What Science Fiction Lacks

Good criticism and brave critics. That’s what the science fiction field lacks. For decades now, most book reviews with in the field rarely give honest assessments of a given works strengths and weaknesses. Read any given issue of LOCUS (which is the “Newsletter of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Industry”). The book reviews are generally […]

Why Science Fiction Poetry is Embarrassingly Bad

I have been bothered for a long time by what passes for science fiction poetry, at least the kinds of “verse” (I use the term hesitantly) that currently appears in the three main short fiction journals in the field: Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Analog. I’m sure the urge […]

The Lazy Apocalypse

One of my usual rants is that science fiction writers are lazy. (And greedy, but that’s another story.) Of course, both accusations are not true when you look at the careers of specific writers and the fine work that most of them have produced. I’m speaking generally here about inventiveness. Given the brutal demands of […]

To Be Continued . . .

Back in the old days you could read a novel in a series and pretty much enjoy that one novel as a stand-alone. The Asimov’s Foundation novels work this way, so do the novels in James Blish’s Cities in Flight. Both E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensmen and his Skylark series work as stand-alones. In fact, when […]


Talk Somewhere around the mid-1980s, science fiction novels (less so short fiction) became filled with talk. I think this has to do with the appearance of word processing, but it also has something to do with the perceived desire of the reading public by publishers for longer, thicker novels–more for your money and all that. […]

Review: Keith Laumer’s Imperium

Imperium – Keith Laumer Baen Books 2012 – ISBN-13: 978-1451637953 – Mass Market Paperback: 640 pages. Imperium is a gathering of three Keith Laumer alternate-history novels, Worlds of the Imperium (1962), The Other Side of Time (1968), and Assignment in Nowhere (1968). Baen Books has been on the forefront of rehabilitating writers who in earlier […]