Monday, April 30, 2012

Robert Colby: A Tribute - Peter Enfantino

"My introduction to Robert Colby, as was my introduction to all the classic Gold medal authors, was through an article Ed Gorman wrote for a magazine I used to co-publish called The Scream Factory. In the piece Ed sang the praises of a couple dozen GM authors, writers such as Peter Rabe, Vin Packer, Gil Brewer, Wade Miller, and Harry Whittington. Back in 1993, (when the article first appeared) Black Lizard was publishing a lot of forgotten writers like Packer, Rabe, and Brewer, so I was fairly familiar with those guys. One of the writers Ed praised was Robert Colby, a name I was not so familiar with. Ed called Colby’s The Captain Must Die (Gold Medal, 1959) “one of the great GM novels,” so I knew I had to check this one out."

3.5 out of 5

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pyramid Power - Dave Freer and Eric Flint

The sequel shows the bureaucrats trying to take control of the Pyramid, with little understanding - leading to the people who know what they are doing being split. Several of them now stuck in a Norse mythworld.

Fun, not quite as good as the first.

3.5 out of 5

Folsom Prison Blues - Selena Kitt

Waiting letter.

3 out of 5

Cat Lover - Selena Kitt

Helping the neighbour - who gets rather furry.

3 out of 5

How Readers Find Books and 25 Secrets for Publishing Successfully Par 2 - Mark Coker

"From his perspective as the founder of one of the largest ebook distributors in the world, Mark Coker talks about the trends in the ebook industry; Where the ebook industry will be in 5 years; How readers actually find books; 25 secrets he's learned from the most successful authors on Smashwords about publishing successful ebooks; And how to get your favorite ebook at your local library."

3.5 out of 5

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe

A story of the struggle of American slaves to gain freedom, as well as the efforts they go through to escape slavery while it is still legal.

This details some of the political movement and methods surrounding slavery, and how people used to help slaves gain their freedom.

3 out of 5

The Girl On the Hell Ship - Robert E. Howard

Captain's Saucy Wench slavery.

3 out of 5

Checkmate - Clark Ashton Smith

Mutual affair.

3 out of 5

A Copy of Burns - Clark Ashton Smith

A dying man is surprised by his will.

2.5 out of 5

The Expert Lover - Clark Ashton Smith

A woman that chooses the bad boy over the average every day nice guy gets what she deserves.

2.5 out of 5

A Platonic Entanglement - Clark Ashton Smith

Busted messing around pair.

2 out of 5

The Raja and the Tiger - Clark Ashton Smith

Pommie bloke not fond of Indian wildlife.

3 out of 5

The Shah's Messenger - Clark Ashton Smith

Sneaky subject lesson.

3 out of 5's-messenger

Something New - Clark Ashton Smith

Bored shagging wench.

2 out of 5

Castles Made of Sand - Lewis Shiner

Muddy sticky stuff.

3 out of 5

Flagstaff - Lewis Shiner

Batter up.

3 out of 5

Managing Helen - Marta Randall

Old granny.

3 out of 5

The Children of the New Forest - Captain Marryat

To me, this was very dull when I read it, it may be a little more of interest now because of the political aspect. There are certainly more exciting or entertaining adventures if you want that sort of thing, or more interesting historical novels that deal with the civil war in England of Roundheads, Cavaliers and the like.

Some kids are orphaned as part of this conflict, and decide to do something for the royalist cause.

1.5 out of 5

The Sea Wolf - Jack London

An intelligent boy is forced to endure the not so pleasant life aboard a ship captained by the harsh captain Wolf Larsen. He gains a companion when the ship picks up someone else, this time a female.

Wolf ain't a people person. The two young shipmates try and get away, and end up in the castaway scenario, and just may get a visitor.

3 out of 5

Lady Chatterley's Lover - D. H. Lawrence

A book that explores lust between the classes. Perhaps you just had to be there at the time, or something, but nothing that interesting really, here, although I would say that it is a better than average excursion into the world of sex and shagging, from that point of view.

A pretty tame piece of course, as seen now.

3.5 out of 5

The Miracle of Purun Bhagat - Rudyard Kipling

An old ruler tries some variety.

2.5 out of 5

Quiquern - Rudyard Kipling

An eskimo boy breaks in a puppy, with some dangers.

3 out of 5

Three Men In A Boat - Jerome K. Jerome

Three Men in a Boat : to Say Nothing of the Dog. If this was supposed to be funny, I definitely didn't think so at the time I read it. Not my sort of funny, obviously.

I would definitely rather be playing with the dog, that is for sure. Pretty dull, from what I recall.

2 out of 5

War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

Long enough for everything in between, including extensive discursive diarrhoea.

1.5 out of 5

Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

A really, really long romance novel, but not your Mills and Boon type of thing, at all. The interesting thing from our point of view is that it is set in Russia, making the yawn factor a lot less than if it was set in the United States, or England, for example. It is still a fair slog to get through this.

2.5 out of 5

Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Pursuit of dude.

At drawn out length.

2 out of 5

Final Shtick - Harlan Ellison Kike kickee back. 3 out of 5

Lady Bug Lady Bug - Harlan Ellison Unwanted lay. 3 out of 5

May We Also Speak? - Harlan Ellison Old-fashioned stories. 3 out of 5

Gentleman Junkie - Harlan Ellison Fix no heal. 3 out of 5

The Japanned Box - Arthur Conan Doyle

Record memories. 3 out of 5

For the Term of His Natural Life - Marcus Clarke

For the Term of His Natural Life is Marcus Clarke's novel about Rufus Dawes. He is a man convicted of murder, and really didn't do it. He is sentenced to transportation and must endure the harsh convict environment in Australia, and survive that, as well as the women and other characters around him. 2.5 out of 5

The Swiss Family Robinson - J. D. Wyss

A fairly low-key and low-rent adventure story. A shipwreck, and miraculously all who survive are of one family unit, plus some pets and enough livestock and food animals to keep them going. They have to contend with the wildlife, build a tree house and other sorts of things to survive. Pretty tame all around, this story. 2.5 out of 5

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm - Kate Douglas Wiggin

A kid's story that was way too tame for me. I would recommend that young or not so young boys most definitely avoid this boring tale. You'd be better off with Anne, or Pollyanna, or even a Black Beauty if you want to dive into this sort of girl's fiction, with some a bit more interesting or fun at the heart of it. 1.5 out of 5

Miss Winchelsea's Heart - H. G. Wells Snooks not for me. 2.5 out of 5

The Jilting Of Jane - H. G. Wells

No good.

2 out of 5

In The Modern Vein: An Unsympathetic Love Story - H. G. Wells

Frivolous pursuits.

2 out of 5

A Catastrophe - H. G. Wells

Marriage regret.

2.5 out of 5

The Lost Inheritance - H. G. Wells

Writing gain, not.

3 out of 5

The Sad Story of a Dramatic Critic - H. G. Wells

Bad play.

2 out of 5

Human Sexuality 101 - Selena Kitt

Video class instruction inspiration.

4 out of 5

Do Not Ejaculate For 24 Hours! - Selena Kitt

Or deliberate temptation pre sperm-bank.

4 out of 5

Watching Him Masturbate - Selena Kitt

Caught tv watching, watching.

3 out of 5

Union Station - Selena Kitt

No hands trick.

3 out of 5

The Neighbors - Selena Kitt

Unexpectedly noisy.

3 out of 5

Student Teacher - Selena Kitt

Doing the mentor.

3 out of 5

Separated - Selena Kitt

Away from husband and large friend of a fiance discovery.

3.5 out of 5

Roommate - Selena Kitt

New girl is more exciting.

3 out of 5

Joy of Sex - Selena Kitt

Girl toy practice.

3 out of 5

First Blowjob - Selena Kitt

Married man affair.

3 out of 5

Babysitter - Selena Kitt

Finding their stash.

3 out of 5

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Slip Under the Microscope - H. G. Wells

Exam cheating.

2 out of 5

Ben Hur - Lew Wallace

A revenge story. An unfortunate prince ends up becoming a slave. That politics thing, you know. I think that JC guy may even make an appearance. (the other one, not Jerry Cornelius). Plenty of action in this story, including the famous chariot race, as the former Jewish prince and slave ends up changing religions.

2.5 out of 5

The Art of War - Sun Tzu

A noted general gives tips and tricks for young players about the whole kill or be killed thing on the battlefield. An early version of war for dummies, that has become a perennial bestseller for actual and wannabe militaristic types for a long, long time. During the time in China when our esteemed author was around, there were plenty of opportunities to give this stuff a shot.

4 out of 5

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain

Tom Sawyer is a boy. As such, he would rather avoid doing really boring things like housework, yardwork, listening to boring old people crap on during his valuable weekend. This then will leave him much more time for having fun and doing what he wants to do.

This includes impressing girls, of course.

3 out of 5

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain

While Tom Sawyer has a much more mundane domestic arrangement, Huck Finn is the rural equivalent of a street kid, a homeless wanderer

Mark Twain is certainly a clever man, and he demonstrates it here, with his usage of the vernacular and dialect by the characters in the book, to help get his point across, as HF goes about his adventures.

3 out of 5

The Prince and the Pauper - Mark Twain

The Prince and the Pauper is a good old fashioned role reversal story. A prince, one of the sort that has a palace and all that stuff to go along with it, swaps places with a poor kid.

A few shenanigans happen, but basically you have here some commentary on the worth of people, amidst the kid friendly adventures.

2.5 out of 5

Seven Litlte Australians - Ethel Turner

An Australian children's story that seems to have survived the test of time, as it is still being published now.

Basically the kids depicted here are ordinary kids, not adventure heroes, not mouthpieces for adults to moralise through.

Their lives have tragedy, fun, family. The also are dealing with all the other elements of society as real people.

3 out of 5

Hello Moto - Nnedi Okorafor

Virus desperation.

3.5 out of 5

The Lady of Shallot - Alfred Tennyson

The Lady of Shalott, to me, is a poem of interest because of the Arthurian theme.

Another example of the tragic figures surrounding these legends, and how obviously hot that Lancelot bloke was, given how all the girls seemed to desperately want him.

When the breaks the magical taboo of actually looking at him, rather than via a mirror, her doom falls, and she sails, in death, down a river.

2.5 out of 5

Elegy For Piano and Three Voices - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Music disease.

3 out of 5

Golubash Or Wine-war-blood-elegy - Catherynne M. Valente

Transport war vintage.

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Metal Monster - Abraham Merritt

Merritt gets a bit science fiction in this SF adventure as Goodwin returns with a colleague, meets a brother and sister pair. Then they run into retro Persian warriors and a live metal city and its keeper.

3 out of 5

The Blue Lagoon - H. De Vere Stacpoole

A pretty mundane book, read only because someone wanted me to. The usual shipwrecked on an island paradise type of story. A couple of children grow up, after living there for ages, and discover the sex and love thing. There are not too many other things to trouble them, except for finding food and shelter, and the weather is pretty good anyway.

2 out of 5

Heidi - Johanna Spyri

A very nice, sweet, slightly different little girl goes about her life in that alps and yodelling sort of setting that she grows up in. Sometimes she is unhappy, but often people are influenced by her, her attitude, and her slightly odd way of looking at things.

In other words, really, really tame and rather sugary.

2 out of 5

The Hidden Hand - E. Southworth

A girl decides to have a bit of the fun that the blokes can have, swashbuckling away.

"Master, behind those dark curtains I saw a young creature tossing about on the bed, flinging her hair and beautiful arms about and tearing wildly at the fine lace that trimmed her night-dress. But, master, that wasn't what almost made me faint--it was that her right hand was sewed up in black crape, and her whole face and head completely covered with black crape drawn down and fastened securely around her throat, leaving only a small slit at the lips and nose to breathe through!"

3 out of 5

Eros the Revealer - Elliott Mabeuse

Drunk Cupid trap.

3 out of 5

I Love You Fcsk 12712 - Elliott Mabeuse

New gynoid model a bit too realistic.

3 out of 5

Crossroads - Elliott Mabeuse

Record collector three.

3.5 out of 5

The Bacchae - Elliott Mabeuse

Waiting women frenzy.

3.5 out of 5

Naga Special Massage - M. E. Hydra

Claustrophobia therapy coils payment.

3.5 out of 5

A Summer Dance With A Succubus - M. E. Hydra

Dead satisfied.

3 out of 5

The Darkest Shade of Grey 3 - Alan Baxter

"‘You know what time it is, you drunken fucking bum? You coming to work today?’

David stared myopically at his watch, moving his arm back and forth in an attempt to find focus. Eventually he read 9.35. ‘Fuck, Terry, I’m sorry. Listen, I had a really messed up night last night. I was following up on a great story, but it all turned to shit.’

‘And that affects your ability to come to work how, exactly?’

‘Well, listen, I saw a man killed last night.’"

3.5 out of 5

Grim Tides 07 Death Makes An Offer - Tim Pratt

“Huh. So is this Ronin in the reincarnation queue?”

“Oh, no. His spiritual inclinations lay in a different direction, and his afterlife is… rather more unique. I never cease to be amazed by the heavens and hells people conjure for themselves. Ronin made himself into a sentient ocean on a watery planet. I had to create a boat of reeds and papyrus and ply his waters for a while before he noticed me, and even then, it took a while before he consented to talk to me. I could have made myself into an asteroid and smashed into his surface, and really gotten his attention, but… he was so beautiful. Blue and vast. I couldn’t bring myself to do something so crass. Besides, there was no hurry. Time in the eternal realms functions differently from time in this world. Things are much slower down there.” He sighed. “That’s part of why waiting for Marla to die is so tedious – ”

4 out of 5

Way of Life - Selena Kitt

Toy mastery.

3 out of 5

Unfolding - Selena Kitt

A woman discovers she likes the other entry - and a holiday doubles it.

3 out of 5

Under Mr Nolan's Bed - Selena Kitt

Two best friends have problems when one falls for the other's father - then it gets even more complicated.

4 out of 5

The Velvet Choker - Selena Kitt

A treasure and painting.

3 out of 5

The Pied Piper - Selena Kitt

Make me cry.

2.5 out of 5

The Guitar Man - Selena Kitt

Muso devotion.

3 out of 5

A. E. van Vogt: Throw a Corpse Through the Skylight - Frederik Pohl

"That first story was “Black Destroyer,” in the July. 1939 issue of Astounding, and it did almost what Stanley G. Weinbaum had done with his first story, “A Martian Odyssey.” It revolutionized science fiction’s treatment of aliens. Weinbaum’s character Tweel had been the first successful attempt to describe an alien creature not merely as a threat to humans but as a character — not human in any way, but with as much personality and individuality as any homo sapiens. Van Vogt completed the process by telling his story from the Black Destroyer’s point of view."

3.5 out of 5

Star of David - Selena Kitt

God, shag.

2.5 out of 5

Special Occasion Unmentionables - Selena Kitt

New gear.

3 out of 5

Shifting Gears - Selena Kitt

Quickie both.

3 out of 5

Secret Agent - Selena Kitt

Got the job.

3 out of 5

Pleasing - Selena Kitt

Assistant discovery.

3.5 out of 5

Orion's Belt - Selena Kitt

Probe encounter.

3 out of 5

New Year's Resolution - Selena Kitt

Tickle tell and strap.

3 out of 5

New Tricks - Selena Kitt

Backside turnabout.

3 out of 5

Love In An Elevator - Selena Kitt

Quick go, definitely.

3 out of 5

Hush Little Baby - Selena Kitt

Nice milk.

2.5 out of 5

Artemis and Actaeon - Selena Kitt

Daddy's wishes broken by him and jealous hunt.

3.5 out of 5

Epicurean - Selena Kitt

Can smell them all.

3 out of 5

Core Deep - Selena Kitt

A couple are doing ice core research in the Arctic and things look grim.

3.5 out of 5

Bluebeard's Wife - Selena Kitt

A wife and friend surprise a husband with a hobby.

3.5 out of 5

Macbeth - William Shakespeare

To Rule Scotland :-

1) Stay away from frightening mystical old bags, especially in multiples.
2) Be well aware of the birth conditions and trauma of your rivals and relatives
3) If your wife is insane and murderous, please have her institutionalised a long way away
4) Avoid the onset of delusions of grandeur and megalomania
5) Get a landscaper who is really good at large scale projects

4.5 out of 5

Baumgartner Generations: Janie - Selena Kitt

Now grown up, she moves in with the former minder and pursues what she wants, eventually.

4 out of 5

Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare

Two families dislike each other, they have done so for quite a while. Two kids, one of each flavour of sex and family fall in lust, and sneak around to do the shagging thing.

The naive children try to keep it quiet, the not so swift parents don't use it to positive political advantage. Deaths happen in stupid fashion.

4 out of 5

Baumgartner Generations: Henry - Selena Kitt

A young athlete goes to uni, illiterate, and gets a very instructive tutor as well as the usual issues.

3.5 out of 5

A Midsummer Night's Dream - William Shakespeare

Fairies and fickle, foolish and prone to folly, much as those human mortal thingos are. Even such luminaries as Titania, Oberon and Puck This is made fun of, at length, throughout this play, and in general, works pretty well, and is often genuinely funny.

One that should be reasonably accessible.

4 out of 5

Babysitting The Baumgartners - Selena Kitt

A young woman who worked for a couple as a teenager is now old enough to move in with them and pursue what she wants to do.

4 out of 5

King Lear - William Shakespeare

A story of a family destroyed by arrogant and venal relatives. In doesn't help when they are royalty, either, as the struggles and fighting over the economic and political power to be gained on inheritance is even worse.

A father turns away from one of his children, and as a consquence everything ends in blindness and death.

3.5 out of 5

All These Years - Selena Kitt

Affair hold.

3 out of 5

Acts of Contrition - Selena Kitt

Priest discipline.

3 out of 5

Learning Experience - Selena Kitt

Older cook.

3 out of 5

A Baumgartner Reunion - Selena Kitt

A woman's husband convinces her to go back and take a bit of a holiday with the couple she was a live-in babysitter for and whose children and now grown and he will join her later.

4 out of 5

$5.99 A Minute - Selena Kitt


2.5 out of 5

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

This Has Been Building: An Interview with - Chris Roberson

"And they told you that the reason for this was because of what you’d written on Twitter.

Yeah, and specifically the one tweet which questioned the ethics of the company. Because I have done one or two work-for-hire things using DC properties I would occasionally get questions from readers asking was there a chance I would work on X character or this particular book, and after I said I don’t have any intention of working for DC again, somebody said, “So you’re not going to work on Legion of Superheroes then?” and I said, “In a better world, characters like the Legion would be owned by a more ethical company, but sadly not in this one.” That was enough apparently to inflame the ire of the higher-ups at DC.

That’s really interesting, that it was the direct comparison to superhero ethics.

Yeah, and that’s really one of the things about it that has rankled me so much over the course of the last months. Because the only defense that’s offered of things like either Before Watchmen or the counter-suit against the Siegels or any number of different things that have been done historically is that the company is operating within the bounds of the law. The company is doing nothing illegal. There’s no defense mounted to the ethics or morality of their actions, and in many cases they will make kind of passing nods to the fact that what they are doing might be interpreted as unethical, but that because it’s not illegal, you know, they’re going to do it. And seeing as these are companies, both DC and Marvel, that are built upon stories about paragons of virtue who s for what’s right, not for what’s nitpickingly legal, that that was really bothersome to me."

5 out of 5

Cyrano de Bergerac - Edmond Rostand

Still a fun story about what is important between people. That is, the size of your nose is not inversely proportional to your wit or intelligence, or your worth as a person. Or, in other words, there are more important things than pretty boy good looks, as someone that is really dumb will get old and wrinkly like everyone else.

3 out of 5

The Getting of Wisdom - Henry Handel Richardson

Long and relatively dull story about a young woman that is a very round peg in a most definitely square hole as she tries the whole growing up and education thing, but doesn't fit in.

Eventually she decides, after a lot of trial and error, to go her own way.

2.5 out of 5

Lady Bridget in the Never-never Land - Rosa Praed

There is another bullheadishness and stupidity in here to make this entertaining, in this tale of opposites attract and the perils of a strong woman in this time. An Australian stockman who can't get along with the natives falls for an Irish lady. They fall in love, shag, get married, live together, fight, break up, and eventually get back together. Bridget is an atypical character for the time.

3.5 out of 5

Pollyanna - Eleanor H. Porter

A young girl goes to live with her aunt after the death of her father. Moving to a crappy town full of crappy people, the eternally optimistic young whippernsapper proves infectious, and improves the outlook and disposition of all around here, even if they don't want the annoying brat to do so.

2.5 out of 5

Waltzing Matilda - Banjo Paterson

Australia's unofficial official song.

Oh! there once was a swagman camped in the Billabong,
Under the shade of a Coolabah tree;
And he sang as he looked at his old billy boiling,
"Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me."

Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda, my darling,
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
Waltzing Matilda and leading a water-bag --
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?

Down came a jumbuck to drink at the water-hole,
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him in glee;
And he sang as he put him away in his tucker-bag,
"You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me!"

Down came the Squatter a-riding his thorough-bred;
Down came Policemen -- one, two, and three.
"Whose is the jumbuck you've got in the tucker-bag?
You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me."

But the swagman, he up and he jumped in the water-hole,
Drowning himself by the Coolabah tree;
And his ghost may be heard as it sings in the Billabong,
"Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?"

5 out of 5

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Breakfast of Champions Interview - Guy Haley

"GH: Well, it’s been inspired by pretty much every book that has ever been written about Mars. Not that I’ve read them all. Edgar Rice Burrough’s Barsoom gets name-checked a lot when people talk about Champion of Mars, but surprisingly I’ve never read John Carter’s adventures in the original form. I have, however, been thoroughly exposed to them second-hand through geek culture – comics, pastiches, homages and the like (Moorcock’s Warriors of Mars is a key example). Other pulpy, SF adventures of the early 20th Century like Flash Gordon have a lot to answer for too.
That sort of fallen, high-tech yet primitive society you see in Barsoom fascinates me; it’s a synthesis of fantasy and SF, planetary romance, and I love both. All these early dreams of the Red Planet were based on the faulty astronomical assumption that the planets were formed in order, from the outer planets in. According to this, Mars must be more ancient than Earth, and its societies therefore correspondingly older too. We know now obviously that this is not true, and that Mars does not possess intelligent life, but those tropes established by Burroughs – hearkening back to heroic mythology – are so interesting. So, the book began to take shape about nine years ago when I wondered how a society like that could come about now, as it almost certainly did not exist in the past. There’s that element of vast epochs, only we’re looking into the far future, and not into the distant past. I was also looking for a way to “justify” a sort of "

4 out of 5

Letter to Jeff Walker Regarding Blade Runner - Philip K. Dick

An invincible commercial success, he thought.

4 out of 5

Anne of Avonlea - L. M. Montgomery

Not as good as the first book. Again, this is the character getting older, so that may well have something to do with it. However, it does seem to be missing something when compared to the first of the series, so again, only get this if you are sure you like this sort of thing, or are a serious fan of the character.

2 out of 5

Anne of the Island - L. M. Montgomery

Still not as good as the first book. This is a book where you should only bother picking it up or trying to start it if you are a fan of the others, to start with, otherwise you will find that this book is most definitely tedious and will not be of any interest at all. If you are a hardcore Anne fan, this one is for you.

1.5 out of 5

Anne of Green Gables - L. M. Montgomery

Unlike the sequels, Anne of Green Gables is at least somewhat entertaining at times. Or, it is only somewhat dull at times, not excruciatingly dull. This is a problem for a lot of this sort of thing. Particularly when you try to stretch it out over multiple books, and change the focus from the kid that was the point of the thing to start with.

2.5 out of 5

Captains Courageous - Rudyard Kipling

I found Captains Courageous to be a bit on the dull side, compared with the rest of the classic type stuff I was reading as a kid. A fairly mundane type story, really, if you can call lost at sea mundane.

Kid gets lost, ends up on a ship full of grumpy sailors, has to work hard so he gets fed, etc., etc. You'd have to like that sort of thing.

2.5 out of 5

The Story of My Life - Helen Keller

A deaf dumb and blind girl, but no pinball. Helen Keller, bereft of the senses that your average person is able to utilise, has to learn other ways to communicate. She is instrumental in forming systems that will lay the foundation to enable other people so afflicted to do the same, with the work she does herself, and with her tutors.

Well worth a look.

4 out of 5

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving

We got us a Headless Horseman.

3.5 out of 5

The Iliad - Home Homer

Trojan war time.

4 out of 5

The Odyssey - Homer Homer

The return of Ulysses.

4 out of 5

We of the Never-Never - Jeannie Gunn

Life on a Northern Territory station.

3 out of 5

The Wind In the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

A mole a rat a badger and a toad.

4 out of 5

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Press Enter To Execute - Tobias S. Buckell

Smart filter spam assassin setup.

4 out of 5

The Founding of & The Battle with Paypal over Censorship - Mark Coker

"Mark Coker founded, one of the largest ebook distribution companies in the world. And in February of 2012, he was caught at the center of a battle over censorship between and Erotica. This David versus Goliath story saw your favorite erotica authors fighting to keep, the books that you love, available while Paypal systematically froze the accounts of any company that dared to sell it.

When Mark Coker got the call from the financial giant, however, he didn't fold to their will. Listen to the amazing story that unfolded as the battle was forged over what you are allowed to read and fantasize about."

5 out of 5

Selena Kitt: Writing Great Erotica and Pseudo Incest - Selena Kitt

A podcast interview :-

"Selena Kitt can do one thing better than almost anyone else in the world; she can sexually arouse you using only her words. In 2007, 2008 and 2009 she was voted's people choice award winner for Erotic Fiction, and in 2011 she sold 500,000 copies of her stories. Selena Kitt is one of the most successful erotica writers publishing today.

Join erotica author Alex Anders as he interviews one of the leading voices in erotica. Together they explore how Selena started writing erotica; what inspires her to keep writing in spite of overwhelming conservative attacks on her work; and why people are so aroused by Pseudo Incest."

4.5 out of 5

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hellnotes Interview - Kim Newman

"5. You wrote The Vampire Genevieve and Orgy of the Blood Parasites as Jack Yeovil. Any reason for the pseudonym?

Newman: The specific reason is that when I started writing for GW Books, who put out the novels collected in The Vampire Genevieve, all the other writers working on the Warhammer line were using pseudonyms so I thought I should too. Later, Ian Watson put out Warhammer books under his own name and in retrospect I wish I’d done that too. Though they were written to fit into worlds other people had created, and (perhaps more important) I don’t control or own the publishing rights to them, the books are pretty much mine and I remain pleased with them. Having built up a parallel career as Jack Yeovil, it’s occasionally been useful to have the name for other things, like Orgy of the Blood Parasi (a gruesome paperback horror novel written in a week). The name comes from the main character in Dreamers, my first published story – there, it was ‘John Yeovil’. "

3.5 out of 5

The Daily Dead Interview - Kim Newman

"The Bloody Red Baron takes place during World War 1, and you have this vampire war inside of the bigger war. Was there any influence from Romero’s zombie films and using the vampires to illuminate something bigger in society?

Kim Newman: I’m a great admirer of George Romero, and Nightmare Movies is essentially about his influence on horror cinema. I didn’t specifically think of those films in the context of The Bloody Red Baron – though there’s an Italian zombie sub-plot in Dracula Cha Cha Cha. The major nod to Romero in the series is the inclusion of Martin Cuda, from Martin, as a member of the Carpathian Guard in Anno Dracula."

3.5 out of 5

The Homecoming - Mike Resnick

Plants, changes and Pythons.

3 out of 5

The Gorilla Hunters - R. M. Ballantyne

The Gorilla Hunters - R. M. Ballantyne
This is from the 40s, and is a very dated boy's adventure book, and bound to offend plenty of people these days I'd imagine. A bloke and his large masculine manly mate go on an African safari, as the title suggests. A faithful guide, an African princess, buffalo, leopards, lions, and more. That sort of thing. 2 out of 5

The Coral Island - R. M. Ballantyne

Some shipwrecked kids - so add pirates. 2.5 out of 5

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne

A for Adultery.

In them there olden days, to whit, the 17th century, they didn't appreciate a woman being up the duff if the hubster was not physically around to have actually performed the impregnation.

What follows is the story of a woman forced to wear identification of such an act after just such a situation, and her refusal to buckle to community desires for information.

4 out of 5

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The War Chief - Edgar Rice Burroughs

Young boy is lost - not really a shocker for a Burroughs book - however, this time brought up by Geronimo to be a brave. Does so, is good at it, falls in love, the usual.

2.5 out of 5

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Outlaw of Torn - Edgar Rice Burroughs

Long lost prince.

But no apes or lions or Martians to be seen, here. Just a bit of a plot from a swordmaster with honour offended and someone who thought he was an ordinary bloke become a leader of a very tough bunch of blokes.

Things change when he literally delivers a head on a platter.

3 out of 5

Grim Tides 06 A Mother's Love - Tim Pratt

“Huh.” Rondeau turned to Pelham. “So, if your mistress dies, what happens to you? Do you, like, crawl onto the funeral pyre? Or serve her in the afterlife like an unlucky Egyptian servant?”

“The bond is broken by death.” Pelham wrung his hands. “But – but surely – ”

“Surely for sure.” Marla crossed her arms. “Who’s coming after me, Death?”

He sighed. “I’m not certain. I can tell when someone is going to die – or when they’re likely to die, though the possibilities have always proliferated rather wildly for you – and gradually those lines of probability narrow into certainties. Your death is… increasingly likely. I know some other people who will almost certainly die with you, in the same place, around the same time. Perhaps that might give you a hint?”

4 out of 5

800 ms - David Taub

Frankenbot problem.

3.5 out of 5

Star - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

The cat came back.

3 out of 5

My Brilliant Career - Miles Franklin

Tomboy girl gets arty.

A girl growing up on a poor farm is allowed to not be girly by her father. Farming isn't what she wants though, and when in her teens she gets to go and stay with a relative for whom intellectual pursuits exist in far greater numbers.

She then has to reconcile and fight for what she wants to do.

4 out of 5

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Resurrection of Jimber Jaw - Edgar Rice Burroughs

Or actual prehistoric guy would prefer to be left alone out of the present, thanks.

3 out of 5

Seven Footprints to Satan - Abraham Merritt

Or a crime novel, if you want as 'Satan' uses ritual and a game to control his targets until our hero gets in the way. Complete with comic relief, guvnor.

3 out of 5

Remembering Lowndes and the Futurians 2 - Frederik Pohl

"We had all ordered mixed Chinese fruits but I was the first to finish it. I had put the last bit of fruit into my mouth and was fishing around for anything that I possibly might have left over when I noticed a brown-black speck floating around in the fluid remaining in the dish. I passed the plate around and asked the boys what they thought they saw in it. Chet Cohen said he saw a baby cockroach and then looked at me as if he wanted to know what the matter was and why I asked him such a silly question. Lowndes insisted it was a “chickroach.” Upon being challenged by Cohen, Lowndes declared that baby chickens were not called baby chickens but “chicks,” and that, therefore, you could not call a baby cockroach anything but a “chickroach.” Wollheim advised me not to show it to the waiter since the latter might charge me extra for it. Lowndes pointed out that, after all a “chickroach” is a Chinese delicacy. Cohen stated that I would undoubtedly have to pay a good deal of money for it in China. Wollheim declared that the waiter would probably swallow it right before my eyes to show me it would not harm me."

4 out of 5

Remembering Robert W. Lowndes and the Futurians - Frederik Pohl

"Lowndes used to regale us with quotes from early science fiction stories. He would stand before us and read paragraphs from stories in old magazines from his or Don Wollheim’s collection, and we would groan at what we thought was bad writing. One such story that drove us to loud laughter involved a manlike robot that was the house servant. When providing refreshment, the robot was asked by a visitor to join him in a drink. The robot declined, stating, “The drink affects the delicate enamel of my teeth and once that is gone, the rest soon follows.” This sentence was repeated so many times in the story that I doubt any of us listeners could ever forget it. We thought that the robot was the only thing of merit in the story. It was not made clear whether the robot was referring to the effect of sugar on the teeth and that once the protective enamel was gone, the rest of the teeth soon followed, or whether, as Lowndes believed, considering what the robot was made of, once the enamel was gone, the rest of the robot would also deteriorate and vanish."

4 out of 5

Spooky Reads Editor Interview - Lee Harris

"Stephen Jones, in his prologue to ‘A Book of Horrors’ depicts a genre tainted with horror-lite. Given the Thomas Usher books you’ve published, this obviously doesn’t apply to AR specifically, but would you agree or disagree with his statement? And is the world really worse off for this?

Hang on – before I answer this I’m going downstairs to pick up my copy so I can read it, first. Back in a mo…

Ok, I’m back. I think you’re misinterpreting what Stephen said, there. He mentions that we’re living in a world that’s ‘horror-lite’, and that this (truly awful phrase) is aimed at the dark fantasy end of the market, but he states quite clearly that readers of horror-lite aren’t horror readers. They’re not the sort of people who like to be scared, or disturbed; they’re not readers of traditional horror.

Good horror is still being written. In the Angry Robot stable (we keep all our authors in stables, you know) we have Gary McMahon, Kaaron Warren and J Robert King, but there are plenty of others still active in the genre – Adam Nevill, our lord Ramsey Campbell, Alison Littlewood to name but a few."

3.5 out of 5

Demon Blade - Mark A. Garland and Charles G. McGraw

A very bad juju magic sword needs a new keeper. A pragmatic princess and a wizard along with some help set out to sort it out.

3 out of 5

The Deputy Sheriff of Comanche County - Edgar Rice Burroughs

Dispute over land, people get shot, posses get formed, romances happen. Completely and utterly blah.

2 out of 5

The Communipaths - Suzette Haden Elgin

A mother decides to keep her psionic child away from the clutches of the state - because being used as an intergalactic telephone kills you by 18 or so. This child tests close to off the charts for ability. Coyote Jones has to retrieve her and is not pleased.

3.5 out of 5

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spooky Reads Editor Interview - Jon Oliver

"Solaris, and Abaddon/Rebellion, like other publishers we’re looking at, specialises in a number of genres, from fantasy, sci-fi and weird fiction through to horror. Given the blurring in boundaries between genre fiction nowadays, how crucial is it a publisher needs to offer variety, or seed it also – if you will – in order to harvest the best crops?

I think that as a publisher our job is to give the reader the best genre fiction possible. You obviously need to be aware of what the market is doing when you’re commissioning titles, but at the same time you don’t want to just be a ‘cookie cutter’ publisher, copying everybody else’s successes. Because we’re an independent we’re in a great position to push new voices and try more unusual things. I think that if you don’t offer variety you risk not standing out and drawing new readers. You need to make your mark on the industry."

3.5 out of 5

Madame Bovary - Gusave Flaubert

Only because I was made to. Show me a freshly painted wall instead. More entertaining. Shenanigans that people will get up to, when tempted. This is perhaps not so interesting when it involves characters such as this. Very, very slow and dry.

1.5 out of 5

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Very dull. Again, only because they made me. I was not at all interested in what they were up to, problems they were having, situations they got themselves into, or anything like that. He even managed to make the setting seem pretty dull and interesting. Do not get this book at all.

1.5 out of 5

Jelland's Voyage - Arthur Conan Doyle

Ill-fated scarpering.

3 out of 5

Crabbe's Practice - Arthur Conan Doyle

Smart doctor decline discussions.

3 out of 5

The Man From Archangel - Arthur Conan Doyle

Sea rescue woman dispute.

3 out of 5

John Huxford's Hiatus - Arthur Conan Doyle

Canadian transfer.

2.5 out of 5

A Point of View - Arthur Conan Doyle

A yank's pom journalistic subjects.

2.5 out of 5

The Surgeon of Gaster Fell - Arthur Conan Doyle

Strange woman arrival experiment.

3 out of 5

Stories For Kids - Arthur Conan Doyle

Stories for kids.

3 out of 5

A Shadow Before - Arthur Conan Doyle

A stock punter looks to lose more money buying horses.

3 out of 5

A Foreign Office Romance - Arthur Conan Doyle

A bad bet story.

3 out of 5

The Contest - Arthur Conan Doyle

Theatrical extravaganza.

3 out of 5

An Iconoclast - Arthur Conan Doyle

Statue bashing.

2.5 out of 5

Summer Camp - Book 2: Gina - Nick Scipio

Paul is older now with a girlfriend or two to manage.

4 out of 5

The First Cargo - Arthur Conan Doyle

Some old Roman discussion of the locals and shipping.

2 out of 5

The Red Star - Arthur Conan Doyle

Travel story of an eastern merchant.

3 out of 5

Out of the Running - Arthur Conan Doyle

Walking around.

3 out of 5

The Gully of Bluemansdyke - Arthur Conan Doyle

A wild night for a killing.

3 out of 5

A Night Among the Nihilists - Arthur Conan Doyle

Russian interrogations.

2.5 out of 5

That Little Square Box - Arthur Conan Doyle

Pigeon mistake.

3 out of 5

Our Derby Sweepstakes - Arthur Conan Doyle

Suitable lovers.

2 out of 5

Behind the Times - Arthur Conan Doyle

Long time doctor.

2.5 out of 5

His First Operation - Arthur Conan Doyle

A not quite growth removal.

2.5 out of 5

The Third Generation - Arthur Conan Doyle

Doctor's advice shortlived.

3 out of 5

A False Start - Arthur Conan Doyle

A doctor in need of money.

2.5 out of 5

The Curse of Eve - Arthur Conan Doyle

Birth issues.

2.5 out of 5

Sweethearts - Arthur Conan Doyle

A medical walker finds a patient.

3 out of 5

A Physiologist's Wife - Arthur Conan Doyle

Marriage and Melbourne.

2.5 out of 5

A Question of Diplomacy - Arthur Conan Doyle

Politics and marriage.

2.5 out of 5>

A Medical Document - Arthur Conan Doyle

Chronicling the docs.

2.5 out of 5

The Doctors of Hoyland - Arthur Conan Doyle

An established country doctor finds a woman who ends up being more interested in research than him.

2.5 out of 5

The Surgeon Talks - Arthur Conan Doyle

Work on it too hard it might kill you.

3 out of 5

Lost Classics of Pulp: Guy Boothby’s Dr. Nikola and Pharos the Egyptian - William Patrick Maynard

These books you will find online :-

"Like much fantastic fiction of the Victorian era, the books are more about how others fall into Nikola’s web than they are about the sinister doctor himself. This was the same approach taken by Bram Stoker with Dracula and Rohmer with his Fu Manchu series. The Nikola books are also globe-trotting adventures that move rapidly from Australia to Europe to Egypt to London to Africa to Tibet. The sense of mystery that pervades these exotic settings in those imperialist days of empire-building is part of the books’ nostalgic appeal today."

3.5 out of 5’s-dr-nikola-and-pharos-the-egyptian/

Suiting Up - Richard Lee Byers

Becoming a hero out of necessary, when the original owner of the Doctor Umbra gear is killed in an alien invasion.

3.5 out of 5

David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

Excruciating. At least reading the book doesn't involve the actual physical punishment undergone by the title character. Of course, as a guidebook on how to do harsh things to young boys, it probably works quite well. The only problem is that it is all done in a very boring way. You have to really want to read Dickens to read this.

1 out of 5

A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities is perhaps Charles Dickens' most interesting book after A Christmas Carol. The setting is the time of the French Revolution, with all the chaos and carnage that that causes.

As far as the characters go, more than one man is interested in the same woman, and at the end a fateful choice is made.

3 out of 5

Nicholas Nickelby - Charles Dickens

Slightly more interesting than David Copperfield. One problem with these sort of things is they often seem to be way, way too long. This may have been intentional, of course, if he was getting paid by the length of the thing. Anyway, it is slightly amusing, but you do really have to want to read it.

1.5 out of 5

Alien Influences 1 - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

"They brought him in after the fifth murder.

The shuttle dropped him on the landing site at the salt cliffs, overlooking the golden waters of the Singing Sea. Apparently something in the shuttle fuel harmed the vegetation near the small colony, so they developed a landing strip on the barren cliff tops at the beginning of the desert. Winds and salt had destroyed the plastic shelter long ago, so he wore the required body scarf and some specially developed reflective cream. Before she left, the shuttle pilot pointed out the domed city in the distance. She said she had radioed them to send someone for him. He clutched his water bottle tightly, refusing to drink until he was parched.

A hot, dry breeze rustled the scarf around his face. The air smelled of daffodils, or so it seemed. It had been so long since he had been to Earth, he was no longer sure what daffodils smelled like.

Everything around him was golden, or bright, dazzling white. The sun felt like a furnace; the heat reflected off all the nearby surfaces. He had read that in some seasons, temperatures went beyond human endurance.

The desert spanned between him and the domed city. A narrow footpath wove its way over the slight dunes, appearing to lead to the city itself. The dome reflected the sunlight. From this distance, it looked small, about the size of his thumbnail, but he knew it housed over a thousand people, homes, and the Salt Juice plant.

He took a deep breath, feeling the dryness in his throat. It had been a long time since he had been off Minar Base. Even longer since he had been hired to do any on-site evaluations. He had prepared by meditating and by reading everything he could find on Bountiful—which was very little outside the production figures for Salt Juice. Still, he woke each morning in a panic, afraid that he was not up to the task they had hired him for. He had tried to be taken off the case, but Bountiful had insisted. They wanted him, a fact that bothered him more than anything else.

To his left, salt continually eroded down the cliff face, little crystals rolling and tumbling to the white beach below. The Singing Sea devoured the crystals, leaving a salt scum that reflected the harsh light of the sun. Perhaps this was where, decades ago, the miners had begun their slaughter of the Dancers. The Dancers were a protected species now, about one one-hundredth of their original numbers."

3.5 out of 5

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hannah's Choice - Selena Kitt

Which is a strange job interview or not.

2.5 out of 5

The Cave Girl - Edgar Rice Burroughs

A young man gets washed overboard and ends up on a jungle island. With primitives as the title might suggest. he sets out to reorganise them after staying alive - then, pirates!

2.5 out of 5

Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe

Robinson Crusoe has a bit of the Groo thing going on, when we are talking about sailing vessels. If he is on one, stay well away.

He is finally shipwrecked on an island and stuck there, but there are a few wrinkles. Cannibals, some other prisoners - one of whom becomes his friend Friday.

Eventually he gets out of there.

3 out of 5

Summer Camp Book 1: Susan - Nick Scipio

A young teenager and his family spend their summers at a nudist camp run by a friend. The same woman becomes both friend and mentor to the boy this year.

4.5 out of 5

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Other Poems - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

A good cheap trippy collection from Dover, is Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Other Poems, and that is how we like our poetry, cheap. This includes quite a few, and has Kubla Khan, if it didn't, I certainly would not have purchased it. So if you are after the title track and that so to speak, this one will do you.

3 out of 5

The Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales is Geoffrey Chaucer's collection of stories, with the device used being a group of pilgrims telling each other tales as they journey towards Canterbury. The group of travellers include men and women of different types and different occupations, so produces quite a few amusing and interesting moments throughout.

3.5 out of 5

Grim Tides 05 The Bad Doctor - Tim Pratt

"The Mason did a great deal of damage on her rampage through this reality before Marla stopped her, but the only damage that concerns us just now is what happened to Dr. Husch:

The Mason tore her to pieces. Literally. Small pieces. Hundreds of them.

For most people, being dismembered so thoroughly is fatal, but as I mentioned, Dr. Husch isn’t exactly alive — she’s a fully sentient and self-aware homunculus, created long ago by a powerful sorcerer, and as such, she cannot die. Though she was ripped to shreds, she retained awareness throughout her ordeal and the aftermath. She was later reassembled by a biomancer named Langford, and she — oh, but listen to me, going on and on. Better to show you."

4 out of 5

Woman With A Dildo - Cardeno C.

Not too useful a suggestion where these two blokes are concerned.

2.5 out of 5

The Hunting of the Snark - Lewis Carroll

The Hunting of the Snark is a whacky piece of poetical silliness by Lewis Caroll. Complete nonsense, no-one knows what a Snark is, or why Snark hunters hunt it, or why anyone would want to become a Snark hunter to start with. Anyway, the poem is definitely amusing at times with some of the humour he slips in.

3 out of 5

Grim Tides 04 A Visit From Death - Tim Pratt

"“Ha,” Rondeau said. “Remember Bradley Bowman? How trying to bring him back to life caused all this trouble? Well, he didn’t come back to life, exactly, but he ended up ascending beyond the mortal plane and whatnot. Now he’s, like… the guy in charge of maintaining the structural integrity of the multiverse. Immortal, and existing simultaneously in every possible reality and in none of them, which is a nifty trick. We gave him the cloaks, both Marla’s and the Mason’s, and he put them both at the North Pole in a parallel universe where life never even developed on Earth. They are gone.”

Pelham exhaled. “That is a relief. Then… may I stay here?”"

4 out of 5

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Bloody Red Baron - Kim Newman

"She was the last woman in London to go for the chop.

Unbound, Geneviève's hair was long enough to sit on. Before her monthly coma, she combed and arranged it like an eiderdown. She always woke up three days later to find it wound into a rope. Usually, around her neck — as if her unconscious needed to remind her she should have been dead for five hundred years. From now on, her unconscious could keep its opinion to itself.

This evening, she would become 'modern'.

Her appointment at M. Eugene was for just after sunset. The salon was Cox and Box. Open round the clock: different staff, different clientele by day and by night. She didn't particularly need to shun the sun, especially in this dreary English autumn, but kept vampire hours anyway. Nearly fifty years after Dracula stepped into the moonlight, warm and undead shared the city in reasonably civilised manner. The former Prince Consort had quit the country, leaving claw-marks on everything from the pre-broken 'Transylvanian' crenellations of Tower Bridge to the ugly bat frescoes of the Sir Francis Varney Memorial. Thanks to a de facto revolution, at least two coups, one world war and late-coming electoral reform, everything had changed again. Everything kept changing, to the accelerated, syncopated rhythm of the American music she heard in cafés and dance halls in Berlin, Paris and London. In England for the first time since before the War, even Geneviève was changing."

3.5 out of 5

What Katy Did Next - Susan Coolidge

Or, Katy isn't a kid anymore, as in the earlier books about her. She ends up going on a trip overseas with some friends, and begins to grow up a level. For some reason, I didn't find these as girly or annoying as some of the others of this ilk, or maybe it is just this particular book in the series I was lucky enough to encounter.

2.5 out of 5

Fanny Hill - John Cleland

The story of a woman and generally speaking quite a bit of detail on her adventures of the amorous sort, as well as the rest of her life. The shagging is, of course, a focus, and was supposed to be scandalous when it was actually written. This is amusing and entertaining enough, but pretty tame for now, really.

3.5 out of 5

Connections - Selena Kitt

A lonely young woman who randomly calls people hits on a counterpart weirder than here and things go well.

3 out of 5

Friday, April 13, 2012

Little Lord Fauntleroy - Frances Hodgson Burnett

A fairly ordinary story. A young boy changes country of residence, and has to deal with that. He is generally a pretty well adjusted kid, and not a lot happens at all, which is why perhaps it is not overly interesting. He learns new games, new places and has to eventually inherit a new role.

2.5 out of 5

The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden is a kids book that is probably going to appeal a lot more to young girls. Yet another story where a child is relocated from one country to another to be with an uncle type.

The girl's family has money, but she makes friends with an ordinary kid and go and hide in a garden. Adventurous they aren't.

1.5 out of 5

Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

If you have to have this sort of thing inflicted on you, unfortunately it could be considerably worse than this. A gothic romance is a better sort of romance to have inflicted on you, if it really has to happen, and it has to be free of erotic content. So, there are far worse fates than this book, in that situation.

2.5 out of 5

The Shadow War of the Night Dragons Book One: The Dead City - John Scalzi

It was a dark and stormy night. Black, even.

3.5 out of 5

The Homecoming - Mike Resnick

Plants, changes and Pythons.

3 out of 5

Adventures In Sci-Fi Publishing 162 - Michael Moorcock

Where he gets all Doctor Who.

4 out of 5

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The SF Signal Podcast Episode 112: 2012 Sword and Sorcery Mega Panel Part 3 - Jaym Gates

In episode 112 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester and Jaym Gates (continuing the discussion from Part 1 and Part 2) sit down with a mega panel of authors to discuss modern Sword and Sorcery with the authors who are currently writing it.

This week’s panel:
Jon Sprunk
Ari Marmell
Scott Lynch
Douglas Hulick
Saladin Ahmed
Jaym Gates
Patrick Hester

4 out of 5

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

The usual story. Too many daughters is a problem. When one of them meets a bloke and they dislike each other straight away, you know that it is a pheromone thing and there is better than even odds that will will end up shagging like a warren full of rabbits after they get over the treat each other mean phase. Especially after some others in her family have just gone off and got at it recently.

2.5 out of 5

Little Women - Louisa May Alcott

A book that some were lucky enough to avoid having inflicted on them as youths. Alas, that was not me.
Likely a lot more have avoided it these days. :) Perhaps there should be some sort of special torment devised for zealots that inflict this on young boys. Maybe 7 hours of slasher movies, straight, or something!

1.5 out of 5

You Never Know - Lewis Shiner

Bug go round.

3 out of 5

Grim Tides 03 A Conversation with Koona - Tim Pratt

Once he’d gotten rid of the surfers, Rondeau stepped into the office. “‘I don’t work for you, I work for me?’” He smiled. “You’ve been reading those Robert Parker novels about Spenser I gave you, haven’t you?”

She scowled. “I have to learn to be a detective somehow, don’t I?”

“Spenser does just wander around annoying people and getting in fights until he figures things out,” Rondeau said. “Instead of using deductive reasoning and measuring the depths of footprints and collecting cigar ash and shit like Sherlock Holmes does. So he’s probably a better model for your detecting style, if you can call it that.”

“Yes, fine, you’re hilarious.”

“If you’re Spenser, that makes me his buddy Hawk, right? A sexy, amoral badass?”

“One out of three ain’t bad,” Marla said. “So where are we going?”

3 out of 5

The Darkest Shade of Grey 2 - Alan Baxter

"‘Alcoholic,’ The Suit continued. ‘You played around with magic and got burned. Now you’ve lost everything and you’re desperate for some kind of repentant catharsis. This, I’m afraid, isn’t it.’

‘Who the fuck are you?’

‘Let’s just say that I’m a company man, here to take care of some business.’

‘Company? What fucking company?’"

3 out of 5

The Man Who Ended History - Ken Liu

Past future horrors.

2.5 out of 5

Sunsets and Hamburgers - Gareth L. Powell

Sunsets and Hamburgers - Gareth L. Powell
Sunsets and Hamburgers - Gareth L. Powell

Monkeyboy breeding pair.

3.5 out of 5

The Vicar of Mars - Gywneth Jones

Boaaz and funny things there.

3.5 out of 5

Run Bakri Says - Ferret Steinmetz

The Dying Game.

3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Grim Tides 02 Murder By the Sea - Tim Pratt

"“Good thing I’m filthy rich. Especially since you’ve never had any customers, or sold a single book. Working in an invisible shop really cuts down on your walk-in trade. You could sell books on the internet, I guess, though that would require the ability to use a mouse, which I know you’ve never quite mastered.” Rondeau had made a healthy sum when he’d sold his night club — a Felport institution that came with certain magical amenities, making it attractive to powerful sorcerers — before joining Marla in exile. Though in truth it was more that she’d joined him. She had no particular interest in Maui, or anywhere else, apart from Felport — the one place she was forbidden to ever return, upon pain of painful death. When Rondeau had asked her if she’d like to tag along with him to paradise, she’d shrugged and said “sure.” This was as good a place as any to molder."

3.5 out of 5

And Blue Skies From Pain 1-7 - Stina Leicht

"A bright flash lit up the room.

When he peered over the ledge he spied Father Jackson hiding behind the cover provided by the large cast iron bathtub. He kicked at the tin buckets. They rolled away, banging and clattering against the concrete floor. The men—Fallen, they’re Fallen—were dressed as orphanage attendants. One wore a priest’s collar. However, the words they shouted at Father Jackson were foul and in Latin. New to the Order and the priesthood, Joseph wasn’t quite proficient enough in Latin yet to translate. He had a feeling he didn’t really want to understand anyway.

Father Jackson aimed his pistol around the edge of the tub, squeezing the trigger twice in quick succession. One of the Fallen dropped. Its screams of agony filled up the room and echoed through the tunnels. Joseph watched the demon convulse on the concrete until its body dissolved into so much ash and smoke.

“Stop this, priest!” The demon’s voice was heavily accented with Eastern European and difficult to understand, but the force of command behind it was powerful enough that it gave Joseph a start. Although tall, its back was bent with a large hunch, and its movements were short and jerky like that of an animal’s. Unnatural. “You are alone. We have your friend. Do you not see this?”

The other remaining demon rotated the hanging priest on the rope so that his bloodied and bruised face was revealed.

It’s Father Drager, Joseph thought.

Father Drager’s shirt was gone, and blood oozed from several wounds in his arms, stomach, and chest. One arm hung at a bad, twisted angle. He was breathing and flinched when the man with the Eastern European accent placed a curved knife to his throat, but his eyes were wide and blind with internal horror.

“Put down your weapons, or I will kill him,” the taller demon said.

“You have no hope of leaving this place. Reinforcements are on the way,” Father Jackson said.

“Reinforcements?” The tall demon in the priest’s collar laughed. “Isn’t that wonderful? More human fodder.” It stepped toward Father Jackson. “So fragile. So easy to manipulate.” It muttered something under its breath. Once again, Joseph couldn’t understand the words—this time because he couldn’t hear. “You and your friend on the rope will be long dead. Or….” It cocked its head as if listening. “Ahhhh, I see.” It held out a hand and muttered something again. “Some things can’t be forgiven. Stand, and together, we’ll make everyone pay.”

Father Jackson stood.

“Drop your weapons,” the tall demon said.

To Joseph’s horror, he watched as Father Jackson did exactly that. They use your weaknesses against you, Joseph thought. A chill shivered through him, and he finally understood why Father Jackson had sent him upstairs.

Kill the half-demon first. Joseph settled into position, assuming a two-handed stabilizing grip on the pistol and then carefully aimed the Browning at the Fallen armed with the dagger. He didn’t want to risk missing. He was near the limits of the pistol’s range. So, he aimed for the chest. I can do this. He’d scored quite high in marksmanship from the start, surprising even himself. However, this was the first time he’d actually pointed a weapon at a human be— Fallen. It’s a demon. It isn’t human. He took a deep breath, hesitating for an instant. This is it. There is no going back after this. I’ll have taken a life. He thought of the worst night of his life in spite of himself—this is why I lived and she didn’t—and slowly squeezed the trigger.

The effect was instantaneous. The recoil sent a shock up his left wrist and arm. At the same time, the creature stumbled. Bright red blood splashed the wall behind it. Its knife fell away from Father Drager’s throat and clattered to the floor. Joseph didn’t wait. He placed two more shots—a second one in the chest and one in the head—then changed targets. The full-blooded Fallen whirled, searching for the source of the shots. There wasn’t much time. Joseph knew he’d be spotted in seconds. If the thing could control Father Jackson so easily, then he was certainly no match for it. Joseph steadied himself as best he could and fired another four rounds. The first went wide. The second clipped the demon on the shoulder. The last two struck home, creating dark patches on the creature’s chest.

Six shots remaining."

4 out of 5

Blood Kin 1 - M. J. Scott

"I overbalanced, grabbed for the chimney pot and missed. Instead my hand fastened around the weathervane. And whilst the chimney pot was solidly built, the weathervane was not. It had succumbed to rust and decay like half the things in this benighted borough.

It snapped with a dull twang and I tumbled forward. There was a jerking tear as my invisibility charm caught on the edge of the chimney pot and tore free. My arms blinked into visibility as I tipped over the edge of the roof. I grasped hopelessly for the gutter—missing it by a margin of inches—then my head twisted towards the street four stories below. The only other thing I noticed was a man on a horse. He looked up, shock flashing across his face as I screamed.

Lady knew what good screaming would do. Four stories is high. I was about to die."

3.5 out of 5

Death On D Street - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Whorehouse murder.

3.5 out of 5

The Lad and the Lion - Edgar Rice Burroughs

The book alternates between the fate of a shipwrecked prince and what is happening in pre World War One European monarchies. The former ends up with some help from an old man and grows up with a lion in low-rent Tarzan fashion. Infighting is doing bad things to the latter.

2.5 out of 5

Sunday, April 08, 2012

The SF Signal Podcast Episode 110: 2012 Sword and Sorcery Mega Panel Part 2 - Jaym Gates

In episode 110 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester and Jaym Gates (continuing the discussion from Part 1) sit down with a mega panel of authors, editors and artists to discuss Sword and Sorcery for the modern reader.

This week’s panel:

John Picacio
Erin Hoffman
Paul S. Kemp
Erik Mona
Jaym Gates
Patrick Hester"

4 out of 5

SFFWorld Interview With - Kim Newman

"SFFWORLD: And then there’s Johnny Alucard, which is the new novel in the series. Has it spent long in the writing?

Kim: It's been about fifteen years coming – a few sections have been published as short stories, and the first of those ('Coppola's Dracula') came out before Dracula Cha Cha Cha. It's mostly finished, though the manuscript needs some tidying up."

3.5 out of 5

Friday, April 06, 2012

The Darkest Shade of Grey 1 - Alan Baxter

"Come on, Stella, this is exciting!’ Aileen’s eyes held a dare. Slowly Stella reached out her hand and put one finger back on the arrow.

‘Ask something else,’ Bradley said quietly.

David took a slow breath. ‘Who’s there?’

The arrow trembled then began sliding back and forth across the board. The four of them stiffened.The arrow moved smoothly, unnaturally. David read aloud. ‘L-A-M-A-S-H-T-U. Lamashtu?’ The lights blinked, everything black for half a second. Both women screamed. In the blackness David saw a darker silhouette, a human shape.

Stella, Aileen, and Bradley all whipped their hands away, looking accusingly at David. ‘Fuck, mate, how did you do that?’"

3.5 out of 5

Tangor Returns - Edgar Rice Burroughs

Battles for good.

3.5 out of 5

Adventure on Poloda - Edgar Rice Burroughs

In which our hero departs from Earth for adventure.

3 out of 5

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Conflux Interview With - Marc Gascoigne

"It was shame I couldn’t be there in person to collect the, um, delightful melted silver head of HP Lovecraft that is the award, but I rather like the idea of Angry Robot types being sinister, shadowy figures plotting away behind the scenes. The committee were kind enough to mail it to me and it takes pride of place in the AR office, next to some voodoo chickens and a head-hunter brain fork Kaaron Warren sent us from Fiji."

3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

RE: The Dark One In Case It Should Arise from Its Horrible Abyss - Luc Reid

Wants bad Chairman.

3.5 out of 5

The Devil's Looking Glass Prologue - Mark Chadbourn

"A rhythmic rattling stirred him. Raising his eyes once more, he watched a strange figure cross the main deck. The sound came from trinkets and the skulls of mice and birds braided into his long gold and silver-streaked hair. Hollow cheeks and dark rings under his eyes transformed his features into a death’s-head. He wore grey-green robes covered with unrecognisable symbols outlined in a tracing of gold that glistered in the midday sun, like one of the gypsy conjurers who performed at the fair in Seville. Sweeping out his right arm, he said in a voice like cracking ice, “You are honoured. Our King.”
Serrano swallowed. He sensed the new arrival before he saw him, in a weight building behind his eyes and a queasy churn in his stomach. He closed his eyes. How long would this torment continue? A steady tread crossed the main deck and came to a halt in front of him. Silence followed."

3.5 out of 5

Grim Tides 01 Let Me Tell You a Story - Tim Pratt

"“Aw, come on, like you said, you’re an occult detective now — ”

“I’ve had two clients, Rondeau. Two.”

“Sure, but one of them was a shark god.”

“I’m not saying they weren’t quality clients. But helping a shark god recover his stolen teeth, and giving a snooty kahuna a hand dispelling a ghost? They don’t exactly qualify as a life’s work. I used to do stuff that mattered. I saved California from a frog god and a jaguar god, beat up the king of nightmares, and sent Death himself back to hell with his head hung low. And that was just this year. ”"

3.5 out of 5

Ghost - Guy Haley

Richards and Klein have an illegal fish and chip shop bust and a dead girl's schoolwork botself in a building to deal with.

4 out of 5

She's Ultraviolet - Jay Caselberg

Perfect Partner projection.

3.5 out of 5

Kindred Souls - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Nursing Home Death's Handmaiden.

3.5 out of 5

In the Tide - Linda Nagata

Indigo Maker change.

3.5 out of 5

on Dread Empire, Garret P.I. and the Dos and Don'ts of Writing - Glen Cook

"SFFWRTCHT: Did you plan it as a series or did that just evolve over time?

G.C.: It was an evolutionary process beginning with the editing process for the first book. The editor who bought it was troubled by Black Company because she saw it as so different from all the Tolkien clones going around in those days. She insisted I do a trilogy in which the men of the Company would eventually show us that they were not irredeemably wicked. By the time I completed White Rose I knew Shadow Games. That underwent mitosis and became Shadow Games and Silver Spike. By then Dreams Of Steel was obvious and Glittering Stone had to be done. That last, however, had a litter: Bleak Seasons, She Is The Darkness, Water Sleeps, and Soldiers Live.

SFFWRTCHT: You’ve written ten books so far. Are there plans for more?

G.C.: Actually, there are, assuming I survive long enough to complete them. Port Of Shadows will take place in the interval between Black Company and Shadows Linger. A Pitiless Rain will follow on after Soldiers Live. The initial two parts of Port Of Shadows have been published already as short fiction, “Tides Elba” in Swords And Dark Magic Edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders. There was a Subterranean Press limited hardcover edition and a Harper/Collins trade paperback. “Smelling Danger” was in the Subterranean Press limited edition Tales Of Dark Fantasy 2 edited by William Shafer. I will be turning my full attention to Port Of Shadows as soon as I have cleared off some prior obligations."

4 out of 5

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Suicide Coast - M. John Harrison

Suicide Coast - M. John Harrison
Bikie paraplegia cyber-isolation.

4 out of 5

The Spacemice Incident - Carl Frederick

Roboweasel, robocat, Chinese or not.

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

Talbot Mundy Biblio - Bradford M. Day

As it suggests.

4 out of 5

Monday, April 02, 2012

Clarkesworld 66 - Neil Clarke

The flip of the last issue. 2-1 to 1-2 for 3.5 and 3. An interview with Nathan Long and with John R. Fultz.

Clarkesworld 66 : Sunlight Society - Margaret Ronald
Clarkesworld 66 : The Bells of Subsidence - Michael John Grist
Clarkesworld 66 : From Their Paws We Shall Inherit - Gary Kloster

Nethead security cell.

3 out of 5

Temetry brilliance brane.

3.5 out of 5

Magic monkey help.

3.5 out of 5

3.5 out of 5

Sunlight Society - Margaret Ronald

Nethead security cell.

3 out of 5

The Bells of Subsidence - Michael John Grist

Temetry brilliance brane.

3.5 out of 5

From Their Paws We Shall Inherit - Gary Kloster

Magic monkey help.

3.5 out of 5

Clarkesworld 65 - Neil Clarke

Just a 3.17 this lot.

Clarkesworld 65 : And the Hollow Space Inside - Mari Ness
Clarkesworld 65 : A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight - Xia Jia
Clarkesworld 65 : All the Young Kirks and Their Good Intentions - Helena Bell

Childbots for Mars.

3.5 out of 5

Ghost test - chop off your head to check.

3 out of 5

Colony Jamie Fisher.

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

All The Young Kirks And Their Good Intentions - Helena Bell

Colony Jamie Fisher.

3 out of 5

A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight - Xia Jia

Ghost test - chop off your head to check.

3 out of 5

And The Hollow Space Inside - Mari Ness

Childbots for Mars.

3.5 out of 5

he Biker Chick Who Rides Her Own Bike: A Conversation with - Nathan Long

"And what's next for you?

I've got quite a lot coming down the pike. In addition to Jane Carver of Waar, which comes out on March 6th, I have two Warhammer books debuting soon. First is the Gotrek and Felix Anthology, which comes out March 27th, in which I have one short story and one novella. After that is Bloodsworn, the third in the Ulrika the Vampire series, which comes out may 29th. Also Swords of Waar is supposed to come out later this year, but I don't know the date yet, and I have a few under the radar projects which I can't talk about yet, but which I'm really excited about. Stay tuned!"

3.5 out of 5