Author Archives: Planetary Defense Commander

Good News, Everyone!

Good News, Everyone! I’ll be starting a new job in about a week.  Sorry, no science-fiction review in today’s post, just sharing a little personal info and some tips that might be relevant if you’re job hunting or thinking about doing so. My job search took a long time.  It’s been about six months since […]

Cirsova issue #5

Cirsova #5 Issue 5 of Cirsova is mostly devoted to stories set in “Eldritch Earth”, a setting written by Misha Burnett in “A Hill of Stars”, which was in the first issue of Cirsova.  It appears that many authors were as interested in the setting as I was, since they decided to write stories taking […]

Outside the Lines: The Recruit

I occasionally do something I call “Reading Outside the Lines”, where I pick a book that’s not sci-fi or fantasy to see what the writing is like in other genres of fiction.  I’ve taken on thrillers already, so today I thought I’d tackle young adult.  I’ve reviewed a couple of young adult books with major […]

Green-Eyed Monster

Green-Eyed Monster I’ve finally gotten a break in my road travel schedule (good for my health, but bad for my career prospects, since my driving is to job interviews these days), so I’m giving the audiobooks a rest and doing some good old-fashioned reading with my eyeballs.  Well, not all that old-fashioned, since I’m using […]

Reading on the Road

I haven’t been posting regularly for the past few months, as I wound down my last job and then drove back and forth across the country for job interviews.  It’s been fatiguing, but allowed me to burn through some audiobooks.  I’ll run through a few of them here, but I’m leaving out others, either because […]

Highly Suspicious Blogs

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting this month.  As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve had some career-related issues.  I have a huge backlog of short story and novel reviews I’d like to write, so hopefully I can hit the keyboard again soon.   I’ve also been failing in another of my duties as Planetary […]

More from the edge of the galaxy

Before I get to the books, I have a quick personal note.  You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t been posting much lately.  I’ve been busy with career-related issues, including losing my job recently.  I don’t want anyone to worry – I should be fine.  I saw this coming some time ago, so my resume was […]

Series: Prince Roger

March Upcountry Before I discuss the stories in the Prince Roger series, I thought I’d say a few words about the two-man writing team.  I’ve always wondered how a writing duo works.  Do they write alternate chapters?  Do they each “own” certain characters, and write from their point-of-view?  Does one person lay out the basic […]

Microfiction: Looking Ahead

For at least the thousandth time, I stare at the nameplate on my desk.  It says “Pete Tailor”, which would be fine, except my name is spelled “Taylor” and I’ve always told everyone my name is Peter, not Pete.  There’s only one guy in the entire world who calls me Pete, and I hate his […]

Vote for the best stories of 2018

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
Vote for the best stories of 2018 If you’re a blogger, podcaster, or youtuber, then you’re eligible to vote in the 2018 Planetary Awards.  The nominated science fiction and fantasy stories are: Short Stories / Novellas The Flowers of Vashnoi by Lois Bujold Kakerlacs by Alexandru Constantin Mortu and Kyrus in…

Murder on the Cosmic Express

Once again, I’m under time pressure due to my work situation, but I wanted to throw out a quick post before the Murder on the Cosmic Express kickstarter ends (in just a couple of days).  Disclaimer:  I am related to the game’s designer. Here’s a blurb describing the game: You are the Captain aboard the […]

Hack Those Stories!

There are only a few hours left to nominate stories for the 2018 Planetary Awards, so it’s time for me to get my short story nomination in.  I have a potentially career-changing event happening tomorrow, which is good, but it means I don’t have much time to devote to tonight’s post. I originally wanted to […]

100 Fathoms Below

Tomorrow is the deadline to nominate for the Planetary Awards, so I’m making my nomination for best novel of 2018 tonight, and I’ll try to do a short story nomination tomorrow. If I had to nominate the book which I had the most fun reading, I’d nominate Monster Hunter Memoirs : Saints.  But, I’m not […]

Some Military Sci-Fi

This will be the last of my posts about books I’m NOT nominating for the Planetary Awards this year.  My plan is to finally make my nomination for best novel tomorrow, and for best short story on Thursday.  Thursday night (Feb 14) is the deadline, so get your nominations in by then! Rumors of War Rumors […]

Security Contractors vs Mutants and Aliens

This is my third post in a row about books I won’t be nominating for the Planetary Awards.  (The clock is ticking — you still have a few days to get your own nominations in.)  This time I’m covering two books in one post, because they’re both about security contractors up against sci-fi monsters. Extinction […]

Smoke Eaters

This is my second brief post about reading for the Planetary Awards.  The February 14th deadline is almost here, so don’t forget to make your own nominations.  Yesterday, I posted about Embers of War and why it wouldn’t get my nomination.  Today, I’m posting about Smoke Eaters and why it won’t, either. Firefighters versus dragons […]

Embers of War

At the start of the year, I posted a list of books I was planning to read for the Planetary Awards.  I’m going to try to blast out mini-reviews of the ones I’ve read before the February 14th nomination deadline.  That’s right, Feb 14, get your nominations in. Embers of War Embers of War will not […]

The Rim of Space

The Rim of Space I’m sneaking in one more post at the end of Vintage Science Fiction Month.  Last week, I posted about Secret Agent of Terra by John Brunner, which I read in Ace Double #F-133.  The other half of that double is The Rim of Space by Arthur Bertram Chandler.  Chandler was a sailor […]

Secret Agent of Terra

January is, as usual, Vintage Science Fiction month among my fellow bloggers.  Also as usual, I’ve waited until almost the end of the month to join in.  This year, I decided to do some reading from the Ace Doubles I purchased. Secret Agent of Terra In this novella, there is a galactic empire, but there […]

Too Many Hasselhoffs

I recently received an email from Audible (my usual supplier of audiobooks) notifying me of a new release:  Up Against the Wall.  The book was written by David Hasselhoff, and the audio version was narrated by David Hasselhoff.  Nothing too strange there, as authors often narrate their own work if they have good voices.  Things got […]

A Last-Minute Contender

Last week, I posted a list of 2018 books I’m thinking of reading, looking for something I can nominate as the best book of the year.  I’ve just noticed that a book which I thought had been released in January was actually published on December 31st, 2018.  The book is Voyage of the Lanternfish, by […]

Extra Reading from 2018

It’s time to nominate your favorite 2018 stories for the Planetary Awards, where book bloggers choose the best books and short stories of the year.  I’ve realized that I read very few 2018 books during 2018, so now I’m scrambling to read some more.  (This seems to be an annual event for me.)  Here are […]

Merry Christmas to All

I hope all of you had a great Christmas.  Ours was kind of last-minute.  In my Hard Luck Hank post, I mentioned that I’ve been spending all my free time job-hunting and interviewing.  My wife and I didn’t know if I’d get a job offer, making us drop everything and move to another city, in […]

Series: Hard Luck Hank

Hard Luck Hank: Screw the Galaxy You may have noticed that I haven’t been online for the past few weeks.  I’ve become increasingly frustrated at work, so I’ve been spending all my free time searching for jobs, filling out applications, and driving across the country for interviews (typical result:  the company changes its mind and […]

Magazine: Lyonesse Volume 2

Lyonesse volume 2 I put my street clothes into my locker, make sure my badge is visible, and clip a few more spare magazines onto my pistol belt.  I’ve heard coyotes are running bootleg copies of Lyonesse over the border, and rumor is, they don’t plan to give up their cargo without a fight. As […]

Series: Republic of Cinnabar Navy

With the Lightnings Once upon a time, there was a real-life historical figure named Thomas Cochrane.  His dashing naval exploits inspired at least two historical fiction series:  Master and Commander (I’ve read all 21 books in this series and enjoyed all but one) and Horatio Hornblower (I’ve only read the first book, which wasn’t bad, but […]

Television: Ghosted

Frequent readers of this blog know that I’ve been watching less and less TV every year, as I find fewer and fewer programs that interest me.  But, in one of those late-night moments where I was too tired to do any work, but not tired enough to go to bed, I browsed my cable company’s […]

Magazine: Beneath Ceaseless Skies, round 2

I’m out in the desert again, this time to talk to an old guy who, it is said, is the wisest of all the wise men.  His run-down trailer says “meth lab” more than “wise man”, but I figure that’s just part of his marketing shtick.  I remind myself of this again when he opens […]

On Fingernail Clippers and the Global Balance of Power

I’ve read a number of books which are accounts of people who escaped from North Korea, and I plan to read more of them.  Maybe I need to be reminded that my life is actually pretty good.  Maybe I need to be reminded of what happens when a government achieves absolute power.  Maybe it has […]

Vacation Reading 2018

My wife and I recently returned from a hiking trip to Patagonia and the Andes.  I’ll try to do a vacation post later (although I still haven’t posted about last year’s vacation…), but today’s post is about the books I read on the flights there and back. This year, I decided to read books written […]

The Galaxy is a Dumpster Fire

The Galaxy’s Edge series is a mix of military sci-fi and space opera, set in a Universe that draws heavily on Star Wars without using any of its proper names.  At first, you’ll find yourself spotting all the Star Wars similarities (or reversals, such as the stormtroopers being crack shots, or a Han Solo-style character […]

Review: Alien Landscapes

Kevin J Anderson’s Alien Lanscapes In my last post, Kevin J Anderson and me, I mentioned that I would review this collection, which consists of three short stories and a novelette, all by KJA.  So, here we go: Short Stories Landscapes – Two pals are dropped off on an uninhabited (but habitable) planet to do some […]

Kevin J Anderson and Me

I’ve never met Kevin J Anderson, but for some time, I’ve been thinking of doing a series of posts which I’m now titling [Author X] and me.  In these posts, I’ll briefly mention each of the author’s works I’ve read, trying not to go into too much detail on any one of them.  In Anderson’s […]

Magazine: Fantasy Scroll issue #11

Fantasy Scroll Magazine, issue #11 My doorbell chimed, and I opened my front door to find an enormous, bright-red dragon blocking my entire field of view. The dragon puffed smoke from its nostrils and reached out with a talon to poke me in the chest.  “So, dragonslayer, the tables have turned.  How does it feel […]

Star Trek: Episodes with Impact

  You are witnessing a first here at Planetary Defense Command.  Although I frequently blog about short stories and novels, and every once in a while about a film, this will be my first post about television.  To demonstrate how irrelevant I am in modern America, I’ve chosen to write about two episodes of a […]

Magazine: Cirsova #4

Cirsova #4 Cirsova’s fourth issue isn’t part of my magazine quest/contest, but I decided this would be a good time to blog about it.  Cirsova launched a Kickstarter campaign recently, covering issues 9 and 10, and a friend of the editor is doing a Gofundme fundraiser to cover some unexpected veterinary bills. Lately, my job hasn’t left […]

Magazine: Astounding Frontiers #2

Astounding Frontiers, Issue #2 With its second issue, Astounding Frontiers moved almost entirely to a serial-story format.  I’ve seen very few serious attempts to bring back serials, so it will be interesting to see how this magazine does. I don’t think it’s fair to compare episodes of a serial to stand-alone short stories, so I […]

Mini-Review: Salamander Six

Salamander Six Salamander Six is a near-future short story set on Saint Martin at the moment it gains independence from a newly-imperialist France.  The hero character is an entrepreneur/inventor,  developing new forms of aerial firefighting to be used in hard-to-access fires, such as those in tall buildings or on oil rigs. Our hero gets a […]

Dealer gets 21

Sadly, this won’t be a story about a dangerous gambling experience in a mafia-owned casino.  It’s just another blog post about my short stories being rejected by magazines and anthologies. I received my twenty-first rejection last month.  I know, some of you authors are laughing and saying “I got twenty-one rejections last week”.  My progress […]

Outside the Lines: Poseidon’s Arrow

Poseidon’s Arrow by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler When reading fiction, I normally stick with sci-fi and fantasy, but I’ve decided to look into other genres, to see what their authors are up to.  I’m planning to do a few of these posts, and in my head I’ve been calling the project “Reading Outside the […]

Magazine: Analog, Jul/Aug 2016

I fire my blaster pistol into the last of the space pirates and step over his smoldering corpse, taking my place on the bridge.  “Computer, all of the pirates are dead, and our cargo of Analog Magazines is safe.  End the self-destruct routine.” A pleasant voice, obviously synthetic as it shows no signs of stress, […]

Magazine: Cirsova, issues #2 and #3

The hospital room isn’t clean enough for Heaven, but not dirty enough for Hell, so I guess I’m still alive.  I close my eyes again and sleep.  When I wake up, the captain is there, showing his badge to the nurses and telling them he won’t stay too long. He sits in a chair next […]

Magazine: Red Sun, issues #2 and #3

I warm up the temporal transporter and double-check the contents of the box I’m sending.  If I can get my collection of Red Sun magazine into the hands of the right person at the right moment in history, I might end bad science fiction forever. Red lights flash and a klaxon sounds, warning of an […]

2017 Winners

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
The 2017 results are in: The winner for best shorter story is “The First American” by Schuyler Hernstrom.  The story is in issue #5 of Cirsova Magazine. This follows Hernstrom’s victory for best shorter story of 2016. The winner for best novel is Legionnaire (Galaxy’s Edge) by Jason Anspach and Nick…

Vote for the best stories of 2017

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
If you’re a blogger, podcaster, or youtuber, then you’re eligible to vote in the 2017 Planetary Awards.  The nominated science fiction and fantasy stories are: Short Stories / Novellas “Acadie” by Dave Hutchinson “The Bitten Body” by AC Spahn “Death on the Moon” by Spencer Hart, found in Cirsova issue…

Movie: The Raid: Redemption

  The Raid: Redemption This movie isn’t science fiction, but I’ve noticed that many sci-fi bloggers are fans of John Wick, and the two movies seem similar to me, both having enough plot to be real stories, but focusing primarily on action with a high body count.  (My wife has just pointed out to me […]

Double Double

I’ve just purchased these two “Ace Double” paperbacks, containing stories written from 1958 to 1962. Those cover images aren’t upside-down by mistake — with a “double”, you read one story which ends in the middle of the book, then flip the book over and start reading inward from the other direction. The individual stories are […]

Side Quest: from Underbridge to Goodnight Moons

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume Six OK, I didn’t have good luck with the first nine stories in this collection, or the next ten, but here are the last twelve anyway: Underbridge by Peter Beagle.  A troll statue eats small animals and, eventually, people. Relic by Jeffrey Ford.  A story about a […]

Side Quest: from Malak to After the Apocalypse

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume Six I didn’t have good luck with the first nine stories from this collection, but I’m sure that was just nine anomalies in a row.  Here are the next ten: Malak by Peter Watts.  A drone develops (or gets programmed with, I can’t remember) a conscience, […]

Side Quest, attempt #2

Last year, I announced my side quest to read several “best of” collections and see whether any of them were worth reading through the years.  My first attempt was a disaster.  Check out the wrap-up post. For attempt #2, I’m reading The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume Six. Here are my takes […]

MidSouthCon 36

Last Sunday, my wife and I made a last-minute decision to drive to Memphis, TN and catch the final day of MidSouthCon.  We had to work Friday and Saturday, and because Memphis is a couple hours of driving each way, and we didn’t have a dog-sitter, we only had a few hours at the con.  […]

DNF: Fire with Fire

Fire with Fire by Charles Gannon I didn’t post about it in January, but my New Year’s resolution was to DNF more books.  (DNF is book-blogger slang for Did Not Finish.)  Since I became a book blogger, I’ve DNFed very little, but I’m frustrated by the low average quality of my reading material, and I […]

Review (part II): Jade City

Jade City by Fonda Lee In part I of my review, I wrote about the publisher’s deceptive marketing.  Jade City is slow-paced, not a kung-fu action fest as promised.  But, if you enjoy worldbuilding and character-building, Jade City could be right up your alley. The story is set in a fictional Asian island nation, Kekon, […]

Review (part I): Jade City

Jade City by Fonda Lee I enjoyed “Jade City”, and wish I could jump right into telling you why I enjoyed it, but … first, I think I need to talk about the elephant in the room:  the publisher’s deceptive marketing.  The book was promoted as “The Godfather” crossed with a kung fu action flick.  […]

2017 Planetary Award Nominees

The reblog function on WordPress has been broken for several days, so I’m cutting and pasting the nominees below.  If you’re a blogger, podcaster, or youtuber, and would like to cast a vote, go to the Planetary Awards Site. Nominees for Best Short Story or Novella: “Acadie” by Dave Hutchinson “The Bitten Body” by AC […]

Nomination: The Pilot

It’s getting close to the February 14th deadline for Planetary Awards nominations, so it’s time I threw my short story candidate into the ring.  Well, not literally.  As you’ll see below, that would be dangerous. Last month, I posted a list of short stories I was considering for nomination.  I ended up choosing none of […]

Review/Nomination: Kings of the Wyld

Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames Kings of the Wyld is about bands of mercenaries, with the modern concept of musical bands thrown in:  the mercenary bands are small (four or five people), and have fans and booking agents.  The primary characters are the older members of a band which broke up long ago, […]

Review: The Deep Range

The Deep Range by Arthur C Clarke I almost let January slip by without making a post for Vintage Science Fiction month, but I’m getting my last-minute contribution in with a little-known book by Arthur C Clarke. The Deep Range, first published in 1957, is a science fiction novel which takes place mostly on islands […]

More Charts and Tables!

How’s that for a clickbait title?  It’s a mystery why internet marketing firms aren’t flooding me with high-paying job offers and consulting gigs. I’ve realized that in my hurry to look at the stories in my 49 ranked magazines broken down by genre, by nation, by gender, and by pay, I didn’t present the entire […]

Are they getting their money’s worth?

It would be reasonable to assume that magazines which pay more for their stories end up with higher-quality material to publish. I decided to plot my ratings of short stories in 49 ranked magazines against the cents per word paid for them.  I was only able to use 299 out of 365 stories, as some […]

Gender Breakdown

Let’s break down the stories in my 49 ranked magazines by the author’s gender. Gender Avg Stars (5 max) # of stories Avg Wordcount Unknown 2.88 4 3,982 Male 2.79 217 4,342 Female 2.46 138 4,406 Indeterminate 2.42 6 3,667 “Unknown” means that the author used initials so I couldn’t guess at their gender, and […]

National Breakdown

Now, let’s break down the stories in the 49 magazines by the author’s nationality.  I couldn’t always find this information, and I’ve left out countries which only had one data point.  Here’s what’s left: Nation Avg Stars (5 max) # of stories Avg Wordcount Australia 3.08 18 5,513 South Africa 2.83 3 3,660 New Zealand […]

Genre Breakdown

It’s time to look at the stories in my forty-nine ranked magazines by genre.  First, let’s see if editors prefer one genre over another.  I removed magazines which were only science fiction or only fantasy, and came up with the following breakdown: Genre # of stories % of stories Science Fiction 120 41.0% Modern-Day Fantasy […]

Five Star System

  Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be writing at least four posts discussing the results from the first round of my magazine quest.  They will reference the ratings from one to five that I gave individual stories.  So that you’ll have some perspective, I decided to describe what the different star ratings mean […]

49 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Magazines Ranked from Best to Worst

In my last post, I explained why I’ve cut off my first round of magazine reviews at 49, and described my ranking method.  So, on to the results, giving my first issue of each magazine an Olympic-style score from 10 to 1: [WARNING:  Do not go to the website of Red Sun Magazine, as its […]

DingDingDing!

That’s the bell signalling the end of round one of my magazine quest.  I initially thought I’d only review twelve SFF magazines, but that number ballooned to forty-nine.  I decided forty-nine was an appropriate stopping point, as my search for great stories has been like that of the 49ers who searched for gold in the […]

Thoughts on best SFF short story of 2017

Earlier this week, I posted my thoughts on the best novel of 2017, and now its time for short stories.  I’ve been reading lots of them lately, wrapping up round one of my magazine quest, reading for rounds two and three, and working on another reading project that I’ll announce when the magazine quest finishes.  […]

Thoughts on best SFF novel of 2017

It’s time for my annual realization that while I read many books in 2017, I read very few novels that were released in 2017.  I generally read a non-fiction book for every work of fiction I read, and my fiction reading tends to jump around the years and decades. So, it’s time for me to […]

Submit Your 2017 Nominations

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
Happy New Year — it’s time to nominate your favorite science fiction and fantasy writing for the 2017 Planetary Awards. We’re again doing only two categories: Shorter story (under 40,000 words/160 paperback pages) Longer story (novels) If you’re a blogger, podcaster, or youtuber, the nomination process is easy: State your…

Magazine: Diabolical Plots

You’ve probably heard me mention the submissions grinder website before, as that’s where I found the majority of the magazines I’ve reviewed.  It’s an excellent tool for short story authors, as it will list magazines that are currently accepting submissions of a story’s genre and length.  Also, if you log your submissions there, it will […]

Podcast: The Overcast

The Overcast is a podcast, based in the Pacific Northwest, which puts out a short story every two weeks or so.  It must be as rainy as they say in that part of the country, as there are approximately one gigazillion podcasts there which have named themselves “The Overcast”. I haphazardly selected seven stories from […]

Podcast: The Drabblecast

The Drabblecast is a podcast which puts out a short story every week.  Their tagline is “strange stories, by strange authors, for strange listeners”, and they deliver.  I listened to five of their stories, and four of them are probably the weirdest stories I’ve read during my magazine quest.  (The fifth was a fairly conventional […]

Magazine: Alien Dimensions #12

Alien Dimensions #12 Short Stories Antlions by Elana Gomel.  First contact with some unusual aliens.  They get jealous when a human man gets too friendly with one of their females. The Exchange by Neil Hogan.  The main character is a woman whose job is first contact with aliens — by having sex with them.  Part of her […]

Magazine: Just a Minor Malfunction, issue #3

Just a Minor Malfunction, issue #3 Short Stories Left to Her Own Devices by James Armer.  A spaceship AI downloads its personality into a robot body, so it can explore a moon when the ship and its human passengers leave.  A fresh copy of the AI is left on the spaceship without the developed personality. Day […]

Early Christmas Present

Merry Christmas Eve, everybody! I was trying to decide what to get all of you for Christmas, but it turns out the only thing you have in common is that you like to read a sci-fi book blog written by a grouchy old man.  (My wife informs me that I’m not that old, but they […]

Magazine: Empyreome, issue #3

Empyreome, issue #3 Short Stories Quest for the Silver Shard by Adam O’Connell.  A story about some fairy/pixie creatures, with a death by lawnmower at the end. Oscars on the Rue Jules Verne by L Chan.  A human actress leads some mole-people in combat, because the mole-people need pheromone signals from queens, but mole-people queens are too […]

Magazine: Stupefying Stories, March 2017

Stupefying Stories, March 2017 Short Stories I Live the Warrior’s Life by Robert Russell.  An engaging story with an abrupt mid-story ending.  So, an engaging half of a story, I guess.  Set in a post-apocalyptic America, where the apocalypse was caused by an Indian shaman unleashing spirits.  The spirits don’t kill Amerindians. This is Not When […]

Magazine: Outposts of Beyond, July 2017

Outposts of Beyond, July 2017 (note that the linked item at Amazon has an incorrect cover image) You may have noticed that my last few magazine reviews did not have intro stories.  I’m trying to wrap up round one of my magazine quest (which, I’ve just realized, began in late 2015) by the end of the […]

Magazine: Strange Horizons

Strange Horizons is not a magazine in the traditional sense, with monthly or quarterly issues.  It’s a website with weekly issues, each containing one short story along with other types of content, such as poetry, articles, and reviews.  I selected roughly a month’s worth of issues, from March 20 to April 17 of this year. […]

Magazine: Lyonesse Volume 1

  Lyonesse, Volume 1 Lyonesse is another magazine in the superversive tradition, which I mentioned in my review of Astounding Frontiers.  Unlike Astounding Frontiers, Lyonesse has open submissions periods, so if you’ve written some superversive fiction, this could be a home for it. There are two ways to read Lyonesse:  you can subscribe and receive […]

Magazine: Broadswords and Blasters, issue #2

  Broadswords and Blasters, issue #2 Broadswords and Blasters describes itself as “a pulp magazine with modern sensibilities.” By pulp, I’m assuming they mean that they publish both genres, action and adventure.  (I stole that line from the editor of a competing magazine, Storyhack.) By modern sensibilities, I believe they mean stories featuring heroes who […]

Magazine: Astounding Frontiers #1

  Astounding Frontiers, issue #1 Astounding Frontiers is a magazine put out by Superversive Press.  “Superversive” is the name of a recent literary movement you may not be familiar with.  This quote from author L Jagi Lamplighter serves as a nice, quick summary: You know how subversive means to change something by undermining from below? […]

Star Wars: The Laziest Jedi

I suspect that most of you have plans to see the next Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, in the near future.  I don’t plan to join you, mostly because I was disappointed by the previous movie in the series chronology, The Force Awakens.  I may change my mind if someone I trust recommends the […]

Magazine: Lontar, issue #6

Lontar, the Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction, Issue #6 Lontar is, as far as I know, Singapore’s only SFF magazine.  Like many regional SFF magazines, it is supported by a government grant.  [Update:  the magazine has lost its government grant and is now attempting to fund its final two issues through Patreon.] The magazine […]

NaNoWriMo wrap-up

November’s over, and I achieved my NaNoWriMo goal of 30 novels in 30 days.  I posted about my first 17 novels earlier, here are the remaining 13: Running Ragged — A street urchin witnesses a crime in an illegal drug lab, and goes on the run from the perpetrators. Can’t Eat This — A prototype android responds to […]

Magazine: Daily Science Fiction

I stuff more shotgun shells into my backpack.  A reliable source tells me that where I’m going, there are more trolls than I “can shake a stick at.”  I’d prefer a more quantitative estimate, but that does sound like a lot of trolls. I have no idea what kills trolls, so I’ve spent weeks hand-loading […]

Thanksgiving Side Quest

I hope all of my readers in the USA had a great Thanksgiving.  Mine was almost identical to last year’s semi-traditional Thanksgiving.  The last relatives I had in this area have moved away, and my wife and I couldn’t travel for various reasons, but especially since she recently took a job at a retailer, so […]

Magazine: Perihelion SF, Sep 2016

I pull over onto the shoulder of the desert highway.  The county Sheriff is waiting for me. He rolls down his window and points into the desert as I walk over.  “Tracks go that way.” “You’ve got good eyes, spotting them from the road.” “Family in a minivan called it in.” “They saw it cross […]

NaNoWriMo progress

I haven’t put any new reviews up in the last couple of weeks, because I’ve been working nights and weekends, counting inventory battling the forces of bad science fiction, and I can’t seem to shake the cold I caught on the plane home from South America the PDC was hit by a biological weapons attack.  I […]

NaNoWriMo

If you’re not familiar with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), it takes place each November, when aspiring authors attempt to write entire novels in 30 days. For most people, writing a novel in 30 days would be an ambitious goal, but for someone with my awesome writing skills, it’s not much of a challenge.  So, for this […]

Vacation Reading

On Sunday, I returned from a two-week vacation (My last couple of posts were set up to run automatically while I was away).  I’ll eventually do an off-topic post with vacation pics, but I’m a bit weak thanks to catching a virus or something on the flight home, plus some pre-vacation injuries, so I’m doing […]

Side Quest: from The Cold Step Beyond to Digital Rites

The next 10 stories in my side quest: The Cold Step Beyond by Ian MacLeod.  A warrior-monk-girl-thing is sent on her latest monster-killing quest.  The thing she’s sent to kill turns out to be herself in the past.  Also, she’s the imaginary friend of a dead girl who took over the dead girl’s body.  Possibly the […]

Side Quest: from The Copenhagen Interpretation to a Response from EST17

The next 10 stories in my Side Quest: The Copenhagen Interpretation by Paul Cornell.  A steampunk espionage story, where the great powers have learned to fold space-time. The Invasion of Venus by Stephen Baxter.  Two alien species fight a war in our solar system, but ignore Earth.  This could have been a nice flash fiction, but instead […]

Magazine: Mothership Zeta, issue 2

Mothership Zeta The human brain isn’t perfect.  For example, most adults don’t remember the moment of their birth.  I’m different.  I remember the day I hatched, a fully grown human, from a pod on the mothership. I can’t tell you what the mothership told me that day, because the language she used has no written […]

21st-Century SFF Publishers

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I’ve been struggling to find good science-fiction stories in magazines.  Although I haven’t blogged about longer fiction lately, I also have trouble finding good sci-fi and fantasy novels. I normally don’t pay any attention to a book’s publisher.  I usually decide what to read based on […]

I’m a sixth-rate writer, at best

I recently received another rejection for my AI vs. Aliens story. This one was from L Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest.  Before I entered, I knew the contest was kind of a big deal, but I didn’t realize it was a REALLY BIG DEAL.  A number of sites I’ve read since submitting have […]

Side Quest: from The Choice to The Ice Owl

This is the first post in my Side Quest, where I read collections of the “best” sci-fi/fantasy stories from 2011.  Here’s my take on the first 10 stories: The Choice by Paul McAuley.  While Paul McAuley would appear to be a mild-mannered author, apparently at night he fights crime as CAPTAIN INFODUMP.  Seriously, if you […]

Magazine: Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Tonight’s intro story is a continuation of my last intro story, which was a continuation of the previous intro story.  Heck, maybe you should just read the entire Four Apes Saga from the beginning. Herman is the first to break the standoff.  He charges into Balto’s tank, cracking it open, spilling the whale out and […]

Something Fishy at Strange Horizons?

Long-term readers of this blog will know that I’ve been searching for the best SFF magazine to subscribe to.  That search (still in progress) led me to submit a couple of my own SFF stories to magazines. I received a form rejection last weekend, from Strange Horizons.  Rejection isn’t surprising, as I’m not claiming that […]

Side Quest

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that I sent myself on a magazine quest to find the best SFF magazine, and ultimately subscribe to it.  When I began my quest, I thought I’d review a dozen magazines.  I’ve already reviewed 32 magazines here, and I’ve discovered so many others that […]