Teaser Tuesday 5/6/2014: “The Golden Queen”

So this week I’m reading The Golden Queen by Dave Wolverton, which starts out looking like a whimsical Irish fantasy novel before turning into a galaxy-spanning science fiction epic in which several adventurers and a talking bear (because why not?) with a name like a vacuum cleaner attempt to drive the conquering alien insectoid race known as the Dronon out of human space.

"This isn't the Hundred Acre Wood."

“This isn’t the Hundred Acre Wood …”

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Teaser Tuesday 1/14/2014: “Khe”

This week I’m reading Khe, by Alexes Razevich, which is one of those unusual SF novels which (so far, at least, and I’m 79% of the way through it according to my Kindle) takes place entirely on an alien world, with no human beings present at all. The majority of the characters are doumanas, members of a race which seems to be quite birdlike, only without the wings, the feathers, the beaks, or the claws.  Umm, well, I guess they’re not actually birdlike at all, except that they can “see” the magnetic field of their planet, and they’re migratory, unlike African swallows.  The story concerns one of these doumanas, Khe, who, after undergoing an experimental treatment to sort of help her lay eggs (it’s complicated) develops the ability to accelerate the growth of plants, at the cost of taking years off her own life. Upon realizing that she’s likely to die a very early death due to being continually pushed to improve crop production at her commune (yes, they live in communes … again, it’s complicated), she decides to take her chances in the wilderness.

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Teaser Tuesday 12/18/2012: A Plague of Demons

This week I’m reading A Plague of Demons by Keith Laumer, another of the e-books that I downloaded directly from Baen’s Free Library. This is not the sequel to the much-loved A Plague of Angels (that would be the quite avoidable The Waters Rising); rather, it’s about aliens in North Africa harvesting brains. Why? I don’t know yet. Maybe they sell them in roach coaches that roam zombie-infested areas. (Or maybe not.)

Then I re-crossed the street, slowed, and gave half a dozen grimy windows filled with moth-riddled mats and hammered brass atrocities more attention than they deserved. By the time I reached the end of the long block, I was sure: the little man with the formerly white suit and the pendulous lower lip was following me.

Another protagonist being followed by another unskilled tail? I see a trend! Clearly our villains need to invest in a training program for their operatives.

And, of course, here is this weeks teaser from The War of the Ravels!

“They were issuing weapons to every man who could hold a blade,” Cynidece said. “Even you probably would have gotten one, if Aldric hadn’t tucked you into his fancy cab and given his horse a smack on the rump to make it run along home.”

Review: “District 9”

So over the holiday last week, we watched the movie District 9. Originally my wife had declined to screen this film, but after hearing from several friends about how good it was, she agreed to go see it. I had also told her it was supposed to be good, but apparently, after suggesting she might like Hellboy because it was made by Guillermo del Toro (she is a huge fan of his Spanish-language movies like The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth), suggesting she might like Kung Fu Hustle because because it was “probably like a Jackie Chan movie”, and trying to convince her that Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is a classic of 80s filmmaking, I lack credibility. Go figure.

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The Early Years: “The Alien from the Planet Zorno”

Thanks to my parents’ ongoing efforts to clean junk out of their basement, I have been getting a steady stream of antediluvian scribblings (and typings). Here is a rather lengthy opus, most likely from when I was about ten, involving an alien saddled with a rather poor grasp of his own technology, not to mention a ridiculously hard to pronounce name.

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Free Software: Stellarium

So I haven’t done a “free software for writers” post in a while because, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve kind of run out of software that I use that I can plausibly label as “for writers”.  If I do think of another writing-related package I will certainly post it, but I didn’t want to stop writing about free software until then, so I’ve decided to branch out and just write about other programs that I’ve used or seen (other than well-known ones like Firefox or Thunderbird) that people might find interesting.  Today’s software is Stellarium.

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Organic Science

“Organic Science” is a postapocalyptic tale set on an Earth that has been conquered by a race of reptiles, called “Lizzies” by the remnants of humanity who live as exhibits in zoos. In the original version, the Lizzies were intelligent dinosaurs who had used time travel to escape into the future; in the version that appeared as the January 1999 lead story in the magazine Not One Of Us, they had become aliens. Either way, they don’t waste much.

The stink was particularly bad today. It was the heat; high temperatures stimulated the growth of the bacteria that gave the Lizzies their putrid, rotten-meat odor. In all fairness, he probably didn’t smell so good himself.

Alistair kicked his feet in the lukewarm water of the pond. He took a drink of blackberry wine, then nearly choked on it as a bugship swept in and hovered overhead. The flying machine resembled a gigantic insect, with six spindly legs, multifaceted eyes, and membranous wings that split the sunlight like a prism. The downdraft rattled the heat-shrunken leaves, broke the surface of the pond into ripples, and kicked up stinging dust from the dry earth. Alistair shielded his eyes with his hand.

After a moment the bugship zipped off, the buzz of its wings fading. Alistair shook his head, flinging grit from his hair. The surface of the pond was coated with dust and leaves.

He remembered the first time he had seen a bugship, during the war, when they had made a desperate attempt to understand and replicate Lizzie technology. But their machines were completely organic, and decomposed rapidly when not maintained. Captured Lizzie equipment quickly became useless goo; not that they had ever captured much of it anyway.

Because the Lizzies had won every battle, right from the start.
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