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Introducing the 50 Nortons in 50 Weeks project

21 Nov, 2014


Andre Norton (1912 — 2005) was a prolific1 and influential science fiction, fantasy, mystery and other genres author whose career stretched from 1934 to the year of her death. She was one of the pioneering female figures in SF, although she adopted a male given name due to the prejudices of the day. In 1977, she was the first woman to win the Gandalf Grand Master Award for life achievement in fantasy writing. Even more impressively, in 1984, she became the only woman in the whole of the 20th century to be named Grandmaster by the notoriously woman-shy Science Fiction Writers of America. In 1997 she became the the first woman inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. 

That’s all very impressive (and I didn’t get into how she gave other authors a hand up) but it is not why I am doing this The reason is during the Heinlein re-read, many of the editions I had in my possession were the Ace editions. Those editions always had a page listing the eleven Heinlein books Ace published and somewhere adjacent to that ad they always placed a second ad for the fifty Andre Norton books they published. I’ve read and enjoyed many of them and now that the Heinlein reread is over, it seemed to me that I should replace that series with a much longer one for an author who was just as significant and who is often overlooked. 

In chronological order, the 50 Nortons are:

1951 Huon of the Horn
1953 Last Planet, The
1954 Daybreak 2250 AD
1954 Stars Are Ours!, The
1955 Sargasso of Space
1955 Star Guard
1956 Crossroads of Time, The
1956 Plague Ship
1957 Sea Siege
1957 Star Born
1958 Star Gate
1958 Time Traders, The
1959 Galactic Derelict
1959/1961 Star Hunter and Voodoo Planet
1959 Secret of the Lost Race

1960 Shadow Hawk
1960 Sioux Spaceman, The
1960 Storm Over Warlock
1961 Beast Master, The
1961 Catseye
1962 Defiant Agents, The
1962 Eye of the Monster
1962 Lord of Thunder
1963 Judgment on Janus
1963 Key Out of Time
1963 Witch World
1964 Night of Masks
1964 Ordeal in Otherwhere
1964 Web of the Witch World
1965 Quest Crosstime
1965 Three Against the Witch World
1965 X Factor, The
1965 Year of the Unicorn
1966 Moon of 3 Rings
1966 Victory On Janus
1967 Operation Time Search
1967 Warlock of the Witch World
1968 Dark Piper
1968 Sorceress of the Witch World
1968 Zero Stone, The
1969 Postmarked the Stars
1969 Uncharted Stars

1970 Dread Companion
1970 High Sorcery
1970 Ice Crown
1971 Android at Arms
1971 Breed to Come
1972 Dragon Magic
1971 Exiles of the Stars
1973 Forerunner Foray

1: there are established authors with fewer books to their credit than she had series. 

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How to Commission a Review

7 Nov, 2014


A: You can buy a review for a book for $100 or by supporting my Patreon: see its page for specific details. I am very open to various media of payment. 

B: Authors may not buy reviews of their own books nor can their family members, publishers or agents. This is for two reasons: Yog’s Law and also the possibility that a confused minority might expect if they pay me to read their book they are then entitled to a positive review.

Authors may point out to me that their qualifying books are now out (or back in print) and while I cannot promise to read said books, there will not be a charge if I do. 

C: I have the right to decline any book; this is not to be taken as a negative comment on the author or book. 

D: Generally, I am not willing to review any book where I would not then allow the author right of reply. I think writers commenting on reviews can go south pretty precipitously but I leave it to their judgement. 

I reserve the right to break my own rules except for B because, wow, can authors buying reviews go horribly wrong fast.

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About the Purity of the English Language T‑Shirts

7 Nov, 2014


UPDATE The cafepress site for these products has been closed. The products are no longer available.

You may have seen variations of the following quotation on t‑shirts.

The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”

I said that many years ago, never suspecting it would be my fifteen minutes of fame. Or that various t‑shirt companies would then elect to put it on shirts. In most cases, I do not make any money off those t‑shirts. I do, however, have a cafepress site and I do make money off goods purchased from there, goods like t‑shirts:


and tote-bags.

My cafepress site is here.

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Announcing Thirteen Days of Atomigeddon!

15 Oct, 2014


Which will take me 14 days because of course I still have the Heinlein reviews to post.

It’s in honour of Cuban missile crisis, which to be honest I don’t really remember because I was very young at the time. As confrontations between the US and SU that could have led to a nuclear go, it was nowhere near as risky as stuff like Able Archer or the 1983 Soviet nuclear false alarm incident because the nuclear arsenals were much smaller then (and strongly favoured the US) but it definitely would been bad for Europe. I was living in London, somewhere near where the region dominated by collapsing buildings due to a 1 MT strike gives way to third degree burns and for me it’s always been the iconic near-miss nuclear war.

For reasons I don’t understand, stories about the immediate aftermath of a nuclear war tend to be by men, while women prefer to look at the long term consequences. Even Connie Willis’s A Letter from the Clearies” is set long enough after the war that the new way of clinging to life has set in, although soon enough after the war the war and all it cost people still looms over them. I have no explanation for this, and am not even sure if there really is a such a difference or if this is just a side-effect of biases in my library.


Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

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The Great Heinlein Juveniles (Plus The Other Two) Reread

15 Aug, 2014


From 1947 to 1958, Robert Heinlein wrote a series of science fiction novels aimed at the young men of America. Aided in this effort by editor Alice Dalgliesh, whose efforts to shape Heinlein’s books into something suitable for their intended market Heinlein was not entirely appreciative of, he wrote what are for many people of a certain age one of the great series in science fiction. For many writers it is a model seared into their brains, although not one many authors can successfully emulate1. Indeed, the reasonable reaction to the announcement by a once-favoured author that he (it’s almost always a he, and almost always of a certain age) is going to try his hand at this Heinlein Juvenile thing is lamentation and despair, as the results are hardly ever any good and the effect on the author often corrosive.

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