the Little Red Reviewer

Author Archive

I’ve been looking for a new job lately.  no worries, it’s cool.  I’ve had some really good interviews, gone to some great networking events, and read about a bazillion websites on how to make your resume fricken’ awesome.  After looking through a bunch of sample resumes of different styles, I starting wondering what fictional characters’ resumes might look like. What would they highlight as their accomplishments? How would they make their mundane jobs look awesome? How would they “brand” themselves? What kind of e-mail address would they have? How much information about themselves would they put on their resumes?  Might I be competing against some of these people at my next interview?

generic image stolen from the interwebs

generic image stolen from the interwebs


I ended up making resumes for Paul Atreides, Miriam Black, and Locke Lamora.  Much fun and silliness was had. Observe!


Paul Atreides
The Keep
Arrakis (Dune)



Proven track record of excellent leadership abilities by  completing complex projects by bringing multiple parties and departments together. Fostered team atmosphere that promoted diversity and respected environmental concerns.
- Relocated Imperial Capitol to Arrakis
- Exposed  inefficiencies in outgoing leadership.
- Organized the tribes towards a uniting goal
- Developed and implemented new system of power and currency

Duke’s Son (heir)
This position included extensive training in Mentat capabilities, weaponry, music, and diplomacy.
- Completed challenging training modules
- Promoted a self starting and enthusiastic attitude with associates
- Conscientiously observed Duke Leto to best understand the Landsraad


Homeschooled, privately educated.

Additional Skills
Licensed on Ornithopters and Carryalls of most makes and models (VFR and IFR)
Highly proficient with crysknife and lasgun

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The World Fantasy Convention was held earlier this month, and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award.  Her name will be familiar to fans of historical fiction, as she’s the author behind the famous Saint-Germain Cycle. The first novel in the Cycle, Hotel Transylvania, was published in 1978, and there are now over 25 volumes.   She’s written over 80 books, and over 70 works of short fiction. No stranger to awards either, she’s received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association, the Grand Master award from the World Horror Association, and she was the first woman to be enrolled as a Living Legend of the International Horror Guild.



Chelsea was kind enough to take a few minutes out of her busy day to answer a few of my questions on her famous series, music, and the occult.  Wanna learn more about this amazing author? I do! let’s go!

LRR: Your bio briefly mentions you are also a musical composer. Could you tell us a little more about this? Personally, I believe there are a lot of connections between music and other means of communication. Have you found any similarities between writing music and writing fiction?

CQY: There are many things that cannot be said with words, and it seems to me that’s where music comes in. When I get worded – out, I do music to deal with all the things that words cannot express. Words and music are powerful communicators, but they communicate different kinds of things. So while composition and writing are at the opposite end of the communication scale, they serve the same basic purpose. At least that’s my opinion.

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I’m over at SFSignal today, reviewing Steven Brust’s newest Vlad Taltos novel, Hawk.   This is the 14th book in the series, but a surprisingly good spot for new fans to jump right in.  Still on the fence? Click here for a review I wrote a while back for The Book of Jhereg, which is comprised of the first 3 short novels of the series.



Even though Vlad spends most of the book saying “hello” to people, the entire novel has an undeniable underlying fatalism, an inescapable feeling that he’s really returned to Adrilankha to say “goodbye”. Vlad isn’t stupid. He knows there’s a chance he’s not going to make it to the end of the book. A really good chance.

Fatalism aside, Hawk allows me to say something I haven’t been able to say about this series in ages: For readers brand new to the Vlad Taltos series, this is an excellent place to jump right in and get a feel for Brust’s wry writing style, the way he does world building and characterization, and everyone’s favorite sarcastic semi-retired assassin, Vlad Taltos.


Read the rest of the review HERE.

2014-11-15 09.03.57Inside Outer Space:  Science Fiction Professionals Look at Their Craft, edited by Sharon Jarvis

published in 1985

where i got it: friend gave it to me















My friends know I’m drawn towards the obscure, and they also know I really like the “behind the scenes” of everything. A friend found the perfect gift for me: an obscure book of essays by spec fic professionals, published in 1985. What value is there in a book of essays from 30 years ago? More than you’d think.  Editor Sharon Jarvis curated a short list that included her friends and a few authors she’d been referred to.  She assigned people to write on a topic such as humor, or war, or fandom, or small presses, told them approximately how many pages she wanted, and left them to it.  The resulting essays from luminaries like C.J. Cherryh, Marion Zimmer Bradley, George Alec Effinger, Parke Godwin, Ron Goulart and others are more like having a casual conversation with someone, or listening in on an unscripted panel discussion, rather than reading a manicured essay. They are completely casual, with the authors being completely comfortable calling out people they disagree with (most notably, Harlan Ellison, who everyone wants to pick on).


I picked this book up completely on a lark, I needed something read while waiting for something else to happen. Something I could put down at any moment, something with short little bursts of information seemed perfect. Well, the first essay was addictive and hilarious, so I kept reading, long after the stuff that I was waiting for had happened.   So why was a book of essays from 1985 so intriguing? Because it felt like a time capsule.  And of course I was intrigued to see what had changed in 30 years, and what really hadn’t. Some conversations we are still having, and some we *should* still be having.

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Vintage SF badge

The first snowflakes have already landed, you’ve pulled out the fuzzy socks and the heavy coats, the holiday shopping ads are everywhere, Thanksgiving is almost here.  You know what that means, right?  It’s time to start thinking about Vintage Science Fiction month!  Since 2012 I’ve dedicated the month of January to reading “older than I am” science fiction, and invited the entire blogosphere to come with me on an interstellar journey across the stars and into our own minds. We’ve met trickster aliens, ridden dragons, won wars, negotiated with hive minds  and tried to understand androids. We’ve read satire, space opera, high concept metaphysics, alternate histories and impossible futures. We’ve gone to Venus, Mars, the center of the Earth, and beyond the edges of the galaxy.   Beyond books, bloggers have talked about radio programs, movies, and TV shows.

You should come with us this year!

See that Vintage SciFi Not-A-Challenge tab up at the top of the screen? Click there to see some of the history of Vintage Scifi Month.

Let’s talk a little about the what, the how (how do you find this stuff, anyways?),  the why, and the but wait, there’s more!

The What:

Anything or anyone who created science fiction, or something speculative fiction-ish that was published (or recorded, or put on TV or the silver screen) before 1979.  It can be hard scifi, or not. Have aliens, or not.  Fantasy is OK too.  Jules Verne is perfect, so is Mary Shelley. Or maybe War of the Worlds, original Star Trek, C.L. Moore, Isaac Asimov, Andre Norton, Cordwainer Smith, Clifford Simak, Ursula K. LeGuin, Kurt Vonnegut, James Tiptree Jr, A.E. van Vogt, Frank Herbert,  I can go on forever here.

The How:

How the hell do I find crusty old books!?   More of this is still in print than you’d think. Not ready to sink $17 into the newest printing of Stranger in a Strange Land? No problem, head over to your local library or any new/used independent bookstore and get ready for an adventure in browsing!  Keep an eye out for “Daw Yellow Spines”, which are exactly what they sound like. They aren’t all pre-1979, but a lot of them are, and the cover art is usually pretty nuts.

Paperbackswap is another option as well.  And if you make a good case for yourself, I could be tempted to loan out some of my vintage titles.

Only want to read on your e-reader/kindle/tablet thing? again, no problem.  Head over to Project Gutenberg for a ton of free classics (just search for science fiction). More and more publishers are releasing e-books of older titles and finding a healthy market still exists for these titles. I recently discovered Open Road Media, an all e-book publisher.  I was pretty impressed by their collection of older stuff.  Plenty of Andre Norton, and a bucket of John Norman, the Fritz Leiber Lankhmar collection, even some Robert Silverberg, James Brunner and H.G. Wells.


The Why:

Why? because everything came from somewhere. Your favorite spec fic author was influenced by someone, who was influenced by someone, who was influenced by someone, and so on.   Movements and changes in what’s popular, what we wish was popular, or what we’re sick of is a reaction to what came before.   Personally, I just really like knowing what came before, it helps me understand the foundations of something that has brought so much joy into my life.  Another way to put it is that reading older science fiction is like finding an ancient city buried underneath a modern one.  You suddenly know why your city was laid out the way it was, and why some things were done different, because now you can better see what came before.   Vintage science fiction is where we came from. Those novels and short stories are the steps we took to get to where we are now.


and the But Wait, There’s More:

I’m looking for guest posts,  anything from book reviews, to TV show or movie reviews and/or discussions, to a cover art gallery, to why you appreciate a particular vintage author.  If you’re interested in writing a guest post, tweet me at @redhead5318 ,  or e-mail me with that same handle, but to the gmail place.


Are we ready to rock ‘n roll this January or what?




I’ve been lucky enough to interview some pretty cool people over the years.  But Ellen Datlow takes “pretty cool” to a whole new level. An editor of short fiction for nearly thirty years, Ellen holds four Hugo awards, ten World Fantasy awards, five Locus awards, three Bram Stoker awards, and I’ll stop there even though I could happily continue to list her achievements for the next hours or so. She’s co-edited twenty one Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror volumes, edited six Best Horror of the Year volumes (through Nightshade Books), and most recently was the editor for Lovecraft’s Monsters and The Cutting Room for Tachyon.

To say she is a rock star of the industry is quite the understatement.

Last weekend at the World Fantasy Convention, Ellen Datlow was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement award, along with Chelsea Quinn Yarbro.

I was first introduced to her work through one of many anthologies she co-edited with Terri Windling, Snow White, Blood Red, which has since become a beloved paperback on my bookshelf.  That collection would become the first in a series of six, and many of them recently become available as e-books through Open Road Media.  If you are interested in fairy tale retellings, dark fantasy, or the short fiction of acclaimed authors such as Joyce Carol Oates,  Jane Yolen, Neil Gaiman, Tanith Lee, Charles deLint, Gene Wolfe, Storm Constantine and many others, this is an anthology series you should consider.

Datlow Windling fairy tale anthos

Ellen was kind enough to answer a few of my questions on her lifetime in the field and the joys and challenges of putting anthologies together.  Let’s get to the interview!

ellen datlow

LRR: I remember reading Snow White, Blood Red in the late 90s, it was a collection my soon-to-be husband and I bonded over. That was your first Fairy Tale anthology with Terri Windling, and it would become a series of six anthologies. When you start a new anthology, how do you know it will be a “one of”, such as Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells or a series, like the Fairy Tale or Best Horror of the Year volumes?

ED: That’s really lovely to hear!

One rarely knows in advance if an anthology will sell well enough for the publisher to offer a contract for a second, although for a year’s best one always hopes it will become a series as that’s its purpose. Snow White, Blood Red was intended to be a one-shot but it did well enough that our editor commissioned another (or two that time). I don’t think we ever got more than a two-book contract at a time for what became a six book series. It just ended up that way. And by the time the sixth came out the publisher had changed hands (possibly twice) and I was burned out on retold fairy tales — for a time.

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interstellar movie poster


Last Saturday we joined another couple to see Interstellar.  I’ve made this review as non-spoilery as possible, but quick tl;dr is that I absolutely loved this movie.


Interstellar, Directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Matthew McConaughey, John Lithgow, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine , Davie Gyasi, and Jessica Chastian.  Rated PG-13


The premise of Interstellar is that Earth is doomed. A blight is killing the crops, and no matter what you want to be when you grow up, you’re gonna be a farmer, because it is now everyone’s duty to get as much food out of the ground as possible. Cooper, an ex-test pilot, lives with his father-in-law Donald, his son Tom and his daughter Murphy. His daughter is convinced there is a ghost in her bedroom who keeps pushing books off the shelves, and he tries to explain to her that ghosts and poltergeists don’t exist, she’s got to go about understanding what’s in her room in a scientific way.

Cooper still dreams of flying, and his daughter has inherited his love of astronautics and physics.  I won’t tell you how, but Cooper and Murphy come to the attention of a government agency who has a Plan A to save humanity, and a Plan B.  Plan A involves the cinematographic beauty of the movie: flying a ship through a worm hole and into another galaxy, in the search for another planet for humanity to inhabit.  Along with an old army robot, Cooper and a small crew of scientists take a small ship up to a mothballed space station to start their journey.  Plan B is the twist, and well, that would be a spoiler. Which is too bad, because it’s the big idea of the whole thing.



Interstellar was a gorgeous movie to watch.  The rings of Saturn, black holes up close and personal, a star frozen in an eternal moment of being on the event horizon of a black hole, the vistas of the planets the expedition lands on, all of the visualizations are stunning to behold. And this might be the best visual representation of we’ve ever come up with for what a black hole might look like.

Sorta looks like a no-ship.

Black hole sorta looks like a no-ship.


From the drawings we’ve seen in astronomy textbooks, a black hole is a disk that sucks stuff in, looking almost like the drain in your bathtub, right? but as Romilly explains, thats a 2d representation of something that is 3d. Whats a 3d version of a circle? A sphere, of course. So the  black holes are spheres, which at first blush,  looked to me like a Herbertian no-ships. And just wait until you see the black hole that has a star dying in an endless moment on the event horizon! For more info on that, check out this spoiler free article on how they designed the black holes at Wired.

Why yes, that is a star being eaten by a Black Hole. Looks  amazing!

Why yes, that is a star being eaten by a Black Hole. Looks amazing! oh, and there is a planet orbiting it. Wanna take a look?

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2014 Hugo Awards

I reviewed some Hugo nominated stuff. Click here for the list.

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FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.