Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Vanishing Venusians - Leigh Brackett

Psionic flower children hunt.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/TheVanishingVenusians

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Quest Of the Starstone - C. L. Moore

The wizard Franga is getting his arse handed him by Jirel so badly he has to summon help. The man, time and place he chooses to pick is Northwest Smith, having a quiet drink and convo in the future.

Northwest, of course, intrigued enough to step through a strange gate into the past is more than capable of smelling a rat, along with being impressed by the bloodnut warrior.


5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/QuestOfTheStarstone

Toast and Other Rusted Futures - Charles Stross

This collection contains stories that are 2000 or earlier. In the introduction Stross talks about the future catching up and getting to the stage of making a couple of them obsolete. That being a problem with writing that sort of SF in general, too. Also an amusing mini-section about what would happen if you time travelled back to see H. G. Wells and could minimally answer questions of his before the Time Police get you.

The stories themselves are high quality, in general, with a rather good 3.75 average. They range from downright nasty alternate histories to an odd fantasy and ubergeek extrapolation and multiple worlds.

Absolutely worth getting.

Toast : Antibodies - Charles Stross
Toast : Bear Trap - Charles Stross
Toast : Extracts from the Club Diary - Charles Stross
Toast : A Colder War - Charles Stross
Toast : Toast A con report - Charles Stross
Toast : A Boy and His God - Charles Stross
Toast : Ship of Fools - Charles Stross
Toast : Dechlorinating the Moderator - Charles Stross
Toast : Yellow Snow - Charles Stross
Toast : Big Brother Iron - Charles Stross

Worldline AI technology overrun.

5 out of 5

Share intelligence.

4 out of 5

A couple of gents found a coffee addicts club.

'A chap who would willingly spend two years in deepest Africa searching for the ultimate cup of coffee, yet who would uncomplainingly partake of the vile brew we were served that night, in the boudoir of the most notorious libertine and socialite of the age; such a man was, quite unmistakably, a fellow spirit. Like me, he was unmistakably trapped in the grip of the most potent addiction of our modern age. And, from the moment I discovered that I was not alone, the subsequent formation of our Club became inevitable.'

The story takes bits from their history throughout the decades:
'Whether or not those demented harridans obtain the satisfaction of their unreasonable demands for suffrage, we shall have no women in this club. This is a high-minded institution dedicated to the pursuit of the sublime beverage; likely as not, were we to admit women they would introduce embroidery, or worse still, insist on drinking tea.'

3.5 out of 5

The US works on highly advanced nuclear weapons programs to stop something far worse that the Soviets have available :

'What exactly are these weapons systems?'' demands the third inquisitor, a quiet, hawk-faced man sitting on the left of the panel.

The shoggot'im, they're called: servitors. There are several kinds of advanced robotic systems made out of molecular components: they can change shape, restructure material at the atomic level -- '

3.5 out of 5

Retrogeekgeargabfest.

4.5 out of 5

First, imagine Cthulhu as your pet, contained to a reasonable size. Then, imagine him on a skateboard. Sound way too crazy? Read this story, both happen.

4 out of 5

A group of technology experts in disaster situations have a bit of a floating conference to get away from it all.

2.5 out of 5

A highly geeky technical conference causes mind melting and hangovers:

'A seminar entitled: 'embedded universes 101', discussing the possibility of creating Linde-Mezhlumian fractally-embedded self- reproducing universes -- in effect, mini-big-bangs contained within pocket black holes -- which rapidly deteriorated into quasi-religious ranting when someone in the audience asked a remarkably convoluted question about the practicality of 'implementing the preconditions for a Barrow-Tipler strong anthropic cosmology' within the toy universes.

Some time during that last talk my brain underwent a loss of coolant accident and melted down. I confess: I'm not a true geek. The theological significance of the Higgs scalar field leaves me cold. I don't really understand how to create a pocket universe, or what it means. I'm just repeating what I heard there. These dudes are beyond it. Way beyond it. Whatever it is.'

3.5 out of 5

A drug manufacturer and dealer has to move faster and faster with the times.

Meeting a woman, he comes across some interesting technology:
'One Probabilistic Eigenstate Reorganisation Viewer, in full working order.''

3 out of 5

Party Inner Resistance Ring.

4 out of 5




4.5 out of 5

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/fiction/toast/toast.html

Big Brother Iron - Charles Stross

Party Inner Resistance Ring.


4 out of 5

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/fiction/toast/toast.html

Toast A Con Report - Charles Stross

Retrogeekgeargabfest.


4.5 out of 5

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/fiction/toast/toast.html

Bear Trap - Charles Stross

Share intelligence.


4 out of 5

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/fiction/toast/toast.html

Antibodies - Charles Stross

Worldline AI technology overrun.


5 out of 5

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/fiction/toast/toast.html

Where Away You Fall - Jason Sanford

Gossamer Angel Page Seeker.


3 out of 5

http://www.jasonsanford.com/WhereAwayFall.pdf

The Spires of Denon - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Monument defense dig dive.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.scribd.com/doc/25250649/Spires-of-Denon

Memory Dog - Kathleen Ann Goonan

Smacks of truth, little woofer.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/media.libsyn.com/media/starshipsofa/StarShipSofa_Aural_Delights_No_118_kathleen_Ann_Goonan.mp3

The Windup Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi

Thai generip terror.

It Bacigalupi ever writes anything that is sweetness and light, that right there would be likely proof of the Many Worlds Theory and the fact that you had slipped into an alternate universe.

The setting is Bangkok, or, colloquially, Krung Thep. It is also a near future dystopia. The city now houses many displaced Chinese refugees from a Malaysia turned fundamentalist muslim fanatics. (See his story Yellow Card Man for background) Bangkok itself is only kept from drowning by engineering and technology.

This is a post-oil world, with very little petroleum technology available, remaining. No evidence of solar tech, either, really. Power is provided by human labor and genetically engineered highly efficient animals pourding kinetic energy into springs, which then can be used to power machines. Treadle computers, even. Countries have shrunk in upon themselves as a result, but are beginning to look outward again, with ships, and dirigibles. This makes this setting rather unlike the mass-media or AI ridden future India and Brasil etc. of Ian McDonald's devising.

Particularly nasty are the 'calorie companies' - organisations that have the ability to manufacture crops in large supply: but their crops are sterile, so you always need to go back for more. That is if bugs and plagues 'weevils' and 'blister rust' do not get them. Much dirty, violent dealing in support of this activity (see his story The Calorie Man) and there are mentions of it going horribly wrong in other countries. One of the questions this raises is how they manage to stay around - why, with such hatred of them, are the calorie men and women not mercilessly hunted and slaughtered. The only intimations you get of this are economic power, based in the USA. Also China is apparently dysfunctional, and many other countries are devastated. Thailand, through foresight, is struggling on, and is hence a point of interest. Their genetic stocks and the genetic engineering expert they have on hand to help defend them are of interest to all.

The rapidly mutating diseases caused by genetic engineering meddling and conflict kill many - with mainly the calorie companies having the resources to combat their own hellish offspring, if they care to. Mutated cats with no real predators except humans have also destroyed a lot of the food chain.

The novel has many viewpoints:

Anderson Lake, An American calorie man representative, brought in to try and increase productivity at a factory working on more efficient power springs. More than he seems, however.

Hock Seng, The Yellow Card Man, an elderly fallen Chinese merchant who escaped massacres and now works for Lake.

Emiko, The Windup Girl. A Japanese artificially created human. Unable to reproduce, overheats easily but has many unknown talents. Left behind by her owner, currently a working bar girl.

Kanya, an officer in the Environment Ministry's corps of field soldiers responsible for protecting the city from incursions of disease, animals and artificial humans.

Conflict develops from many angles - there is longstanding resentment between the Environment Ministry and Trade Ministry because of different philosophies, inward, and outward looking, respectively. The foreign merchants look to exploit this. Then there is of course anti-refugee racism. As mentioned before, and historically, the Asian against Asian racism or nationalism is quite horrific.

The novel leaves you uneasy the whole way through, but fascinated. After many thousands of stories I am not easy to surprise. I had no idea what the hell was going to happen in this book, apart from the fact that it was likely to be bloody. The writing is excellent. Bacigalupi is a major talent, if unfortunately not very prolific.

Hard to predict, but I think this novel is quite likely to be important in the sense of SF history. It is brilliant, in its all sweating dystopian style.

Forget whatever else you are reading, and speed browse to Webscriptions where this is a available multiformat DRM free (thankfully, given its theme). Hopefully it will do well enough so his collection 'Pump Six' becomes available, too. This is good enough to buy in any or all varieties, however.

It is that rare beast, a 5 star novel. Great at the start, great in the middle, great at the end.


5 out of 5

http://io9.com/5457404/februrarys-io9-book-club-pick-paolo-bacigalupis-windup-girl

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Assistant - Ian Whates

Bug bot cleanup.


3.5 out of 5

http://variety-sf.blogspot.com/search/label/Ian%20Whates?max-results=100

Johnny And Emmie-lou Get Married - Kim Lakin-Smith

Rocketeer gang race.


3 out of 5

http://www.kimlakin-smith.com/page/Johnny-and-Emmie-Lou-Get-Married.aspx

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Black Amazon Of Mars - Leigh Brackett

Lord Ciaran, distaff discovery and Stark decide to stop trying to kill each other to prevent bad things from coming back beyond the Gates Of Death.


5 out of 5

http://ia361300.us.archive.org/14/items/BlackAmazonOfMars/

A conversation about writing the Dragaera books - Steven Brust

On series survival, in more ways than one.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=blog&id=58639

Monday, January 25, 2010

Typescript for Out Of the Silence - Erle Cox

Also the copyright request form. Page images at the National Archive.


5 out of 5

http://naa12.naa.gov.au/scripts/Imagine.asp?B=3444471&I=1&SE=1

Sunday, January 24, 2010

To Weird Tales November 1929 - Robert E. Howard

"I have just been reading the September WEIRD TALES, which blossomed out on the news stands today. I was especially taken with A Jest and a Vengeance, by E. Hoffmann Price. I've never been east of New Orleans, but as far as I am concerned Price has captured the true spirit of the East in his tales, just as Kipling did. His stories breathe the Orient. In this latest tale I note, as in all his others, that patterned background of beauty for which he is noted. The action is perfectly attuned to the thought of the tale and that thought goes deep. More, through the weaving runs a minor note of diabolical humor, tantalizing and enthralling."


3.5 out of 5

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Robert_E._Howard_to_Weird_Tales,_Nov_1929

Notes On Writing Weird Fiction - H. P. Lovecraft

"I choose weird stories because they suit my inclination best—one of my strongest and most persistent wishes being to achieve, momentarily, the illusion of some strange suspension or violation of the galling limitations of time, space, and natural law which forever imprison us and frustrate our curiosity about the infinite cosmic spaces beyond the radius of our sight and analysis. These stories frequently emphasise the element of horror because fear is our deepest and strongest emotion, and the one which best lends itself to the creation of Nature-defying illusions. Horror and the unknown or the strange are always closely connected, so that it is hard to create a convincing picture of shattered natural law or cosmic alienage or “outsideness” without laying stress on the emotion of fear."


4 out of 5

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Notes_on_Writing_Weird_Fiction

Dula Due To Be Champion - Robert E. Howard

"Arthur "Kid" Dula is due to be the middleweight champion of the world, in the opinion of Robert E. Howard of Cross Plains, who witnessed the Dula-Tramel battle in Fort Worth last week.

Howard is a close student of the boxing game, and is thoroughly posted on current boxing as well as on the history of the fight game. Writing to The Bulletin today from his home is Cross Plains, Howard says:

"Last Friday night a boy went through his baptism of blood and fire and emerged victorious. The decision went against him but the moral victory was his."


3.5 out of 5

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Dula_Due_To_Be_Champion

Swords of the HIlls - Robert E. Howard

El Borak gets a hand, and gets a bit tied up on a courier mission.


3 out of 5

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Lost_V...

James Patterson Inc - Jonathan Mahler

"Like most authors, James Patterson started out with one book, released in 1976, that he struggled to get published. It sold about 10,000 copies, a modest, if respectable, showing for a first novel. Last year, an estimated 14 million copies of his books in 38 different languages found their way onto beach blankets, airplanes and nightstands around the world. Patterson may lack the name recognition of a Stephen King, a John Grisham or a Dan Brown, but he outsells them all. Really, it’s not even close. (According to Nielsen BookScan, Grisham’s, King’s and Brown’s combined U.S. sales in recent years still don’t match Patterson’s.) This is partly because Patterson is so prolific: with the help of his stable of co-authors, he published nine original hardcover books in 2009 and will publish at least nine more in 2010."

...

"There are many different ways to catalog Patterson’s staggering success. Here are just a few: Since 2006, one out of every 17 novels bought in the United States was written by James Patterson. "

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/24/magazine/24patterson-t.html?pagewanted=1&ref=magazine

Crystal Nights - Greg Egan

http://ttapress.com/553/crystal-nights-by-greg-egan/0/4/

http://transmissionsfrombeyond.com/po...

AI research society universal escape flareup.


5 out of 5

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Octopulps Featurette: SFWA Grand Master Talks Pulps - Robert Silverberg

"MOTTO: Thanks so much for taking the time to help us visualize this world. And one goofy question to close: Did you notice the prevalence of tentacle-ish covers at the time? Any feeling about the use/misuse of octopuses and other marine monsters in the pulps?

RS: There were plenty of tentacles. Tentacles were very important. We were always kind to squiggly creatures and never abused them."


4.5 out of 5

http://francesca.net/silverberg.html

Princes Of Storms 1-4 - Kay Kenyon

"A shimmer overhead. The shield above the hangar had evaporated. Without pause, the brightships leaped from their berths, rushing into the air like a flock of dragons. In perfect synchronicity, they shot out at angles, separating toward what might be their destinations in the five primacies. But who knew the Tarig mind? Surely not Breund, a retired merchant, an elder of the Red Throne, a common sentient who never knew the Ascendancy until the change of power came upon them.

He watched as the brightships vanished into the bright. What could they hope to do, these solitaires? Who would they rule, or where would they find mansions to contain them? Titus Quinn would pursue them. Oh, but now all the ships were gone. Perhaps, when the Jinda ceb came, they would build new ones.

The lord gestured toward the nearest doorway, flicking his wrist in a casual gesture. “Make your report, Breund.”

“First we look to the wounded.” Breund kneeled down beside the nearest guard.

“When a Tarig means to kill, success is usual.”"


4 out of 5


http://pyrsamples.blogspot.com/

Beauty and the Beasts - Fritz Leiber

Girl splits male, violently.


4 out of 5

http://www.webscription.net/chapters/ERBAEN0092/ERBAEN0092___2.htm

The Long Watch - Robert A. Heinlein

Moon Base bomb, Stinky.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.webscription.net/chapters/1439133417/1439133417___4.htm

Space Jockey - Robert A. Heinlein

Want to come to the Moon?


3 out of 5

http://www.webscription.net/chapters/1439133417/1439133417___3.htm

Delilah and the Space Rigger - Robert A. Heinlein

Send for some women.


3 out of 5

http://www.webscription.net/chapters/1439133417/1439133417___2.htm

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The First Editions - James Stoddard

Very bookish nerd.


3 out of 5

http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=download&id=58342&file=books/ybf9/YBF9-9.pdf

The Demi-Urge - Thomas Disch

Machine man slaves, Terran.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/30911/30911-h/30911-h.htm

The Rebel Of Valkyr - Alfred Coppel

"Against the mighty forces of the assembled star-kings, the army of Valkyr counted for almost nothing; but the savage fighting men of the Edge carried with them their talisman -- Alys Imperatrix, uncrowned sovereign of the Galaxy, Heiress of the Thousand Emperors..."


4.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_4_Number_8_

A Guided Tour In the Kingdom Of the Dead - Richard Harland

Got a terminally dry throat, here.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=download&id=58342&file=books/ybf9/YBF9-9.pdf

Frigid Fracas - Mack Reynolds

Mauser duel.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/3/1/0/0/31008/31008-h/31008-h.htm

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Interview: Producer for Tor.com - Pablo Defendini

Interview with Chris Meadows at Teleread:

"I conducted an interview with Pablo Defendini, Producer and blogger for Tor.com, via Google Wave. Our conversation ranged from the Tor.com blog itself, to the free e-book giveaway that kicked off the site, to the much-anticipated but still-absent Tor.com e-book store.

Defendini noted that Tor.com was a separate subsidiary from Tor Books the publisher, and as an employee of Tor.com he was unable to answer questions pertaining to Tor Books’s stance on e-books or its e-book ventures prior to Tor.com (such as Tor Webscriptions).

However, he did have a number of fascinating things to say about the site itself, and his own attitudes toward e-books."


4.5 out of 5

http://www.teleread.org/2010/01/19/interview-tor-coms-pablo-defendini/comment-page-1/#comment-1153968

The Big Idea - Mark Teppo

Who brings you a different sort of urban fantasy, complete with Nephilimesque playlist. First one is at webscriptions.


4 out of 5


http://whatever.scalzi.com/2010/01/19/the-big-idea-mark-teppo/

Playing With Others: Shared Worlds - Daniel Abraham

"Let me tell you about Wild Cards.

I came to Wild Cards first as a reader, because it started in 1987, more than a decade before my first professional sale. It was a shared world series like Thieves’ World, only with superheroes. It was headed up by George RR Martin, who was at that point the guy who wrote for the new Twilight Zone series and the Beauty and the Beast show with the lady from Terminator. It had stories by Walter Jon Williams and Roger Zelazny and a bunch of other folks. And its superheroes were folks like Golden Boy who failed to stop McCarthyism and Fortunato, superpowered pimp. "


3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tribute to Robert E. Howard - H. P. Lovecraft

"Fantasy Magazine was a highly respected early fanzine published by super fan and future Superman comics editor Julius Schwartz. In the September 1936 issue, the magazine published H. P. Lovecraft's memorial piece on Howard, with supplemental comments added by Otis Adelbert Kline, E. Hoffman Price, and Jack Byrne, the editor of Argosy magazine.

Here are scans of the original publication of the article."


5 out of 5

http://mchaneyrobertehoward.blogspot.com/2010/01/h-p-lovecrafts-tribute-to-robert-e.html

Sea Magic - Fritz Leiber

Arrows magical and mundane, with a nasty fish woman on the end of one.


3 out of 5

http://www.webscription.net/chapters/ERBAEN0093/ERBAEN0093___1.htm

Lean Times In Lankhmar - Fritz Leiber

Falling out extortion racket godliness fun.


5 out of 5

http://www.webscription.net/chapters/ERBAEN0089/ERBAEN0089___2.htm

The Jewels In the Forest - Fritz Leiber

Ambuscade antics are one things, but burglary proves to be quite scarypants.


4 out of 5

http://www.webscription.net/chapters/ERBAEN0088/ERBAEN0088___2.htm

Two Sought Adventure - Fritz Leiber

Ambuscade antics are one things, but burglary proves to be quite scarypants.


4 out of 5

http://www.webscription.net/chapters/ERBAEN0088/ERBAEN0088___2.htm

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Freedom 1 - Daniel Suarez

Blade bike bash.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.thedaemon.com/freedomtmpreview.html

Daemon 1-7 - Daniel Suarez

The old cable across the road trick, for starters.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.thedaemon.com/daemonpreview.html

Introduction To Best American Fantasy 3 - Kevin Brockmeier

A 5 page detailing of what is in there, in pdf.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.underlandpress.com/uploads/Web%20BAF%20NB1.pdf

Complete Index to Interzone - Greg Egan

Detailing the contents of all the issues of the English SF magazine.


5 out of 5

http://ttapress.com/interzone/egan_index/

Interview - Will Elliott

On why you'd want to write about creepy clowns axemurdering each other.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.underlandpress.com/uploads/ELLIOT_INTERVIEW.pdf

The Pilo Family Circus 1 - Will Elliott

I almost killed a clown.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.underlandpress.com/uploads/WEB%20PILO1.pdf

Makers - Cory Doctorow

Makers is an expansion and reworking of a previous novella Themepunks that details the changing of an economy. Featuring a couple of engineers and a journalist that chronicles what happens to them.

The arrival of low-cost three dimensional fabrication allows people with little capital to put ideas into production cheaply and easily. However it also allows others to copy them easily, speeding up the cycle. Come up with product, Maker it, get copied until it is a commodity, then move on.

The particular pair in question come up with some rather geeky ideas in this part as to what to produce. Included also is the entrepreneur that helps them move into a bigger scale, and a muckraking journalist that details their problems.

The second part jumps to post this environment, and is nowhere near as interesting. Doctorow's Disney obsession (which bores me to pieces, generally) springs into full force here again, with business models built around making rides - and legal challenges from said Mean Mouseland.

First part is a 4, second part 3ish.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=blog&id=38507

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Darkship thieves 1-2 - Sarah A. Hoyt

The author reads the first two chapters of her novel. Pretty cool.


4 out of 5

http://darkshipthieves.com/audio/darkship1-2.mp3

Fee Of the Frontier - H. B Fyfe

Martian gamble.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/3/0/9/0/30901/30901-h/30901-h.htm

Expediter - Mack Reynolds

I am Number One. Bugger.


3 out of 5

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/3/0/9/0/30902/30902-h/30902-h.htm

The Starship Mechanic - Jay Lake and Ken Scholes

Alien booknerd byebye.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=story&id=58363

Looking For Truth In A Wild Blue Yonder - Jay Lake and Ken Scholes

Wet ancestry


2.5 out of 5

http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=story&id=58362.

Farewell Performance - Nick Mamatas

Stupider than octopi.


3 out of 5

http://www.tor.com/index.php?id=58566&option=com_content&view=story&limitstart=2

Save the Dragons 18 - Dave Freer

"Sylvan is a world where you cannot see the tree for the woods."


3 out of 5

http://www.savethedragons.nu/chapter18.html

Industrial Revolution - Poul Anderson

Jupiter Gas.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/3/0/9/7/30971/30971-h/30971-h.htm

Norma Hemming A Bibliography - David Medlen

Bibliography as part of a document about the Norma Hemming award.


4 out of 5

PDF version http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=1&ved=0CAcQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fhome.vicnet.net.au%2F~asff%2Fhemming.pdf&rct=j&q=%22Norma+Hemming%22+%22New+Worlds%22+Nebula&ei=kvJQS-r9KJOX8Aa5paWZCw&usg=AFQjCNEJGavJ8U9gY-WrpqXe1k8aC1J-mw

http://74.125.113.132/search?q=cache:6JevcTC-3vsJ:home.vicnet.net.au/~asff/hemming.pdf+%22Norma+Hemming%22+%22New+Worlds%22+Nebula&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Friday, January 15, 2010

Grand Central Arena 32 - Ryk Spoor

"Her face lit up with understanding. "I think you must be right, Simon. Remember when DuQuesne confronted the Molothos, how utterly freaked Orphan was? Remember what he said? Where a human being would have compared the chances to one in a million, the largest number Orphan could seem to think of in that situation was a hundred. As though only a lunatic would ever place a bet on something more than a hundred to one.""


3 out of 5

http://seawasp.livejournal.com/167171.html#cutid1

Grand Central Arena 31 - Ryk Spoor

" Simon waggled a finger at her. "It is still a very real concept for understanding our world. The existence of the Arena and associated frames of reference merely shows that the relativistic effects are limited – special cases which will collapse if subjected to analysis from the point of view of the privileged frame, but only if they become relevant to the spacetime track of…" he saw the incomprehension in her eyes and stopped. "Sorry.""


3 out of 5

http://seawasp.livejournal.com/166642.html#cutid1

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Grand Central Arena 30 - Ryk Spoor

"Then another movement in shadow, a bit closer; this one stalked cautiously, smoothly into a slight clearing, and DuQuesne's heart seemed to drop straight into his boots. A centauroid body atop seven sharp-jointed legs, with a pair of jack-knife arms held curled and ready."


3.5 out of 5

http://seawasp.livejournal.com/165999.html#cutid1

Blish - Paul J. McAuley

"If history teaches us one thing, it’s that almost all authors writing now will be forgotten in a hundred years time, and even if their books linger in some vast long-tail electronic library, few will read them. "


4 out of 5

http://unlikelyworlds.blogspot.com/2010/01/blish.html

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Grand Central Arena 29 - Ryk Spoor

""Yes. You're the doctor. That makes you in some ways the most crucial member of the crew; the longer we stay here – especially given the specifically dangerous conditions imposed on us by this 'Arena' – the more likely it is that some of us are going to get hurt, possibly very badly. Given that, it would be criminally irresponsible of me – or any of us – to permit you to be exposed to any more danger than we can reasonably avoid." He held up a hand to forestall an argument. "I am not saying we have to wrap you up in insulation and store you inside a box like a precious artifact; the fact is that with only seven functioning members of the team, we can't afford to have anyone who isn't kept busy most of the time. But you are not, and will not, be taking point on any serious exploration endeavors.""


3 out of 5

http://seawasp.livejournal.com/165171.html#cutid1

Grand Central Arena 28 - Ryk Spoor

"DuQuesne gave a tight, cynical smile. "This whole place is set up to make us meet at this Nexus Arena, right? So I wouldn't put it past the builders or controllers of the Arena to make it force you to play the game, if you try to go to extremes to avoid it. Anything that can basically switch nuclear reactions on and off, and make the AISages shut down without causing a detectable bit of damage, can probably do other stupid physics tricks, like keep batteries from charging beyond a certain level.""


3.5 out of 5

http://seawasp.livejournal.com/164797.html#cutid1

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Grand Central Arena 27 - Ryk Spoor

"Oh my. That would, as the old saying goes, put the cat among the pigeons. Simon frowned at the implications. Ariane was in the position to make decisions for all humanity from the Arena's viewpoint? That could indeed be sticky. And did rather eliminate the quick solution to their dilemma of how to get home. "Can other individuals go their own way? That is, if Humanity were to join the Analytic, could individual humans choose to go join, well, the Liberated?"


2.5 out of 5

Before Egypt - Robert Blcoh

We got no pilesyptian.


1.5 out of 5

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/3/0/9/3/30932/30932-h/30932-h.htm

Save the Dragons 17 - Dave Freer

"I'll deal with Leggilass," said Squigs. "He's lying, and you'll just kill him. I'll get answers. Go with Mungo and see if Kate or Vila or Venus have taken any of their gear."


3.5 out of 5

http://www.savethedragons.nu/chapter17.html

Zoology - Simon Ings

Smelly maggot Studies.


3 out of 5

http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2009/12/holiday-books-when-it-changed-science-into-fiction---an-anthology-edited-by-geoff-ryman.php

Avast Abaft! - Howard Waldrop

The Pirates of Pan-zance.


3 out of 5

http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=download&id=58341&file=books/ybf9/YBF9-8.pdf

White Swan - Jason Stoddard

Long Run rat.


3 out of 5

http://futurismic.com/2010/01/04/new-fiction-white-swan-by-jason-stoddard/

Genre Chick Interview - Peter S. Beagle

"AK: How do you feel about the latest trends in the fantasy genre, such as paranormal romance and steampunk? What themes would you like to see make an appearance…or a comeback?

PSB: One thing I would like to see slack off is the endless factory-made Tolkienesque trilogies. I’m not usually in favor of the death penalty, but for these things I’ve thought about it: felony trilogy writing. But really, I don’t have a sense of trends in any particular field. I just read whatever jumps off the library shelves at me, without much of a particular pattern to it. Fact is, the overwhelming majority of what I read these days is in other fields: mysteries, poetry, biographies, and general nonfiction, especially history. When I read fantasy it tends to be for a project, or else because it’s something written by a friend, or is some old favorite I’m revisiting. I’m always glad–since he is long-gone–that I called Poul Anderson after I reread three or four of his fantasy novels in a row, just to tell him “I know you wrote these 40 and 50 years ago, but I just wanted to let you know that they hold up beautifully. I hope my stuff holds up that late in the game.” It was a joke between us that I loved his fantasy but couldn’t make heads or tails out of his science fiction."


3.5 out of 5


http://aletheakontis.com/2010/01/interview-with-peter-s-beagle/

Elitist Book Reviews Interview With - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

"I love old-time sf—the rockets and rayguns stuff that the print version of sf hasn’t seen for years. Adventure fiction for lack of a better term. I read an article about diving old ships in the ocean, and realized that some day someone would dive old spaceships (I hope!), and that got me the first section. That—and stories my husband Dean Wesley Smith has told about diving for bodies with search-and-rescue in Idaho. (He’s done almost everything, that man.) Then I saw an article about cremated ashes left in the basement of the Oregon Mental Hospital (the same one Ken Kesey wrote about in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). The ashes had no names, only numbers, and the key was lost. The paper was calling it a room of lost names. I got lost souls from that, dunno how, and that became the novella, “The Room of Lost Souls.” Halfway through writing it, I realized that this was part of the same story as “Diving.” And then I had to finish it all. There’s more, you know. Just sold Asimov’s another novella in Boss’s world. And in 2009, published another in Asimov’s called “The Spires of Denon,” which is set in the Diving world, but doesn’t involve Boss."


4 out of 5

http://elitistbookreviews.blogspot.com/2010/01/interview-with-kristine-kathryn-rusch.html

Pat's Fantasy Hotlist New Interview - Joe Abercrombie

"- What’s the progress report on HEROES? Any tentative release date?

THE Heroes, Pat, THE Heroes. Everyone says The Last Argument of Kings when there is no the. Now they say Heroes when there very much is a the. THE HEROES. But yeah, there’s been a relatively firm date of February 2011 for a while now, in both UK and US, I believe. As firm as these things get a year in advance. I wouldn’t bet the life of your first born on it. The life of your hamster, maybe. We were thinking of October 2010 at one point, but it didn’t look like I was going to hit that comfortably, and with Christmas being a dead zone for all but the biggest thrillers and celebrity biogs, February looks like the time."


3.5 out of 5


http://fantasyhotlist.blogspot.com/2010/01/new-joe-abercrombie-interview.html

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Skin Deep - Richard Mark

Personality pullover pyre.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=download&id=58341&file=books/ybf9/YBF9-8.pdf

Childrun - Marc Laidlaw

Running out of schoolkids, but not out of pies.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=download&id=58341&file=books/ybf9/YBF9-8.pdf

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Clarkesworld 40 - Sean Wallace

I think if I see another ending of 'and then I fly' variety, injury from eye-rolling is a possibility. It is like they are selling that one at a discount in McDonald's if you are from Clarkesworld

Neither is the plot of Peter Watt's Thing's original of course, being that of John W. Campbell's classic novella. However, weaving the alien's point of view into this is very cleverly done.

The interview with Lucius Shepard is good, and the article on computer games is also interesting, talking about SF type setttings, given I have little interest in the games themselves.

Clarkesworld 40 : The Things - Peter Watts
Clarkesworld 40 : All the King's Monsters - Megan Arkenberg

Uri rebellion.

2.5 out of 5


Communal network rejection assimilation Goes There, that's Who.

4.5 out of 5




3.5 out of 5

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/issue_40

The Things - Peter Watts

Communal network rejection assimilation Goes There, that's Who.


4.5 out of 5

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/watts_01_10/#

All the King's Monsters - Megan Arkenberg

Uri rebellion.


2.5 out of 5

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/arkenberg_01_10/

Mars In the Fiction Of Leigh Brackett - Various Various

Mars in the fiction of Leigh Brackett
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



4.5 out of 5

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_in_the_fiction_of_Leigh_Brackett

Jupiter In the Fiction Of Leigh Brackett - Various Various

Jupiter in the fiction of Leigh Brackett
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


4.5 out of 5

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jupiter_in_the_fiction_of_Leigh_Brackett

Venus In the Fiction Of Leigh Brackett - Various Various

Venus in the fiction of Leigh Brackett
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia




4.5 out of 5

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_in_the_fiction_of_Leigh_Brackett

Tender Morsels and Juicy Bits - Margo Lanagan

"With Tender Morsels, the bears were such a thing. They were in the original stories I was ripping/riffing off, Caroline Stahl’s ‘The Ungrateful Dwarf’ and the Grimms’ makeover of the Stahl story, ‘Snow White and Rose Red’. In neither story did they make any sense in terms of story structure, so part of my project was to make them make sense. The split between man-nature and bear-nature suggested the split between the real- and the heaven-world, which became the crux of the story, my main area to explore."


3.5 out of 5

http://content.boomerangbooks.com.au/blog/exclusive-margo-lanagan-talks-tender/2010/01

Mercury In the Fiction Of Leigh Brackett - Various Various

Mercury in the fiction of Leigh Brackett
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia




4.5 out of 5


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_in_the_fiction_of_Leigh_Brackett

Eric John Stark - Eric John Stark

Eric John Stark
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


4 out of 5

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_John_Stark

Galactic Milieu Series - Various Various

Galactic Milieu Series
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



4.5 out of 5

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galactic_Milieu_Series

Saga Of Pliocene Exile - Various Various

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, an overview.


4 out of 5

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saga_of_Pliocene_Exile

An Afternoon With - Julian May

By Michael Jordan.

"Back at base there was a frantic rush to cut the grass, weed around fences and trees, set up tables and chairs and fire up the barbie. As the local fan base began to arrive I opted to prepare a salad in the kitchen and greet the guests. Have you ever tried to make potato salad with semi cooked potatoes? As I battled through this task, Janice popped her head into the kitchen and said there was someone she wanted me to meet. A woman of middle aged appearance walked in, dressed in white cotton slacks and a matching jacket. She still wore her wraparound Elvis Presley type sunglasses. "Hello," she chimed, "I’m Julian". I’d like to think that with all my confidence, university education and professional experience that I could have responded with more than three little words: "Oh my God!" I still can’t believe it."


4 out of 5

http://web.archive.org/web/20040105063744/http://home.vicnet.net.au/~msfc/jmay.htm

Julian May Fan Page - Anonymous Anonymous

"You have to admire Julian May for the scope of her work "
-- SFX


"A certain crowd-pleaser"
--Kirkus Reviews

"Julian May has irrevocably placed herself among the greats"
--Asimov's SF Magazine

"A writer of exceptional perception and power"
Jean Auel, author of The Clan of the Cave Bear


3.5 out of 5

http://web.archive.org/web/20040405085733/http://homepage.eircom.net/~davidspdsl/may2.html

Julian May Prototype FAQ - Aaron Wigley

Prototype Julian May FAQ
Version 0.1 March 1994

"Science Fiction will never run out of things to
wonder about until the human race ceases to use
its brain"
- Julian May

A blast from the internet past.


3.5 out of 5

http://web.archive.org/web/20040215070750/yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au/~wigs/milieu/milieu.faq

Things That Flit - Alex Bledsoe

Pervert pederast, no trolls.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.alexbledsoe.com/abthingsthatfit.html

A Merit For Fantasy - Leslie Flood

About the International Fantasy Award.


4.5 out of 5

http://www.gostak.org.uk/ifa/ifaindex.htm

Heart - Henry Slesar

Broken, colony style.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/3/0/8/8/30885/30885-h/30885-h.htm

By Bargain and Blood - Aliette de Bodard

You only get her in a package deal.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.hubfiction.com/2010/01/issue-108/

Obsidian and Blood setting 4: Acatl and death in Mexica religion - Aliette de Bodard

"4. Acatl, and death in Mexica religion
My main character in the book is Acatl, High Priest for the Dead, who has the responsibility for investigating magical offences in the capital city of Tenochtitlan.

The word Acatl means “Reed”. It’s shorthand for his actual name, which is his date of birth in the calendar: Chiquacen Acatl, which means “The day Six Reed” [1]. I chose that name back when I was first writing “Obsidian Shards”, the very first story that featured him, for a number of reasons. The first is the association with the god Quetzalcoatl, Ce Acatl Topiltzin (see previous article)–who, among other things, was the patron of priests and of knowledge. The second is the symbolism of the day Six Reed itself: it has associations both with Mictlantecuhtli, the god of death (Acatl’s patron), and with the god of Justice–a fitting set of protectors for a death priest engaged in the investigation of magical crimes. [2]"


5 out of 5

http://aliettedb.livejournal.com/288091.html

Obsidian and Blood setting 3: The Sacred Precinct - Aliette de Bodard

"3. The Sacred Precinct
Just as the valley of Mexico was the heart of the Empire, so the Sacred Precinct was that of Tenochtitlan. Its function was simple: to serve as the religious and ceremonial centre for the city.

Within the Serpent Wall that delimitated its boundaries, the Sacred Precinct included the major temples of Mexica gods, areas for specific sacrifices, and the houses and schools for priests. Its size was staggering–500m to a side, probably the reason why the Spanish maps of Tenochtitlan give it such a prominent (and distorted) place."


5 out of 5

http://aliettedb.livejournal.com/287726.html

Obsidian and Blood setting 2: Tenochtitlan - Aliette de Bodard

"2. The City of Tenochtitlan and the Migration Myth

If the basin of Anahuac was a place of waters (see previous post), Tenochtitlan was the archetype of an island city. It’s been referred to as the Venice of Mesoamerica, and not without reason, as most of the city was laid along canals."


5 out of 5

http://aliettedb.livejournal.com/287476.html

Obsidian and Blood setting 1: the Valley of Mexico - Aliette de Bodard

"Who are the Aztecs? The first question you’ll ask yourself when you read the book is why I refer to them by the name of “Mexica”. What’s with that, you ask? Well, the Aztecs never called themselves Aztecs. That was a name foisted on them later by the Spanish: it comes from Aztlan, the White Place (which the Aztecs listed as their place of origin and which you can find in hymns within Servant of the Underworld), but they never used it that way. The name they used for themselves was either Colhua Mexica or Tenochca. The second refers to Tenoch, their mythical first leader, who gave his name to Tenochtitlan (it’s a little more complicated than that actually, but I’ll get to that in part 2 of those posts). I used the first, shortening it a bit to make things easier."


5 out of 5

http://aliettedb.livejournal.com/286624.html

Friday, January 08, 2010

Makers 81 - Cory Doctorow

"“Calvinball,” Lester said. “Like in the old Calvin and Hobbes strips. The rules are, the rules can never be the same twice.”

“And you’re supposed to wear a mask,” Perry said. “But we kept stepping on the pieces.”

“No peripheral vision,” Lester said.

“Caucus race!” Perry yelled, and took a lap around the world. Lester struggled to his feet, then flopped back down.

“I disbelieve,” he said, taking up two ten-sided dice and rolling them. “87,” he said."


4 out of 5

http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=blog&id=58471&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Deluge 43 - Brian Keene

"“Are you crazy?” Gail moved to the front of the craft. “Have you forgotten about the shark-men already?”"


3.5 out of 5

http://www.briankeene.com/?p=3305

The Unbeliever - Brian Lumley

Mercenary card slice.


3 out of 5

http://www.wowio.com/users/product.asp?BookId=6043

Super Science Stories 2 - Frederik Pohl

Many writers of note here, but can't really say the same about the stories. Notes on starting branches of the 'Science Fictioneers' club too.

Super Science Stories 2 : Let There Be Light - Robert A. Heinlein
Super Science Stories 2 : Castaway - Donald A. Wollheim
Super Science Stories 2 : Juice - L. Sprague de Camp
Super Science Stories 2 : King Cole of Pluto - C. M. Kornbluth
Super Science Stories 2 : Living Isotopes - P. Schuyler Miller
Super Science Stories 2 : Arton's Metal - Ray Cummings
Super Science Stories 2 : Bequest of the Angel - James Blish
Super Science Stories 2 : Guardian Angel - Raymond Z. Gallun
Super Science Stories 2 : Hollow of the Moon - Manly Wade Wellman

Salvage and pirates.

3 out of 5


Might be interstellar alien in them there wood.

3 out of 5


Lightning ping-pong.

2.5 out of 5


Salvage and pirates.

3 out of 5


The quartz is alive.

2.5 out of 5


Smoking wife-stealing revenge.

2.5 out of 5


Spy medal.

2 out of 5


Shooting hollow.

1.5 out of 5


Where'll you find a jungle girl, of course.

2.5 out of 5




1 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Super_Science_Volume_1_Number_2_

Hollow Of the Moon - Manly Wade Wellman

Where'll you find a jungle girl, of course.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Super_Science_Volume_1_Number_2_

Castaway - Donald A. Wollheim

Might be interstellar alien in them there wood.


3 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Super_Science_Volume_1_Number_2_

The Living Isotopes - P. Schuyler Miller

The quartz is alive.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Super_Science_Volume_1_Number_2_

Arton's Metal - Ray Cummings

Smoking wife-stealing revenge.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Super_Science_Volume_1_Number_2_

Juice - L. Sprague de Camp

Lightning ping-pong.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Super_Science_Volume_1_Number_2_

Bequest Of the Angel - James Blish

Spy medal.


2 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Super_Science_Volume_1_Number_2_

Guardian Angel - Raymond Z. Gallun

Shooting hollow.


1.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Super_Science_Volume_1_Number_2_

Planet Stories 39 - Paul L. Payne

A highly variable issue from the highly excellent Brackett story to the wretched Mullen tale. Of the two of his seen so far, easily the worst come across in the later part of the magazine, anyway. The first issue was very bad, and can get to some more in a library some time.

Coppel has a solidly entertaining Smith-Hamilton type story. Wedlake's is a short but satisfying man-against-space story.

Margaret St. Clair is so far easily the nastiest of the Planet Stories writers after several efforts.

Hamilton's story of a female telepathic agent on a desperate mission to save what is left of the Terran Defenders is a cut above.

Planet Stories 39 : Queen of the Martian Catacombs - Leigh Brackett
Planet Stories 39 : The Madcap Metalloids - W. V. Athanas
Planet Stories 39 : S.O.S. Aphrodite! - Stanley Mullen
Planet Stories 39 : The Starbusters - Alfred Coppel
Planet Stories 39 : Peril Orbit - C. J. Wedlake
Planet Stories 39 : Garden of Evil - Margaret St. Clair
Planet Stories 39 : Stalemate in Space - Charles L. Harness

Eric John Stark has to deal with plotting by the last of the serial immortals of Sinharat.

4.5 out of 5


Telepathic Booger, Doc.

2 out of 5


Space Pirate daughter.

1.5 out of 5


Lover-Girl Eridani hyperspace attack contraterrene planet bomb stellar kill.

3 out of 5


Detox fixing green girl cannibal meal.

3.5 out of 5


Telepathic agent battle planet destruction.

3.5 out of 5




2.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_St...

Stalemate In Space - Charles L. Harness

Telepathic agent battle planet destruction.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_St...

Garden Of Evil - Margaret St. Clair

Detox fixing green girl cannibal meal.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_St...

Peril Orbit - C. J. Wedlake

Sun-caught suggestions.


3 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_St...

The Starbursters - Alfred Coppel

Lover-Girl Eridani hyperspace attack contraterrene planet bomb stellar kill.


3 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_St...

S.O.S. Aphrodite! - Stanley Mullen

Space Pirate daughter.


1.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_St...

The Madcap Metalloids - W. V. Athanas

Telepathic Booger, Doc.


2 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_St...

The Brain Sinner - Alan E. Nourse

Psi-High alien not, or freak.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_6_Number_10_

The Space Between - Robert E. Gilbert

Patrol? Plank in space?


2 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_6_Number_10_

Mirage For Planet X - Stanley Mullen

Titan and Mars too.


1.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_6_Number_10_

Hagerty's Enzymes - A. L. Haley

Robot want.


2 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_6_Number_10_

Planet Stories 44 - Jerome Bixby

Overall this issue is bad, except for the Coppel story, which I like a lot. 2.69 only. Abernathy next best and then probably the Anderson is a little over the 2.5 mark.

Planet Stories 44 : The Rebel of Valkyr - Alfred Coppel
Planet Stories 44 : Death-Wish - Ray Bradbury
Planet Stories 44 : The Crowded Colony - Jerome Bixby
Planet Stories 44 : The Sky Is Falling - Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore
Planet Stories 44 : Meem - Margaret St. Clair
Planet Stories 44 : Star Ship - Poul Anderson
Planet Stories 44 : Strange Exodus - Robert Abernathy
Planet Stories 44 : Patch - William Shedenhelm

'Against the mighty forces of the assembled star-kings, the army of Valkyr counted for almost nothing; but the savage fighting men of the Edge carried with them their talisman -- Alys Imperatrix, uncrowned sovereign of the Galaxy, Heiress of the Thousand Emperors...'

4 out of 5


Bottle vanish.

2.5 out of 5


All the way up, Beta Centauri too.

2.5 out of 5


Keeping the ship for after the Blow-Up.

2.5 out of 5


Desire contagion.

2.5 out of 5


Just kill your brother and fly us out of here, woman.

2.5 out of 5


Space parasite men.

3 out of 5


Mercury mold.

2 out of 5



1 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_St...

Patch - William Shedenhelm

Mercury mold.


2 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_St...

Meem - Margaret St. Clair

Desire contagion.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_St...

The Crowded Colony - Jerome Bixby

All the way up, Beta Centauri too.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_St...

The Blue Bottle - Ray Bradbury

Bottle vanish.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_St...

Death-Wish - Ray Bradbury

Bottle vanish.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_St...

Strange Exodus - Robert Abernathy

Space parasite men.


3 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_St...

Star Ship - Poul Anderson

Just kill your brother and fly us out of here, woman.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_St...

Planet Stories 42 - Paul L. Payne

One good, one rubbish, and the rest right in the midle, with two fun novellas from Bennett and Graber.

Planet Stories 42 : The Rocketeers Have Shaggy Ears - Keith Bennett
Planet Stories 42 : Forever and the Earth - Ray Bradbury
Planet Stories 42 : The First Man on the Moon - Alfred Coppel
Planet Stories 42 : Madmen of Mars - Erik Fennel
Planet Stories 42 : Who Goes There? - Charles H. Davis
Planet Stories 42 : Flame-Jewel of the Ancients - Edwin L. Graber
Planet Stories 42 : Ultimatum - Roger Dee

A military science fiction short novel. This particular group gets forced down thanks to a busted up ship, and to try and survive on Venus.

This includes dangerous plans and screaming lizard-men, so they get plenty of chances to use their military skills.

3 out of 5


Futurist writing is tricky.

4 out of 5


First murderer only.

3 out of 5


Dirty trick save.

1.5 out of 5


Not even noticing when you smash the squid aliens.

3 out of 5


Despite the title, this is mostly a Doc Smith style adventure.

Super Galactic ships, anti-energy shields, an arms race, and more.

Of course, a big heroic bloke from the Stellar Guardians. No super powers though, but he does get to fight alongside etc. a good looking redhead.

Captain Glayne and friends of course also have a villainous criminal overlord to deal with.

Plenty of fun to be had here.

3 out of 5




2 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_St...

Ultimatum - Roger Dee

Martian envoy's Venusian ending.


3 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_St...

Who Goes There? - Charles H. Davis

Not even noticing when you smash the squid aliens.


3 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_St...

Madmen Of Mars - Erik Fennel

Dirty trick save.


1.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_St...

The First Man On the Moon - Alfred Coppel

First murderer only.


3 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_St...

Forever and the Earth - Ray Bradbury

Futurist writing is tricky.


4 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_4_Number_6_

Journeyman Plumber - Leigh Brackett

An interview with Steve Swires mostly to do with film work.


4 out of 5

http://www.escholarship.org/editions/view?docId=ft0z09n7m0&chunk.id=d0e1020&toc.depth=1&toc.id=&brand=ucpress

The Rocketeers Have Shaggy Ears - Keith Bennett

A military science fiction short novel. This particular group gets forced down thanks to a busted up ship, and to try and survive on Venus.

This includes dangerous plans and screaming lizard-men, so they get plenty of chances to use their military skills.


3 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_4_Number_6_

Flame-Jewel Of the Ancients - Edward L. Graber

Despite the title, this is mostly a Doc Smith style adventure.

Super Galactic ships, anti-energy shields, an arms race, and more.

Of course, a big heroic bloke from the Stellar Guardians. No super powers though, but he does get to fight alongside etc. a good looking redhead.

Captain Glayne and friends of course also have a villainous criminal overlord to deal with.

Plenty of fun to be had here.


3 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_4_Number_6_

Planet Stories 50 - Jack O'Sullivan

A consistent issue at 2.85 due to the lineup, but no standouts, with Coppel coming closet with a story more reminiscent of the mood of Poul Anderson's Duel On Syrtis.

Planet Stories 50 : The Incubi of Parallel X - Theodore Sturgeon
Planet Stories 50 : Sanctuary Oh Ulla! - J. T. McIntosh
Planet Stories 50 : The Inhabited Men - Margaret St. Clair
Planet Stories 50 : The Star-Fool - Gordon R. Dickson
Planet Stories 50 : Last Night Out - Milton A. Rothman
Planet Stories 50 : Tydore's Gift - Alfred Coppel
Planet Stories 50 : The Watchers - Roger Dee
Planet Stories 50 : Vengeance on Mars - Jerome Bixby
Planet Stories 50 : Hospitality - J. W. Groves
Planet Stories 50 : Lord of a Thousand Suns - Poul Anderson

Gateway in some giantesses.

3 out of 5


Double traitor stop.

2.5 out of 5


Planted talking after death.

2.5 out of 5


Specimen collector pieces.

2.5 out of 5


Canopan bar removal.

3 out of 5


On the wrong end of Martian subtlety.

3.5 out of 5


'We leave you to destroy yourselves, as you will, because man is one of the rare failures of the Galactic Urge.'

3 out of 5


We flamed him, Hale.

3 out of 5


Sleep goad.

2.5 out of 5


Immortal Survey.

3 out of 5




1.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_St...

Lord Of A Thousand Suns - Poul Anderson

Immortal Survey.


3 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_5_Number_2_

Hospitality - J. W. Groves

Sleep goad.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_5_Number_2_

Vengeance On Mars - Jerome Bixby

We flamed him, Hale.


3 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_5_Number_2_

The Watchers - Roger Dee

"We leave you to destroy yourselves, as you will, because man is one of the rare failures of the Galactic Urge."


3 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_5_Number_2_

Tydore's Gift - Alfred Coppel

On the wrong end of Martian subtlety.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_5_Number_2_

Last Night Out - Milton A. Rothman

Canopan bar removal.


3 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_5_Number_2_

The Star-Fool - Gordon R. Dickson

Specimen collector pieces.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_5_Number_2_

The Inhabited Men - Margaret St Clair

Planted talking after death.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_5_Number_2_

Sanctuary Oh Ulla - J. T. McIntosh

Double traitor stop.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_5_Number_2_

The Incubi Of Parallel X - Theodore Sturgeon

Gateway in some giantesses.


3 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_5_Number_2_

A Martian In Tibet - Han Song

Universe inside Big Bang.


3.5 out of 5

http://io9.com/5442944/a-martian-in-tibet

Things Undone - John Barnes

Polymnemonic scenario.


3 out of 5

http://www.webscription.net/chapters/1932093044/1932093044___1.htm

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Mark Of Kane - Kendall Corley

"A bibliography of the collected works of

Karl Edward Wagner's

Kane"

Includes a chunk of detail on background and setting.


5 out of 5

http://kendallcorley.typepad.com/blog/

Restless In My Hand - Tim Pratt

Don't need to axe you, dad.


3 out of 5

http://media.rawvoice.com/podcastle/media.libsyn.com/media/podcastle/PC084_RestlessInMyHand.mp3

Thin Edge - Randall Garrett

Belt filament end.


3 out of 5

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/3/0/8/6/30869/30869-h/30869-h.htm

Dragon Page Cover to Cover 389 - Lou Anders

Talking about his new superhero and sword and sorcery anthologies, and also about Pyr. Pointing out that they have gone from being a boutique hardcover science fiction publisher to a trade paperback fantasy publisher.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.dragonpage.com/podpress_trac/web/2891/0/DrgnPgC2C_Ep389A_122809.mp3

iCity - Paul Di Filippo

Civil Wikineering.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/media.libsyn.com/media/starshipsofa/StarShipSofa_Aural_Delights_No_115_Paul_Di_Filippo.mp3

Uncharted - Leigh Blackmore

Magic or gf.


3 out of 5

http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/...

BSC Interview - Neal Asher

"In The Line of Polity, the outlink station Miranda is destroyed by sabotage, by a nanomycelium which Dragon supplied. Why did Dragon supply it?

That is still being answered even now in the book I’m presently writing, called The Technician, which is set on the planet Masada from The Line of Polity. Masada is the homeworld of an ancient race that committed racial suicide to avoid civilization-destroying Jain technology. The Polity needs to know about this, but cannot whilst Masada is under the control of the Theocracy. Dragon knew that once the theocrats used the nanomycelium to destroy Miranda, that would pull the Polity in to take over Masada and thus learn what happened there two million years ago. See, not complicated at all…"


4.5 out of 5

http://www.bscreview.com/2010/01/neal-asher-interview/

Makers 80 - Cory Doctorow

"“You going to come on board as my consultant?”

“You were serious about that, huh?”

“Perry, they can’t fire me. If I quit, I lose my health bennies, which means I’ll be broke in a month. Which puts us at an impasse. I’m past feeling guilty about doing nothing much all day long, but that doesn’t mean I’m not bored.”

“You make it sound so attractive.”

“You got something better to do?”

“I’m in.”"


3 out of 5

http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=blog&id=58470&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

The Very Near Future of Science Fiction - Lou Anders

Talking with Rick Kleffel about upcoming stuff and possible trends.

He has a new Abercrombiesque fantasy trilogy. Kleffel opines 283 words good length for any novel. Sounds ok to me. Pyr definitely trending in the fat fantasy direction, anyway, it seems.

Also, their Kindle SF doing better than their fantasy. Probably not surprising as SF one of the early popular ebook genres. Likely take the more conservative less keen genre a while to catch up I suppose.

Sword and Sorcery and Sword and Planet are trending he thinks. Doing an anthology fo the former of his course, but I did mention an anthology of such as a possibility to his partner in crime Super Editor Strahan who agreed it was a definite maybe, anyway. Also mentioning S. M. Stirling's In the Courts of the Crimson Kings (and Sky People) books as exemplars of this. Absolutely, especially the Mars book. Great stuff.

Also on DRM - buys DRM free music from Apple, but implication is he prefers his books protected. So a bit head-twisty there for the rest of us. No mention of selling anywhere other than Amazon (poor format) or Barnes and Noble - completely useless to lots of us - unfortunately.


4 out of 5

http://www.bookotron.com/agony/audio/2010/2010-news/010610-lou_anders.mp3

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Wrapping Up 2009 With - Jeremy Lassen

With Rick Kleffel, mostly talking about the recent books they particularly liked.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.bookotron.com/agony/audio/2009/2009-news/123009-jeremy_lassen.mp3

Those Who Cannot Remember Doc Savage Are Condemned To Repeat Him: The 20th Century Backlash Against Posthuman Bodybuilders - Jess Nevins

A conference paper talking about the 19th century Physical Culture movement in Britain and Superhuman figures in prose fiction, including some of the bodybuilder types - and how they were discredited. This led to the 'depowering' of most of the superhuman pulp characters eventually, even Doc Savage and The Shadow.


4.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/download/RememberingDocSavage/20091212nevins.mp3

The Dragon Page Cover To Cover 390 - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Talking about Diving Into the Wreck, SF Adventure etc.


4 out of 5

http://www.dragonpage.com/podpress_trac/web/2892/0/DrgnPgC2C_Ep390A_010410.mp3

In the Age Of Iron and Ashes - Aliette de Bodard

Siege death.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com/story.php?s=70

Let There Be Light - Robert A. Heinlein

Firefly longlasting tech story.


3 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Super_Science_Volume_1_Number_2_

Water Pirate - Leigh Brackett

Perhaps a reasonable scientific solution to this guy, but a good raygun won't hurt, either.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Super_Science_Stories_v2_n2_January_

The Last Two Alive - Alfred Coppel

Interstellar war Adam and Eve.


2 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_4_Number_9__117

Machine Of Klamugra - Allen K. Lang

Imaginary finagle factor.


2 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_4_Number_9__117

Carry Me Home - Henry Kuttner

Swing low, shoot low.


2 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_4_Number_9__117

Sidewinders From Sirius - Fox B. Holden

Intelligence G-Ray weapon tricks.


3 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_4_Number_9__117

Cargo To Callisto - Jerome Bixby

Call me Joe and bad soup better than body snatched.


2 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_4_Number_9__117

Queen Of the Martian Catacombs - Leigh Brackett

Eric John Stark has to deal with plotting by the last of the serial immortals of Sinharat.


4.5 out of 5

http://www.archive.org/details/Planet_Stories_Volume_4_Number_3_

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Duelling Machine - Ben Bova

Cheaters hopefully never prosper.

A machine has been invented that allows complete virtual reality conflicts to take place, private duels betwen citizens. It is not supposed to leave any lasting harm after the duel is complete. Some top duellists get paid to do jobs for others. After one of them keeps winning and bad things happen to his opponents, law enforcement smells a rat.

The boss guy chooses a naive young man to try and help him out, because of his particular mental qualities, and a rather less naive woman to assist.


4 out of 5

http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/30796

Makers 79 - Cory Doctorow

"No, Perry, no. We weren’t just attention whores. We were attention whores and we built and ran cool shit. There’s nothing wrong with being an attention whore. It’s an attention economy. If you’re going to be a working stiff, you should pick a decent currency to get paid in. But you can’t sit there and tell me that it didn’t feel good, didn’t feel great to have all those people looking up to us, following us into battle, throwing themselves at us—”

Perry held up his hands. His friend was looking more alive than he had at any time since Perry had been ushered into his workshop. He sat up straight, and the old glint of mischief and good humor was in his eye."


3 out of 5

http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=blog&id=58469#comments

Jonathan Maberry's Big Scary Blog A Conversation With Bestselling Author - James Rollins

"Then I wrote Sandstorm, and in the that book, I created a team of former Special Forces soldiers who were drummed out of the service for various reasons but recruited by DARPA (the Defense Department R&D division). These soldiers were then retrained in various scientific disciplines, basically creating killer scientists perfectly suited for bloody and dangerous field work."


3.5 out of 5

http://jonathanmaberry.com/a-conversation-with-james-rollins

Monday, January 04, 2010

An Expatriate Writer of Exotic Tales - Lucius Shepard

"With me, however, I don't know if it's as much a matter of landscape helping me find a voice—my father shaped my voice before I knew any better, loading my brain with iambic pentameter and certain tonalities. I think rather that landscapes have shaped my imagination and continue to do so. For instance, I recently spent seven months in Switzerland (mostly in Switzerland, some in northern Italy) and now the stories springing from that experience are starting to come, basically a series of stories set in a town called Syritis Sentrilla, a town that could be on Earth or off-planet. That's left to the reader's imagination. But the thing that's relevant here is that having barely dipped my toe into those materials, I can already see that these stories are going to have a much different feel from my previous stories—a different kind of architecture, different types of characters, a cooler spectrum of emotions."


5 out of 5

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/shepard_interview/

The Possible Future - Jack Williamson

Graphically enhanced Youtube video where he talks about this.


3.5 out of 5

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMCWpDzJ5rE

The Thrist Quenchers - Rick Raphael

Pumping fix.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/30797

Sonny - Rick Raphael

Telepathy recruit shortout.


2.5 out of 5

http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/30798

Nor Iron Bars A Cage - Randall Garrett

Hex psychotherapy.


3 out of 5

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/3/0/8/3/30832/30832-h/30832-h.htm

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Silver Stone and Steel - Judith Tarr

Three Queen sight.


3 out of 5

http://www.bookviewcafe.com/index.php/Judith-Tarr/Judith-Tarr-Short-Stories/Silver-Stone-and-Steel

The Hypersurface Of the Decade - Bruce Sterling

We knows where it is.


3 out of 5

http://www.iconeye.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=437&id=4276

A World By the Tale - Randall Garrett

Galactic book trail.


2 out of 5

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/3/0/8/1/30816/30816-h/30816-h.htm

The Barbarians - Algis Budrys

Kink in time worm tankette.


2 out of 5

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/3/0/8/2/30828/30828-h/30828-h.htm

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Deluge 42 - Brian Keene

"“Maybe he thought we were dead, or maybe that monster fucking island went for them, and they had to run. I don’t know the reason, but I know that they’re nowhere in sight, and I don’t look for them to return. We’re on our own out here.”"


http://www.briankeene.com/?p=3247

Starfarers 03 - Vonda N. McIntyre

"One of the orcas surfaced beside her and blew, exhaling explosively and drawing in a deep breath. Its dorsal fin cut the fog in swirls. The whale raised its head above water and looked at her. Unlike ordinary humans, the orcas — and the divers — could see equally well in water and in air. It spoke to her in phrases beyond her vocabulary. She could recognize the tone. If she had been a young orca, or a diver child, the tone would have been patient. But she was an outsider, she was an adult, and she was tediously slow.

Orcas were easily bored."


http://www.bookviewcafe.com/Vonda-N.-McIntyre/Novels/Starfarers-Chapter-3

Cinderella in Autumn - Hilary Mantel

Pumpkin old roller.


3 out of 5

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/dec/19/hilary-mantel-short-story-cinderella

Polar City Blues 05 - Katherine Kerr

"Mutiny. It’s a nasty word, Lacey thinks, for a nasty crime. She was the only officer on the bridge who had the guts to set her laser on stun and turn it on Rostow. Once she had him locked in his cabin, as second officer she put herself under arrest and the ship in Sam’s hands. In private the high brass agreed that she’d done the right thing, but for the sake of discipline they were pressing for the death penalty until Admiral Wazerzis personally intervened. The best compromise he could engineer was that she would be allowed to retire quietly, her deep space papers sealed, rather than being forced into a dishonorable discharge. "


4 out of 5


http://www.bookviewcafe.com/index.php/The-Katharine-Kerr-Bookshelf/Katharine-Kerr-Novels/Polar-City-Blues-05

Polar City Blues 04 - Katherine Kerr

"The best licensed betting office in Polar City, Al’s, occupies a second floor suite in a bright blue plastocrete shop building down an alley between Third and Fourth, just across from the twenty-five-hour-a-day rostratologist and just above a place that sells pornographic holopix and garments that consist mostly of black plastic straps. Lacey rides up on the grav platform with a lizzie who is working an elaborate series of calculations on a portable comp unit and muttering to himself about in-system ships and asteroid trajectories. Lacey thinks to herself that if she were ever going to bet on anything, it wouldn’t be the yacht races, where one fist-sized chunk of rock on the wrong course can upset the results of hours of careful mathematics. "


4 out of 5

http://www.bookviewcafe.com/index.php/The-Katharine-Kerr-Bookshelf/Katharine-Kerr-Novels/Polar-City-Blues-04

Makers 78 - Cory Doctorow

"Lester cut him off. “Not bad like the people you see on TV, huh? Not bad like the dying ones.” The fatkins had overwhelmed the nation’s hospitals in successive waves of sickened disintegrating skeletons whose brittle bones and ruined joints had outstripped anyone’s ability to cope with them. The only thing that kept the crisis from boiling over entirely was the fast mortality that followed on the first symptoms—difficulty digesting, persistent stiffness. Once you couldn’t keep down high-calorie slurry, you just starved to death."


3.5 out of 5

http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=blog&id=58467&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Friday, January 01, 2010

Leigh Brackett's Future History - Connecting the Stories : An Examination

LEIGH BRACKETT'S FUTURE HISTORY - Connecting the Stories: An Examination

It is well known that Leigh Brackett has a group of stories that share a common setting, and that those are based on the planets of the Solar System, primarily on Venus and Mars.

However, there is much other SF included in 50+ short stories and ten novels.

I thought it might be interesting to see what work might coherently fit in one Future History, even if it was never explicitly stated. I haven't seen anything written talking about the interstellar and other stories in general, whereas there are good articles at Wikipedia about the planetary romance era.

Very few dates are given in Brackett stories, so this is an attempt at division into rough periods, in order. There is no mention of medical technology or lifespans given for humans, either, at least insofar as they may differ from the known range of readers of the times.


ELIMINATION OF WORK

Firstly, there are definitely a small number of works that definitely do not. The novel The Long Tomorrow and its on-Earth postapocalyptic lost technology religious setting definitely does not.

Secondly, the short story The Tweener has a soldier return from a Mars that is empty apart from some small rabbit-like native animals, that are actually discovered to be sentient. This is not relevant.

Thirdly, The Citadel of Lost Ages is set on a future earth that astronomical calamity has caused to have a Darkside and a Lightside, like Mercury. There is no evidence of such directly in any work. It is in fact somewhat Planet of the Apes-like, Darkside notwithstanding, with hybrid beastmen running the planet, and humans as slaves. An outsider enters with forgotten knowledge, a trove of past human technology including atomic power. Nothing is mentioned of spacefaring or starship technology. Therefore it is extremely unlikely this story is relevant.

Fourthly, her last story, 'Mommies and Daddies' has a near future Earth dystopia ravaged by a drug destroyed populace and their abandoned children. Or at least the American part of this world is. This certainly does not fit with the rest of the Future History. Given these multiple bad times on Earth stories all do not seem to fit at all, it is presumably deliberate on her part.

Fifthly, Runaway is obviously out thematically with its investigation of the psychological destabilisation of an accountant. Content makes this certain: "He knew that Venus was important because it produced very large amounts of uranium, thorium, germanium, and a lot of other things that Earth was using up too fast. And that was all he knew, except that people had to live there under domes, and that it never rained."


CREATIVE MYTHOGRAPHY

If you want to believe in this exercise, the greatest problem is the lack of explicit reference to the interstellar travel at the same time that there is intense focus on the local Solar System, so you have to get past that in a handwaving manner. Brackett of course was American, so you could perhaps assume that the Solar System chroniclers have the same intense inward looking focus that Americans do. The colonisation does have an American flavour. That is, making the happenings around other stars analogous to international affairs as far as interest goes for the average denizen of either at the time. There may also be author notes or mostly forgotten conversations that render this particular exercise moot, but these are unlikely to ever come to light to trouble us, given the passing of multiple decades already. Spaceports are mentioned often, without detailing the types of ships they serve. Certainly starships are given names like Stellar and Starflight.



ONE MILLION YEARS BC

Some background is given of Martian ancient history:

There is a reference to the Quiru living a million years ago or so, which sounds like an extremely rough ballpark figure. Rhiannon was a Quiru, see The Sword of Rhiannon. "The Quiru, said the myths, had for that sin crushed Rhiannon and locked him into a hidden tomb. And for more than a million years men had hunted the Tomb of Rhiannon because they believed it held the secrets of Rhiannon's power."


ANCIENT SEA-KINGS AND OTHER WEIRD TALES

1) Mars

Much later, on a far wetter Mars the Dhuvians ruled an empire as seen in Sea-Kings of Mars. As told to Matt Carse:""You know at least that since long ago there have been human peoples on our world and also the not-quite-human peoples, the Halflings. Of the humans the great Quiru, who are gone, were the greatest. They had so much science and wisdom that they're still revered as superhuman.
"But there were also the Halflings-the races who are manlike but not descended of the same blood. The Swimmers, who sprang from the sea-creatures, and the Sky Folk, who came from the winged things-and the Dhuvians, who are from the serpent.""

An alien race with advanced technology was also living in the City of Shandakor, as per The Last Days of Shandakor. While not a million years in the past, tens of thousands of years it would have taken Mars to dry out.

Also The Thinkers, as mentioned in Shadow Over Mars also likely also were around tens of thousands of years in the past: "But these Thinkers have done a lot of good from time to time."
Mak nodded. "Sure. Theoretically at least they guide the viewpoint of Mars-when they feel like bothering. It has to be some big important split, like the inter-hemispheric war back in Sixty-two Thousand and Seven, when the Sea Kings had trouble."

As did the Prira Cen: "Ancient things. Things deeply buried, nearly forgotten, clouded by superstition and legend. Forty thousand years—" from The Sorcer of Rhiannon.

The serially immortal Ramas had also existed since long in the past as talked about in Queen of the Martian Catacombs/The Secret of Sinharat. The Rama Berild talks of just one relationship:"'Delgaun has had me for a thousand years, and I am weary of him. So very weary!'" Given they are the last of their people, they must have existed a lot further back in the past.

2) Earth

Brackett appears to have liked Robert E. Howard and Abraham Merritt. As far as Howard goes, from The Jewel Of Bas: "He gave them a lament, one of the wild dark things the Cimmerians sing at the bier of a chief and very appropriate to the occasion" and "The priests of Dagon, of all the temples of Atlantis, spoke against me. I had to run away. I roamed the whole earth before the Flood, carrying the Stone."

Her husband of course was a writer for Weird Tales, so these are likely a small nod towards a favored writer. A further nod to the Weird Tales boys: "Ciaran, because he was a gypsy and a thief and had music in him like a drunkard has wine, had heard it, deep in the black forests of Hyperborea where even gypsies seldom go." The Jewel Of Bas is itself set on a hidden world in the Solar System.

Lord of the Earthquake is an Abraham Merritt style adventure where two men enter a portal that takes them back twelve thousand years in the past to Ancient Mu. So a tribute by story type, with Brackett of course injecting one of her favored hardboiled misfit-types in the character of Coh Langham. There may even ben a Doyle influence : "I devoured Burroughs, Haggard, Balmer and Wylie, Doyle's unforgettable "Maracot Deep," with this exploration of the deep in a submarine. The same applying to 'Out Of the Sea', with its attack on the USA by human created sea monsters.

The horror story The Tapestry Gate also has an otherworldly portal contained therein, but is utilised in an horrific vein, as opposed to fantasy adventure.

So Brackett has linked Mu, Atlantis, Cimmeria, Hyperborea and Lovecraftian Elder Gods in to the ancient background of her work.

3) Venus

There were no advanced technological or even literate cultures on Venus, so any history as yet known is limited to fragmented oral traditions, divulged grudgingly, if remembered at all, such as those of the Moon Cult.

4) Mercury

A much harsher place than Venus, aliens such as Shannach, long-lived, may have been there in the past, but not literate natives, so nothing is known.


RIO BRAVOS

There is no reason, in a creative mythography sense, that the adventures of sheriff John T. Chance in protecting his town along with his friends cannot be included here, or even James Beckwourth's frontier work. There is actually no direct mention of the historical 19th century at all that I am aware of in her stories other than these.


L.A. CONFIDENTIAL

As goes the Wild West, the same for the mean streets of 1940s USA and the crooks, cops, dicks, dames and other unfortunates in the following: No Good from a Corpse, Stranger At Home, Murder Is Bigamy, Red-Headed Poison, Murder in the Family Design for Dying, I Feel Bad Killing You, No Star Is Lost and The Misfortune Teller or even the late fifties in The Tiger Among Us, An Eye For an Eye, and So Pale, So Cold, So Fair. The sixties are represented by Silent Partner and The True Death of Juanito Rodriguez.


THEY WALK AMONG US

The 1950s saw aliens with starfaring capability come into contact with humans who discovered what they were, but only in isolated incidents. Wisely, they appeared to have kept away from the big cities. Possibly due to the prevalence of too many smart investigators in places like Los Angeles that may have discovered them eventually and blown the whistle.

In 1950, a local Newhale reporter discovers the Hrylliannu using the area to bring people to Earth in The Queer Ones. In fact, there is even a hybrid child produced, but they cover their tracks well. This year also saw a Pennsylvania farmer and his children encounter joyriding alien children in The Truants. Parents from both worlds were happy for no-one to know about this.

Cornwall in 1952 sees earthman Michael Trehearne discover he is of Varddan extraction in The Starmen Of Lyrdis. As such he possesses the mutant gene to allow him to survive their particularly exacting form of interstellar travel, over which they have a monopoly. As we see here, and with later human ingenuity on display, the Varddans are far from the only people with interstellar travel technology, so they rapidly become of little interest, barely a curiosity. Those that require genetic quirks to survive space travel are not going to be able to compete with the crews of ships that do not, by sheer weight of numbers.


THE COMING OF THE TERRANS

A detailed examination of the colonisation era of the Inner Worlds is beyond the scope of this article (see the Wikipedia articles), but the collection above does give some dates:

There were conflicts and uprisings on Mars that were pro-native. The Martians were more technologically advanced and capable than the native Venusians, so did not suffer the same wars and brutal colonialist programs of slaughter and military action.

1998 The Beast-Jewel of Mars
2016 Mars Minus Bisha
2024 The Last Days of Shandakor
2031 Purple Priestess of the Mad Moon
2038 The Road to Sinharat

Queen of the Martian Catacombs would happen around these times as mention is made of the Shanga trade in that story: "Stark realized now what secret vice Kala sold here. Shanga – the going back – the radiation that caused temporary artificial atavism and let men wallow for a time in beasthood. It was supposed to have been stamped out when the Lady Fand's dark Shanga ring had been destroyed. But it still persisted, in places like this outside the law." So the later Stark stories Black Amazon of Mars and Enchantress of Venus should all be in this range, them or their expanded versions.

In Cube From Space, there is an encounter with representatives of two interstellar capable alien races:"I am Crom. I was king once, in a land called Yf. And they are the Rakshi. The time came when we had to fight them, we humans, because we couldn't take any more."


THE BIG JUMP OUTWARDS

Things changed considerably when the Cochrane Company make the breakthrough to discover a method of fast interstellar travel thanks to their engineer Ballantyne and his drive (The Big Jump). The failure of Barnard II as a colony and exploitation site because of the Transurane was never going to deter further exploration. Nor was the fact that prototypes will have problems. "... whole robot-shift for the drive had bugs in it. The relays won't take the load. Rip it out and rebuild it ..." Even though the Cochranes may lost the taste for it, others would not.


PLANETARY SURVEY

The Preliminary Planetary Survey revisits Barnard II in How Bright the Stars: "It was a hellish world to be wandering on, this second planet of Barnard's Star."... "Man had finally made the Big Jump outward, with the Wenz-Boroda FTL (faster-than-light) drive, and the exploration of the galaxy had begun." The more stable starship propulsion technology had made this possible. Men could also live on Barnard II if they wanted to, but as Jerry Baird discovers, it is still pointless. The galaxy is a hostile environment, in general, but has countless other stars to explore.

Here man has been concentrating on nearby reachable neighbourhood stars, such as Altair in The Woman From Altair. One of the spacemen here actually brings back a wife from one of the Altairan planets, to tragic consequences.


GALACTIC SURVEY

So succesful has man been at least with the ability to explore, if not the usefulness of end targets even getting to stars and planets without name so many have been visited. The Galactic Survey era shows the technology has been developed to enable ships to push past the nearby sites such as Barnard's Star, Proxima and Alpha Centauri, etc.

During The Shadows tired and disillusioned Exploration Team leader Barrier finds the remnants of a race destroyed by astrological catastrophe, and their faithful doglike servants. "Maybe there enough worth in us that here and there some little world will give us another chance. Anyway, it's nice to know there's one place where we have some friends.""

An explicit reference to a far away settlement is givein in Come Sing the Moons of Moravenn. The planet in this story has a topaz colored star in the vicinity of the Vela Spur, which could mean it is up to thousands of light years away.

However, things do change, as should have pleased Barrier greatly. There is a Galactic Union out there, and races involved in this organisation do come into contact with Earth and the Solar System. In fact, in All the Colors of the Rainbow Mintakan weather engineers on Earth have a violent encounteer with nowheresville USA racist rednecks. As the engineer Flin notes: "It was his first big job on his own responsibility, with no superior closer than Galactic Center, which was a long way off." Racism has always been in existence in the Solar System, but such recidivism again is not going to deter the benefits of expansion and exploration.

Sometimes though, it takes some special people becoming involved to sort some planets out. To whit, Simon Ashton and Eric John Stark in The Ginger Star: " A newly discovered, newly opened world called Skaith that hardly anyone had ever heard of, except at Galactic Center. Skaith was not a member of the Union but there had been a consulate. Someone had called to the Union for help, and Ashton was the man who went to see about it."

Stark leaves from Pax to head for Skaith. In Last Call From Sector 9G we find operatives at Galactic Center: "The city was beautiful. Its official name was Galactic Center, but it was called The Hub because that is what it was, the hub and focus of a galaxy. It was the biggest city in the Milky Way. It covered almost the entire land area of the third planet of a Type G star that someone with a sense of humor had christened Pax. The planet was chosen originally because it was centrally located and had no inhabitants, and because it was within the limits of tolerance for the humanoid races." ... "He was remembering how he had seen it when he was fresh from Earth, for the first time—the supreme capital, beside which the world capitals were only toy cities, the heart and center of the galaxy where the decisions were made and the great men came and went."

Note that in All the Colors of the rainbow there are Mintakan engineers working on Earth. In Last Call From Sector 9G: "BAYA sat on the bed and watched him pack. She was from one of the worlds of Mintaka, and as humanoid as they came".

The Galactic Center and Pax and the Federation of Worlds would appear to be the same. In fact this hard to find until New Year's eve gives the greatest detail on the interstellar setting of any of the work, so is important from that point of view.


INTERPLANETARY WARS

Even though expansion can take off some of the population pressure, resources are still an issue, and wars still happen. Mars is particularly water-poor when looking to rapidly increase population by colonisation.

While not a war, Water Pirate is certainly about resources. "It was early in 2418 that the Solar System realized that there was a Water Pirate. The great tanker ships, carrying water to the rich dry-world mines and colonies, began to vanish from the space-lanes, with their convoys. The Trans-Galactic Convoy Fleet, which for two hundred years had kept the space-ways safe, was suddenly helpless."

The Earth-Venus War saw Mars neutral in No Man's Land In Space, and Mars also fought against the Jovians with Earth and Venus as seen in Outpost On Io.

Mars fought a World War in 2504, then became embroiled in an Interplanetary conflict later in the 26th century and tried a disguised sneak attack on Venus, which was foiled in Interplanetary Reporter.

In A World Is Born: "who had conceived this plan of building a new world for the destitute and desperate veterans of the Second Interplanetary War". It is not clear if this is meant to refer to one of the past wars, as a well understood by veterans term, or a completely new conflict. It is possible that the Second Interplanetary War meant is referenced in Thralls Of the Endless Night, with a documentary discovery: "Treaty of Alliance between the Sovereign Earth and the Union of Jovian Moons, providing for Earthly colonization and development of the said Moons, and mutual aid against Aggressor Worlds.
A single sheet fell out of the bundle. "...have taken the precaution of Halm, the treaty secretly in a ship of colonists, in care of the captain who knows nothing of its nature. It has been rumored that our mutual enemy, the Martio-Venusian Alliance, may try to intercept it, possibly with the aid of hired pirates. This would, as you know, mean war. It is my prayer that the treaty will safely..."


STABILIZATION AND DESPERATION

Alpha Centauri or Die shows a Solar System government either disillusioned with interstellar travel, or perhaps having more jackboot clad reasons. They do not want the people to have the freedom to travel and communicate in an uncontrolled fashion. This is explained by the bitter would be escapees: "But damn them all eternally, even so. Because of them all the Stabilization Acts had passed. Trade Stabilization. Population Stabilization. Crop Stabilization. The busy minds of the experts working. Take the manned ships out of space and there can't be any trade wars or any other kinds of wars. The worlds can't get at each other to fight. Stop expansion outward to the stars and eliminate the risks, the economic upsets that attend every major change, the unpredictable rise and shift of power. Stabilize. Regulate. Control. We may lose a few unimportant liberties but think what well gain. Security for all, and for all time to come! And the dark ships of the Government will keep you safe.
...
The populations of the Solar System had been carefully figured to the last decimal point and portioned out among the planets according to food- and employment-potential, so that nowhere was there a scarcity or an overplus, and nobody's individual whim was allowed to upset the balance. If you wanted to change your residence from one sector or one world to another, the red tape involved was so enormous that men had been known to die of old age while waiting for a permit."

If this sort of control is extended and expanded, then the consequences could easily appear in 'Retreat To The Stars'. The 40th century shows a more extreme Soviet-like political structure in the Tri-State, compared to the more extreme right-wing colonialism or American style capitalistic expansion of earlier times. In Retreat To the Stars there are a few rebels on an asteroid base still resisting state control. They are desperately building a starship to escape. The implication here is that starfaring technology is government controlled.

With a Future History of many centuries, cycles of political ideologies and experiments would not be at all surprising. Few dates are given in Brackett stories, so the Alpha Centauri or Die/Ark of Mars situations could have been followed by relaxing restrictions and great expansionism again, cycling around again until the 40th century.

For example, A Peace and Happiness doctrine backed up by actual brainwashing technology saw President Hilton rule the Federation of Worlds in Child Of the Sun. 'There was no way out ahead, either. Mercury was there, harsh and bitter in the naked blaze of the sun. The ships of Gantry Hilton, President of the Federation of Worlds, inventor of the Psycho-Adjuster, and ruler of men's souls, were herding him down to a landing at the lonely Spaceguard outpost." The Unregenerate rebels have almost lost completely and are also looking for a place to flee. "Unregeneracy was almost dead in the inhabited worlds." Falken and Moore do so, and find an immensely powerful stellar energy being using a small world as a plaything, and hope to use him to help them survive Hiltonist oppression.

Two thousand years between The Coming of the Terrans and Retreat To the Stars leaves a lot of time for things to change and plenty of chronological slots for the above to fit in.

On analysing the stories in this way, it does appear there is good evidence to include most of them in a coherent Future History.



REFERENCES

Leigh Brackett (ology)
The Coming of the Terrans - Leigh Brackett
The Halfling and Other Stories - Leigh Brackett
The Eric John Stark Saga - Leigh Brackett
The Solar System - Leigh Brackett
Sea-Kings of Mars
Martian Quest: The Early Brackett - Leigh Brackett
Lorelei Of the Red Mist: Planetary Romances - Leigh Brackett
The Big Jump
The Starmen Of Lyrids
Planet Stories Summer 1955
Leigh Brackett Summary Bibliography
Leigh Brackett Solar System
Mars in the Fiction of Leigh Brackett
Venus in the Fiction of Leigh Brackett
Mercury in the Fiction of Leigh Brackett
Jupiter in the Fiction of Leigh Brackett