Review: Solaris Rising 3

Solaris Rising 3 (Ian Whates; Rebellion) is billed as an anthology showcasing the breadth of modern SF. It is that; unfortunately, it is also a demonstration that the editor and some of his authors have partly lost touch with what makes science fiction interesting and valuable. As I’ve observed before, SF is not an anything-goes… Continue reading Review: Solaris Rising 3

Review: Ark Royal

In Ark Royal (Christopher Nuttall; self-published) the ship of the same name is an obsolete heavy-armored fleet carrier in a future British space navy. The old girl and her alcoholic captain have been parked in a forgotten orbit for decades, a dumping ground for screwups who are not quite irredeemable enough to be cashiered out.… Continue reading Review: Ark Royal

Review: The Steampunk Trilogy

The Steampunk Trilogy (Paul diFilippo; Open Road Integrated Media) is three short novels set in a now-familiar sort of alternate-Victorian timeline replete with weird science, Lovecraftian monsters, and baroquely ornamented technology described in baroquely ornamental prose. What distinguishes this particular outing is that it’s hilarious. In the first chapter of the first book, a runaway… Continue reading Review: The Steampunk Trilogy

Review: Unexpected Alliances

Unexpected Alliances (M.R. LaScola; Two Harbors Press) is, alas, a horrible example of why the absence of editorial gatekeepers in indie publishing can be a bad thing. Here’s a clue: if you see nothing wrong with a near-future first-contact scene in which the commander of an armada of 30,000 starships many light years from Earth… Continue reading Review: Unexpected Alliances

Review: Soulminder

In Soulminder (Timothy Zahn; Open Road Integrated Media), an invented device called a “soul trap” can capture the personality and memories of a dying human in a form that can be restored into the person’s brain if the physical damage that killed them can be repaired. While the device is initially conceived as a device… Continue reading Review: Soulminder

Replacing freecode: a proposal

“Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone…” Three days ago abruptly shut down, claiming “low traffic”, but there has been enough public mourning since to make me pretty sure it fills a need that’s still there. There was nowhere else you could go that was quite… Continue reading Replacing freecode: a proposal

Categorized as General

Why VA bought Slashdot

Jeff Covey has responded to the demise of freshmeat/freecode by reminiscing about his past at Freshmeat. He reports a rumor that VA bought Andover just because the CEO thought it would be cool to own Slashdot. I set the record straight in a comment on the post. No, that’s not why it happened; Larry Augustin… Continue reading Why VA bought Slashdot

Categorized as General

freecode-submit is dead – because is

Well, that’s annoying. The release-announcement site stopped accepting updates yesterday. The site says it shut down due to low traffic. Accordingly, I’ve issued a final archival version of freecode-submit and shipped a version of shipper that no longer tries to do freecode notifications, issuing a complaint instead. Had to revise the How to Become… Continue reading freecode-submit is dead – because is

Categorized as General

Review: Shadow of the Storm

Shadow of the Storm (Martin J. Dougherty; Far Future Enterprises) is a tie-in novel set in the universe of the Traveller role-playing game. It’s military SF set against a troubled political background, with the Solomani Confederation facing off against the Third Imperium in a tense peace and the Confederation’s border worlds restive.

Review: The Mandala

The Mandala (Timothy R. O’Neill, Publish Green) is an airport thriller with an SF premise. In the badlands of northern Montana there appears something that produces gravitational pulses powerful enough to perturb satellite orbits, and drives people who wander too near it insane. Satellite imagery reveals a vast, intricate pattern of subtle changes in the… Continue reading Review: The Mandala

Review: Irregular Verbs and Other Stories

I hesitated before requesting a review e-copy of Matthew Johnson’s short-story anthology Irregular Verbs and Other Stories – for, though it was labeled “Science Fiction/Fantasy”, I had a suspicion that the author might attempt to commit literary fiction. The introduction, a gush of praise for the author’s artistic sensitivity and his nuanced command of language,… Continue reading Review: Irregular Verbs and Other Stories

Categorized as Review

Review: The Ultra Thin Man

One of the trials of reviewing books is first novels that aren’t very good, but are so well-meant and earnestly attempted than simply panning them would feel like kicking a puppy. Patrick Swenson’s The Ultra Thin Man is a case like this.

Review: Space Opera

Space Opera (Rich Horton, editor; Diamond Book Distributors) starts off with an introduction that gives a historical overview of the evolution of the term “space opera” from its disreputable beginnings in the 1940s to the self-conscious modern revival of the subgenre after 1985. It’s a pretty good summary with a few odd lapses. Missing, for… Continue reading Review: Space Opera

Review: Trial By Fire

Trial By Fire (Charles E. Gannon, Baen) is the sort of book that divides those who notice it into two parts. One group will sneer “Yard goods from Baen, yet another space opera full of stuff blowing up”; the other will nod and smile and say “Good clean fun, I’ll take it.” I’m cheerfully in… Continue reading Review: Trial By Fire

Review: The Worth of a Shell

M. C. A. Hogarth’s The Worth of a Shell (self-published) is a complex, serious, well-thought-out extrapolation of the consequences of alien sexual biology marred only by the fact that one of its central premises is not at all credible. The Jokka are presented as a humanoid species with three sexes; males, females, and neuters. There’s… Continue reading Review: The Worth of a Shell