Category big house

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 […]

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 […]

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.  […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Review of The River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

Originally posted on Every Day Should Be Tuesday:
The River of Teeth has a killer concept. It riffs off a cockamamie scheme to deal with invasive vegetation and a meat shortage in America by importing hippos en masse. In Gailey’s world, Congress went forward with the scheme (at a slightly different time than proposed), and…

Award Thoughts – Indie Reading

I’ve already posted my award thoughts concerning short stories, and the better novels I read last year. At the start of 2017, I made an effort to read some self-published books (and a couple of traditionally-published I hadn’t gotten to) to see if they might be worth nominating for best SFF book of the year.  (I […]

Award Thoughts – Novel

I’m having trouble picking my favorite novel of 2016, just like I’m having trouble picking a short story.  I don’t have as many novels to choose from, so I’ve expanded my candidates to include books that aren’t the first in a series. Joel Shepherd’s Drysine Legacy was in the lead, until I realized that although the […]

Award Thoughts – Short Story

I haven’t made my choice for best short story yet, so I thought I’d share my top contenders with you. I read around 40 issues of SFF magazines in 2016, as well as several anthologies and a couple dozen stories off the web. I haven’t reviewed issue 125 of Space and Time Magazine yet, but I […]

The Olympians

I’ve read a lot of short stories. There are some I’ve completely forgotten, and others that I’d recall only if I started to read them again. There’s a smaller group I might remember if I heard the title or something about the plot. There are very few stories that I read years ago, but still […]

Books Made of Paper

In the future… My granddaughter hops onto my lap, and once again I say a silent prayer of thanks for the medical technology which let me live long enough to know her. I pick up a paperback book from the table beside my chair. “Would you like to see something from back when Grandpa was […]

Free David Drake

David Drake isn’t in prison (as far as I know) – I’m referring to free David Drake ebooks at Amazon. I don’t know if these are permanently free or short-term promotions, so grab them now if you want them. Several of the books are also available as audiobooks at audible; once you have the ebook […]

Review: Heirs of Empire

Heirs of Empire I found Heirs of Empire when I was searching for a novel to nominate for The Planetary Awards. The book has a reasonably interesting plot: a military coup knocks out most of a ruling dynasty, the youngest members of the dynasty escape, and the dynasty’s allies lay a foundation for its return […]

Nine novels down, five to go

I read nine novels in my search for planetary awards nominees, so I thought I’d give you a rundown of them before I resume my magazine quest.  I’ll also lay out my plans for reading other bloggers’ nominees. Traditionally-published, from best to worst: #1) Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia was my nominee. […]

Son of the Black Sword

Son of the Black Sword I’ve made my short story and self-published novel nominations for the Planetary Awards, and now I’m nominating Son of the Black Sword for best traditionally-published novel of 2015. This post will discuss the book, but won’t really be a review. I’m going to talk about the author’s previous work, my […]

Review: Armada

Armada Two nuclear missiles (2 out of 4 rating) I read Armada as part of my search for a 2015-published novel worthy of a Planetary Awards nomination. I place it third out of the five traditionally-published novels I read. If Armada had been indie-published, I also would have placed it squarely in the middle of […]

Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora

The Lies of Locke Lamora Two nuclear missiles (2 out of 4 rating) The good news: this novel has a great story. The bad news: most of that story is in the last third of the book. MINOR SPOILERS BELOW – ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK The book gets off to a promising start, as […]

Review: Emperor Mollusk versus The Sinister Brain

Emperor Mollusk versus The Sinister Brain Two nuclear missiles (2 out of 4 rating) The recent 4th of July holiday here in the USA brought this book to my mind. The story isn’t set during the Revolutionary War, but in the audiobook, Emperor Mollusk has a British accent, and he fights against The Sinister Brain, […]

Review: Leviathan

The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Leviathan Four Royal Crowns (4 out of 4 rating) I’ve blogged about why I enjoy the Lost Fleet series and why I was disappointed with Steadfast; now I’m glad to see the series got back on track with Leviathan. The novel starts off a bit slow, as the two […]

Christmas Science Fiction

I didn’t have time to get each of you that present you really wanted, so instead I browsed Amazon for some Christmas-related science fiction: Last January, I reviewed Merry Christmas, Mr. Babbers In April, I reviewed The Mighty Peculiar Incident at Muddy Creek, which is not Christmas-themed, but the author has another short story which […]

Reference: The Dictionary of Science Fiction Places

I found this book when I was cleaning out some closets in anticipation of another move. I think I received it as a Christmas present one year and promptly forgot about it. Now that I write a science fiction blog, it seems much more relevant. The book delivers pretty much what it says: science fiction […]

Review: Steadfast

Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) This will be a brief review, as I recently posted about things I liked in Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series. As the Lost Fleet is one of my favorite science fiction series, why didn’t the latest book receive my top rating? My problem is with the structure […]

Series Review: The Lost Fleet

Four Royal Crowns (4 out of 4 rating) The Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell (pen name of John G. Hemry, a retired naval officer) is one of my favorite science fiction works. As a new book in the series (Steadfast) was just released today, I thought this would be a good time for a […]

Review: Steelheart

Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) I’m not normally into superheroes, but I almost gave this story my very top rating. I’ll discuss why I didn’t at the end of the review (below the triple spoiler dragons), but basically the story just went a chapter too far. If it had ended right at […]