Author Archive: Eugene R.

Repent, Englishman!, said the Ticktockman

On a cool evening at the end of a Summer that is, the Beamers came together to step back to a Victorian London that never was but perhaps should have been.  Natasha Pulley’s debut novel, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, unites the fabled capital of the British Empire with Irish revolutionaries, Japanese emigres, the magic …

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Vaster than empires: Ursula Le Guin introduces her Hainish stories

On Tor.com, the introductions to the new 2-volume boxed set, The Hainish Novels & Stories, from the Library of America, have been posted.  Written by Ms. Le Guin, they give background on how she wrote some of the groundbreaking sf of the 1960s and ’70s, like The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed.  And …

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Taking and talking detours aboard the Wayfarer

For a pleasant August evening, the Beamers spent a pleasant couple of hours going over and under the various elements that Becky Chambers used to create her Wayfarer universe, as seen in her debut novel, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.  While the destination of the crew is, indeed, a small, geologically active …

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Looking for the new Lt. Ripley?

NASA this week posted a job opening for a Planetary Protection Officer, a title that requires the holder to “the avoidance of organic-constituent and biological contamination in human and robotic space exploration.”  Organic?  Biological contamination?  In space!  Does this position sound tailor-made for Sigourney Weaver? Actually, it is all about the tiny biota, bacteria and …

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A long way across a big, mildly upset planet

In the summer swelter of mid-July, the Beamers cooled off with some beverages at Panera’s and with an epic quest across a mammoth planet that kept us distracted from the heat, all the way to Lord Valentine’s Castle.  Robert Silverberg’s planetary romance was a bit radical when published in 1980, marking a major departure from …

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When “The Muppet Show” got “Mad” at Readercon …

I recently attended Readercon 28 in Quincy, Mass, and spent 4 days immersed in a sea of speculations on speculative fiction.  (Seriously, the panel discussion “Problematizing Taxonomizing” was sub-titled “Maybe the Most Readercon Panel Ever”, for good reasons.) Mixed in with all the heady and erudite discussions were readings, small-group sit-downs with authors (called “kaffeeklatsches”), …

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Dread chibi gods?

As part of their on-going H.P. Lovecraft Cthulhu Mythos re-read on Tor.com, Ruthanna Emrys and Anne M. Pillsworth added a Japanese anime to the list of Mythos-related works.  Kishin Houkou Demonbane follows the adventures of Kurou, a down-on-his-luck private detective/sorcerer in Arkham, who finds (or is found by) a copy of the dread Necronomicon.  In …

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Eight fought adventure

On the cusp of Summer, eight stalwart Beamers grappled with the flashing swords and dark sorceries of Fritz Leiber’s redoubtable pair, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.  Though, as in true Beamer fashion, many doubts about the pair were raised, particularly with regard to their paramours.

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The children of the night, what tuneful tones!

In the May 2017 issue of Locus, Stefan Dziemianowicz reviews an alternative (or “lost”) version of Bram Stoker’s classic vampire novel, Dracula.  Published in Iceland(!) in the early 1900s, with the title Powers of Darkness (Makt Myrkranna), it differs from the traditional edition of Dracula published in England in 1897, in ways both small and …

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Juno, winning the race, pole to pole

NASA’s Juno probe is beginning to return data from its close-up views of Jupiter.  Entering orbit around the gas giant on July 4, 2016, the craft maneuvered into its current pole-to-pole transits on August 27, achieving a low altitude of 4,200 kilometers (2,600 miles) above the Jovian cloud tops.  Now, NASA has published the first …

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