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Welcome to PMReichold's Tripod

These are links to my scribblings over the past twenty years. Some of them are essays written for classes. Others are reviews of Science Fiction. Some are attempts at poetry. May you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

I also have a presence on Twitter, on Tumblr, and on Wikimedia Commons.
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on The Aeroliths By Stephen Case Case Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue 212
The Aeroliths is a gusty tale about dispossessed nobility, deception and using the talents of the talented to further Imperial ambition. It is about the vanity of Imperial pretense and the eventual fall. In the end, it is about home-faring. The Aeroliths By Stephen Case

The Aeroliths By Stephen Case Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue 212, (external link)


On Analog January/February 2010
Analog Science Fiction Science Fact is the oldest surviving Science Fiction magazine. As Analog's (then Astounding's) editor, John W. Campbell ushered and nourished the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Campbell insisted on science in Science Fiction. Today, Analog still contains hard science stories and has a regular Science Fact feature. I had not read Analog in years, and am absolutely thrilled with my first issue in far too long. In a world where I feel I would be better off without a television, It's refreshing to find drama and suspense that does not reek of violence, and comedy and humor that is not redolent with obscenity/profanity. At a time when the Discovery Channel has reached new lows in pseudo science, it is encouraging to read science popularizations that are actually based in science.

The American Deam
The American dream, it has been said, means different things to different people. Differences in wealth and status affect the meaning of the dream for different people. Its meaning has also changed repeatedly over time. An eighteenth century, white, male plantation owner's answer to the question, "What is the American Dream?" would probably be different from that of a modern, female, black business woman. A common essence shines through these many aspects of the American dream. In this essential American dream can be seen three complementary facets- freedom from want, freedom from threat of physical danger, and freedom of choice. Read more

On Arena-- StarTrek TOS episode & Fredric Brown scifi story
Watching Kirk get bounced and battered by the Gorn in Arena and thinking about Fredric Brown's Arena, which I read in Dave Drake’s Space Galdiators. In the Star Trek episode, Enterprise hotly pursues alien raider, later identified as Gorn, that destroyed and massacered and Earth colony. Both ships are stopped dead my supernal aliens who object to their disruptive, barbaric, vengeful bloodlust. They remove both captains to a special place for them to battle to the death. The victor's ship and are to crew go on. The victim's ship and crew are to be destroyed. In the same way a human, Bob Carson and a nameless alien "Outsider" are chosen by ineffable aliens to champion, not just their fleets, but their entire civilizations. While the place of combat is similarly prepared, the motive is not one of moral disgust. Both Earth and the alien civilization would be destroyed in the coming fight. This way, one gets to go on. Read more

Arf-- A Poem by my Dog
Another of my poems written years ago.

On Barrington Bayley's Collission Course
I first read Barrington J. Bayley's Collision Course/Collision with Chronos more than thirty years ago. I must have given my first copy to the Goodwill. I searched for years before finding my current copy at Haslam's Books in St. Petersburg, Florida. They are the best. Collision Course is the sort of story you want to not lose. Read more

The Bill of Rights of the United States of America

blackleaf.jpg squirrel1.jpg

Browning and the plight of man
In "Fra Lippo Lippi" and "Andrea del Sarto", Browning addresses the problems suffered by men being true to their natures in a world which expects more of them. Though they are compelled to live as others wish them to live, to seek higher goals, they are ill-suited by their natures to live within the constraints thus imposed. This chafing between their desire to follow their natures and the restrictions imposed by the expectations of the world around them leads them into conflict. While Fra Lippo is aware that he does not live up to the expectations of others, he believes the fault lies less with himself than it does with the unnatural situation in which he finds himself. Thus, he sees no need to change, only to avoid sanctions others might impose on him. Andrea, on the other hand, feels he has done wrong and expresses regret. Among other sins, he has stolen money from a powerful patron to satisfy his wife's demand for a house. Like Fra Lippo, he expresses the view that he would change nothing if he could; had he done differently, he'd have lost his wife. He sees that the price he pays for keeping his wife is that other painters "reach many a time a heaven that's shut to me." Read more

on The Cavern of the Screaming Eyes "
Jeremiah Tolbert's story "The Cavern of the Screaming Eyes" is an enjoyable story about a teenage boy, Ivan, in a world where space-time anomalies make dungeon crawls a reality. They are not only real, but potentially lethal. Ivan is coping with the loss and presumed death of his brother during a dungeon crawl and his mother's ineffectual coping with this loss. Of course Ivan gets roped into his first dungeon crawl ever and does quite well indeed. Though a novice he has intuitive good judgment and can think on his feet. Read more

Chaucer's continuing value
Much time and energy are spent deciding whether or not a given author's works deserve inclusion in the canon of English Literature. Some works merit study because of their historical significance. One of these is Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The Canterbury Tales also bears a relevance to modern life with which it earns a place in college curricula. Through the use of characterization and irony, Chaucer reveals the lessons that carry this relevance. By comparing the narrator's descriptions of the parson and the plowman with his descriptions of the summoner and the pardoner, the reader can uncover truth that is as significant today as the day Chaucer wrote the stories. Read more

On Daily Science Fiction
Mini reviews about Daily Science Fiction's mini stories. Read more

On Death and Designation in Neal Asher's Transformation Trilogy
Gordon Dickson's Soldier Ask Not is set in a different sort of milieu than the Polity. In it civilization has splintered along personality types. The three main Splinter cultures consist of the Friendlies, people of faith, the Dorsai , warriors, and the Exotics, philosophers. The viewpoint character, Tam Olyn, a man of Old Earth, is a vengeful manipulator straight out of ancient Greece. Tam asks some Friendly soldiers if they think they will lose the current conflict on which Tam is ostensibly reporting. They respond overwhelmingly in the negative. For them the conflict will end in victory or death, and "what is death?"

One might well ask "what is death?" in the Polity universe, where we have recordings of people's memories and personalities that can be restored in machine or living body form. What then is Penny Royal's crime exactly? Like Tam Olyn, Theovald Spear begins his story obsessed with seeking revenge for needless, unjust deaths during wartime. Like Odysseus, Άνθρωπος πoλυτροπος, both are much traveled on journeys of many turnings. Both, filled with wrath, seek to avenge the wrongly dead. At the end of both their stories/journeys come revelation, the truth, and freedom. Read more


Dulce et Decorum Est- The Old Lie in World War I
World War I was the most horrific war in human history. World War II was more terrible in terms of scale and overall destruction, but World War I, the first truly industrial age war, was more horrible in terms of senseless slaughter. In Britain and France it produced a public outcry unrivaled until the US debacle in Viet Nam. This resulted in artistic movements such as the Dadaists in Britain and France that questioned, not only societal values that allowed war, but the nature of reality itself (Dada). The rightness of W.W.I was questioned not only by Dadaists, but by soldiers engaged in the day to day conflict. "Dulce et Decorum Est" questions the societal value that led many young Englishmen to join the army. Written by Wlfred Owen, who volunteered for military service in 1915, it "voiced righteous rage at the horrors he witnessed" (Champion). His poem challenges Horace's maxim, "It is sweet and meet to die for one's country," as "the Old Lie" which caused men "to die like cattle." The horrors witnessed by Owen occurred on a scale unmatched in any previous war with assembly line efficiency. Read more

on ESMERALDA by LAWRENCE SCHIMEL, TAMARA ROMERO @strangehorizons
A strange and mysterious (and eerily beautiful) tale, set in a strange and mysterious land, beyond a strange and mysterious horizon, with a strange and mysterious disappearance, and a strange and mysterious ending, about a strange and mysterious panther. ESMERALDA written by TAMARA ROMERO and translated by Lawrence Schimel. Strange Horizons ISSUE 31 OCTOBER 2016 4921 WORDS

Existentionalism and Personal Significance in Roger Zelazny's Doorways in the Sand
I have enjoyed reading all of my life. When I was ten, while other kids were outside playing ball, I was sitting on the porch reading the dictionary. Eventually, I discovered science fiction, which I have read avidly for many years. Of all the story's I have read, the pivotal one for me is the story that prompted me to return to school and seek a BA in English Literature: Roger Zelazny's Doorways in the Sand. Doorways tells the story of Fred Cassidy, a professional student and his involvement in the quest for an alien artifact, the Star Stone. This story helped me to realize that, like Fred, I enjoy the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. It also has given me insight into my own life and helped me develop an understanding of how I fit in with the rest of the universe: somewhere between Zelazny's passion and Camus' futility.Read more

on K.J. Kabza’s “The Garden of Ending” Beyond Ceaseless Skies 211
“I prefer to call the place ‘The Garden of The-Ladder-to-What-Lies-Beyond.’ It is accurate, if not poetic. But, gargoyles aren’t given to poetry.”
The Garden of Ending By K.J. Kabza is a sad little tale about how Everyone is locked into societal roles. Everyone yearns to break free and see past their confinement, despite the extreme lengths society goes to prevent it. When Everyone escapes their confinement, oh but how society shudders. Read more

On Godlike Machines by Johnathan Strahan
Godlike Machines is an anthology edited by Johnathan Strahan that explores the concept of "big dumb objects," or "Godlike Machines." My introduction to the concept was Harlan Ellison's "I Have no Mouth and I must Scream." Of course, his Analytical Menace" inspired the SkyNet of the Terminator franchise. So seemingly all-powerful, enigmatic, and in so far as AM or SkyNet was concerned, inimical. But to create something fresh, you need to let go of old concepts and imagine something that fits the bill of particulars in a different way. So though these machines are enigmatic and potentially deadly, they need not be inimical or particularly menacing. Read more

on Grace by Lawrence Schimel and Susana Vallejo
Grace is a dystopian tale set in Spain in a future not too far ahead for us. Our age is referred to fondly/longingly/nostalgically as The Peak. In the post Peak world, every modern convenience that you can think of is breaking down or already broken– and by this I mean such things as transportation, health care, and food not to mention certain taboos.Read more

The Human Condition as Seen Through the Art of Diego Rivera and Michelangelo Buonorotti
The question "what is our place in the universe?" has challenged mankind's understanding and creativity since before the dawn of history. At first, mankind lived in an uneasy harmony with nature, and saw itself as a part of nature. In time, people saw the world as being divided into two parts: things people could control and things they could not. It seemed logical to some that if mankind could not control the forces of nature, perhaps there existed someone or something that could. Some of "our Pagan ancestors honored -- even deified -- natural forces in their religions"(Fitch, ix). Two separate cosmologies arose; one saw mankind as being able to master the universe through mankind's mental and physical prowess, the other saw mankind as needing to rely on the aid of an outside, supernatural agent; "religion came into being when man(sic) realized that . . . his(sic) control of the universe is limited."(Gonzales-Wipplier, pg 6) The flower of humanism may be said to have come to full bloom in classical Greece, where, "the statement by Protogoras, 'man is the measure of all things', could be said to embody the Greek artistic ideal."(King) These two cosmologies, humanism and religion, are represented in today's civilization in such institutions as socialism-communism and Roman Catholicism. Frderick Engels, one of communism's founders, summaries the differences between communism and Christianity thusly, "Christianity places this salvation in a life beyond, after death, in heaven. So communism places it in this world, through a transformation of society."(Engels, pg 168) Read more

Text list of paintings mentioned in "The Hardest Bargain"

The Idea of Order in the Poetry of Stevens, Thomas and Eliot
In "The Idea of Order at Key West," Stevens explores the modern theme of people creating their own universe. His beautiful imagery of the shore of Key West and a woman singing captivates the reader's imagination and transports the reader into a magical world where all things seem possible. Two observers watch as the singer transforms the sea and sky about them into a vision of wonderment. Stevens writes that nature alone would have been "meaningless plungings" and that "it was her voice that made the sky acutest at its vanishing." Clearly the dominant force present is the human voice-- "when she sang, the sea, || Whatever self it had, became the self || That was her song." Astonishment causes one of the observers to question the other, asking, "Ramon Fernandez , tell me, if you know, || Why . . . the glassy lights . . . || Mastered the night and portioned out the sea." Profoundly moved in an almost religious manner, and The hearer of the song praises the "Blessed rage for order." Although the mood of the poem is one of wondrous amazement, the question of whether the final result has been for good or ill is not answered in the poem. In the same way, Stevens and other poets question the results of mankind's attempts to bring order to the world. Read more

On ikarie xb-1
Ikarie XB-1, aka voyage to the end of the universe is a wonderful movie. made in 1963, it presages 2001 in terms of grandeur and scale. Like 2001, it is decidedly understated and avoids the pulp fiction plotting and production shoddiness that characterizes so much science fiction. just ordinary men and women doing something extra-ordinary. most of the movie was a blur to me and a few scenes stood out hauntingly. the deranged Michael blasts a camera and later blasts the robot patrick. before the blasting, anthony's robot patrick roams the ship calling for anthony while the crew is unconscious from radiation posioning. the derelcit US space ship. most memorably, the final scenes in which shots of the newborn baby and the crew alternate with stock footage of new york city. (americanized version. czech version ends differently) Read more

on Infantry Attacks by Field Marshall Erwin Rommel
In the movie Patton, the General growls, “Rommel, you magnificent bastard! I read your book!” Infantry Attacks, (Infanterie greift an) is the book he was talking about. Read more

on Infinity Engine by Neal Asher
My first Neal Asher story was Softly Spoke the Gabbleduck (Asimov's August 2005). Then came The Gabble (Asimov's, March 2006). I was fascinated and intrigued by the wonder and mystery of the Gabbleducks and everything about them. I'd been reading science fiction for forty years; so fascinating and intriguing me was no mean feat. Alien Archaeology (Asimov's June 2007) was the first Penny Royal story I read and it had not only a Gabbleduck, but also a rusty former ECS agent and an incredibly narcissistic and greedy treasure seeker. The fascination only deepened. I gleefully read the subsequent stories with Penny Royal, culminating in The Transformation Trilogy, which ties together the Prador, the Gabbleducks (we all know those are the Atheter, right?) and Penny Royal. There's also the shadow of a connection to Ian Cormac. Read more

Isaiah58
This is the text of Isaiah 58 from the King James Version of the Bible. It contains the mandate for the creation of a just society.

on Jude the Obscure- A Young Man's Struggle
Jude the Obscure, subtitled The Letter Killeth, is the story of a young man's struggle to balance the demands of his physical and spiritual natures. Paradoxically, this seeker of knowledge is only dimly aware of the real world obstacles that block the path to fulfillment of his dreams. He seems to lack the common sense necessary to succeed at what he undertakes. Within him, the spirit and the flesh are perpetually in conflict, and his beliefs constantly bring him into conflict with the conventional thinkers around him. If he were to wholeheartedly support one side or the other, that side would prevail. As he lacks the insight to do this, and lacks the stamina to sustain the spirit and the flesh , he "dies a virtuous victim . . . by marriage is his end brought about."(1) He curses the day he was born and he perishes. Read more

On "Lapis Lazuli" by Yeats
In the face of the approach of the second world war and with the first still in strong remembrance, Yeats attempts to answer society's fear of war's destruction and reassert the position he has presented all along: the immortality of art even in a changing or dying civilization.

On "Leda and the Swan" by Yeats
Harold Bloom questions whether the price paid for the sonority of "Leda and the Swan" is a "loss of knowledge." This hidden sonnet, broken into four stanzas, resounds with a power that is brutish and violent, "staggering the girl." The first part of Bloom's assertion is supported by the poems imagery. Evidence of a "loss of knowledge" is not seen within the poem

On the Marching Morons by Cyril M. Kornbluth
The Marching Morons is a story about the way the unthinkable can become the imminently practical. An Amazon reviewer called this story Swiftian Satire, and according to Cyril Kornbluth’s Postwar Dystopias By Benjamin Ivry, "The literary agent Virginia Kidd called Kornbluth a 'strict Jewish moralist'” The story may be regarded as a descent into Fascist despotism by way of desperate situations requiring desperate solutions. It is predicated on the notion that the mentally inadequate propagate more rapidly than the mentally superior, with the result that humanity grows stupider with each passing generation. Read more

Mazurka for a slave
A poem I wrote along ago about the ever increasingly hectic pace of the rat-race. Read more.

The Moral Message of the New Testament
The moral message of the New Testament begins with the "Good News" of reconciliation between God and Man. As children of God, we are members of His Kingdom. However, sin separates us from God. God calls on us to recognize our condition before God and turn from our sins. Redemption requires faith that God is faithful to honor his promise of redemption through grace and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. To live as children of God, we must follow the example set by Christ's ministry and obey the laws established by Moses and fulfilled by Christ's command to love God whole-heartedly and our neighbors as though they were us. As disciples of Christ, we are sent into the world to spread the Good News and to teach others to live as God commands. We are also to establish a community of believers apart from worldly influences. The building block for this community, the family, is consecrated through the sacrament of marriage. Although Christ's message is one of reconciliation, redemption, and hope, there is also a knowledge of God's justice. Those who hear and obey the moral message of the New Testament reap its benefits. Those who fail to do so reap the consequences of that failure. Read more

On The Night of the Iguana by Tennessee Williams
In The Night of the Iguana, Tennessee Williams explores the realm of human sexuality and caring. The cardinal points of his compass are asexuality and concupiscence along the one axis and vindictiveness and compassion along the other. The explorers on this expedition are a defrocked man of God, a predatory quail with her eagle-eyed chaperone, a traveling artist, and a hotel owner. Together they cross the burning sands of la tierra caliente to arrive at last in a new Eden. Read more

On The Other Gun by Neal Asher
Is a cyberpunk/transhumanism story about a man named John and a girl, well people my age would say “a girl,” but a young woman on a quest for a piece of alien weaponry at the behest an alien, “The Client”. The Client had been an ally of the Polity in the Polity-Prador War until a falling out occured when their interests diverged. It (she?) had developed this weapon, the Farcaster, to destroy the Prador and to wreak its vengeance against them. The pieces were scattered and it (she?) wants them back very badly. There is more about The Client in Asher’s Rise of the Jain stories. Read more

on Our Human by Adam-Troy Castro
Fan's of the stories involving Castro's favorite monster, Andrea Cort, will know of Beast Magrison from Emissaries from the Dead and The Third Claw of God. Magrison and his followers had used mind control techniques to inflict Magrison's Fugue on billions of Hom Sap's on seventeen different planets. Billions died. Major military action was needed to stop the plague's spread. The surviving cripples require intervention from AISource to live fractured fragments of lives. "But we couldn’t call what lived on those worlds anything but damned." Humanity, according to Cort, "all lived in paranoid fear of his return". He was a pervasively insidious monster, such that Diplomatic Corps investigations into the Confederation Executive Branch had uncovered, "a link to . . . Magrison, among the members of the first family." The Confederation's Diplomatic Corps would pay-- let us say "much" to learn of Magrison's location. Our Human is the story of where/how Magrison, so menacing and mysterious a monster in the Andrea Cort stories, ended up, and how his final victims die. Read more

On "The People of Pele" by Ken Liu, Asimov's, Feb 2012)
The People of Pele (Ken Liu, Asimov's, Feb 2012) takes an original approach to the definition of life. The hills are alive not with sound but light-- piezoelectric scintillations as the inhabitants move/are moved about the planet. The approach isn't wholly unique, as any Star Trek TOS fan will note, but the original inhabitants of Pele aren't like the Horta except in being silicon-based. The Horta were basically silicon based humans—communication and mutual comprehension followed by cooperation quickly ensued, once it was determined that the Horta were sentient. The Peleans are beyond comprehension. Read more

Personal Digitization in Johnathan Strahan's Godlike Machines
Digitization of the human personality,what Frederick Pohl called vastening in the Heechee Saga, is a plot device in three stories in Godlike Machines. It provides a plot twist in Baxter’s Return to Titan and Doctorow’s Life/Tomorrow and is common practice in the Amalgam universe of Egan’s Hot Rock. Personal Digitization in Johnathan Strahan's Godlike MachinesRead more

The Power of the Mind in Paradise Lost
Milton's Paradise Lost is a magnificent piece of literature, with many interwoven themes and insights into human nature. All of these make attractive topics for essay writing. For instance, it would be tempting to write about the relevance of the story as seen in the principal fallen angels. Equally tempting would be a comparison of Satan with Adam in terms of their heroic natures. Still, the most pervasive and most easily proven theme of the poem has to do with the power of the mind to make life pleasant or unpleasant, irrespective of the body's location. Milton establishes this theme through the thoughts and actions of Satan, through the actions of the fallen angels, and through the actions and feelings of Adam and Eve. Read more

Realism as Seen in the Works of Whitman, Howells and James
Literature lies on a continuum between realistic portrayal or believability and fanciful portrayal and incredibility. Sometimes authors seem to sacrifice beauty of words and ideals for the sake of realistic portrayal. At other times, the reverse is true. Romantic writers are sometimes accused of presenting art for art's sake to the detriment of believability. For instance, some find Moby-Dick to be hard to accept because a grudge fight or vendetta between a man or whale would seem unlikely. At the far end of the continuum lies the work of some modern film makers who find it necessary to graphically portray bodily functions in order to maintain a sense of reality. The difference may seem to lie between prettiness and crassness rather than between realistic portrayal and fluffiness. Literary realism, at its best, strikes a balance between these two extremes. It honestly portrays life with its imperfections. The works of Howells, James and Whitman achieve such portrayal while examining or calling into question established sensibilities. Read more

On Red Legacy by Annie Brodsky in Asimovs_SF February 2015
Childhood is a structure of Lies We Build around our children to provide them with the shelter they need to grow

Russia’s wealth had always been its people and Russia would invest in the people and its people not in soulless machinery

Red Legacy by Annie Brodsky was nominated in 2015 for a Sideways award. It describes in graphic terms the lengths to which a mother may be driven to save her child. A mother with virtually unlimited resources.

It is a shocking and imaginative tale about Lamarckism in which a Soviet Union Cold War era scientist violates all the rules to try to save her child and her family– leaving a bloody and Red Legacy. I’ve never seen American and British Society described this way before. From the Viewpoint characters you point she’s spot on. The challenge is to save her child and at the same time to protect the project from which she is diverting resources. A project that is intended to save the Soviet people in the event of a nuclear war.


On The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, by James Thruber, first appeared in the New Yorker in 1939 and was made into a movie starring Danny Kaye-- perfect casting. It was also anthologized in a collection of Thurber's work, My World and Welcome to it. This in turn was made into a TV series starring William Windom that lasted a single season. Read more

On Siege of Earth by John Faucette
Whenever I read military fiction involving planetary bombardment and/or siege, I think of this story as an example of just how hard and deep you can bury your defenses and resources. And how much damage a determined resistance can inflict on an invader. Read more

Small Poems
A few small poems, or epigrams, meant to give a brief verbal snapshot of the subjects.

On Snow in the Desert By Neal Asher
Neal Asher’s “Snow in the Desert”. It’s not about the precipitation of which we’ve had way too much. Snow is an albino whose testicles are worth a great deal of money in certain quarters. Read more

on "The Song of the Whistling Crab" Kaleidotrope, Winter 2017 by Michael McGlade
It is a tale of a man (Cú) and his hermit crab. The man’s a hermit as well, so it works well for them. The crab whistles. Remember that. Read more

On Space Dreadnoughtsby Dave Drake et al.
Space Dreadnoughts is a Military Science Fiction anthology by David Drake, Martin H Greenberg and Charles G Waugh.

***

The first Military Sci Fi story I remember is the Star Trek TOS episode "Balance of Terror," in which Enterprise duels with a Romulan interloper. The military conflict was setting to other conflicts between the crew, the story was full of suspense, and actual battle was a small part of the story. And so it is here. Read more


On Space Infanty by Drave Drake et al.
Space Infanty is a Military Science Fiction anthology edited by Drave Drake, Charles G. Waugh and Martin Greenberg. It contains stories by a dozen authors spanning 3 decades.

***

Of the lot, Joe Haldeman, Gordon R. Dickson, Jerry Pournelle and Fritz Leiber are Hugo Award winners, though not for these stories. Mr. Drake and Mr. Haldeman served in Viet Nam. Their experiences color and inform their stories. Mr. Drake once said that his Hammers Slammers stories were partly therapy. Though clumped together as "Space Infantry," these stories run a wide gamut in attitude and outlook, and they need not strictly speaking be about Infantryman at all. Anyone simply seeking simple action adventure, bang-bang-your-dead, stories may be disappointed. There is so much more here than that. Anyone looking for high quality writing should read these stories. They stand out as excellent severally and separately. The book is essential to anyone with more than a superficial interest in Military Science Fiction-- especially anyone interested in the crafting or the history of Military Sci Fi. Read more


A Statue for Father is a 1959 story by Dr. Isaac Asimov. This, like many of Asimov's stories, was a light hearted fun to read bit of fluff. Think of it as a light literary snack. The story of Dinochicken. Read more

on Stormtrooper by Lawrence Watt-Evans. @Asimov_SF #ScienceFiction January 1992
Mixes change storms and Wind Whales and Nazis and not very nice people and the victims of not very nice people in with New York City's finest. Readers of Glen Cook’s Annals of the Black Company will recognize the allusion. The characters in this story call the change storms reality storms. They don’t know what to make of the Wind Whales. The scientists have hopes of cloning one from the remnants. Read more

On Tales of Time and Space
Tales of Time and Space, edited by Ross R. Olney consists of a number of simply plotted little stories by some of science fiction's best. They are simply plotted yet enthralling. Don't know what passes for young adult fiction these days, but these stories fit the bill for me in days gone buy. Read more

On Adam_Troy Castro's Tasha’s Fail-Safe March 2015 in Analog_SF
I thoroughly enjoyed Adam-Troy Castro’s Tasha’s Fail-Safe. I like Andrea Cort a lot for a lot of reasons. It’s always good to read about her. This is a story from early in her career, right after the business with the Zinn. Here is a quote --
“She was too good to make that kind of mistake. She’d walked in and out of war zones. She’d taken lives in order to preserve her own. She knew better.”
Read more

This Immortal
This Immortal, known in an earlier incarnation as Call me Conrad, is one of Zelazny's heroic epics with no less than the fate of humanity at stake. The principal character, Conrad, is typical of most of Zelazny's heros. He is for all practical purposes immortal. Like Bugs Bunny, he does not go out of his way to cause trouble for others, but does not suffer abuse lightly. He plans carefully, trying not to act rashly. And he changes his feelings and views as he grows older and wiser. These traits lead, of course, to conflict. Conrad is retained to give a high caste alien from Vega named Cort Myshtigo a tour of earth for a survey. Because of the relationship between Vegans and humanity, this incites some resentment against the alien and concern for the future of humanity. The smart money has wagered that the way to save humanity is to kill Cort. Conrad makes it plain that he prefers to wait until he has enough information to decide, and spends most of his time shielding Cort from attempts on his life. Read more

Tuesday’s. Susan Palmer. @Asimovs_SF. March 2015.
Say you’re a waitress at an all-night Diner in the middle of nowhere. Say a flying saucer appears in the wee hours of the morning and then leaves. Then the police come and take everyone’s story. But you wait till the very last to give them your surprise.

Susan Palmer ISFDB

Susan Palmer's website


on Unfolding the Multi-Cloud by Ron Collins in Analog October 2014.
#sciencefiction Imagine being addicted to the internet to the cloud to the multi-cloud to all knowledge everywhere all the time. Total immersion... Now imagine being well paid for that working in the multi-cloud as all knowledge consumes you more and more so that even on your days off and with your spouse, a part of you is still in the multi cloud. Always. Now imagine the all-consuming grief of your widow as your addiction consumes you entirely.
Ron Collins on ISFDB
Unfolding the Multi-Cloud on ISFDB

on Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome
As one might surmise, those with Haden's Syndrome are locked in. When the loved one of a powerful member of Congress develops Haden's Syndrome, the full weight and power of the US government is brought to bear on treating it. Unfortunately, treating the disease becomes too expensive to treat those who lack wealth and/or political power. This will come as no surprise to advocates of Medicare for all. Read more

On Warren Zevon
Warren Zevon was a singer/songwriter that slipped away while I wasn’t looking. I knew him from “the Werewolves of London.” He was also known for “Roland, the Headless Thompson Gunner,” and “Money, Guns and Lawyers.” These and other songs on his Excitable Boy were forthright politico-socio-historical commentary, intended to make you think and ask questions, and thinking and questioning are out of vogue these days. Just parrot the pap of the political propagandists of your choice and vote the way they tell you to. Excitable Boy still has much to say, though I doubt anyone is listening. Zevon died of Mesothelioma in 2003. Read more

on Willing Flesh, Jay O’Connell @Asimov_sf #ScienceFiction, April-May 2015
I relate to the struggle of Garrison, the protagonist to gain control of diet and exercise. In twelve step addictions recovery, the participants speak of a willingness to go to any length to free themselves.

And so it is with Garrison. Read more

 

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