Recently Read

The Pursuit of the Pankera: A Novel About Parallel Universes by Robert A. Heinlein

This is an alter­nate nov­el of The Num­ber of the Beast. Sup­pos­ed­ly there was to be two nov­els pub­lished togeth­er. This was worth anoth­er look since it was new man­u­script. This has inspired me to read the orig­i­nal again.

4 out of 5

Def­i­nite­ly not the best of Hein­lein, but it was nice to have a fresh book after all this time. I found that I might have judged the orig­i­nal too harsh­ly, I want anoth­er look at it.

The Pur­suit of the Pankera avail­able on

The Star-Master by Ray Cummings

Art and his friend Jim are on a hunt­ing trip where they dis­cov­er an alien human woman Ven­ta and a midge (a ten inch tall humanoid with insect wings). The four of them are cap­tured by a mad human mad sci­en­tist, Curt­mann, who has built a space­ship and used it to cap­ture and enslave the plan­et Venus. Art, Jim, Ven­ta, and their Midge ally Mee­ta rebel against Curt­mann in a final and bloody battle.

3.5 out of 5

Well writ­ten yarn about a hab­it­able Venus hav­ing a rebel­lion against human over­lords with the help of two oth­er humans.  Sto­ry avail­able in The Sci­ence Fic­tion Bun­dle at


Shipwreck in the Sky, by Eando Binder

Post WWII sci­ence fic­tion sto­ry where the first man in space crash­es into a mile wide dark moon orbit­ing the Earth. He uses that fact that such a small object has a piti­ful­ly low escape veloc­i­ty that he could run fast enough to reach it. His deor­bit maneu­ver is less believ­able but still does con­sid­er New­ton­ian mechan­ics to accom­plish it. Binder is a good exam­ple of the authors work­ing out the details of space flight before the begin­ning of actu­al flight into space.

3.5 out of 5

Strong sto­ry­line that is dat­ed but is some­what believable.

This sto­ry is avail­able in The First Sci­ence Fic­tion Mega­pack.

One-Shot, by James Blish

No pres­sure! A gam­bler is asked to make a life or death deci­sion for mil­lions of peo­ple bet­ting on his intu­ition when there are no facts.

3 out of 5

Inter­est­ing sto­ry using the ele­ments of a 1960’s spy dra­ma to explore a sci­ence fic­tion theme.  This is includ­ed in: The First Sci­ence Fic­tion Megapack

The Blaumilch by Lavie Tidar

The Blau­milch is a canal dig­ger that is work­ing on a real Mars that many have imag­ined to be the Mars of Edgar Rice Bur­roughs. Daud, an man turned Thark, learns that he want­ed to be a work­er on the real Mars instead of the war­rior on the Mars-that-nev­er-was. A joy­ful sto­ry about becom­ing something.


5 out of 5

A great short sto­ry with an array of unex­pect­ed characters.

Pub­lished in Clarkesworld Mag­a­zine Issue 205

The People of the Crater, by Andre Norton

Gavin, an Amer­i­can Avi­a­tor, crash­es his plane into a crater in Antarc­ti­ca and finds a fan­tas­tic civ­i­liza­tion where he becomes the hero of the day. This has a famil­iar feel and harkens back to the works Edgar Rice Burroughs.

4 out of 5

A good sol­id exam­ple of Andre Nor­ton fan­ta­sy/s­ci-fi. This sto­ry bridges the two genre very well. This is avail­able in The Peo­ple of the Crater from .

Black-Out, by Joseph Farell

Old sci­en­tist on Mars rebuilds tele­scope to con­tact the last hope of the dying civ­i­liza­tion on Mars — The Earth. Here we have a sit­u­a­tion where the life­time of a civ­i­liza­tion (a para­me­ter from the Drake equa­tion) ends sig­nal that is detectable. Mars is mak­ing assump­tions about cities hav­ing roofs and that the city lights are actu­al sig­nal­ing appa­ra­tus. The loss of those lights are con­sid­ered a cat­a­stro­phe for both worlds.

3 out of 5

Hab­it­able Mars sto­ry with the Mar­tians as cen­tral fig­ures. Sto­ry avail­able in The Sci­ence Fic­tion Bun­dle at


The Expediter, by Mack Reynolds

Future com­mu­nist dic­ta­tor attempts an exper­i­ment that reveals an inter­est­ing and uni­ver­sal hubris by giv­ing an aver­age man the pow­er to fix every prob­lem he comes across.

3 out of 5

Inter­est­ing but dat­ed read.  This is includ­ed in: The First Sci­ence Fic­tion Megapack