Jan. 30th, 2012

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Themes this month: Space:1999, James Bond in 2 flavors, a couple MZB's, and a group of Luff Imbry short stories by the brilliant Matthew Hughes.

01/01/2012    Space: 1999: Rogue Planet by E. C. Tubb
01/03/2012    The Survivors by Marion Zimmer Bradley & Paul Edwin Zimmer
01/04/2011    The Eyes of the Overworld (audiobook) by Jack Vance
01/08/2012    Space: 1999: Alien Seed by E.C. Tubb
01/11/2012    Quantum of Solace: The Complete James Bond Short Stories (audiobook) by Ian Fleming
01/12/2012    The Winds of Gath by E.C. Tubb
01/15/2012    The Heirs of Hammerfell by Marion Zimmer Bradley
01/18/2012    Derai by E.C. Tubb
01/24/2012    Carte Blanche (audiobook) by Jeffrey Deaver
01/26/2012    Space: 1999: Shepherd Moon edited by Mateo Latosa
01/28/2012    Passion Ploy (ss) By Matthew Hughes
01/28/2012    Nature Tale (ss) By Matthew Hughes
01/28/2012    Enemy of the Good (ss) By Matthew Hughes
01/28/2012    Another Day in Fibberty (ss) By Matthew Hughes
01/28/2012    The Meaning of Luff (ss) By Matthew Hughes
01/28/2012    The Farouche Assemblage (ss) By Matthew Hughes
01/28/2012    The Eye of Vann (ss) By Matthew Hughes
01/30/2012    The Anubis Gates (audiobook) by Tim Powers

Tubb's Space: 1999 novels are better than expected -- quick, breezy reads. Remember when they used to be able to tell a complete story in 160 pages? Those were the days! Today, SF & Fantasy writers can barely clear their throats in under 500 pages. The Space: 1999 story collection from a couple years ago was wildly uneven -- from good (Tubb and Brian Ball, genuine SF writers who contributed to the Space: 1999 novelizations back in the day) to bottom-drawer fan fiction. Definitely missible.

After enjoying Tubb's Space: 1999 books, I decided to try reading some of his long-running Dumarest of Terra series. I started collecting this series in junior high school, up until the mid-80's, when the publisher gave up on it after #31, but as best I can recall have never actually read one. The first two were better than I expected, and am currently reading the third one. As these are blissfully concise, I can easily read one in a single lazy afternoon, so I'll keep some on the Nook and iPad for "snacking."

Deaver's James Bond "reboot," Carte Blanche, is really, really good. It made me want to run out and read more Deaver, which is a good sign. I hope he writes more Bond books. I could do with one a year no problem.

Matthew Hughes is one of my very favorite writers. His most recent novel, The Other, features his rascally forger-thief character, Luff Imbry. It also features some of the sharpest satire I've read in a long time. You should read it. Yes, right now.

Anyway, Hughes's publisher, Angry Robot, has obtained rights to 7 Luff Imbry shorts (published between 2005 & 2008 in F&SF, PostScripts and the odd anthology) and made them available as reasonably-priced e-texts (I got all 7 from the Angry Robot website for $3.99, after all kinds of discounts and price conversion from pounds to dollars) and read them on Saturday. Delightful.

Two MZB pieces down this month: The Survivors, her second collaboration with her brother, Paul Edwin Zimmer. I strongly suspect that PEZ did the actual writing -- the book is stuffed with a kind of gently explicit sexuality that Marion would never write. I'm actually surprised that she let it go out under her name. I then tackled the last Darkover book Marion wrote on her own, The Heirs of Hammerfell. This book is not well regarded among Darkover cognoscenti. For about 2/3 of the book, I was puzzled by the reaction, because it seemed a perfectly acceptable entry into the series, illuminating the period after the Ages of Chaos, as the Comyn were just starting to consolidate the Hundred Kingdoms into the familiar Seven Domains. Then it turned into a sappy romance novel, with a cliched ending that was painfully forced, and suddenly I understood the hate. Damn.

Consulting my MZB database (yes, I know having a MZB database makes me an ubergeek. So?) I see that I don't have a whole lot left to read. There are a couple pieces I don't have (anyone out there have a copy of the Mattachine Review Vol. 7 Number 4? Apparently Marion has a story in it) but of what I have in the collection, I either have to read some of the late-period ghostwritten stuff or the "lesbian" potboilers. I tried both Black Trillium and Tiger Burning Bright and was horrified by the generic "fantasy princess" plots and the fairly dreadful writing. I Don't know if I'm going to be able to force these down. Maybe Glenraven will be better. If not, lesbian potboilers, here I come!

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