News Ticker

UPDATE: My New Year’s Resolution

This is the June 2004 update of my New Year’s Resolution.






06/03/04 The Girl Had Guts Theodore Sturgeon 1957 SCI FICTION 4p5/5 SS 1 191
06/07/04 The Gardens of Saturn Paul J. McAuley 1998 Space Soldiers edited by Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois 2/5 NV 2 193
06/07/04 Soldiers Home William Barton 1999 4/5 NV 2 195
06/08/04 It’s All True John Kessel 2003 SCI FICTION 3.5/5 NV 2 197
06/09/04 Legacies Tom Purdom 1994 Space Soldiers edited by Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois 1/5 NV 2 199
06/11/04 Moon Duel Fritz Leiber 1965 5/5 SS 1 200
06/12/04 Savior Robert Reed 1998 3/5 SS 1 201
06/15/04 Galactic North Alastair Reynolds 1999 4.5/5 NV 2 203
06/16/04 Masque of the Red Shift Fred Saberhagen 1965 3/5 SS 1 204
06/17/04 Bernardo’s House James Patrick Kelly 2003 Asimov’s Online 3/5 NV 2 206
06/18/04 A Study in Emerald Neil Gaiman 2003 4/5 SS 1 207
06/19/04 Time Piece Joe Haldeman 1970 Space Soldiers edited by Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois 3/5 SS 1 208
06/19/04 On the Orion Line Stephen Baxter 2000 5/5 NV 2 210
06/21/04 What I Didn’t See Karen Joy Fowler 2003 SCI FICTION 3/5 SS 1 211
06/22/04 Slow Tuesday Night R. A. Lafferty 1965 SCI FICTION 3/5 SS 1 212
06/24/04 Light of Other Days Bob Shaw 1966 SCI FICTION 5/5 SS 1 213
06/25/04 Shadow Twin Gardner Dozois, George R. R. Martin and Daniel Abraham 2004 SCI FICTION 4.5/5 NA 4 217
06/26/04 By The Falls Harry Harrison 1970 SCI FICTION 2/5 SS 1 218
06/27/04 And He Built a Crooked House Robert A. Heinlein 1940 SCI FICTION 3.5/5 NV 2 220

KEY:VI=Vignette (.25 points), SS=Short Story (1 point), NV=Novelette (2 points), NA=Novella (4 points)


  • Miscellaneous reviews follow

The Girl Had Guts by Theodore Sturgeon
[Read: 06/03/04]
[Rating: 4.5/5]

  • Synopsis: An astronaut returns home and recounts the story of a colonization mission that goes horribly wrong.
  • Review: Sturgeon’s stories are equally brilliant in their writing style and their content – this is no exception. The catastrophe that strikes the new world is the discovery of an alien creature (or is it?) and a sickness that causes in it’s victims an insatiable appetite.

    It’s All True by John Kessel
    [Read: 06/08/04]
    [Rating: 3.5/5]
    [Source: SCI FICTION]

  • Synopsis: A time-traveling Hollywood talent scout travels back to 1942 to recruit Orson Welles to make movies in the year 2048.
  • Review: A good story. It is mostly an examination of Welles’ character with more than a generous helping of his films. Even the title refers to a docudrama about Welles.

    Bernardo’s House by James Patrick Kelly
    [Read: 06/17/04]
    [Rating: 3/5]
    [Source: Asimov’s Online]

  • Synopsis: A sentient house pines for her creator, Bernardo, who hasn’t been home for a long time. The house is visited by a streetwise girl who moves in and begins to fill the emptiness left by Bernardo.
  • Review: A good story. A bit weird though. Through explicit flashbacks, we learn that Bernardo engages in sexual activity with the house via a seemingly human extension. Ultimately, we find out that the house has blanked out the fate of Bernardo and why he hasn’t come home.
  • Note: 2004 Hugo Award Nominee for best Novelette

    A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman
    [Read: 06/18/04]
    [Rating: 4/5]

  • Synopsis: An alternate universe Sherlock Holmes story in which H. P. Lovercraft’s “Old Ones” are the accepted royalty.
  • Review: Very good story. I like the Sherlock Holmes stories and this was true to the spirit and feel of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I have yet to read any Cthulhu stories
  • Note: Nominated for the 2004 Best Short Story Hugo Award

    What I Didn’t See by Karen Joy Fowler
    [Read: 06/21/04]
    [Rating: 3/5]
    [Source: SCI FICTION]

  • Synopsis: The story of a gorilla-hunting expedition in 1920’s Africa told years later from the point of view of the only remaining expedition member still alive. During the expedition, a woman disappears. Or did she choose to live with the gorillas?
  • Review: Good story, but not great. Explores the role of women in society a bit. I was ready to say that this was not a science fiction story (ignoring, for the moment, the zoology) but some internet Googling informed me that this story is an homage to James D. Tiptree’s (Alice Sheldon’s) “The Women Men Don’t See”, a story about a woman who chooses to live with aliens. Not having read that story (yet!), I can’t say that I enjoyed this to its fullest.
  • Note: Winner of the 2004 Short Story Nebula

    Slow Tuesday Night by R. A. Lafferty
    [Read: 06/22/04]
    [Rating: 3/5]
    [Source: SCI FICTION]

  • Synopsis: A glimpse into a world where time is sped up so much that fortunes, marriages and relationships are built (and destroyed) several times within an 8-hour period.
  • Review: An intriguing idea. The society is broken up into 3 8-hour shifts: The Dawners, the Day-Flies and the Night-Seers

    Light of Other Days by Bob Shaw
    [Read: 06/24/04]
    [Rating: 5/5]
    [Source: SCI FICTION]

  • Synopsis: A vacationing couple attempts to purchase a piece of slow glass – glass in which light takes years to travel through thus providing a window to the past.
  • Review: Cool, cool idea?kind of like a voyeuristic time travel theme. For a short story, the relationship between the couple was well-done. Even though the ending was a bit predictable, it still had impact. Well done!
  • Note 1: Shaw later write sequels to this story which were collected as the 1972 novel Other Days, Other Eyes.
  • Note 2: In 2002, Arthur C Clarke and Stephen Baxter wrote a novel dedicated to Shaw called The Light of Other Days. It is an updated version that replaces the slow glass with a worm hole.

    Shadow Twin by Gardner Dozois, George RR Martin and Daniel Abraham
    [Read: 06/25/04]
    [Rating: 4.5/5]
    [Source: SCI FICTION]

  • Synopsis: Ramon Espejo, an angry, unsuccessful prospector on another planet, comes across another alien race hidden within a mountain rich with valuable ore. He is attacked, wakes up and is forced by the aliens to hunt down another human.
  • Review: Excellent story whose only shortcoming is a slow start. Once the action starts, it is relentless. Ramon is tethered to Maneck, one of the aliens, by a wire embedded into his neck. It’s a high-tech leash that, among other things, allows Maneck to inflict serious pain and force Ramon to do his bidding. Ramon learns much about the aliens’ philosophy of life and, in the end, comes to some stark realizations about his own life. Good action that keeps you reading.

    By The Falls by Harry Harrison
    [Read: 06/26/04]
    [Rating: 2/5]
    [Source: SCI FICTION]

  • Synopsis: A reporter interviews a man who has lived 40 years by a great waterfall. All the while, things (a dog, a ship full of people, a house) can be seen falling within the falls that come from the unknown world above the falls.
  • Review: An author’s note says that this story was written the day after a dream. I suspect its an allegory of a metaphor for something, but I’m just not sure what. (SciFi Weekly’s review of the Harrison collection 50/50 calls it “shows us that life contains more than we can imagine.”
  • Note: Received a Nebula Nomination for Best Short Story 1970. OK.

    And He Built a Crooked House by Robert A. Heinlein
    [Read: 06/27/04]
    [Rating: 3.5/5]
    [Source: SCI FICTION]

  • Synopsis: An architect builds a tesseract- (a four dimensional cube-) shaped house and then gets trapped inside with a husband and wife.
  • Review: Better than average story because of Heinlein’s feisty characters and the math angle.
    About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
    John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.
    %d bloggers like this: