True Review
Current Issue Number 77 Vol.20  March 2011
Stories - Neial Gaiman & Al Sarrantonion


BEST SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY OF THE YEAR, Vol. 5, ed. by Jonathan Strahan. Night Shade Books (, 2011, 536 pp., $19.99. ISBN 978-1-59780-172-0

Once again, “best” is determined often by the personal tastes of any editor, and so often, when reading the “best of's,” I come across stories that make me shake my head and think, what did the editor think was “best” about THAT? I have read far too mediocre stories in these mammoth collections. I wonder how thick of a “best-of” annual book I would put together – probably wouldn’t be more than 200 pages for any given year.

Remember the Sturgeon Rule, that 90 percent of everything is crap? I think Theodore Sturgeon was an optimist. . . .

There ought to be a book about HOW or WHY editor’s choose particular stories as “favorites” – now THAT would be interesting to read.

Strahan got it right with the following:

“The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon” by Elizabeth Hand was reviewed in True Review 76. One man attempts a re-enactment of a flight of an early aircraft, presumably before the Wright brothers’ historic flight – in the case of Ernesto McCauley -- that may have been recorded, momentarily, on film. Could McCauley’s strange aircraft actually take flight? And what of those who believe THIS was the actual beginning of air flight, instead of the Wright brothers recorded account?

Even werewolves can show their acting talent in ways that remain truly human in “The Aarne-Thompson Classification Revue” by Holly Black. This is a traveling troupe story with a werewolf girl who demonstrates her own innate repertoire.

“The Exterminator’s Want-Ad” by Bruce Sterling. In a world of rampant and uncontrolled global warming, the bug exterminators are respected, even wealthy – up to a point. But even THEY are human, with human needs such as companionship.

“The Naturalist” by Maureen McHugh. Gerrold Cahill wants to investigate the workings of zombies, get a better understanding of their biology, their behavior, and their control – before knowing how to stop the zombie plague. Gerrold meets some interesting, entirely HUMAN, characters along the way.

“The Sultan of the Clouds” by Geoffrey A. Landis. A visit to see Carlos Fernando Delacroix Ortega de la Jolla Nordwall-Gruenbaum, the richest man in the known universe, results in an eye-widening treat of the heavily colonized Venus. Meanwhile, threats to the developing planet from terrorists are real.

“Iteration” by John Kessel. A superstore clerk by the name of Enzo opens an e-mail while off work to a Website link to Iteration. Enzo has the ability to change his world in small ways – but those ways, when accumulated, alter the world considerably. How far will the changes go?

“The Zeppelin Conductors’ Society Annual Gentlemen’s Ball” by Genevieve Valentine. Near the turn of the last century, zeppelins were the rage in this alternate reality story. But suicides and saboteurs exist in this or any other reality.

Andrew M. Andrews

In This Issue

Soft Apocalpyse Nebula Awards Showcase 2011 Click on the Book Cover for Review Best Sci-Fi of the Year Oscar Wilde & Vampire Murders

Dawn to Dusk Brave New Worlds All Clear Zombie Autopsies Best of Kim Stanley Robinson

Nightmare at 20,000 Feet Griftopia Sleight of Hand Immaculate Deception Pump Six

Sympathy for the Devil Atlantis & Othe Places Darkness Holiday Nano Comes to Clifford

Game Changers Armageddon In Retrospect   The Fall of the House of Usher Realms of Fantasy

Next Time In True Review


FLAMING ZEPPELINS: The Adventures of Ned the Seal, by Joe R. Lansdale. Tachyon Publications (, 2010, 285 pp., $14.95. ISBN 978-1-61696-002-5

FLAMING ZEPPELINS is a combination of two short novels, ZEPPELINS WEST (Subterranean Press, 2001) and FLAMING LONDON (Subterranean, 2005). The love of westerns and pulp fiction, comic books and Texas weirdness, come into play. The best campy fiction in all of America? Probably.

Andrew M. Andrews


THE COLLECTED FANTASIES VOL. 5, THE LAST HIEROGLYPH, by Clark Ashton Smith, ed. by Scott Connors and Ron Hilger. Night Shade Books (, 2010, 370 pp., $39.99. ISBN 978-1-59780-032-7

THE COLLECTED FANTASIES is the last of five volumes to collect all of Smith’s tales. Included are works ranging from “The Dark Age” (April 1938) to “The Dart of Rasasfa” (July 1961).

Andrew M. Andrews