Monday, October 31, 2011

Deluge 87 - Brian Keene

"Caterina faced off against one of the half-man, half-shark creatures. The beast loomed over her, standing easily ten feet high. It swung at her with one massive fist, but the lithe woman managed to dodge the blow and dart underneath it, jabbing the creature’s white, slab-like belly with her spear. Sarah was dismayed to see that the broken broom handle barely scratched the monster’s hide. Roaring, the shark man swung at her again. Caterina dodged a second time, thrusting her weapon at the prominent dorsal fin on its back. The thing spun, lashing out with its tail, and knocked Caterina off her feet. She landed hard, losing her grip on both the broom handle and the knife. Blood dribbled from her nose, turning the wet deck pink. Laughing, the shark man placed one foot on her chest and lowered its head. Foam dripped from its slavering jaws, splattering Caterina’s face. The girl thrashed beneath its weight, kicking and punching to no avail."

4 out of 5

The Call of Cthulhu - H. P. Lovecraft

"Slide greasily into Halloween with our all-new, feature-length reading of Lovecraft’s masterpiece, The Call of Cthulhu, starring the incomparable Andrew Leman!

Featuring music written and performed by Reber Clark! Most selections are available for purchase here on the Lovecraft Paragraphs and At the Mountains of Madness soundtracks."

4.5 out of 5

Never Blood Enough - Joe Haldeman

Animal did it surprise.

3.5 out of 5

We Were Wonder Scouts - Will Ludwigsen

Not getting to Thuria.

3 out of 5

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Alien Contact Interview - Mike Resnick

"SFS: What projects are you currently working on?

MR: Jack McDevitt and I just handed in a novel, The Cassandra Project, to Ace. I have a novel, The Doctor and the Kid, coming out this December from Pyr, and I just signed to do two more in the series, The Doctor and the Rough Rider and The Doctor and the Dinosaurs. Eric Flint and I will be starting a long-overdue collaborative novel for Baen, The Gods of Sagittariuis, later this year. I write a Lucifer Jones story for almost every issue of Subterranean Magazine; I write a Harry the Book story for every issue of Postscripts; I owe a story to Asimov's, and I'll be collaborating on stories with Brad Torgerson, Lezli Robyn and Kij Johnson in the coming months. And I'm editing a new line for Arc Manor called the Stellar Guild line. I think I also have half a dozen collections coming out in the next year, but that's not normal; it's a function of being Guest of Honor at the 2012 Worldcon, and I can guarantee it'll never happen again."

3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

An Interview with Fantasy Writer - James Enge

"SPCC: What’s next for Morlock? What are you working on currently?JE: The Wolf Age did well enough that Pyr signed me to another 3-book deal. Currently I’m finishing up an origin story for Morlock. It’s called A Guile of Dragons and is due out next summer. It’s very old school fantasy in some ways — dwarves, dragons, Merlin and Nimue. (No elves, though. Everyone has to draw the line somewhere.) And it also gives us a look at Morlock’s homeland, which is a sort of anarchy where community needs are addressed by voluntary associations. It’s a sort of utopia, really — with monsters. Most utopias don’t have monsters, of course, but that’s why they lack a certain plausibility."

4 out of 5

Senorita Scorpion - Jon Tuska

" After my recent review of Les Savage’s collection of western stories THE SHADOW IN RENEGADE BASIN, Keith Chapman left a comment about Señorita Scorpion, the aptly named blonde heroine who appeared in one of them. As part of my reply to him, I thought I’d work up a checklist of all of the stories that she was ever in.

This turned out to be a lot more difficult than I’d planned. There may already be such a list, but if so, I couldn’t find one on the Internet. Without a collection of the magazines themselves, and rather than struggle more than I needed to, I went to the source himself, Jon Tuska, who’s been busily editing and packaging Les Savage’s work to various publishers over the years. Here’s his reply:"

4.5 out of 5

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Demon Drums 1 - Carol Severance

""Come to me, brothers," she chanted softly. She didn't use a true beckoning spell -- she only said the words in time with the shifting waves. "Come fill my nets before I turn into a cold stone here in the sea."

Flickering color caught her attention, and she shifted her gaze to follow the erratic paths of two blue-green parrot fish. They approached the reef in unison and began feeding on the living coral. Iuti watched patiently while they darted here and there among the colorful growths, turning and drifting together through the clear water as if they were one.

Then suddenly, she dashed forward, leapt a gap in the coral, and scooped the startled fish into her hand nets. As quickly as one touched and tangled itself in the left net, the other did the same in the right. Iuti struggled for footing in the wave's strong backwash while she lifted each of the fish to her mouth. She bit them just behind their eyes, killing them instantly and removing them forever from Pahulu's power.

The island sorceress was particularly dangerous in and around the sea. Pahulu could send her soul into living fish and other sea-life, enchanting them so that their flesh caused terrible nightmares, even death, for those who ate it."

3.5 out of 5

Cat Karina 1 - Michael Coney

"There is a giant computer which straddles the world. It has its roots deep in the Fifty-second Millennium; that so-distant past when Man discovered electricity. It walked through history hand-in-hand with Man; it saw the building of the first Domes, it survived the reversal of the Earth's magnetic field, it watched the Age of Resurgence, it fought Man's wars for him and even, in the Domes, lived his life for him. It became so powerful that it was able to observe practically everything that happened on Earth and, from this, project what was going to happen in the future -- or the If along, as it is more correctly called. Now, in these Dying Years, the computer is still there, still observing, thinking and predicting, in countless solar-powered centers all over Earth.

It is called the Rainbow."

3.5 out of 5

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Endangered Species - Joel Richards

Go back in time to try and score some cash for retrieval - start war with alien lizardmen.

3.5 out of

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Dreams In the Witch House 2 - H. P. Lovecraft

"Join us on a second date with Keziah Mason and her leetle friend – we’re having more Dreams in the Witch House!

Thanks again to guest Kenneth Hite and reader Dave Stinton."

4 out of 5

Dreams In the Witch House 3 - H. P. Lovecraft

"Even though we forgot the name of the story – here’s the conclusion of Dreams in the Witch House!

Thanks again to guest Kenneth Hite and reader Dave Stinton."

4 out of 5

Feature Interview - Richard K. Morgan

"Takeshi Kovaks, Carl Marsalis, and Ringil Eskiath are three of your main protagonists, and all are fairly dark characters, anti-heroes each. Takeshi shoots people in the head to deprive their consciousness of rebirth, Carl is racking up the death toll from chapter one, and Ringil snaps children’s necks like it was nothing. How do you see the role of heroics within a society that creates these people?

I think that as a culture we have spent in the coin of heroes so lavishly over the last few decades that the whole currency is pretty much devalued. Our heroic figures have become bland, tame, teen-friendly, moral, and middle-American to a fault. Above all, they are safe. Great prowess in violence is seen as a handy little sub-set of skills that you can switch on and off as required, and the rest of the time you just revert to being this likeable average guy getting on with his white-picket-fence average existence. You pick up the sword and defeat the evil enemy, then when the war is done you go back to doing whatever cuddly things you were doing before—it’s essentially the lie we told, most recently, about all the men who fought and came back from the second world war, the lie whose rancid expedience it took the Vietnam debacle to really expose to public awareness.

Now, thankfully, we all know what a dangerous lie it is. Violence scars, it disfigures lives and souls, whole societies and generations sometimes, and there is no going back from it. And the individuals who excel at it are anything but safe to have around afterwards. That’s a truth I try to come back to constantly in my fiction, and guys like Ringil are the result."

4 out of 5

MIND MELD: Character Stakes in Post-Scarcity Novels Part 1 - Paul Weimer

"Alastair Reynolds
Alastair Reynolds is a science fiction writer and former scientist. He lives in Wales. His latest novel is the far-future Terminal World. Coming up is Blue Remembered Earth, book 1 of the Poseidon's Children trilogy.

The notion of absolute post-scarcity has always struck me as more fantasy than fiction: unless one is dealing with a simulated environment, there will always be limits to how much matter and energy you can move around in a given interval, or squeeze into a finite volume of space. Our characters may have access to all the food, amenities and personal goods they might want, but they're not going to be able to conjure entire planets into existence at the drop of a hat. So there will always be some things that are out of reach, or can't be supplied on a whim."

4 out of 5

An Interview With - Lavie Tidhar

"Q: What does the blog’s tagline “ideologically suspect” encompass?

A: Well, it’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, obviously. Occasionally I’d play with different sub-headings. But I think it has a serious undertone, too: that we’re challenging a lot of the underlying assumptions of “default” sf/f. You know, when James Gunn says, “American science fiction is the base line against which all the other fantastic literatures in languages other than English must be measured”–you know–all other fantastic literature!–then yes, ideologically we’re thousands of miles apart. Physically too, of course! We’re saying, “This isn’t how things are, or should be.” And if it means poking the occasional stick at a bloated and egotistical corpse, then hell, let’s have fun doing it, at least!"

3.5 out of 5

The Fantasy Author's Handbook Interview - Alan Dean Foster

"Athans: Chad Akins, also via Twitter, wants to know, “did writing Alien give you the creeps?” Reading your novelization scared the crap out of me, too, even though I read it after I’d seen the movie. Any advice for authors on how to approach a scary scene?

One of the scariest books I’ve ever read.

Foster: I happened to be living alone at the time, in a small apartment. My work desk faced a window that in turn faced an exterior wall, and I found myself continually looking up and out at the darkness as I worked on the book. So yes, it gave me the creeps. Writers are living reflections of whatever they happen to be working on. If the material is humorous, they smile as they type."

3.5 out of 5’s-handbook-interview-alan-dean-foster/

Science Fiction as Foresight - Karl Schroeder

"Science fiction is more than just a genre of fiction. Hell, it's more than just fiction. It's a mode of thought; because our brains are hardwired and optimized to think in narratives, SF can be seen as a primary means by which we make sense of and plan for the future. By understanding how this process works, we have an opportunity to grow a new branch of SF parallel to but not replacing or displacing the traditional arm--a branch that's rigorous and methodical and deliberately used to help solve real-world problems. In fact, that's been happening for a while now (see Johnson's book); I'm delighted to have found myself in a position to be able to help make it formally recognized."

3.5 out of 5

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction: Some History - Graham Sleight

"The idea of an online third edition of the SFE has been around for the best part of a decade, and John Clute and others have been working on entries for five or six years. Although the third edition was originally contracted with (and generously supported by) Orbit, we amicably parted ways a few years ago. Earlier this year, we signed a contract with Gollancz, under which the Encyclopedia will be published free online and linked to their Gateway e-books site as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations. The current text of the Encyclopedia is over 3.2m words – that is, over two and a half times bigger than the 1993 edition."

3.5 out of 5

The Good Science Fiction Drive-by - Gardner Dozois

"3. What should always be edited out of a story?
The boring parts."

3 out of 5

The Statement of Randolph Carter - H. P. Lovecraft

The Statement of Randolph Carter - H. P. Lovecraft

Investigating legions of monsters equals fair chance someone dies.

4 out of 5

El Regalo - Peter S. Beagle

Witch boy sororal rescue.

4 out of 5

Witch boy sororal rescue.

4 out of 5

Deluge 86 - Brian Keene

"Caterina, Mylon, Henry, and Gail rushed onto the bridge. Water dripped from their clothes, pooling on the floor. Each of them was armed with more than one weapon. Caterina had a knife from the galley and a broken broom handle that she’d turned into a makeshift spear. Mylon carried a shotgun, and had a pistol and a knife holstered at his waist. Henry clutched a rifle, and had a small hatchet dangling from his belt loop. Gail was armed with a spear gun, and wore a backpack slung over her shoulders.

“What’s in the bag?” Novak asked.

She smiled. “Roach killer. We’re all out of napalm.”"

3.5 out of 5