True Review
Current Issue Number 77 Vol.20  March 2011


PUMP SIX And Other Stories, by Paolo Bagigalupi. Night Shade Books (, 2008, 2010, 239 pp., $14.99. ISBN 978-1-59780-202-4

Ten stories are included in this single-author collection, including the following:

“Yellow Card Man.” Tranh, a yellow-card man and Chinese national from Malaya, finds himself in Thailand, along with other Malayan refugees. Proud of his past success before the great downturn, and wearing his expensive Hwang Brother suit, Tranh dreams of being a great shipping magnate. He makes his way to work, to success -- and because he is also very hungry, to food. The people he encounters along the way are those who have gone ahead of him in life, extracting their own kind of vengeance, while Tranh remains essentially helpless.

“Softer.” No story comes as eerily close to the inside workings of a criminal mind better than this, as one man’s murder is chronicled – and the strange ways in which human nature can rationalize the basest desires.

“Pump Six.” Trav and Maggie, a couple, are trying to stay alive in a city ravaged by some type of bioengineered plague, in which a lower form of human life, or “trog,” also occupies the city. The trogs are very simple beings who live like gentle cats or dogs. Trav maintains the sewer pump mechanisms of the city, including a large one, “pump six.” Trav has an excellent reputation as a hero for making sure the pump continues to operate despite several breakdowns. “Pump Six” makes us question our dependence, or our very co-dependence, on technology beyond our understanding. Why have we allowed ourselves to be so dependent on technology to the detriment of our own lives?

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