Jun
28
2015
3

Book of the Week: “The Annihilation Score.”

This one I am anticipating: The Annihilation Score (A Laundry Files Novel) will not be out for another week and a half, and I don’t think that I’m going luck out with this one and find a copy at a Borders bookstore that had unaccountably been put out early (which is what happened to me with another book in this series).  Mostly because Borders doesn’t exist anymore, of course.  Anyway, this is going to be the latest book in Charlie Stross’s Lovecraft-meets-spy-novels-meets-computer-math series, and it’s been a pretty nifty series so far. Hopefully, Charlie can keep a handle on his increasing tendency to conspiracy crank before the Great Old Ones come to finish the series by eating everybody’s souls – which is a selling point for this series, actually. It’s Lovecraftian cosmic horror. You know everybody’s gonna die. The author promised. (more…)

Jun
22
2015
--

Book of the Week: “The Last Wish.”

More properly: Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Last Wish: Introducing The Witcher.  …Yeah, I’m not proud.  But the truth of the matter is that the book is a fairly good set of fantasy short stories that draw on the grimmer aspects of traditional European fairy tales. I liked it; the translation was pretty good, too, which is fairly helpful in this sort of situation.  If you’re playing the game, it’s not a bad call at all for the Kindle. (more…)

Jun
16
2015
2

Book of the Week: The Martian Chronicles.

…No, I’m not sure why The Martian Chronicles.  Aside from the fact that it’s a great collection of short stories, of course. Maybe I just kind of miss Ray Bradbury.  Although I typically tend to miss him in October, which I think would please him.

And so, farewell to De Bello Lemures, Or The Roman War Against the Zombies of Armorica. (more…)

Jun
08
2015
5

Book of the Week: “De Bello Lemures, Or The Roman War Against the Zombies of Armorica.”

I freely admit: De Bello Lemures, Or The Roman War Against the Zombies of Armorica is one of the more obscure ones I’ve picked. It is a translation – oh, don’t look at me like that – of a Roman’s account of his encounter with the Living Dead; and the translator  (Thomas Brookside, and stop snickering) gives a certain dry wit and academic japery to the whole thing. Plus, the footnotes entertain.

And so, farewell to Hoka! Hoka! Hoka! What would the Hokas have made of zombie fiction? Be grateful that question was never answered. (more…)

Jun
04
2015
4

Book of the Week: ‘Hoka! Hoka! Hoka!’

So, Hoka! Hoka! Hoka! is this collection of short stories (a collaborative effort between Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson) involving… you know something? It’ll take too long to explain.  You’re probably better off just reading them.

And so, adieu to Conquistador. (more…)

May
25
2015
3

Book of the Week: “Conquistador.”

Conquistador by S.M. Stirling is an… interesting book. The premise is classic Golden Age science fiction: a H. Beam Piper*-esque hero creates a stable dimensional portal to an alternate California that Europeans have never colonized, or even visited.  And so, in classic Golden Age style, the aforementioned Great Man of history goes and carves out a nice little kingdom for himself and his fellow freebooters… and that’s where the book gets a little enjoyably awkward, because S.M. Stirling quite enjoys reminding us that our grandparents and great-grandparents were from a completely different people.  The book is not precisely a dystopia, but the society it describes is perhaps not somewhere you’d want to live.  Read about? Sure.  Live? …Not so much.  But it is indeed a page-turner.  Especially if you like your adventure fiction to come with appendices, and who among us does not?

And so, adieu to Digital Divide.

Moe Lane

*This was so totally a homage to H. Beam Piper.  Stirling made it pretty explicit, in fact.

May
18
2015
1

Book of the Week: ‘Digital Divide.’

I’d actually recommend the series: Digital Divide is simply the first book in a three book series (so far) by K.B. Spangler, who also writes the A Girl And Her Fed webcomic that I am currently in the process of archive-diving.  Set in the same universe as the AGAHF webcomic, Digital Divide is what happens when you take a DC police procedural and put a bunch of people with nethacking chips in their heads in it. I read all three books in the series, one right after the other; I quite enjoyed them. I do find several of her political opinions to be… incorrect; but there’s nothing about that that’s worth making a fuss over. Well worth picking up the first one, and seeing if you like it, at the very least. I certainly plan to read the fourth book, when it comes out.

And so, adieu to Bride of the Rat God.
(more…)

May
11
2015
7

Book of the Week: Bride of the Rat God.

Well… Bride of the Rat God is simultaneously about the silent film era of Hollywood; Pekingese dogs; and an ancient, murderous Chinese curse. ….Yes, this is pulp. Quite entertaining pulp, particularly regarding the bits about the Pekingese. They’re apparently much more awesome dogs than I had been previously led to believe. Seriously, this standalone by Barbara Hambly is well worth perusing, especially if you like historical fantasy where you don’t have to take a refresher course in medieval/Renaissance history first.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. (more…)

May
04
2015
6

Book of the Week: Lest Darkness Fall.

Well, technically it’s Lest Darkness Fall & Related Stories because this edition has a short story by S.M. Stirling in it, and if it’s the one I’m thinking of it’s also worth perusing.  Lest Darkness Fall is one of the classic ‘time traveler changes the past’ stories; not least because it doesn’t assume that the hero is going to be able to recreate every technological innovation. L. Sprague de Camp was simply too freaking brilliant to fall into that particular trap.  Lest Darkness Fall is almost eighty years old, and doesn’t look a day over thirty. I don’t even know why I’m recommending it; surely everybody reading this has read it already, yes?

Anyway: say farewell to The Complete McAuslan.

(more…)

Apr
27
2015
3

Book of the Week: “The Complete McAuslan.”

I am always finding books that I cannot believe that I have not yet recommended for Book of the Week yet… which is good, right? Means that I’m not about to run out yet.  Well, this week’s is The Complete McAuslan, by George MacDonald Fraser. It’s the full collection of Fraser’s short stories – very lightly fictionalized – about a certain British junior officer’s time in service just after World War II: an officer who is not named McAuslan.  No, Private McAuslan is his nemesis, or albatross, or curse, or… just read the stories, all right? You’ll howl with laughter, hopefully.  Fair warning, though: the most absurd stuff?  Probably all happened.  That’s how these things go. (more…)

Apr
20
2015
7

Book of the Week: “The Proteus Operation.”

It’s a little hard to find, but The Proteus Operation is worth a look-see: it’s a time travel / alternate history WWII story (with a twist that becomes fairly obvious as the book goes on). James Hogan got, alas, a bit strange in his thinking as he grew older: but this book was written well before any rot set in.  Check it out.

And so, adieu to Dune.

Apr
13
2015
10

Book of the Week: “Dune.”

I suppose that most of my readers who are also science fiction buffs have already read Dune: for the rest of you, it’s… it’s just one of the Books. This one volume alone justifies the title ‘epic:’ a combination of religion, political intrigue, war, and ecology that pretty much blew the minds of every science fiction author that read it.  Even the people who hate it now can’t really avoid it: Dune helps define the entire genre.

Plus, it has giant sandworms and people fighting with swords. That always brings in an audience. (more…)

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