Brightness Reef (1995) by David Brin

BrightessReef1Huck shrugged two stalks, as if to say she couldn’t be bothered with petty legalistic details. (62)

Set within his Uplift Universe crowded with sapient species, Brin abandons the Earthling-dominated dolphin-chimp-human narrative for something less familiar and (slightly) more alien. Like Startide Rising (1983), it still feels youthful, even childish, which makes it hard to take seriously at times, and when it does get serious, sometimes the dump of moral entanglements and plot movements musses up what could be a fresh little tale.

I felt a twirl in my heart-spine. (94)

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The Moon is a Harsh Mansplainer (1966) by Robert A. Heinlein

TheMoonisAHarshMistress1The famous refrain: TANSTAAFL – There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

More like…

TANSTAAFL – There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Fair Libertarian.

TANSTAAFH – There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Feminist Heinlein.

TANSTAAHM – There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Heinlein Masterwork.

TANSTAAHWBED – There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Heinlein Without Boring, Expository Dialogue.

TANSTAAHFPPTDSLEOHFPP – There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Heinlein First-Person Protag That Doesn’t Sound Like Every Other Heinlein First-Person Protag.



This is what I hear in my head when I read a book by Bob Heinlein: Continue reading

The 2015 Blewgo Awards! It’s not what you think!

Welcome to the 2015 Blewgo Awards! As in, I blew it for not reading these 2014 buzzed-about SF novels sooner. It sounds like it might be a porn award, but it’s not!


Definitely not a phallic symbol.

The shortlist was determined by me, based on an unscientific selection of novels I neglected during my 2014-novel reading extravaganza but remained implanted in my memory for whatever reason.

The 2015 Blewgo Award ceremony was held on Saturday night, in my kitchen, over a bowl of soup. The guests of honor were a couple of moths bodyslamming the window, and a gecko that wanted to eat those moths. It was an intimate affair.

The winner was determined by a panel of me. Continue reading

October 2015 Monthly Reading Review


And so it seems I have a Halloween tradition now, during which I forego my evening workout to sit on the couch and type up a monthly reading review while waiting for tiny beggars to ring the doorbell. Fewer and fewer trick-or-treaters every year is another thing that’s happening. Full bowl of candy just sitting here right now.

It might be because of the sandworm infestation we’ve been having here in Arrakis, though these particular sandworms have fangs and rattles and have been biting the neighborhood dogs. Photos pop up daily on the neighborhood online social network (this is a thing now… oh the drama) of giant rattlers slithering around on my streets.

Suffice to say, I’m not out jogging outdoors much anymore— ah, excuse me. Customers. In tutus. Continue reading

Destiny Times Three (1945) by Fritz Leiber

DestinyTimesThree1I’m starting to wonder if Fritz Leiber’s early fiction is where it’s at in terms of sophistication and daring, while his later fiction is pure career fancy. If so, it’s probably an observation longtime readers of SF have already noticed, but of the small assortment of his works I’ve read, it’s becoming a pattern.

Leiber’s 1945 Astounding serial, Destiny Times Three, blends Nordic myth, Persian poetry, and a little bit of Wells into a multiverse story that explores a provocative moral question: What would you do if you found out your multiverse twin exists in a miserable dystopia and they resented you for having the better life?

A sense of guilt toward his dream-twin was the dominant fact in Thorn’s inner life. (23)

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Three to Conquer (Call Him Dead) (1955) by Eric Frank Russell

More Chandleresque sci-fi detective fic. It’s everywhere!


A great scene. That never happened.

“Because I made mental contact with Jocelyn Whittingham and she promptly called me an insulting name. So I shot her.”

“You considered that adequate motive for murder?” prompted Jameson.

“In view of the name, yes!”

“What did she call you?”

“A terrestrial bastard,” informed Harper, hard-eyed. (60)

Murderous Venusian pathogens always give themselves away with their planetist epithets. An important lesson for all: Never, NEVER, call someone a terrestrial bastard.

The guy doing the shooting is the hero detective, by the way. Continue reading

…And Call Me Conrad (This Immortal) (1965) by Roger Zelazny

ThisImmortal1I feel like this book should really be called …And call me …And Call Me Conrad. Sort of like that Gene Wolfe collection, The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories.

To be honest, I much prefer the publisher’s title. This Immortal just feels more ripe. It certainly makes for a more interesting lens. But Zelazny wants us to call it [pause]…And Call Me Conrad. So we must. And with that, the lens becomes less focused on this immortal, (as in, not those immortals, which would make for some fun comparisons) and more focused on this dude with ‘tude. Whose name isn’t really Conrad, but by golly we better call him that.

 …my left cheek was then a map of Africa done up in varying purples, because of that mutant fungus I’d picked up from a moldy canvas… my eyes are mismatched. (I glare at people through the cold blue one on the right side when I want to to intimidate them; the brown one is for Glances Sincere and Honest.) (loc. 69)

My right eye is the one over which I furrow my brow. People say it’s intimidating.
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