out of 5


Frostbite 58 - David Wellington

"She did not wake hours later, when the moon came up too, and silver light transformed her.
Silver, silver, silver inside, silver.
The wolf stood up and panted into the wind.
Silver. Silver, silver, silver. The wolf knew exactly what was wrong. She felt weak, weaker than it had ever had before. It felt sick, and thoughts of food made her sicker. She felt hot and cold at once, and she knew she was dying. There was silver in her leg—how had it gotten there? She couldn’t even begin to imagine.
The obvious course of action presented itself. She lifted her hurt leg and grabbed it with her jaws. Pull it off. Bite it out and spit it in the poison water where it belonged. She had done as much before, to get out of chains."

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 57 - David Wellington

"She couldn’t see what she was doing—couldn’t even see the bullet hole in her arm. It didn’t matter. The poisonous silver thing inside her flesh hurt so much she could visualize it perfectly. It had changed shape after breaking her skin, its nose crumpling and spreading out until it looked like a ragged mushroom. It lay exactly halfway between her wrist and her elbow."

3 out of 5


Frostbite 56 - David Wellington

"She understood. He wanted to shoot her with lead bullets not to kill her but just to stop her in her tracks. If he blew her head open with the rifle it wouldn’t technically kill her—but it would leave her unable to run away. You need a functional medulla oblongata to be able to run. She imagined herself spread-eagled on the scrap heap, her blood leaking out on the rusty machinery, her eyes unable to focus, her mouth unable to close. In her mind’s eye she saw drool leaking from one slack lip."

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 55 - David Wellington

"The silver bullet in her arm felt like it was alive. Like it was some horrid kind of beetle that had burrowed into her muscle tissue and now it was gnawing at her from the inside out. It felt sharp, spiky, as if it were growing in size. It felt like it was going to be bigger than she was, soon."

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 54 - David Wellington

"“Radioactive—this place is radioactive,” she said, and cold sweat burst in pinpricks under her hair.
“I didn’t think your friends would follow me here. I figured they had to know how dangerous it was. Maybe you can tell them. Maybe they’ll leave, then.”
“I don’t think Bobby would listen to me now,” she said, and turned, her hands up, ready to grab him and throw him. He was so close she could smell his skin—she could smell his wolf."

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 53 - David Wellington

"“Hello, yourself,” he said, and ducked just as she brought her arms down and tried to get her handcuff chain around his neck."

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 52 - David Wellington

"She stared right into his eyes and pulled and yanked with every muscle fiber in her body. She felt the blood pounding in her head, felt the bones of her arms flex and start to fracture. She pulled harder. The chain didn’t give."

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 51 - David Wellington

"Cursed, she panted, cursed, cursed. Cursed forever. She would have chosen another place if it had been up to her. Any other place. But no one had asked. She was a predator and she followed her prey. If they went to ground in tainted earth she would wallow in poison to get to them."

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 50 - David Wellington

“Dzo,” she said, “is it much farther?”
“Yeah,” he said. “But your wolf can make it today.” His face screwed up in bewilderment. “You scared or something?”
She nodded. “Yes, I am.”
“Humans seem to get scared a lot. When animals get scared, sometimes they just freeze. You know? Their muscles lock up and they can’t move. You ever try that?"

3 out of 5


Frostbite 49 - David Wellington

"Though surely drinking a dead man’s liquor was enough to bring down heavenly wrath on her, if anything was. She found a box of silver shotgun shells and she took one out and held it in her hand. The pellets were wrapped in a red paper cartridge. She unraveled the paper and picked one of the spherical pellets out. It was perfectly smooth but it felt like a piece of broken glass rubbed against her fingers. Blood welled in the whorls of her fingertips and she threw the pellet back into the pack."

3 out of 5


Frostbite 48 - David Wellington

"She swung around, her massive head wide open, and pulled the human into her jaws. His weapon fell to the ground and he screamed and her blood sang. She closed her jaw like a vise and twisted and pulled and tore and his leg bones snapped inside her head, she could hear them thrum against her upper palate, she could taste his blood on her tongue."

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 47 - David Wellington

"She would tear them apart. She would find their throats and—
They were gone. No man remained at the campsite. The remains of their fire still warmed the earth but they were gone. They had headed out, toward where the sun had set. She could sense their path like an arrow of as-yet-unspilled blood painted across the forest floor. Her blood, her blood, her blood to lap up, her blood by right. Her blood.
On bounding legs she ran, following that trail. Through dawn and most of the day, she ran."

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 46 - David Wellington

"“Well, it’s not fun. That’s pretty much the definition of pain. It’s the opposite of fun. Maybe I should just take my chances and stay here.” And blow my head off with my one silver bullet, she thought. “I mean, even if I did survive the fall, even if I recovered from the broken bones and punctured lungs and blood loss and everything, then I’d still be down there. In these woods, with Powell wanting to kill me. At least up here I’m safe from him.”
She was trying to talk herself out of it. Out of jumping into darkness and toward what should have been, in a normal world, certain death. It was working.
“I guess you kinda need to figure out who you’re more afraid of,” Dzo said. “Powell or this other guy, your boyfriend.”"

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 45 - David Wellington

"Then again—what if she were wrong about that? She had never actually seen a wolf killed by a silver bullet. What if she shot herself in the head and it didn’t work? What if she had to lie there in her blood and scattered brains until she changed again?
She lifted the weapon as nonchalantly as she could and tapped the muzzle against the side of her head. Then she started laughing and put the gun carefully back down on the floor. She hadn’t been serious, of course, she wasn’t actually going to follow through. Why, that would just be dumb."

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 44 - David Wellington

"“Hungry.” She hadn’t even thought it that time. It just came out of her like a fetid belch.
Without water, without food—shouldn’t she have died already? But no. The curse wouldn’t let her die. It wouldn’t let her age or—die.
She closed her eyes. Maybe she changed, maybe she didn’t. All she saw was darkness."

3 out of 5


Spirey and the Queen - Alastair Reynolds


Number of words : 10800
Percent of complex words : 10.4
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 17.4


Fog : 11.1
Flesch : 60.7
Flesch-Kincaid : 9.1



A Standardist ship crew member on the Mouser.


Mouser crew who swapped her legs for a tail.


A pilot that went Siren, also a hawk plant on Wendigo's ship.

Colonel Wendigo

A pro-peace Standardist officer with prosthetic arms, Spirey's superior back on Tiger's Eye.


A painter, one of Brunelleschi’s disciples.


Wendigo's pilot who died.



A Standardist thickship.


High gravity ships with a fluid-filled environment that use modified crew.


Tiger's Eye

A Standardist comet base.


An enormous, slowly rotating disk of primordial material, 800 AU edge to edge.


The central star.


Moon of Saturn.


An icy planetesimal near the Mouser's mission.


Moon of Jupiter.



Ship readiness condition.

Inner Clearing Zone

Material-free zone around the star.

Feeding Zones

Areas of planet forming in the Swirl.


The Mouser crew's local currency.

Swirl War

Royalist-Standardist conflict.


Type of pure mathematician.


Wasp head of a splinter.

Coriolis Effect

An apparent deflection of moving objects when they are viewed from a rotating reference frame.


A style of architecture.


Partial alteration of one's field of vision.

Solar War Three

Humans panicked when Wasps became sentient and contacted them, leading into mistaken human-human conflict at Greater Earth, that didn't end well.


Hellcats of Solar War Three

A neurodisney. Set on planetary surfaces - Titan, Europa, all those moons they’ve got back in Sol System. Trench warfare, hand-to-hand stuff.


Wall paintings used to illustrate the Swirl war.



One human faction in the Swirl.


The other human faction in the Swirl.



Destructive antiship missiles.


Antiship missiles that deliver a demon payload.

Particle beam

Ship energy weapon.

Particle drones

Small space energy mines.



Powers spaceships.


Combat-enhancing drugs.


AI war machines.

Generation thirty-five units

Wasps with pulse-hardened optical thinkware.

Ur-quantum logics

Used in Wasps.


Used in Wasps.


Faux-marble flooring.


An entrance porch.


Nanotechnology with a variety of uses from military to medical.


Spirey and the rest of the crew on the Mouser are endeavouring to take out a Royalist ship. Then things start going bad. A spore-head missile's demons take out their control of their own ship, and they have to evacuate.

They end up on the splinter, where they are in for a big surprise. The wasp war machines are sentient, and have been hiding the fact. The Royalists are actually dumb primitives.

Colonel Wendigo is on the splinter, and Yarrow is dying. The Splinterqueen head AI does what she can for them, but Quillin, one of Wendigo's pilots is a hawk and wants to stop Wendigo's secret peace mission - which is now meaningless, anyway.

Spirey further realises the AI here must have been evolved from those from Greater Earth - and the current conditions there are a fantasy. The wasps had been faking all communication from there, where humans had gotten themselves into the cataclysmic war after panicking over wasp sentience.

The Splinterqueens do want to colonise further, and make their own life, so they want what humans they can gather to stay alive, and this includes Spirey and Wendigo. However, the splinter is under attack from human forces and Yarrow and Wendigo die, although the Wasps may well have saved their minds.

Spirey comes into conflict with Qillin when trying to reach her ship as a possible temporary safety point, and some Wasp corpses are reactivated by the Splinterqueen to help Spirey. They do cripple Qillin, but she still manages to shoot Spirey. So a crawling race to the ship leads to some limb lopping at the door, and Spirey putting herself into suspended animation in orbit.

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 43 - David Wellington

"The wolf howled. The wolf had always howled.
The wolf felt as if she had always howled.
The wolf had gone a little bit crazy.
Not crazy like a human being goes crazy. Like an animal. There were two parts of her, of her self, of her mind. The thinking part of her brain, the part that could solve problems and which kept her out of trouble, grew less active with each passing hour."

3 out of 5


Frostbite 42 - David Wellington

"The silver light came again and found her screaming."

2.5 out of 5


Frostbite 41 - David Wellington

"“He wants you, Chey. He wants to rip your throat out. Last night—you won’t remember this, I guess. Last night you were up in that tower howling like a fucking dog for twelve hours straight. We could hear you over this far, we could hear you at the cabin. Lester slept right through it but poor old me, I couldn’t catch a single Z. I wandered over to the tower, thinking I’d try talking to you—though God knows why I thought that would help, my presence would probably have just made you yowl more. And that’s when I saw it.”"

3 out of 5


Frostbite 40 - David Wellington

"“What is that, wolf musk?” she asked. She had it now. It smelled exactly like Powell’s hair. Like a lycanthrope.
The sneaky guy stared at her for a long time before taking her hand. Then he bent down slowly from the waist and kissed it."

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 39 - David Wellington

"While her wolf had been clawing up the tower floor someone, probably Pickersgill, had been busy hammering lengths of PVC pipe into the ground. There were a round dozen of them, spread in a circle around the base of the tower, each a few meters apart from the next. They were driven in at a sharp angle to the ground and they pointed outward, making her think of the cannon on a pirate ship. A strange smell issued from the pipe nearest to her. She stepped closer and leaned down to sniff as if she were smelling a rose. The scent was a lot more pungent and musky than that, however. In fact, she thought she recognized it. She touched the edge of the pipe, started to reach inside. What was that smell? It was the smell of—of—"

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 38 - David Wellington

"Skin—human skin—hanging in his sweat lodge. What had Powell been up to? She didn’t like to imagine it. She’d come north to kill him. She had wanted to confront him, thinking she knew what kind of monster he was. Maybe she’d been wrong.
She watched the trees. Waiting. It was only a matter of time before he came back. To finish things with her. Maybe to finish her off. She’d made a bad mistake. Maybe a terrible one."

3 out of 5


Frostbite 37 - David Wellington

"But what the hell do I know? I skipped Werewolf Psychology 101 when I was at McGill.”"

3 out of 5


Frostbite 36 - David Wellington

"“Oh, thank God,” she said. “I thought I’d killed you!”
Bobby wasn’t smiling. “You very nearly did,” he told her. “I thought I was pretty clever bringing that chain along.”
“What happened?” she asked. “What did I do?”
“You don’t remember at all?” he asked. He glanced down at her legs. Involuntarily she took a step backwards. “I really should have thought it through better. You did what wolves in traps are famous for doing. You gnawed off your own leg. Except, there wasn’t a lot of gnawing involved. Then you came for us like you wanted to swallow us whole.”"

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 35 - David Wellington

"She had no idea what to do next. She had no way of measuring time, and anyway, she didn’t know when the moon was going to rise next. She was bored, bored to distraction, but what was there to do? If Bobby and Lester were dead, if Powell was going to kill her the next time he saw her—she couldn’t stick around. She knew she was going to have to leave if she wanted to survive. Still, she couldn’t very well walk back to civilization. And even if she did she would just be putting people at risk. What would she do, walk into a hospital and ask to be treated for lycanthropy? There was no cure. Powell had been quite clear on that—he’d been looking for one for a hundred years, he’d said."

2.5 out of 5


Frostbite 34 - David Wellington

"Somehow she’d gotten free of the chain. She’d gotten free right in the midst of the two men. Her wolf was faster than any human, stronger. Bobby had silver bullets but—but maybe she had attacked before he could draw his weapon.
Murder, she thought. Murder murder murderer murderer her brain gibbered. But no, she thought, no, she had to calm down. She didn’t actually know what had happened. She had vague memories of snarling and snapping and running through the woods. She could taste blood in her mouth still—the obvious conclusion, the most plausible scenario was that she had killed the two men and maybe… maybe she had eaten them—"

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 33 - David Wellington

"Silver light. The world filled up with silver light. It was nine forty-seven PM. Moonrise.
Her body shook with joy, her fur fluffing out and her bones popping pleasurably. She dug at the ground with her claws and then lifted her muzzle to the wind to howl in pure pleasure.
Her nostrils twitched. Her throat tasted smoke—fire—wood burning nearby. Her eyes tried to focus and though her vision was not her best sense she could still see the yellow splash of flame in the middle of the clearing. She could still see—them.
Men. Men. Men, hated men. Men, she panted, men. She could taste their blood already. Though not as much as she would have liked."

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 32 - David Wellington

"“You’re fired, Chey! You’re off the team. I’m going to get some friends of mine up here and we will actually kill that frigging squatch. That’s what’s going to happen. I have been working on this project way too long to let you end it like this. Lester, get the camp stuff out. I don’t think the squatch is coming back tonight, not if he knows we’re packing silver. Chey, you can help me go sit down inside the whirlybird. I think I’d prefer a padded seat to these fucking rocks.”"

3 out of 5


Frostbite 31 - David Wellington

"She knew that even in their human forms wolves were faster than any normal person. She had that strength and that quickness in her own legs and arms. She’d never really tried it out, though. She’d never tested her new limits.
Powell had possessed that speed for nearly a hundred years. He must have known what his body could do, what it could achieve if put to the test. He didn’t hesitate or think out his plan. He just moved, flowed across the clearing. One of his hands batted at Chey’s arm hard enough to dislocate her wrist. Her handgun went flying. Powell didn’t stop to watch it fall."

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 30 - David Wellington

"“How is she supposed to get close enough to a lycanthrope to shoot it when she’s terrified of dogs?”
“It’s not in its wolf form all the time. Sometimes it’s just as human as you or me. At least it looks that way.”
Bannerman harrumphed. “It will still be stronger and faster than her. It will still be a killer. She’s not even a soldier, with or without basic training.”"

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 29 - David Wellington

" “Every time I see a Chihuahua I lose my shit. The wolf ate my father but that wasn’t all—he fucked up my life, too. I need to make this right.”"

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 28 - David Wellington

"“Subtle?” she asked.
The man with the recorder shrugged. “For instance, telepathy. Or maybe a telehypnotic suggestion. Have you ever done something, especially when you were tired or in a trance-like state, that you can’t explain?”
She looked over at Bobby, excited. “Yes,” she said, her hands grabbing at the table edge. “Yes.” And she told them everything about her sleep-driving."

3 out of 5


Frostbite 27 - David Wellington

"“It was taken two weeks ago by a bush pilot flying up near the Arctic Circle. A guy who sees real wolves all the time. He knew the difference and so he took that shot and brought it to me, because it’s my job to look at pictures like that. It took me all this time to connect that thing with your daddy. And then to you.”
Chey nodded at Arkady and the bouncer let go.
“My name’s Robert Fenech,” the weirdo said, sitting back down on his bar stool. His grin was back. “I’m an intelligence operative with the government. And I’d like my free drink now.”"

3 out of 5


Frostbite 26 - David Wellington

"Chesterton. That was the town she’d driven into when she was twelve years old, the town where she’d told the local police about what had happened. It was the safe place she’d gone to when she was running away from the wolf."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 60 - David Wellington

"She was willing to distract the helicopter pilot for him. She understood her part, finally, in this grim scenario. Almost certainly she would be killed, torn apart by machine guns, if she lifted her weapons. Yet it would give Tim one tiny fraction of a second to run. To chase after Nero, to take him down. To end what he had started.
“I’ll do it,” she said, looking him right in the eyes."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 59 - David Wellington

"They wanted to eat his son. His still living son."

3.5 out of 5


Plague Zone 58 - David Wellington

"“Because she didn’t hurt anybody!” Sasha yelled over the noise of the engine. “I can’t ice some bitch just because she’s sick. I’m not built that way.”
I am, Tim realized. He’d never had a real moral quandary about killing droolers. The closest he’d come had been when he executed the drooler in the bus, way back on Interstate Five. That had felt a little weird. But not overly wrong."

3.5 out of 5


Plague Zone 57 - David Wellington

"“You know what I’m here for, don’t you?”
“Revenge, yeah. Buzzard told me the whole story about the guy who ate your family.”"

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 56 - David Wellington

"Then the grass ran out and the plane jumped over a curb and came screeching down on a feeder road full of abandoned cars. The fuselage smacked an SUV with its nose, then hit a Cooper Mini like a golf club hitting a ball. The Mini absorbed much of the plane’s remaining momentum and went spinning and bouncing end over end."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 55 - David Wellington

"He didn’t think they would come rushing inside, not with three armed, desperate people onboard. The boy soldiers were trigger-happy but he didn’t think they were stupid enough to poke their heads in a place where they were likely to get shot. He knew for a fact that Tony would just start shooting if they did."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 54 - David Wellington

"No bullets were forthcoming. He could see the boy soldiers moving, probably taking up positions from which to fill the plane full of lead, but for the moment they weren’t actively trying to kill him.
He decided to take a risk. He stood up. Then, with one smooth motion, he twisted the handle on the Learjet’s main hatch and then pulled down. The door slid easily open on counterweights and revealed a short flight of stairs leading up into the cabin."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 53 - David Wellington

"‘Course, they already think you’re dead so you come crawling out of here they might just shoot on sight. On the other hand, you can come with us, and make some noise, and run for it. You’ll probably get shot, and probably killed, but you got a chance to get away and get your revenge after all. That is something you still want, ain’t it?”"

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 52 - David Wellington

"“For this idiot? For this idiot we came here and killed those people?”
“And who the fuck is that one?”
“My name’s Buzzard, we’ve actually met.”
“Shut up!”
“It was self-defense, everybody saw that,” Tony wailed, louder than anyone else."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 51 - David Wellington

"Mikey didn’t wait to see what would happen next—he just opened fire. Both boys were torn to scraps as his rifle fired on full automatic at point blank range. Tim screamed something—it wasn’t a word so much as a plea—but it was already too late.
Horne grabbed at the pistol on his belt but Tony just hit him again, this time in the stomach. The Colonel went down on the tarmac with a thud. Before Tim could stop him Tony lined up a shot and blew Horne’s brains all over the runway.
“What about you?” Sasha asked Buzzard, a pistol tapping him on either temple.
“I’m good,” Buzzard said."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 50 - David Wellington

"They’ll tear bites out of them, and in the process they’ll get a mouthful of saxitoxin.”
“Which is?” the reporter demanded.
“It’s a poison. It’s the stuff in a red tide that kills you—it builds up in the flesh of some shellfish. Maybe even geoducks.”
“Jesus,” Buzzard said. “How do you know this shit?”
“I used to be a reference librarian. I know a very little about almost everything. Don’t ask me for the chemical composition of saxitoxin, or how it works. I do know it paralyzes you, and that it’s lethal even in very small doses.”"

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 49 - David Wellington

"“Creepy,” Buzzard said behind them. Tim didn’t even glance back.
“Corn starch,” Horne said. When Tim didn’t respond to that either he explained. “They’re molded from corn starch so they’re fully biodegradable. One good rain would send them all down the gutter and into the Sound.”"

3 out of 5


In Burroughs' final Barsoom series we see urban Mars synthetic flesh and Nazis of Jupiter - John Marr

"Swords of Mars is the closest Burroughs came to an "urban" Mars novel. John Carter returns to center stage to tell "a story of love and loyalty, of hate and crime, a story of dripping swords, of strange places and strange people upon a stranger world." It seems the Assassins Guild of Zodanga (the same Zodanga razed in Princess) is getting out of hand. John Carter personally goes undercover to infiltrate the guild. He signs on with a mad inventor as a freelance assassin and spends fully half the book skulking on the streets of Zodanga and skirmishing with the guild in some of the best sequences since the original trilogy."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 48 - David Wellington

"Tim looked at his shoes, which were still splattered with black drool and brain matter. “You gave him my telephone number.”
“Yeah,” Buzzard admitted. “I told him about your friend Sandi, right? Just like you asked. Then he wanted to know how I knew about her. What the hell was I supposed to say? Magical fairies told me? I said I’d been in contact with you. He wanted your number and he was willing to make my life very uncomfortable until I gave it to him. Look on the bright side—Sandi gets to live because of it.”"

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 47 - David Wellington

"Tim nodded. He felt like such an idiot—certainly he no longer deserved the Ruger or the baseball bat. He would never have used them against the soldiers, of course. Little Dana might have gotten hurt in the crossfire. Without further argument he pointed at his pack and let the soldier draw out the revolver, which he dropped in a red plastic box with a padlock on its handle. The bat he just threw out through the open door."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 46 - David Wellington

"Phil Nero had taken all that away because a virus in his head had bored tunnels through his brain. Because something smaller than the eye could see had moved in and started renovating one perfectly particular electrician’s brain."

3 out of 5


In Burroughs' second Barsoom series the right girl winds up in the right body - John Marr

"Taking his hero John Carter from humble stranger in a strange world to Warlord of all Mars over the course of the first three books of the Barsoom series left Burroughs with a problem: what to do for an encore? Like so many serial fiction authors before and since, he gave his hero a rest and put the kids to work as the series settled in a pleasant, if repetitive and somewhat dull middle age."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 45 - David Wellington

"“Hardly. It’s my brief to protect people, not kill them. I can’t kill him just like I can’t kill you, Kempfer, as easy as that would be, and as much as it would help me do my job. But I might be able to help you find some peace of mind. I might be able to reduce your load of guilt by half, if you’ll work with me.”
“You’re spouting bullshit now. Trying to confuse me.”"

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 44 - David Wellington

"Time was running short. Once he’d rested to the point where he felt like he could go on, Tim only had a few hours left to get to his old neighborhood, find and kill Nero, and then hike back. He wasn’t sure if he could make it."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 43 - David Wellington

"“There were some—some infected people, they—”
“You mean the ones at the baseball stadium?” Buzzard asked.
Tim’s eyes went wide.
“You wondering how I know about that? Yeah, I guess you are. Horne told me, guy. There’s something I got to tell you about. I tried plenty of times but you never picked up.”
Tim bit his lip before replying. “I just got your messages. But hold up—Horne knows I’m here? I thought you were going to cover for me.”"

3 out of 5


A naked princess and slave rebellions in Edgar Rice Burroughs' first Martian trilogy -

"By the time Burroughs wrote Gods of Mars the following year, he'd learned a thing or two. No shilly-shallying around this time. A few pages of introduction and Bang! John Carter's back on Mars. Before he can even think, "Looks like they fixed the atmosphere plant," he finds himself sword in hand battling hordes of giant Martian apes and bizarre "plant men" at the side of Tars Tarkas, his beloved green Martian comrade-in-arms."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 42 - David Wellington

"“Now just let this be a supermarket,” Tim said to himself. “And let it have a great selection of canned foods.”"

2.5 out of 5


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Plague Zone 41 - David Wellington

"Bits of blood and black drool and shredded brains rained all around him. A lot of it got on him, on his clothes, his hands, his face. Tim marshaled enough disgust to roll out from under the still-falling corpse, enough energy to roll clear and lie wheezing in the street.
He lay there getting weaker, sucking more and more poison into his lungs, for far too long. He lay there because he couldn’t do anything else. His throat felt raw and diseased. His eyes felt blind, though still a little sunlight got into them, making them hurt worse."

4 out of 5


Plague Zone 40 - David Wellington

"He ran right into the drooler in the corduroy pants.
Before the Flu came along, the drooler had been a big man. Tim could see it in the thing’s jowelly face, in the way its skin hung from its arms and belly like a poncho. It was naked from the waist up, and its swishing pants were down around its thighs, held up barely by a leather belt that had worn white where it had once strained around its buckle."

3.5 out of 5


Plague Zone 39 - David Wellington

"He could see nothing through the smoke. Nothing at all.
Then from behind him he heard the can roll to a clattering, rattling stop. Then someone stepped on it with a crunch that made his heart leap.
He was surrounded."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 38 - David Wellington

"The body offered him no direct danger, however, except the danger of throwing up what little food he had in his stomach. It was the corpse of an obese woman, her skin bloated and stained with decay until he couldn’t tell her race or age. She wore a pink sweater that had been torn into raveled shreds and a skirt hiked way up her thighs. Tim was almost embarrassed to look at her exposed legs."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 37 - David Wellington

"“Hey! You’re not one of them, are you?”
“No,” Tim shouted back, still keeping himself away from the edge. It was slowly dawning on him that he was talking to the first uninfected person he’d encountered since he arrived in Seattle. “No—and you’re not, either.”
“No. Hey, can you show yourself again? Just so I can make sure?”
“That depends,” Tim shouted. “Can you not shoot me full of arrows?”"

3.5 out of 5


Plague Zone 36 - David Wellington

"The droolers kept coming on but Tim was moving, gaining speed as he rumbled backwards up the street. The loader bleated out a repetitive warning chime as it maxed out its top reverse speed at about ten miles an hour. It felt to Tim like he was stuck in molasses, barely moving at all, but when he checked on the droolers they were losing ground—they could move barely as fast as a healthy human being could walk, maybe four miles an hour, even as they struggled and grasped to get near him, to get to him and bite him and destroy him."

3.5 out of 5


Plague Zone 35 - David Wellington

"The looters had used anatomical skeletons to fool the infected. The droolers’ behavior was so simplistic that they couldn’t differentiate between a pile of plastic bones and a living human being. If something looked even vaguely human and it didn’t smell like it was infected, they would attack it. The urine was just Tim’s attempt at improving the lure, making the cut-out seem even more human."

3.5 out of 5


Plague Zone 34 - David Wellington

"He took aim and pegged one of the droolers right in the head. Tim was no baseball player, he doubted the ball left his hand at more than thirty or forty miles an hour. Still it was enough to knock the drooler off his feet. "

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 33 - David Wellington

"The droolers looked up. One slack face after another tilted back, dead eyes focusing on him through the glass. Dozens of them. More than he remembered from the night before.
“No,” he said, a rejection. A refusal to accept reality. It didn’t work. The droolers didn’t vanish into thin air. His watch didn’t start running backwards."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 32 - David Wellington

"He was safe—at least temporarily. He was also trapped inside the office building, no closer to his goal than he had been since he left the dockyards."

2.5 out of 5


Plague Zone 31 - David Wellington

"A drooler lay strapped down to its thin mattress, its bald grey head thrusting forward again and again, its teeth gnashing. It was completely secure where it was but Tim didn’t approach it, didn’t want to get anywhere near it.
That revulsion probably saved his life."

3.5 out of 5


Plague Zone 30 - David Wellington

"He liked that.
He liked it so much he almost missed the noise behind him, almost lost it in the siren’s wail. It sounded like a can being kicked into a gutter, and at first it didn’t even register with his conscious mind. It was the kind of sound you heard in cities all the time, even in the middle of the night. Populated cities, anyway."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 29 - David Wellington

"The drooler lunged forward still farther, scraping across the edge. Its torso and one hip appeared above Tim and then it was on him, jumping down at him and the fear surged up his throat and escaped like steam from a teapot, forming screams in the air as hands grabbed at his clothes, as drool-blackened teeth dug deep into the strap of his pack. He braced himself for the feel of teeth in his flesh, for the inevitability of death."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 28 - David Wellington

"He understood, of course. She didn’t want to waste time worrying about somebody who she must have thought of as suicidal. Okay, he told himself. If that’s how it’s going to be. He climbed up the ladder, taking his time, letting himself rest after every few rungs. It was hard work hauling himself upwards, hand over hand, his knuckles white on the cold, wet metal."

3 out of 5


Glory - Greg Egan


Number of words : 10300
Percent of complex words : 12.7
Average syllables per word : 1.6
Average words per sentence : 23.9


Fog : 14.6
Flesch : 51.4
Flesch-Kincaid : 12.0



Amalgam Xenomathematican traveller in matter-antimatter needleship as data.


Amalgman traveller in matter-antimatter needleship as data.


A Ghahari researcher.


The senior Noudah archaeologist.


One of the Noudah archaeologists.


One of the Noudah archaeologists.


A Noudah mathematician supervisor. Also a tedious spook type.


An academic archaeologist who is well connected in Tira.


A Noudah.



Antimatter equivalent of the hydrogen element.


Antimatter equivalent of the proton.


Antimatter equivalent of the neutron.

Gamma ray lasers

Used for making antimatter/matter spaceships.


A particular form or carbon.


Very small builder robots.


Quantum Zeno effect

Keeps the decay in check to allow the antimatter process to work.


Change the colours of a Noudah's skin.


A cube of greater than three dimensions.

The Big Crunch

A Niah desire for the unification of every field of mathematics that they considered significant.


The particles of fog were scattering the sunlight back, toward them, turning it one hundred and eighty degrees, causing a visible halo effect. Also: every black hole had its glory, twisting light around it in a tight, close orbit and flinging it back out again.

Quark-gluon plasma

A hot soup of elementary particles.

Baryon decay process

Doesn't exist.


Expansionist races.


Races that look knowledge and insight from the world around it rather than expanding after money and power.

Sheath fluid

Bodily substance of a Noudah.



People of the planet Joan and Anne visit.


An ancient Noudah people.


Matter-antimatter needleship

Capable of extreme speeds and carrying passengers as information.

Small fusion-powered spacecraft

Vehicles built by the traveller's nanomachines to fit Noudah-level technology.



The metacivilization that spanned the galactic disk.



The gas giant's moon in the Noudah home system.


A dominant Noudah nation.


The other dominant Noudah nation.

The Cataract

A black hole remote partner to the Noudah's sun. Orbiting each other at a distance of about eighty billion kilometers.


Seekers and Spreaders: What We Must Learn from the Niah

An article in a Tiran journal.


The Amalgman sends two scientists as information in a tiny ship to the Noudah homeworld. They want to study the ancient Niah mathematics, a race that lasted for three million years, but whose ancient artifact sites are in imminent peril.

After convincing the locals that they are aliens, Joan and Anne are each taken to one of the dominant Noudah nations. This splitting up leads to paranoia as each country worries the other has forced the aliens to spill their tech secrets. Violence erupts and Anne is a victim as she tries to get the information back to the Amalgam via a black hole trick. Joan will not let herself be used, either, and she can instantly turn off her Noudah body if she desires.

4.5 out of 5


Plague Zone 27 - David Wellington

"“No need—we can use the motor all the way. Ain’t like the droolers care if we make a little noise, and they’re all that’s left over there.”"

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 26 - David Wellington

"There was like five droolers lying on the sidewalk and they were all dead, but Phil, he had a chunk bit out of his arm. He was covered in blood.” Tony trembled in his seat with the emotion of the memory. “He was going to blow his own brains out. I guess he was kind of weak, though, with blood loss or some shit, because I grabbed for the gun and for the first time in my life I actually got something over him."

3.5 out of 5


Plague Zone 25 - David Wellington

"“We don’t ask questions of our clients, do we? A man wants to kill himself, that’s his business.”
“Sure. But I wouldn’t want to send a boat over there,” Tony said, frowning. “It might not come back.”"

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 24 - David Wellington

"“Have you cleared out Vashon Island yet, or are you still going house to house?” Buzzard asked.
Tony shrugged and ate some noodles off a spoon. “This is where the richie riches lived. There’s all kinds of great stuff to find in their houses.”"

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 23 - David Wellington

"His attention was focused more on the house’s sentinels, anyway. Fifty or maybe more human skeletons stood guard in a ring around the building, standing no more than ten feet apart from each other. They were pale and slightly shiny in the starlight, their eye sockets staring outward as if they were searching for oncoming threats. He fought down his fear and noticed they were wired in place or hanging from thin metal stands anchored to the ground. They weren’t undead guardians, just replicas of human anatomy.
“Jesus,” Buzzard said. “If those are supposed to scare me off, they’re doing a hell of a job.”
Sasha smiled at the two of them, but said nothing."

3.5 out of 5


Plague Zone 22 - David Wellington

"“Don’t feel so bad, old man.” She grabbed Buzzard’s left bicep and squeezed. “It’s just business, and to be sure, I’d rather trade with you hippies, believe me. Every deal we make with the soldier boys is all cloak and dagger shit, we got to meet with them some place neutral that’s hard to get to, they search us for guns before they even say hello, who needs it. With you guys it’s more chill.”"

3.5 out of 5


Plague Zone 21 - David Wellington

"“We’re always looking to expand our customer base. Hop on in, boys,” Sasha said. The boat sagged alarmingly into the water as the two men climbed over its gunwale. Dark water spilled in over the far side and she threw Buzzard a plastic bucket so he could bail. “Sorry about the poor accommodations,” she said to Tim. “The Sound’s a dangerous place these days. All kinds of radars and alarms and shit. But I see you know the rules,” she said, pointing at the aluminum foil wrapped around Tim’s arm. “That’s really all it took?”"

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 20 - David Wellington

"“Doing great there, champ,” Buzzard called from behind him. The reporter had tin foil around his own arm but clearly wanted Tim to go first and be the guinea pig."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 19 - David Wellington

"All it takes to beat this system is a little tin foil. You wrap it around your arm a couple of times and the tag is useless.”
Buzzard frowned. “That’s not going to work. Even if it did block the signal, Horne would know right away because you would blink out on his radar. Or something.”"

3 out of 5

Plague Zone 18 - David Wellington

". I played cards with Scott the chiropractor the other night and we drank single malt scotch. He had a whole cabinet full of the stuff. By all rights you guys should be barely making it. Instead you’re living the high life. There’s got to be some kind of channel of goods coming in from outside, which means you’re in contact with somebody other than Horne. So who’s supplying you?”"

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 17 - David Wellington

"“You have questions,” Helena said. “Ask them, please.”
“Yeah, okay,” he said. “I guess I want to know—where do you get your pot?”"

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 16 - David Wellington

"“It’s not their behavior that interests me right now,” she said. “It’s yours.”
Tim sat up in his chair when he realized every eye in the room was focused directly on him."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 15 - David Wellington

"He would think about how easy and comfortable it would be to just curl up in Olympia, to lose himself in the group, and forget about revenge."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 14 - David Wellington

"Suddenly it was not okay to be wearing nothing but a damp blanket. People stared at Tim and whispered amongst themselves, some turned away with red cheeks. “I need to get some dry clothes. Horne could have given me a set of fatigues to wear,” Tim said.
Buzzard nodded amiably. “Yeah, he could have. But you gotta understand. That’s a man who likes to leave a firm impression on you. He wanted you ashamed and feeling vulnerable, huh?”
Tim looked at the older man. “You sound like you’re not a fan.”"

3.5 out of 5


The Extra - Greg Egan

Short Story

Number of words : 6300
Percent of complex words : 13.3
Average syllables per word : 1.6
Average words per sentence : 23.3


Fog : 14.6
Flesch : 49.2
Flesch-Kincaid : 12.2


Daniel Gray

A wealthy man with Extras.

Sarah Brash

Owner of Continental Bio-Logic, and a recent former lover of Daniel's. She has a child by one of his Extras.


The Extra Daniel and Sarah used for sex.


The Extra Daniel chooses for a brain transplant.



Congenitally brain-damaged clones of oneself for organ replacement or brain transplant.


Batch D

Gray's most recent group of Extras.


Daniel and Sarah are billionaires with enough money to have clones of themselves grown to use in keeping themselves healthy and alive. The clones retain some sex drive, and one night they include C7 in a bondage threesome. Sarah gets pregnant by the Extra, and sues Daniel for paternity payments.

Daniel, to try and one-up Sarah on the PR front decides to undergo a brain transplan to his Extra D12. However, he wakes up as his old self in his old body - so what state is the Extra in? There would appear to be two versions of Daniel Gray now, given how the younger D12 body was talking to the doctors.

4 out of 5


Plague Zone 13 - David Wellington

"“This was Freak Central, you know that? Evergreen College was just over there.” He pointed west. “That place—man, there were no grades. The teachers just told you how you were doing in a non-confrontational way. More hippies per square mile than they got anywhere in California, more Greens than Vermont. You know what their motto was? Omnia extrares. You translate that from the Latin and it means—”
“Let it all hang out,” Tim said."

3.5 out of 5


Plague Zone 12 - David Wellington

“If you want to commit suicide you can do it the old fashioned way,” Horne said, sounding as if he were just about through with Tim. “Though we’ll try to stop you if you try, of course. I’m turning you over to this man,” he said, nodding at the civilian in the fishing cap. “He’ll show you how things work here.”
“Paul Brezinski,” the civilian said, standing up and holding out his hand. “They call me Buzzard.”

3.5 out of 5


Plague Zone 11 - David Wellington

"He kept thinking about Phil Nero’s face. He kept thinking about Karen hitting that face with the hammer. He couldn’t imagine her hitting him hard enough.
The prick, he thought. The son of a bitch. There were all kinds of names for the asshole. The cunting motherfucker who had taken away Tim’s family.
Phil Nero had to die."

3.5 out of 5


Plague Zone 10 - David Wellington

"“My wife is fucking dead! My son is dead! Get me on this plane,” he screamed. The clerk stared at him wide-eyed, but then she reached for a rubber stamp. He pushed his boarding pass toward her and she gestured to the gate.
“We begin boarding coach passengers in five minutes,” she said."

3.5 out of 5


Plague Zone 09 - David Wellington

"Nero just grabbed her arm and held it there. The woman was screaming by that point. She didn’t stop as Nero bit deep into her arm with a mouth full of white teeth. She didn’t stop until he’d torn a long strip of flesh out of her arm, until blood fountained across the street.
“Karen,” Tim wheezed. His wife’s name came from deep inside of him. He stared at the car, then, tried to force the image to gain resolution by pure willpower. There was a shadow in the backseat. A shadow the size of a ten year-old boy.
“Jake,” he said. Loud enough to wake Nancy."

3.5 out of 5


The Lonely Death of Mr Haringa - Laird Barron

Short Story

Number of words : 1100
Percent of complex words : 11.3
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 11.0


Fog : 8.9
Flesch : 66.9
Flesch-Kincaid : 6.7


Jack Haringa

Works for Section.

Mr Barton

His partner.


A dead entomologist. Or undead.



Studier of insects.



Fancy spiv shoes.



A law enforcement deparment.


Chelan County

In Washington State, USA.

Rattlesnake Prairie

A truck stop on the highway near Chelan County.

Wenatchee Valley

Has dodgy substrata.



The gun that made Plank dead.


Haringa and Barton are sent to check on Person of Interest Plank. Not much of interest to find given that he has been shot in the head with a revolver. On the way out of town, the dead man's warning "They Who Wait love you, Jack" comes to bloody fruition as something enters their flebag motel's room late at night.

3.5 out of 5


Plague Zone 08 - David Wellington

"“You’re just being nice,” she said, finally. “You don’t actually care about my Airedales.”
“You’d be surprised,” he said.
She excused herself to go to the restroom. When she stood up off her stool he reached over, not really thinking of anything, and ran a finger down her spine, sliding through the silk of her blouse. She didn’t say anything. She didn’t move. Just stood there, as if waiting for something more."

3.5 out of 5


Plague Zone 07 - David Wellington

"Tim shook his head. “There’s no treatment for the Flu. If he’s—if he’s that far gone, that you need to lock him up, then his brain will be completely eaten away. You can’t recover from something like that. Better to just shoot him and put him out of his misery.”"

3.5 out of 5


Plague Zone 06 - David Wellington

"A high pressure hose smashed water across Tim’s chest, his face. It got up his nose and he sputtered in panic. He was naked and cuffed to a pipe with a plastic loop that cut angrily into his wrist. His mouth was taped shut."

3.5 out of 5


Plague Zone 05 - David Wellington

"He was screwed and he knew it. The soldiers would have a map of this neighborhood at least. If they’d been patrolling it they probably knew its ins and outs by heart. He had no idea where he was or what direction safety might lie. If there was such a thing as safety. They’d called him a drooler—obviously a reference to the black slaver the infected generated. They thought he was sick. They would never just let him get away, then. They couldn’t afford to. One sick man could infect an entire town. They’d all learned that lesson the hard way."

3.5 out of 5


Plague Zone 04 - David Wellington

"A fence walled off the southern expanse of Olympia, a ten foot chain-link fence with posts sunk in rugged pools of concrete. Strong enough to stop a charging car. Tim had seen fences like that before in his travels. He knew how to handle them. There was no barbed wire on top of this one. The infected didn’t have the coordination to climb, much less pull themselves over the top. Tim had done it plenty of times as a kid."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 03 - David Wellington

"Olympia. It wasn’t home, not quite. It was the wrong end of Puget Sound. But it was as close as he was going to safely get. The rest of the journey, the unsafe part, would come later."

3 out of 5


Frostbite 25 - David Wellington

"She looked down at herself, thinking maybe her suit was too revealing or something. Then she realized what he was looking at. Her new tattoo. She’d lied about her age and had it done at a place way downtown. Her mom had never seen it—nobody but her friends ever had. It was done in brown ink and it was pretty simple, just the silhouette of a wolf ’s paw print on the top of her left breast."

3 out of 5


Frostbite 24 - David Wellington

"“Do you ever get excited when you think about that?” he asked. Her heart jumped in her chest when he said that. She stared at him as hard as she could, but he just sat back in his chair and waited for her answer. “This is really important, Chey,” he said to her. “I think this might be a breakthrough. I want to show you a picture,” he said. “I want you to tell me if this picture is arousing.” He pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket, a folded sheet torn from the pages of a magazine. Carefully he unfolded it and passed it to her. It was a picture of a wolf with snow on its muzzle."

3 out of 5


Frostbite 23 - David Wellington

"“Is this how people die?” she demanded. “They just disappear. And then nothing. There’s nothing there.”

He looked at her with very hard eyes, as if trying to decide what to say to her. “That’s exactly how it happens,” he told her."

3 out of 5


Frostbite 22 - David Wellington

"—just for a second, just for a split second she would see her dad lying in the middle of the road, covered in blood and gore, and before she looked away, before tears made it impossible to see anything, she would watch him sit up and reach for her with his remaining hand. Reach out, begging her to come back and get him."

3 out of 5


The Lonely Death of Mr Haringa - Laird Barron

"They Who Wait love you, Jack"

3.5 out of 5


Frostbite 21 - David Wellington

"The wolf ’s giant teeth came inside, inside the car with them. The teeth were white and yellow and the animal’s lips were black, drawn back to bare the teeth. Those white, white teeth turned red as they sank into her dad’s neck; she heard her dad trying to talk; he made a gurgling sound as he tried to tell her something. The wolf yanked backward and her dad’s body strained against his seat belt. Safety glass was everywhere, in the leg wells, on the dashboard, in her hair. The wolf yanked again and her dad’s throat came out in pieces. His eyes were still watching her.

They looked calm, those eyes. Totally in control. He was still trying to convince her that everything was okay. His eyes were lying to her.

The wolf ’s green eyes showed nothing but the truth."

3.5 out of 5


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Plague Zone 02 - David Wellington

"“Just—hey, if you won’t come with us, don’t rat us out either, okay?” Peaslee shouted at Tim’s back. “We’re just trying to make it, you know?”
Tim nodded and waved without turning."

3 out of 5


Plague Zone 01 - David Wellington

"Tim took the safety off, took a stance, aimed. Squeezed the trigger. The bullet went in through one side of the sick man’s forehead. The next one went through his eye. He fell down like he was going to take a very sudden nap.
It took a third one to put him completely out of his misery. The .22 caliber long rifle bullets in the gun were meant for target shooting or at best shooting small game. In the end, with enough shots, it didn’t matter."

3 out of 5


Monster Planet 3 20 - David Wellington

"“And let’s not forget you kept my father a prisoner of conscience for twelve years. I’m coming for you, Gary, and I will put you down. That’s what I do. I kill liches.” She didn’t want to hear his reply. She threw the tooth as far away from her as she could manage. It was lost instantly in the scattered bones of the valley."

3.5 out of 5


Monster Planet 3 19 - David Wellington

" “Our personalities, though, and our thoughts, our feelings, all of the electrical patterns in our brains don’t just disappear. They’re stored here, in what he calls the eididh. It has lots of other names too: the Book of Life, the Akashic Records, the Monobloc, the Omega Point. Gary called it the Network. He imagined it as a kind of internet with human souls instead of packeted data.”
“It’s all written down and stored forever?” Sarah asked.
“Not exactly. This place is outside of time. There’s no storage. Here all of your thoughts and memories and beliefs are all still happening, all at once, forever. All of them you ever had—and all of them you ever will have. If you know how you can read them.”"

3.5 out of 5


Monster Planet 3 18 - David Wellington

"She struggled to find the best words. “His god told him to destroy the human race. Like, all of it. I think he’s going to do something to the Source.”
“Very good,” he told her. “The Source is a hole in the side of the world. Imagine a balloon with a tiny little pinprick in it. Imagine the air coming out, just a little at a time. Enough to keep the likes of you upright, that’s all. Now imagine what happens if you let all the air out of the balloon at once.”"

3.5 out of 5


Monster Planet 3 17 - David Wellington

"It was true. There were hundreds of ghouls in the valley and perhaps half as many living cultists. The ratio was getting steeper with every second. Enni was cutting swaths of destruction through the undead forces but he was just one lich. The cultists were fighting back and their firearms filled the air with noise but they were disorganized and as much danger to one another as they were to the ghouls—especially since the latter were all wearing bulletproof helmets.
“I don’t understand,” Ayaan said.
“What’s not to understand? The dead eat the living. Did you forget?”"

3.5 out of 5


Monster Planet 3 16 - David Wellington

"Up on the spikes the Tsarevich’s face split open in a horrible grimace as steam built up inside of his head. It shot out of his ears, his nose, his eyes. With a noise of air being sucked into a vacuum his entire body caught fire. He went up like a torch."

3.5 out of 5


Monster Planet 3 15 - David Wellington

"A toothy mouth opened in Gary’s side. Lips studded with bony spikes grabbed at Erasmus’ left arm and the teeth sheared it clean off. Erasmus howled in agony as his furry body pinwheeled down to the carpet of bones while the giant mouth chewed the werewolf’s limb into pulp. A dozen thin spines lanced down from Gary’s body to impale the werewolf in as many places. Erasmus didn’t get back up."

3.5 out of 5


Monster Planet 3 14 - David Wellington

"Then the monster stood back up. A new eye opened in the empty socket. Its broken legs fused themselves back together. If anything the beast looked bigger—it looked like it was ten feet tall. It surged forward fast enough to impale half a dozen ghouls. Around Ayaan the living began to panic. They ran in every possible direction, some of them throwing away their weapons. Disorganized and panicked they posed no threat to the monster. It came right towards Ayaan. It came right for her.
“Who…” she wondered out loud. “Who is it?”
“Gary,” Sarah gloated, her face parted by a broad and exultant smile. “It’s mother-fucking Gary, that’s who!”"

3.5 out of 5


Monster Planet 3 13 - David Wellington

"Sarah and the mummies fell back to fighting positions. They grabbed cover, braced themselves for battle. Readied their weapons, laid out their spare ammunition. Prepared themselves for a guts-and-glory firefight.
They didn’t stand a chance.
The mummies were fast. Faster than any living human. The carried plenty of ammunition for their shotguns. It didn’t matter. The accelerated ghouls were faster."

4.5 out of 5


Monster Planet 3 12 - David Wellington

"“Fuck the Source!” she shouted. “Fall back! That’s an order!”
One of the mummies—one of the extremely old ones—started to move. He took a step away from the Source. Sarah nodded and shouted and jumped up and down. “Yeah! Move!” He took another step.
On the other end of the valley the flatbed appeared, being hauled forward by a hundred ghouls. On its back stood three figures dressed in green, black and white. Sarah stared at the one dressed in black. It was Ayaan. She was too far to see, it should have been impossible. But she knew. She lifted the OICW to her shoulder and looked through the scope. Yeah. The skin around her lower jaw looked too tight and her eyes were dark pits sunk into her face. But it was Ayaan.
In a moment, in a space of time so short she didn’t breathe, the valley was full of the running dead."

3.5 out of 5


Monster Planet 3 11 - David Wellington

"If it came to that, to firing a blast of her darkness into Sarah’s body. If doing that meant preserving the Tsarevich and therefore the only chance the human race had left. If it came to that.
She nodded to herself. She would do it."

3 out of 5


Underground 5 - Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber

We made it out partners.

4 out of 5


Monster Planet 3 10 - David Wellington

"The mummies jumped down from the crew hatch. She tossed them their firearms from the weapon rack and slung her own over her shoulder. Before she left the aircraft she turned around to look at Osman. He was frowning and drumming his fingers on the instrument panel as if he was counting down the seconds until he could lift off again.
Her father started pulling at his crash webbing and she shot him a nasty look. “You’re staying here. Guard your freaky skull thing or whatever,” she told him. Her anger had yet to subside from when he had tried to forbid her from undertaking this mission."

4 out of 5


Monster Planet 3 09 - David Wellington

"When she had chosen the SMAW from the arsenal on Governors Island she had rationalized that she was fighting liches, not just ghouls, and so she needed something bigger than just a sidearm. She hadn’t considered at the time that she might be aiming her rockets at living people.
She had no choice. Those machine guns had to be taken out, and quickly. They could chew up the Jayhawk in seconds. She had no choice. She kept telling herself that."

3.5 out of 5


Underground 4 - Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber

Wet in cave sucks.

4 out of 5


Monster Planet 3 08 - David Wellington

"Then a helicopter went by over their heads so low its shadow darkened the clearing, so fast it was gone in the time it took for Ayaan’s eyes to adjust to the dimness. She glanced at Nilla, then started running back toward the road. The explosions started before she covered half the distance."

3 out of 5