Espionage

Review – Cowboy Angels, by Paul McAuley

The Real is a parallel world in which the Second World War never happened, where Alan Turing emigrated to America in the 1950’s and laid the foundations for the development of Turing Gates. By 1968 the CIG was beginning to use the Gates to secretly explore parallel worlds. … There is a lot of plot in Cowboy Angels. There is also a lot of Bourne-movie style action. McAuley builds the suspense well and the set-pieces are effectively conceived.

Living With the Nazis

With its haunting portrayal of the unthinkable, Fatherland sired (ha ha…) the alternate history sub-genre one might call: “What if … the Nazis won?”

Sixties, Science Fiction and Secret Agents

Secret agent tales have always carried a hint of science fiction with them – futuristic gadgets, threatened world-wide annihilation. Steve examines Bond’s 60s rival – Flint – and reminds us that James Coburn was COOL.

Crossroads: Society, World-building, and Estrangement in Spy Fiction

Growing up in a household where the legacy of Communism loomed large (my parents had fled Communist Poland during the ’60s), poison-tipped umbrellas and double-or-triple-agents were regular mealtime conversation. And with no James Bond showing unviewed in our home, the romanticized adventure appealed: Fast cars, neat gadgets, romance, danger – what’s not to love? But […]

Book Review: Hope Reborn by S.M. Stirling and David Drake

Hope Reborn by S.M Stirling and David Drake Baen Books 2013 978-1-4516-3877-6 (Trade paperback) Military science fiction is a subgenre of science fiction that has long been the mainstay of Baen Books. True, Ace has Starship Troopers and DAW has Armor and St. Martin’s Griffin has The Forever War, but Baen has long since championed […]

Zombies, Nazis, and the Spear of Destiny

The Spear of Destiny Jason E. Thummel paperback $12.95 ebook $2.99 Kindle Nook Smashwords Jason E. Thummel is the author of a number of well received heroic fantasy short stories (many collected in the book In Savage Lands). I’d read several of them, so when the opportunity to review his first novel came along, I […]

The Fury – Blu-ray and Expanded Soundtrack

Those difficult teen years. A time when you have no money, power or influence, and have to spend your day going to school without getting paid for the privilege. Have to do what adults say all the time, but have little money to do what you want, and anyway, increasingly, the things you really want […]

Sequential Wednesdays #5 – The Private Eye For the Public

The publication of comics has drastically changed in the past 5 years.  As scores of e-reader devices hit the market to facilitate the millions of e-books available, a market grew around digital publication of comics for mobile and standard devices.  ComiXology was one of the first on the scene to partner with major comic publishers […]

The Monster Makers

The spotlight last month fell on the special effects wizards who make SF monsters come to life. The crowning glory was the award of the Best Picture Oscar for Argo. This spy drama focuses on the rescue of a group of American embassy workers from  Iran, using the cover of a fake SF movie. To […]

Dynamo – Unsuccessful Wooing, Decrees from Rashmon & A Silent, Bearded Man

If there’s a recently popularized term that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, it’s “webisodes.”  This demeaning and fun-sized determination of quality stems from the misconception of tacked-on extra content pumped out in the form of mediocre flash animation with a slim chance of the original creators’ involvement.  Basically, it makes me worried that […]

Crossroads: Where Genres Meet in the Night

Speculative fiction’s ability to stay fresh is a direct result of its ability to blend with other genres: the mash-up, the hybrid, the literary crossroad are where science fiction has always found innovation. We’re a magpie genre, and I think that should be celebrated and explored.