Friday, December 31, 2010

Pacific Comics: The Inside Story - Jay Allen Sanford

"Pacific was also the first company to offer Kirby royalty payments according to a comic's sales figures: 8 cents on the dollar and 10 cents for comics selling over 100,000 copies. If Marvel comics, selling around 150,000 copies on average, had offered royalties akin to Pacific's, this would have worked out to $13,000 in payments to the artist.

But this was not done in comics previous to Pacific. In the '70s, Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster had to sue DC Comics just to get meager financial compensation and byline credit for their billion-dollar creation (each settled for $30,000 annual lifetime payments -- Siegel and Shuster were both 17 years old in 1939, when DC paid them $200 for the rights to Superman).

Kirby had a partially drawn project called "Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers," originally the storyboard to a proposed screenplay and then planned as a book-length graphic novel with no publisher in mind. The artist was happy to let the Schaneses break up his story line into chapters -- with Pacific staffers and freelancers inking and coloring the artwork to present Captain Victory as a bimonthly comic-book serial."

5 out of 5

Evangeline: Guns of Mars - 1

Evangeline - Guns of Mars 1 1

Nun's mission massacre Martian mayhem mission.

3.5 out of 5

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chew 1

I'm just eating the face off this illegal chicken franchise serial killer chef. Have a good reason.

4 out of 5

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Berserker 0

I think I ripped some heads off with my super strength.

3.5 out of 5

Pax Romana 1

Going to Ancient Rome.

3.5 out of 5

The Silence of the Asonu - Ursula K. Le Guin

Plane saying.

3 out of 5

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Skullkickers 0

Big leeches and doppelganger passwords.

4.5 out of 5

Space Dog Podcast Episode One - Rick Jackson

"Something special for our first podcast.

This episode features Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Lester del Rey, Frederik Pohl, and Gordon R. Dickson. Wow! five major SF writers. Four of them Science Fiction Grand Masters. And how they B.S. together. It’s wonderful to hear.

This was recorded in 1976 for the Ballantine Science Fiction Hour.

From the Science Fiction Oral History"

This has an interview with Clarke (favorite novel he said is Imperial Earth and story Transit of Earth) and a round table with the rest where they talk about their own favourites and work by others they would like to have done.

Really great stuff.

Atomic Robo 1

Thanks, Baron von Blabs about his weakness.

3.5 out of 5

Doll and Creature 1

Doll and Creature 1

Hyde cleanup.

3.5 out of 5

Monday, December 27, 2010

Black Tide - 08

Black Tide - 08

Hexon computer crimes die.

3 out of 5

Black Tide - 06

Black Tide - 06

Gianni's a player.

3.5 out of 5

Black Tide - 01

Black Tide 01

Gotta get the Prince of Atlantis.

3.5 out of 5

Black Tide - 02

Black Tide 02

Mother's plots.

3.5 out of 5

The Nightly News - 01

The Nightly News 01

Media screwed over the wrong guy.

3.5 out of 5

Fell 1

Nice place, cop.

4 out of 5

A Distant Soil - 01 Immigrant Song Immigrant Song 1

Superpowered space kid struggle.

3 out of 5

Invincible - 01

Don't try that with a superhero.

3.5 out of 5

Ultra - 01 Seven Days Part One

Ultra 01

Balancing the superhero thing.

3.5 out of 5

Halo Cryptum 2 - Greg Bear

"First, the Forerunner’s last memories are abstracted from his armor, which preserves a few hours of the occupant’s mental patterns. This reduced essence—a spectral snatch of personality, and not a whole being—is placed in a time-locked Durance. The body is then torched in a solemn ceremony attended only by close relations. A bit of plasma from the immolation is preserved by the appointed Master of the Mantle, who secures it along with the essence in the Durance. The Durance is then given to the closest members of the dead Forerunner’s family, who are charged with making sure that it is never abused. A Durance has a half- life of more than a million years. Families and rates are very protective of such places. In the treasure- hunting manuals I had read over the years, seekers are frequently warned to observe the signs and avoid such locations. Stumbling upon such a family Durance would definitely be considered sacrilege. “This is a disgraceful world,” I murmured. “No Forerunner would want to be buried here.” Chakas set his jaw and glared at me."

2.5 out of 5

One Foot In the Grave - J. Steven York

But approaching.

3 out of 5

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sally's In the Alley - Norbert Davis

Hollywood and ore for Carstairs and Doan.

3.5 out of 5

Sci-Spy 1

Sci-Spy 1 Paul Gulacy
Got a world eating bug problem.

3.5 out of 5

Disintegration 1 - Scott Nicholson

"Renee cradled the phone against her ear. She’d chipped her fingernail polish opening a can of Tab. Sitting in an apartment she wasn’t paying for, talking of money, made her lightheaded. Despite the wealth Jacob had accumulated early in their marriage, this money seemed unreal, almost sickening. “It’s two million dollars, Kim.”

“Holy crud,” came her best friend’s voice from the speaker. Kim worked as a technician at the hospital, testing blood samples. The sound of hospital business occasionally came through in the background, doctors being paged, carts rattling by, the ringing of nurses’ bells.

“That doesn’t make up for it. Not a bit.”

“I know, honey. We’ve been through that. You don’t have any more tears left to cry.”

“I was the beneficiary. Jacob set it up that way. After Christine died, he insured the three of us for a million dollars each. Said that’s how his father always did it.”

“And you let him?”

“Well, it’s the kind of thing you don’t think about much. You can’t let it weigh on you, that tragedy might strike again. I figured we’d used up more than our share with Christine.”

“I know you guys are movers and shakers, but a million is a million, even with inflation. What are you guys going to do with the money?”

“That’s just it. He’s hiding from all this.”

“Forget about him for a minute. What do you want?”

Renee looked at the urn on the mantel. She didn’t want the ashes around as a constant reminder of The Tragedy. She carried around enough reminders inside her.

She’d hoped Jacob would pull himself together and get through his grieving process, decide with her what they should do with the ashes. It had been over two months and he still refused to have any contact with her. “I want Jake to be happy. That’s all that’s left for me, Kim.”

“Your parents gone?”

“Yeah, they left last week. Dad’s not doing too well. Said now he didn’t have any grandchildren to spoil. Mom helped, but I can’t talk to her about the heavy stuff.”

“Well, I’m here whenever you need me.”

Renee’s throat caught and the tears welled up without warning. She stuck a finger behind her glasses and brushed at her eyelashes. “I can’t do this much longer. I want Jake.”

“Didn’t he get weird after Christine?”"

3 out of 5

The Invasion 1 - William Meikle

"Hiscock stayed up all night watching the feeds, fueled by hot coffee and adrenaline. His lifestyle choices had all been vindicated – he was safe and secure in his bunker while the world went to hell outside. He did not find much comfort in the fact.

He’d been diverted for a while by some of the more extreme fringe web sites. They sometimes got information that wasn’t readily available to mainstream sources, but tonight the cyber-communities had been awash with far too many conflicting theories for him to take any pattern away from it. Reported causes for the attack varied from Planet X to the CIA, from a bio-weapons lab accident to full scale terrorist attack.

All Hiscock knew was that this was the big one.

That view was only reinforced when it slowly became obvious that the Eastern Seaboard wasn’t alone in suffering. Reports started coming in from other parts of the world. The green rain was falling steadily all along a wide swathe of the Amazon rain forest, reducing it to a thick sludge that was already choking the tributaries and flowing like thick gravy towards the main expanse of the river.

Sketchy reports arrived from the Far East, where the jungles had started to melt and flow down mountainsides, like mud in heavy rain.

The Russians were quiet except for a brief press statement blaming Western pollution for an ecological crisis across the Siberian forests.

And everywhere the green rain fell, nothing was left behind but the noxious sludge.

Casualty reports rose at an alarming rate, from hundreds, to thousands, to hundreds of thousands. By the time a thin dawn came up on Saint John they were talking in the millions.

And I suspect even that will rise exponentially in days to come.

The first indications that the green rain was only the start of something more came in the early hours of daylight and Hiscock might have been among the first to see the next phase.

The green snow in New York had turned to what looked like perfectly normal rain when he returned to the view of the bandstand. Much to his amazement some of the teenagers were still alive, having spent the night huddled in a tight bunch. As they walked off the structure they left three of their companions dead on the floor inside. There were seven of them remaining as they stood in the rain surveying the damage.

The green sludge coated everything around them, lying like spilled guacamole all around as far as the camera could see. One bent and put a finger in it, withdrawing it immediately as his flesh burned.

He wasn’t given much time to register the fact that much of his hand had started to melt as the sludge seemed to raise in a wave several feet high, washing over his feet and those of his friends. Two of them didn’t even try to move, merely let the slime take them. The other five made a run back to the bandstand, the flesh on their legs already sloughing off. Another wave flowed over the floor of the structure and the last thing the camera showed were three arms raised above the flood.

They waved frantically, but only for two seconds, until they too disappeared into the seething morass.

Hiscock threw up several pints of coffee into a wastepaper basket.

It took him twenty minutes to clean up his mess. By that time the story that the sludge could be mobile had spread to all the main news sources. One reporter called it “a creeping carpet of terror” and all reporters covering the story took up the phrase almost immediately. Unfortunately the man who coined it did not live to bask in his glory. He was standing on Wall Street and Broadway reflecting on what the catastrophe meant for the world financial system when a six-foot wave of green washed through the streets of Manhattan cleansing everything in its path.

By now Hiscock was remembering the amount of green goop he had seen falling from the trees in his back yard – and, even closer to his new home, the spray his AK-47 had sent over the walls of the room above him.

He eyed his ceiling warily."

3.5 out of 5

Vestal Virgin 1 - Suzanne Tyrpak

"On the far side of Palatine Hill, a mile from the House of Vestals, the urban mob squirmed on stone benches at the Circus Maximus. The chariot races had ended and clouds of grit settled on the arena, coating the spectators. Women poured out of the gates leaving men to watch the afternoon’s more gruesome entertainment.

Horns squealed and a water organ moaned, announcing the procession of gladiators.

The Retiarii carried tridents and nets; Thracians, square shields and swords; Secutors, oval shields and daggers. Schooled in combat, massive in their builds, gladiators stood a chance for victory. A chance to live.

Not so for Marcus. He would face wild beasts unarmed. A death more shameful than crucifixion.

Beneath the spectator stalls, he waited to be summoned. Grasping the wooden bars, he stared out of his cage and recalled the fate of a prisoner of war from Germania. Destined to fight the lions, the captured soldier had gone to the latrines—a stinking row of holes in a long bench—and, using the stick meant for wiping away excrement, he rammed the salty sponge into his throat.

Beasts or suicide. The only choice.

Out in the amphitheater the crowd stamped their feet, shaking Marcus to his bones. He prayed he wouldn’t shit himself.

Wooden tiers towered over the arena and held more than 150,000 people. As noon approached, the spectators devoured goat cheese and barley bread, apples and pickled eggs—while they waited for dessert.

“Answer when you hear your name,” the lanista shouted.

Taskmaster of gladiators, the lanista filled his purse by treating men like animals. Society did not respect him, although his barrel of a stomach proved he ate lavishly.

“Marcus Rubrius Honoratus.”


Marcus slid his hands along the wooden bars, splinters prickling his palms. His back was broad from wrestling, his arms knotted with muscle from lifting lead weights in the gymnasium, but he was no gladiator. His thoughts turned to Socrates. Soon he’d have the chance to test that great philosopher’s theory of immortality, to learn firsthand if his soul would perish or cross into the Plain of Oblivion and continue to the River of Forgetfulness.

The lanista unlocked the cage. Tugging Marcus by a leash, he dragged him into the torch-lit hallway and ordered him to kneel. Squaring his shoulders, Marcus reminded himself of the dignity with which Socrates had faced his execution.

“I said, kneel.” The lanista cracked his whip, and two brutes forced Marcus to his knees amid steaming camel dung. “Rome has no tolerance for treason.”

“Or truth.”

The barbed whip scored welts across his back.

Marcus clenched his teeth, refusing to register the pain, searching his mind for words of wisdom. That which destroys and corrupts is evil, Socrates had said. That which preserves and benefits is good.

Above him, in the amphitheater, the crowd roared for blood.


The sun crept toward noon.

Elissa climbed the road leading from the forum, the soles of her leather slippers slick against the flagstones. Although the temperature was cool and left no doubt that it was autumn, a rivulet of sweat ran down her face. She pushed onward, glancing at the seven hills as she reached the pinnacle. A patchwork of terra-cotta rooftops gave way to parkland girded by six miles of gray tufa blocks. Beyond the Servian wall, golden fields and olive groves offered the promise of freedom. A false promise, Elissa thought—all Romans were slave to Nero.

“Jupiter,” she said, tears choking her voice, “Ruler of the heavens, protector of the empire, I beg you to spare my brother’s life.”

She swiped her eyes, angry with herself for showing weakness. Ten years ago, when she had been wrenched out of her childhood, she’d sworn all her tears were spent. Ten years ago, when she had been nine, a golden coach drawn by four white geldings had arrived at her parents’ house. They’d hoisted her into the coach. One doll, her comb and hairbrush—no other belongings.

The Vestal Maxima sat in the coach. Her voice floated from beneath snowy veils, “Are you frightened, child?”

Trembling, tears streaming down her face, Elissa shook her head. Through the coach’s window, she saw her parents. Her new position was an honor. She would be rich and powerful, but her parents’ faces appeared solemn as if witnessing a funeral.

The wheels of the coach squeaked, began to roll.

Elissa craned her neck in order to keep her brother in her sight. He ran alongside the coach, yelling, “Bring her back!”

“Marcus!” she called out to him, until her throat was raw.

“Drive on,” the Vestal Maxima ordered the coachman. “The sooner we depart, the sooner she’ll forget.”

But Elissa never forgot that day, never forgot crying out to Marcus as he disappeared within a cloud of dust.

Redoubling her pace, she hurried toward the Circus Maximus.

Marcus was no traitor. The idea was preposterous. He had loved Nero, only too well. His fault had been to question the princeps, attempting to steer him away from disaster. Hopes had been high for Nero when at age seventeen he’d come into power. Initially, advisors kept him on an even keel, but now Burris was dead, Seneca banished, Agrippina murdered, and Nero charted his own course.

If only I had prayed more, Elissa thought, perhaps the gods would have protected Marcus. She wondered if her hubris had led to her brother’s plight, her questioning of the gods’ power—the damning words she’d written. She reached into her stola, seeking the letter, words she must destroy before they wreaked more havoc. As her fingers touched the papyrus, two boys raced around a corner, forcing her into the gutter and a stream of putrid water.

“Look out,” one of the boys shouted, without pausing to offer help.

“I hear music.” The other motioned for his friend to hurry. “The procession is starting.”

They bolted down the hill toward the Circus Maximus.

Stumbling from the flow of waste, Elissa followed. Her slippers, soaked and no longer white, slapped the paving stones.

Down by the river, the air felt humid, smelled of fish. She saw the boys far ahead, skipping, laughing, as if going to a carnival. Gathering her robes, she clomped along the riverbank, sinking in the mud.

The fish market, usually a hub of excitement with boats docking to unload their catch and fishmongers arguing with customers, stood empty. Screeching gulls swooped over abandoned tables.

It seemed as if all of Rome were at the Circus.

Elissa sought a shortcut through an alleyway, wide enough to accommodate only one donkey. A baker had thrown fermenting bran into the gutter where pigs now feasted. A woman, a toddler secured on her hip, stepped onto an overhanging balcony. The boards groaned, threatening to collapse. Hoisting a bucket over the railing, the woman dumped out slops, and the pigs groveled happily in the rain of excrement. The stench stung Elissa’s nostrils, burned her eyes. Regretting her decision not to come by coach, she hurried on.

A donkey-cart laden with earthen tiles clattered around the corner, forcing her against a fire-blackened wall. During daylight hours the only carts permitted on Rome’s streets were those bearing construction materials—nothing would deter Nero’s voracious building plans. The cart rattled through the gutter, splashing filth.

“Watch where you’re going,” Elissa wanted to shout but, accustomed to the hushed confines of the House of Vestals, her voice came out as a whisper.

She wiped something sticky from her eye.

Spattered with mire, she might have been a common prostitute. She continued past a fire-gutted tenement. Once painted brilliant yellow, the plaster walls were charred and stained with soot. Amidst scrawling graffiti, a poster announced:"

4 out of 5

Appeals Court 4 - Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow

"Here's the fourth and final installment of my reading of Charlie Stross's and my gonzo Singularity novella Appeals Court. It's the sequel to Jury Service, the first thing Charlie and I ever wrote together. We're about to start work on Parole Board, the thrilling conclusion, which Tor will be publishing as a novel under the title Rapture of the Nerds, a title we nicked from the brilliant Ken MacLeod."

4 out of 5

Friday, December 24, 2010

33 A. D. 1 - David McAfee

"the vampire race was vastly outnumbered; they would have no chance against a widespread genocide perpetuated by the race of Man. “Who is it, Theron?” Herris asked. “Who did Ephraim betray us to?” “The man's name is Jesus, Headcouncil." "Jesus?" Mattawe spat. “The young rabbi from Galilee? I think you overestimate his influence.” “No,” Algor said, “he doesn’t.” He glanced at Herris as he spoke and raised his eyebrows in a gesture whose meaning did not escape Theron. It was enough to cause Herris’ face to darken further, and when he next spoke, his normally strong voice sounded troubled. “Theron, thank you for bringing this to us. You are dismissed. Do not leave the Halls. We will be calling for you shortly.” Theron bowed and stepped off the dais. As he grasped the handle of the door, he overheard Lannis’ voice. “Is he the one you told us about, Algor?” “He is,” Algor replied. Any other words the Councilor might have said were lost as the door closed behind him. Theron wasn’t concerned about missing the rest of the Council's conversation; he had a feeling they would call for him soon enough."

3.5 out of 5

Forbidden the Stars 1 - Valmore Daniels

"TAHU provided ideal protection for a survey team. The Construction-Engineering team had used pulse charges to create an artificial cavity ten meters into the surface, forming a rectangular box fifteen meters on a side, and four meters in height. AI mechbots constructed the TAHU itself. With two personal cubicles, a communal area, lavatory, dining cubicle, computer laboratory, and airlock, it was the perfect size for a two-person survey team. If the surveyors were a couple, a third person, such as an offspring, could be attached to the mission, and not put any real strain on the TAHU resources. There was enough food for six months, and solar wind particle converters kept the batteries charged to full. They built a gravity convection magneto into the floor of the TAHU, magnifying the asteroids natural magnetic field inside the construct by a factor of 85.91, enough to simulate near-Earth gravity. The energy requirements were enormous, but the Sun, four hundred gigs away, provided an unlimited source of energy."

3.5 out of 5

Omega Chase 1: High Noon With the Undead

Omega Chase 1: Should I Have Knocked First?

I come from somewhere. I'm a sheriff. And the town has a zombie problem.

4 out of 5

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Be My Victim: A Discussion with Laird Barron on Literary Horror and Anti-Intellectualism - Laird Barron and Lee Thomas

"LT: And it has become increasingly difficult to know who you can believe when it comes to recommendations. When I first dove into horror publishing about nine years ago, I had no idea there was such a thriving small press. I'd visit message boards and read glowing recommendations for books and authors I hadn't heard of. If the threads on those boards were to be believed - and I believed them - I expected to be reading absolutely brilliant, cutting edge horror titles. The books came. I read them. Soon... sadness ensued. A few of the books were excellent, a couple were good, but most were page-meet-flame infuriating. I began to see the friendly (if misguided) support, and the back scratching that was going on. Checking review sites didn't help much, because many of the reviewers were reviewing friends, or were authors themselves, and there was the distinct impression said reviewers didn't want to alienate anyone in the publishing food chain. So all reviews were positive to the point of raves. The incestuous nature of the community became apparent, and I began to see how difficult this wire was to balance. Difficult because new writers need support. They need encouragement, especially from their peers because many folks in their long-term support system - family, friends - might not understand or appreciate their fascination with dark material. But so much of this support now occurs in public, sometimes highly visible forums, and it is promoting a product - a book. These acts of kindness to a talent-in-the-making can be acts of cruelty to a reader."

4 out of 5

Cyblade 1

Yes, I will kill people, all super-powered agent-like.

3 out of 5

DC Holiday Special 2009

Anthology xmas.

3 out of 5

Barbarian 1

Strong, silent tentacle cuffs and executions.

2.5 out of 5

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Last Run : Preoperational Briefing - Greg Rucka

New Queen and Country novel!

"Right, look, she was told, we can see where you’re going with this, and believe us, it’s not going to work. First of all, Minders are almost always drawn from the military, understand? Prior experience, prior service, the SAS and Royal Commando blokes, they already know how to kill a man with a set of bicycle clips and a banana, they’re halfway there, you see? That’s one. And two, forgive us for saying it, but you’re a woman. And there’s never been a woman in the Special Section, and the new D-Ops, Paul Crocker, sure as Hell isn’t going to make you the first. And third, did we mention the part about Minders dying? Because they do that, quite a lot, actually.

So just forget about that, and if you really dedicate yourself to your Russian studies, why, what would you say to being posted to Moscow as the Station Number Two?

By the fourteenth week of the course, it was clear to all who were paying attention that Tara Chace was on her way to being one of the most brilliant agents to ever pass through the School. Her test scores, across the board, were stellar, as was her learning curve and her retention. She went from having never fired a gun to rating as an expert in both small arms and rifles. She became so vicious in hand-to-hand training that her fellow students first loathed, then actively avoided, sparring with her. When she was sent into Portsmouth on a practical to acquire an asset, given four hours to get from that asset not solely personal details, but also their passport and bank account numbers, Chace not only returned in three with all of the afore-mentioned information, but with her target’s Jaguar, as well. That she’d targeted a lieutenant in the Royal Navy who should have damn-well known better was simply the icing on the cake."

4 out of 5

Sheena: Queen of the Jungle 1

Spirit goddess swings.

4 out of 5

The Emperor of Mars - Allen M. Steele

Prefer planetary romance to reality.

3.5 out of 5

The Uniques 01

The Uniques 01

Filling out mum's suit.

3 out of 5

Project Superpowers 0

Fighting Yank's evil urn allies needed.

3 out of 5

The Trains that Climb the Winter Tree - Michael Swanwick and Eileen Gunn

Snowed Chesterton dead.

3 out of 5

Elf Shit - Jay Lake

Slaves good, people eating a PR problem.

3.5 out of 5

The Turning World - Colin Harvey

Equinox fun.

3 out of 5

It's Made Out of Meat - Charles Stross

"We have one faction that is attempting to write software that can generate messages that can pass a Turing test, and another faction that is attempting to write software that can administer an ad-hoc Turing test. Each faction has a strong incentive to beat the other. This is the classic pattern of an evolutionary predator/prey arms race: and so I deduce that if symbol-handling, linguistic artificial intelligence is possible at all, we are on course for a very odd destination indeed — the Spamularity, in which those curious lumps of communicating meat give rise to a meta-sphere of discourse dominated by parasitic viral payloads pretending to be meat ..."

4.5 out of 5

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Phantom Jack - 01

Invisible reporting!

3.5 out of 5

Freshmen - 01 Introduction to Superpowe... Superhero Basics 101: Introduction to Super Powers 01

Super, uni?

3 out of 5

Rising Stars 01 - Nova Placenta

Breeding some superpeople. One night only.

4 out of 5

Midnight Nation 01

The Black Enchantress 2

4 out of 5

Spartacus Blood and Sand 1

Yep. Inspired by the Starz show it says, but American comic, which of course means no nudity.

Spartacus Blood and Sand 1

3 out of 5

Monday, December 20, 2010

3 1

Is a spy, it seems.

3.5 out of 5

Buckaroo Banzai: The Return of the Screw 1

Lectroid spud power play.

3.5 out of 5

The Observer - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Space veteran woman return split problem.

4 out of 5

Judith Merril Part 9: Friends Again Before the End - Frederik Pohl

"And what Judy wanted to know was, “Listen, Fred, you’re pretty good at that space-program science talk. If we gave you time, is there anything you could say that would make Dr. Who sound a little more sciency?”

I thought that was a pretty funny request. I had also, for some time, been spending a lot of my time defending sf in general as healthy for people to watch. True, Dr. Who was a pretty marginal case. But you could find scientific lessons in almost any fantasy story once you allowed quantum reality to be defined as scientific, and I wrote a number of comments-on-the-air for Judy’s shows, and the problem passed."

5 out of 5

1001 Nights: The Adventures of Sinbad 0

Chop on ship.

2 out of 5

Amber Atoms 1

Shot by lobster man hurts.

3 out of 5

Ezra Evoked Emotions 1

Kick arse when not tied up.

2.5 out of 5

Afterburn 1

Tech retrieval, with mutant pirate problem. And mutant sharks.

3.5 out of 5

Fomalhaut B - Paul Kalas

Fomalhaut B - Paul Kalas

Real, live planet.

5 out of 5

Hybrid 1 Out To Sea

Scary smelly ship.

4 out of 5

Classwar 1

Enola Gay super lies truth war.

4 out of 5

Neozoic 1

Post asteroid smash dino protection feet, 65 million years later.

3.5 out of

Captain Action 0

Alien superhero parasite infiltration, no breakfast.

4.5 out of 5

Impaler Vol 1 1

Cold, now we got evil vampires.

3.5 out of 5

The Resistance 1

Joining the FTP.

4.5 out of 5

Midnight Kiss - 01 Fallen Fallen Part 1 of 6

Supernatural deal Jack of Spades.

3.5 out of 5

Mage: The Hero Discovered - 01 Outrageous Slings and Arrows

You have much to learn, friend. With Grackelflints.

4 out of 5

Red Sonja 0

Storm, tree, dead men.

4 out of 5

Turf 1

Nothing like vampire gangsters, and maybe a few aliens.

3.5 out of 5

Witchblade - 01

Little red cop party dress problem.

3.5 out of 5

Headhunters 1

Golden Ghost time demon future nuke warning.

3 out of 5

Hellboy: Seed of Destruction - 01

Little Red One grows up and gets a big frog problem.

4 out of 5

Green Arrow - 01 Quiver Quiver Chapter 1: The Queen is Dead Long Live the Queen

Speedy life ghost.

3.5 out of 5

52 - 01 52 Golden Lads & Lasses Must...

Booster Questions Elongated cry Adam Crush.

4 out of 5

Crisis On Infinite Earths 01

Pariah, Monitor, Harbinger, Alex.

4 out of 5

Vision Machine 2

Off the network rebellion.

4.5 out of 5

A Conversation With - Andrew Vachss

"RH: OK. I wanted to also talk a little about Heart Transplant. Considering bullying is currently in the national spotlight, how has the reaction been so far to the book?

AV: I don't think I've ever seen a book with better reviews, better reactions, better endorsements from every source you can imagine, and correspondingly worse sales. It's kind of funny to talk to me about censorship. As far as I know Barnes & Noble won't carry this book.

RH: Really?

AV: Really! Feel free to call Dark Horse and ask 'em.

RH: I don't see anything objectionable or inappropriate in the book.

AV: Of course there isn't."

4.5 out of 5

Space Doubles 1 Project: Obeah

Space zombie problem.

4 out of 5

Space Doubles 1 Red Rain

Is full of monsters.

4 out of 5

Impaler Vol 2 1

Nuking the vamps didn't work. Neither did the whole Vlad Hunt thing.

4 out of 5

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sheena: Queen of the Jungle 0

Witchy pop stand blowing.

3 out of 5

Valentine: Plan B For Blonde

Bikini boat kill.

4.5 out of 5">

Valentine Fully Loaded

Bad attitude disc kill.

3.5 out of 5

Box 13 2 8 The Pandora Process

How about you, Olivia?

3 out of 5

Adrenaline 1

Wanna be my reality tv partner, now that I kidnapped you?

3.5 out of 5

Author Spotlight - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

"This story, while short, packs a horrific punch. Where did you get the idea?

A lot of what I write is about the horrors of war. I became a history major just after Vietnam to understand why humans went to war in the first place. I never really did figure that out, but it led to a lifelong obsession. This is a companion story to my tale, “Elites,” which I wrote just after I finished a mystery novel set in 1969 that dealt with Vietnam. (The novel is War at Home, which I published as Kris Nelscott.) “Elites” deals with PTSD. But I got to thinking about the women who couldn’t be rehabilitated. What happened to them in this future world? And with that, I came up with “The Observer.”"

3.5 out of 5

Godzilla - Blue Oyster Cult

Oh, no! There goes Tokyo!

4 out of 5

The William Tell Overture - Gioachino Rossini

Otherwise known as the Lone Ranger theme song.

4.5 out of 5

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Nerf Herder

Theme to dust by.

4.5 out of 5

I Fought the Law - The Clash

And it didn't end well.

4.5 out of 5

Ghostriders in the sky - Johnny Cash and The Muppets

Best song ever done on the Muppets.

5 out of 5

O Fortuna - Carl Orff

With video from the excellent use it was put to in the movie Excalibur.

5 out of 5

Superman's Song - Crash Test Dummies

No money in the Solomon Grundy thing.

4.5 out of 5

Subterranean Online 16 - William Schafer

There are a few book reviews including the Best of Kim Stanley Robinson, but the work of interest here is the very good long Chiang novella. Very generous to provide this to everyone in the world to read.

The Sarrantonio story holds some interest, too, unlike the excruciatingly dull Waldrop excerpt that you would need a machine to wring the eye-rolling nostalgia out of.

So, bonus points for doing fine short novels.

Subterranean Online 16 : The Unorthodox Dr. Draper - William Browning Spencer
Subterranean Online 16 : The Lifecycle of Software Objects - Ted Chiang
Subterranean Online 16 : Weekdays: A Lucifer Jones story - Mike Resnick
Subterranean Online 16 : Fossils - Al Sarrantonio
Subterranean Online 16 : The Search for Tom Purdue excerpt - Howard Waldrop

Digient maturity porn port choice.

4 out of 5

Women wiles work inducement.

3 out of 5

Knobby evolution.

3.5 out of 5

"And then I was sitting in the coffee shop in 1955, the half-gone dunked doughnut still in my fingers. There had been the nastiest war in history; the Atom Bomb was hanging over our heads, and the World of Tomorrow was a Ring King® turning out doughnuts for regular schmoes trying to make a living looking for lost stag films in a world of fear and morons.

Ka-chinka said the Ring King® ka-chinka."

2.5 out of 5

3.5 out of 5

The Search for Tom Purdue - Howard Waldrop

"And then I was sitting in the coffee shop in 1955, the half-gone dunked doughnut still in my fingers. There had been the nastiest war in history; the Atom Bomb was hanging over our heads, and the World of Tomorrow was a Ring King® turning out doughnuts for regular schmoes trying to make a living looking for lost stag films in a world of fear and morons.

Ka-chinka said the Ring King® ka-chinka."

2.5 out of 5

Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon

Or, if you eat at Trader Vic's, go for lunch.

5 out of 5

James Bond Theme - John Barry Orchestra

Or, 007!

5 out of 5

Fossils - Al Sarrantonio

Knobby evolution.

3.5 out of 5

Sword of Crom - Battleroar

Power metal Hyboria.

4 out of 5

Weekdays - Mike Resnick

Women wiles work inducement.

3 out of 5

Red Sonja - Ennio Morricone

Three parts of the music from the movie :-

1) Main Title / Kalidor's Theme

2) Fighting the Soldiers

3) Love Theme / End Credits

4 out of 5

Red Sonja: Lord Wind - Field of Broken Swords

A cover gallery tribute.

4 out of 5

The Unorthodox Dr. Draper - William Spencer Browing

Saved by Santa.

3.5 out of 5

Space Hero - Patrick Lundrigan

Early rescue dead.

3.5 out of 5

How I Lost My Oldest Friend and Gained a Literary Agency - FrederikPohl

"Dirk wrote the reading-fee letters. He had a little help from me, but he didn’t need much. All those long old gab sessions with Cyril Kornbluth and Damon Knight and Don Wollheim and all the other Futurians had given Dirk a good grasp of where beginning writers went wrong and what to do about it. We enlisted some of the Futurians as clients and began to make some actual sales for them — me making up a marketing list and writing the submission letters, while the scripts were run along to the editors by another would-be writer, a protege of Dirk’s wife, Rosalind, Roz herself coming along for secretarial duties. Things were quite promising.

There was only one serious problem. Dirk wasn’t slowly recovering, as we had hoped."

4 out of 5

Elitist Book Reviews - James Barclay

"9. Who do you consider your main influences?

First up has to be David Gemmell. First I was a fan devouring every book and later, hugely fortunately, a very good friend of his. We spent many a fabulous hour jawing away over things like the nature of heroism, how to make fights better, ways to develop character and the state of anything and everything. His attitude to work and his fans, his methods and his sheer professionalism have affected me greatly. I will be aspiring to his heights in all of these things forever.

The other main one is not a who, it is a single book. It’s ‘The Legacy of Heorot’ by Niven, Pournelle and Barnes. Bloody hell, what a book and what an influence it had. For me, this is the only text book you need on how to write character driven action novels in probably any genre. If you want to write that sort of stuff, then once you’ve read my books (having bought a pristine set), then go get the source text. It sets the bar high, very high."

4 out of 5

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Little Lost Robot - Paul J. McAuley

Omega level Sundive not Choose Life decision.

4.5 out of 5

Metaphase 09 - Vonda N. McIntyre

"Nemo’s ship continued to pace Starfarer, but Nemo remained silent. The LTMs watched the squidmoth, and J.D. watched the LTM transmissions. Beneath the mother of pearl chrysalis, the structure of Nemo’s body dissolved. Only the single exposed tentacle remained."

3 out of 5

Mary Kornbluth Part 3: Anthologist - Frederik Pohl

"I told Mary that I could find ways of turning most of them into actual stories, and if she liked I would do so and sell them, and we would split the money. She said she liked, and so I took them home. (One of them, “The Meeting,” won a Hugo Award, the only Hugo Cyril ever got.)

But I had another, somewhat larger idea. “How,” I asked Mary, “would you like to start a new career as an anthologist?” "

5 out of 5

The Death Song of Conan the Cimmerian - Lin Carter

The road was long and the road was hard,
And the sky was cold and grey:
The dead white moon was a frozen shard
In the dim dawn of day:
But thief and harlot, king and guard
Warrior, wizard, knave and bard
Rode with me all the way.

The wind was sharp as a whetted knife
As it blew from the wet salt seas;
The storm wind stirred to a ghostly life
The gaunt black skeletal trees:
But I drank the foaming wine of life
Wine of plunder and lust and strife
Down to the bitter lees.

A boy, from the savage north I came
To cities of silk and sin.
With torch and steel, in blood and flame,
I won what a man may win:
Aye, gambled and won at the Devil's game
Splendor and glory and glittering flame
And mocked at Death's skull-grin.

And there were foemen to fight and slay
And friends to love and trust:
And crowns to conquer and toss away
And lips to taste with lust:
And songs to keep black nights at bay
And wine to swill to the break of day
What matter the end be dust?

I've won my share of your gems and gold
They crumble into clods:
I've gorged on the best that life can hold:
And the Devil take the odds:
The grave is deep and the night is cold
The world's a skull-full of stinking mould
And I laugh at your little gods!

The lean road slunk through a blasted land
Where the earth was parched and black.
But we were a merry, jesting band
Who asked no easier track:
Rogue and reaver and firebrand
And life rode laughing at my right hand
And Death rode at my back.

The road was dusty and harsh and long
Crom, but a man gets dry!
I'm old and weary and Death is strong
But flesh was born to die:
Hai, Gods! But it was a merry throng
Rode at my side with jest and song
Under an empty sky.

I've heard fat, cunning priestlings tell
How damned souls writhe and moan:
That paradise they can buy and sell
For gold and gold alone:
To the flames with scripture and priest as well
I'll stride down the scarlet throat of hell
And dice for the Devil's throne!

I faced life boldly and unafraid
Should I flinch as Death draws near?
Life's but a game Death and I have played
Many a wearisome year:
Hai! to the gallant friends I made
Slave and swordsman and lissome maid
I begrudge no foot of the road I strayed
The road which endeth HERE!

4 out of 5

Metaphase 08 - Vonda N. McIntyre

"He was not particularly worried about infecting Starfarer with some alien illness that would attack animals or people or plants. It would make more sense to worry that tobacco mosaic virus might infect a human being. Those pathogens were from the same evolutionary scheme. But he had cultured an autotroph, a free-living cell, from Nemo’s web. A microbe that could get by on light and water and simple molecular nutrients could grow independently in the starship.

This was something Stephen Thomas preferred to avoid.

He got Arachne to project an image of the squidmoth in its chrysalis."

3 out of 5

Metaphase 07 - Vonda N. McIntyre

"She cracked the seal on its brain pan. Nothing. Blowing out her breath in relief, she opened the bioelectronic brain the rest of the way. Not too bad. Desiccated, like a crust of algae on a mudflat. If all the artificials were like this, she could resuscitate them in short order. She hooked up a rehydration tube and watched for a few minutes. The rumpled surface engorged with saline and fructose and salicylic acid, responding to the rich mix of hormones and growth factors. The fissures deepened.

Esther patted the artificial."

3 out of 5

Metaphase 06 - Vonda N. McIntyre

"Starfarer loomed over him; the stars spun beneath his feet. The motion of the cylinder took him through darkness, into the hot white light of Sirius, and back into shadow as he plunged into the cleft between the campus cylinder and its twin, the wild side. On the far edge of the valley, he burst into the light reflected by the solar sail. If he looked in just the right place he could see the bright crescent of Nemo’s starship, tagging along with Starfarer toward transition."

3 out of 5

Introduces All Pulp To 'the Farmerian Holmes' - Win Scott Eckert

"Of course, Phil patterned his first biography, Tarzan Alive, on William S. Baring-Gould’s Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street. Phil also adopted Baring-Gould’s theory that detective Nero Wolfe was Sherlock Holmes’ son (Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street and Nero Wolfe of West 35th Street). In addition, Phil expanded the Holmes family tree by placing Sherlock Holmes as a descendant of Dr. Siger Holmes, who was present at the Wold Newton meteor strike, and postulating that Sir Denis Nayland Smith (the protagonist of Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu books) was Sherlock Holmes’ nephew.

The Sherlockian connections, however, are woven into the history of the Wold Newton Universe with a degree of complexity which transcends fictional genealogy. Phil’s initial tour-de-force Wold Newton essay, “A Case of a Case of Identity Recased, or, The Grey Eyes Have It” (Addendum 2, Tarzan Alive), is based on Professor H. W. Starr’s foray into Holmes-Tarzan scholarship, “A Case of Identity, or, The Adventure of the Seven Claytons” (The Baker Street Journal, New Series X, i, January 1960; reprinted in Addendum 1, Tarzan Alive). Starr sets the stage by suggesting that the hansom cab driver John Clayton from the Holmes novel The Hound of the Baskervilles, must be a member of a lineage in which all first sons are named John Clayton, and in fact the cab driver is the fifth Duke of Greyminster., Starr explains that Greyminster is the real name of the family called “Greystoke” in the Tarzan stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs; the family is also called “Holdernesse” in the Holmes tale “The Adventure of the Priory School.”"

4.5 out of 5

The Stutterer - R. R. Merliss

War robot story.

2.5 out of 5

Atwater - Cody Goodfellow

Atwater - Cody Goodfellow
Bizarre therapy group drive.

4 out of 5

Just Do It - Heather Lindsley

Just Do It - Heather Lindsley

Behaviour modification commercialisation.

4 out of 5

Civilization - Vylar Kaftan

Civilization - Vylar Kaftan
Society choices.

3.5 out of 5

Metaphase 05 - Vonda N. McIntyre

"“Your new scent makes you a different shape in my mind.”

J.D. smiled. She hoped her new shape in Nemo’s mind was not quite as undignified as it had been when she was with Zev. At least they had been making love within a gravity field. In zero gravity, sex could be hilarious.

“Today you’re different, too, “ J.D. said. “Are you... wearing clothes?”

“No,” Nemo said."

3.5 out of 5

Cyberforce Hunter-Killer 1

Cyberforce Hunter-Killer 1 - Kenneth Rocafort

Ellis back to save the world.

3 out of 5

Lines Written in the Realization That I Must Die - Robert E. Howard

"The Black Door gapes and the Black Wall rises;
Twilight gasps in the grip of Night.
Paper and dust are the gems man prizes—
Torches toss in my waning sight.

Drums of glory are lost in the ages,
Bare feet fail on a broken trail—
Let my name fade from the printed pages;
Dreams and visions are growing pale.

Twilight gathers and none can save me.
Well and well, for I would not stay:
Let me speak through the stone you gave me:
He never could say what he wished to say.

Why should I shrink from the sign of leaving?
My brain is wrapped in a darkened cloud;
Now in the Night the Sisters are weaving
For me a shroud.

Towers shake and the stars reel under,
Skulls are heaped in the Devil's fain;
My feet are wrapped in a rolling thunder,
Jets of agony lance my brain.

What of the world that I leave forever?
Phantom forms in a fading sight—
Carry me out on the ebon river
Into the Night."

4 out of 5

Friday, December 17, 2010

With A Little Help - Cory Doctorow

A high quality collection at 3.71, as is usual for Doctorow's short work. This one is chock full of near future speculation.

With A Little Help : The Things That Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away - Cory Doctorow
With A Little Help : The Right Book - Cory Doctorow
With A Little Help : Other Peoples' Money - Cory Doctorow
With A Little Help : Scroogled - Cory Doctorow
With A Little Help : Human Readable - Cory Doctorow
With A Little Help : Liberation Spectrum - Cory Doctorow
With A Little Help : Power Punctuation! - Cory Doctorow
With A Little Help : Visit the Sins - Cory Doctorow
With A Little Help : Constitutional Crisis - Cory Doctorow
With A Little Help : Pester Power - Cory Doctorow
With A Little Help : Chicken Little - Cory Doctorow
With A Little Help : Epoch - Cory Doctorow

Anomaly growth check Emergence.

3.5 out of 5

Various story so far.

3 out of 5

Too big, too slow, VC boy.

4 out of 5

All your googles are belong to us. We can also fix 'em if you are the right kind of person, you know, politicians, rich guys, etc.

4 out of 5

Networking gaming relationship opposition.

4 out of 5

Radio startup tour.

3.5 out of 5

You got to be nuts to want to be in charge, protege, you see?

4.5 out of 5

Switched off Grampa.

3.5 out of 5

More than one AI me.

3.5 out of 5

Vat man numeracy virus fear.

4 out of 5

AI 1 shutdown

4 out of 5

4.5 out of 5

Chicken Little - Cory Doctorow

Vat man numeracy virus fear.

4 out of 5

Pester Power - Cory Doctorow

More than one AI me.

3.5 out of 5

Constitutional Crisis - Cory Doctorow

Guild rules.

3 out of 5

The Right Book - Cory Doctorow

Various story so far.

3 out of 5

The Plague of Masters 1-14 - Poul Anderson

"Flandry paced in silence. He would have traded a year of life for a pack of Terran cigarets, but he hadn’t even been supplied with locals. It was like a final nail driven into his coffin.

What to do?

Cooperate? Yield to the probe? But that meant allowing his mind to ramble in free association, under the stimulus of the machine. Warouw would hear everything Flandry knew about the Empire in general and Naval Intelligence in particular. Which was one devil of a lot.

In itself, that would be harmless—if the knowledge stayed on this planet. But it was worth too much. A bold man like Warouw was certain to exploit it. The Merseians, for instance, would gladly establish a non-interfering protectorate over Unan Besar—it would only tie down a cruiser or two—in exchange for the information about Terran defenses which Warouw could feed them in shrewd driblets. Or better, perhaps, Warouw could take a ship himself and search out those barbarians with spacecraft Flandry knew of: who would stuff the vessel of Warouw with loot from Terran planets which he could tell them how to raid.

Either way, the Long Night was brought that much closer.

Of course, Dominic Flandry would still be alive, as a sort of domesticated animal. He couldn’t decide if it was worth it or not.

Thunder rolled in the hills. The sun sank behind clouds which boiled up to cover the sky. A few fat raindrops smote a darkening garden.

I wonder if I get anything more to eat today, thought Flandry in his weariness.

He hadn’t turned on the lights. His room was nearly black. When the door opened, he was briefly dazzled. The figure that stepped through was etched against corridor illumination like a troll.

Flandry retreated, fists clenched. After a moment he realized it was only a Biocontrol uniform, long robe with flaring shoulders. But did they want him already? His heart thuttered in anticipation.

“Easy, there,” said a vaguely familiar voice.

Lightning split heaven. In an instant’s white glare, Flandry made out shaven head, glowing brand, and the broken face of Kemul the mugger."

4.5 out of 5

Nadine's Invitation - Win Scott Eckert

Finding the dodgy count(ess) growing!

3 out of 5

From Bar To Bar Interviews - Charles Stross

"“What is going on?” I asked.

“Apparently we were pulled, with no kindness at all, from hyperspace.”

I followed him hastily, while seeing others passing by, at times bumping into us. We walked up and down stairs, through several corridors, and were, sometimes, shaken by what sounded like nearby explosions.

“Hyperspace?” I asked again, trying to understand.

Charlie looked at me like someone looking at a complete stranger.

“Inaugural trip, remember? Pegasus first-class freighter. Level 2 on the Reymond & Clever scale. Bound to the system of Bellatrix. Coming from the industrial conglomerate of Io, at service of Amgen & Toyota Corporation. What have you been drinking?

“We were pulled out,” he continued, “of our trip by a solar flare of great magnitude. PULLED-OUT! Do you get that?”"

4.5 out of 5

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Foreword to Philip Jose Farmer's Tarzan Alive - Win Scott Eckert

"One of the first such forays into post-Farmerian Creative Mythography (as Farmer termed the Wold Newton Game in Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life) was The Wold Newton Meteoritics Society’s Wold Atlas fanzine (1977-78). The Wold Atlas included genealogical essays, a serialized novel, and original illustrations and ran for five issues. A few essays inspired by Farmer’s Wold Newton concept appeared in the 1980s and 1990s in various pulp-oriented publications such as The Bronze Gazette, Nemesis Incorporated, and Pulp Vault.

However, it took the Internet to coalesce a second wave of Creative Mythography with the 1997 publication of the first Wold Newton Web site, An Expansion of Philip José Farmer’s Wold Newton Universe, or The Wold Newton Universe ( By last count there are fourteen"

4.5 out of 5

STAR ONE Wading in Blood and Bad Temper - Sally Manton

"AVON: As far as I am concerned you can destroy whatever you like. You can stir up a thousand revolutions, you can wade in blood up to your armpits. Oh, and you can lead the rabble to victory, whatever that might mean. Just so long as there is an end to it. When Star One is gone it is finished, Blake. And I want it finished. I want it over and done with. I want to be free.

CALLY: But you are free now, Avon.

AVON: I want to be free of him.

BLAKE: I never realised. You really do hate me, don't you?

No, of course he doesn't. Avon never hated Blake. He never even disliked him. He is irritated, even infuriated, by quite a few aspects of living with Blake and in the shadow of Blake's political agenda. He dislikes the fact that he is letting Blake run his life, a fact that grates against his independence and his survival instincts (watching Blake's back is *not* the galaxy's safest place to be). And he has never had any time for Blake's cause of freedom for the masses, which by this stage he loathes with a vengeance."

5 out of 5

Wold Newton and J. T. Edson - Brad Mengel

"J.T. Edson was born in 1928 and in 1946 joined the British Army, Royal Veterinary Corps as a dog trainer, where he served in Germany, Kenya, Malaya and Hong Kong. Edson started writing story notes in longhand in notebooks. A win at Tombola (bingo) whilst in Hong Kong provided the funds to purchase a typewriter.
Upon his return to England, Edson took a writing course and heard about Brown Watson’s writing contest, where his Floating Outfit novel Trail Boss took second place and earnt him a book contract. Trail Boss was published in 1961 and Edson wrote a further forty-five books for Brown Watson before his contract was taken over by Corgi books in 1968. Whilst Edson had been trying to branch out from traditional westerns at Brown Watson, it was Corgi that allowed him the creative freedom he needed to fully explore the idea of an interconnected family of adventurers in a wider range of stories and genres."

4.5 out of 5

The Health Knowledge Genre Magazines Part Three: Magazine of Horror - Peter Enfantino

Starting with 25.

"Notes: RAWL writes “September 1, 1930 fell on a Wednesday; that was the day the new issue of Wonder Stories was due to go on sale, but there was always the hope that I might see it a day or two before, so I started to haunt the local newsstands Monday.” The editor writes of a certain time and a certain pulp but substitute your time and particular obsession and it’s a universal story amongst collectors. My drug was Famous Monsters of Filmland and I can remember calling my local comic store constantly (the owner probably thought my calls about the next issue began the day after I was in to pick up the current number!). But back to MOH- RAWL writes in his Editor’s Page about discovering Clark Ashton Smith in that issue of Wonder Stories and becoming a fast fan of the author. (When Dead Gods Wake” is illustrated but not credited. “The Colossus of Ylourgne” has an illustration signed by Clark Ashton Smith. RAWL reviews And Flights of Angels, a biography of artist Hannes Bok by Emil Petaja and “divers hands.” In It Is Written, Mrs. David H. Keller writes in, replying to the letter from Robert Madle about Keller’s “The Abyss,” which appeared in MOH 22. Also writing in are Mike Ashley and Eddy C. Bertin, a German writer best known for his Lovecraftian short stories."

5 out of 5

The Health Knowledge Genre Magazines Part Two: Magazine of Horror - Peter Enfantino

This part starts with number 13.

"Notes: the first ad for Health Knowledge’s second genre digest, Startling Mystery Stories, appears on the inside front cover. RAWL discusses the new magazine in It Is Written. Book reviews include The Dark Brotherhood by H. P. Lovecraft and “diver’s hands” (this was one of the hardcovers Arkham House published featuring Lovecraft story fragments finished up by August Derleth), Something Breathing by Stanley McNail (also Arkham House), and several short reviews. The Howard story has an interesting history. “Valley of the Lost” was originally scheduled for Strange Tales but that pulp went belly-up before "Lost" saw print. In 1965, Glen Lord (executor for the Howard estate) sent a manuscript to RAWL titled “King of the Lost People,” proclaiming that it was the story once slated for Strange Tales. Lowndes excitedly accepted the story for publication. Just as the issue was coming off the press, Lord contacted Lowndes with the news that “Valley of the Lost” was, oops, not really “King of the Lost People,” because Lord had just found another “six boxes of Howard’s papers and files” and “Valley of the Lost” was among the papers included (with annotations by Strange Tales editor Harry Bates). Definitely two different stories. The real “Valley of the Lost” later ran in Startling Mystery Stories."

5 out of 5

The Health Knowledge Genre Magazines Part One: The Magazine of Horror - Peter Enfantino

"After offering him a price for the whole box (yeah, I know, given the Golden Chalise, I still wanted it filled with Chateau Mouton Rothschild and it had to be a 1982 vintage—hey, I’m a collector), I downplayed my excitement and carted off my large box of booty. The excitement was not lost on my (then) wife and (still) children as they had to take the bus back home since I had forgotten to pick them up on the next aisle and instead headed home to lay out the goods on the library floor.

So what did I discover when going through these little zines and are they worth trolling eBay for? Well, that depends. Much like the legendary pulp, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, the Health Knowledge line reprinted classics and not-so-classics from the great pulps, along with a spattering of new stories. But what it’s remembered fondly for, nearly fifty years later, was the editorial presence of Robert A. W. Lowndes, who would not only pick each story, he’d also tell you all about the tale and its teller. The letters pages and book review columns were packed with opinionated information and informed opinions. Though I haven’t read much of the fiction, I’ve devoured the non-.

Lowndes was like a professor, lecturing to his students about Lovecraft, Bloch, Howard, and Quinn. He would gently nudge the reader towards a certain author and was not adverse to giving the newbie a spotlight (as he did with Stephen King and F. Paul Wilson). His fingerprints could be found on every page."

5 out of 5

Pumpkin Night - Gary McMahon

Katy O'Lantern.

3.5 out of 5

The Drake Equation - Neal Asher

"N = R* fp ne fl fi fc L


N = The number of communicative civilizations
R* = The rate of formation of suitable stars (stars such as our Sun)
fp = The fraction of those stars with planets. (Current evidence indicates that planetary systems may be common for stars like the Sun.)
ne = The number of Earth-like worlds per planetary system
fl = The fraction of those Earth-like planets where life actually develops
fi = The fraction of life sites where intelligence develops
fc = The fraction of communicative planets (those on which electromagnetic communications technology develops)
L = The "lifetime" of communicating civilizations"

3.5 out of 5

Mary Kornbluth Part 2: The Death of Cyril - Frederik Pohl

"And he went home, but, of course, Cyril just couldn’t live that way.

He stuck it out as long as he could, perhaps as long as a couple of months, and then he decided that he’d rather be dead than living like that. So back came the booze and the cigarettes and the salt shaker and all the other things that made Cyril’s life worth living and sure enough, next thing you know, his limbs were jerking and his eyes were rolled up in his head and he was busily dying on the train station platform.

All right. End of story for Cyril. The new major characters were Mary and the boys. "

5 out of 5

Feature Interview - Greg Bear

"Your recent novels Quantico and Mariposa are set in the very near future. How have real world events developed since you first thought up those books and what have been some similarities or differences between that and what you imagined?

I think both Quantico and Mariposa have turned out to be alarmingly spot on. I mean Quantico, which was finished back around 2004, postulated that the United States would be heading into a major economic downturn caused by spending without taxation and spending on wars without paying for them and all that sort of thing. Turns out that’s exactly where we are. As far as the religious wars go that I laid out in Quantico, we’re still there. We probably will be there for another thirty or forty years. In Mariposa, I wanted to write a more upbeat story at the same time I wanted to finish off the cycle that I began in Quantico, and also lead into the politics that I describe in earlier novels like Queen of Angels and Slant. In Slant, I had Green Idaho developing which was kind of a secessionist state in the northwest. It looks like we’re heading into that region now with states like Texas threatening to secede or at least hinting that they might like to."

4.5 out of 5

Judith Merril Part 8: Spymaster In the Custody Wars - Frederik Pohl

"That was an unexpected embarrassing moment — truly unexpected and seriously embarrassingly embarrassing — and then there was another like it, and then I figured out what was going on. Sam, who is dead now, was using his office key to come back at night, after everyone else had gone home, and make a careful study of my deposit slips and check stubs. And then he passed it all to Judy. Who passed it on to my clients. With the result that now everybody knew as much as I did about my most private juggling of the funds that were keeping me going."

4 out of 5

The Impossibility of a Diaphanous History Machine - Charlie Huston

Crotch bomber story.

3.5 out of 5

The Taste of Miracles - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

The Taste Of Miracles - Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Xmas Mars run.

3.5 out of 5

Monstrous Love - Jen Reese

Sphinx riddle.

3 out of 5

M51 The Whirlpool - NASA

Thanks to Bad Astronomy and their top 14 picture list

4 out of 5

M51 The Whirlpool - NASA

Yarn 1 - Jon Armstrong

"When I am asked about my talents in the yarn arts, I like to say that there is no such thing as talent. When they ask how I came to be one of the world’s top designers, I shrug and mutter some cliché like hard work, luck, or perspiration. In an interview a year ago at FiberKon, someone asked when I knew I was a fashion genius. I told him I was not a genius. I believe that. But I do have a few special talents that no one else seems to possess. Maybe I always knew I was different, but it was during my first year in Seattlehama that I saw real evidence."

2.5 out of 5

First Tuesday Book Club - Alastair Reynolds

Video interview for the ABC book show.

4 out of 5

Cordwainer Smith: The Ballad of Lost Linebarger Part 2 - Frederik Pohl

"There was a problem. After a few more fine stories about the associates of Lord Jestecost and C’Mell the cat lady and all, I got a saddening letter from him. He wouldn’t be writing any more stories about the Instrumentality, he said, because he had totally run out of additional story ideas. He hadn’t thought that would happen, he told me, because for years he’d kept this little pocket notebook with him, filling it with ideas as they occurred to him, including a number for additional stories in the series. But, alas. he’d been in a small boat somewhere — maybe it was on some Italian lake or Mediterranean bay — and he had leaned incautiously over the side … and the notebook had fallen out of his breast pocket into the water … and he been able to watch it dropping through the crystal-clear water until at last it was out of sight, and was gone. Along with all those never-to-be-written stories"

5 out of 5

Copyfighter - A. R. Yvnge

Expired mortally.

3 out of 5

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Time Travel - Ben Bova

"Sheer science fiction? Not really. Physicists have seriously considered the possibility of time travel.Actually, we are all time travelers, moving relentlessly into the future at the pace of one second per second. But might we be able to jump hundreds of years ahead? Thousands? Or go back into the past?"

3 out of 5

Appeals Court 3 - Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow

Next of an audio serial.

3.5 out of 5

Vision Machine 1

Vision Machine 1

iEye Dream Surveillance trick.

4 out of 5

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Peering Through the Fountains of Enceladus - NASA

Peering Through the Fountains of Enceladus - NASA

4.5 out of 5

Salon Futura Interview - Alastair Reynolds

A video interview discussion about his work and SF in general at the moment.

5 out of 5

Win Scott Eckert Climbs The Wold Newton Family Tree! - Win Scott Eckert

"Some better-known characters in Phil’s Wold Newton Family, as outlined in Tarzan Alive and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, include Captain Blood (another pre-meteor strike ancestor); The Scarlet Pimpernel (present at meteor strike); Fitzwilliam Darcy and his wife, Elizabeth Bennet (present at meteor strike); Harry Flashman; Sherlock Holmes and his nemesis Professor Moriarty (aka Captain Nemo); Phileas Fogg; The Time Traveler; A.J. Raffles; Professor Challenger; Arsène Lupin; Richard Hannay; Bulldog Drummond; the evil Fu Manchu and his adversary, Sir Denis Nayland Smith; G-8; The Shadow; Sam Spade; The Spider; Nero Wolfe; Mr. Moto; The Avenger; Philip Marlowe; James Bond; Lew Archer; and Travis McGee.
Adding characters to the Wold Newton Family is an entertaining exercise. It is also a messy and creative process; the criteria are not nearly as clear-cut as when determining whether a crossover story is valid for purposes of Wold Newton Universe continuity."

4.5 out of 5

The Next Generation of Generation Starships - Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

"The announcement by NASA in late September 2010 of the discovery of the first potentially habitable extrasolar planet, Gliese 581 g, was tremendously exciting for many reasons, but it raised an age-old question. Gliese 581 g is located about 20.3 light-years, or 1.3 million Astronomical Units (AUs), from Earth. How long would it take for us to get there?"

4 out of 5

Interview With Pjf Editor/Promoter/Website Guru - Mike Croteau!

"MC: Apparently my fannish enthusiasm struck something with Phil and he was willing to let me go through his files looking at material he had never published! As much as I loved to read these stories, I knew other fans would too, so we started selling photocopies of these unpublished stories for pretty steep prices. When I found another batch of stories, I suggested publishing them in a fanzine all about Phil. He and I both enjoyed this outlet much more than selling photocopies and even though we didn't print more than a few hundred copies of each issue, I still feel that Farmerphile was a huge success, I'm very proud of it. Farmerphile ran out of steam in 2009, but shortly after, due to both Phil and Bette passing away, I became the temporary custodian of Phil's "Magic Filing Cabinet." So called because every time we go through the files, we find something we somehow missed the last dozen times we went through them. This naturally led to the anthology The Worlds of Philip Jose Farmer 1: Protean Dimension, the first in a hopefully annual series. Each volume will contain material written by Phil that has never been published before as well as speeches,
interviews and other material that may or may not have been published. We're also looking to reprint articles about Phil to help preserve his history. Finally we're also looking for new stories based on his characters and worlds by writers that he has influenced. I wish I could mention some names that are lined up for volume 2, but it's a little early for that."

4.5 out of 5

Episode 30: Live with Gary K. Wolfe! - Jonathan Strahan

"Gary and I fired up the podcasting paraphernalia connecting Coode Street directly to East Cedar Ave, and spent time talking about Jo Walton, her novel Among Others, Niall Harrison’s Top 10 SF Novels by Women, and other stuff. "

4 out of 5

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cordwainer Smith: The Ballad of Lost Linebarger Part 1 - Frederik Pohl

"It was a story that had appeared in a semi-pro sf magazine from California called, if I remember aright, Fantasy Book. Its title was “Scanners Live in Vain.” It was about a bizarre kind of spaceflight, set in a bizarre future world, .and it was signed as by someone named Cordwainer Smith. So I included it in my lineup, and then had the problem of finding out who could sign a permission for the use of the story and accept the payment for it. “Cordwainer Smith” smelled very much like a pseudonym to me. But for whom? "

5 out of 5

Philip Jose Farmer’s Pulp Trinity - Dennis E. Power

"Philip José Farmer’s fascination with the characters of Tarzan and Doc Savage are well known. He had after all written biographies of both characters and fulfilled his life long dream of writing both an authorized Doc Savage novel, Escape from Loki, and an authorized Tarzan novel, Dark Heart of Time. Additionally Tarzan and Doc Savage turned up in many of Farmer’s works, although often in disguise. What does not get as much attention however is Farmer’s fascination with another pulp figure, The Shadow, who also appeared in various guises in some of his works. "

4.5 out of 5

Grimjack - The Mancx Cat 13

Don't kill me and demons.

3.5 out of 5

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Judith Merril Part 7: When It All Hit the Fan - Frederik Pohl

"The bad things began to happen right away.

I was going to have to present witnesses to things Judy had done. Cyril Kornbluth and Mary Kornbluth agreed to testify for me. So did Jim and Virginia Blish and some others, but right around then Judy, too, began the search for witnesses, and the effect was that, between the two of us, Judy and I had broken up some old friendships, a couple of them irreparably so, and half the science-fiction community of the area was hardly speaking to the other half. "

5 out of 5

Metaphase 04 - Vonda N. McIntyre

"“Nemo’s not like anything back in Puget Sound,” J.D. said. “Not anything like.”

“I know. But he reminds me anyway. He doesn’t look like he’s been swimming in a long time.”

“Nemo can’t go swimming,” J.D. said, a little impatiently. Imagine a being the size of Nemo, the size of the planetoid, swimming anywhere.

“Not now,” Zev said. “But critters like Nemo don’t always look the same.”

3.5 out of 5

Bloodletting - Concrete Blonde

The Vampire Song.

4.5 out of 5