Category short story

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Magazine: Heroic Fantasy Quarterly #32

Tonight’s intro story is a continuation of my previous Four Apes intro story: … Ape-proof steel doors slam shut across the exits, trapping us inside. I scan the upper walls and ceiling until I spot a security camera, then face it.  “Quit screwing around, Director.  The Bad Guys are up to some bad stuff, and you […]

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 […]

Ichabod Brooks

Ichabod Brooks is a character written by fantasy author and fellow blogger Charles Yallowitz.  He’s a monster-hunter who’s been around the block a few times and knows the monster-hunting game inside and out.  Ichabod Brooks is, I mean.  I have no first-hand knowledge of Charles Yallowitz’s monster-hunting credentials. I’ve only read the first short story […]

Magazine: Storyhack, issue zero

Storyhack, issue zero On the Fourth of July, I feel it’s my patriotic duty to write another Four Apes intro story: Traffic around the Department of Agriculture headquarters in Washington DC slows to a crawl, as drivers gawk at the Eight Apes on the sidewalk outside. Samantha looks into my eyes.  “We don’t have to go […]

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. […]

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 […]

Planetary Award Winners – 2016

The winners of the 2016 Planetary Awards have been announced. The winning short story was “Athan and the Priestess” from the collection Thune’s Vision by Schuyler Hernstrom.  I’ve purchased a copy, and I’ll review it once I’ve read the entire book.  I’ve only read the winning story so far, but I enjoyed it.  I found it very Conan-esque, […]

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…

My 2016 Planetary Award Nominations

I’ve posted my thoughts about 2016 short stories, 2016 novels, and 2016 indie reading.  Many of the stories I mentioned could have been #1, but it’s time for me to quit being indecisive and pick my nominees for the Planetary Awards. Short Story For best short story, I’m choosing “Paper Cut” by Aeryn Rudel.  It was published in […]

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 […]

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…

Review: The Second Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack

The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II CS Boyack‘s second experimental notebook is the perfect book to read just before Halloween. It has vampires, a haunted house, murderers, grave robbers — What? I missed the Halloween deadline? OK, I can work around that. Let’s try something else: CS Boyack’s second experimental notebook is the […]

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 […]

Magazine: Uncanny #8

Uncanny #8 I’m walking through a library, searching for a magazine, but I can’t seem to find one. Stuffed cats wearing hats and boots sit on the shelves of one aisle. Climbers in dark clothing move up the empty shelves of another. I avert my eyes from the next aisle, as a man and woman […]

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 […]

Magazine: Albedo One #46

A bowl of cereal in one hand, a jug of milk in the other, I head to the kitchen table. There’s no room to set down my breakfast, because a two-foot-tall man in a three-piece suit is stretched out there, snoring. I use my elbow to shove him off, and he hits the floor with […]

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 […]

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…

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 […]

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 […]

Planetary Awards and Dragon Awards

The winners have been announced in the 2015 Planetary Awards. The winner for best short story was “Something in the Water” by C. S. Boyack. I wrote a little about the story when I nominated it, and I also reviewed the collection which contains the story. I ‘ve read the winner for best novel, Torchship, […]

Magazine: Aurealis #87

Aurealis #87 The guards drag me up the stairs and shove me onto the stage. The audience jeers at me, but most of the insults are colloquialisms that I don’t understand. I do understand that the entire population of an Australian writers’ commune showed up to deal with me, and that I don’t have a […]

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 […]

Magazine: Sci Phi Journal Nov 2015

Sci Phi Journal #8 The orderly hands me a paper cup holding a pill — the pill that will make me forget about Talking Chicken. It’s one of those long, capsule-style horse pills. The doctors didn’t take the time to read my medical history; I have a narrow esophagus. I rotate the pill with my […]

Hot Off the Press: Honest Fibs, a Collection of SSF Short Stories

Originally posted on Nicholas C. Rossis:
Here is the promised update on the progress of Honest Fibs, my third collection of short stories, written in my trademark combination of speculative and science fiction: it’s alive! Sorry, I mean, it’s live. And you can buy it for the preorder price of $0.99 on Amazon until next week,…

Questions from MarzAat

MarzAat recently nominated me for a Liebster award. If you’re not familiar with Liebster: basically you answer ten questions, then forward ten questions to ten bloggers who impress you. I’m not going to forward the questions on, as some bloggers have grown tired of awards. Reference this graphic from Entertaining Stories: However, if you would […]

Free: Cirsova issue #1

The kindle version of issue #1 of Cirsova magazine is free at Amazon through Saturday, March 19th. I recently interviewed P. Alexander, Cirsova’s founder/editor, and I plan to review issue #1 in a couple of weeks. Get your free copy so we can compare opinions of the stories!

Magazine: InterGalactic Medicine Show #47

Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, issue 47 The department took away my canine partner, my badge, and my gun, but I’m still going to take down Talking Chicken. I leave my car by the highway and walk, baseball bat over my shoulder. I ignore the signs saying “Rainbow Farms employees only”. The huge metal […]

Magazine: Apex Oct 2015

Apex Magazine Issue 77 I down the last of my Red Bull and crush the can, tossing it into the passenger footwell with the others. The pile of cans will reach onto the seat and mingle with the empty fritos bags soon. I rummage through the bags, but come up empty. I haven’t showered or […]

Vote for the best stories of 2015

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
If you’re a book blogger, podcaster, or booktuber, then it’s time to vote for the best stories of 2015. You are allowed one vote per category, chosen from the nominated works listed below: Short Story / Novella: Something in the Water by C.S. Boyack, in The Experimental Notebook of C. S.…

Magazine: Lightspeed Oct 2015

Lightspeed Magazine Issue 65 We got a call about a disturbance at the old Ferguson place. The house had been some rich guy’s mansion, then a nursing home, and most recently a failed bed and breakfast. We knew that empty places attract trouble (teenagers, meth cooks, and uglier things the people of the community pretend […]

Magazine: Galaxy’s Edge Jul 2015

Galaxy’s Edge Magazine – Issue 15 I’m shuffling through snowdrifts towards a Himalayan mountaintop temple. Why does it always have to be a mountaintop temple? Why can’t it be the ‘temple next to the burger king’? The wind dies down for a moment, giving me a glimpse of my goal through the blowing snow. Or […]

Cirsova Issue 1 Kickstarter is Live! (please share!)

Originally posted on Cirsova:
The Kickstarter for Cirsova Issue 1 is a go!  Issue # 1 is done and paid for.  We’re just taking orders and raising money for the future so I can start work on Issue #2 right away! Basic pledge rates are as follows: Individual Copies $2 – PDF $10 + Shipping…

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #58

I keep my eyes on the rearview mirror as I speed across the Australian outback. Most of the pursuing vehicles are burning wreckage fading into the distance, but two are still on my tail. If I gunned the V-8 interceptor’s engine I’d lose them, but my fuel gauge is hovering just above ‘E’, so I’m […]

My 2015 Planetary Awards Nominations

The 2015 Planetary Awards have three categories open for nominations: shorter story (including novelettes and novellas), traditionally published novel, and self-published / small press novel. It wasn’t too hard for me to find a short story nominee. I’ve read a dozen 2015 science fiction magazines as part of my magazine quest, and I’ve also read […]

Magazine: Clarkesworld Nov 2015

Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 110 The Sri Lankan mountainside is steep, and the ground is slick with mud and algae-covered tree roots, but I’m not even breathing hard as I ascend — I’m riding in a palanquin carried by a gang of jungle squid. They wrap their tentacles around upslope trees and pull, repeating the process […]

Submit Your 2015 Nominations

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
It’s time for book bloggers, podcasters, and booktubers to nominate their favorite science fiction and fantasy books and short stories published in 2015. There are three categories for the 2015 awards: 1) Shorter story (under 40,000 words/160 paperback pages) 2) Traditionally published novel 3) Small press / self-published novel Nominations…

Magazine: Asimov’s Dec 2015

Asimov’s Science Fiction, December 2015 I follow the priests into the Temple of Asimov. Hooded grey robes hide their faces and bodies; I can’t tell what sex they are, or whether they’re actually human. They lead me to a reading room and motion for me to sit at an antique writing desk. One of them, […]

Magazine: Analog Dec 2015

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, December 2015 I’m in the space station’s control room, watching two progress bars on a computer monitor. One is labeled “Analog magazine download”. The other is labeled “Space station auto-destruct”. The two appear to be perfectly synchronized. — Novelette: A Case of Identity by Edward Lerner. An AI private detective […]

Magazine: Fantasy & Science Fiction Sep-Oct 2015

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction September/October 2015 I wipe the dragon’s blood from my axe as I enter its lair. Everyone in the business of dragon-slaying knows that killing a dragon is the easy part; the real work is searching through its disorganized treasure hoard. I expect an open cavern, but the lair […]

Magazine: Interzone Sep-Oct 2015

Interzone #260 Sep-Oct 2015 My quest isn’t off to an auspicious start. I’ve spent eight weeks in London, trying to get into the archives of the Ministry of Science Fiction. Every morning, I arrive at the ministry to find a person I haven’t seen before sitting at the front desk. I show them yesterday’s approval […]

On a Quest

I’m setting off on a quest.  I won’t be sailing after the Golden Fleece, or throwing jewelry into a volcano. Instead, I’m searching for a science fiction / fantasy magazine worthy of my subscription dollars. I haven’t read a magazine in quite a while. For many years, my reading time was entirely devoted to scientific […]

Award Categories

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
We’ve announced a new science fiction / fantasy award, discussed who should be eligible to vote and when we should vote. Now, we tackle the issue of award categories. Should different genres get their own awards, such as one set of awards for science fiction, one for high/epic fantasy, and…

When to Vote?

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
This post continues the thread announcing a new science fiction / fantasy award, and discussing who should be eligible to vote. The next question is: when to vote? If a book is released on December 31st, it’s unlikely many potential voters will have read it by January 1st. So, how…

Who votes, and how?

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
The winners of our new science fiction and fantasy awards will be chosen by book bloggers, podcasters, and booktubers. That seems simple enough, but how do we decide if a person is one of those? Is one book review some time in the distant past good enough? One book review…

Creating New Awards

Originally posted on Planetary Awards:
I’m asking my fellow book bloggers, along with podcasters and booktubers, to join me in creating a new set of awards for science fiction and fantasy stories. Why invent another award? In addition to numerous regional and sub-genre awards, there are currently two broad awards: The Nebula and the Hugo.…

Review: The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack

The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack Four Royal Crowns (4 out of 4 rating) I had trouble reviewing this collection of 12 short stories. Deciding on a rating was easy — I enjoy short-format stories, and was totally immersed in 9 of the 12. My problem was what to write about each of them– […]

99 cents: The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack

C. S. Boyack is a long-time follower of this blog, and the second author I’ve interviewed. He has written novels in several science fiction and fantasy subgenres, and now he’s releasing a short story collection: The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack. The collection is available for pre-order now, and will be released September 15th. […]

Bookends: Leyfarers and Wayfarers

Leyfarers and Wayfarers is a collection of 16 stories (in a variety of genres) by G L Francis. As usual for my bookends series of posts, I read the first and last stories, then made a decision whether to continue. First Story: Tools of the Trade In this steampunk tale, Russian water spirits are killing […]

Status Update

You may have noticed that I’ve been away from the blog for the past month. The fact that 30 days is the minimum time required for aliens to clone a fully-grown human is purely a coincidence. I just had something pop up at work, and then decided to spend my few spare hours planting a […]

Flash Fiction: Attica 2071

I was browsing the site of one of my recent followers, ZombieSymmetry of Trustus Pharmaceuticals, and I ran across an interesting story. It’s 1,500 words, which places it kind of on the border between flash fiction and a short story. Before reading my comments about the story, you may want to read it yourself. However, […]

Bookends: Wyrd Worlds

Wyrd Worlds is a collection of fantasy and science fiction short stories by self-published authors. The book is free, as is its sequel, Wyrd Worlds II. The authors of these stories are hoping that you’ll enjoy their work, then seek out something else they’ve written. As usual for my Bookends series, I have read the […]

Review: 1000

1000 One dung Beetle (1 out of 4 rating) I haven’t written a negative review in a while, and I thought it was time, before people start to think I’ve gone soft. [I mention why I’m doing fewer negative reviews on my revised About Page.] So, beetles, roll this ball of dung away: A combination […]

Free: Into the Wazoo of Death

My review of Eat Fish and Die was one of the first posts on this blog, and the first review where I gave out my top ranking. There is now a sequel to the story, Into The Wazoo Of Death, which is free at Amazon this week, as is the original story: Eat Fish And […]

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 […]

More Dogs in Science Fiction

In my previous post, I was only able to come up with two science fiction works where dogs were important characters. Fortunately, readers came to my rescue: Misha Burnett, in addition to mentioning a dog-themed role playing game, provided this example – more in the realm of fantasy than science fiction, but still very interesting: […]

Dogs in Science Fiction

My previous post, about my new puppy, led me to think about dogs in science fiction. Two stories immediately came to mind: The first story is a post-apocalyptic tale where one of the two main characters is a telepathic dog. (The images/links below are for the relatively well-known film and the less well-known book it […]

Bookends: Quantum Zoo

In an earlier review of The Power of Six, I mentioned my plans for a new feature where I read the first and last short story from a collection. In each post of this feature, I’ll briefly describe the two stories, and then indicate whether I’m inclined to read further in the collection. My theory […]

Review: The Power of Six

Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) I’ve been wanting to read something by Nicholas Rossis for a while, as he’s a frequent visitor to this blog and seems like a really nice guy. I had planned to write about The Power of Six, his short story collection, as the first post of a […]

Blurb Doctor: Dimension Lapse

Nicholas Davis asked me to look at his story, Dimension Lapse, so it’s getting a full workup from the Blurb Doctor. Jeff Walker, a Martian colonist is trapped in another universe, and lands on an island on a far away planet. He is befriended by its inhabitants,the Lingworts and learns to live in peace. When […]

Setting: the middle of nowhere

I took the above photo during my honeymoon, part of which included a drive from Springbok to Augrabies Falls in South Africa’s Northern Cape. I drove through this terrain for hours, and tried to imagine what it would have been like centuries ago, traveling in an ox-drawn wagon, with no road or power lines to […]

Review: Adam

Three flying saucers (3 out of 4 rating) Fellow blogger Justine Allen has been a frequent visitor here, so I made sure to include some of her work in my latest reading binge. I’m glad I did so; I was reading a long string of stories which didn’t really go anywhere (not bad enough to […]

Blurb Doctor: Gem-Oh Line

This is the second house call by the Blurb Doctor for one of Natalie McKay‘s stories. This time it’s Gem-Oh Line, here’s the current blurb: Nyria’s life couldn’t get much worse. Not only was she now the laughing stock of the Afgadu Military, she now was sent as a form of punishment to the other […]

Blurb Doctor: Red Haven

Natalie McKay has volunteered her short stories for the first posts in my new series, the Blurb Doctor. In these posts, I’ll take apart a book or short story’s marketing blurb, and rebuild it … better … stronger … faster. [For the younger crowd, that’s a Six Million Dollar Man reference. Hmmm, inflation is making […]

Setting: Underwater Dome City – part 2

In part 1 of this topic, I introduced the underwater dome as a setting for science fiction stories. Here, I’ll discuss some of the difficulties of life in an underwater dome, because they can be used to give more detail and flavor to your story. First, you’ll need to build your dome out of something […]