The following is a list of all news updates on the site from the previous years, starting with my very first post on July 27, 2000. All current updates will be on the Home page. All calendar dates on this site are in standard American notation: Month/Day/Year.
7/27/00: Welcome to my new site entitled, obviously, "The Templeton Gate." A few essays have been uploaded in each category, but many, many more will be added in the future. Bookmark this site and check back frequently for new updates. Also, please visit the Templeton Gate Forums and let me know what you think.
7/30/00: Added images of Alfred Bester and Edgar Pangborn to their pages in SF Authors. My sincere thanks to Sames, my email friend in Germany for these images.
8/08/00: Added a list of SF Reference books. Also added a quote at the beginning of RAH's Future History article, from Science Fiction, the Illustrated Encyclopedia by John Clute. I do not have this book and it is not on the list added, I just happened to browse through it on a recent trip to my favorite used bookstore.
9/04/00: Posted just the beginning of what should be a long article on Harlan Ellison. On the links page I added Rick Wyatt's excellent page called Ellison Webderland.
9/13/00: Added Part 2 of my article on Ellison.
9/21/00: Behold! Part 3 of the Ellison article.
9/24/00: I just added a dedication for this site, and I have also added a new page explaining the reason for this. I also added a page of my picks for a Heinlein TOP 10 list.
10/01/00: Part 4 of my Ellison article has just been added.
10/10/00: The conclusion (at least for now) of my Ellison article has been posted.
10/18/00: Just uploaded the beginning of an article on Ray Bradbury.
10/27/00: I have added to the Bradbury article and also added a link to a Ray Bradbury webpage.
10/30/00: I've just uploaded an article on the film A Boy and His Dog, as well as an update on the TV series Babylon 5. Also you've probably already noticed I finally figured out I didn't have to have the "embedded" ad at the top of the page and now it is one you can click on to close. I hope you approve of the change.
11/01/00: Added a new article, SF vs Fantasy.
11/09/00: An article on Brian Aldiss has been added, along with a link to the Official Brian W. Aldiss Webpage.
11/18/00: Added an article on John Varley. Also added a link to the online review magazine Strange Words.
11/27/00: I've just uploaded an article on James Tiptree, Jr., and added two listings to the links page, one for Tiptree, another a general SF bibliography page, Spacelight.
12/19/00: Added a short article on Frank Herbert, as well as one on Dune-The Movie and Dune-The Mini-Series.
1/06/01: Welcome to Templeton Gate 2.0
I realize it is still very simple compared to a lot of other sites you may visit, but then again there are many that in my opinion have too many "bells and whistles" - fancy buttons and icons that are distracting from the content. My emphasis will always be on the authors, books, and films, etc. that I am recommending, and if there are those who don't revisit this site because of its simple design then they probably aren't going to agree much with what I think is worth reading and viewing either. Along with some new images we have moved the menu bar to the left. This created a narrower margin field for the essays, so I think they will be easier to read.
I have also added some new essays on Isaac Asimov, and others will follow concerning The Foundation Trilogy and the Robot novels as soon as I am able to complete them, although it is possible I will write about someone else before that. I also added two Asimov sites to the Links page.
I want to thank my son Alex again for all his help with the image designs and his patience with me. I don't know a tenth of what he does about computers, but I am learning a little more each day. We are contemplating a few other changes in the near future that will hopefully make your experience here more enjoyable. As always, I would appreciate your feedback. One thing I did not have time to do was check every link and image on every page, so if you spot a link that does not work or an image that does not load please let me know as soon as possible. Either email me or post it on the Templeton Gate Forums.
1/12/01: For lack of a better title, I have just posted My First Rant.
1/15:01: Oh, my aching back! I've spent the last three days slaving over my hot HTML editor, and I would guess I got about 10 hours sleep during that whole time. Was it worth it? I have no idea, but at least I have the worst of my headaces behind me. Adding to the different links as I add pages will be a snap compared to this. I have compiled four different pages, for books, films, and TV series available through amazon.com, as well as a page devoted to all the titles I have mentioned that are currently out of print. Also, each book or film is also linked within the articles themselves, although I would not be a bit surprised if I haven't missed one or two (or a dozen), or accidentally provided the wrong link on a title. There are several of the essays that I have edited somewhat, inserting some titles or other information. For instance, in two different RAH pieces I had mentioned an online poll of the best 100 novels of the 20th Century. I now have created a link to the archive of that poll and added it to the "Juvenile" and "His Life and Works" pages. I also put it on the Frank Herbert page, since Dune came in at #14, just ahead of The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress and Stranger in a Strange Land. By the way, the ranking I have mentioned is from the readers' part of the poll. There is also another list compiled by the editors at Random House. And on the Links page I added a section for online retailers - amazon, the Science Fiction Book Club, Barnes and Noble, and Columbia House.
The other day I posted on the forums about a reprint of Orphans of the Sky, available from Stealth Press, but now I realize it can be purchased through amazon as well, so if you had been thinking of adding this to your collection or replacing an older copy, feel free to use that link. I realize there are a multitude of sites with a link to amazon, and this site's association with them will not amount to much, but I think it is going to be interesting to track the new stuff being published as well as hopefully seeing some older titles come back in print. I mean, can you believe that Arthur C. Clarke's Hugo and Nebula award winner The Fountains of Paradise is currently out of print!?!?!? How did anyone let that happen?
One other thing and then I've got to get a little sleep. I have added some images of book covers to the Heinlein Juvenile page. All of them were scanned from the copies I now have, even though in the past I had other editions. I gave a whole set of them to Alex but I have now replaced them on my shelves. What is there now is just a test, even though I like the look of it. Alex thinks all the images should have the new border, but so far he has not had the time to complete those. When he does we will put them up and ask for a vote as to which looks better. Eventually I would like to add a lot more images like that, not just books, but also film and television scenes, and who knows what all. I'm hoping we can keep coming up with fresh ideas to make the site more enjoyable. Thanks for all your support and encouragement, and I'll be talking at ya again later.
1/20/01: This week I have been working late hours trying to compile lists of all the Hugo and Nebulas, not just the winners, but all the nominees too. It has been like an SF history lesson, and I hope when I have them completed you can enjoy them as much more than just a list. It is interesting to see what the competition was in certain years and how the two awards either complimented each other, or conflicted. It has brought back so many memories of stuff I haven't read in many years, and I am including the novellas and short stories too, since almost all the genre writers start out with short works. Also, it has been a bit sobering for me, since things I recall as "recent" really are quite a few years back, and it surprised me about how many writers who are still very active and popular go back many more years that I had realized. Can't say for sure now when the pages will be ready, as I will be linking any available ones to amazon. I just added a few new amazon images to those pages, and also re-worded my intro there, so you might want to take a look at that again. Regardless of where you do get your books, I hope you enjoy them immensely! Later.
1/30/01: I finally got around to adding images to another page, this time it was the Gene Wolfe essay. Please note that the bookcover images on that page are scanned from my copies (except for The Books of the Short Sun and Strange Travelers, which I have not bought or read yet). Those I copied off amazon. The newer editions of these books, most of which are available from amazon, feature different cover art. I think you should be able to tell by the size of the images which ones I have in paperback and which in hardcover. All of the hardcovers I got from the Science Fiction Book Club, including the four volumes of the Book of the New Sun and the two volume set of the Book of the Long Sun, but unfortunately none of those are available from the club now. They are offering a one-volume edition of the Book of the New Sun however, but it is the only one of his books you can get from them at the moment. I really love the cover art by Don Maitz on Shadow/Claw/Sword/Citadel that I have, and I think all of the books I have feature better covers than those of the current printings. I decided that the book covers look best without the border that is around the author's portraits, but more than likely whenever I get around to images from films and TV shows they will get the border and the "scan-line" look. Perhaps Alex can make those borders look more like a movie screen or a TV.
I am still working on the Hugo/Nebula awards lists. So far I've tried about three different designs looking for the one that looks best, and since there are so many titles to check and link to amazon it may be another week before it's ready. I am also thinking of doing a page devoted to the John W. Campbell and the Philip K. Dick awards.
2/04/01: The Hugo & Nebula Award pages are now up and ready for inspection. There are several other related pages, all of which you can access from links on that main page of the 2000 awards. All of the new pages are also mentioned on the Authors and Books page, and all of the new book titles have been updated on both the Books at Amazon and Out of Print pages. I am very tired already from having to type the phrases "out of print" and "unavailable" so many times, maybe someone can help me come up with an alternative way to say that. Since most computer users are used to seeing and using acronyms all the time I might start using a new one - "OOP."
2/09/01: I have added an image to the Frank Herbert page. Since I have mentioned several times that I didn't start reading SF until 1967, you will know that the magazine cover I have added is not one I bought new. A friend of mine found it recently at a flea-market sale and was kind enough to give it to me.
2/11/01: I have gone back to gray for the links, although it is not as dark a gray as we were using before. Also, I wanted to stress again that if you do not have the Helvetica font on your computer then you are not seeing the pages in the way that Alex and I designed them. Helvetica is a much broader and bolder font than Times New Roman, and in my opinion it is much easier to read. Hopefully we will soon have information for you on that.
2/16/01: I've added some more links recently. I already mentioned cordwainer-smith.com on the forums the other day, and I found a link on that site for another book review page, called Ex Libris. Also, I added the SFWA's recipients of the Author Emeritus Award to the Hugo-Nebula Pages. They began that particular award in 1994 to honor writers who have a long and distinguished career, but who were not as well known and not likely to be considered for Grand Master. This year's honoree for Author Emeritus will be Robert Sheckley, with the Grand Master Award going to Philip José Farmer.
2/17/01: Another link has been added, for a John Varley site. This is not the johnvarley.com page I mentioned in my article - that one is still in the building stage. If I'm not mistaken I came across this one in my initial search but it must have been under construction at the time (and what website isn't always under construction of some sort, at least any that are worth looking at?). It mentions an upcoming novel entitled Irontown Blues, but does not give any specific information on when it is due. There is a letter from Varley posted there that mentions it as being part of what he is referring to as his "metal" trilogy, following Steel Beach and The Golden Globe, so it is obvious it also fits into his ever-growing Eight Worlds sequence.
3/22/01: Miracle of miracles! Finally an update!
I have just added an article on J. G. Ballard, along with a new link for an unofficial page concerned with his work. Yes, I know I had said I would write some more on Asimov, and I will eventually, but so far I have not been satisfied with what I have on The Foundation Trilogy, and I need to re-read the Robot and Empire novels before writing anything on them. I will be doing them, I just can't say exactly when right now. But I do plan to do a piece on Ellison's screenplay for I, Robot soon.
3/31/01: I was finally successful in logging into to Tripod and I added an article concerning Harlan Ellison's Screenplay for I, Robot. Also, I have added a book title to the SF References page, and I made a few minor revisions in my article on Babylon 5, although I still intend to add a lot more to that page in the future.
4/06/01: Today's update is a page on the film Blade Runner. I apologize for going against my previously stated intention of avoiding spoilers in reviews, but I hope you will agree that it was necessary in this case.
4/20/01: I finally finished my article on Asimov's Foundation Trilogy. You might wonder why it took me so long since it is not a long article or very detailed in its analysis. I probably started it over at least five times trying for the right balance of descriptive detail without revealing too many elements that would spoil the books for anyone who has yet to read them. Also, I changed the image on the Blade Runner page, and as you may already be aware, I've changed the font style as well. So far I have made this change only on the Asimov articles, and the ones on Blade Runner and Ellison's I, Robot Screenplay. I will be working some more on this over the weekend and will eventually change all the pages over to this new font (Arial).
5/05/01: I added a short article on Roger MacBride Allen, and soon I will add a page with a review of his first two novels. Also added a link to his website. Since no one responded to my post on the forums regarding Allen I have to assume most of you are unfamiliar with his work, but based solely on his first two books I am recommending him highly.
5/10/01: I just uploaded a review of Roger MacBride Allen's first two novels, known collectively as Allies and Aliens. I also finally got around to adding the most recent Nebula Award-Winners to that page, and also added an image to the review page for the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish. . .
5/12/01; 2:41 pm PST - Alex
Hello all, Alex here. I just thought that this should be on the main page. Friday morning, Douglas Adams, author of such hilarious books as "The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy," "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency," and "The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul," passed away at the age of 49 from a heart attack. He will be dearly missed by his fans. I'm not very good at writing this sort of thing, but I certainly hope that wherever he is now he's finally found the question to the Ultimate Answer. . .thanks for all the laughs, Doug.
5/23/01; 5:43 pm CST - Galen
A page on the film Slaughterhouse Five has been added. Also, as you've already noticed, we have linked this site to a webring of others devoted to science fiction writing. Even though my efforts have been analytical rather than creative, we do have the "Member's Creations" Forum. I have reason to believe that forum will become much more active in the near future, and I again offer the invitation to anyone else who might be interested in writing book or film reviews. Just email me and we can talk about it.
6/03/01; 12:32 pm CST - Galen
Just uploaded a page on Poul Anderson, and added a link to a good site devoted to his work on the Links page. As Anderson is a very prolific writer, and since I mention many of his books in the article, it was necessary to add many titles to the Out of Print page under his name. Fortunately, the majority of the novels he has released over the past dozen years are still in print, and I included them on the Books at Amazon page, and they are also linked within the article itself.
Arthur C. Clarke
6/19/01; 11:01 am CST - Galen
A new article about Arthur C. Clarke has been added, although I am sure I will return to add other comments on him and several of his books at a later time.
Phillip K. Dick
8/02/01; 1:45 pm CST - Galen
Sorry for such a long time since the last update. Today I posted an article on Philip K. Dick, and I also added a link to philipkdick.com.
8/15/01; 1:45 pm CST - Galen
Finally finished my article on the film A. I. I would have like to have said more about it, but didn't want to spoil it too much for anyone who has yet to see it. Hopefully we can discuss it on the forums, as I feel it deserves a lot more attention than any other film I have seen this year.
9/03/01; 6:12 pm CST - Galen
Again, it has been longer than I had wished since the last update, but this evening I have added a page on Norman Spinrad. One of the main reasons it took longer than anticipated is I kept thinking of other things I wanted to say about his work, and over the last couple of weeks I have also been sampling some of his shorts stories and portions of his novels. Damn, I wish I had more time to read. Right now I feel like re-reading all of his stuff! Also, be sure to visit his Homepage, there is a lot of good information there.
Hugo And Nebula Awards List
9/05/01; 1:22 pm CST - Galen
I have updated the Hugo-Nebula pages to reflect the latest winners, and reorganized the pages somewhat, creating a new separate page just for the Retro-Hugos.
Clifford D. Simak Article Online
10/20/01; 2:43 pm CST - Galen
I've just uploaded a new page devoted to the work of Clifford D. Simak, and also added a link to the best webpage I could find on him.
Its about time!
11/16/01; 5:04 pm PST - Alex
Finally, after a long period of slacking off and procrastination, I've finished a review for the Templeton Gate! The review in question? An overwhelmingly positive analysis of Peter Jackson's Dead Alive (also known as Braindead). Head on over to the films section and check it out!
12/09/01; 12:15pm CST - Galen
A new page on Robert Silverberg has just been added. Also added some new Links and made some slight revisions to several other pages, most notably adding images to the Babylon 5, Dune Mini-series, and Star Trek: TOS pages.
A few minor updates
2/06/02; 10:15pm CST - Galen
The last couple of months have been very hectic for me, including a move back to my hometown of Waco, Texas, and starting a new job. I have not had the time I would prefer to work on these pages, but I have recently begun another author profile which should be completed soon. What I have been doing over the last few weeks is changing over almost all of the links on my pages to ones which will open a new browser window rather than take you to the other page in question, leaving Templeton Gate behind. I have been worried that people might click on an amazon.com link, or one to an author's website, and forget where they started and not return to the Gate. I also finally got around to linking all the available non-fiction books, films and tv shows listed as nominees and winners on the Hugo/Nebula pages, and added some new pages for miscellaneous items available from amazon. I welcome your input on what should be listed there, hopefully to generate more referral fees for your humble webmaster.
New Author profile online
2/15/02; 9:15pm CST - Galen
After more than two months I've finally added another author profile, this time on another Grand Master from the Golden Age, Frederik Pohl. I have also added a new feature to a few pages so far, with more to come. At the end of the article I have linked to several other pages where you can get more information on Pohl's work. He does not have an official site, not even a fan appreciation page, but there are several bibliography pages available, along with several other people's reviews of select titles. Only a handfull of other pages have these new added links so far, but I will endeavor to expand that feature to as many pages as possible.
Hey! We've got some new reviewers!
2/24/02; 5:45pm CST - Galen
I am happy to announce two new pages added today, both movie reviews, and both written by other people. A week or so ago, Mark Ebert emailed me with his review of A. I. I offered to add it to the pages here and he agreed. Also, ElizaDolots, one of the most active posters on the Templeton Gate Forums, agreed to put her passion for The Fellowship of the Ring down into words and offer her opinions for all to see. My son Alex, who contributed a review of an earlier Peter Jackson film, Dead Alive, a couple of months ago, is also featured on another new page, entitled "Dossiers," which links to pages that give a little information about our reviewers. I again offer an open invitation to anyone else who would be interested in contributing articles, whether they be author profiles, or book, film, or television reviews.
Eliza writes about David Brin!
3/01/02; 9:15pm CST - Galen
Eliza Dolots gives us a very good profile of a very good writer, David Brin, one of the most popular and influential SF authors of recent years. As an indication of just how popular he is, every title of his mentioned in the article is still in print, which is a first for any author article so far!
Harry Potter and the Review of Doom!
3/08/02; 9:45pm CST - Galen
Eliza Dolots is on a roll! This week's entry is a review of the film version of Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone.
Hail to the King, Baby!
3/09/02; 7:02pm PST - Alex
That's right: I've got not one, not two, but three - count 'em, three - reviews for your reading pleasure. It's possible you can expect some more reviews coming your way tomorrow, but for now you'll have to make due with my thoughts on Army of Darkness, Brazil, and The Fellowship Of The Ring. Snootch to the nootch.
Eliza reviews TIME BANDITS!
3/17/02; 10:00PM CST - Galen
Taking a cue from Alex's earlier review of Brazil, Eliza Dolots takes on another Terry Gilliam film, the 1981 fantasy Time Bandits.
Two new pages, one new reviewer!
4/14/02; 3:15pm CDT - Galen
Ekt joins the TGate crew, with a review of the Nightrunner series of books by Lynn Flewelling. More will be forthcoming soon on those books. Also, Mark Ebert, who earlier reviewed A. I., now turns his attention to another Spielberg film, as he gives us his thoughts on the theatrical re-release of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
Go, Web, Go!
5/25/02; 8:10pm PDT - Alex
Finally got around to completing my review for the new Sam Raimi movie; a small little independent, art-house flick you probably haven't heard of called "Spider-Man". Head on over to the movie pages to check it out.
Episode 2 reviewed by Eliza!
5/26/02; 10:30pm CDT - Galen
Eliza gives us her insights into the latest in the Star Wars saga, Episode 2: Attack of the Clones, as well as reminiscing about the original films.
Ogre's Favorite Comic of All Time!
6/15/02; 9:45pm CDT - Galen
Ogre3000 honors us with his first comic review, Manhunter. Enjoy!
Finally! My new Wolfe article is done!
6/16/02; 10:45pm CDT - Galen
At long last, I've completed another article, this one on Gene Wolfe's "Sun" Books (The Books of the New Sun, Long Sun, and Short Sun). Not as complete as I would have liked, but it took me long enough to write what I have, and as I'm sure the essay makes clear, I need to re-read the books to clarify a few puzzling points of the plots. But who knows when I will be able to do that?
6/23/02; 9:05pm CDT - Galen
ekt favors us with his second review, this one on the Japanese anime series Cowboy Bebop. It's really a great review which has made me anxious to see this series!
Padre reviews "Beowulf's Children"
7/09/02; 8:00pm CDT - Galen
Templeton Gate adds another reviewer, Padre Mellyrn, who gives us his thoughts on the novel Beowulf's Children by Niven, Pournelle & Barnes.
Starflight joins the TGate crew, and Ogre reviews more comics!
7/28/02; 10:30pm CDT - Galen
Starflight reviews Isaac Asimov's 1987 novel, Fantastic Voyage 2, and Ogre3000 tells us about "Joe's Comics," several series created by J. Michael Straczynski.
The Dingilliad Trilogy from David Gerrold
8/01/02; 5:45pm CDT - Galen
I finally finished these three books and have written a short article about them, with very little that could be considered spoilers. They are great books, and I recommend them highly!
Heinlein's Beyond This Horizon reviewed
8/31/02; 10:15pm CDT - Galen
Beyond This Horizon has recently been reissued in paperback, I re-read it for the first time in many years, and now I've posted a short synopsis and review of this very early work by the Grand Master. Other updates include new links for all the various video versions of The Fellowship of the Ring, along with links for preordering both Spider-Man and Episode 2: Attack of the Clones.
New Hugo Awards Posted
9/02/02; 9:30pm CDT - Galen
The new award-winners recently announced at the Worldcon, Con José 2002, have been posted on the complete Hugo/Nebula Awards Pages.
Edgar Allan Poe
10/20/02; 1:15am CDT - Galen
Halloween is just around the corner, and who better to read at this time of the year that the master of the macabre himself, Edgar Allan Poe, who also wrote some of the first examples of SF.
Also, over the past few days I have updated several individual author pages as well as the Books at Amazon page, to reflect quite a few new and reprinted titles that are now available. The authors effected include Brian Aldiss, Roger MacBride Allen, Poul Anderson, Ray Bradbury, and Harlan Ellison. I will be checking all the other writers soon as well to see if any others have new books available.
Philip Pullman's Fantasy Trilogy His Dark Materials
11/01/02; 3:00pmCST - Galen
ekt favors us with another article, this time on the popular fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.
Norman Spinrad's HE WALKED AMONG US
12/15/02; 11:30pm CST - Galen
I recently got an email from Norman Spinrad. He commented that he liked the bio I had done on him, and he also sent me a file containg the first two chapters of his novel, HE WALKED AMONG US. He has had difficulty placing the book with a publisher, but he is making it available in several e-book formats, and he gave me permission to post the sample chapters here. Please follow the links he has provided on that page if you are interested in downloading the full novel.
Happy 2003 Everyone!
1/5/03; 7:00pm CST - Galen
I realize I'm a few days late with that greeting, but I have been very busy lately. All of the updates from 2002 have now been archived.
I hope your year started off better than mine. In case you are not a frequent visitor to the Templeton Gate Forums you may not be aware of the situation with my son (co-creator of this site) Alex, who was injured in an auto-pedestrian accident shortly before Christmas. Although his condition is not critical it definitely is serious, and he will be several months in recovery. Alex and I both want to thank all our friends for their kind words of concern and encouragement.
Glen Cook's The Dragon Never Sleeps
1/5/03; 7:50pm CST - Galen
Another reviewer joins the Templeton Gate ranks!
wracked reviews Glen Cook's The Dragon Never Sleeps, which he has mentioned several times on the forums, and on at least two other sites I've seen. His review makes me very anxious to find and read this unfortunately out-of-print title.
1/14/03; 6:30am CST - Galen
Someone new on the forums - tenavari - has sent me a very good article concerning "In Search of the Rare and Out of Print on the Internet," mainly dealing with eBay.com, but also covering other websites. He has also said he is working on other book reviews, which will be posted when I receive them.
Chris Exner reviews Slave Ship
1/20/03; 9:00pmCST - Galen
Frederik Pohl's Slave Ship is reviewed by T-Gate's newest member, Chris Exner ("tenavari" on the forums).
Eliza reviews Chamber of Secrets
1/23/03; 6:30am CST - Galen
Eliza Dolots offers us her opinion on the sequel film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and speculates on the production of the third Potter film as well.
Alex reviews The Two Towers!
1/26/03; 8:30am CST - Galen
Even though he is still recovering from his accident, Alex was able to see The Two Towers yesterday, and he has already written a review. Other reviews will follow, but I had saved the honor of the first review for Alex. Enjoy!
Starflight's The Two Towers review
1/27/03; 6:50am CST - Galen
Starflight has been patient enough, now he gets to chime in with his thoughts on The Two Towers.
Daredevil - The Man Without Fear
2/16/03; 10:00pm CST - Galen
Ogre3000 returns with an enthusiastic review of the newest comic-to-film adaptation, Daredevil.
Hyperthought by M. M. Buckner
3/10/03; 7:45pm CST - Galen
I have just uploaded a short, but positive, review of Ms. Buckner's debut SF novel Hyperthought. Hope you like it.
David Gerrold's When Harlie Was One
3/23/03; 11:15am CST - Galen
Raedom presents what I hope is just the first of many reviews, as he disects both published versions of David Gerrold's When Harlie Was One.
X2 Movie Review
5/03/03: 8:15pm CDT - Galen
Ogre3000 presents his second film review for The Gate, that of the sequel film X2: X-Men United. He likes the film a lot, and I hope you like his review.
Santiago by Mike Resnick
5/10/03; 7:30am CDT - Galen
wracked presents his second book review, of Mike Resnick's 1986 novel Santiago.
Portals in a Northern Sky
5/24/03; 9:00pm CDT - Galen
For the second time I have received a request for a review from an author, and luckily both of them were well worth reading. This one is also a debut novel - Charles Douglas Hayes' Portals in a Northern Sky.
The Science Fiction & Fantasy Hall of Fame
6/1/03; 3:30pm CDT - Galen
After reading of the latest inductees into the SF&F Hall of Fame I decided to create a page listing all the current members of this illustrious group.
The 2003 Wooden Rocket Awards
6/12/03; 6:00am CDT - Galen
The Templeton Gate has recently received an Honorable Mention as Best Fan Site Home Page in the first annual Wooden Rocket Awards.
Ogre3000 reviews Hulk
6/20/03; 9:00am CDT - Galen
Were you planning on going to see Hulk this weekend? Better read Ogre's review first.
The War Against the Chtorr
7/9/03; 9:15pm CDT - Galen
My review of this four book (so far) series by David Gerrold.
Raedom reviews Cities in Flight
7/24/03; 6:45pm CDT - Galen
Raedom contributes his second book review, James Blish's Cities in Flight.
Raedom's Third Review!
8/2/03; 9:45pm CDT - Galen
Raedom's latest book review is actually on two books, The Space Merchants & The Merchants' War by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth.
At Long Last! The David Gerrold Profile
8/17/03; 9:45pm CDT - Galen
I've finally uploaded my general profile page on David Gerrold, and it inlcudes a short question-and-answer interview I conducted with him recently via email.
Roger MacBride Allen's Orphan of Creation
8/24/03; 2:00pm CDT - Galen
I've recently read this very good third novel from Allen, and have just uploaded my review. Hope you enjoy it.
Spider Robinson's The Free Lunch
9/1/03; 8:30pm CDT - Galen
Just uploaded my review of this novel from 2001.
Padre likes Orson Scott Card
9/7/03; 8:45pm CDT - Galen
Padre Mellyrn reviews two different multi-book series by Orson Scott Card - The Ender & Homecoming Series.
Hey! Let's Go to Mars!
9/8/03; 9:30pmCDT - Galen
Take a look at my review of John Varley's latest novel, Red Thunder.
Raedom returns with two book reviews
11/18/03; 8:15pm CST - Galen
Raedom offers up two different book reviews today: James Hogan's The Mirror Maze and Theodore Sturgeon's Case and the Dreamer.
SFExplorer's First Review!
11/29/03; 8:30pm CST - Galen
SFExplorer, who maintains the MSN Group Links for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror, has graciously allowed me to copy a review he posted on his site. It is an excellent review of Robert J. Sawyer's recent Hugo-winning novel Hominids, which is the first of a trilogy.
Two new reviews today!
11/30/03; 7:00pm CST - Galen
Ogre3000 returns with a review of the film we have been promoting this month, Bubba Ho-Tep. I can't wait to see it myself, but it still does not have full distribution across the country. Also, SFExplorer takes a look at the graphic novel Orbiter, written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Colleen Doran. Enjoy!
Heinlein's new/old novel
12/12/03; 8:30pm CST - Galen
I've just uploaded my review of the newly published first novel by Robert A. Heinlein, For Us, the Living.
Firefly is shiny!
12/24/03; 7:00pm CST - Galen
I've just uploaded a page on my thoughts of the tragically defunct tv series Firefly, recently released on DVD. I've been watching it a lot the last two weeks and am convinced it's the best gorram show I've ever seen!
Have a Happy Hobbit Holiday!
12/24/03; 7:00pm CST - Galen
Two reviews for The Return of the King. Hopefully more to come, but first up are the thoughts from Alex and Starflght. Enjoy!
Have a Happy 2004!
1/08/04; 12:00pm CST - Galen
Again, I'm a few days late with my New Year's greeting, but I was on vacation visiting my son in California until this week.
All of the page updates from 2003 have now been archived.
I am currently in the midst of reading three different books, not quite sure which I will finish first, but I am likely to write a review on all of them eventually. If there is anyone else who would care to submit reviews of books, films, television shows, comics, whatever...just email me through the link on the menu buttons.
Gene Wolfe's The Knight
1/17/04; 2:15pm CST - Galen
I have just uploaded my review of Gene Wolfe's latest novel, The Knight, which is Book One of The Wizard Knight series.
ekt reviews Connie Willis
1/25/04; 10:00am CST - Galen
ekt returns with a review of Connie Willis' Hugo and Nebula award-winning novel Doomsday Book.
David Brin's Kiln People
3/2/04; 8:30pm CST - Galen
I've just uploaded my review of David Brin's Hugo nominated novel Kiln People.
Dawn of the Dead '04
3/19/04; 11:35am CST - Galen
Ogre3000 reviews the new remake of the George Romero horror classic, Dawn of the Dead (2004).
Dawn of the Dead Redux
3/24/04; 6:00am CST - Galen
Alex presents his thoughts on the new remake of Dawn of the Dead.
Ogre Reviews Hellboy!
4/6/04; 6:50pm CDT - Galen
Ogre3000 has nothing but good things to say about Hellboy.
Final Hugo Ballot Announced
4/11/04; 9:30am CDT - Galen
The awards committee of this year's Worldcon, Noreascon4 in Boston, have released the final ballot for the Hugo Awards, winners of which will be announced on September 6. I have updated our Hugo/Nebula pages, along with the appropriate Books at Amazon and Films at Amazon pages as well. We would appreciate it if you would help support this site by clicking on some of those links. Thanks.
Ogre disses Van Helsing
5/10/04; 5:00pm CDT - Galen
If you recall last month Ogre really liked Hellboy, but now Van Helsing...not so much. If anyone disagrees I'll be happy to host their review too.
The Vampire Earth
5/21/04; 6:00pm CDT - Galen
Hope you enjoy my review of E. E. Knight's first novel, Way of the Wolf, which is the first in his series called The Vampire Earth. I am confident you will enjoy the book itself!
More Vampire Earth
6/13/04; 9:45pm CDT - Galen
I've added to my review of E. E. Knight's Vampire Earth series with my thoughts on the second book, Choice of the Cat.
American Gods reviewed
6/20/04; 8:30pm CDT - Galen
I've just uploaded my short, but positive review of Neil Gaiman's Hugo and Nebula winning American Gods.
The Prisoner of Azkaban
6/29/04; 6:00pm CDT - Galen
Eliza Dolots reviews the third film in the series, Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban.
7/7/04; 9:40pm CDT - Galen
Alex gives us his impression of the blockbuster sequel Spider-Man 2.
Bob Shaw profile
7/25/04; 9:50am CDT - Galen
Here is a profile of Irish author Bob Shaw, contributed by David Longhorn, editor of Supernatural Tales.
2004 Hugos and Retros
9/6/04; 2:00pm CDT - Galen
I have just completed updating the Hugo/Nebula pages to reflect the winners announced Saturday night at Noreascon4 in Boston, along with the other various related pages, Books at Amazon, Films at Amazon, etc, along with changing several different book links to reflect recent paperback editions and reprints of older titles available again.
Edge of Darkness
9/12/04; 7:45pm CDT - Galen
David Longhorn offers up a very compelling review of a show I had never heard of before (but am now interested in seeing), a 1985 BBC mini-series called Edge of Darkness. Enjoy.
Two New Reviews Today - One Movie, One TV Show
11/7/04; 10:30am CST - Galen
Eliza Dolots returns with an extremely positive review of the new Disney/Pixar production of The Incredibles.
Plus, David Longhorn gives us his thoughts on perhaps the first cult tv show ever, The Prisoner.
12/21/04; 6:45am CST - Galen
Ogre3000 reviews the new #1 movie, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.
1/23/05; 5:43pm CST - Galen
All of the updates for pages added in 2004 have now been archived.
Better late than never, I suppose
1/23/05; 5:45pm CST - Galen
I guess Alex has recently rewatched his Bubba Ho-Tep dvd, since he finally finished a review he had promised me over a year ago. Could a review of 28 Days Later be far behind?
2/21/05; 7:45pm CST - Galen
Ogre3000 gives us a positive, although not overwhelmingly enthusiastic, review of Constantine, starring Keanu Reeves and based on the Hellblazer comics.
H. G. Wells in Hollywood
3/6/05; 3:00pm CST - Galen
David Longhorn, our resident British SF expert, now turns his critical eye on three different film productions based on the work of H. G. Wells - The War of the Worlds (1953), The Time Machine (1960), and The Time Machine (2002).
More Vampire Earth
3/20/05; 2:30pm CST - Galen
I have again added to my review of E. E. Knight's SF book series, The Vampire Earth, with my thoughts on the third novel, Tale of the Thunderbolt.
3/27/05; 9:00pm CST - Galen
With a new Doctor Who series now airing in the UK after a hiatus of more than fifteen years, David Longhorn takes this opportunity to look back on the previous Doctors and give us A Highly Prejudiced Overview. I'll be adding to that page as soon as David sends me an update.
4/1/05; 7:15pm CST - Galen
Ogre really, really likes Sin City, the new film based on the graphic novels by Frank Miller, and co-directed by Miller and Robert Rodriguez.
Doctor Who Redux
4/25/05; 8:30pm CDT - Galen
David Longhorn has updated his overview of the British television series Doctor Who, with thoughts on some of the other incarnations of the character since his original review.
Don't Forget Your Towel!
5/3/05; 5:45am CDT - Galen
Ogre3000 reviews Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
5/19/05; 6:15pm CDT - Galen
There's likely to be more reviews shortly, but the first take on Revenge of the Sith belongs to Ogre3000.
Oops! Finally, Nebulas/Hugos Updated
6/05/05; 11:40am CDT - Galen
I really thought I had done this already, but I guess I got side-tracked. Over a month late, but I finally updated the Hugo/Nebula pages to reflect the most recent Nebula winners along with those nominated for the upcoming Hugo Awards.
Here's some math for you...
(Solaris X 2) + (Quatermass X 3) = 3 New Reviews
6/12/05; 7:30pm CDT - Galen
David Longhorn returns with reviews of five SF films:
Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 version of Solaris, Steven Soderbergh's Solaris (2002), + the Quatermass Trilogy.
Holy Batman Mythos!
6/16/05; 7:55pm CDT - Galen
Ogre says they got it right this time. He really, really likes Batman Begins.
Fear and Loathing in the Land of the Dead
6/27/05; 8:20pm CDT - Galen
Alex (Mohr Stoutbeard) reviews the latest zombie flick from George Romero - Land of the Dead.
War of the Worlds
6/30/05; 7:40pm CDT - Galen
I've just uploaded my review of Steven Spielberg's latest, War of the Worlds, based loosely on the H. G. Wells novel.
Is Fantastic 4 really fantastic?
7/9/05; 12:15pm CDT - Galen
At least Ogre seems to think so. Check out possibly the only review of Fantastic 4 that says it does not suck.
Late again, but I've got reasons
8/21/05; 1:oopm CDT - Galen
I've had some computer problems the last couple of weeks, but hopefully that is all resolved for now. Also, because this year's World Science Fiction Convention was held early (it's usually around the Labor Day weekend), I am late in reporting the winners of this year's Hugo Awards, and I also updated the Books at Amazon and Films at Amazon pages to include all of this year's winners and nominees.
8/30/05; 10:15pm CDT - Galen
It is now one month from the official U. S. release of Joss Whedon's Serenity. My initial review is spoiler-free (in my opinion at least), but if you are extremely spoiler-phobic, read at your own risk. A full review will follow in a month's time.
He Walked Among Us by Norman Spinrad
9/3/05; 8:25pm CDT - Galen
A couple of years ago Norman Spinrad sent me the first two chapters of this novel as a test to see if people would be interested in downloading the full book. Apparently that process was not that successful, so now he has made available an RTF file with the full text of He Walked Among Us as shareware. Download it, read it, share it with others, and if it is within your means send a little money his way.
The Brothers Grimm
9/5/05; 6:50pm CDT - Galen
I think the majority of negative reviews I have seen for this film were from people convinced they would not like it beforehand. I went to see it expecting Gilliam to dazzle me once again, and The Brothers Grimm did not disappoint.
10/6/05; 8:30pm CDT - Galen
I finally finished my full, spoiler-filled review of Serenity, although to avoid anyone seeing that page by mistake I am only linking to it on my original Serenity page. Don't click that extra link for the full review if you have not seen the movie and don't wish to be spoiled for it. Dong ma?
The New Harry Potter
11/25/05; 11:30pm CST - Galen
Eliza Dolots, who has reviewed all the previous Harry Potter films, continues the tradition with her thoughts on the latest, The Goblet of Fire.
ekt takes on Avatar
12/11/05; 7:30am CST - Galen
ekt has provided a very enthusiastic review of the new Nickelodeon animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender. Enjoy!
It's good to be the King!
12/14/05; 7:30pm CST - Galen
Ogre3000 gives an ecstatic review for Peter Jackson's King Kong.
A new reviewer at The Gate!
2/16/06; 8:25pm CST - Galen
Michael Woodard contacted me recently after he had found Templeton Gate through a search for info on John Varley. He has now offered his first book review - for Walter Jon William's three book series Dread Empire's Fall.
Final 2005 Nebula Ballot released
2/26/06; 11:00am CST - Galen
I've just added the nominees for the 2005 Nebula Awards, the winners of which will be announced on May 7.
Michael Woodard reviews two more books
3/1/06; 9:30pm CST - Galen
Michael Woodard offers up reviews of two more books, one he can recommend - Sean McMullen's Souls in the Great Machine - and another - Gary Tigerman's The Orion Protocol - well
not so much.
Michael's on a roll!
3/5/06; 10:15am CST - Galen
Michael Woodard's been reading a lot lately, and now gives us a review of the second book in Sean McMullen's Greatwinter trilogy - The Miocene Arrow.
Lovecraft horror on DVD!
3/12/06; 8:20am CST - Galen
Alex is a big fan of H. P. Lovecraft, and has just reviewed the new (old style silent) film out on DVD - The Call of Cthulhu. Enjoy!
Lovecraft horror on DVD!
3/12/06; 8:20am CST - Galen
Alex is a big fan of H. P. Lovecraft, and has just reviewed the new (old style silent) film out on DVD - The Call of Cthulhu. Enjoy!
V for Vendetta
3/19/06; 7:50am CST - Galen
Ogre3000 is a big fan of the Alan Moore/David Lloyd graphic novel, and has only a few minor nits to pick with the film version of V for Vendetta.
Peter Watts' Rifters Saga
3/27/06; 6:15pm CST - Galen
Michael Woodard has some very positive things to say about Starfish, the first book in Peter Watts' Rifters Trilogy.
More Vampire Earth
4/23/06; 12:00pm CDT - Galen
It has been a year and three days since my last book review. Very discouraging for me, and I will endeavor to do better in the future. As with the last one, this new review is a continuation of my look at E. E. Knight's Vampire Earth series, the latest title being Valentine's Rising.
More Rifters and Greatwinter
5/2/06; 6:20am CDT - Galen
Michael Woodard returns to add to two different reviews: Maelstrom is the second book in Peter Watts' Rifter's Trilogy, and Eyes of the Calculor concludes Sean McMullen's Greatwinter Trilogy.
5/7/06; 4:50pm CDT - Galen
I have just updated the Hugo/Nebula Awards pages to reflect the recently announced winners of the 2005 Nebulas, as well as entering the final ballot nominees for the 2006 Hugos, to be announced on August 27.
One Book, One Movie
5/14/06; 9:45pm CDT - Galen
Michael Woodard offers up two different reviews today, one book and one movie, but both collaborative efforts. First up is Building Harlequin's Moon, a novel from Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper, and then he looks at the film MirrorMask, from the creative minds of Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean.
The Time Quartet
6/11/06; 7:20pm CDT - Galen
ekt favors us with his thoughts on the Time Quartet book series by Madeleine L'Engle.
6/29/06; 7:35pm CDT - Galen
Ogre3000 reviews Bryan Singer's Superman Returns.
Superman Returns again
7/1/06; 3:15pm CDT - Galen
I enjoyed Superman Returns a lot too, but I do have a few quibbles with it, so wanted to balance Ogre's review.
7/16/06; 1:55pm CDT - Galen
I've just uploaded my review of John Varley's latest, Red Lightning, which is a sequel to Red Thunder.
8/27/06; 9:25am CDT - Galen
I've just updated the Hugo/Nebula pages to reflect the winners of the 2006 Hugos, presented last night at LAConIV in Anaheim.
10/3/06; 4:35pm CDT - Galen
Not talking about Inara here, but a new publication from Titan Books, Firefly: The Official Companion, Volume One.
10/13/06; 8:00pm CDT - Galen
Spider Robinson was given the unenviable task of turning Robert Heinlein's outline and notes into a finished novel, and for the most part Variable Star was worth the wait and his effort.
1/7/07; 7:30pm CST - Galen
All of the updates from 2006 have now been archived.
Children of Men
1/8/07; 8:55pm CST - Galen
The first review of the year is up. I really liked Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men, starring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore and Michael Caine.
El Laberinto del Fauno
2/4/07; 10:50pm CST - Galen
That's Pan's Labyrinth in English, the new film by Guillermo del Toro, which I highly recommend.
Prepare for Glory!
3/14/07; 8:15pm CDT - Galen
Ogre3000 reviews Zack Snyder's 300, based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller.
Hugo/Nebula Page Updated
3/31/07; 9:30pm CDT - Galen
I've just finished updating the Hugo/Nebula Pages to include the recently nominated works for the 2007 Hugos and 2006 Nebulas, along with providing links to amazon.com for all the books, films or tv shows represented.
4/4/07; 10:15pm CDT - Galen
I review the fifth book in E. E. Knight's book series about The Vampire Earth, Valentine's Exile.
5/7/07; 9:24pm CDT - Galen
Ogre3000 reviews the latest installment in the web-slinging franchise - Spider-Man 3.
More Firefly Goodness!
5/27/07; 8:15pm CDT - Galen
A new publication from Titan Books is now available, and it's a great one! Here's my review of the Firefly Official Companion, Volume 2.
Harry Potter 5
7/14/07; 9:50pm CDT - Galen
Eliza Dolots continues the tradition with a review of the latest Potter film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
2007 Hugo winners announced
9/1/07; 10:45am CDT - Galen
I had not expected the awards to be announced until either this evening or Sunday, but apparently the Japanese are impatient and had the ceremony last night. Head on over to our Hugo/Nebula Awards page to check out the winners.
9/10/07; 9:20pm CDT - Galen
I've just uploaded a short review of the sixth book in E. E. Knight's Vampire Earth series, Valentine's Resolve.
1/1/08; 10:25am CST - Galen
2007 was a lean year for reviews at the Gate so it didn't take me long to archive those.
1/13/08; 10:30am CST - Galen
The Orphanage is a new film produced by Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth) and directed by relative newcomer J. A. Bayona. He's mainly done television and music video production in Spain, but this is a very impressive international feature debut. Should have no problem getting a Foreign Language Oscar nomination.
1/20/08; 9:55am CST - Galen
Short review - if you aren't bothered by motion sickness, go see it. For the full review, click HERE.
Jerome Bixby's The Man from Earth
1/27/08; 4:55pm CST - Galen
I believe this was a direct-to-dvd release, or any theatrical showings were very limited. Perhaps that is best, because I am not sure it would play well on the big screen, but in the intimacy of your living room it will have a profound impact if you enjoy the SF of ideas. Hopefully my review will do it justice. It deserves to be seen by a wider audience.
Nebula Winners - Hugo Nominees
4/27/08; 8:25pm CDT - Galen
I have just updated the Hugo/Nebula Pages to reflect the winners of the 2007 Nebulas announced last night in Austin, Texas, along with the nominations for the 2008 Hugos, to be awarded at Denvention 3, August 6-10.
5/19/08; 8:50pm CDT - Galen
Finally! A new book review, of John Varley's Rolling Thunder.
The Dark Knight
7/20/08; 6:25pm CDT - Galen
I've just uploaded a short but positive review of The Dark Knight, the Batman sequel film from writer/director Christopher Nolan.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
7/27/08; 11:33am CDT - Galen
ekt (also known as ektomage, teknomage and tek ni over the years) wrote us a review of this Nickelodeon animated series a couple of years ago, and now returns with his revised thoughts now that the series has ended its three year run. Enjoy Avatar: The Last Airbender.
8/10/08; 8:00pm CDT - Galen
I've just updated the Hugo/Nebula pages to reflect the winners of the 2008 Hugos, announced this weekend at Denvention3, the 66th Annual World Science Fiction Convention.
1/1/09; 9:15pm CST - Galen
The pages added in 2008 have now been archived. And of course, Happy New Year!
3/7/09; 12:05pm CST - Galen
Finally a new review! This time it is the film adaptation of Watchmen, the seminal graphic novel from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. I have not read the book yet, but there will be another review shortly from someone who has, Ogre3000.
3/8/09; 8:52am CDT - Galen
Nope, not a sequel already. Just another review of the new film by Ogre3000, and as I suspected his reaction was a bit different than mine.
Nebula Awards Announced
4/26/09; 10:40am CDT - Galen
The 2008 Nebula Awards were presented in Los Angeles last night. All winners and nominees have been noted on our Hugo/Nebula Awards page. I haven't yet linked available titles to amazon.com, but will do that when I'm not so lazy.
Star Trek, the J. J. Abrams way
5/12/09; 9:10pm CDT - Galen
ElizaDolots gives us a (mostly) enthusiastic review of the new Star Trek film, directed by J. J. Abrams. She says it brings the fun back to the Trek universe.
5/17/09; 12:55pm CDT - Galen
I've just uploaded a review of Robert J. Sawyer's 1999 novel Flashforward, which is the basis of a new ABC series premiering this fall.
Dreams With Sharp Teeth
6/21/09; 10:45am CDT - Galen
Here's a review of the documentary film about Harlan Ellison: Dreams With Sharp Teeth, produced and directed by Erik Nelson.
Ground Control to Duncan Jones!
7/12/09; 10:55am CDT - Galen
I've just uploaded a review of the new film Moon, starring Sam Rockwell and directed by new-comer Duncan Jones, son of David Bowie.
Harry Potter 6
7/21/09; 7:40pm CDT - Galen
Eliza Dolots continues the tradition with a review of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, sixth in the blockbuster movie franchise.
8/16/09; 7:30pm CDT - Galen
I've just uploaded a positive review for District 9, a documentary-like SF film, directed by South African newcomer Neill Blomkamp, and produced by Peter Jackson.
James Cameron's Avatar
12/18/09; 8:40pm CST - Galen
Avatar has been hyped almost as much as Star Wars: Episode One, but in this case the hype was warranted and it does not disappoint.
1/18/10; 8:40pm CST - Galen
The articles posted in 2009 have been archived, and along with previous years, are accessible through the menu link at the top left of the page.
2/21/10; 10:30am CST - Galen
I finally saw The Road yesterday and have just uploaded my review. Chilling, horrific, depressing, but at the same time quite inspirational (to me at least).
2001: A Space Odyssey
6/16/10; 5:40pm CDT - Galen
This is the first of the review pages updated in the new format. Only minor changes were made to the original article first posted on July 27, 2000.
6/16/10; 5:45pm CDT - Galen
Pardon the mess, we're under construction. I've been promising for years to revamp the site and I've finally started to do so. Yeah, I know I haven't written many reviews for entirely too long, but that's going to change soon. But first I have to reformat all the existing pages, and that's going to take some time. Hopefully I will get it done by July 27, which will mark the tenth anniversary of the site. Not all of the links on the new pages work yet, and most that do will take you to the old pages for now, so until everything is done you can still go to the old Mainpage and follow links from there.
Airbenders and Waterbenders and Firebenders...Oh My!
7/4/10; 10:40pm CDT - Galen
After a few more tweaks of the layout Alex and I seem to be in agreement that it looks good, so I'll start in on converting as many pages as I can tomorrow. Today I worked on ekt's (also known as tek ni) reviews of the new M. Night Shyamalan film The Last Airbender, as well as updating his review of the TV series "Avatar: The Last Airbender" to the new format.
Dream a Little Dream
7/17/10; 10:20am CDT - Galen
I've just uploaded a short but positive review for Christopher Nolan's new film, Inception. As far as updating pages to the new design, I've done about 15-20% I guess, but I'm not going to list those done so far, but will make an announcement (hopefully soon) that all are complete. I've been working somewhat in alphabetical order, although I have skipped over a few that I need to spend more time making changes. I know I won't make the anniversary deadline, now just ten days away, but I'll make every effort to do as much as I can.
9/12/10; 12:30pm CDT - Galen
I finally completed the task of changing all the pages over to the new design format, plus making a few other changes. The archives are now on one page rather than individual pages by year, and along with some other deletions that reduced the overall page count. To boost that count up a bit I have just created new "main" pages for several authors for whom several reviews have already been done, similar to how I already had for Asimov and Heinlein. These include Roger MacBride Allen, Harlan Ellison, David Gerrold, Frederik Pohl, John Varley and Gene Wolfe. At the same time I put some future (and hopefully not too distant future) reviews of other works by these authors on those pages. That brings our total page count to 234, down from a previous high of 240.
It has been over a year since I did a book review, but I am working on one now along with a profile page on its author. I'll probably finish the profile first, since research for that is giving me some insight on how I want to structure the book review. More on that soon.
A Case of James Blish's Conscience
9/18/10; 2:45pm CDT - Galen
Today I uploaded three new pages. One is an author profile of James Blish, along with a review of his Hugo-winning novel A Case of Conscience. Lastly, I created a new "main" page for him, since there are now several pages devoted to his work. I also listed a few other things there that I hope to work on in the near future.
Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man
10/31/10; 5:30pm CDT - Galen
I have just uploaded a new book review. This time it is of Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man, the first novel to win a Hugo Award. Even though I already have the complete Hugo and Nebula Awards on different pages, I have also added a new page listing just for all of the novel winners of both the Hugo and Nebula, five others which have already been reviewed. My intention is to eventually review all of them, and will at least start in chronological order, whether I continue with that order is subject to change. That means the next one up is The Forever Machine (aka They'd Rather Be Right) by Mark Clifton and Frank Riley, which I have never read. I have stated on numerous occasions over the last ten years that I would only be reviewing books, movies and TV shows that I can recommend to others, but now that I have set the task of reviewing all of these novels I am sure there are a few that I might not like that much, but I will review them anyway. I've read the majority already, although it has been many years for a lot of them.
11/06/10; 8:20pm CDT - Galen
Here is my review of the ultra low budget film Monsters, currently in very limited theatrical release, but also available as a digital rental from amazon.com and iTunes.
The Forever Machine (aka They'd Rather Be Right)
11/14/10; 3:00pm CsT - Galen
I continue with my reviews of Hugo winning novels with The Forever Machine by Mark Clifton and Frank Riley. It is the second book to win the award, and was originally serialized in Astounding magazine under the title "They'd Rather Be Right." One of the worst books I've read in a long time, and if I hadn't promised myself I would review all the winners I would not have finished it.
Harry Potter 7.1
11/25/10; 9:25am CST - Galen
Eliza DoLots returns with a review of the latest film in the popular series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.
The Windup Girl
12/5/10; 9:25am CST - Galen
I've decided I'll be doing my Hugo/Nebula book reviews in a random order, at this time jumping to present day as I disect the latest dual-winner, Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl.
1/2/11; 5:25pm CST - Galen
I hope the new year finds you in good health and good spirits, and I wish that everyone's 2011 is as good for them as 2010 was for me. Yeah, I might bitch and moan about work and other stuff from time to time, but in truth things have been going well for me on most fronts.
Also, all the news updates from last year have been archived and are accessible through the link at the top left of every page on the site.
1/2/11; 5:27pm CST - Galen
As stated previously, I'm going to be doing my Hugo/Nebula book reviews in a random order. This first review of the year is for Dan Simmons' Hyperion, published in 1989 and the winner of the Hugo for 1990. I would have liked to have finished a re-read of its immediate sequel, The Fall of Hyperion, and included it in the review, but that would have delayed uploading the page even longer. I probably will in the near future, but for now I have something else in mind for my next review.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
1/23/11; 7:30pm CST - Galen
This evening I've uploaded two new pages, reviews of Buffy the Vampire Slayer the TV series, and the Buffy Season 8 Graphic novels.
The Fall of Hyperion
2/16/11; 7:30pm CST - Galen
I've added to my Hyperion review with comments on its sequel, The Fall of Hyperion.
The City and The City
2/26/11; 1:35pm CST - Galen
I review China Miéville's The City and the City, co-winner of last year's Hugo Award.
2010 Nebula Awards
2/26/11; 8:00pm CST - Galen
The final ballot for this year's Nebula Awards has been released by the SFWA. Winners will be announced on May 22 at the Nebula Awards Banquet in Washington, D.C. Since our pages on the Hugos & Nebulas are grouped by decade I have created a new page for the 2010's. I have updated the other pages with the new link and also added the new titles to the AmazonBooks and AmazonFilms pages.
The Adjustment of PKD
3/13/11; 2:00pm CDT - Galen
The Adjustment Bureau is a fairly entertaining film, but one thing is it not is a Philip K. Dick story.
Short but sweet
3/13/11; 2:00pm CDT - Galen
Robert Silverberg's latest book, The Last Song of Orpheus is more novella than novel in length, but sometimes good things come in small packages.
From the sublime to the ridiculous!
3/27/11; 2:45pm CDT - Galen
Or maybe it's just the sublimely ridiculous, cause I'm not sure which category fits the two movies I'm reviewing today. I had originally thought Sucker Punch might be sublime, but it's not, and Paul is beyond ridiculous.
Use the Source Code, Jake!
4/2/11; 6:45pm CDT - Galen
Jake Gyllenhaal does a great job in an entertaining, if somewhat predictable, thriller...Source Code. Is it just me, or was it released on April 1 for a reason?
4/2/11; 9:45pm CDT - Galen
I continue with reviews of award winning novels with a look at Way Station by Clifford D. Simak, which received a Hugo in 1964.
5/22/11; 1:00pm CDT - Galen
The 2010 Nebula awards were announced last night, and I have updated the pages to reflect the winners. The Hugo nominations are also featured, and they will be awarded at Renovation, the World Science Fiction Convention in Reno, Nevada, August 17-21. Follow the links on that page for all of the past winners and nominees, as well as reviews of some of the books.
5/30/11; 6:00pm CDT - Galen
I review the first two books in the Riverworld series by Philip José Farmer, along with mention of an early version of the story. A profile page on Farmer will follow soon. I hope.
The Tree of Life
6/7/11; 7:45pm CDT - Galen
Terrence Malick's new film, The Tree of Life is not science fiction or fantasy, but it is speculative fiction of the highest order. Even though I know there is a large segment of the movie-going audience that will not like it, or at least not as much as I do, my recommendation for it is unreserved, and I have no qualms about reviewing it here.
6/12/11; 5:00pm CDT - Galen
What a difference a week makes. Last week I saw a film I loved but that most people won't. This week it is the opposite. Not that I hated Super 8, but it could have been so much better than the re-tread it turned out to be.
A little "Night Music" please!
6/12/11; 4:50pm CDT - Galen
Tobias Cabral has recently self-published his novella Night Music via amazon.com's Kindle service. It is a very good Hard-SF tale reminiscent of some of the masters, and if he can duplicate this effort his will be an interesting career to follow.
Philip José Farmer
6/19/11; 6:50pm CDT - Galen
I've finally finished my profile page on Philip José Farmer. Not that it took me this long to write, but as is typical I've been procrastinating. Working in 100+ degree heat everyday has wiped me out for most weekday evenings and the weekends have been devoted to other chores.
The Last Harry Potter
6/19/11; 5:15pm CDT - Galen
Eliza DoLots treats us to her take on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, the end (?) of the road for the film franchise.
7/31/11; 6:35pm CDT - Galen
I was surprised how much I enjoyed Thor, considering I'm not a comic geek and know little of the story as presented in that format. But director Kenneth Branagh and a cast headed by Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins made it well worth my time.
Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis
8/18/11; 5:45pm CDT - Galen
The lastest entry in Willis' Oxford Time Travel series, the dual novels Blackout & All Clear, won the Nebula earlier this year, and Saturday night we will find out if it also wins a Hugo. It is the only one of the nominated novels I've read, but I'm rooting for it and I think it has an excellent chance to win again.
Hugo Winners Announced
8/21/11; 12:55am CDT - Galen
As I was expecting (and hoping), Blackout/All Clear won the Hugo tonight, and I've edited that page to add that information, as well as adding a few other things to the review. I have also updated the Hugo/Nebula Award pages for all the other winners too.
Apollo 18 (or, Blair Witch Goes to the Moon)
9/4/11; 7:35pm CDT - Galen
I could have made reference to another (and older) low budget horror film, but it would have been too much of a spoiler. Not a great film by any means, but Apollo 18 is worth a look at matinee price, or worth a rental if you want to wait for the video release.
To Say Nothing of the Dog
9/25/11; 1:00pm CDT - Galen
I review Connie Willis' To Say Nothing of the Dog, the 1999 Hugo winner for best novel.
Connie Willis: Her Life and Work
10/23/11; 7:30pm CDT - Galen
Here's my profile on the career of Connie Willis. I have also created a "main" page for her, listing the books already reviewed.
The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson
11/26/11; 6:15pm CST - Galen
I'm still reading Blue Mars, but I decided to go ahead and upload the start of my review of the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson. I'll add to the review later, and might even edit some things I've already said.
Update on Mars
12/4/11; 6:15pm CST - Galen
I've finished (for now) my review of Kim Stanley Robison's Mars Trilogy. I'll probably work on a profile page on Robinson next, and may think of a few other things I wanted to say about the trilogy.
Happy New Year!
1/2/12; 11:35am CST - Galen
I hope everyone's 2012 is going okay so far. In my opinion it's gonna be the best year ever, with many more great ones to come. A pox on those dumb Mayans!
PS: The first book review of the year will be uploaded sometime later today.
Spin, Spin, Spin!
1/2/12; 1:15pm CST - Galen
The first book review of the year is for Robert Charles Wilson's Spin, the 2006 Hugo winner.
1/7/12; 8:45pm CST - Galen
Ever wonder if there's another you somewhere out there in the universe? Maybe they're on that new planet that just mysteriously appeared in the solar system. That's the premise of the independent film Another Earth, now out in a Blu-Ray/DVD Combo pack.
1/22/12; 6:45pm CST - Galen
The new prequel film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, is now out on DVD and Blu-Ray and I've seen it twice within the last week. It has some strong points along with a few weaknesses, but still well worth watching.
1/30/12; 8:45pm CST - Galen
Hugo has been nominated for eleven Academy Awards. It deserves everyone of them, and even more. Great film, the best I've seen in several years.
2/19/12; 8:30pm CST - Galen
Chronicle is yet another "found footage" film, with shaky camcorder footage. Just a few elements of the film work, but for the most part it was "been there, seen that" for me. The effects are impressive considering the budget, but I'd rather have seen a more original story idea.
The Hunger Games
2/11/12; 12:30pm CDT - Galen
The Hunger Games is the first of a trilogy of books by Suzanne Collins. It is a very popular Young Adult series, and while I am not in the target demographic I enjoyed it for the most part. To understand the few quibbles I had about it you just need to read my review.
2/18/12; 7:10pm CDT - Galen
John Carter is not the easiest film to review. It's much better than what you've probably already heard, but it is not without its faults. I'd say go see it and make up your own mind.
The Hunger Games - The Movie
2/23/12;11:15pm CDT - Galen
Like the book, the movie version of The Hunger Games is good, but not great. Regardless, it's gonna be a box office smash.
2/27/12; 7:40pm CDT - Galen
Eliza DoLots gives us her take on the box office winner, The Hunger Games.
Come to my cabin?
4/15/12; 3:20pm CDT - Galen
The Cabin in the Woods, co-written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, and directed by Goddard, has been promoted as a "mind-blowing horror film that turns the genre inside out." That's hyperbole for sure. It's enjoyable enough, but nothing that surprising or unexpected for me.
5/5/12; 8:20pm CDT - Galen
Joss Whedon deserves success and acclaim, and I think it inevitable he will get both due to his remarkable work on The Avengers.
Update on Hunger Games
5/13/12; 9:20pm CDT - Galen
I've updated my review page for The Hunger Games to add some thoughts on the two sequel novels.
5/20/12; 11:10am CDT - Galen
I've just updated the Hugo/Nebula Awards page to highlight the winners of the 2011 Nebulas announced last night, and I also realized I hadn't yet entered the nominees for the 2012 Hugos, to be announced at Chicon 7 in September.
6/11/12; 5:40pm CDT - Galen
In spite of its pedigree, and my fervent anticipation of it, Prometheus proved to be a big disappointment. My suggestion is to skip it and rewatch Alien instead.
New Affiliate - New Review
6/11/12; 5:45pm CDT - Galen
The Templeton Gate is now an affiliate of ReAnimusPress, a fairly new enterprise bent on bringing older SF titles back in e-book formats (not printed books). My first review is of Jerry Sohl's 1965 novel Night Slaves, which was later adapted for a made-for-TV movie.
The Yiddish Policemen's Union
7/8/12; 5:55pm CDT - Galen
Here's my review of Michael Chabon's Hugo and Nebula award winning novel from 2007.
The Dark Knight Rises
7/22/12; 9:45pm CDT - Galen
I've just seen Christopher Nolan's latest (and last?) Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises. It's good, but not as good as the two previous films.
Companion Needed For Time Travel
7/26/12; 7:00pm CDT - Galen
Once again a low budget independent film has caught my eye. I would like to say that entertainment is guaranteed, but I know my tastes differ quite a bit from a lot of other people. But I loved Safety Not Guaranteed. Is it an SF film? Yes. Maybe. Who cares?
Larry Niven's Ringworld
8/5/12; 9:45pm CDT - Galen
I've just uploaded my review of Larry Niven's 1970 novel Ringworld, winner of both the Hugo and Nebula.
Welcome to Rekall
8/11/12; 6:45pm CDT - Galen
I've recently re-watched the original film from 1990, then the new remake, as well as re-reading the short story both were "inspired" by. Here are my thoughts on Total Recall.
2012 Hugo Awards
8/11/12; 6:45pm CDT - Galen
I've just updated the Hugo/Nebula page to reflect the winners of the 2012 Hugos announced this weekend in Chicago. I also added Jo Walton's Among Others to the Novel Winners and Dual Awards pages, since it also won the Nebula earlier this year, and I hope to read and review it soon.
Update on Night Slaves
9/8/12; 1:40pm CDT - Galen
A few months ago I reviewed Jerry Sohl's 1965 novel Night Slaves, and I had mentioned I had seen the TV movie adapted from it but that it had never been released on any video format. About a week ago someone uploaded the full movie to YouTube. I've edited the review to include that information.
9/8/12; 1:45pm CDT - Galen
John Varley's latest novel, Slow Apocalypse, is something entirely different than we've ever seen from him.
10/3/12; 9:05pm CDT - Galen
Jo Walton's Among Others won both the Hugo and Nebula this year, and has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award. I recommend it. I won't say it's highly recommended, but it's a pretty good book.
Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse, Book 1)
10/17/12; 10:20pm CDT - Galen
James S. A. Corey is a pen name used by Daniel Abraham (primarily a fantasy writer) and Ty Franck, who is an assistant to George R. R. Martin, and he has only one other short story to his credit so far. Leviathan Wakes is the first novel in a series collectively knows as The Expanse. It was nominated for a Hugo and a Locus Award for Best Novel this year. It is an entirely different kind of book than the last one I reviewed, Among Others, which won both the Hugo and Nebula. I enjoyed Leviathan Wakes more.
10/27/12; 1:30pm CDT - Galen
Cloud Atlas is based on a book that has been described as "unfilmable." I've just ordered the book to find out why, but right now I'd have to say that was a fallacious assumption. It could have been an ambitious mess, and while not everythng works and at least one segment could have been deleted, for the most part it is successful in telling a cohesive story that spans multiple scenarios and hundreds of years, past, present and future. Highly recommended.
Awww....Go Bug Jack Barron!
10/31/12; 11:30pm CDT - Galen
Bug Jack Barron was controversial when it was originally published in 1969. In spite of several dated elements it is still a very powerful book that asks some tough questions about how we allow the government and the media to manipulate us.
Sound of My Voice
11/4/12; 8:45pm CST - Galen
Sound of My Voice is another indie film co-written and co-produced by actress Brit Marling (Another Earth). It will take a few more viewings of both to decide which one I like more, but right now I'd say they are even.
The Hobbit begins...
12/17/12; 9:05pm CST - Galen
...but will it ever end? Overall, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey gets my recommendation, but I do have some major issues with it. Someone really needs to reel in Peter Jackson's ego and point out the fact that sometimes less is better.
1/1/13; 3:00pm CST - Galen
Well, those Mayans were dead wrong, and in spite of the fact there is a 13 in this year's date I have a suspicion it will be a very lucky year.
All of last year's updates have been archived, and are accessible through the link at the upper left of each page on the site. It was a pretty good year for the Gate, with reviews of sixteen movies and eleven books, probably the most active since the first couple of years. We are nearing a total of 300 pages, with 293 at last count. The first review of the year will be along in a few days, probably over the weekend. I have just a bit to read in a book that has a peripheral connection to the main one the review will be about.
Phoenix Without Ashes
2/12/13; 4:30pm CST - Galen
Well, it took a lot longer getting around to this review than I had anticipated, but work has been full and I've also been a bit under the weather at times. Anyway, I've just uploaded a review that encompasses the novel Phoenix Without Ashes by Edward Bryant as well as the graphic novel of the same name by Harlan Ellison, both of which are based on Ellison's Writer's Guild Award winning pilot script for the ill-fated TV series The Starlost. There's a few other tidbits thrown in to round out the whole story.
Midwich Cuckoos/Village of the Damned
2/24/13; 3:50pm CST - Galen
Two new pages today, one on the novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, the other on the three film versions of the story, two of which are titled Village of the Damned.
4/21/13; 6:15pm CDT - Galen
At long last, another review. I think Oblivion is the perfect title for this movie, since I now want to wipe all traces of it from my memory.
Star Trek Into Darkness
5/20/13; 5:45am CDT - Galen
Eliza DoLots gives us her take on J.J. Abrams' second foray in the Trek universe, Star Trek Into Darkness.
Man of Steel
6/16/13; 7:15pm CDT - Galen
In spite of a few negatives, Man of Steel is definitely the best Superman movie to date.
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
7/6/13; 2:45pm CDT - Galen
I thought The Chrysalids was a Wyndham book I hadn't read yet. I was wrong. Around forty years ago I encountered it under its American title, Re-Birth. It's still as good as I remember, maybe even better.
7/14/13; 6:25pm CDT - Galen
Giant robots fighting giant monsters. What's not to like about Pacific Rim?
Elysium (Or Neill Blomkamp Takes a Nose Dive)
8/18/13; 2:55pm CDT - Galen
It takes a pretty bad movie to be worse than Oblivion. Sad to say, Elysium is that movie.
2013 Hugo Awards
9/2/13; 7:15pm CDT - Galen
I attended three of the five days of this year's Worldcon, LoneStarCon3 in San Antonio, which is just closing down about now. I did not stay for the Hugo ceremony though, but I have just updated the Awards page to reflect this year's winners.
Gravity can get you down
10/6/13; 12:55pm CDT - Galen
There are both good things and bad about Gravity, and I try to explain both in my review. YMMV.
11/3/13; 5:15pm CDT - Galen
I've just uploaded reviews of both Orson Scott Card's novel from 1985, as well as the new movie in theaters now.
Beware the Triffids!
11/10/13; 8:45pm CDT - Galen
Two new pages today, one on the novel The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham, another on three different film versions of the story, the 1962 theatrical feature and two different BBC mini-series.
Classic Doctor Who
11/23/13; 10:30pm CDT - Galen
It's been well over a year since I started watching Classic Doctor Who through Netflix and Amazon, and now on the 50th Anniversary of the show I've finally posted the beginning of my review.
11/25/13; 9:29pm CDT - Galen
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a better film than its predecessor, just not good enough to satisfy me.
11/25/13; 9:30pm CST - Galen
Anyone from my gereration knows exactly where they were when they heard the news. Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if JFK had not been assassinated? Well, so has Stephen King, along with the protagonist of his novel, 11/22/63.
A Canticle For Leibowitz
12/8/13; 2:30pm CST - Galen
Winner of the Hugo for Best Novel in 1961, A Canticle For Leibowitz is still as powerful a book as it was more than fifty years ago. Highly recommended.
Happy New Year, Hobbitses!
1/1/14; 12:30am CST - Galen
Well, 2014 is here, and I'm finally getting around to a movie review I should have done several days ago, but it took a while to decide if I should bother. Peter Jackson continues his expansive, overblown, and over-long adaptation of Tolkien's The Hobbit, the second film in his trilogy being subtitled The Desolation of Smaug. Anyone who has read the book and seen this film knows that title is incorrect, and that's just one of many things wrong with it.
1/1/14; 10:00pm CST - Galen
I've added a few comments to my review of The Desolation of Smaug, even a few positive ones believe it or not. Even if you've already read it you might want to take another look.
1/1/14; 10:05pm CST - Galen
Jerry Sohl's Costigan's Needle was his first novel, published in 1953. Interesting premise, poor execution, but I felt compelled to finish the review since ReAnimus Press provided the e-book for free.
1/5/14; 6:50pm CST - Galen
Anyone who is a fan of Star Trek doesn't need the title explained. If you are a Trek fan, or even if you're not, my recommendation is to run far away from John Scalzi's novel, as if you're a redshirt yourself trying to escape your fate. What were the Hugo voters thinking last year?
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
1/19/14; 4:15pm CST - Galen
Following along the same timeline as Robinson's Mars Trilogy, 2312 is the winner of last year's Nebula award. I was expecting it to repeat and also win the Hugo, because it is infinitely better than Redshirts.
1/31/14; 5:30pm CST - Galen
Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin is a beautifully written fantasy, and I predict the upcoming film will not do it justice.
Bring the Jubilee
2/3/14; 10:20pm CST - Galen
Ward Moore's 1953 novel Bring the Jubilee is an intriguing alternate history tale, in this case exploring the possibilities of what might have happened if the South had won the Civil War.
Winter's Tale - The Movie
2/15/14; 2:20pm CST - Galen
Not as good as the book, but that was expected. Akiva Goldsman's adaptation of Winter's Tale was surprisingly satisfying in spite of so much story missing. A bit too much magic compared to the book, or at least explained too much, but most of it works.
Two Hugo winners from Heinlein
2/15/14; 2:30pm CST - Galen
I just uploaded two book reviews, both from Heinlein, and both Hugo winners. Double Star was his first win in 1956, then fifty years after the fact, 1950's Farmer in the Sky received a Retro Hugo in 2001. It shouldn't have.
Siege of Stars
4/6/14; 2:30pm CST - Galen
Siege of Stars by Henry Gee is the first book of the Sigil Trilogy, and is available from ReAnimus Press.
Babel-17 & Empire Star
4/14/14; 5:10pm CDT - Galen
Samuel R. Delany won his first Nebula with Babel-17, and in the current print edition it is joined with the connected story "Empire Star."
The Einstein Intersection
5/14/14; 4:40pm CDT - Galen
A month's long enough, and considering it's been over a week since I finished Samuel R. Delany's The Einstein Intersection, it's about time for a review.
2013 Nebula Awards
5/18/14; 6:30pm CDT - Galen
The Nebulas were announced last night, and after several hours tracking down links for all the books, movies and TV shows available from Amazon, I've just finished updating the Hugo/Nebula page, including the Hugo nominations that will be decided in August.
The Jewels of Aptor
6/17/14; 9:00pm CDT - Galen
The first of Samuel R. Delany's stories to be published, The Jewels of Aptor, shows the promise of the eventual Grand Master, but it is ultimately unsatisfying.
Gojira vs. Godzilla
6/17/14; 9:10pm CDT - Galen
The original 1954 film Gojira has its faults, but it is vastly superior to the latest American version of Godzilla. Here's my review of both.
The Fourth Doctor
6/30/14; 9:20am CDT - Galen
I finally got around to updating my Classic Doctor Who review, this time adding comments on the Tom Baker years.
The Edge of Futures Past
6/30/14; 9:30am CDT - Galen
It has been a couple of weeks since I've seen these movies, not sure why it's taken me this long to post reviews. Both are likely to not be in theaters much longer, but since a lot of people wait for the DVD release anyway, I guess it doesn't matter. They are both unique, and don't have any connection to each other, except that both utilize their own form of time travel to correct past mistakes. Edge of Tomorrow and X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
7/14/14; 12:00pm CDT - Galen
I know most everyone else will disagree, but I was thinking a better first word for the title would be Yawn.
7/14/14; 12:05pm CDT - Galen
Ancillary Justice is the first novel from Ann Leckie. It has already won the Nebula and is also nominated for a Hugo (and it won that one too). It is very good.
2014 Hugo Awards
8/18/14; 4:15pm CDT - Galen
I've just updated the Hugo/Nebula pages to reflect the winners announced last night at LonCon3, including the Retro Hugos.
8/26/14; 6:35pm CDT - Galen
Gregg Macklin has written reviews here, as well as posted on the forums, under the username of Starflight. It's been a while since the last of those reviews, and that might not change much in the future, since he is now writing his own stories. His first novel is Time's Crossroads.
9/2/14; 8:45pm CDT - Galen
Continuing with the work of Grand Master Samuel R. Delany, today I take a look at his 1968 Hugo-nominated novel, Nova.
9/10/14; 11:05pm CDT - Galen
Delany again. This time it's his Nebula nominee from 1975, the much praised (and much criticized) Dhalgren.
The Lotus Caves on High Moon
9/28/14; 6:00pm CDT - Galen
Two new pages today. A review of John Christopher's 1969 juvenile novel The Lotus Caves, along with a look at the extremely loose adaptation of it, High Moon, which was supposed to be a pilot for a series on Syfy, but they finally made a wise decision by not picking it up.
Doctor Who Update
10/12/14; 5:35pm CDT - Galen
It has been several weeks since I watched the last of Peter Davison's episodes on Classic Doctor Who, but I finally got around to updating that page.
Rite of Passage
10/13/14; 6:55pm CDT - Galen
The Nebula Winner for 1968 was Rite of Passage by Alexei Panshin.
The Man Who Folded Himself
10/15/14; 9:00pm CDT - Galen
Originally published in 1973, then revised in 2003, David Gerrold's The Man Who Folded Himself is still a good time travel tale, but maybe not as good as I remembered.
The Zero Theorem
10/18/14; 2:15pm CDT - Galen
Another wild and weird cinematic journey from Terry Gilliam, The Zero Theorem might still be showing in theaters, but likely only in large markets. Otherwise, it's already on VOD from various sources, including Amazon.
10/22/14; 4:30pm CDT - Galen
Dark Lightning is the latest from John Varley, continuting events that began in 2003's Red Thunder.
11/8/14; 2:50pm CST - Galen
Interstellar is being hailed as a science fiction epic by some, and it does have some positive attributes, but for me the negatives far outweigh them.
Sigil Trilogy Book 2
11/13/14; 1:00pm CST - Galen
It has been nearly seven months since I posted the review of the first book in Henry Gee's Sigil Trilogy. I shouldn't have waited this long to read the second one, Scourge of Stars, because in spite of a few quibbles I might have, it is still very good and I'll finish the third book as soon as possible.
Sigil Trilogy Complete
11/16/14; 5:00pm CST - Galen
My review of Henry Gee's Sigil Trilogy is complete, although I won't rule out editing it later if I think of something else I should have said. I probably spoiled too many things already, so I'll quit for now.
Birdman Flies High!
11/25/14; 4:30pm CST - Galen
Birdman is the best film I've seen this year, and hopefully it will get the recognition it deserves, not only for Michael Keaton's perfomance, but also the other actors, the director and cinematographers. A near perfect film.
Flowers for Algernon
11/25/14; 10:15pm CST - Galen
Getting back to award-winning books, I take a look at Daniel Keyes' 1966 novel Flowers for Algernon which tied for the Nebula with the previously reviewed Babel-17 by Samuel Delany. It was preceded by a short story version, which won a Hugo in 1960.
Mockingjay, Part 1
11/25/14; 10:15pm CST - Galen
Just as with the third book in Suzanne Collin's Hunger Games trilogy, I am losing interest in the film franchise as well. They should have kept the third book to just one film, because Mockingjay, Part 1 is light on action and long on boring exposition and lifeless acting.
The Hobbit 3
Finally, hopefully, Peter Jackson is done with Middle Earth. The Battle of the Five Armies is actually the shortest of the three Hobbit films. Why did it feel like the longest?
Another Year Gone By
1/1/15; 6:00pm CST - Galen
All of the updates for 2014 have been moved to the Archives page, and that page is accessible from any other page on the site through the link in the "News" column to the left. It was one of, if not the most productive years for the site, with reviews of twenty-two books and twelve movies, updates on one TV show plus one other new one, as well as updates to miscellaneous pages like the Hugo/Nebulas and the SF Hall of Fame. No matter how much that was an improvement over the past few years, I still need to do more, since I am not working now. No resolutions, since I don't want to break them, but I will try harder this year.
Triton by Samuel R. Delany
1/4/15; 10:15pm CST - Galen
The first review of the year is here! It took a while to get through Triton (aka Trouble on Triton). I'm glad I persevered though, since it proved well worth the time and effort.
1/11/15; 9:35pm CST - Galen
If you've read Heinlein's "—All You Zombies—" there won't be any surprises, but you might like Predestination anyway.
1/11/15; 9:30pm CST - Galen
William Gibson's first novel, Neuromancer, won the Hugo, Nebula and Philip K. Dick awards. It deserved them.
12 Monkeys (1995)
1/16/15; 7:55pm CST - Galen
I've been meaning to review Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys about as long as this site has been active. Now that Syfy is premiering a series based on it I guess it's about time I did that.
1/18/15; 4:00pm CST - Galen
Andy Weir's first novel, The Martian, has been getting a lot of positive buzz, along with a few nay-sayers claiming it is boring and repetitive. It's not boring, in fact I read it about as fast as anything in quite a long time. I like Hard-SF stories with lots of realistic action. If you do too, it is recommended.
A Tale of Two Congresses
3/15/15; 8:10pm CDT - Galen
It's been entirely too long since the last update, so I'll try to make up for that a bit with two reviews today. First is the book The Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem, and then the movie loosely adapted from it, The Congress, starring Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel and Jon Hamm.
In other news, there are several other things I've been meaning to get around to, quite a few films, a TV series, as well as other books, and it's not like I can use the old excuse of not enough time. I just have to do it.
Stars In My Pocket Like Grains Of Sand
3/26/15; 10:10pm CDT - Galen
Stars In My Pocket Like Grains of Sand came out in 1985, nearly ten years after Delany's previous science fiction novel.
4/1/15; 6:45pm CDT - Galen
Believe it or not, I finally finished my profile article on Samuel R. Delany. Today happens to be his 73rd birthday. I also created a main page for him that has links to all the reviews I've done so far, and I will be adding to that list, but I don't know when. I need to move on to somebody else for a while.
I also decided to create another page that lists all of the SFWA Grand Masters, Delany having received that honor last year. Then I went into other pages to create a link to that for other recipients for which I've written articles, along with linking specific ones to the SF Hall of Fame. One thing I haven't done yet, and not sure when I'll get to it, is going through all the pages where Delany might have been mentioned so I can put a link on his name directed to his main page.
4/4/15; 4:20pm CDT - Galen
I've just updated the current Hugo/Nebula page with the nominees for the 2014 Nebulas, to be presented June 6, and the 2015 Hugos, which will be handed out on August 22.
4/12/15; 7:40pm CDT - Galen
*I've edited this article to include more information and to clarify a few thoughts.* The nomination process for this year's Hugo Awards is embroiled in controversy, similar to what is going on with Gamergate, so I've dubbed my thoughts on it as Hugogate, although it's likely someone else called it that before me.
Stations of the Tide
4/12/15; 7:45pm CDT - Galen
Another random trip through my reviews of award winners takes us back nearly twenty-five years, with my take on Michael Swanwick's Stations of the Tide, written in 1990, published in book form in '91, and winner of the Nebula in '92.
Hugo Nomination Revisions
4/17/15; 5:45pm CDT - Galen
Several changes have occurred since I first posted the Hugo nominations. Two entries were ruled ineligible for various reasons, plus two authors have withdrawn their works from consideration. There had already been subsititutions named for the ineligible items, but I wasn't sure those rules would apply to the ones who had voluntarily withdrawn, but the awards committee announced this morning that there would be substitutions there too. In the Best Novel category, Lines of Departure by Marko Kloos was been withdrawn by its author, and has been replaced by The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu. Annie Bellet withdrew her "Goodnight Stars" from the Short Story category, and it was replaced by “A Single Samurai" by Steven Diamond. Officials say that the final ballots are going to the printers soon and no further changes will be made. A full list of nominees for the Hugos and this year's Nebulas can be found here.
Two Movies, One Terrible, One So-So
4/30/15; 4:15pm CDT - Galen
I saw two movies a couple of weeks ago at the discount theater. I'd be really upset if I had paid more than 50¢ each. The worst was Jupiter Ascending, which is not recommended. Chappie wasn't a total disappointment, even though I'll likely not want to watch it again.
Age of Ultron
5/2/15; 1:00pm CDT - Galen
Avengers: Age of Ultron will easily win the box office this weekend, perhaps even surpassing its record-breaking predecessor. The majority will love it. When have I ever been in the majority?
One Book, One Movie
5/7/15; 8:45pm CDT - Galen
I've just uploaded two new reviews. Ancillary Sword is Ann Leckie's follow-up to last year's multiple award-winner Ancillary Justice. It has already won this year's BSFA, and is also nominated for the Nebula, Hugo and Locus awards.
Ex Machina is an excellent film that I highly recommend. If it's playing near you I'd say go for it, but don't delay because it will likely be pushed out of theaters soon by the juggernaut of The Avengers plus a couple of other upcoming blockbusters.
The Three Body Problem
5/16/15; 2:00pm CDT - Galen
The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu is possibly the best selling and most popular science fiction novel from China. It's English translation came out late last year and it has been nominated for many awards, including the Nebula and Hugo. As you might be aware, I am at times somewhat of a contrarian, and I've been wondering what everyone else sees in this book. YMMV.
The Goblin Emperor
5/23/15; 3:10pm CDT - Galen
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison is another book nominated for several awards, including the Nebula, Hugo and Locus. Sorry to say, but I cannot recommended it.
6/1/15; 7:15pm CDT - Galen
Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End is just as good as I remembered. I fear the upcoming Syfy mini-series won't do it justice, but we'll always have the book. For those who haven't read it (or even for those who have) it is highly recommended, even though it is more mystical and less scientific than the majority of his other work.
6/7/15; 4:45pm CDT - Galen
Congratulations to Jeff VanderMeer for his Best Novel Nebula winner, Annihilation, which is the first book in the Southern Reach trilogy. I have just ordered the book and will read and review it as soon as I can. Check out all the other winners and nominees on the Hugo/Nebula page.
SF Hall of Fame
6/13/15; 5:00pm CDT - Galen
The 2015 inductees into the SF Hall of Fame have been announced. Click through to see who has been selected to join this elite group.
Annihilation - Southern Reach Book 1
6/15/15; 1:30pm CDT - Galen
Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation just won a Nebula for Best Novel. It is the first book in the Southern Reach Trilogy. It was very good, and I've ordered the other books and will continue with this review as soon as possible.
6/21/15; 9:30pm CDT - Galen
It has been nearly three years since I reviewed Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey. I finally got around to the second book in the series, Caliban's War. I decided to combine the reviews, so check out the new page now all about The Expanse. Even if you had already read that first review you might want to look again, since I edited it a bit, plus added comments on a couple of prequel short stories.
6/23/15; 8:50pm CDT - Galen
One of Ray Bradbury's best, which means it's one of the genre's very best, started out as a short story titled "The Fireman" in Galaxy magazine in 1951. Two years later, the expanded novel, Fahrenheit 451 was released. Since there were no Hugos awarded in '54, it had to wait fifty years before it received a Retro Hugo.
Authority - Southern Reach Book 2
6/29/15; 6:05pm CDT - Galen
I made some minor edits to the original review, then added comments on Authority, the second book in Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy. I've already started the third book and will update again soon.
Help! I'm stuck in Area X
7/8/15; 10:00pm CDT - Galen
I've finished (for now) my review of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy, but I won't rule out editing some more. I do need to move on to another book, but I fear I may be stuck in Area X for a long time. I've been through Annihilation, been beaten down by Authority, but I'm now in Acceptance mode. I loved it!
Beware the Librarians!
7/20/15; 9:15pm CDT - Galen
Scott Hawkins' first novel is the incredibly fascinating, disturbing, bizzare and original The Library at Mount Char. You'll never think of librarians the same way again.
7/26/15; 9:00pm CDT - Galen
I'm jumping the gun on this by a few hours, but tomorrow marks 15 years since The Templeton Gate went live. We started with less than 20 pages, now with the latest update there are a total of 367. Even subtracting those pages that are merely category groupings with links to the articles, or the Hugo/Nebula pages, intros to the various reviewers, etc, that still leaves 312 reviews or essays. We would surely have topped 400 overall, except for the fact that quite a few reviews cover more than one book, such as the recent Southern Reach Trilogy, along with at least 20 other examples of multiple book series. Then again, I'm not consistent, since there are individual reviews that probably should have been combined, like Varley's four Thunder & Lightning books and the two (so far) of Ann Leckie's Imperial Radch. I may combine them later, maybe not, but if I do I would have to change links and edit several other pages.
Something new is that I've created a new category on the site, for comics. There have only been four reviews of that type so far (or five if you stretch the criteria), and I had included them in the literature category before, but I plan on several others in hopefully the near future. There have been two that I read over the past year that I had intended to review, just haven't gotten around to it, which means I probably need to re-read them. Graphic novels are bigger than ever these days, and the Hugo Awards added that category six years ago. I've been reading the nominees for this year and may review some or all of them.
Who knows what the future holds? Both the domain name registration and hosting service are up for renewal in November, and I plan to renew both for five years as I did the last time. That way I save a little bit of money and don't have to worry about it for a while. I did well on posting updates during the first two or three years, then slacked off in the middle period as my workload increased. Now that I'm not working (and I hope that can continue) I'm reading more, although I had also intended to increase the number of movie and TV reviews. If I can maintain a good pace maybe I'll be talking about 500 pages the next time the renewals roll around. That's only another 133 between now and then, an average of 26.5 per year, and I've already added 24 this year. It's doable.
Stories For Chip
8/9/15; 3:00pm CDT - Galen
Stories For Chip, edited by Nisi Shawl and Bill Campbell, is an anthology in tribute to Grand Master Samuel R. Delany.
Finches of Mars
8/18/15; 8:30am CDT - Galen
Today, on Brian Aldiss' 90th birthday, I review his latest (and reportedly last) novel. No one is more disappointed than me that Finches of Mars is not very good.
Hugo Awards Announced
8/23/15; 9:00am CDT - Galen
The winners of the 2015 Hugo Awards have been announced. Click through to see the full list, including all nominees.
9/2/15; 4:15pm CDT - Galen
Anyone who's been paying attention knows I prefer science fiction to fantasy, but I've been trying to expand my reading list in recent years. Kameron Hurley's Worldbreaker Saga has been getting a lot of positive buzz. The second book comes out October 6, but I got an advance copy. The third book should be released about this time next year, if not sooner. I'm not the best judge of this type of story, so take my comments with a grain of salt, or multiple grains as necessary.
9/5/15; 6:15pm CDT - Galen
Weston Ochse's Grunt Life is the first book in a series about an alien invasion. It's well-written and exciting, recommended.
Two Book Reviews
9/14/15; 8:15pm CDT - Galen
Two new reviews, both from advance e-books I received from Net Galley. The better of the two is Nalo Hopkinson's short story collection, Falling In Love With Hominids. The other one had potential but didn't come through. Lightless is the first novel from C. A. Higgins. If she had concentrated on just a couple of the plot threads she could have fashioned a tight thriller, but the four she tried to combine were too much for her talent at this time.
9/26/15; 6:30pm CDT - Galen
I continue my look at Weston Ochse's book series Task Force OMBRA with a few comments on the second book, Grunt Traitor. If you haven't already read the start of the review I posted three weeks ago, just scroll up to the top of that page.
The Martian (The Movie)
10/3/15; 4:00pm CDT - Galen
Ridley Scott's The Martian is as realistic a spaced-based movie as could be expected. Highly recommended.
10/8/15; 7:30pm CDT - Galen
Ann Leckie's Imperial Radch trilogy concludes with Ancillary Mercy. The first book is still the best, but overall it is a strong story that I recommend, and I know I'll be re-reading one of these days.
10/4/15; 6:15pm CDT - Galen
Kim Stanley Robinson's latest Hard-SF tale is Aurora. Recommended, but with reservations.
10/19/15; 7:30pm CDT - Galen
Cinnabar is a magical place, a mysterious city at the center of time, or lost in time, or maybe in another dimension, and Edward Bryant told some fabulous stories about it.
10/24/15; 8:30pm CDT - Galen
The third novel in James S. A. Corey's Expanse series is Abaddon's Gate. It's good, introducing several more interesting characters, but it's essentially a transitional tale leading up to what I expect will be even more exciting adventures in the subsequent books.
A Borrowed Man
10/27/15; 2:30pm CDT - Galen
Gene Wolfe's latest novel is A Borrowed Man. On the surface it's a fairly simple mystery, although it has several SF elements. The surface of a Wolfe novel is usually deceptive, so a reread is in order, but my first impression is not that positive.
The Big Time
11/5/15; 6:30pm CDT - Galen
Fritz Leiber's The Big Time was a big letdown. Just because it won a Hugo doesn't mean it's any good.
11/13/15; 9:30pm CDT - Galen
The second novel that won a Hugo for Fritz Leiber is The Wanderer. It's better than his previous one, but not by much. Only about 25% is well written and worth reading, the rest is full of repetitive actions by poorly realized characters.
11/19/15; 5:50pm CST - Galen
The fourth novel in the Expanse series is Cibola Burn. At this time I'd say it's tied with Leviathan Wakes as the best.
Mockingjay, Part 2
12/8/15; 3:30pm CST - Galen
I have not been very impressed with either the book or movie series, and the concluding film doesn't change my opinion much. I only bothered with Mockingjay, Part 2 because I'm a completist.
The Expanse series on Syfy
12/10/15; 1:40pm CST - Galen
I'm a big fan of the books, and have been eagerly awaiting this series since it was announced. I probably should have waited on this review, but I want to help promote The Expanse as much as possible. [UPDATED on 12/17/15]
The Force Awakens
12/21/15; 9:20am CST - Galen
Eliza DoLots returns to review the latest Star Wars saga, The Force Awakens.
Two TV Reviews
12/29/15; 7:00am CST - Galen
I finally got around to two TV reviews I've been thinking about for several weeks. Amazon's The Man in the High Castle and Syfy's Childhood's End mini-series. The first is recommended, the latter, sort of, but with reservations.
1/1/16; 8:30am CST - Galen
Happy New Year! All of last year's updates have been moved to the Archives page. Can't say yet when a new one for this year will be uploaded, but maybe this weekend. I reviewed a total of thirty-two books in 2015, while also re-reading a few previously reviewed ones. That's an increase of ten over 2014, but I will endeavor to do even more this year, with my goal being at least fifty. There were also ten movie reviews, three for TV shows, one author profile, plus other miscellaneous additions to existing pages. All in all, an improvement over 2014, but not as much as I would have liked.
Harlan Ellison is CanTankerous
1/2/16; 7:00pm CST - Galen
Harlan's latest book contains previously uncollected stories, some very old, but rewritten for this publication. Unfortunately, Can & Can'Tankerous is only for the die-hard fans.
1/7/16; 3:15pm CST - Galen
Planetfall by Emma Newman is both a taut mystery about colonizing an alien planet, as well as an intense portrait of an interesting, but disturbed, woman. Recommended.
City of Stairs
1/18/16; 1:00pm CST - Galen
Robert Jackson Bennett's City of Stairs is the first of a trilogy called The Divine Cities. Great world-building, interesting characters, a compelling mystery. Recommended. The second book will be out a week from tomorrow, but I have an advance copy, so I'll be updating the review soon.
1/23/16; 10:00pm CST - Galen
In anticipation of the new mini-series starting tomorrow on FOX, I recently completed a re-watch of all nine seasons of The X-Files, quite a bit of which I had not seen the first time around. My review page also includes comments on the two movies, and I'll update with comments on the new episodes soon, although I may wait until all six have been broadcast.
City of Blades
1/27/16; 5:10pm CST - Galen
The second novel of The Divine Cities by Robert Jackson Bennett is City of Blades. It's actually better than the first, and I expect it to show up on quite a few award ballots next year. If you haven't yet read my review of the first book of the series just scroll up to the top of that page.
Signal To Noise
1/31/16; 2:20pm CST - Galen
Silvia Moreno Garcia's first novel, Signal To Noise, is a vivid tale of teenage angst mixed with music and magic in Mexico City in the late 1980s, with later reflections in 2009. Recommended.
The Left Hand of Darkness
2/3/16; 9:45pm CST - Galen
Ursula K. Le Guin won her first Hugo, and Nebula, with 1969's The Left Hand of Darkness. It's just as good now as it was then, a testament to a true classic. If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for?
The Expanse TV (Revised)
2/9/16; 5:45pm CST - Galen
Now that the first short season is complete, I edited my review a bit.
2/9/16; 5:45pm CST - Galen
Ursula Le Guin also won a Hugo and Nebula (among others) for 1974's The Dispossessed, both a personal and a political story. One of the best there has ever been.
The Word For World Is Forest
2/13/16; 8:10pm CST - Galen
The Word For World Is Forest won a Hugo as best novella in 1973. It originally appeared in the 1972 anthology Again, Dangerous Visions, but has also been printed on its own in several editions over the years.
The Wind's Twelve Quarters
2/18/16; 6:35pm CST - Galen
Le Guin's first short story collection, The Wind's Twelve Quarters, boasts four award winners along with nine other nominations, and the book itself won a Locus Award for Best Single Author Collection for 1975.
2/21/16; 1:15pm CST - Galen
The SFWA has announced the nominees for the 2015 Nebulas, and I've just finished revising the Awards Page, as well as the Amazon Books & Amazon Films pages to include links for available books and films. This is the first year I've included links for any of the novellas, but several of those are in print or on Kindle. As soon as I get the chance, I'll review previous years to see if any of the shorter works are in book form, but of course a lot of those would also have been included in 'Best Of' collections too. The Nebula winners will be announced on May 14.
Three Book Reviews
2/29/16; 1:15pm CST - Galen
I've read four novels since uploading the last review, and had previously thought I would continue reading as many Hugo eligible titles as possible before doing any more reviews. But I am taking advantage of Leap Day to post some comments about three of them. I'll get to the fourth one as soon as possible, but since it is a continuation of an on-going series I need to take a fresh look at that page to see if I should do some edits of previous comments first. At this time, at least one of the following is in my Top 5 picks for a Hugo nomination.
The Mechanical, Book 1 of The Alchemy War by Ian Tregillis
Not Dark Yet by Berit Ellingsen
The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi
3/11/16; 8:15pm CST - Galen
In spite of a few minor faults, Neal Stephenson's Seveneves is one of the best books I've read in a while, a real mind-blower. Definitely on my Hugo nomination list.
The Grace of Kings
3/16/16; 9:30pm CDT - Galen
Ken Liu's The Grace of Kings has received generally positive reviews and has been nominated for a Nebula. I obviously didn't like it as much as others.
5/15/16; 10:30am CDT - Galen
I've just updated the Awards Page with the winners of this year's Nebulas, as well as the nominees for the Hugos (to be presented mid-August), plus added links to all the appropriate Amazon pages. I finished reading the Nebula winner last night, and will follow up with a review as soon as possible.
5/15/16; 4:15pm CDT - Galen
The latest Nebula winning novel is Uprooted by Naomi Novik. On the surface it seems a typical enough fairy tale, but it's really compelling and unpredictable.
Captain America: Civil War
5/15/16; 7:00pm CDT - Galen
My opinion is once again different from a lot of others. No, this is not the best of the MCU. Of course that opinion is based on absolutely no knowledge of the storyline from the comics. I just didn't care for how our "heroes" acted in this one.
A Wizard of Earthsea
5/22/16; 6:00pm CDT - Galen
This fantasy series from Le Guin is very highly regarded by most critics and readers, but I have to rate A Wizard of Earthsea below the SF books that I have read by her. I'm hoping the rest of the series helps to change my mind, and I'll get back to it soon, but another book from another author will come before that.
5/26/16; 9:45pm CDT - Galen
Malka Older's first novel is also the first novel from the Tor.com imprint. Infomocracy is a taut thriller in a near future with a transformed political landscape, while at the same time it has some eerie parallels to current political and social situations. Recommended.
Updates for Two Book Series
6/4/16; 7:30pm CDT - Galen
It's been a while since I finished Nemesis Games, the fifth novel in the Expanse book series by James S. A. Corey. I had wanted to take another look at that review, maybe eliminate some spoilers in previous sections. I may have deleted or changed a few comments, but mainly just put up more spoiler warnings. If you haven't read any of the books yourself, or any of my review, I suggest you scroll to the top of that page and stop after the first section. If you're not worried about spoilers and just want to get a sense of the story, feel free to continue through the review.
The other addition for today is The Tombs of Atuan, the second novel in Le Guin's original Earthsea trilogy.
The Aeronaut's Windlass
6/10/16; 8:30pm CDT - Galen
Jim Butcher's latest novel, The Aeronaut's Windlass, is the beginning of a new series called The Cinder Spires. It has been nominated for a Hugo, and while it is entertaining enough, not what I would call award-worthy. YMMV.
The Fifth Season
6/29/16; 6:50pm CDT - Galen
Yet another book I wanted to like much more than I did. N. K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season is the beginning of a new trilogy. It was nominated for Nebula and Locus awards, but didn't win either, but also up for a Hugo. I had to read it before voting, but I'm not sure I'm interested in the rest of the series, unless they are also nominated or win some awards.
7/17/16; 2:20pm CDT - Galen
C. A. Higgins' second novel is a continuation of the story begun in last year's Lightless. I made a few edits to that page and added comments on the new book below that.
Back to Earthsea
7/24/16; 8:15pm CDT - Galen
I return to Le Guin's Earthsea with a few comments on the third book of the original trilogy, The Farthest Shore.
Star Trek Beyond
7/26/16; 11:00am CDT - Galen
Eliza is a bigger Trekkie than me, so I asked her for this movie review: Star Trek Beyond.
NOT the Last Book of Earthsea
7/30/16; 9:30pm CDT - Galen
Eighteen years after the end of the original Earthsea Trilogy, Le Guin returned to that world for another adventure. Not sure if it was her decision or her publisher's, but Tehanu, later a Nebula winner, was at that time identified as the Last Book of Earthsea. It wasn't; she would later release another novel, a story collection, plus a non-fiction lecture series on her fictional universe. I don't have any of those yet, so at this time I can say that Tehanu is the best of the series that I have read.
Children of the Different
8/2/16; 4:40pm CDT - Galen
Stuart Charles Flynn's debut novel is Children of the Different. Recommended, with a few reservations.
8/10/16; 9:00pm CDT - Galen
C. J. Cherryh won a Hugo for Downbelow Station in 1982. Not as good as I remembered, but I'm sure my tastes have changed somewhat. It was ambitious, but maybe longer and more complex than she could handle at that time in her career. I'd say at least three other books nominated that year were better.
Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang
8/15/16; 9:30pm CDT - Galen
Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm was the Hugo winner in 1977. Beautifully written, strong character drama, but weak on the scientific end of things.
2016 Hugo & 1941 Retro Hugo Awards
8/22/16; 11:30am CDT - Galen
I attended three of the five days of this year's Worldcon, MidAmeriCon2 in Kansas City, and had a great time. I intend to write about the experience, but that will have to wait for now. What I have done today is update the Hugo Award and the Retro Hugo pages to highlight the latest winners. All available titles are linked to amazon in case you're interested in purchasing any of them.
My MidAmeriCon II Report
8/24/16; 7:00pm CDT - Galen
I finally got around to writing a bit about MidAmeriCon II. All in all, my experience was a positive one. Unfortunately, it didn't go smoothly for everyone.
Certain Dark Things
8/28/16; 2:45pm CDT - Galen
Silvia Moreno-Garcia's second novel, Certain Dark Things, is a dark and gritty tale of a teenage boy in Mexico City, caught between vampire drug lords, human gangsters, and cops. I haven't decided yet if I like it more or less than her first book, Signal to Noise. They are such different kinds of stories, but both are highly recommended.
All the Birds in the Sky
8/31/16; 9:30pm CDT - Galen
Charlie Jane Anders' first SF novel, All the Birds in the Sky, is both a whimsical fantasy and a profoundly philosophical look at man's trust in science.
9/7/16; 8:45pm CDT - Galen
Nisi Shawl's first novel, Everfair, is sort of a steampunk alternate history, but that's just the simple description. It's a complex and epic tale of a possible utopian society being created in the heart of early 20th Century Africa. But just as utopia means "no place," can any man-made government ever be fair for everyone involved?
9/18/16; 7:10pm CDT - Galen
Peter Beagle's Summerlong might be different in style and tone from the other fantasies I've read by him, but it's still very good.
9/22/16; 1:00pm CDT - Galen
Connie Willis' latest novel is Crosstalk. Enjoyable enough, but not as serious as I would have liked. A rom-com novel if you will.
9/24/16; 6:30pm CDT - Galen
Emma Newman's After Atlas is a follow-up to last year's Planetfall, and while it is connected, it's not what I would call a direct sequel. It's not out until Nov. 8, but I got an advance copy from NetGalley. Maybe too soon to post a review, and I will take it down if requested, but I'm very enthusiastic about it and didn't want to wait.
Every Heart a Doorway
9/25/16; 8:50pm CDT - Galen
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire is one of the first novellas that Tor.com released in print form. It's part fairy tale, part gothic horror. Interesting characters and situations, although not that original, but maybe it's what's under the surface that's more important. Just the first of several stories in this 'verse, and I'll review the others when I get to them.
2 Novellas, Both Alternate Lovecraft Stories
9/29/16; 3:50pm CDT - Galen
Two new reviews today, both Tor.com novellas, and both alternate takes on Lovecraft stories. Victor LaValle's The Ballad of Black Tom and The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson.
10/5/16; 11:20am CDT - Galen
Cumulus by Eliot Peper is a fast-paced, action-filled, near future techno-thriller. Points deducted for minimal plot background and character development, but not a waste of time.
10/14/16; 7:40pm CDT - Galen
Yes, I do have lots of other books to read, but I decided to re-read Infomocracy by Malka Older, in hardcover this time. I've edited a few things and added other comments, so even if you've read the review before I invite you to take another look. This is at once fast-paced, with interesting characters, but also with thought-provoking ideas on political possibilities at a point in our world where it seems rabid nationalism is once again on the rise, threatening to drive us all apart. I recommend this book very much. At this time it is at the top of my list for a Hugo nomination next year.
Two New Pages: 1 Novella, 3 TV Shows
10/20/16; 8:30pm CDT - Galen
Everything Belongs to the Future is a new novella by Laurie Penny, and I believe this is her first fiction story. It's good but has flaws.
Another new page, long overdue, takes a look at the first three shows of Marvel on Netflix, Daredevil, Jessica Jones & Luke Cage. All are recommended, but the second two are the better ones, hard to choose between them.
One Movie, One Book
11/13/16; 8:20pm CST - Galen
Arrival is a remarkable film, with great performances from Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, but highest accolades go to the director and cinematographer.
The last of Ursula Le Guin's award winners (for now) is Powers, which is the third volume of her Annals of the Western Shore. I don't have the first two yet, but fortunately this was mostly a stand-alone tale, which I really liked. One of these days I'll read Gifts and Voices, and when I do I'll update this page.
12/6/16; 11:40am CST - Galen
The Devourers by Indra Das was published last year in India, this year in the US and other places. It's either a horror/fantasy of werewolf-like creatures in India several centuries ago, or maybe just a psychological fantasy from the mind of a confused and tortured modern-day Indian history professor. Either way, it's pretty good, and recommended.
12/9/16; 4:15pm CST - Galen
I've reviewed all of the Expanse book series by James S. A. Corey so far, but that page was getting very long. I've started a new page with the sixth book, Babylon's Ashes. There will be at least three more novels after this.
The Underground Railroad
12/14/16; 1:45pm CST - Galen
Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad recently won the National Book Award. It is historical fiction with a speculative twist. Powerful and disturbing, but highly recommended.
United States of Japan
12/17/16; 3:30pm CST - Galen
United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas is another alternate history in which America lost World War 2. Completely different in style than a novel by Philip K. Dick that inspired it. Enjoyable, but it does have faults.
Rogue One: a Star Wars Story
12/23/16; 12:00pm CST - Galen
I haven't seen it yet, but Eliza has. Here's her review of Rogue One.
Another trip 'round the sun
1/1/17; 10:30am CST - Galen
Happy New Year, everyone! Starting a new home page, with all of 2016's updates moved to the Archives. It might be a while before I upload the next book review, since I am currently reading as many shorter stories as possible, from the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction on my Kindle, print copies of Asimov's borrowed from my brother-in-law, and scores more bookmarked online. The next review might actually be an update of a previous TV show page. We'll see.
Too Like the Lightning
1/28/17; 1:30pm CST - Galen
This is the first novel by Ada Palmer, in a two book series known as Terra Ignota, which means Unknown Earth. Similar to a utopia, which means "no place." It is good, very ambitious, but it does have its flaws. The second book is out in March.
1/30/17; 7:40pm CST - Galen
Another debut novel, and the start of another series. Sylvain Neuvel's Sleeping Giants is the first book of the Themis Files. It's pretty good, and I'm looking forward to the second book.
2/1/17; 6:50pm CST - Galen
Last year, Nnedi Okorafor won a Hugo and Nebula in the novella category for Binti. I read it as part of the voting packet provided by MidAmeriCon2. I liked it a lot, and was satisfied with the win, even though it had just been my #2 pick. I recently re-read it, and yesterday the second part of the sequence, Binti: Home, was released, and I review both. Highly recommended.
The Voices of Martyrs
2/6/17; 9:10pm CST - Galen
The Voices of Martyrs is a story collection from Maurice Broaddus, which covers a wide range of the Black experience, in Africa, America, and elsewhere, and should appeal to anyone who loves intriguing characters and plots. Recommended.
2/7/17; 7:20pm CST - Galen
The latest book I got from NetGalley is not as good as the previous one, although for a lot of people I think it might be a pleasurable enough read. In Calabria is the latest fantasy from Peter S. Beagle. It is about unicorns, but not as good as The Last Unicorn in my opinion.
Lincoln in the Bardo
2/9/17; 6:00pm CST - Galen
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders will likely be embraced more by mainstream critics, simply based on his previous work, but it is borderline fantasy no matter what anyone else says. It's also damn good, highly recommended.
Parable of the Sower
3/18/17; 9:30pm CDT - Galen
This is the first book of Earthseed by Octavia E. Butler. It was nominated for a Nebula in 1994. A chilling look at a post-apocalyptic America, but surprisingly it is also hopeful and optimistic. I'll follow up with thoughts on the second book as soon as I can.
Parable of the Talents
3/22/17; 8:20pm CDT - Galen
I've added to the Earthseed review with thoughts on the second book, Parable of the Talents. I did make a few edits to previous comments, so if interested, or if you haven't read that part yet, scroll to the top of that page.
3/27/17; 1:30pm CDT - Galen
The second book in Sylvain Neuvel's Themis Files, Waking Gods, continues in the same style. Mostly all dialog from recorded interviews, military and personal logs, etc, with no other narrative exposition. It gets a bit tiresome at times, but the story is still intriguing, and if sales are good there will be at least one more book, although not announced yet.
Hugo & Nebula Finalists
4/5/17; 12:30pm CDT - Galen
I've just edited the Hugo & Nebula Awards page, listing the finalists for this year, along with links to Amazon for all available titles. The 2016 Nebulas will be announced May 20 in Pittsburgh, with the Hugos being presented August 12 in Helsinki, Finland. Please note the use of the term "finalists" this year. There have been problems with some writers promoting themselves as award nominees just because someone had listed them on their nominating ballot, they had never actually been on one of the final ballots, so hopefully this will clear up any confusion in the future.
Who Fears Death + The Book of Phoenix
4/9/17; 9:30pm CDT - Galen
Some books are fascinating to read but difficult to review, for me at least. I know I didn't do these justice, but I know I'll re-read them eventually, maybe I'll understand them better the next time. For now, I highly recommend Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death and its prequel, The Book of Phoenix.
4/16/17; 2:30pm CDT - Galen
Weston Ochse's military SF/alien invasion series, Task Force OMBRA, comes to a conclusion (?) with the third book, Grunt Hero. The whole trilogy is recommended. The "?" reflects the fact that the story's hero, Ben Mason, is alive (and mostly well) at the end, with probably many more adventures ahead of him. Not sure if we'll ever read any of that, or if Ochse has other things in mind for the future.
The Handmaid's Tale
4/19/17; 7:45pm CDT - Galen
Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale is likely as relevant now as when it was written in 1985. Perhaps it will always be relevant. Let's hope is remains a cautionary tale for us, although I know there are some countries where it has already come to pass.
City of Miracles
4/26/17; 11:30am CDT - Galen
Robert Jackson Bennett's Divine Cities trilogy comes to a grand conclusion with City of Miracles. Just as exciting and unpredictable as before, with lots of action and great characters. I honestly can't say it is better than the previous two, since in retrospect I have to upgrade my rating for them and give the entire trilogy a near perfect 5/5 stars.
A Taste of Honey
4/30/17; 7:15pm CDT - Galen
Kai Ashante Wilson has several well reviewed stories over the past few years. His latest novella, A Taste of Honey, is a finalist for both the Nebula and Hugo this year. I review it along with another connected story, "The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps."
2016 Nebula Awards
5/21/17; 8:30pm CDT - Galen
Congratulations to Charlie Jane Anders and all the other Nebula winners. I've updated the Awards page with the results announced this evening in Pittsburgh.
Radiate (Lightless #3)
5/22/17; 3:10pm CDT - Galen
If you've read any part of my review on C. A. Higgins' Lightless series, you might share my puzzlement as to why I would bother with the third installment, Radiate. Yeah, I got it free from NetGalley, and I do feel obligated to finish any that I get from them, but this was just as much a struggle as the first two books, if not more so. Not recommended.
A Closed and Common Orbit
5/26/17; 12:10pm CDT - Galen
Becky Chambers' second novel is a Hugo finalist this year. It's a sequel, but enough of a stand-alone story to appreciate on it's own. I will get around to reading the first book one of these days, so that's why I've given the page the collective name for the series, Wayfarers.
6/3/17; 6:15pm CDT - Galen
I'd just about given up on overblown CGI action fests, but Wonder Woman saves the day. Highly recommended.
6/6/17; 2:15pm CDT - Galen
Victor LaValle's The Changeling is a fantastical horror story, continually surprising and unexpected. Recommended.
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter
6/13/17; 7:25pm CDT - Galen
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter is Theodora Goss' first novel. It's a quick and enjoyable read, but also deals with serious issues, as did the other stories it uses as a basis of a joint narrative. One of the best I've read this year, highly recommended.
Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan
6/22/17; 9:25pm CDT - Galen
Finally got around to some graphic novels. First up, Ms. Marvel, the latest incarnation being Kamala Khan, a sixteen year old Pakistani-American Muslim girl. Volume 1 won a Hugo two years ago, Vol. 5 is up for that award this year. Very good, highly recommended.
7/2/17; 8:25pm CDT - Galen
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples is a very good graphic story, although maybe not to everyone's taste. It features some violent content, as well as nudity and sexual situations, definitely not a kid's comic, although a couple of the featured characters are children. Volume 1 won a Hugo in 2013, Vols. 2 & 3 were nominated in 2014-15, and this year, Vol. 6 is up for consideration. That's as far as I've read, but one more has been published since then, with another due early next year.
2017 Best Graphic Story Finalists
7/5/17; 5:25pm CDT - Galen
I've already reviewed Ms. Marvel and Saga. Now I take a brief look at the four other finalists for this year's Best Graphic Story Hugo Award. All are good, some better than others of course, but the one thing I felt about all of them is that, since they are all first volumes in a continuing story, it was hard to judge the plot. My final voting preference is listed at the end of the article.
The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu
7/8/17; 6:35pm CDT - Galen
As is usually the case, the book is better, but I wouldn't dissuade anyone from watching this adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale, especially if you already have Hulu, or if you've been considering it. It's exclusive to them for now, but there will likely be a DVD/Blu-Ray release in the future. A free trial is available, which should give you enough time to watch the short (10 episode) season.
Two Reviews: Shadowshaper & The Falling Woman
7/11/17; 6:00pm CDT - Galen
The better of the recent books I've read was Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older. There has been one novel and two novellas in the sequence so far, with another novel due out September 12. The other book is one I can check off the award winners project, Pat Murphy's The Falling Woman, the Nebula winner in 1987.
Syfy's The Expanse - Updated for Season 2
7/15/17; 3:35pm CDT - Galen
Blu-Ray & DVD release coming up on Tuesday, so I've updated The Expanse review for Season 2.
Now an update on the Expanse book series
7/18/17; 8:50pm CDT - Galen
The latest novella in the long-running Expanse series by James S.A. Corey was released today. It's Strange Dogs.
Valerian & the City of a Thousand Planets
7/20/17; 9:45pm CDT - Galen
The latest film from Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) is similar in style, but with many more CGI effects. Spectacular visuals, but not as strong a story for Valerian & the City of a Thousand Planets. Still, I think I'd like to see it again.
7/25/17; 9:40pm CDT - Galen
Gregory Benford won a Nebula for 1980's Timescape. Probably not that year's best, but still strong in spite of a slow start and a few other flaws.
The Gunslinger, Dark Tower #1
7/30/17; 5:50pm CDT - Galen
I believe this is the third time I've read Stephen King's The Gunslinger, and I'm not sure why I haven't read any of the others, yet, even though I've had them for many years. One of these days...
8/4/17; 2:40pm CDT - Galen
Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore is another title I got free from NetGalley in exhange for an honest review. This is his second novel, but I'm pretty sure I hadn't heard of him until recently, when this book was recommended by another writer/reviewer I follow on Facebook. It's a mixed bag, quite a bit of humor, but also insight on being a good person, what perfection might be. Its unpredictability is its greatest asset.
Stand on Zanzibar
8/10/17; 7:25pm CDT - Galen
I recall liking John Brunner's Hugo winner Stand on Zanzibar when I first read it around 45 years ago. This time...not so much. I think I conflated some memories of it with another of his books read around the same time.
2017 Hugo Results
8/11/17; 2:25pm CDT - Galen
I just edited the current Awards page to reflect the winners of this year's Hugos, plus updated various other pages for things that have been reviewed. Last year's novel winner was not my favorite, and I didn't get through its sequel before voting, but now I will have to go back, maybe re-read The Fifth Season, and try The Obelisk Gate again.
8/11/17; 6:55pm CDT - Galen
I've edited the Marvel on Netflix page, adding comments about Season 2 of Daredevil, extra info on Blu-Ray releases, plus Iron Fist, which I haven't watched completely yet, but probably will before The Defenders drops next Friday.
8/19/17; 1:40pm CDT - Galen
Nicola Griffith's Slow River won a Nebula in 1996. It is good and recommened, but with a caveat. It could be traumatic for anyone who has suffered from mental or physical abuse themselves.
The Fifth Season (Revised Review)
8/24/17; 9:20pm CDT - Galen
I've just finished a re-read of N. K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season, which won the Hugo last year. I've revised my review, since I liked it a lot more this time around. It's sequel, The Obelisk Gate won this year, although I didn't finish reading it before voting. I think I'll have an easier time getting into it now with the first one fresh in my mind.
The Obelisk Gate, Broken Earth #2
8/29/17; 6:45pm CDT - Galen
The Obelisk Gate is this year's winner of the Hugo Award, which marks only the third time an author has won in succeeding years, and the first time it's happened in 25 years. I'm still puzzled by a lot of the story's elements, especially whether or not to consider this science fiction or fantasy. It will take the concluding volume of the trilogy to be sure, but I won't be surprised if I'm still confused then.
The Beautiful Ones
9/1/17; 10:10pm CDT - Galen
Silvia Moreno-Garcia's The Beautiful Ones is a romance, a novel of manners, but with a twist. The two main characters are telekinetics, although that bit of fantasy only affects the plot toward the very end. I liked it much more than I expected.
The Graveyard Book
9/4/17; 6:00pm CDT - Galen
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman won the Hugo in 2009. Sorry, but I can't give it a recommendation. Essentially a fairy tale, which is okay, but without the seriousness the subject deserved.
The Healer's War
9/9/17; 6:25pm CDT - Galen
Elizabeth Ann Scarborough's The Healer's War is a harrowing look at the Vietnam War, with a slight fantasy element. It won the Nebula in 1989, and is highly recommended.
The Speed of Dark
9/14/17; 12:50pm CDT - Galen
Another Nebula winner, this time it's Elizabeth Moon's The Speed of Dark from 2003. It's an interesting, compelling look at the life of an autistic adult in the near future, who has to grapple over the choice of a revolutionary new treatment that might possibly cure his condition, or else remain as he is. Recommended, even though the ending is rushed and unsatisfying.
9/21/17; 12:30pm CDT - Galen
Null States is the second book in Malka Older's Centenal Cycle, which began last year with Infomocracy. I kept the URL on that page the same, giving the new book a sub-header. If you haven't read the review of the first book just scroll to the top of that page, or even if you have, since I've edited it several times.
The Snow Queen
10/1/17; 6:50pm CDT - Galen
Joan Vinge's The Snow Queen won Hugo and Locus awards, and was also a Nebula finalist. This was the first time reading it for me, and I did not like it as much as I'd hoped. It has three sequels, two of which I already have, but I doubt I'll be getting to either of them any time soon.
10/4/17; 12:00pm CDT - Galen
Andy Weir's second novel, Artemis, is not as good as The Martian, but I suspect it will be successful just from name recognition alone. I don't recommend it though.
The Dark Tower
10/6/17; 1:30pm CDT - Galen
The Dark Tower movie is much better than most any review led me to believe. I do recommend it, and since it's probably not in many theaters now, check out the link for the DVD coming October 31.
Blade Runner 2049
10/9/17; 1:50pm CDT - Galen
At this time I am saying that Blade Runner 2049 is almost as good as the original. It will take many more viewings to determine my final rating. Considering I had no interest in a sequel for a long time, that should tell you something. I do recommend it, and it is one best appreciated on the big screen.
10/14/17; 3:10pm CDT - Galen
Autonomous is the first novel from Annalee Newitz, co-founder of the genre/tech blog site io9, and currently an editor at ArsTechnica.com. It involves robotics and bio-tech in the mid-22nd Century. It's very good.
The Hidden Face
10/20/17; 4:30pm CDT - Galen
The Hidden Face is the second novel from S. C. Flynn. Sadly, I didn't like it as much as I did his first. It's due to be published on Nov. 25, but not listed on Amazon yet, so the link on the review page takes you to a site where you can sign up for a book excerpt, and for notification when the book is available.
Annals of the Western Shore
10/24/17; 6:00pm CDT - Galen
It's been almost a year since I posted a review of Ursula Le Guin's Powers, which won a Nebula in 2008. At that time I did not have the first two books in the Annals of the Western Shore trilogy, but it was so good I knew I'd get to them eventually, and now I have. I actually think the second book is the best of the group, very close to the best I've read by Le Guin, which is very high praise from me.
Worlds of Exile and Illusion
11/12/17; 5:30pm CST - Galen
The first two stories in this collection may actually be novellas by current standards, but all three were originally published separately in paperback, and later collected as Three Hainish Novels, and now as Worlds of Exile and Illusion. While they are worth reading to track Le Guin's career path, they lack the polish of her later award-winning work. Still, even less than brilliant Le Guin is better than a lot of other author's best work.
11/18/17; 9:45pm CST - Galen
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova is the first book in a new series, Brooklyn Brujas. It's good, with some familiar elements, but lots of surprises, and great characters going through life-changing events.
Hunger Makes the Wolf
11/22/17; 4:25pm CST - Galen
Alex Wells' debut novel, Hunger Makes the Wolf, has been described as "Sons of Anarchy meets Dune." Get ready for biker gang witches battling an evil corporation on a desert mining planet. Hob Ravani ROCKS!
Borne (+ The Strange Bird)
11/30/17; 5:55pm CST - Galen
Jeff VanderMeer's Borne was one of my most anticipated books ever since it was announced, seeing as how I loved the Southern Reach Trilogy. Unfortunately, I didn't like it as much as I expected, although I can't say I'm sorry I read it. The Strange Bird is a companion novella, which I liked more.
An Unkindness of Ghosts
12/4/17; 9:00pm CST - Galen
In spite of what the title might suggest, Rivers Solomon's debut novel, An Unkindness of Ghosts, is not horror, although horrific events do occur. It transports a society much like the antebellum South onto a generational starship. It is not clear whether the society of a dying Earth was an alternate world in which segregation and slavery still existed (or existed again), or if the society on the ship changed after an accident some 250 years prior to the main action. Based on current political trends, including racial strife, I don't think it matters, either scenario is believable. Recommended.
12/7/17; 5:30pm CST - Galen
The seventh novel in the Expanse book series is Persepolis Rising. I could nit-pick a couple of plot points (and I do), but they don't hinder this from being one of the better entries of the series. I'm still a big fan, on board for the ride as long as it lasts.
New York 2140
12/12/17; 10:45pm CST - Galen
Set in the titular year, Kim Stanley Robinson's latest, New York 2140, is more of a character-driven story than I expected, but that is its strength. Recommended.
River of Teeth
12/14/17; 12:45pm CST - Galen
Sarah Gailey's River of Teeth is another release from the Tor.com novella program. It already has a sequel, so I'm not sure why it couldn't have been held for a single, novel-length edition. Then again, I got the Kindle version when it was on sale, and after reading I felt I still paid too much. Not recommended, and it's the reason I'm not bothering to add it to the banner announcement above, since I'd be replacing it very soon with another.
Meet the Murderbot
12/16/17; 4:30pm CST - Galen
Martha Wells' All Systems Red is the first in a series known as The Murderbot Diaries. It is another release from the Tor.com novella program, much better than the previous one I read. I am interested in continuing with the story, but I'm not sure I will, the reasons for which I give in the last paragraph of the review.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
12/20/17; 11:00pm CST - Galen
Eliza returns for a review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I haven't seen it yet, and tried my best to just copy & paste her review without really reading it. There may be some edits later if I made any mistakes, or she spots a typo, or maybe after I've seen it I'll take a close look.
Humans, Bow Down
12/22/17; 4:45pm CST - Galen
Humans, Bow Down is the first book I've read by James Patterson, although I have no idea how much he contributed, and what to credit to his co-authors. Doesn't matter. It's not good. NOT recommended.
Happy New Year + 2017 in review
1/1/18; 1:45pm CST - Galen
I hope everyone's new year is starting off great. I'm trying to maintain a postive outlook for the future, but I want to also recognize what went on last year, the most productive year for the site so far. I read more than ever before, a total of sixty-two individual titles, although three of those were re-reads before going on to their sequels, and three non-SF titles I did not review. Also, five movie reviews, three for TV, and three pages on graphic novels covering six titles. Can I do even more this year?
All of 2017's updates have been moved to the Archives, and my first new review will be added shortly.
1/1/18; 2:00pm CST - Galen
Silvia Moreno-Garcia has already become one of my current favorites, and she continues to fascinate with her novella, Prime Meridian, which she self-published via an Indiegogo campaign. It's copyright 2017 and eligible for current award consideration, but won't be in general release until July 10. I recommend you pre-order.
1/10/18; 9:00pm CST - Galen
Shadowhouse Fall is a continuation of Daniel José Older's Shadowshaper Cypher. Still good, still exciting, still recommended.
A Time of Changes
1/14/18; 7:00pm CST - Galen
Robert Silverberg's A Time of Changes won the Nebula Award for 1971. It is good, full of interesting characters and intricate world-building, but it does have a few flaws. Comparing it to other books nominated that year, including for the Hugo, I'd say it might have received my #3 vote.
Redemption in Indigo
1/15/18; 10:30pm CST - Galen
Karen Lord's debut novel, Redemption in Indigo, is at least partially a retelling of a Senagalese folktale, although it may also have influences from her native Barbados. It's an excellent book, and it would be so simple just to quote another review, from Booklist: "One of those literary works of which it can be said that not a word should be changed."
The Night Masquerade
1/17/18; 8:10pm CST - Galen
Nnedi Okorafor says The Night Masquerade completes the Binti trilogy, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who hopes she changes her mind one of these days.
The Shape of Water
1/21/18; 1:50pm CST - Galen
Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water is good, while not up to the masterpiece level of Pan's Labyrinth, but still recommended. The performances of Sally Hawkins and Richard Jenkins outshine some of the cliche elements.
The Best of All Possible Worlds
1/23/18; 7:15pm CST - Galen
The Best of All Possible Worlds is Karen Lord's second novel. Quite different than her first, this is science fiction on a grand scale, highly sociological and psychological in nature. It's also a love story, although very different in that regard too. Recommended.
The Only Harmless Great Thing
1/24/18; 6:25pm CST - Galen
The Only Harmless Great Thing is a novella by Brooke Bolander. It's well written, but emotionally devastating. I rate it highly in a literary sense, but it's difficult to know if I should recommend it. It may be too intense for some readers.
Blood Binds the Pack
1/29/18; 8:00pm CST - Galen
Blood Binds the Pack is a sequel to Alex Wells' Hunger Makes the Wolf so I've continued on that same page. If you haven't read the review of Hunger just scroll up to the top of that page. I think there will be at least one more book in the sequence, but it has not been announced yet.
The Philosopher's Flight
2/2/18; 7:50pm CST - Galen
The Philosopher's Flight is the debut novel from Tom Miller. It's a flight of fancy, an alt-history story with a magical touch. Highly recommended.
2/5/18; 5:45pm CST - Galen
Roger Zelazny won his first of two Hugos for This Immortal, originally serialized in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction under the title "...And Call Me Conrad." It actually tied with Dune, which is a much better book.
2/16/18; 1:55pm CST - Galen
I saw Black Panther in an advance screening last night. It's great, recommended.
The Tensorate Series by JY Yang
2/18/18; 9:25pm CST - Galen
The Tensorate Series is, so far, two novellas released on the same day last year. Both are good, the author seeming to think the first is better, but I liked the second more, if only just a little bit. I suspect one or the other, if not both, with get a lot of Hugo nominations. There is already at least one more story in the sequence planned, to be released in July, but I suspect there will be several others. I hope so.
2/23/18; 2:00pm CST - Galen
Annihilation is Alex Garland's adaptation of the first novel in Jeff Vandermeer's Southern Reach Trilogy. I loved the books, love the movie, even with its changes. Highly recommended.
Brown Girl in the Ring
3/12/18; 1:00pm CDT - Galen
Nalo Hopkinson's debut novel, Brown Girl in the Ring, received a Locus Award for Best 1st Novel, and she also was awarded the John W. Campbell for Best New Writer in 1999. Both were well deserved.
Under the Pendulum Sun
3/16/18; 8:00pm CDT - Galen
Jeannette Ng's Under the Pendulum Sun is a remarkable debut. Quite different than I expected, more subtle in approach, as much a gothic romance as it is high fantasy, although there are plenty of fantastical elements. Tonight is the deadline for Hugo nominations, and I'll probably be struggling up to the last minute whether this one should bump one of the other five, very strong titles that were already on my list. It's that good. Highly recommended, and I don't even mind it's the first of a series, although no word yet on a second title. I'm anxious to travel to Arcadia again, very soon.
3/20/18; 8:25pm CDT - Galen
I got a free e-book of Julia Whicker's Wonderblood from Net Galley. It is a dark, post-apocalyptic dystopia, the beginning of yet another multi-book saga. I doubt I'll be interested in continuing the journey in later books. YMMV.
School For Psychics
3/22/18; 12:00pm CDT - Galen
I'm not putting this in the banner image above because it doesn't deserve the extra exposure. The title alone should have been warning enough. School For Psychics is another title I got free from Net Galley, but one offered in an email rather than me seeking it out. The only reason I finished it was I feel obligated for any I download from them, in order not to lose free e-book privileges in the future. Reviewed, but not recommended.
No Enemy But Time
3/27/18; 9:20pm CDT - Galen
Michael Bishop won a Nebula for 1982's No Enemy But Time, a thoughtful, introspective look at a man who doesn't feel at home in the modern world. Maybe he actually belongs in Pleistocene era Africa, which he is able to visit as participant in a time-travel experiment. Highly recommended.
4/4/18; 1:15pm CDT - Galen
Future Fiction: New Dimensions in International Science Fiction is a collection of twelve stories from around the world, a collaboration of editors Bill Campbell of Rosarium Publishing in the US and Francesco Verso of Italty's Future Fiction. One story is fantasy, the others SF concerning tech innovations, in both positive and negative situations. Very good mix of styles. Recommended.
The City of Lost Fortunes
4/7/18; 3:30pm CDT - Galen
Bryan Camp's debut novel, The City of Lost Fortunes, is a magical journey through a magical city, New Orleans. Set six years after Katrina, neither the city or its people, not even the demigods that control its fortunes, have fully recovered from the devastating storm.
4/9/18; 1:15pm CDT - Galen
Emma Newman's Before Mars is the third novel in a future history sequence, although each can be read and enjoyed as individual stories. In spite of some heavy-handed expostion toward the end, I liked this just as much as the other two. Ms. Newman is good at creating characters you can care about even if they aren't the most noble and sympathetic.
I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land
4/10/18; 1:45pm CDT - Galen
I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land is a novella by Connie Willis. When I requested it from Net Galley I only knew it was by her, but thought it was a novel. I wasn't aware it had already appeared in Asimov's late last year, which I found out when I borrowed those from my brother-in-law to read for Hugo consideration. I thought maybe the e-book, a promotion for an special edition hardcover, would be an expanded version of the story, but it's not, or at least the e-book wasn't. It's okay, but I don't recommend it, certainly not for the $40 Subterranean Press will be asking.
The Terminal Experiment
4/13/18; 1:15pm CDT - Galen
I needed to read and review Robert Sawyer's The Terminal Experiment as part of my project of covering all past award winners. It won the Nebula for 1995, and was nominated for a Hugo and others. Unfortunately, I can't recommend it.
4/15/18; 11:05am CDT - Galen
Sylvain Neuvel's Themis Files comes to a satisfactory conclusion with Only Human. That link takes you to the new comments. If you haven't read the previous parts of the review, just scroll up to the top of that page.
The Poppy War
4/17/18; 9:15pm CDT - Galen
R. F. (Rebecca) Kuang's debut novel, The Poppy War, is the best new book I've read this year. It's complex and unpredictable, frequently unpleasant, with characters you can love and hate at the same time. Highly recommended.
4/21/18; 4:50pm CDT - Galen
Eliot Peper's Bandwidth is the first of a series under the collective title of Analog, with another book due in October. It seems to be set in the same world as his previous Cumulus, since that company gets a very brief mention, but it's many years later. Tech has advanced quite a bit from the earlier book, and climate change has also wreaked havoc on the world. The main character has had a hand in that, but slowly but surely he develops a conscience that leads him in another direction.
Taty Went West
4/29/18; 8:50pm CDT - Galen
I got Nikhil Singh's Taty Went West from Net Galley. It is the first book I've reviewed without finishing. It's a crazy kaleidoscope of weird imagery and even weirder characters, but it was difficult connecting with it. There were parts I liked, others were frustrating and confusing, and I can't recommend it at this time. I might finish it one of these days, but I have too many other books waiting.
Bruja Born, Brooklyn Brujas #2
5/4/18; 7:40pm CDT - Galen
Bruja Born is the second book in Zoraida Córdova's Brooklyn Brujas series. It's just as good with plot and character development, opening up the story to reveal lots more magical/supernatural activities going on around New York. Recommended.
Ninefox Gambit, the Machineries of Empire #1
5/9/18; 10:35pm CDT - Galen
I read Yoon Ha Lee's Ninefox Gambit last year since it was nominated for a Hugo. It didn't win, and I didn't review it then because it was so confusing I felt a re-read was necessary. I've done that, and will also read the second book in the series next, since it's up for a Hugo this year. I'm still confused, but still looking forward to more.
Raven Stratagem, The Machineries of Empire #2
5/17/18; 12:45pm CDT - Galen
Raven Stratagem, the second book in Yoon Ha Lee's Machineries of Empire series, is up for a Hugo this year. Maybe a bit less confusing than the first, but disappointing since it was mainly a set-up for the conclusion, due out next month.
Syfy's 12 Monkeys
5/22/18; 9:50pm CDT - Galen
Long time coming for this review. The fourth and final season of Syfy's 12 Monkeys is approaching (June 15) and I've been rewatching the earlier episodes on Hulu. I've finished with Season 1, and for the most part I've kept my comments limited to that, but I will add to the page as I continue with the series.
Revenant Gun, The Machineries of Empire #3
5/25/18; 7:30pm CDT - Galen
At least the author was consistent. Revenant Gun was just as confusing and frustrating as the first two books in the series.
5/31/18; 3:55pm CDT - Galen
This was my first time reading Vonda N. McIntyre's Dreamsnake, which won Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards in 1979. I liked it, but not as much as I had hoped. My tastes have changed over the years, no idea what my reaction would have been back then, and I wouldn't try to dissuade anyone from reading it now.
More 12 Monkeys
6/3/18; 5:50pm CDT - Galen
I've updated my review of the Syfy series 12 Monkeys with a few comments about Season 2. More to follow soon.
Sense8 - Updated
6/9/18; 5:30pm CDT - Galen
With the 2½ hour Sense8 finale dropping June 8 on Netflix, I've rewatched the previous 23 episodes and started a page on why I love the show. I'll update soon. I'm of two minds on that; anxious to see it, but not anxious for it to be over.
EDIT: Now updated with my thoughts on the finale.
The Moon and the Sun
6/10/18; 5:40pm CDT - Galen
Vonda McIntyre's Nebula winner from 1997, The Moon and the Sun, is another I didn't like as much as I'd hoped.
Time Loop Back to 12 Monkeys
6/11/18; 3:20pm CDT - Galen
I've updated the page for Syfy's 12 Monkeys with thoughts on Season 3. I've made a few edits to the previous portions of the review as well.
6/13/18; 2:25pm CDT - Galen
Rachel Heng's debut novel is Suicide Club. It has an interesting premise, and it is unpredictable, but that's mainly because the plot development and world-building are inconsistent, and characters don't act logically a lot of the time.
The Stone Sky, Broken Earth #3
6/21/18; 2:30pm CDT - Galen
The conclusion of N. K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy, The Stone Sky, answers all my questions satisfactorily, including whether or not to consider it science fiction or fantasy. It's Science Fantasy. And very good, recommended, although still not my absolute favorites from the past few years.
6/25/18; 8:00pm CDT - Galen
Ann Leckie's Provenance is set within the same fictional universe as her Imperial Radch trilogy, although it is not a direct sequel. It introduces new characters, new planets, new settings, and it is not necessary to have read the trilogy to understand it. I'd still recommend the trilogy over this, or at least Ancillary Justice, one of the best books of this decade at least. This one...not so much, even though it's up for a Hugo.
The Collapsing Empire
6/27/18; 6:15pm CDT - Galen
John Scalzi's The Collapsing Empire recently won a Locus award, and is also a Hugo finalist. I'm not voting this year but still wanted to sample all the novels. If I was voting, this would be at the bottom of my ballot, maybe even below No Award. YMMV.
Trail of Lightning, The Sixth World Book 1
6/29/18; 1:05pm CDT - Galen
An intense and thrilling post-apocalyptic science fiction/fantasy/horror hybrid, Trail of Lightning is the debut novel from Rebecca Roanhorse. It is recommended, and I know I'll want to read the further adventures, so I've given the page the collective name for the series, The Sixth World.
The Expanse, Season 3
7/2/18; 10:05pm CDT - Galen
Now that SeasonThree of Syfy's The Expanse is done, I have a few, hopefully non-spoilery, comments about it.
7/7/18; 2:30pm CDT - Galen
Mur Lafferty's Six Wakes was a finalist for Nebula and PKD awards, winning neither. It is also up for a Hugo. It would not have been one of my nominations if I had read it before that deadline, and if voting it would be no higher than #4 (out of 6) on my ballot.
The Defeat of the 12 Monkeys
7/7/18; 6:00pm CDT - Galen
Syfy's 12 Monkeys concluded this past Friday night. While not perfect, I still regard it as one of the best shows for this century at least. New comments for Season 4 include quite a few spoilers, but they're clearly marked as such and easily skipped. I made minor edits to the other sections, so scroll up on that page to see all of my comments even if you read that before.
7/10/18; 5:25pm CDT - Galen
It's been almost two years since I reviewed the first novella in this series by Seanan McGuire, even before it won Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards. I should have known there would be sequels, since she has multiple ongoing fantasy and science fiction series, including under her alternate pseudonym Mira Grant. There's already a third title, which I don't have yet, and a fourth announced for next January. I haven't deleted the previous review yet, but decided to combine the titles into one page. I did re-read the first, Every Heart a Doorway, and made some edits to my comments, and then continued with the second title, Down Among the Sticks and Bones, on a page using the collective name of Wayward Children.
7/12/18; 2:50pm CDT - Galen
The book, not the movie. Some may wonder why I like Heinlein so much, considering my own personal and political opinions. I doubt our thoughts clashed more than in his second Hugo-winner, Starship Troopers. I'm not sure if I was successful in explaining why I still like it.
7/17/18; 1:00pm CDT - Galen
Robert Jackson Bennett begins a new fantasy trilogy with Foundryside. Recommended, but with minor caveats.
8/1/18; 5:00pm CDT - Galen
It's difficult writing about a book I'd hoped to like a lot, which many others obviously did, since Fonda Lee's Jade City has received multiple award nominations. I can't say I'm sorry I read it, but it didn't wow me, and I doubt I'll continue with what is yet another multi-volume series.
The Descent of Monsters - Tensorate #3
8/5/18; 5:30pm CDT - Galen
The Descent of Monsters is the third part of JY Yang's Tensorate series. It's shorter than the previous two, but the author says it's also a novella. It's a quick read and in a different style as the others, and it raised a few questions about things I might have forgotten about the earlier stories. After finishing, I went back and re-read all of them again. All are recommended, but the second one is still my favorite. I made minor edits to the previous sections of the review, so if interested just scroll up to the top of that page.
The Forever War
8/8/18; 4:00pm CDT - Galen
Joe Haldeman won Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and Ditmar awards for his first SF novel, 1974's The Forever War. Still a remarkable book. Many authors can't accomplish in a trilogy what Haldeman did in a little more than 200 pages.
The Stars My Destination
8/10/18; 7:15pm CDT - Galen
As with the previous book review, Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination is an example of something nearly extinct in modern SF; a short, stand-alone novel. In many ways it was a pioneering work, with many elements that pre-date cyberpunk. Unfortunately, it also has some problematic elements, primarily the way the women are depicted. That's my only reservation, otherwise it's a very good book.
8/13/18; 5:15pm CDT - Galen
Lara Elena Donnelly's debut novel, Amberlough, was a finalist for this year's Nebula, although it is neither science fiction or fantasy, not even steampunk. It is set in a fictional world reminiscent of the Weimar Republic of the early 1930s. Well written, sparkling dialogue, a few interesting characters, with some parallels to current events, but ultimately unsatisfying. It's the first of a trilogy, but I doubt I'll continue with the series.
The Apple-Tree Throne
8/15/18; 9:15pm CDT - Galen
Premee Mohamed's The Apple-Tree Throne is a novella, self-published and only available for Kindle or Kobo e-readers at this time. It's short, inexpensive, and recommended.
8/15/18; 9:20pm CDT - Galen
Irontown Blues is a book John Varley mentioned well over twenty years ago. Since he's one of my favorite writers, and it's an addition to the Eight Worlds sequence, I had been anxiously awaiting it. Unfortunately, even though it's not a waste of time, it did not meet my expectations.
Embers of War
8/19/18; 4:30pm CDT - Galen
Gareth L. Powell's Embers of War is yet another beginning to a trilogy (at least). It's ambitious, with some intriguing elements, but it didn't quite hook me into being anxious for a continuation. Maybe, maybe not, depending how subsequent books are received by other reviewers and readers.
8/21/18; 4:40pm CDT - Galen
Ellen Klages' Passing Strange was a finalist for Nebula, Locus, and Mythopoeic awards, and is still in contention for both British Fantasy and World Fantasy awards. I'd be hard pressed to name a love story as beautifully told. Highly recommended.
A Curious Matter Of Men With Wings
8/24/18; 3:55pm CDT - Galen
I received a free e-book of A Curious Matter Of Men With Wings by F. Rutledge Hammes, from Edelweiss this time. A few minor flaws, but it is his first solo novel. Surprisingly good.
Rock Manning Goes For Broke
8/24/18; 6:45pm CDT - Galen
Individual parts of this had been previously published, but Charlie Jane Anders' novella, Rock Manning Goes For Broke, was all new to me. It's an incredibly fast paced, stream of consciouness style of narrative, with tragedy and heartache, but also laughter in the midst of the pain. It will be out in a special edition hardcover from Subterranean Press on September 30, but I got an advance e-book from Net Galley. I hope there's a less expensive version out later, either e-book or paperback, because I'd like many others to have the chance to read it.
Zero Sum Game, Cas Russell #1
8/26/18; 6:05pm CDT - Galen
Zero Sum Game is not a new book, but it is getting a new edited version. S. L. Huang originally self-published in 2014, but Tor Books bought the rights to it and its sequels. It will be out in hardcover and e-book on October 28. I recommend it.
Borderless, Analog #2
8/28/18; 5:35pm CDT - Galen
Borderless is the second title in Eliot Peper's Analog series. I reviewed the first, Bandwidth, earlier this year. I haven't yet deleted that page, but decided to combine the titles on another. If you haven't read that review, just scroll to the top on the new page. A third title is in the editing phase now, one I will definitely be reading as soon as it's available.
Children of Blood and Bone
8/30/18; 7:05pm CDT - Galen
As far as I can tell, Children of Blood and Bone is Tomi Adeyemi's first professionally published work, although she wrote her first story at the age of 5, and there was at least one other novel before this which never sold. It's a young adult title, set in a fictitious African nation patterned after Nigeria. It's also the first book in a proposed trilogy, with a collective title of Legacy of Orïsha, based on dieties worshipped in Nigeria and other West African lands, as well as several Latin American countries. The fact I used orisha in the page's URL does not mean I will be reading the follow-up books. Maybe, maybe not. If I do, then I won't have to change it later.
Cloak & Dagger
9/10/18; 3:15pm CDT - Galen
The 10 episode first season of Cloak & Dagger premiered on FreeForm in June, but I watched it on Hulu. It's still available there, although maybe not for long, but you might catch it on FreeForm's website, or buy it from AmazonVideo. Links in review. It's recommended.
State Tectonics, Centenal Cycle #3
9/13/18; 9:20am CDT - Galen
State Tectonics is the third novel in Malka Older's Centenal Cycle. It is said to conclude the series, but really its ending is just a new beginning. Even if she never returns to this story I'll be thinking about the possibilities for a long time.
9/23/18; 3:20pm CDT - Galen
In spite of information you can find elsewhere, Joe Haldeman's Forever Peace is not a sequel to the earlier Forever War. It does share some thematic elements, but it doesn't follow the same characters or events, nor is it set in the same fictional timeline. However, it is like the earlier book in that it is very good. Both are well deserving of their many awards and accolades, and both are highly recommended.
The Black God's Drums
9/25/18; 1:30pm CDT - Galen
P. Djèlí Clark's The Black God's Drums is an exciting adventure, an alt-history/steampunk tale, with magic based on the gods of orisha. It's a novella, but with lots of action and exposition packed into that short frame. Definitely recommended.
9/27/18; 3:30pm CDT - Galen
Burning Sky is the start of a new series by Weston Ochse. It is like some of his other books, focusing on a military unit, but instead of a science fiction or horror setting, this one is more mystical in nature. It is also very good. Recommended.
The Traitor Baru Cormorant
10/2/18; 7:10pm CDT - Galen
Seth Dickinson's debut novel, The Traitor Baru Cormorant, is also the first of a series with the collective title of The Masquerade. That's a colloquial term for the ruling Empire of Masks. The title character was born and raised on an island annexed by the empire when she was a child. Her plan is to crush the empire, although it's possible she'll end up ruling it herself. Too soon to tell, since there will be at least three more books in the sequence. I have an ARC of the second one, due out at the end of the month.
An Agent of Utopia
10/21/18; 8:45pm CDT - Galen
I got a free ARC of Andy Duncan's third story collection, An Agent of Utopia, from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Twelve stories, the majority well worth recommending, several also well deserving of the awards and nominations they received.
10/24/18; 2:20pm CDT - Galen
Joe Haldeman's third major award-winner was Camouflage. It garnered Nebula and Tiptree trophies, and was a Locus finalist. Another very good, short, self-contained novel, which disects human nature from an alien perspective.
The Monster Baru Cormorant
11/4/18; 5:15pm CST - Galen
The second book in Seth Dickinson's Masquerade series, The Monster Baru Cormorant, was not as good as the first, and there were several times I thought I might not even finish it. I eventually did, but I have little interest in continuing with the series.
11/7/18; 6:40pm CST - Galen
Devastating, horrific, gut-wrenching. Those might sound negative, but they're not, merely the most accurate words I can think of to describe Gabino Iglesias' Coyote Songs. Are you willing to stare into the abyss, look evil in the eye, come what may? I'm not that big a fan of horror, but I liked it, and it's recommended. It will help if you know Spanish, or have a Spanish/English dictionary handy, since some dialog is in Spanish, but you might be able to deduce some of it from context.
The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club
11/11/18; 6:40pm CST - Galen
I reviewed the first book in Theodora Goss' Athena Club series last year. At that time I wasn't sure there would be a sequel, but I am extremely glad there was, and hope there will be more. I've left the old page up for now, but the link is for a new page with a new URL, combining the two books, with some minor edits to the original review. Both are very good and recommended.
11/15/18; 5:50pm CST - Galen
I doubt my thoughts about George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four bring anything new to the discussion. It's still a great book, in spite of a few debatable flaws, and destined to be influential for many years to come. It's doubleplusgood as they say.
11/20/18; 8:50pm CST - Galen
Greg Bear's Moving Mars won the Nebula for 1994, and was also a Hugo finalist. Parts are good, parts are boring. Some intriguing speculations on future technologies, but the major event went to space-opera territory, if not outright fantasy.
The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, Road to Nowhere #1
11/22/18; 10:50am CST - Galen
Meg Elison's first novel is also the first of a series, the collective title of which is The Road to Nowhere. The Book of the Unnamed Midwife won the Philip K. Dick Award in 2015. It's very good, recommended. I will continue with this series soon. I already have the second one, and the third will be out next April. I will be getting it too, maybe even early from Net Galley or Edelweiss.
Alice Payne Arrives
11/22/18; 10:10pm CST - Galen
The Alice Payne series by Kate Heartfield is the latest entry from the tor.com novella program. Alice Payne Arrives was published a couple of weeks ago, the second title will be out next March. Great characters, intriguing premise, a combination of steampunk and time travel. Recommended.
Beneath the Sugar Sky, Wayward Children #3
11/24/18; 9:50am CST - Galen
Seanan McGuire's third entry in her Wayward Children series is Beneath the Sugar Sky. The story changes from children isolated from their families, isolated even from the other children at Eleanor West's school, to one of cooperation, trust, and undesrtanding the traumas others have suffered. In other words, learning how to be an ally.
11/27/18; 4:15pm CST - Galen
I've read approximately half of Kim Stanley Robinson's novels. Red Moon is my least favorite so far. Some interesting ideas, a couple of sympathetic characters, but the plot is so fractured, events incohesive and inconclusive. I got the feeling he rushed it, more editing was needed.
Sorcerer to the Crown
12/2/18; 6:45pm CST - Galen
Zen Cho's first novel, Sorcerer to the Crown, was a British Fantasy Award finalist in 2016 for Best Fantasy Novel. She didn't win that, but on its strengths she was recognized as Best Newcomer. It's set in England's Regency Era, but in an alternate world full of magic. Two very strong lead characters, both fighting against other magical forces as well as the strictures of the class system. I'm anxious to read the sequel due next March.
The Book of Etta
12/4/18; 7:30pm CST - Galen
The second book in Meg Elison's Road to Nowhere series is The Book of Etta. Still very good, although I'd rate this one a bit below the first. The main character, while interesting and well described, is not as sympathetic as the Midwife.
12/11/18; 6:50pm CST - Galen
Darwin's Radio needed a better tuner...uh, I mean a better editor. Greg Bear's second Nebula winner features a fascinating premise, a couple of intriguing characters (as well as a third late in the book), but ultimately falters from poor execution. There's a sequel too, but it won't be on my TBR pile any time soon.
The Calculating Stars
12/14/18; 5:30pm CST - Galen
The first of the Lady Astronaut stories by Mary Robinette Kowal was the Hugo-winning novelette "The Lady Astronaut of Mars." I do have a few brief comments about it, but most of this new page is devoted to the first novel published earlier this year, The Calculating Stars. There's already a second novel, which I will get to soon, and two more announced. Very good, recommended.
12/15/18; 8:00pm CST - Galen
Mortal Engines, the new movie co-written and produced (but not directed) by Peter Jackson, is not recommended.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
12/16/18; 5:00pm CST - Galen
Unlike the movie I reviewed yesterday, I can recommend Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse without reservation. I don't care if you've never heard of Peter Parker or Miles Morales, never read a comic book. This movie is fantastic, a must see.
Mortal Engines, the book
12/18/18; 2:00pm CST - Galen
Mortal Engines is the first of four novels in a YA series by Philip Reeve. This might be slightly better than the movie, my review of which has been edited. I can't really recommend either, but the book is likely to appeal to younger readers, ones even younger than its fifteen-year-old protagonists.
The Armored Saint
12/19/18; 6:20pm CST - Galen
Myke Cole's The Armored Saint is the first in a fantasy series with the collective title of The Sacred Throne. A second title has already been released. I don't have it yet but will get to it someday. I think there will be a third, but nothing else has been announced yet. Recommended.
12/23/18; 1:15pm CST - Galen
Tade Thompson's Rosewater was originally published by Apex in 2016. The current edition is from Orbit, but I don't know if it has been edited to a significant amount to make it eligible for current award consideration. It has been showing up on a lot of "Best Of 2018" lists lately, and it definitely makes mine, whether or not it is eligible. Fascinating, complicated, even confusing at times, but in a good way. Highly recommended.
12/29/18; 7:00pm CST - Galen
I'm sure this will be the last review of the year. While it might have been nice to close out the year on a more positive note, I can't think of any book more relevant to the time I read it. Originally published in 2012, it was met with skepticism for its gloomy scenario. Here at the end of 2018, the new edition of Ink by Sabrina Vourvoulias reads like tomorrow's headlines.
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