SF

No. Just ‘no’.


Buckaroo Banzai Against The World Crime League: this blurb reeks:

Still mourning the losses of his beloved Penny Priddy and his surrogate father Professor Hikita, Buckaroo Banzai must also contend with the constant threat of attack from his immortal nemesis Hanoi Xan, ruthless leader of the World Crime League. To make matters worse, Planet 10 warrior queen John Emdall has sent her Lectroid legions against Earth with a brutal ultimatum. Or is her true target Buckaroo Banzai? As the apocalyptic threats continue to mount, only Buckaroo and his Hong Kong Cavaliers stand in the way of global destruction.

The listing also says “568 pages”, which is approximately 567 too many.

Culture clash


My Amazon wish list recently contained this happy news:

The reason Look to Windward was so much more expensive than any of the other Culture novels was that it was owned by a different publisher. Who has finally decided that a 19-year-old SF ebook should not be priced like a 2020 hardcover.

Downside: books 7-10 have off-by-one errors in the series titling (“Book N-1”), and books 4-6 are out of print in the US, and not available as ebooks. Pretty sure they’re on my shelves somewhere, though.

Unrelated, this categorization is not an error, it’s the work of Corona-chan:

My dentist is in full-body hazmat gear, because it’s a solo practice; if she gets sick, the whole place shuts down again.

(and I get to go back to her soon with a brand-new annual budget, so “drill, baby, drill!”)

Unrelated bleg

Does anyone remember the network vendor from The Before Times who used a soviet-looking travel poster to advertise their product with a tagline like “Welcome to Zeroslotlan”? Google and DDG have been unhelpful.

Peace Talks didn’t suck


Given the direction that Butcher is taking things, I can see why he had to give up trying to fit it into one book. As is, it’s still bursting at the seams. As expected, however, if you’re not 100% up-to-date on the short stories, there are some things you’ll miss. Like why Carlos is bitter and badly injured.

Dear ‘CAEZIK SF & Fantasy’…


Now that you’ve come to your senses, I will buy your book.

Finally, Alita


One of the side effects of having the power go out Saturday night was checking the Amazon app on my iPad to see what I had downloaded, and suddenly remembering that I hadn’t watched Alita yet.

I have only a very vague acquaintance with the source material, and while I could see a few seams and obvious cuts, I found the result quite entertaining. In particular, the Big Eyes that seemed off-putting in early publicity shots quickly faded into the background as Just Part Of The Character, helped by the fact that no one ever called attention to it. Honestly, the only thing I disliked is that Jennifer Connelly is in desperate need of some calories. The severe look worked for the character, but oh, what has been lost.

The usual discrepancy between media reviewers (61%) and movie-watchers (91%) once again demonstrates how irrelevant they’ve become to the whole process. (not that every movie I like gets high audience ratings; I may be the only person in the world who thinks the Sam Rockwell/Anna Kendrick flick Mr. Right is a fun romp with high rewatch value)

R.I.P. The Campbell Award


Spitting On The Shoulders Of Giants.

Please Don’t Tell My Parents I Found A New Publisher…


When Curiosity Quills imploded, Richard Roberts’ books ended up in limbo. After reclaiming the rights, he went searching for a new publisher instead of putting them up on Amazon himself, and the first Pennyverse book is back online. He thinks the second one should be up any time now. Decent Kindle price, painful paperback price.

Forgotten SF Novels: Mayflies


Kevin O’Donnell, Jr was a prolific SF writer in the Seventies and Eighties, mostly in short-story form, but he also left behind 10 full-length novels, perhaps the best-remembered being the four-volume Journeys of McGill Feighan, which were successful enough that Berkley reprinted his earlier novel Mayflies with an “interesting” new cover:

Our Hero was a scientist working on a last-ditch life-support system to keep even the most critically injured alive until they could be treated. In a fit of irony, he ends up being the first test subject when he’s decapitated by a rogue light fixture during a severe earthquake.

Unfortunately for Our Hero, he doesn’t recover, and his living-but-idle brain eventually gets donated to a group working on biological computers, as in “reprogramming a human brain into a supercomputer”. They do such a good job of it that the brain-puter is put in charge of a slower-than-light starship sent to found a colony out among the stars, just in case humanity blows itself up at home.

Unfortunately for the passengers, his mind wasn’t completely wiped, and when he wakes up, the conflict between programming and ego results in a tug-of-war that disables the ramscoop before they get up to full speed. The ship will eventually reach its destination, but it’s going to take a long, long time. As their societies rise and fall, Our Hero struggles against his programmed self for control over the ship, while living vicariously through generations of short-lived passenger “mayflies”.

As I mentioned over on Good Show Sir, the cover art that looks like a stoner party being crashed by a mind-melding alien is actually a sex scene in the book, in which the girl is expertly fingered to orgasm by one of the aliens. Actually, everyone aboard is being probed in some fashion, in an attempt to elicit violent or self-destructive reactions, but our PoV character at that moment apparently drew the short straw.

Note: none of his books are in print or available electronically, which is a shame, since they were all entertaining; I presume there are rights issues which his estate is either unwilling or unable to untangle.