• Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance – Lois McMaster Bujold
    Well, what do you say about someone who once wrote the best science fiction, hands-down, of any author alive but who then went over to the dark side? This is a romance novel. It’s a really good romance novel (sans porn, however), and it plays with genre conventions and it’s expertly written, but it’s a frickking romance novel. Not an SF-military thriller with elements of romance. Not a SF-political thriller with elements of romance and comedy. Not a heist caper with (etc)…
    It’s a romance with a smattering of action. And that’s fine. But it ain’t SF and it shouldn’t have been a novel. Novella at best, maybe.
  • Pistol Pete – Frank Eaton (did I mention my local library is very good?)


  • Flame of Araby – 1950-something desert opera starring Jeff Chandler and Maureen O’Hara. Also starring: a bunch of those background character actors who pop up in the old westerns, grinning a bunch and going “Si, Senor,” or “Yeah boss,” and menacing fair maidens and innocent farmers a lot. Except in this one they’re going “Aye, my lord” and “By the beard of the Prophet, the girl has spirit!” and have painted-on tans.

    There are also dancing girls.

Mighty One, We Have Lost Us Another

Science fiction auther Ben Bova has passed on. He was the editor of Analog magazine from 1971-1977 and wrote over a hundred sf novels, among them Gremlins, Go Home.

We have also lost David Prowse, the man under the sinister mask of Darth Vader. Prowse brought an inimitable physicality to the role and gave Vader a genuinely imposing presence, although neither his voice (he had a very “country” English accent that was Not At All scary) nor face (Lucas et al decided to cast a veteran actor for Vader’s unmasking–an understandable though disappointing choice) ever made it on-screen. Come to think of it, he was also doubled for the fight scenes as well, by swordsmaster Bob Anderson. At some point, however, it doesn’t mattter: he was an essential part of something that once was meaningful and precious to many people, and he will be fondly remembered. May the Force be with him.