Thursday, March 31, 2011

From the Mean Streets of Chicago to Lunar Noir: The Mystery Novels of - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

"Meanwhile, the incredibly prolific Rusch has created a hybrid mystery and sci fi series with her Retrieval Artist books. The Edge Boston noted of that series: “Part CSI, part Blade Runner, and part hard-boiled gumshoe, the retrieval artist of the series title, one Miles Flint, would be as at home on a foggy San Francisco street in the 1940s as he is in the domed lunar colony of Armstrong City.” Publishers Weekly called it a “provocative interplanetary detective series with healthy doses of planet-hopping intrigue, heady legal dilemmas and well-drawn characters,” while Booklist raved, “Rusch mounts hard-boiled noir on an expansive sf background with great panache.”"

3.5 out of 5

The One That Got Away - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Four ace minisaucer card suck blackout tournament.

4 out of 5

Where Two or Three - Sheila Finch

Astronaut volunteer.

3.5 out of 5

Blogging Sax Rohmer’s The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu 5 The Coughing Horror - William Maynard

"“The Coughing Horror” was the fifth installment of Sax Rohmer’s Fu-Manchu and Company. The story was first published in Collier’s on April 3, 1915 and was later expanded to comprise Chapters 14-17 of the second Fu-Manchu novel, The Devil Doctor first published in the UK in 1916 by Cassell and in the US by McBride & Nast under the variant title, The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu."

4 out of 5’s-the-return-of-dr-fu-manchu-part-five-–-“the-coughing-horror”/

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oracle - Greg Egan


Number of words : 18000
Percent of complex words : 12.1
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 19.7


Fog : 12.7
Flesch : 58.0
Flesch-Kincaid : 10.1


Robert Stoney

A professor of mathematics.

Peter Quint

A spook, and one of Stoney's captors.

Franza Kafka

Not a Commie, and a writer.


Stoney's boyfriend at the time of his trouble.

Mr Wills

A detective at the Manchester CID.

Guy Burgess

A corrupted English spy.

Hermann Weyl

A mathematician.


A friend at school Stoney was in love with who died of bovine tuberculosis.


A physicist.


A mathematician.


A scientist.


A time travelling multiverse shifting android.


A movie director.


Had a time travel theory that was right.


A physicist.


A physicist.

John Hamilton

Professor of Mediaeval and Renaissance English at Magdalene College, Cambridge. Also an author of religious defenses and children's fantasies.

Elizabeth Anscombe

A philosopher and winner of a debate with Hamilton.

Aquinas to Wittgenstein


William Hamilton

John's brother.

Malcolm Muggeridge

Another mathematician that did war work.

Nevill Mott

Made the superconducting alloys for the imager.

Rosalind Franklin

From Birkbeck, helped perfect the fabrication process for the computing circuits.

William Blake

A poet.

Joyce Hamilton

John's dying wife.

Helen of Troy

Ancient beauty.


Basically just a very dim Catholic.


Assistant and an affair of Stoney's.


A composer.

Michael Polanyi

An academic philosopher who agrees to moderate the debate.

Kurt Godel

Austrian mathematician.


Ancient philosopher.

Hamilton's young friend

Has a PhD in algebraic geometry from Cambridge.

H.G. Wells

An author.

Milton, Dante, John the Divine




A public school he went to.


A river in England.

Westminster Abbey

A church in England.

Saint Paul's Cathedral

A big church in England.

Cavendish Laboratory

Where Stoney works at Cambridge. A mid-Victorian building.


City in Egypt.


City in Colombia.


Capital of England.


City in India.


City in England.


USA city.


A nazi concentration camp.


City in India.

Shepherd's Bush

Where the BBC studios are located.

Guy's Hospital

Stoney knows an oncologist there.



Police detectives.

Trinity College

Part of Cambridge University.


English international espionage agency.

Socratic Club

A society that holds debates at Oxford University.


British Broadcasting Corporation.

Oxford University

In England.

Cambridge University

In England.


Mark I

A computer.

Spin resonance imager

Used to see inside the human body.


Yang and Mills in '54

A paper that generalised Maxwell's equations for electromagnetism to apply to the strong nuclear force.

Physical Review

A physics journal.

Kingdom of Nescia

Children's fantasies by John Hamilton.

Signs and Wonders

Anti-materialism tract by John Hamilton.

The Broken Planet

Anti-science book by John Hamilton.


Devil-dealing character.

Letters from a Demon

Satirical newspaper column by John Hamilton.

Cedric Duffy

A John Hamilton character.


Mythical Arthurian leader.

Tower of Babel

Mythical ancient structure.


Essay by Tollers.

Can A Machine Think?

A BBC debate between Stoney and Hamilton.

The Seat of Oak

One of Hamilton's Nescia books.


Baudot Code

A character set for telegraphy.


Roman deity.


Woodland deity.

Incompleteness Theorem

Postulated by Kurt Godel.

The Goldbach conjecture

One of the oldest unsolved problems in number theory and in all of mathematics. Every even integer greater than 2 can be expressed as the sum of two primes.

Fermat's Last Theorem

About positive integer algebra.


A machine that could solve the halting problem.



A created dog breed.


Small rodents that will fuck anything.


Robert Stoney is a professor of mathematics and of interest to MI6 because of the work he could do. He is also exploited by some dodgy spooks because he is gay, and in this decade that is something that can be used against you.

They actually take him to try and torture it out of him at one stage, locking him in a cramped cage. Amazingly, he is rescued by a woman who is a time traveller. Even more than that, an android and a multiversal troubleshooter. Helen stays with him for some time, and they discuss the problems of trying to change the past, and the differing branches. They can't change big things, but certainly can affect minor elements. So they bedevil the spook Quint that tortured Stoney, driving him towards breakdown.

This soon leads him to success as she can point out some shortcuts in research to come up with some technology like a resonance imager, or medical breakthroughs, even if it is not his field.

Others wonder why he is so successful all of a sudden, and he attracks the interest of a religious conservative and anti-science and anti-materialist author John Hamilton. They end up debating on the BBC, which goes ok. Helen accompanies Stoney and Hamilton has a 'young adviser'. Hamilton's wife Joyce is dying of bone cancer, but he thinks Stoney is of the devil and refuses any help.

Something Helen tells John can be accomplished with timeline tricks is a solution to the halting problem, of being able to tell if a computer program will work or not because you can use an infinite number of paths to interrogate it. To be able to solve the halting problem would give you an Oracle machine, as Stoney calls it.

At the end, after his wife has died he is visited by a version of himself from another timeline, which rather freaks him out. He still refuses to accept technological assitance towards his happiness, however and will not go with his visiting self.

4 out of 5 Interview With - Michael Moorcock

"Rock and roll used to be at its most vital when you went into a studio -- usually for a day or two -- without knowing what would come out. And usually the people who went in were already tight, good musicians. There were no rules and very few people in the early days looking over your shoulder, making you self-conscious. No criticism, no magazines devoted to rock and roll and so on. Writing science fiction was like that. Nobody to tell you what it was, how it was done, and so on. You were free to do what you liked, and the readers would tell you if they did or didn't like it. Too many good writers get ruined by becoming self-conscious and it was the main problem I had as an editor working with well-educated people."

3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Blogging Sax Rohmer;s The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu, Part 6 The Silver Buddha - William Maynard

"“The Silver Buddha” was the sixth installment of Sax Rohmer’s Fu-Manchu and Company. The story was first published in Collier’s on May 15, 1915 and was later expanded to comprise Chapters 18-20 of the second Fu-Manchu novel, The Devil Doctor first published in the UK in 1916 by Cassell and in the US by McBride & Nast under the variant title, The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu."

4 out of 5’s-the-return-of-dr-fu-manchu-part-six-–-“the-silver-buddha”/

Monday, March 28, 2011

Selling SF and Fantasy: 1969 Was Another World - Darrell Schweitzer

"What I think illustrates how different the time was quite well is a letter that James Blish wrote to the British fanzine Cypher about 1972, in which he bemoans that one of his Ballantine short-story collections (not named, but it seems to be So Close to Home, 1961) has “died the death” and gone out of print in mass market paperback AFTER ELEVEN YEARS."

3.5 out of 5

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Helplessly Dominant - Charles Stross

"We humans are social hominids, a branch of the broader family of primates that includes the great apes. We appear to have evolved in extended family groups similar to other primate troupes; with language and, later, writing we developed the ability to signal our social context within much larger groups."

3.5 out of 5

Friday, March 25, 2011

Why I Broke Up With Anita Blake - Jo Warne

"The Anita Blake series is by far, the most impressionable paranormal / urban fantasy series for me and one which inspired me to explore this genre further. Anita Blake at first was an amazing heroine – I wanted to be her friend, hell I wanted to be her. I fantasised over who would play her in a movie and I found myself wondering ‘what would Anita do’ in various situations. The first few books in this series were pure genius. Up until Obsidian Butterfly that is. From then, the books turn into a porn fest. Now I enjoy a little giddy up here and there, but the series takes on a triple x-rating often involving multiple partners.Although, Hamilton just stops at beastiality. ‘Just’ I tellsya. For me, the first 7 or so novels were well written, with believable and intelligent plot lines, developed characters and a likeable heroine with a sarcastic sense of humour. Hamilton’s world of the preternatural is second to none – nope not even Anne Rice. Anita’s ability to use weapons and fight hand-to-hand combat is believable and what keeps me hanging on. "

5 out of 5

Oceanic - Greg Egan


Number of words : 20000
Percent of complex words : 9.5
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 14.1


Fog : 9.4
Flesch : 66.6
Flesch-Kincaid : 7.5



A young Covenant man that is religiously uncomfortable.


Martin's brother.


Martin's mother.


Martin's father.


A Prayer Group leader.

Rachel and Bartholomew

A married couple.


Daniel's wife.


Agnes' second cousin who has a brief relationship with Martin.


A boat breeder.


A Firmlander biologist and studier of native microfauna. Martin's academic mentor.


A fellow student, anthropologist and colleague.


A Freelander mathematician from the southern ocean.


Daniel's daughter.

Carla Reggia

Author of "Euphoric Effects of Z/12/80 Excretions".


Perform a religious ritual when a pool in a village has a zooamine bloom.


Deep Church

A religious denomination.


A religious denomination.

Prayer Group

Daniel belongs to this.

Mitar University

Where Daniel studied.



The planet Martin lives on.


Built from a ship hull.


A coastal town on a river mouth.


Town where Lena lives and the university is.

Ferez's Deep Church

A spaceship built of stone, glass, and wood where Daniel gets married.


A city of ten million people on the east coast.



Daughter of God. The Holy Jester.


Transformation of the Covenant biosphere by the Angels when deciding to change from their previous posthuman forms.


The trip to Covenant by the Angels.


A religious baptism ceremony where the recipient must stay underwater for a considerable time.

Immaterial City

Ancient dwelling place.


For Covenant people the penis is transferable after sex, from one partner to the other.


The original colonists. Apparently gave up immortality to produce the people and situation on Covenant now by devolution.


Lowest level of a body of water.


Measure of time on Covenant.


Ocean god.



Religious texts of the Deep Church.

Beatrice Joining the Angels

A religious painting.



Feeding on nutrients in the ocean, moving pumping water through channels in its skin, guided by both sunlight and Covenant's magnetic field.



Human inhabitants of Covenant, split by where they live.


Other human inhabitants of Covenant, split by where they live.



A native microfauna.


Martin lives in a smaller town of Covenant, a settled colony of Earth now lower tech and devolved than when it began, having come through a history of strife and religious conflict. His family is still religious, and his brother has chosen a particularly backward hicksville religion the Deep Church, and talks him into undergoing the underwater religious rite.

Later, a sexual experience with a cousin of his sister-in-law's where the bridge of actual genital transfer happens shakes him as her worldview is radically different to his. She is not religious at all.

When he goes to university he studies microbiology and learns that an accident of the changes via ecopoeisis on this world left zoocytes with zooamines that can mess with brain chemistry when in the ocean. Leaving that Beatrice given religious feeling purely technical, even though it still happens. This causes some controversy and garners a fair amount of media attention for his team and from people that want to argue about it. There are still plent of fundamentalists.

At the end, in a small village a concentrated bloom of these happens periodically, and people gather to undergo a rite that leaves them with a religious high. His interruption and explanation of this to the credulous bumpkings is not overly well taken. He is left thinking all night sitting outside a church, pondering.

4 out of 5

Thursday, March 24, 2011

University professor doubles as fantasy author after class - Danae King

"Pfundstein tried several times to get his work published, but it seemed there wasn't a market for the genre he was writing. Pfundstein writes sword and sorcery books. Sword and sorcery is a sub-genre of fantasy some may call the "dark side."

There wasn't a market for sword and sorcery until 2005, when a new adventure fantasy magazine came out, and his first short story was published."

3.5 out of 5

Rampant - Saskia Walker

Your good old-fashioned erotic occult novel.

A woman moves to another location and becomes involved, sometimes literally, in the goings on of the local witchy types. A good researcher, who is of course a hunky babe, a femme fatale, the evil master and slave woman and others. Throw in a ghost from the past as a bonus.

3.5 out of 5

Blogging Sax Rohmer’s The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu Part 7 Cragmire Tower - William Maynard

"“Cragmire Tower” was the seventh installment of Sax Rohmer’s Fu-Manchu and Company. The story was first published in Collier’s on July 17, 1915 and was later expanded to comprise Chapters 21-23 of the second Fu-Manchu novel, The Devil Doctor first published in the UK in 1916 by Cassell and in the US by McBride & Nast under the variant title, The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu."

4 out of 5’s-the-return-of-dr-fu-manchu-part-seven-–-“cragmire-tower”/

Dr Nikola An Introduction - William Maynard

"Dr. Nikola is another highly influential Victorian character who has been all but forgotten in the intervening century. The creation of Australian novelist Guy Boothby, Antonio Nikola was one of the earliest examples of a villain granted his own series. Nikola appears in five novels: A Bid for Fortune (1895), Dr. Nikola Returns (1896), The Lust of Hate (1898), Dr. Nikola’s Experiment (1899), and Farewell, Nikola (1901)."

4.5 out of 5

Neighbourhood Watch - Greg Egan

Short Story

Number of words : 5900
Percent of complex words : 6.1
Average syllables per word : 1.4
Average words per sentence : 10.1


Fog : 6.5
Flesch : 79.1
Flesch-Kincaid : 4.7



Has a contract to protect the local neighbourhood, in return for certain killing ground rights.


Leader of the local kids.


17, bored and prey out after curfew.

Mrs Bold

Chairman of the local Citizens Against Crime.

Mr Simmons

The local butcher.


A graffiti vandal.


A young lawbreaker.


A bad boy, too.


Another bad boy.

Ned Kelly

A famous bushranger.


Fall-out shelter

Where the monster resides.


A local city area has done a deal with a monster. It is allowed to kill within certain guidelines of place and time if it keeps the area free of crime. It does so for awhile, but decides not to continue with the current contract. It takes care of three young punks out after curfew as part of this deal. It likes killing too much. It kills Mrs Bold, arranger of the contract.

One young boy David is not afraid of the monster like the others, even though he knows it wants to kill. He tells the monster that he dreamed that after he died the monster would die too. After the contract expires and the monster begins to consume him, the boy tells him one last thing - no-one else dreamed of your death, did they?

4 out of 5

Mantraverse - Jenny North

A very detailed website dedicated to the Ultraverse hero from Malibu comics, Mantra. Who was interesting as a male knight trapped in the body of a modern woman, fighting the bad guys and raising a daughter.

5 out of 5

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Moral Virologist - Greg Egan

Short Story

Number of words : 5800
Percent of complex words : 13.6
Average syllables per word : 1.6
Average words per sentence : 16.7


Fog : 12.1
Flesch : 56.8
Flesch-Kincaid : 9.5


Matthew Shawcross

A religious fundamentalist media baron.

John Shawcross

His son, a religious fundamentalist virus producer with a PhD in Molecular Biology.


A physicist.

William Paley

A christian apologist.


Finds the law in Shawcross' work when he pays for her time.



USA city, in Georgia.


Major population centre in Japan.


Major population centre in China.


Major population centre in South Korea.


Major population centre in Thailand.


Major population centre in the Phillipines.


Major population centre in Australia.

New Delhi

Major population centre in India.


Major population centre in Egypt.


Major city in England.


Major city in Ireland.


Province of Canada.



Discarded by Shawcross as a discipline in favour of Molecular Biology.


Ribonucleic acid. An essential building block of life.



Shawcross Virus A. Highly infectious, but utterly benign. It would reproduce within a variety of host cells in the skin and mucous membranes, without causing disruption to normal cellular functions. Its protein coat had been designed so that every exposed site mimicked some portion of a naturally occurring human protein; the immune system, being necessarily blind to these substances.


Shawcross Virus C. The second form of the Shawcross Virus. SVC would be able to survive only in blood, semen and vaginal fluids.


Shawcross Virus M. Upon reinfecting T-cells, SVC would be capable of making an "informed decision" as to what the next generation would be. Like SVA, it would create a genetic fingerprint of its host cell and compare this with its stored copy. If both were identical - proving that the customised strain had remained within the body in which it had begun - its daughters would be SVC. If the fingerprints failed to match, implying that the strain had now crossed into another person's body (and he two hosts were not of the same sex), the daughter virus would be a third variety, SVM, containing both fingerprints.


Shawcross Virus D. The fourth form. It could come from SVC directly, when the gender markers implied that a homosexual act had taken place, or from SVM, when the detection of a third genetic fingerprint suggested that the molecular marriage contract had been violated. SVD forced its host cells to secrete enzymes that catalysed the disintegration of vital proteins in blood vessel walls. Victims would undergo massive haemorrhaging all over their body.



USA university in Boston.


The son of a religious fundamentalist media baron is inspired by AIDs to invent a virus that can cause death after homosexual sex and after non-monogamous sex. He goes around the world to spread it.

He has a habit of paying prostitutes to resist temptation, and in this case does it to talk to one of them. She points out a flaw in his work. Babies are genetically different to both parents, so the virus will work on them. Mothers will only be able to breastfeed for a month until death.

He thinks of turning himself in and is briefly despondent, until realising he can work with this.

4 out of 5§ion=fiction

SFX Interview - John Noble

"FX: Are the showrunners building towards an endgame?

“When I was hired to do this JJ Abrams said to me it’s a six-year story arc if we can keep going. Just talking to [showrunners] Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman they could do more, because the material’s so rich they could go anywhere. They could also do less. They haven’t written themselves into a corner where if the show has to go out after three, four, five years it’s going to be left hanging, because no-one wants that. So they’ve left options open for themselves, but I know they were told to write six years.”"

4 out of 5

Monday, March 21, 2011

Savage Barsoom Interview - Joe Jusko

"SB: I love the 'Space Opera' painting, it is so iconic of Barsoom and it's inhabitants. Is 'Space Opera' the name you gave the painting? Was this all from your mind's eye or did you have any direction on the piece, other than what was described in the books? Any other details you want to share about it?"

4.5 out of 5

Sunday, March 20, 2011

An Hour with Fritz Leiber: The Author And His Works 2 - Randall Garrett

Second part of an interview about his writing and how he came up with stuff.

4.5 out of 5

An Hour with Fritz Leiber: The Author And His Works 1 - Randall Garrett

An interview about his writing and how he came up with stuff.

4 out of 5

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Blogging Sax Rohmer's The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu 8 The Fiery Hand - William Maynard

"This serves as Rohmer’s variation on the haunted house story and mines the same territory as countless Sherlock Holmes pastiches where the reader is assured that the detective will arrive at a rational explanation because the other characters are convinced that the mysterious goings-on must be of supernatural origin from the start. That said, the story is an excellent one and finds Rohmer in fine form."

4 out of 5’s-the-return-of-dr-fu-manchu-part-eight-–-“the-fiery-hand”/

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Shariann Lewitt - Blue Tyson

Shariann Lewitt is a science fiction author with a dozen or so novels and more than double that in short fiction. She has written a Star Trek book and co-written with Susan Shwartz as Gordon Kendall.

The following descriptions are all courtest of Ian Sales and do sound rather interesting :-

ANGEL AT APOGEE (1987) - young privileged woman becomes space fighter pilot on humanoid world in populated galaxy

BLIND JUSTICE (1991) - ghost ship helps wreak revenge on totalitarian galactic empire

CYBERSTEALTH (1989) - two-man space fighter crew, one human and one alien, uncover a spy in the squadron who's leaking tech secrets to the enemy

DANCING VAC (1990) - sequel to CYBERSTEALTH, human star fighter goes after traitorous alien crewmate behind enemy lines

CYBERNETIC JUNGLE (1992) - street fighter and hot female computer jockey team up to wreak revenge on nasty corporation

SONGS OF CHAOS (1993) - human banished from earth finds himself in bizarre starfaring culture

MEMENTO MORI (1995) - plague results in colony world being quarantined, so some artists sit around in coffee shops and plot a way out

INTERFACE MASQUE (1997) - cybernetic intrigue in a future Venice

REBEL SUTRA (2000) - far future power struggle on an alien planet with echoes of Hindu mythology

WHITE WING (1985), with Susan Shwartz under the name Gordon Kendall - elite space fighter squadron are all that remain of Earth destroyed by alien enemy

Reetions on Swords post-contact - Lynda Williams

"Fahzir was both surprised by his success, and confused. "But you stopped Bryllit spacing her prisoners."

"No," said Horth.

"You challenged Bryllit, as I understand. And that was why she did not throw those people out the airlock."

"Erien challenged Bryllit," said Horth. "I did not want her to kill him."

"Oh." "

4 out of 5

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Lynda Williams - Blue Tyson

Lynda Williams is a science fiction author whose Okal Rel Universe series has a double figure work count, both short and long. I have never seen any, though.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: C. M. Gilbert - Blue Tyson

C. M. Gilbert is a curiosity, the author of one novel that I am aware of. It was actually marketed as Sword and Sorcery but isn't. The 1981 novel The Ozine Conquest has a disgruntled steel-handed soldier getting involved with an ancient alien race and a conflict over a space station and the alien transport technology. Complete with Star Traders and a barbarian priestess. On her planet comes the low tech science fantasy bit for a time.

The Last Of His Kind - Bill Ward

Wyrm hunting problems.

2.5 out of 5

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sword and Sorcery Reader List Updated

And created, too, if you like.

You can find it here :

The Mound 2 - H. P. Lovecraft

"Step right up and explore the underworld of Tsath! SEE human-unicorn beasts of burden! HEAR thoughts in your head! And FEEL your body phase out of existence!"

4 out of 5

The Secret Life of Laird Barron 2 - John Langan

Lessons in transport.

3.5 out of 5

Combined Free SF Reader and Not Free SF Reader List By Author updated

Combined Free SF Reader and Not Free SF Reader List By Author updated :-

The Secret Life of Laird Barron - John Langan

"Those of you who know Laird Barron know that his life before he started publishing his stories is a series of blank spots. Although I consider him one of my closest friends, I realized the other week that, while he knows a great deal about my life, I know next to nothing about his. Yes, every now and again, if he's had enough single-malt, he'll spin some tale about racing the Iditarod. Those stories, though: they don't add up. Sometimes he's the only eight year old ever to have competed, after which, he enjoyed a brief career voicing a muppet on Sesame Street. Other times, he dragged the sled while his dogs rested in it, which brought him to the attention of PETA, who hired him to pose nude for a series of ads in Soldier of Fortune. "

5 out of 5

Australian SF Reader List Updated

I finally got around to recreating this after the blogger arseclownery.

It is now here.

The collection/anthology part I haven't put together again as yet.

Free SF Reader List Updated

Note changes :

Free SF Reader List updated :-

Not Free SF Reader List updated : -

Authortrek Interview - Neal Asher

"Neal Asher: Is the writing of SF easy? If you write a normal thriller or crime story, you are dealing with the familiar and the easily described; a gun is a gun, and a car is a car, and don't need much elaboration. If you're thinking of the future, you have to think about where our technology has taken us. What of the car and the gun in a thousand years or so... I could go on.
Yes, natural history is a passion of mine and the more I learn about it, the more I realise that you don't need to look much further than the nearest rock to find an alien. I wrote The Parasite after reading a veterinary book on parasites and many others of my alien creatures have a firm basis in our natural world.
Take the blade beetle in 'Proctors': just looking at the way our creatures - their defensive mechanisms etc. - you could see how such a creature could evolve. The leeches of 'Spatterjay' are another such; they don't kill their prey, they harvest them, and cause in them apparent immortality so as to have a reusable food source."

4 out of 5

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Almuric - Battleroar Band

3 out of 5

Space Opera Reader List Updated

It can now be found here :-

Dyvim Tvar - Battleroar Band

3.5 out of 5

Hyrkanian Blades - Battleroar Band

3.5 out of 5

The Disappeared 1 - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

"She was looking at a scorch mark that ran along the side, but she didn’t touch it.

“Weapons fire?” she asked, and she was checking with him. She hadn’t done that before either.

He nodded. He moved closer. The yacht had an expensive blast coating, but not enough to protect it from whatever had shot at it.

“Looks like only a few shots,” he said. “Powerful, but I’d guess they were meant as warning shots.”

“How old are they?”

“Fresh enough.” Flint touched the hull. It was smooth against his fingers. “It looks like the blast coating got reapplied regularly. This hull should be pitted from space debris—happens to all ships over time, no matter how well shielded they are—and this one isn’t.”"

3.5 out of 5

Cosmic Balances Inc. - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Now a leprechaun admin minion.

3 out of 5

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mouja - Matt London

Samurai last stand vs zombies.

4 out of 5

Map of Seventeen - Chris Barzak

American Gothic joke tail.

2.5 out of 5

Eustace Albert - Anil Menon

Batty boy tongue chop threat.

3 out of 5

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly 1 - David Farney and Adrian Simmons

Three stories in this first issue, one good, one average, one poor. And a poem.

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly 1 : Black Flowers Of Sevan - James Lecky
Heroic Fantasy Quarterly 1 : Man Of Moldania - Richard Marsden
Heroic Fantasy Quarterly 1 : Beyond The Lizard Gate - Alex Marshall

A bet leads Tulun to discover the truth about the ruler's beautiful companion and the poppy around he neck that are the object of the wager.

3.5 out of 5

Why not feed the dragon the christians, spare the sheep? Or the dodgy bloke, anyway.

3 out of 5

Not too Luminous, this staff.

2 out of 5

2 out of 5

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly 2 - David Farney and Adrian Simmons

Pretty much the same quality as the first issue. Plus poetry.

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly 2 : The Hand Of Afaz - Euan Harvey
Heroic Fantasy Quarterly 2 : Monster In The Mountains - Bywilliam Gerke
Heroic Fantasy Quarterly 2 : The Waking Of Angantyr - Marie Brennan

Naked swimming and paen singing.

2.5 out of 5

Fighting a mandible beast - with a greyhound?

3 out of 5

Bloody bunny sacrifice, ghost resting and a nifty sword.

3 out of 5

1.5 out of 5

The Waking of Angantyr - Marie Brennan

Bloody bunny sacrifice, ghost resting and a nifty sword.

3 out of 5

Monster In the Mountains - William Gerke

Fighting a mandible beast - with a greyhound?

3 out of 5

Winter City 1

Or would you put a warrant out for the Grim Reaper?

3 out of 5

The Hand of Afaz - Euan Harvey

Naked swimming and paean singing.

2.5 out of 5

The Salt Line - Grant Stone

New salty world cut.

3 out of 5

Monday, March 14, 2011

Children of the Atom: Opening Doors - Wilmar Shiras

"“They may be. Some of them must be. The bright child has all too often grown up to be a queer, maladjusted, unhappy adult. Or else he has thrown away half of his intelligence in order to adjust and be happy and get along as a social being. These children are bright beyond anything the world has ever known — if Tim is at all a fair sample, and Elsie is full as well endowed. Think of such intelligence combined with a lust for power, a selfish greed, or an overwhelming sense of superiority so that all other people, of average intelligence or a little more, would seem as worthless as . . . as Yahoos.”"

3 out of 5

Z-Lensman:Reunion at the Circus - David A. Kyle

"“The garbled reports are proof, if we needed any more. Our machines are playing funny tricks. Patrol communications are in a shambles. We’ve got interference and aberrations in all our equipment.”

Kinnison tossed the papers down next to him and put his hands on his thighs, bending over in that between-you-and-me posture, massive head tilted up, dark eyes under his frowning eyebrows peering at each person individually.

“Friends, we’ve lost contact with ten percent of our forces on the other side of this galaxy. I concur with the majority of you. This galaxy is about to be invaded by some, as yet, undetectable enemy.”"

3 out of 5

Lensman From Rigel: Two Only for Tanse - David A. Kyle

"What no one knew, except himself and the other two Rigellians of his three-unit-cluster, was that Tregonsee was in mental fusion. He had locked mind-souls with his bristers, “Two” and “Three.” Across the immensity of distance from galaxy to galaxy, Tregonsee had the unshakable mental anchor of his two other empathetic psyches. Never before had he used them in his work nor would he ever use them that way again. He was prepared for the vast and mighty forces of the alien minds, fully as deadly, calamitous, and fateful as anything expected from the ghostly Eichwoor."

3 out of 5

The Dragon Lensman: Lens to Lens - David A. Kyle

"Boskonians? Pirates? A robotic conspiracy taking over Pok?

“Lensman Kallatra here, sir! Bosko-Spawn! Two, three hours and all will be lost!”

The contact went as quickly as it had come. The cryptic message had been sharp and precise.

Worsel’s overwrought mind fastened on those discouraging words “. . . all will be lost!” By Klono’s golden gills, no help was promised. The situation was dismal. It certainly seemed that he, Worsel, was doomed — about to be made redundant by a berserk collection of animated filling cabinets and trash baskets!"

2.5 out of 5

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: David Kyle - Blue Tyson

David Kyle is the author of three authorised sequels to E. E. Doc Smith's Lensman series, focusing on the other Second Stage Lensmen, Worsel, Tregonsee and Nadreck. He was also a publisher in the past and a writer of non-fiction about SF and has produced a handful of short stories.

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Stephen Goldin - Blue Tyson

Stephen Goldin is a science fiction and fantasy author. Of interest is the fact that he wrote the Family D'Alembert book series based on E. E. Doc Smith's work. A 10 book long series. Also one Star Trek novel. He also produced a couple of dozen short stories. He apparently likes 10 book series, as recently he has the Agents of Isis series available. ISIS being the Imperial Special Investigation Service. Others of his work are of interest, and he also has a collection available via E-Reads.

The Forlorn - Dave Freer

This is Dave Freer's first novel, and a pretty good one.

You get a little of the planetary romance flavour with swords and what seems like ancient superscience. And yes, there is of course a space princess. Humans have been toasted by the alien Morkth, except on one colony world. Here, we have a technological regression for both parties, the human colonists and the alien oppressors.

Both have small pockets of technology that seems amazing to most of the rest, centred on their ships and hives.

The wrinkle is some humans have psionic talents - and these abilities allow the powering of matter transmitters and other amazing technology, as long as conditions are right.

So the aliens and the captain of the original human ship plot to their own ends to be able to get back into space. With the princess and young survivor in the middle of swords, spears, the desert and alien breeding programmes. Not to mention the political conflicts between empires of the humans, including father of said princess.

I rather enjoyed this.

3.5 out of 5

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mortal Danger - Frank Roger

Time Police holiday interruption.

3 out of 5

Epinikion - Desmond Warzel

Squid war effects.

3.5 out of 5

Discovery - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Finding a murder, and a career.

3.5 out of 5

Illusion 2 - Mercedes Lackey and Dennis Lee

Suicides, saves, swinging and smiles for Red and Vicki.

3.5 out of 5

The Walkers from the Crypt 2 City of the Dead - Howard Andrew Jones

" "Something... someone... waved for me to follow."

There was no time for hesitation. Not hearing the Galtans made her more concerned about their position. If they reached the valley before her team cleared it...

Yet it was unlike Arcil to sound so indecisive. Or troubled. "A Galtan?" she asked.

"Arcil may not be as suave as he thinks he is, but he's a good man to have in a fight."

"I think it may have been a ghost," Arcil admitted."

2.5 out of 5

Space Opera Reader List Updated

It can now be found here :-

Three stories in this first issue, one good, one average, one poor. And a poem. Heroic Fantasy Quarterly 1 : Black Flowers Of Sevan - James Lecky He

Three stories in this first issue, one good, one average, one poor. And a poem.

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly 1 : Black Flowers Of Sevan - James Lecky
Heroic Fantasy Quarterly 1 : Man Of Moldania - Richard Marsden
Heroic Fantasy Quarterly 1 : Beyond The Lizard Gate - Alex Marshall

A bet leads Tulun to discover the truth about the ruler's beautiful companion and the poppy around he neck that are the object of the wager.

3.5 out of 5

Why not feed the dragon the christians, spare the sheep? Or the dodgy bloke, anyway.

3 out of 5

Not too Luminous, this staff.

2 out of 5

2 out of 5

Beyond The Lizard Gate - Alex Marshall

Not too Luminous, this staff.

2 out of 5

Man of Moldania - Richard Marsden

Why not feed the dragon the christians, spare the sheep? Or the dodgy bloke, anyway.

3 out of 5

Alfie - Frederik Pohl

"I began to see a lot of Horace, joining him for his penny-ante Friday night poker games, as well as selling him a ton of my clients’ work.

But Horace did not have all the writers he wanted in his magazine. Particularly he wanted a serial from Alfie Bester, and so Alfie, too, was high on Horace’s guest list.

What Horace wanted from Alfie wasn’t just any old serial. It was a particular story, a serial idea the two of them had talked about. And talked and talked about it and kept on talking about it.

Horace may not have been the best editor science fiction science fiction ever had, although he certainly he was right there close after John Campbell, but he was just about the most persistent. If Horace wanted a story out of you, he generally got it. And what he did at last get from Alfie Bester was a three-part serial called The Demolished Man."

4.5 out of 5

Alfie Alfie Part 2: When Bester was the Best - Frederik Pohl

"The Demolished Man was worth all of Horace Gold’s editorial aggravations. The Demolished Man was fresh, adventurous and beautifully written, and it began a stretch of five years or so during which Alfred Bester was turning out what was arguably some of the best writing in the sf field, right up to his second great novel, The Stars My Destination, sometimes called Tiger! Tiger! in 1956.

But, as far as great sf novels were concerned, that was it. "

4.5 out of 5

Black Flowers of Sevan - James Lecky

A bet leads Tulun to discover the truth about the ruler's beautiful companion and the poppy around he neck that are the object of the wager.

3.5 out of 5

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Honorable Mentions Best Horror of the Year volume three part 2 - Ellen Datlow

Continuing the list.

3.5 out of 5

Full Honorable Mentions List for 2010 part 1 - Ellen Datlow

For Best Horror of the Year.

3.5 out of 5

Interview With 'The Rem' - Andy Remic

"The Rem: Although I love writing Combat K, I felt I needed a break from Franco’s ginger insanity. I'm mentally overloaded by the little bugger. An excess of Franco. I've got a Franco-hangover. Indeed. And thus, for a little while I've come up with a new concept, set broadly within the same set of galaxies as Combat K, but with a more fast-paced and violent set of central themes, less humour, and tying together two ideas I’ve wanted to work with for a while. The concept of torture- and murder-model androids (the Anarchy Androids of the series title) and “Theme Planet” – an entire world dedicated to absolutely wild and insane and over-the-top alien theme park rides. So, a twisted alien theme park set across an entire world. A deviated alien Disney of the 51st Century. The novel begins with Dexter Colls, a policeman and nice family man, who takes his wife and children to Theme Planet for their annual holiday... but things soon turn very, very bad."

4 out of 5

Rediscovering the Ubiquitous Donald F. Glut - William Patrick Maynard

"Donald F. Glut is best associated with his 1980 novelization of The Empire Strikes Back. Some may recall his name today if they are between the ages of 40 and 45 and the movie was a touchstone of their childhood. I was not yet nine years old when the film was first released and read and re-read the paperback over and over again at a time when Star Wars meant as much to me as The Clone Wars does to my kids. The difference was, at age eight, I already recognized the name Donald F. Glut and knew him for a mysterious individual to be respected and admired because he wrote everything I wanted to read.
I was an avid comic book junkie as a kid and adored classic horror and science fiction films of decades past like many that grew up in the 1970s. Donald F. Glut was not a name like Stan Lee or Roy Thomas or even Len Wein or Marv Wolfman that I associated with specific titles that I eagerly devoured each month. Glut appeared where I least expected to find him - which in his case was nearly everywhere."

4 out of 5

Five year retrospective - Charles Stross

"Five years ago I more or less finished writing "Halting State", although it wasn't published until mid-2007. Around that time, MMOs were getting an increasing amount of interest, and a startup forum/social site called GuildCafe commissioned me to write an article about the next 25 years.

While I linked to it from my blog, the original article stayed on GuildCafe's site, but GuildCafe have apparently been through some changes, and the original article has succumbed to link rot.

So I'm reprinting it below. And my question for you is, what' did I get wrong in 2007?

4.5 out of 5

Sir Fred Goodwin is a wanker - Charles Stross

"Sir Fred "Banker" Goodwin is the former chief executive of a certain financial institution, bailed out by the British government at enormous expense a while ago: consequently he's the recipient of a more-than-abstract amount of money that I paid in tax. He also appears to be somewhat litigious, to the point of having taken out a super-injunction banning news media from describing him as the entity for which the collective noun is a wunch. I would be unaware of the existence of this super-injunction or gagging order if it hadn't been mentioned in Parliament, under Parliamentary Privilege: there's a rather profound freedom of speech issue lurking here, insofar as it appears to be possible for any random scumbag in the UK to pre-emptively ban all news media from describing him as a scumbag. "

5 out of 5

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ashputtle - Peter Straub

Ashputtle - Peter Straub
Faecal fat chance.

3 out of 5

Combined Free SF Reader and Not Free SF Reader List By Author updated

Combined Free SF Reader and Not Free SF Reader List By Author updated :-

Free SF Reader List Updated

Note changes :

Free SF Reader List updated :-

Not Free SF Reader List updated : -

Blogger continues to go downhill, deleting people's blogs at random. Blogger has done their bizarre autopagination thing so that you can't reliably download archives anymore. You also can't export a blog bigger than 5000 posts. So the two possible ways to do that have been removed, so I have changed where this is for now.

The site it lives on may change, but that will be announced here and in the usual places.

Ghoul's Head - Donald J. Walsh

Ghoul's Head - Donald J. Walsh
Samurai, ninja, and the old Japanese Heads.

3.5 out of 5

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thirstlands - Nick Wood

Lack of elephants as well as water.

3.5 out of 5

The Last Pendragon - Sarah Woodbury

"The young man, Cadwaladr, the last of the Pendragons, fixed his eyes on those of the woman sitting beside the King. She was Alcfrith, Cadfael’s wife, taken as bride after the death of Cadwaladr’s father. Rhiann couldn’t see her face, but from the back, the tension was a rod up her spine and her shoulders were frozen as if in ice.

“Hello, Mother,” Cadwaladr said. His lips were cracked and bleeding, puffy from the beating that had bruised the whole length of him. Rhiann had heard they’d as close to killed him as it didn’t matter, but from the look of him now, the men-at-arms to whom she’d spoken had exaggerated.

“Son,” Alcfrith said, her voice as stiff as her body.

Rhiann’s father ranged back in his chair, legs crossed at the ankles to project his calm and deny the importance of the moment. “Foolish whelp,” he said. “I’d thought you’d put up more of a fight, not that I regret the ease of your defeat. This will allow me to reinforce my eastern border more quickly than I’d thought. Penda will be pleased.”

“You and I both know why my company was not prepared for battle today,” Cadwaladr said.

Cadfael shrugged. “Your men are dead,” he said, “and you a shell of a man. What did you think? That the people would welcome you? That I would let you take my lands?”

“My lands,” Cadwaladr said.

Rhiann’s father sneered his contempt. He reached out an arm to Alcfrith and massaged the back of her neck. She didn’t bend to him. If anything, the tension in her increased. “You meet your death tomorrow, as proof of your ignobility.”

Cadfael waved his hand to Rhiann, signaling her to refill his cup of wine and that the interview was over. She obeyed, of course, stepping forward with her carafe. The guards tugged on Cadwaladr, but as he moved, Rhiann glanced up and met his eyes. It was only for a heartbeat, but in that space it seemed to Rhiann that they were the only ones in the room. She expected to see desperation and fear in him, or at the very least, pain. Instead, she saw understanding. She could hardly credit it. When had she ever known that?

“You’re wrong, Father,” Rhiann said, as the guards hauled Cadwaladr away. “Cadwaladr comes to us as a defeated prisoner, and yet, he has more honor, more nobility, than any other man in this room.”

“He is the Pendragon,” Alcfrith said, with more starch in her voice than Rhiann had heard in many years. “Cadfael can’t change that, even by killing him.”

Rhiann’s father snorted a laugh into his cup before draining it. He didn’t even slap the women down, so sure was he of his own omnipotence. “You may keep your dreams,” he said, pushing himself to his feet and turning to leave. “The dragon is chained; the prophecy dead.”"

4 out of 5

Heroic Fantasy In Dark Age Wales - Sarah Woodbury

"My book *The Last Pendragon*, tells the story of Cadwaladr ap Cadwallon (Cade) who was a real king of Gwynedd (North Wales). His father, Cadwallon, was killed in the battle of Catscaul or the *Battle of the Wall*(Heavenfield, near Hexham) in 634 AD. An unknown usurper, Cadfael, placed himself on the throne of Gwynedd, and was himself overthrown in 655 AD by the twenty-two year old Cadwaladr, Cadwallon’s son, who’d been raised in exile until he could return to claim his birthright.

Thus, Cade is a ‘hero’ in the epic sense of the word. He is heir to the throne of Arthur and like him, a flawed human who was the last and best hope for his people. His rule sits at the resting point between the Welsh retreat and the Saxon advance. As romanticized by Geoffrey of Monmouth, he was the last Pendragon, the last King of Wales before the Cymry fell irretrievably under a wave of Saxon invaders. The fantasy element in *The Last Pendragon* lies in adding meat to the bare bones of history, particularly in the inclusion of Rhiann, the bastard daughter of Cadfael, and the *sidhe*. This allows me to delve into Welsh mythology and add amystical element that historical fiction generally does not include."

4 out of 5

Author Interview - Keith C. Blackmore

""The Troll Hunter" is a work of Heroic Fantasy. There is very little magic, monsters aren’t as commonplace, and it’s harsh. Gritty. Or so I tried to make it that way. It’s hard not to talk about the story without giving away too much of what I hope will be a surprise. I think fans of George RR Martin, David Gemmell, and Joe Abercrombie will enjoy it. It’s begins with a company of hard-nosed shock troops called Sujins, and they’re pulled back into duty one morning without any reason. They eventually find out that they are to protect a heavily armoured koch (coach) heading north, through a country on the verge of losing a very costly and drawn out war. They also learn that their leaders are harsh veterans of the war, and pretty much despise each other."

4 out of 5

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Clarkesworld 53 - Neil Clarke

A poor pair of stories, with an interview and an art article. You can happily skip this one.

Clarkesworld 53 : Diving After the Moon - Rachel Swirsky
Clarkesworld 53 : Three Oranges - D. Elizabeth Wasden

Monkeying asphyxiation, no?

2.5 out of 5

Field juice stabbity.

2.5 out of 5

1 out of 5

Three Oranges - D. Elizabeth Wasden

Field juice stabbity.

2.5 out of 5

Diving After The Moon - Rachel Swirsky

Monkeying asphyxiation, no?

2.5 out of 5

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Illusion 1 - Mercedes Lackey and Dennis Lee

Red and Vickie have a magical argument.

3 out of 5

Monday, March 07, 2011

He Had To Die: A Conversation With - David Weber

"I figure Dvorak is going to be the first ambassador to the Galactic Hegemony. They won't really like meeting him but we're going to practice sort of the Klingon corollary of the Prime Directive. "We need allies. Here, have some nukes, have some starships. Let us bootstrap you!""

3.5 out of 5

Clarkesworld 54 - Neil Clarke

A really good issue, with one good and one very good story by Clare. An interesting article on crowdsourced films like Star Wreck.

Clarkesworld 54 : The Book of Phoenix - Nnedi Okorafor
Clarkesworld 54 : Perfect Lies - Gwendolyn Clare

Tower 7 research, hot.

3.5 out of 5

Mask People diplomacy Falsehood Wizard.

4 out of 5

5 out of 5

Cinema 2.0: The Future of Movie Making? - Mark Cole

"Several high-profile projects on the web have embraced this new paradigm — and many of the most visible efforts using some form of this "crowdsourcing" are science fiction films. That this new cinema should have attracted the interest of the SF fanatics out there can hardly be said to be much of a surprise: after all, this is the movie production method of the future.

Isn't it?

And that's the real question: are we witnessing the end of yet another antiquated steam-age industry — or merely the runaway expansion of a new tech bubble on the verge of bursting? Is this really the wave of the future — or is it just science fiction?

One of the first to dabble in this approach — director Timo Vuorensola — made the most successful movie ever released on the Internet. Over eight million people have downloaded the free Finnish SF comedy Star Wreck since its release in 2005. Mostly shot on greenscreen in someone's apartment, the film looks like a professional Hollywood product — although the commercial film industry would never greenlight an absurd Finnish-language parody that ends with an all-out battle between Star Trek and Babylon 5. Star Wreck was the product of a team of around 3000 volunteers, although Vuorensola found it difficult to organize such a large number of people. "

4 out of 5

Perfect Lies - Gwendolyn Clare

Mask People diplomacy Falsehood Wizard.

4 out of 5

The Troll Hunter 1 - Keith C. Blackmore

"The men’s attention was then stolen by a shining figure riding a warhorse. The Cavalier rode down the line of Sujins, inspecting the lot of them. The morning sunlight sparkled off the warrior’s plate armor. Balto and Gatesin glanced up at the same time. Gatesin saw the man, saw the face, and his mouth puckered up in distaste and he lowered his gaze. The morning was about to get worse.

Balto stared on, watching the horseman ride along the line, taking his time as if he had it by the throat. The Cavalier scrutinized them all with black eyes. He was a big man, held up by an even bigger warhorse. A wall of dread encapsulated the warrior and it smothered all sound, save for the scuffing of his horse’s hooves.

“Is it him?” Gatesin muttered near Balto, giving his boots even more attention.

“I believe so,” Balto whispered, trying hard not to move his lips.

“Has he seen me?”

“Not yet. Hmm…perhaps he has.”

“Who is he?” Tungang found himself whispering.

“Do you remember the Field of Skulls?” Hatch asked in a barely audible voice. “I wasn’t there.”

“But, you know of it?”

“Aye, I do.”"

4 out of 5

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Book Of Phoenix - Nnedi Okorafor

Tower 7 research, hot.

3.5 out of 5

Lightspeed 09 - John Joseph Adams

The streak continues - Another 3.25. Slight variety in three ordinary stories and a very good reprint to finish though.

Non-fiction not of much note, some minor interest in the movie tech of Tron/Avatar bit.

Lightspeed 09 : Long Enough and Just So Long - Cat Rambo
Lightspeed 09 : The Passenger - Julie E. Czerneda
Lightspeed 09 : Simulacrum - Ken Liu
Lightspeed 09 : Breakaway Backdown - James Patrick Kelly

Sexbot freedom.

3 out of 5

Ship decoration, personal.

3 out of 5

Kid recording.

3 out of 5

Colony life change.

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

The Birdcage Heart - Peter M. Ball

Killing different varieties.

2.5 out of 5

Swallowing Ghosts - Cat Rambo

Gob it out, grandpa.

3 out of 5

Hart and Boot - Tim Pratt

Hart and Boot - Tim Pratt
Ghost outlaw separation end.

3.5 out of 5

Parting Gifts - Diane Duane

Parting Gifts - Diane Duane
Ok, if I have to use my Rod...

2.5 out of 5

Stone Wall Truth - Caroline M. Yoachim

Zebra stitchup slice.

3 out of 5

The Sultan of the Clouds - Geoffrey A. Landis

Venus terraform fall.

3 out of 5

Plus Or Minus - James Patrick Kelly

Crewmonkeys, lacking oxygen.

3.5 out of 5

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Seas of the World - Ekaterina Sedia

No seal.

3 out of 5

Through the Eye of a Needle - Ian Sales

Turning in the broody hoarder spousal unit.

3.5 out of 5


Bantamweight rocketeer propaganda flight disposable.

4 out of 5

Anatomy of a Story: Through the Eye of a Needle - Ian Sales

"I put all the above together with the planetary sunshade idea from New Scientist. I’d have a billionaire put up a planetary sunshade on his own initiative, and it would all go horribly wrong. Which would lead to a backlash against wealth and the hoarding of riches… But I wouldn’t actually tell that story. I’d tell a story about a young couple living in this new post-wealth ice age world, and how they fell foul of these new laws."

5 out of 5

Black Rain - Ian Sales

Titan biomass choker.

3.5 out of 5

How Interesting: A Tiny Man - Harlan Ellison

No, it isn't.

2 out of 5

Friday, March 04, 2011

Disambiguation - Ian Sales

Ganymedia separation. With flying boats.

4 out of 5

Deadlands - Lily Herne

"‘I’ll tell you what’s going on, Zombie Bait,’ the girl said, her voice slightly accented – Malawian, Batswana, maybe. ‘Ash here just saved your ass.’

‘Ash?’ I said to him. ‘Is that really your name?’

He nodded curtly.

‘And you are?’ I said to the girl.

‘Saint,’ she said with a curl of her lip.


‘Lost your hearing as well as your sense of self-preservation?’"

4 out of 5

Future Tense: Future Sci-Fi - Antony Funnell

"Antony Funnell: Dr Kevin Grazier, an interplanetary scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a former science adviser for the TV series Battlestar Galactica and also a certified science fiction nut. No offence of course.

Also in today's program, Annalee Newitz from the sci-fi blog i09 and British science fiction writer, Charlie Stross.

Now we'd love to hear from you. What do you think? How much real influence do you believe science fiction still has? Comment on our blog or send us an email: just go to the Future Tense website or simply search the words ABC and Future Tense."

4 out of 5

Polaris of the Snows - Charles B. Stilson

Lord of the Ice, not of the Jungle, as a young man sets out on journey after the death of his father.

Like Tarzan, Polaris' mother died young, and he has grown up in isolation. No animal families, though, as he i sfully grown by the time his father departs.

No lions or tigers, but plenty of huskies and polars bears and killer whales for opponents, and presumably the odd walrus, given what he feeds his teams.

On his journey he finds fighting humans, and a woman - Americans, of course, like his father.

That's not all though, as looking after this new flower of fhumanity and taking her with he him, he finds a trail in the snow, leading to the land of Sardanes.

Which is dogless, much much warmer, and a fair bit ancient greek.

The leadership doesn't take too kindly to impressive strangers and their notions of democracy, though.

Also, given the population is carefully managed by disposal by fire of the elderly and children that are disabled, deformed, or not healthy.

Luckily Polaris' good nature does win him a couple of friends, but he is a dangerous man to be around, for human, or for beast.

Wild men, of course, have to go and try out civilisation sometime, and find rivals there.

All reasonable enough.

3 out of 5

Future Tense : Sci-Fi The Return - Anthony Funnell

A multi-point of view discussion of science fiction and Australia. Includes Jonathan Strahan as one of the participants. From ABC radio, a transcript and podcast.

"Antony Funnell: And just a final question: as somebody who focuses very much on Australian science fiction, is it a common theme? Is there a thing that you can point to that is uniquely Australian in terms of science fiction?

Jonathan Strahan: I wrestled with this question for 20 years, believe it or not. And what I've come to realise is that the thing that really is there is a perspective. I mean Australia is a first world country, in the southern hemisphere, it's not dramatically politically influential, so it tends to have an outsider perspective on the rest of the world, and with the science fiction that's written here, it tends to take that kind of position when it looks at events happening around the world. It tends to see almost a third-party point of view, and that I think, can be very valuable, because too often a lot of the fiction, which particularly originates say in North America, tends to be very US-centric not to see a broader picture, and so that's really the main thing.

There used to be I think an interest in would it just be kangaroos and boomerangs or whatever else, but very much sort of being the outsider is a position we've adopted."

4.5 out of 5

Conditional Love - Felicity Shoulders

Laser mum.

3 out of 5

The Mound 1 - H. P. Lovecraft

"Check out the sites and facts on The Mound with silky-voiced reader Jimmy Akin’s photos and fact"

3.5 out of 5

Ghosts of New York - Jennifer Pelland

Fallen Tower afterlife.

3.5 out of 5

Redstone Science Fiction Interview - Lavie Tidhar

"In Pacmandu is a personal favorite of mine among your stories. For what games, if any, do you still make time?
Do you know, I hardly play computer games – I even gave up on Spider Solitaire a while back. Which is a shame… I used to have an Atari 800XL I the 1980s (yup, that old!) and I just don’t think anything since has compared. Though I played Kinect for the first time at a friend’s place and wow – science fiction!

I think I have a secret dream of becoming a warlord/crime boss in some virtual world like Second Life and have entire sweatshops of people working for me… that’d be kinda cool! And wrong, sure, but one can dream, right?"

4 out of 5

That Leviathan Whom Thou Hast Made - Eric James Stone

First swale or anything, Neuter Kimball.

3.5 out of 5

The Jaguar House In Shadow - Aliette de Bodard

Knight future.

3.5 out of 5

Encore - John Kenny

Execution infection trick.

3 out of 5

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Hal Clement Part 2: Divided Mission - Frederik Pohl

"Hal Clement was a nearly ideal client Almost everything he wrote was a sure sale.

The only real problem was that Hal (whose real name was Harry C. Stubbs) found it almost impossible to say no to a publishing-minded friend. He had written a really good novel called Mission of Gravity, but unfortunately, before I came on the scene, Harry had given it to the semi-pro sf book publishing company Shasta Publishers as part of a complex package deal intended to include a paperback and assorted other editions. Unfortunately, as happened with a number of the semi-pros, problems intervened, and the whole project came to shuddering stop.

Meanwhile Hal’s fine novel, perhaps the best he ever wrote, was lingering in hyperspace, waiting for some means to be devised so that readers could at last enjoy it."

4.5 out of 5

The Walkers from the Crypt 1 The Diversion - Howard Andrew Jones

""They're not baying." Vallyn stepped out from behind the boulder and peered out at the grassland. "Does that bother anyone else? Shouldn't they be howling at us?""

3 out of 5

Boxing Day Super Mega Podcast - Jonathan Strahan

"This morning, Perth time, at least, a bunch of participants in Australian podcasting joined together to record a Boxing Day Super Mega Podcast. Participating were:
Alex, Alisa, and Tansy from Galactic Suburbia;
Grant from Bad Film Diaries;
Ian from The Writer and the Critic; and
Gary and I from The Coode St Podcast."

4 out of 5

The Desecrator - Steven Brust

A couple of killers negotiating about a teamup.

4 out of 5

The Hubbard Continuum - Lavie Tidhar

Thetan Clear Time Keeping story.

3.5 out of 5

Black Gate Interviews 3 - Howard Andrew Jones

"We’ve talked about historical fiction and historical fantasy, but you also have a history with gaming. Tell us a bit about your new Pathfinder novel, Plague of Shadows.

James Sutter, the editor of the Pathfinder line, is pretty selective about what he buys, so when I was invited to submit ideas I had to throw several his way before one finally took. I think the line in the pitch that hooked him was “Jirel of Joiry crossed with Unforgiven.” I made it clear that I wasn’t going to lift the plot or character, but that I was going to strive for a similar feel. As for the subject matter, I think that James described it pretty well in a blurb he posted recently: “It revolves around the exploits of not one but two bands of adventurers journeying in eastern Avistan, two decades apart. The parties are connected by Elyana, an elf seeking to cure her former adventuring partner (and former lover) Stelan from a curse that’s connected to events — and people — from their shadowy past. Elyana’s journey will take her and her companions from Taldor to Galt, into Kyonin and to the Vale of Shadows, where the consequences of events decades before will affect Stelan’s future.”"

4 out of 5

Black Gate Interviews 2 - Howard Andrew Jones

"When I started I had no idea that there would even be an undertaking. I was just curious about all the stories he’d written that hadn’t ever been reprinted. There were a lot of them. One day while hunting used book search sites I saw two titles offered by the same seller. At that point I knew what all the names of Lamb’s published books were, yet these were unknown to me. I looked into the matter and discovered that these were some complete stories removed from pulp magazines and sewn into hardback covers by the late Dr. John Drury Clark for his personal reading. He had a box full of additional unreprinted Lamb stories, unbound, that Dr. Clark’s widow hadn’t put on the market because, she said, they were in pretty bad shape, though intact. I bought them, and as a result soon owned the bulk of Lamb’s uncollected fiction. It truly was like a treasure trove to me."

4 out of 5

Black Gate Interviews 1 - Howard Andrew Jones

"I’m glad you mentioned that, because I thought I noticed a shift towards a more specifically historical context with The Desert of Souls — you always did have the great texture of pre-Medieval Near Eastern culture in the Dabir and Asim stories, and a fair touch of the legendary and mythic traditions of those times, but the novel really roots them in a time and place. Did you do much in the way of deliberate research for the period? Would you say the ‘historical fantasy’ approach is more difficult to pull off than one unattached to real world chronology or geography?"

3.5 out of 5

Hello Said the Gun - Jay Lake

Happiness is not a warm one, this time.

3 out of 5

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Among Thieves - Douglas Hulick

"Shatters fell sideways with his head still in the bucket, spilling water over himself and the floor. He lay there, coughing violently, his body convulsing with the effort. I knelt down and relieved him of his dagger as he vomited up water and bile.

“The name,” I said when he was done.

Shatters spit. “Screw,” he said."

3.5 out of 5

The Jesus Particle - Dirk Strasser

Armageddon quantum tour guide.

3.5 out of 5

The Bio-Documentarian of the British Library - Deborah Walker

DNA digitiser stipend generosity.

3 out of 5

Lapins - Michael Haulica

Dream virus fancy restaurant victim.

3.5 out of 5

Dragon Slayer - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Investigating this rash of murders.

3.5 out of 5

Mysta of the Moon - 25

Mysta of the Moon - 25

More mutants for Mysta to force bolt in her sneaky ways.

3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Hal Clement: Major Harry Stubbs - Frederik Pohl

"Even after I met Hal Clement — aka Major Harry Stubbs, not a weatherman but a pilot, he explained; “but of course we had lots of courses in weather” — he didn’t know what had happened to detach his group from its siblings either. "

3.5 out of 5

Lightspeed 08 - John Joseph Adams

In a no surprise at all situation - average is 3.25. With an article on neurotransmitters. If Jeremiah Tolbert is missing, he's either been eaten by cockroaches or Octopus Men.

Lightspeed 08 : Postings from an Amorous Tomorrow - Corey Mariani
Lightspeed 08 : Cucumber Gravy - Susan Palwick
Lightspeed 08 : Black Fire - Tanith Lee
Lightspeed 08 : The Elephants of Poznan - Orson Scott Card

Killer heart kids.

3 out of 5

Space vegemen dayglo beanbag graveyard.

3.5 out of 5

Alien witness report crazy.

3 out of 5

Hybrid knockdown beginning wedding.

3.5 out of 5

3.5 out of 5

The Ghosts of Broken Blades 4: A Terrible Choice - Monte Cook

"Roubris had no idea what to do with the information he'd just gained. The spirit trapped in the sword leading them to the temple in the Worldwound was not that of a slain warrior, but instead a demon. Can you trust a demon? Ever? It seemed like a bad idea."

3 out of 5

The Elephants of Poznan - Orson Scott Card

Hybrid knockdown beginning wedding.

3.5 out of 5

Black Fire - Tanith Lee

Alien witness report crazy.

3 out of 5

Postings From An Amorous Tomorrow - Corey Mariani

Killer heart kids.

3 out of 5

The Shipmaker - Aliette de Bodard

Mind birth.

3.5 out of 5

Epoch - Cory Doctorow

Audio version of the story.

4 out of 5

A Twenty-First Century Fairy Love Story - Jason Sanford

Heart transplants.

2.5 out of 5

The House of Nameless - Jason Fischer

Cheerful Misogynist Minotaur Worlds.

3 out of 5