Category science fiction

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 […]

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: 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Mini-Review: The Thorne Legacy

The Thorne Legacy I’m still being crushed (under a mountain of paperwork) at my job, so I don’t have time tonight to write up another magazine review and continue my last Four Apes story.   Instead, I thought I’d put down a few words about a story by fellow blogger JD Brink. While thinking about […]

Guest post by CS Boyack

I’ve been crushed at work for the past few weeks, so I haven’t had much time to write original content here, or even to visit other blogs.  My company hired three new people to take over some of my duties, but showing them the ropes increased my workload in the short term. Fortunately, this guy […]

Magazine: Leading Edge, Issue 68

Leading Edge, Issue 68 The Saga of the Four Apes continues: Fu, Herman, Bobo, and I move quietly through the construction site, sticking to the nighttime shadows.  We know the bad guys have some connection to this piece of real estate, but don’t know the details.  We freeze when an attractive young woman steps from […]

Magazine: Phantaxis Nov 2016

Phantaxis Nov 2016 The following intro story will confuse you if you haven’t read my spaghetti western intro story: My phone rings, waking me up at 5AM on a Saturday.  Resisting the urge to throw it against the wall, I answer it.  “You better have a good reason for calling.” “Oh, I do indeed, sir. […]

Mini-Review: Snapshot

Snapshot Snapshot is a novella-length story, roughly two and a half hours of audiobook, which I’m estimating would make it about 80 pages long if it were offered as a paperback (ebook and audio are the only current options).  Although Brandon Sanderson has published many books through the big houses, he chose to self-publish this […]

Magazine: Kzine #16

Kzine issue 16 I’m one of three gunfighters in a Mexican standoff, arranged in a triangle.  Our only spectator in this western ghost town is an unarmed flute player, watching from the roof of the saloon.  He plays his instrument.  Tootely toot … toot toot toot. To my left is my nemesis, Talking Chicken.  She […]

Magazine: Compelling Science Fiction #3

Compelling Science Fiction Love ’em or hate ’em, the Four Apes are back for tonight’s intro story: We pieced together that the bad guys were going to steal the gold from Fort Knox, and we wanted to throw a monkey wrench in their plans.  The problem was, we didn’t know how or when they planned […]

Rejection #3

OK, I know posts about my rejection letters scored next-to-last in the poll of what my readers are interested in, but I needed something quick and easy to write up this week.  My immediate superior at work will be getting medical treatment for the next week or two, so I’ll be doing his job.  That means […]

SFF Magazine News

I don’t have time to write up a magazine review (or a silly intro story) this week, but I thought I’d mention some news concerning two of the magazines which are competing for the top spot in my magazine quest. Red Sun Magazine’s third issue is out.  I haven’t read it yet, but it looks […]

Magazine: Deep Magic Aug 2016

Deep Magic, August 2016 I’m on the record as disliking prequels, but for today’s intro story, I decided to write a Four Apes prequel anyway: — The Assistant Director only makes me wait twenty minutes outside his office, so I know there’s a crisis. He motions for me to sit.  “We’re shutting down your program.” […]

Magazine: Nonlocal #2

Nonlocal issue #2 I help the other castaways push the raft into the ocean.  It’s a big raft that took us an entire week to build — we used the wood from the signaling tower that I’d pulled down the week before, waving too enthusiastically to a passing cruise liner. The others gasp, scream, and […]

Magazine: On Spec #102

On Spec #102 I don’t normally work for cartels, but my magazine quest is getting expensive, and this cartel doesn’t pay in worthless dollars — it pays in cold, hard maple syrup.  One of the cartel bosses lays out the problem he wants me to take care of, but I don’t speak French, so I just […]

Magazine: Space and Time, issue 125

Space and Time Magazine, issue 125 A steward shows me onto the cruise ship’s bridge and introduces me to the Captain, who reaches out to shake my hand.  “You’re that science journalist I’ve been hearing so much about.” “Science-fiction book-blogger, actually.  I’ve heard your ship’s library has a copy of Space and Time Magazine that I’d […]

Coming soon to a PDC near you

In early January, many bloggers posted their plans for the coming year.  I’m just getting around to it now – that should tell you what kind of a year I’ve been having. Here’s a list of things I hope to do in 2017.  I’ll place a poll below, so you can tell me which ones actually […]

Vote for the best stories of 2016

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
We’re expanding the voting pool for the awards this year, so read this entire post to find out if YOU are eligible to vote. But first, here are the 2016 stories nominated by book bloggers across the internet: Short Stories / Novellas “Athan and the Priestess” by Schuyler Hernstrom, found in…

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 […]

Review: Classic Science Fiction, Volume 1

Classic Science Fiction, Volume 1 I picked up volume 2, volume 3, volume 4, and volume 5 during a sale, so I decided to complete the series by going back for volume 1. There are three stories in this volume that fit with the rest of the series:  they are by well-known authors, and were mostly published in the […]

Review: Intergalactic Empires

Isaac Asimov’s Intergalactic Empires I’ve recently posted several articles about using a galactic empire as a story setting, and now it’s time to go old-school.  Back in the old days, a galactic empire didn’t cut it, a real man’s empire had to be INTERgalactic. Short Stories Chalice of Death by Robert Silverberg (1957) Humanity once […]

Setting: Galactic Empire, part 4

In part 1, I described the enormous scale of a galactic empire.  In part 2, I discussed the impact of FTL technology on the empire’s economy.  In part 3, I wrote about the purpose of the empire, and ways it could be managed. Now, I ask:  how does our empire maintain military and political control?  […]

Setting: Galactic Empire, part 3

In part 1, I described the enormous scale of a galactic empire.  In part 2, I discussed the economic impact of FTL technology on its economy.  Now I ask:  what is the point of our galactic empire? Why do some of the characters in the story support it and defend it? The empire’s purpose may […]

Setting: Galactic Empire, part 2

In part 1, I wrote about the enormous scale of a galactic empire.  If we’re going to turn that empire into a decent setting for a story, we’ll need to understand its economics. The first thing we need to know is what type of FTL (Faster Than Light) technology it has. Without FTL, the planets […]

Setting: Galactic Empire, part 1

A while ago, I decided I wanted to read some science fiction about a galaxy-spanning empire. I briefly browsed Amazon’s kindle offerings under “galactic empire”, but all I found was military sci-fi where the galaxy-spanning nature of the empire wasn’t a major element in the story. Thinking back to classic sci-fi, I’m only coming up […]

Submit Your 2016 Nominations

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
Happy New Year — it’s time to nominate your favorite science fiction and fantasy writing for the 2016 Planetary Awards. We’re doing only two categories this year: Shorter story (under 40,000 words/160 paperback pages) Longer story (novels) If you’re a book blogger, book podcaster, or booktuber, the nomination process is…

Magazine: Plasma Frequency Q1 2016

Plasma Frequency My buddy Jack says he can get me a copy of Plasma Frequency Magazine. Well, he says he knows “a guy who knows a guy.” I’m at his house, helping him set up for a coworker’s surprise 70th birthday/retirement party. We lift an over-sized paper cake from the back of his truck, and […]

Movie: The Possible

The Possible Last weekend, I posted a blistering review of Uncanny Magazine. I used the phrases “nonsense, bordering on gibberish” and “scatterbrained babbling”, and that was just on the first story. So, I thought I’d write something positive tonight. This movie popped into my head for no apparent reason. Although it involves time travel, it […]

Magazine: Grimdark #8

Grimdark Magazine #8 When I was a child, I passed my neighbor’s house every day while walking home from school. He would often be sitting on his front porch, tying his shoes, and would wave or say hello to me. I remember one day that was different from all the others: “Hi, Billy. I hope […]

Magazine: Phase 2, Issue 3

Phase 2 Magazine I open my front door in response to the ringing doorbell. A man in a suit holds up a badge. “I’m Detective-Sergeant Joe Friday. I’d like to ask you a few questions about Phase 2 Magazine.” “Great, because I have this really elaborate story about how I-” “Just the facts, sir.” — […]

Magazine: Shoreline of Infinity #4

Shoreline of Infinity #4 I perform a final check of my shark cage and SCUBA gear as our boat bobs up and down on a Scottish lake. The constable lies on the deck, drooling. I probably shouldn’t have darted him with enough tranquilizer to calm an angry plesiosaur, but he wouldn’t shut up about needing […]

I am the 40%

My short story received its second rejection this week. This rejection was from Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine. My previous rejection was from a magazine with a 96% rejection rate, and I turned around and submitted to a magazine with a rejection rate of over 99%. You might be thinking “doesn’t this guy learn from […]

Something for writers, something for readers

First, some news: I received a rejection letter for my first short story submission. I was originally going to give this post the pessimistic title of “Rejection #1”, because I’m a ‘glass is 96% empty’ kind of guy, not ‘glass is 4% full’. (According to The Grinder, 96% of stories are rejected at Analog magazine, […]

Magazine: Red Sun #1

Red Sun Magazine, Issue 1 I’d have known Old Man Brady was on his deathbed even if his nurse hadn’t told me. He raises a skeletal hand and motions me closer, then removes his oxygen mask to speak. “Thank you for coming. I’m sorry my wife couldn’t be here.” I don’t have the heart to […]

Interview: S. C. Flynn

I’m crossing the campus of Kakadu University to deliver my latest thesis draft to my advisor. He insisted on the topic of my doctoral research: I allow myself to be bitten or stung by Australia’s venomous creatures, and rate the pain from one to ten. Ants and wasps, centipedes and scorpions, snakes and spiders, jellyfish […]

Review: Children of the Different

Children of the Different     Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) Fellow blogger SC Flynn gave me a copy of the audiobook version of his first self-published novel, Children of the Different. I enjoyed listening to an Australian-authored audiobook with an Australian narrator — most Aussie audiobooks I’ve run across are read […]

PDC on Facebook

I’ve bitten the bullet and created a Facebook page for Planetary Defense Command. Facebook considers PDC an “artist, band, or public figure”. I’m certain I’m not a band, and I’ve never considered myself an artist, so I guess that makes me a public figure — and I didn’t even have to put on a tie! […]

Today is the day

Originally posted on Entertaining Stories:
Well, it’s one of the days. My newest book The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II is now available for purchase on Amazon. It’s a pre-sale, and the books will deliver on August 31st. That is the other day. I wanted to do a short pre-sale, but Lisa my…

Last Week

I was on vacation in Maine last week. I logged in here, posted a pre-written article, and responded to a few comments, but otherwise stayed away from email and blogs. I’ll write up a full travelogue of my trip this weekend or next week, including a few photos. The alien rover has already broadcast one […]

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 […]

Magazine: Fantasy Scroll #9

Fantasy Scroll Magazine This can’t be the place. I’m looking across a dirty, crowded train station at a magazine stand. My sources tell me this is where I should look for my next magazine, but I’m thinking about looking for new sources instead. I decide not to approach right away, in case it’s a trap. I walk to […]

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 […]

Review: Classic Science Fiction, Volume 5

Classic Science Fiction, Volume 5 I didn’t enjoy this volume as much as Volume 3 or Volume 4. The Wall by Howard Graham (1934) — A scientist puts a super-special lacquer on a square of material, causing a 200 mile long force field to bisect Manhattan. He and another scientist spend the rest of the […]

The Other Magazine Quest

If you’ve been following this blog lately, you know about my original magazine quest. I’m reading at least one issue from 24 (up from the original 12) different science-fiction magazines, and picking which one(s) I’ll subscribe to. I’ve only posted 14 magazine reviews so far, but I promise I’ll write up the others over the […]

Review: Classic Science Fiction, Volume 4

Classic Science Fiction, Volume 4 This collection is at least as good as volume 3, probably even better. WARNING: SPOILER DRAGONS AHEAD WE CAN SPOIL SEVENTY-YEAR-OLD STORIES The Dwindling Sphere by Willard Hawkins (1940) — A scientist develops a process which converts matter to other elements, with a 95% loss in mass. (The extra mass […]

Magazine: Nebula Rift V4N1

Nebula Rift I’m not writing a silly intro story for this review, because I want to talk about the magazine’s business model. (OK, enough booing, settle down.) Most science fiction magazines pay a per-word rate to their authors. For “pro” magazines, this is six cents or more per word. For “semi-pro” magazines, it is typically one […]

Review: Classic Science Fiction, Volume 3

Classic Science Fiction, Volume 3 I enjoyed this collection far more than Volume 2, even though both collections are from roughly the same time period, and each has a story about insects and a story about the Sun. WARNING: SPOILER DRAGONS AHEAD WE CAN EVEN SPOIL SEVENTY-YEAR-OLD STORIES N Day by Philip Latham (1946) — […]

Cirsova #2 at Kickstarter

Cirsova’s second issue now has a page at kickstarter. If you haven’t heard of Cirsova, you can read my interview with the magazine’s founder, or my review of Cirsova #1.

Review: Classic Science Fiction, Volume 2

Classic Science Fiction, Volume 2 I picked up several of these Classic Science Fiction collections at Audible when they were on sale. Since I’m very busy this month, I thought it would be a good time for some short listens and short reviews.  Each of the collections I purchased consists of three short stories: Proof […]

Magazine: Cirsova #1

Cirsova Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine Issue #1 My magazine quest has gotten expensive, so I’m driving an 18-wheeler to make some money. I speak into my voice recorder.  “Trucker’s log. Date: 6-6, midnight. Weather conditions: clear, but no moonlight. Cargo: timber products. Many rigs headed same direction.” The chimpanzee in the passenger’s seat […]

Girl Trouble

It’s been two weeks since my last post, but some time in the next 7 days, I hope to resume my magazine quest, this time with a review of Cirsova (I’ll include a silly intro story as usual). If you missed it earlier this year, it’s time for you to check out my interview with […]

Review: The Awakening

The Awakening One dung Beetle (1 out of 4 rating) Abducted humans wake up aboard an alien spaceship. The aliens have been collecting apex predators from various planets, but for some reason the predators are waking up and running loose on the ship. Plus, an automated defense system is trying to kill all life on […]