Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, November 6, 2017


  • "Jack Buchanan" (Stephen Mertz), Stone:  M.I.A. Hunter:  Invasion U.S.S.R.  Men's action adventure novel, the ninth in the series.  "MISSING:  Lee Daniels, american journalist stationed in Moscow.  The Soviets deny any involvement -- but the U.S. government knows better.  there's only one way to get Daniels out of Russia:  brute force.  And ex-Green Beret Mark Stone is just the man for the job."  Three novels in the series were co-written by Bill Crider and three were co-written by Joe Lansdale.  Evidently, Mike Newton also contributed to the series but I don't know which books he worked on.  I've enjoyed the books in the series that I have read.
  • Algis Budrys, editor, L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Volume XVII.  SF anthology with eighteen stories by winners and finalists in the annual writing contest, as well as illustrations by winners and finalists in the accompanying art contest.  Several essays are also included.  Traditionally, most of the stories printed in this series are (IMHO) range from so-so to moderately good, but the contest has given a number of respected writers their first opportunities to develop their craft.  This volume, from 2001, has no names that I recognized.  Oh, well.
  • Lee Child, Persuader.  A Jack Reacher thriller.  "Jack Reacher is the persuader.  An ex-military cop and the ultimate loner.  No family, no possessions.  No commitments, no fear.  Nothing -- except a strong sense of justice.  Which is why Reacher agrees to help a female agent caught in a death trap.  Why Reacher must outwit and outfight a criminal army.  Because once Reacher finds trouble, he cannot quit.  Not once.  Not ever."  Like so many others, I am a fan of Lee Child's books.  This one happens to be the only Jack Reacher novel I have not yet read.  After this, there be a long wait for me until a new Reacher is published.  Is that fair, I ask you?
  • Edmund Cooper, Sea-Horse in the Sky.  SF novel.  "Kidnapped!  Eight men and eight women, with curious bumps on the backs of their heads, and no memory of anything but an uninterrupted journey, a flight that never landed.  They emerged from their green plastic coffins one by one. into the sunlight of an endless alien plain.  Standing alone on either side of a short road that ended abruptly in grass and shrubs were a supermarket and a hotel...and nothing else.  Fortunately, the hotel had a limitless bar -- they were going to need it, because, although no one ever saw who stocked the groceries or changed the sheets, they did see other things.  Shocking things...frightening things...unbelievable things.  Some would die of it.  Some would go mad.  And some would find the truth."  Cooper, a fairly popular British writer, had a quarter of a century career that started in the mid-fifties, but is pretty much forgotten today.
  • Gordon R. Dickson, The Earth Lords.   Fantasy.  "Some call it Hell...A hidden labyrinth beneath the Canadian wilderness, where dwarfish Lords and Ladies ride humans like horses -- and plot the final downfall of mankind.  Bart Dyberg is a 'steed.' but one gifted with mental and physical abilities unsuspected by those who have enslaved him.  Soon, he vows, he will surprise the Lords and escape to the world above...If there's a world to go back to."  Dickson has always been a favorite.
  • Tom Godwin, The Space Barbarians.  SF novel, a sequel to Space Prison.  "In three bloody years of spacewar, the 'barbarians' of the hell-world Ragnarok had destroyed the Gem Empire. -- and freed the 'civilized' planets of Earth and Athena from their alien domination.  But the Earthenians feared and hated the men of Ragnarok and resented the superhuman strength and speed which had won their bloody victory.  And when a new threat from beyond the stars struck at Ragnarok and left it desolate, the 'barbarians' were strictly on their own -- abandoned to certain destruction by the rest of mankind!" 
  • Mick Herron, Dead Lions.  Crime/spy novel, winner of CWA's Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime novel of the Year.  ""London's Slough House is where the washed-up MI5 spies go to while away what's left of their careers.  The 'slow horses,' as they are called, have ll disgraced themselves in some way to get relegated here.  Maybe they messed up an op badly, or got in the way of an ambitious colleague.  Maybe they just got too dependent on the bottle -- not unusual in this line of work.  One thing these failed spies have in common, though, is they all want to be back in the action.  Now the slow horses have a chance at redemption.  An old cold war-era spy is found dead on a bus outside Oxford, far from his usual haunts.  As the agents dig into their fallen comrade's circumstances, they uncover a shadowy tangle of ancient Cold War secrets.  How many more people will have to die to keep those secrets buried?"
  • Patricia Moyes, Johnny UndergroundTwice in a Blue Moon, and Who Saw Her Die?  All Inspector Henry Tibbett mysteries.  In the first, "Emmy Tibbett goes to her RAF reunion with an inexplicable sense of foreboding.  As a naive nineteen-year-old auxiliary officer she had fallen in love with handsome pilot 'Beau' Guest.  After the reunion Chief Inspector Henry Tibbett suspects that his wife is on the brink of uncovering a dangerous secret but he can't prevent her from delving into a past that is dark with menace."  In the second, "When Susan Gardiner unexpectedly inherits an old country in outside London, she inherited a long-lost distant cousin.  A few years her senior and very attractive, Cousin James is also very attractive.  Soon love blooms.  But just as soon, murder enters the picture as customers of the inn's posh restaurant begin to die one by one."  And in the third, "An extravagantly iced cake, two dozen dark red roses and a case of vintage champagne, all gifts to celebrate Crystal Balaclava's seventieth birthday.  Strange that she should feel it necessary to invite Chief Inspector Henry Tibbett to join the party as her bodyguard.  Henry's scepticism turns to horror when Lady Balaclava drops dead in his arms, apparently poisoned."
  • Don Pendleton, Copp in Deep.  The third (of six) novels featuring PI Joe Copp.  "Joe Copp is hired by old buddy ex-cop Tom Chase to protect him from the FBI.  Chase is security chief for a defense contractor, and Uncle Sam is following him and setting up his executives for a sting.  Sure enough, two of them are stung.  Permanently.  And Chase is arrested as a spy.  Copp?  He's only running from the feds, busting KGB skulls, schmoozing with sexy women, rubbing elbows with traitors, and tripping over corpses while running for his life.  With his client under wraps, Copp is out in the cold, in deep, and getting deeper."  Pendleton was the creator of Mack Bolan, the Executioner, a men's action adventure hero whose adventures grew into a huge franchise, as below:
  • {"Don Pendleton"], Don Pendleton's The Executioner #226:  Red Horse (written by Will Murray) and #373:  Code of Honor (written by Keith A. R. DeCandido).  In the first, a series of firebombings in Boston are suspected to be the result of a gang turf war, but Bolan thinks differently -- the attacks are too professional, done with military precision.  In the second, an elite secret group of mercenaries begin targeting retired American servicemen, Stony Man, the secret group of commandos sanctioned by the President, sends Mack Bolan to deal with the problem.  Don Pendleton's Mack Bolan:  Moscow Massacre (The Executioner #92) (written by Stephen Mertz) has Bolan penetrating Russia to help an imperiled CIA mole in Moscow, and ending in a bloodbath in the heart of KGB high command.  Lastly, in Don Pendleton's Mack bola:  Stony Man II (written by Mel Odom), Stony Man must try to stop a war that could set world peace back generations when a Palestinian madman unleashes "the ultimate terror sweep."
  • Donald J. Pfeil, Voyage to a Forgotten Sun.  SF novel.  "'May you rot forever in your seventh hell!'  Trader Zim heard the sentence, but he didn't believe it -- 20 years in isolation on some god-forsaken Class IV planet.  Hadn't he been warned about the strict laws on Standra?  Didn't he know an underground smuggling operation was sure to be discovered?  Now he was doomed to rot in jail...unless he agreed to accompany the President of Earth back to his home planet.  The mission was fraught with unknown dangers, but a wily Trader could always think of something..."  Pfeil was the editor of of Vertex, "the slick science fiction magazine" that ran from 1973 to 1975.  Vertex evidently had enough money to attract name writers, but went from a "slick" magazine to a newspaper tabloid for its final three issues.
  • Jerry Pournelle, creator, War World, Volume IV:  Invasion.  SF anthology in the shared CoDominium universe.  This one has eight short stories with linking material.  This volume (and others in the series) was produced "with the editorial assistance of John F. Carr."  The War World anthologies ran to nine volumes, with ISFDb crediting Pournelle as editor of six of them; Carr edited an additional four volumes in the offshoot War World Central series.
  • John Maddox Roberts, Space Angel.  Sf novel.  "For Kelly, it was an impossible dream come true when he shipped out on the Space Angel.  Ship's boy was the most menial jog aboard, but it was excitement enough just to be in space.  Things became more exciting than even Kelly wanted when an unimaginably old and powerful entity commandeered the Space Angel and sent the freighter on an incredible mission to the center of the galaxy -- with two hereditary killers and a poetic crab added to the crew for extra interest!  Kelly knew that he would finish the trip as a seasoned spacer -- or a very dead one."  Besides science fiction, Roberts has written Conan pastiches and a well-regarded series of mysteries set in ancient Rome.
  • Fred Saberhagan, The White Bull.  SF novel.  "In the reign of Minos, King of the Cretans, the gods gave proof of their existence:  a bull-headed man accompanied by his bronze servitor strode forth from Neptune's realm.  At last the gods had removed the veil that separated them from their worshipers...or had they?  Strangely enough, the Minotaur forswears all claims to divinity -- and his metallic servant cannot speak at all.  Instead, he comes to the Greeks bearing gifts of alien knowledge.  But Daedelus at least will have cause to beware the teachings of...The White Bull."
  • Kathleen Sky, Ice Prison.  SF novel.  ''Mithras had been set up as a penal colony -- no one would have gone to such a frozen hell voluntarily.  Even five genertions later, no inhabitant could escape from Mithras alive.  And now, Howell discovered to his horror, the Confederation Colonial Service was using it as a dumping ground for its own troublemakers.  He was marroned on Mithras -- its new commandant, yet as much a prisoner as any convict.  And to add to his tribulations, the entire colony was being terrorized by a fourteen-year-old girl."  This one was published by Laser Books, a short-lived SF imprint of Harlequin (the romance people); the series was edited by Roger Elwood who, at one time, was thought to be the man who would ruin science fiction.
  • Richard S. Wheeler, An Obituary for Major Reno.  Biographical western.  "Marcus Reno is a pariah, a controversial figure accused of being responsible for the worst disaster ever to befall the army of the United States.  Thirteen years past, he was one of George Armstrong Custer's senior officers when Custer and over 200 men in his command were annihilated by Sioux and Cheyenne warriors above the Little Big Horn River in Montana Territory.  Now, in the spring of 1889, Major Reno is dying and wants to tell the real story of the Custer battle and wants his honor -- the most precious word in his vocabulary -- restored."  Few people can match Wheeler in the western field.

No comments:

Post a Comment