Author Rating: B

Author Rating: A

Billy Budd, Foretopman (read 1981 and again 3/26/2013) Recommended

I’m not sure that what I read back in 1981 was the same as the version I have sort of read today. Included in a paperback copy of Six Great Modern Short Novels, published originally in 1954, is what is described as “the definitive transcription of F. Barron Freeman published by the Harvard University Press, corrected in accordance with the Corrigenda later issued with that volume.” The writing is extraordinarily obtuse and difficult to get through but, in hindsight, delivers a boatload of information. I will confess though, I didn’t have the patience to read the entire thing. Are other published versions of Billy Budd “cleaned up” to make them more readable? I don’t know, but if you have an interest in language and/or sociology, you can’t go wrong with this “definitive transcription.”

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (read 1981) Recommended

About a man and a whale.


Author Rating: B

Legends II (read 7/24/12) Recommended

The only reason I recommend this anthology of five fantasy/science fiction novelettes is because it includes The Monarch of the Glen by Neil Gaiman, a short sequel to American Gods.
The Book of Changes (read 7/24/12) Recommended

This novelette published as one of five by various authors in the Legends II anthology is good enough that I would consider reading other works by Silverberg, despite his obviously atrocious judgment as the creator of Legends and Legends II. It’s true that it is easier to find bad fantasy/science fiction than good, but please, Mr. Silverberg, don’t serve up shit and call it caviar.

Author Rating: B

Pagan Babies (read 11/1/11) Meh

Elmore Leonard has been a popular crime fiction and suspense writer for quite some time but this is the first novel of his that I’ve read since some time in the early 1980s. I wasn’t particularly impressed with him then and this novel didn’t change my opinion. He certainly writes better than many popular authors, he is able to maintain internal consistency, but at no point does he make me care.

Author Rating: B+

Every Demon Has His Day (read 10/26/11) Recommended

This was a random pick from the library shelf that turned out to be terrific! This well-written, humorous, fast-paced story about a woman who discovers she’s a prophet who has to save the world by preventing Satan from fathering the anti-Christ after her husband is killed by a demon and everyone thinks she killed him. Reminiscent of Christopher Moore.

The only reason I gave Lockwood a B+ instead of an A was the lame final chapter.

Can’t Teach An Old Demon New Tricks (read 11/9/11) Recommended

This is a sequel to Every Demon Has His Day and again Lockwood does a good job although, as before, she doesn’t know when to put down the pen. The maudlin sappiness of the last chapter is unfortunately. My only other complaint is Lockwood dumbing-down Frank, a pug in the first book and a novice angel in this one.

Author Rating: B+

Reginald Hill is a contemporary English crime writer, awarded the Crime Writers’ Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement in 1995.

Death Comes For The Fat Man (read 8/20/11) Recommended

This is Hill’s 22nd crime novel featuring Yorkshire detectives Andrew Dalziel, Peter Pascoe and Edgar Wield. I would have liked to start reading this series with the first book, but my neighborhood library has a limited selection and, not knowing whether it would be worth the wait to order the first (A Clubbable Woman), I plunged in. If you are a fan of crime fiction and enjoy a good series, I can tell you, if your library has to order it from elsewhere in the system, it will be worth the wait to be able to begin at the beginning. Hill is definitely one of the better crime fiction writers.

Dialogues of the Dead (read 9/3/11) Recommended

Hill does a great job creating compelling characters and sustaining the reader’s interest throughout. I highly recommend this novel for its intelligence.

Pictures of Perfection (read 9/30/11) Recommended

A Dalziel and Pascoe mystery in which appearances can be deceiving.

Good Morning Midnight (read 10/6/11) Recommended

Dalziel and Pascoe investigate a suicide done in such a way as to throw suspicion of murder on the “wicked stepmother” and uncover hints of an international arms conspiracy.

The Woodcutter (read 11/13/11) Meh

I actually haven’t finished reading this one yet and I wouldn’t if I had anything else on my table. It’s a stand-alone story about a guy who leaves home as a young man to seek his fortune so that he can win the hand of his true love. The source of his fortune is the big mystery. When he’s been happily married for about 16 years, he’s convicted of fraud and pedophilia. The story really starts when he’s in prison and we learn his past through his conversations with his psychiatrist. The psychiatrist character is badly drawn and really annoying. I’m in a section now where that character is not involved but I dread her reappearance. I’ll keep reading until the library gets the books I’ve ordered but I doubt I’ll finish this.

Author Rating: B+

Another Fine Myth (read 12/4/11) Recommended

First published in 1978, this is the first in Asprin’s long-running Myth series.  In the reality that Asprin creates, mythical creatures like devils and imps are actually from beings other dimensions, popping from one “world” to another through a variety of means, including being “summoned” by magicians.  Another Fine Myth is a clever, amusing and well written science fiction novel that leaves me looking forward to reading the next.

Myth Adventures series

  • Another Fine Myth (1978)
  • Myth Conceptions (1980)
  • Myth Directions (1982)
  • Hit or Myth (1983)
  • Myth-ing Persons (1984)
  • Little Myth Marker (1985)
  • M.Y.T.H. Inc. Link (1986)
  • Myth-Nomers and Im-Pervections (1987)
  • M.Y.T.H. Inc. in Action (1990)
  • Sweet Myth-tery of Life (1993)
  • Myth-Ion Improbable (2001) chronologically set between Myth Directions and Hit or Myth
  • Something M.Y.T.H. Inc. (2002)
  • Myth-told Tales (2003) with Jody Lynn Nye
  • Myth Alliances (2003) with Jody Lynn Nye
  • Myth-taken Identity (2004) with Jody Lynn Nye
  • Class Dis-Mythed (2005) with Jody Lynn Nye
  • Myth-Gotten Gains (2006) with Jody Lynn Nye
  • Myth-Chief (2008) with Jody Lynn Nye
  • Myth-Fortunes (2008) with Jody Lynn Nye

Duncan and Mallory series

  • Duncan and Mallory (1986) with Mel White
  • The Bar None Ranch (1987) with Mel White
  • The Raiders (1988) with Mel White

Phule’s Company series

  • Phule’s Company (1990)
  • Phule’s Paradise (1992)
  • A Phule and His Money (1999) with Peter J. Heck
  • Phule Me Twice (2000) with Peter J. Heck
  • No Phule Like an Old Phule (2004) with Peter J. Heck
  • Phule’s Errand (2006) with Peter J. Heck

Time Scout series

  • Time Scout (1995) with Linda Evans
  • Wagers of Sin (1995) with Linda Evans
  • Ripping Time (2000) with Linda Evans
  • The House that Jack Built (2000) with Linda Evans
  • License Invoked (February 2001) with Jody Lynn Nye

Cold Cash series

  • The Cold Cash War (1977)
  • Cold Cash Warrior (1989) with Bill Fawcett

Wartorn series

  • Resurrection (2004) with Eric Del Carlo
  • Obliteration (2006) with Eric Del Carlo

Griffen McCandles (Dragons) series

  • Dragons Wild (April 2008)
  • Dragons Luck (April 2009)
  • Dragons Deal (December 2010)(with Jody Lynn Nye )

Other Novels

  • Tambu (1979)
  • The Bug Wars (1979)
  • Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe (1979) with George Takei
  • Catwoman (1992) with Lynn Abbey
  • For King and Country (July 2002) with Linda Evans
  • E.Godz (March 2005) with Esther M Friesner
  • NO Quarter (October 2009) with Eric Del Carlo and Teresa Patterson

Selected short fiction

  • “The Ex-Khan” in Angels in Hell (1987), part of the Heroes in Hell series
  • “Two Gentlemen of the Trade” in Festival Moon (1987), part of the Merovingen Nights series
  • “A Harmless Excursion” in Smugglers Gold (1988), also from Merovingen Nights
  • “Mything in Dreamland” with Jody Lynn Nye in Masters of Fantasy (2004), part of the Myth series

Thieves’ World series (Editor)

  • Thieves’ World (1979)
  • Tales from the Vulgar Unicorn (1980)
  • Shadows of Sanctuary (1981)
  • Storm Season (1982)
  • The Face of Chaos (1983)
  • Wings of Omen (1984)
  • The Dead of Winter (1985)
  • Soul of the City (1986)
  • Blood Ties (1986)
  • Aftermath (1987)
  • Uneasy Alliances (1988)
  • Stealers’ Sky (1989)

Other writing

The Capture, cartoon slide show written by Asprin and illustrated by Phil Foglio; nominated for a 1976 Hugo Award

Author Rating: B

Just a Couple of Days (read 2007, reread 6/22/10) recommended

Well, when I say “recommended” …

I remember being impressed with this book when I first read it three years ago. There is some value in it if you’re really into speculative navel-gazing, but on a second read I found it to be incredibly pretentious and annoyingly naive.

Here’s a review which gives it a bit more credit than I am willing to concede.

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