Friday, April 29, 2011

For Want Of A Nail - Mary Robinette Kowal

AI wrangling.

3 out of 5

Eight Miles - Sean McMullen

Angelica lives advances.

3 out of 5

Deathday - Peter F. Hamilton

Deathday - Peter F. Hamilton
Chameleon kill love.

4 out of 5

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Raven - Edgar Allen Poe

Read by Christopher Walken

4 out of 5

New Interview - Paul Kearney

"- Basically every single novel you have written to date has garnered critical success. What is it about your style that has somehow prevented you from gaining a wider readership? Some have mentioned the brevity of your works. Do you feel that, in an era of doorstopper SFF books, this could be a factor?

I used to think so, and I still believe that there is in fantasy an absurd attachment to the Lord of the Rings syndrome, whereby a story is not worth reading unless it’s a thousand pages long. But since writing the Macht books, I’ve come to the reluctant conclusion that my style just doesn’t click with everybody. I am a very masculine writer I guess, and I like to bring a harsh realism to my worlds which can be off-putting to those who like their battles blood-free and their unicorns freshly groomed. I read a blogger’s review of Corvus which thought it was a disgusting book because it has rape in it – but for me, that is one of the inevitable consequences of warfare in primitive societies. And not so primitive – look at Bosnia, or Libya now. These things make me angry and disgusted myself, so I choose to channel that rage and disgust in my writing. I do not put these episodes in my book for some kind of prurient thrill, and in Corvus we do not actually see any explicit scenes of rape – what we do see are the consequences. I think it’s important to have that kind of honesty in the story, and I see no reason to apologise for it. If a reader wants fluffy dragons and wand-waving adolescents, let them go elsewhere. I don’t write for children."

4 out of 5

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ponies - Kij Johnson

Party unicorn slices.

3 out of 5

Monday, April 25, 2011

Grail-diving In Shangrilla With The World's Last Mime 1 - Ken Scholes

Shoot the hobgobbies, piss on 'em, say no, then do the cheerleaders.

3.5 out of 5

Grail-diving In Shangrilla With The World's Last Mime 2 - Ken Scholes

Shoot the hobgobbies, piss on 'em, say no, then do the cheerleaders.

3.5 out of 5

Details - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Shared coke kill.

3.5 out of 5

Deluge 73 - Brian Keene

"“R-rescue…?” Sarah’s voice had a disbelieving, dreamlike tone.

“Sure,” Novak said, “unless you’d rather hang out here. Your call. But you should know we risked our asses coming here like we did, so the very least you could do is let us haul you out of here.”

“Yeah!” Henry nodded, tears running down his face. “Hell, yeah! Take us with you. But how did you get here? How did you—?”"

4 out of 5

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Delirium on Deneb - Rolf Martell

Burning them down rebound leap.

3.5 out of 5

Johnny Saturn 1

Evil cybernetic scientists, and fighting crime with no superpowers or money can really scar you.

3 out of 5

Johnny Saturn 1

Stars Rain Down - Chris Randolph

Two planets have an alien invasion problem - those on an off-Earth colony, where the arrival of said invasion is noticed, and those on the ground in Terra.

In the former case an astronomer is the protagonist, and tries to work out what they can do with an alien ship.

In the latter, an ex-rescue expert signs up to become a guerilla soldier in a resistance movement aimed at striking back against those who have taken the planet.

Then they have to find out what is really going on in this strange situation.

3.5 out of 5

Madame Mirage - 01

Madame Mirage 01

Someone has to keep them in line.

3.5 out of 5

Ex Occultis - She Lives

And wants me to eat her tail and put up with her forever. So my partner better kill her.

3 out of 5



A red stained vampire strain of revenge.

3 out of 5

Sheena and the Crawling Death - Morgan W. Thomas

Sheena and Bob have to escape an ant army across the Gorge of Skulls.

2.5 out of 5

Friday, April 22, 2011

New world order ahead: The developing world is the setting for science fiction's best new novels - Jonathan Wright

"British novelist Alastair Reynolds is an optimist. His forthcoming Blue Remembered Earth imagines East Africa leading the space race 150 years hence. When news of the novel appeared on the science-fiction website, he says, it brought "the most incredibly reactionary and infantile statements imaginable".

It was then, he adds, that he knew he was on to something. "What was America like 150 years ago?" he retorts. "You're going back to the time of the Civil War when your average American was probably a guy living in a log cabin with an axe. I mean, America was hardly the most industrialised, tech-savvy nation 150 years ago. Very few places were...""

4 out of 5

Science Fiction And Fantasy Writer's Chat 4/20/11 with - James Enge

A twitter convo.

3.5 out of 5

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Atmospheric studies of habitability in the Gliese 581 system - P. von Paris

P. von Paris, S. Gebauer, M. Godolt, H. Rauer, B. Stracke

"The M-type star Gliese 581 is orbited by at least one terrestrial planet candidate in the habitable zone, i.e. GL 581 d. Orbital simulations have shown that additional planets inside the habitable zone of GL 581 would be dynamically stable. Recently, two further planet candidates have been claimed, one of them in the habitable zone.
In view of the ongoing search for planets around M stars which is expected to result in numerous detections of potentially habitable Super-Earths, we take the GL 581 system as an example to investigate such planets. In contrast to previous studies of habitability in the GL 581 system, we use a consistent atmospheric model to assess surface conditions and habitability. Furthermore, we perform detailed atmospheric simulations for a much larger subset of potential planetary and atmospheric scenarios than previously considered.
A 1D radiative-convective atmosphere model is used to calculate temperature and pressure profiles of model atmospheres, which we assumed to be composed of molecular nitrogen, water, and carbon dioxide. In these calculations, key parameters such as surface pressure and CO2 concentration as well as orbital distance and planetary mass are varied.
Results imply that surface temperatures above freezing could be obtained, independent of the here considered atmospheric scenarios, at an orbital distance of 0.117 AU. For an orbital distance of 0.146 AU, CO2 concentrations as low as 10 times the present Earth's value are sufficient to warm the surface above the freezing point of water. At 0.175 AU, only scenarios with CO2 concentrations of 5% and 95% were found to be habitable. Hence, an additional Super-Earth planet in the GL 581 system in the previously determined dynamical stability range would be considered a potentially habitable planet. "

5 out of 5

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Merchants of Venus - Frederik Pohl

The Merchants of Venus - Frederik Pohl
Livers are expensive, and alien archaeological excavation is hot, hard work.

4.5 out of 5

Three Portraits and a Prayer - Frederik Pohl

Three Portraits and a Prayer - Frederik Pohl
Wrong science.

3 out of 5

Punch - Frederik Pohl

Punch - Frederik Pohl
Shoot targets with a chane.

3 out of 5

Day Million - Frederik Pohl

Day Million - Frederik Pohl

Stored love.

3.5 out of 5

Terraforming Ganymede with Robert A. Heinlein - Gregory Benford

"upiter Project explores the social pressures on a small crew of scientists studying the Jovian system from a lab orbiting near Ganymede. Despite the potential for new discoveries, they face the stubbornly nagging question of whether space and exobiological research will ever have any relevance to the people back on Earth who fund such ventures. As the story begins, the station is about to be closed down, and the protagonist, seventeen year-old Matt Bohles, isn’t happy. Life onboard the aging cylinder space station is cramped, Spartan and dangerous, but "The Can" is home. To forestall being shipped back to a filthy, perilous and unfamiliar hell called Earth, he steals a small ship and sets out to discover Jovian life. Instead, he uncovers an even more important find. There the novel ends.

But that was just the plot setup. The real pleasure I had in writing The Jupiter Project lay in two learning curves. First, by copying Heinlein’s approaches, I learned much about writing. Dialog, character development, pacing, attention to authenticating detail in all the senses–Heinlein could imply an entire society, filled with taken-for-granted technological wonders far beyond his time, in a single throwaway sentence. (The classic example is “The door dilated.”) Next, I discovered a core truth of hard SF: dealing with reality, and then taking it a step further–in this case, imagining how to terraform Ganymede–is FUN. It’s playing tennis with the net firmly up."

4 out of 5

Jem 1-6 - Frederik Pohl

"Dalehouse stopped and watched her cup her hands around the lighter to shield it from the gentle morning breeze. They had had a good deal to drink and not very much sleep. He could feel a certain interior frailty as a consequence, but Marge Menninger seemed unaffected. This was the first time he had gone to bed with a woman without the exchange of several chapters of autobiography. He didn't know her at all in his mind, only through his senses.

The other thing in Dalehouse's thoughts was that in the 10:00 a.m. session he had a paper to give—"Preliminary Studies toward a First Contact with Subtechnological Sentients"—and he wanted enough time to add some comments about the planet of Kung's Star.

He sneaked a glance at his watch: 7:30—plenty of time. The city was still quiet. Somewhere out of sight he could hear the first tram of the morning. Far down the street where they walked he could see two city gendarmes strolling hand in hand, their batons swinging from the outside hand of each. Nothing else seemed to be happening in Sofia. It made him think of his own home in East Lansing at that same promising time of day and year, when the university was running at half-speed for the summer sessions and on decent mornings he walked or biked to his office to enjoy the peace. And, of course, since the divorce, to get out of his empty house.

To be sure, he reminded himself, Sofia was not in the least like East Lansing: flat and urban, where his home was hilly and carpeted with solid quarter-acre split-levels. And Marge Menninger was not in the least like absent Polly, who had been dark, tiny, quick, and easily bored. What exactly was Marge Menninger like? Dalehouse had not quite made up his mind. She seemed to be different people. Yesterday in the Great Hall of Culture and Science she had been another academic colleague; last night, exactly what every all-American boy would like to find in his bed. But who was she this morning? They weren't strolling with their arms around each other's waists anymore. Marge was a meter away and a little ahead of him, moving briskly, smoking with intensity, and staring straight ahead.

She seemed to reach a decision, and glanced at him. "Michigan State University, Institute of Extrasolar Biology. Daniel Dalehouse, B.A., M.S., Ph.D. I guess I didn't tell you that I saw a preprint of your paper before I left Washington."

"You did?" He was startled.

"Interesting paper. Makes me think you're serious about wanting to go. Danny-boy, I might be able to help you."

"Help me how?"

"With money, dear man. That's all I've got to give. But I think I can give some to you. In case you didn't notice my name tag when you were taking my clothes off, that's what I do for a living. I'm with SERDCOM."

"Praise COM from whom all blessings flow," Danny said fervently; it was the annual grants from the Space Exploration, Research and Development Commission that kept Dalehouse's institute green. "How come I've never seen you when I go to Washington with my begging bowl?"

"I've only been there since February. I'm vice-secretary for new projects. Job didn't exist till the first of the year, and I wangled it. Before then I was teaching the stuff at my alma mater . . . among other subjects; we didn't have much of an extrasolar department. It's a small school, and it fell on hard times even while I was still an undergraduate. Well? What about it?"

"About what?"

"Were you creaming? Or do you want a grant for a manned trip to Kung's Star?"

"I do! Christ, yes, I do, I do."

She took his hand in one of hers, patted it with the other. "You may regard it as settled. Hello, what's this?""

4 out of 5

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Stars My Destination - Alfred Bester

"He lived in the only airtight room left intact in the wreck, a tool locker off the main-deck corridor. The locker was four feet wide, four feet deep, and nine feet high. It was the size of a giant's coffin. Six hundred years before, it had been judged the most exquisite Oriental torture to imprison a man in a cage that size for a few weeks. Yet Foyle had existed in this lightless coffin for five months, twenty days, and four hours.


"Who are you?"
"Gully Foyle is my name."
"Where are you from?"
"Terra is my nation."
"Where are you now?"
"Deep space is my dwelling place."
"Where are you bound?"
"Death's my destination.""

4.5 out of 5

The Muppet Show - Mahna Mahna Original

5 out of 5

The Muppet Show - Trudge Trudge/Streaka Streaka

5 out of 5

The Rotifers - Robert Abernathy

The Rotifers - Robert Abernathy
A boy finds something very strange when looking through his microscope.

3.5 out of 5

Sunday, April 17, 2011

One Foot in the Grave1-6 - Wm Mark Simmons

"How nice."

"Let's see. Christopher L. Csejthe: Caucasian, male, thirty-two years of age," she read from the clipboard. "No significant history of disease in either personal or family medical records. Military records are curiously incomplete. . . ."

Which meant that she had the edited version. And she shouldn't have had even that.

"Marital blood tests registered no anomalies as of nine years ago."

I glanced down at the white band of flesh circling the base of my ring finger. Almost a year, now, and still refusing to tan. . . .

"Could I have picked something up while I was in the service? Some exotic bug or exposure to chemical—"

Marsh glanced over Mooncloud's shoulder and shook his head. "That was over a decade ago, wasn't it? Even such diverse hazards as malaria or sand flies or Agent Orange have warning symptoms that kick in much sooner."

"How long have you been working in radio?" Mooncloud asked.

It was my turn to shake my head. "If you're wondering about exposure to RF radiation, Doc, it's a dead end. I didn't start my current profession until this thing—whatever it is—necessitated my taking night work. Before that I taught English Lit. Eight years. Exposure to radical ideas comes with the territory but I doubt that's the causative agent here."

Mooncloud consulted the second page on her clipboard: "Patient first complained of sensitivity to light eight months ago. Shortly thereafter the formation of epidermal carcinomas necessitated avoidance of all exposure to ultravi—"

"I am familiar with my own medical history, Doctor; the treatments for skin cancer and subsequent diagnosis of pernicious anemia." My temper was frayed like an old rope that had been stretched too far, too long. "A moment ago you used a word I haven't heard before."


"That's the one."

"It's a genetic disorder," Marsh explained, "a hereditary disease that affects the blood. Porphyria causes the body to fail to produce one of the enzymes necessary to make heme, the red pigment in your hemoglobin. You're gonna love this—" he grinned wryly "— it's the vampire disease."

I must have goggled a bit. "The what?"

"The vampire disease. At least that's what the tabloids have dubbed it."

I scowled: I was not amused by the idea of a "vampire disease" and any connection to the tabloids was something I liked even less.

Marsh looked to Mooncloud for help, but she was preoccupied with her clipboard. "There was a paper done back in eighty-five by a Canadian chemist named David Dolphin," he said. "He hypothesized that porphyria could have been the basis for some of the medieval legends of vampires and werewolves." He held up a finger. "Extreme sensitivity to light: the most common symptom."

I shook my head. "And vampires can't stand sunlight, right? Give me a br—"

"It's more than that, Chris. Some porphyria victims are so sensitive to sunlight that their skin becomes damaged and, in extreme cases, lose their noses and ears—fingers, too. In other cases, hair may grow on the exposed skin."

"Werewolves," I muttered.

Marsh added a second finger to the first. "Another symptom is the shriveling of the gums and the lips may be drawn tautly, as well, giving the teeth a fanglike appearance."

"Great. Anything else?"

"Well, although it remains incurable, we have a few options in terms of treatment, now. But back in the Middle Ages there was just one way to survive. To fulfill your body's requirements for heme, you had to ingest—drink—large quantities of blood."

I stared at Marsh. "Nice. How about garlic and crosses?"

He shrugged. "I don't know anything about the religious angle, but garlic is a definite no-no."


"Stimulates heme production. Which can turn a mild case of porphyria into an extremely painful one."

"And you're telling me I have this 'porphyria disease'?"

"No," Mooncloud said. "You asked what your symptoms were like. I said 'porphyria'—which they are. Like. But porphyria is a genetic disorder and tends to be hereditary.""

3.5 out of 5

Author Spotlight - Bruce Sterling

"“Maneki Neko” may be the first story I’ve ever read when a dominant network turns out to be a good thing, rather than a bad (at least in Tsuyoshi’s opinion). It’s original even for 2011. Back when you wrote this, was it a unique idea as well? Were people afraid that they’d end up a victim of conspiracy (like Louise)?

I frankly didn’t care if it was a unique idea. Unique ideas are overrated. The idea that the Internet has a “gift economy” aspect is an obvious idea. It’s a truism, and even a cliche.

It’s not a moral sermon about how some situation is a “good thing rather than a bad thing,” but a detailed speculation on how it might look and feel."

3.5 out of 5

Bloodchild - Octavia Butler

Bloodchild - Octavia Butler
Parasite pregnancy punishing for people.

3 out of 5

The Waveries - Fredric Brown

The Waveries - Fredric Brown
Space signal warping readjustment.

4 out of 5

Simply Irresistible 1-3 - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

"“Superman doesn’t have a dimple,” Kyle said.

“Sure he does.” Vivian smiled at her nephew. Kyle was thin and bookish, his round glasses sliding to the bottom of his nose. His fingers were stained with ink, and the fleshy side of his palm had traces of the red he’d used to color the book. “Take a look, especially in the first thirty years or so, before he got associated with Christopher Reeve.”

“I didn’t want my character to look like Superman,” Kyle said. “Spider-Man doesn’t look like Superman.”

Kyle wrapped his arms around his waist and leaned forward, extending his Nike-covered feet down three steps. Vivian’s brother, Travers, kept Kyle dressed like the athlete he would never be. Vivian wondered how Kyle would do now that she had relocated here.

“Actually,” Vivian said, “they all look like Superman. They have to. They need the muscles and the strong chin. Could you imagine wearing one of those costumes if you had a weak chin? You’d look like—”

“Michael Keaton in Batman,” Kyle said before she could. She’d made that argument before."

3.5 out of 5

Teenagers From the Future - Timothy Callahan

An excerpt from the essay collection, with the contents.

4 out of 5

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Is there life inside black holes? - Vyacheslav I. Dokuchaev

"nside the rotating or charged black holes there are bound periodic planetary orbits, which not coming out nor terminated at the central singularity. The stable periodic orbits inside black holes exist even for photons. We call these bound orbits by the orbits of the third kind, following to Chandrasekhar classification for particle orbits in the black hole gravitational field. It is shown that an existence domain for the third kind orbits is a rather spacious, and so there is a place for life inside the supermassive black holes in the galactic nuclei. The advanced civilizations of the third kind (according to Kardashev classification) may inhabit the interiors of supermassive black holes, being invisible from the outside and basking as in the light of the central singularity and the orbital photons. "

5 out of 5

Booked! Frederik Pohl on L. Sprague de Camp's Lest Darkness Fall - Frederik Pohl

"But Sprague de Camp set himself a harder job than that. His novel’s characters include a rabble of money-changers and household servants and tradesmen, and all of those are made-up persons. Had to be, because what historian would have troubled to record the existence of such low-ranked organisms? But de Camp has set himself the task of showing how the Dark Ages, that long period of abstinence from thought, justice and freedom of expression when the human race marked time for all those hundreds of years, might have been prevented. The period is one in which people of power were little restricted by laws or custom—or, least of all, by common sense—so history was made by the often capricious will of the powerful ones. Of those “important” people the historians recorded every act and deed. So the task de Camp set himself was to measure everything that was done by the Princesses Mathaswentha and the Counts Belisarius and the assorted kings of the relevant nations and tribes, and show how a determined Martin Padway might tweak what did happen into the shape of what would have had to happen to avoid the coming of the Dark Ages. He does it wonderfully, and entertainingly, well."

3.5 out of 5

Find out how Robin Hobb became two different people - Robin Hobb

"Leap forward in time yet another decade and a bit more. It was a time of change in my life. I had recently switched to a new US publisher, my career-shifting agent Patrick Delahunt had passed me on to a new agent, Ralph Vicinanza, and I was writing a story of a type I'd never attempted before. This was to be a big fantasy, on an epic scale, and written from the first-person point of view of a young man. I was writing in a style that I felt was completely different from any I'd ever used before. Perhaps it was a time to make a complete break with the past. The idea of changing my pseudonym greatly appealed to me. Although I remained very fond and proud of my works as Megan Lindholm, the drama of adopting a "secret identity" was irresistible. I jumped at the chance to become Robin Hobb."

3.5 out of 5!5792234/find-out-how-robin-hobb-became-two-different-people

Friday, April 15, 2011

Deluge 72 - Brian Keene

"Henry’s reply was cut short by another burst of light. Unlike the first time, this flash was accompanied by a strange sound. Henry cocked his head, listening. After a moment, he realized the sound was that of Earl and the others screaming. He looked out on the scene below, and was shocked to see two men—at least, he thought they were men—making their way toward the tower. The two figures walked single file. Both were covered head to toe with some kind of bizarre makeshift body armor consisting of hardhats, welder’s facemasks, dust respirators, boots, the type of pants and coats worn by firefighters, and lots of duct tape. The one in the rear carried a rifle, but Henry barely noticed this. His attention was focused on the weapon the first figure wielded—a homemade flamethrower. The man swept it back and forth in front of him, clearing a path for him and his partner to walk that was devoid of any white fuzz. As Henry watched, a horde of fungus-infested creatures swarmed toward them."

3.5 out of 5

Just Write It! George R. R. Martin - Laura Miller

"The writer George R. R. Martin left Hollywood in 1994, determined to do what he wanted for a change. He’d had some success in television, working on a new version of “The Twilight Zone” and on the fantasy series “Beauty and the Beast.” But the pilot for “Doorways,” a series he’d developed, hadn’t been picked up, and he was tired of the medium’s limitations. “Everything I did was too big and too expensive in the first draft,” he told me recently. He wanted castles and vistas and armies, and producers always made him cut that stuff. A line producer for “The Twilight Zone” once explained to him, “You can have horses or you can have Stonehenge. But you can’t have horses and Stonehenge.”

Read more"

George RR Martin: Barbarians at the gate - Alison Food

"Speaking from his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the extravagantly bearded Martin – the epitome of what a fantasy author ought to look like – sounds much happier today than he did when we met in person in November, when he was clearly still smarting about his fans' anger. After spending six years writing it, Martin has very nearly completed a book that is whopping even by his standards: over 1,600 pages in manuscript."

3 out of 5

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The First Conquest Of Earth - David W. Goldman

We come for you men, and your women. Unless you nuke us and then we'll make a deal and be sneakier about it.

3.5 out of 5

The Lunatics - Kim Stanley Robinson

Promethium vision holed.

3 out of 5

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Peculiar Fashion Business - Jon Armstrong

Fibre chop.

3 out of 5

Courting Midnight - Emma Holly

"Lucius could not think what to say to this, and did not get a chance to try, for just then the man’s spirit flared in a golden burst of light, swallowing Lucius’s sense of anything beyond it. Lucius saw the dying man’s life even as it left him, lived it as though it were his. Lucas Delavert’s birthing cry. His childhood. A favorite pony named Mr. Bunch. The voice of his older brother, Daniel, lifted in scold. Why, Lucas? Why must you disappoint our father? With limbs like silk, his dark-skinned mistress rolled atop him in their gauze-draped bed, warm West Indian breezes tickling their skins. His manhood pulsed as she enveloped it. Lucas, she moaned in admiration. You are so strong . . ."

3 out of 5

The Carmine Island stories from Glitter Rose by Marianne de Pierres - Marg

"The Glitter Rose quartet is set against the stunning background of Carmine Island where a decade ago spores from deep in the ocean blew in by a freak of nature and settled there. Their strange phosphorescence brings a glitter rose dusk at certain tides.

Colourless at first, the sandy beaches rapidly become carpets of tiny, shining, rose-coloured grains as the sky darkens after sunset. These spores bring fierce allergies to the island locals. And maybe other, more sinister effects too. Follow Tinashi’s journey as she moves to the island, settles into island life and begins to discover just what is really happening on Carmine Island."

3.5 out of 5

Herman Wouk Is Still Alive - Stephen King

Crash poet.

2.5 out of 5

On the Creative Process the State of Fiction and More - Stephen King

"SK: I listen to music when I rewrite now. I don't listen to music when I compose anymore. I can't. I've lost the ability to multitask that way!

JP: You used to listen to Metallica, right?

SK: Metallica, Anthrax. I still listen to those guys ... There's a band called the Living Things that I like a lot. Very loud group. I never cared for Ozzy very much.

JP: I'm obsessed with Black Sabbath.

SK: No, no. They don't really work for me. "I AM IRON MAN!"

JP: That doesn't do it?

SK: No. Judas Priest, now ..."

4 out of 5

Judge's Call - Timothy Zahn

Making time.

3 out of 5

Maneki Neko - Bruce Sterling

Network of favors.

4 out of 5

The Exile Waiting 1-2 - Vonda N. McIntyre

"I met a retired navigator while I was drinking. She is almost deaf and almost blind—she’s outlived many of the ships she served on. Her hair has aged from ebony to white, her eyes from black to luminous gray. Too many flights have battered her, and stray radiation has turned her corneas to ground glass. They could be restored, but not the optic nerves. Yet she has a dignity about her that her tremors and deafened near-oblivion cannot strip away. She is ubiquitous, yet unique. A hundred castoff, worn-out relics wander in this bazaar alone, but she is the first with whom I’ve talked at length. She could go to one of the homes established for her kind, but she would have to leave space to do that, and she says it would kill her. She says she was born on old earth: she says it defiantly, with her clouded eyes glaring from her dark face, and she dares anyone to say she lies, or to be repelled by her. She was born there—it’s true in spirit. And perhaps even in fact, though I’ve always been taught that earth was dead and abandoned. "

3.5 out of 5

Corpse Vision - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Writing ghosts.

3.5 out of 5

War of the Giant Apes - Alexander Blade

White ones on Mars, of course.

2.5 out of 5

Desert of Souls 1 - Howard Andrew Jones

"“We are not afraid,” Jaffar said.

Perhaps he was not; I covertly made the sign warding against evil, hiding it behind my thigh.

She paused a moment more, staring into his eyes. “You have paid the price,” she spoke without sentiment, “and I will honor your coin with my service.”

She motioned to the boy, who brought forth short red candles, which she lit. They gave off but little smoke. She then presented us with parchment, one small square each, of a peculiar wrinkled texture.

“What manner of paper is this?” Dabir asked.

“It is fashioned from the skin of Egyptian cats,” she said, whereupon my master fell to examining his own paper more closely. In truth it did not look to me to be animal skin, but I said nothing."

3 out of 5

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Woman Who Married the Man In the Moon - Peter S. Beagle

Berry discard, Schmendrick.

2 out of 5

Catastrophe Baker Makes First Contact - Mike Resnick

Dirty joke fight, with solar sail.

3.5 out of 5

Adjustment Team - Philip K. Dick

Adjustment Team - Philip K. Dick
Dog of a new configuration.

3.5 out of 5

Yggdrasil Interview - Paul J. McAuley

"In this future, the world supremacy switched to Brazil, which gave you an alternate point of view about the world. Do you think that after decades of European / US-led SF, the time is right for an SF that explores other areas of the world, like in The Quiet War, or Brazil or River of Gods from Ian McDonald for instance?
Futures in which Anglocentric late-stage capitalism are by no means the only possible futures. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. My first three novels shared a future history in which another version of a Greater Brazil became the dominant political force on Earth. But yes, the time is definitely right, now. The Cold War ended two decades ago. America is still the only world superpower, but China and India are catching up fast. And who knows how the democratic revolutions in the Middle East might revitalise Arabic culture?"

4 out of 5

Monday, April 11, 2011

Essential Mysta - Sleestak

"Here is a gathering of all the pertinent links for the Planet Comics serial Mysta of the Moon posted on Lady, That's My Skull.

The links are sorted per issue though sharp-eyed readers may notice the chapter headings do not match the links. This is due to my not noticing a few posts were deleted by the service before I entered new ones. So to avoid confusion just go by the post titles.

Mysta of the Moon is a science fiction adventure serial that ran in Planet Comics from 1945 to 1952. Mysta is one of the most consistent serials in regards to art and story quality to have been published by Fiction House. Mysta originally appeared as a young woman in issue #35 of Planet Comics (March 1945) as a victim of the machinations of Mars, the God of War. Mysta, as the repository of the sum of all knowledge, takes it upon herself to fight Mars and assist humanity out of the ruins of civilization."

5 out of 5

The Blue Room - Jason Sanford

History dive.

3 out of 5

Duel on Syrtis - Poul Anderson

Bagging a Martian is hard. Maybe terminally.

4 out of 5

A Sound of Thunder - Ray Bradbury

Audio version.

4 out of 5

The Last Question - Isaac Asimov

Audio version.

4 out of 5

The Thirst Quenchers - Rick Raphael

Just another same old DivAg project.

3 out of 5

The Amazing Quizmo - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Still the master.

3.5 out of 5

Friday, April 08, 2011

Deluge 71 - Brian Keene

"“You sure about this?”

“I am. Just don’t miss. Okay?”

Henry tried to speak but found that he couldn’t. His tongue felt dry and swollen. Sarah closed her eyes and lowered her head. She folded her hands in her lap, waiting. Henry put the gun to her head…

…and that was when the world outside exploded."

3.5 out of 5

Transformers Do Thriller

4 out of 5

Deluge 70 - Brian Keene

"“You hear this, Sarah? It’s gonna be okay. This fella on the radio says he can stop the fungus!”"

3.5 out of 5

An Unnatural History Of Thongor's Lemuria - Den Valdron

"Thongor seems to have been Carter's first published novel, the beginning of his career. I assume then, that he was probably playing around with it for at least a couple of years before that. The idea of Thongor in Lin Carter's mind may have gone as far back as 1962 or earlier. Thongor seems to have had some significance to Carter as a character, as noted, his fictional career spans 11 years of Carter's life. Most interestingly, Carter actually rewrote and expanded his first two Thongor novels in 1968. I'd argue that Thongor was perhaps a little closer to Lin Carter's heart than any of his other characters or series.

But Thongor was also explicitly a descendant, perhaps even a clone of Conan, something that Carter would have been the first to admit. Carter made no bones, he was an ultimate fanboy, he loved what he loved... Burroughs, Howard, Lovecraft, Oz, the old pulps, and wrote in those styles."

4 out of 5

Deluge 69 - Brian Keene

"That’s not thunder, he thought. That’s us! The damn building is shaking…"

3 out of 5

Deluge 68 - Brian Keene

"Sarah moved to the railing and watched the attackers retreat. Sure enough, their hides had turned black where the gasoline had splashed on them. A few were now missing appendages, and the stumps were black, as well.

“Maybe gasoline kills it?” she mused."

3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Me and Alfie Part 5: Collaboration and the Futurians

"Pohl: Well, Cyril Kornbluth and I grew up together. We began writing together when I was about 18 or 19 and Cyril maybe 15. We belonged to a thing called the Futurians; it was a science-fiction fan club in New York in the late ’30s and early ’40s. There’s a book by Damon Knight called The Futurians, which I think is in print here now, full of all sorts of libelous, slanderous gossip about all of us. Much of which is true, but he shouldn’t have said it anyhow! People like Isaac Asimov and Don Wollheim and others would have paid him well not to publish the book. "

4.5 out of 5

Me and Alfie Part 6: John W. Campbell and Dianetics

"Part 6 of “Alfred Bester and Frederik Pohl — The Conversation,” recorded 26 June 1978 at The Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

Pohl: I’ve just realized something very significant. Of all the science fiction writers in the English-speaking world who began in the late ’30s and ’40s who have survived since and done reasonably well, there are only two who were not largely and directly influenced by John Campbell. That’s you and me! "

4 out of 5

The Searchers 1

The Searchers 1

A League of Extraordinary Descendants gathering.

3.5 out of 5

Starscape Presents: Dead

Starscape Presents: Dead

Just your wild west sheriff versus zombies story.

3 out of 5

Last Blood 01

Last Blood 01

Just vampires protecting their human blood supply from the zombie hordes that want to eat everything.

3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Questionable Content - Jeph Jacques

A several times a week strip that is closing on 2000 of them. Funny and bizarre about an alt-rock nerd and his dodgy intelligent robot and circle of friends and acquaintances of various flavours and sleeping privileges.

Questionable Content 1897 - Institutional Bias

5 out of 5

His Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: Talks Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin

"Q. Did Hollywood come calling for “Game of Thrones” right away?
A. Well, not entirely. The second book, “Clash of Kings” was the first to make the best-seller lists, and I got inquiries from various producers and filmmakers who were interested in the rights. Especially after “Lord of the Rings” was such a success and they were looking for other fantasy projects. But they wanted to do it as a feature film, and even then I said it cannot be done as a feature film. You would have to cut it to shreds. It took three films to make “Lord of the Rings,” and the entirety of “Lord of the Rings,” all three of Tolkien’s books, is only the size of one of my books. So we’re talking 20 films. What studio’s going to commit to 20 films? We could do it as a TV series for network. But what happens then? You run into the standards and practices issues – the censors, who are going to say, no, no, you can’t have all this sex and violence. Take all that out. I fought those battles for five years on “Beauty and the Beast” and “Twilight Zone,” both of which were eight o’clock shows, and it drove us crazy. So then it occurred to me, it could be made by somebody like HBO, as a series of series. Each book could be one season. And that was perfect. But of course there were only a few people who were doing that sort of thing."

3.5 out of 5

Elitist Book Reviews - Steven Erikson

"EBR: THE CRIPPLED GOD is out—and it is fantastic. It’s been a long and epic ride. What kind of emotions are you feeling with the conclusion to this ten-book portion of the story?

Erikson: Exhausted, emptied out, relieved. In The Crippled God I was writing towards scenes I had imagined in my head for nearly a decade. The pressure was immense; in fact, this whole series has been written with that pressure. It was a huge series, written out of heart-break, and for me it was a long, drawn-out search for hope. When it was done, I felt numb. Didn’t write a word for six weeks – my longest drought ever as a professional writer."

3 out of 5

Weird Tales of Margaret Brundage - Lord K

"Margaret Hedda Johnson Brundage (Dec. 9, 1900 - Apr. 9, 1976) was the lone woman to make her reputation as a cover artist in the lurid pulp magazines. Brundage's style and her choice of pastel as a medium were heavily influenced by the look and content of American women's magazines, but the content is pure Weird Tales."

4.5 out of 5

The Orphaned Worlds 1 - Michael Cobley

"‘Your situation could actually be worse,’ Silveira said. ‘The tektor you’ll be facing is a class-B unit; the class-A is twice as big and can produce at least twelve mechs a day. There is a world once called Karagal, away at the edge of the Hegemony’s rimward tracts. After a century of protests over the burdens of colonial rule its people rebelled in unison, thinking this would prove their fitness for autonomy. The Hegemony’s response was to send in forty
class-A tektors and in a month no one was left alive, a population of a billion and a half wiped out. Because class-As can build class- Bs in addition to a range of mechs.’
Greg exchanged a look with Vashutkin, who raised a sardonic eyebrow."

3 out of 5

Kindle Author Interview - Jeffrey A. Carver

"DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about The Chaos Chronicles?

JEFFREY A. CARVER: This three-volume book starts on Triton, Neptune's moon. Here's how I describe the first volume, Neptune Crossing, online:

When John Bandicut sets out across the surface of Triton, he's hardly ready for the storm of chaos that's about to blow through his life. The alien quarx that soon inhabits his mind is humanity's first contact with an alien life. The quarx, part of an ancient galactic civilization that manipulates chaos theory to predict catastrophic events, seeks to prevent a cometary collision that could destroy the Earth."

3.5 out of 5

Irredenta - Lou Antonelli

Space crazy old prison bastard, generally.

3.5 out of 5

Michael Moorcock's Modem Times 2.0 is a good introduction to the literary legend - Joe Gross

""The Cornelius stuff wasn't published as sci-fi in England," Moorcock says. "One of the frustrating things about America for me is the tendency to isolate anything that has any pretensions to address a grown-up audience and start slotting it into a special category, like calling an English TV version of ‘I, Claudius,' ‘Masterpiece Theatre.' There's a division between, let's call them, intellectuals and the public in this country that is so much greater than it is in Europe. It's much harder to find an ordinary, common cultural level."

Is Cornelius a hipper-than-thou secret agent, indulging in every vice? Is he an adolescent fantasy? All of this and more. Cornelius is where Moorcock's head goes when events warrant."

3.5 out of 5

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Bianca's Hands - Theodore Sturgeon

Bianca's Hands - Theodore Sturgeon
Hand over control.

3 out of 5

Mardock: Two Hundred Below - Tow Ubukata

Dead girl Will mayhem with monsters.

4 out of 5

Mysta of the Moon 27

Mysta of the Moon 27

The end of the Mysta story.

3.5 out of 5

Shark's Teeth - Tim Pratt

Marla, bored and annoying in Hawaii gets into some shark dude trouble.

3 out of 5

The God Orkrem - Tanith Lee

Lizard-lion, God.

2.5 out of 5

The Walkers from the Crypt 4 The Pendant - Howard Andrew Jones

"The man was round and short, with large hands and stubby fingers, and though the high boots of a huntsman flashed from beneath his robe, his waddling stride made it clear they were an affectation rather than his customary dress. Probably he was a merchant of some kind when he was not serving his state as a Gray Gardener.

He stopped only a few feet before them. In one hand he held a tarnished pendant of silver and gold. The only sign of the arrow Elyana had skewered him with was a dark patch upon his jacket near his heart.

His two uniformed guardsman looked scorched, from their blackened faces to their singed coats and eyebrows. One of them had both his sword and his teeth bared.

"I would have been much more upset with you," the necromancer said in a mild voice, "if you had not led me to this place with this treasure. Why, if you're still alive when I decipher its workings, I may have to thank you.""

3 out of 5

The Walkers from the Crypt 3 Bones of the Fallen Howard Andrew Jones

""I can still sense it," he said in his cold, lonely voice. "You, wizard, might be able to feel its power if you extended yourself. It must lie where my body lies. Only a magical weapon can destroy the pendant, for I shielded the thing against harm."

Arcil glanced over to Elyana before speaking. "It does not seem... especially feasible, then, to seek the pendant now. Your dead will rip us limb from limb, and then we'd be keeping the valley safe with the rest of your... comrades.""

3 out of 5

The Animated Pinup - Lewis Parker

No projection.

3 out of 5

The Secret Of Kralitz - Henry Kuttner

Prefer hereditary secrets to not involve Cthulhu.

3.5 out of 5

Anakoinosis - Tobias S. Buckell

Whiffet slave reliance.

3.5 out of 5

The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr - George R. R. Martin

The Lonely Songs Of Laren Dorr - George R. R. Martin
Love guardian.

4 out of 5

Our Candidate - Robert Reed

Dark Ages campaign.

2.5 out of 5

Pet Farm - Roger Dee

Alien chrysalid tradition.

2.5 out of 5

Trust - David D. Levine

Sad camp.

2.5 out of 5

Black Halo - Sam Sykes

"“Attempting to eviscerate the ocean?” She tapped the head of an arrow against her chin thoughtfully. “That’s something insane, maybe. You’re just going to open your stitches doing that.” Her ears twitched, as though they could hear the sinewy threads stretching in his leg. “How is your wound, anyway?”"

3 out of 5

Girl Who Knew Too Much - Eric James Stone

Egg Ship Chat.

2.5 out of 5

Little Lost Robot - Paul J. McAuley

Omega level Sundive not Choose Life decision.

4.5 out of 5

The Mound 3 - 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!"

3.5 out of 5

The Shipmaker - Aliette de Bodard

Mind birth.

3.5 out of 5

A Clown Escapes From Circus Town - Will McIntosh

Pig born rebellion, with Green Arrow.

4 out of 5

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Planetary romance zombie mentors and the rise of fascism: European pulp fiction 1914-1945 - Jess Nevins

"In my previous column I covered the history of European sci-fi pulps from their origins up to the beginning of World War I. Now we're ready to delve into their history up through World War II.

Full size
Not surprisingly, the European pulp industry was heavily affected by World War I. 45 new pulps debuted in 1914, 24 in 1915, 31 in 1916, 35 in 1917, 13 in 1918. Of those, pulps from non-combatants Spain and Sweden accounted for 1 new pulp in 1914, 4 in 1915, 12 in 1916, 17 in 1917, and 3 in 1918, so that, from the combatant countries, 43 new pulps appeared in 1914, 20 in 1915, 19 in 1916, 18 in 1917, and 10 in 1918."

4.5 out of 5!5788092/planetary-romance-zombie-mentors-and-the-rise-of-fascism-european-pulp-fiction-1914+1945

Friday, April 01, 2011

Me and Alfie Part 3: Ideas and The Demolished Man - Frederik Pohl

"Pohl: Now, getting back to where ideas come from, I’d like to hear from you, Alfie. I want to know where you get your ideas from. Specifically I want to know where you get the ideas for something like The Demolished Man. What persuaded you to write it in the first place?

Bester: Horace Gold! I kind of remember that story vaguely. I was writing the Nick Carter show, and I was having a rough time. I was having trouble with his agent. I was having all kinds of problems. It was a tough show to write, but it was a nice check, so you don’t complain about that. "

4 out of 5

Tiassa Prologue - Steven Brust

"Sethra greeted me with the words, “There’s someone I’d like you to meet, Vlad.” I had expected something more like, “What are you doing here?” as I’d shown up at Dzur Mountain without any advance warning. But then, if Sethra Lavode had been accustomed to do the expected, she wouldn’t have been Sethra Lavode.

I had been visiting my friend Morrolan, who had been kind enough teleport me to Dzur Mountain, and after a long climb up a wide and tiring staircase I had found her in a library, reading a book that looked like it must have weighed ten pounds.

My familiar noticed it as well. “It’s not a book, Boss. It’s a weapon. It lands on you, and that’s it.”

“I think you’re right.”"

4 out of 5

Me and Alfie Part 2: Gateway and the Art of Writing - Frederik Pohl

"Bester: Now tell them about the book, because you will be explaining to them, Fred, what I’m talking about, about the freshness of approach, freshness of ideas.

Pohl: The book concerns a man about 20, 50, 100 years from now whose name is Robinette Broadhead and who works in the food mines in Wyoming. Here they dig out the shale rock and squeeze out the oil, and grow single-cell protein on the oil (there’s a British Petroleum patent on this). He happens to hit lucky and get some money and pays his passage to an asteroid, somewhere out in space, called Gateway, where, half a million years ago, some wandering people, creatures, beings of another star left a lot of spaceships around. They still work. There is nobody there, there is no explanation of anything, but there are the spaceships. And if you get into them and push the right buttons they will take you anywhere in the galaxy. "

3.5 out of 5

Me and Alfie Part 1 - Frederik Pohl

"As I mentioned in the short piece I wrote about Alfie Bester, he and I had a joint talk for a bunch of English fans thirty-odd years or so ago. To my total amazement, some of them recently came up with a tape of that discussion. They transcribed it, and I thought some of you might like to read it here in the blog."

4.5 out of 5

Me and Alfie Part 4: Rejection - Frederik Pohl

"Bester: I’m curious, Fred. Where did you get the idea for The Space Merchants?

Pohl: The Space Merchants has a long history. During World War II, I was with the American Air Force in Italy. I got a little homesick, and I’d brought my typewriter with me. I’d carried that damn thing all over World War II hoping some time to find a use for it and I did. "

4 out of 5