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John Varley

(artwork copyright by Alan Gutierrez)

"Air Raid"
(as by Herb Boehm)
(exp. into "Millenium")
© IASFM, Spr 1977
The Persistence Of Vision, 1978
--short story : 1978 Hugo
--short story : 1978 Nebula
--short fiction : 1978 Locus /3
--short story : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /19

--/ third place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ adventure award
--/ shock value


(Anna-Louise Bach series)
© Galaxy, Oct 1976
The Barbie Murders, 1980
--novelette : 1977 Locus /9
--/ third place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ adventure award
--/ emotion award
--/ shock value

"I am rated at fifty kilotons,-the bomb said with a trace of pride" This is how this story starts - not with a whimper, but with a bang. Not just one thrilling bang, but many (you are going to get a lot of bang for youre buck, said the cheesy metaphor expert). You also are going to get vintage Varley at the top of his form, which is a lean mean concept car form, not your average soccer wagon blob. When Varley's good, he is very, very good (and maddeningly controversial). When he is bad, you get such rambling and conceited stuff as the "Steel Beach", for example. Here, he has a ball... a bagatelle (a game akin to billiards, with 9 balls) with a nuclear terrorism threat. Nothing funny about that, except a lot of black, chocolaty-dark humour, which receds into an ultraviolet "mad scientist" laugh, resonating over a classic terrorist thriller plot - prepare thyself, for this is going to happen sooner or later. Almost as mad as doctrine of "assured mutual destruction" is the story's concept of "getting rid of conventional armaments and replacing them with reasonably priced hydrogen bombs that would be distributed equally thoughtout the world." You can not even trust the world with candy, not to mention sentient bombs who boast about their megatonne load. "Luckily there are enough humans that losing a few hundred thousand of them to little nukes now and then had no net effect and apparently about the same social effect as the annual tobacco related death rate" or - on other words - "it doesn't bother the anthill much, no matter how many ants get killed..." You have to agree, it's "a conversation starter" story, even today, 30 years later.
review: 25-Oct-06 (read in 2003)


"Beatnik Bayou"
(Opiutchi Hotline series)
© New Voices in SF # 3, ed. G. Martin, 1980
--/ cool sf novella

© Ascents of Wonder, ed. D. Gerrold, 1977
The Barbie Murders, 1980
--novella : 1978 Locus /12
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award

"The Funhouse Effect"
© F&SF, Dec 1976
The Barbie Murders, 1981
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award

"Good-Bye Robinson Crusoe"
© IASFM, Spr 1977
The Barbie Murders, 1980
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award

"In Fading Suns And Dying Moons"
© Stars, ed. J. Ian, 2003
The John Varley Reader, 2004
--short story : 2004 Locus /13
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ awesome scale

"In The Bowl"
© F&SF, Dec 1975
The Persistence Of Vision, 1978
--novelette : 1976 Locus /7
--novelette : 1977 Nebula

--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award

"In The Hall Of The Martian Kings"
© F&SF, Feb 1977
The Persistence Of Vision, 1978
--novella : 1978 Hugo
--novella : 1978 Locus /6
--international fiction : 1978 Ditmar
--novella : 1978 Jupiter W

--/ third place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ style award
--/ adventure award

"Lollipop and the Tar Lady"
© Orbit # 19, 1977
The Barbie Murders, 1980
Blue Champagne, 1986
--/ third place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ style award
--/ adventure award

"M&M, Seen As A Low-Yield
Thermonuclear Device"
© Orbit # 18, 1976
--/ cool sf story

© Amazing, Jan 1976
The Barbie Murders, 1980
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award

"Millenium" (nv)
(exp. of "Air Raid")
© IASFM, Spr 1977
book: Pocket Books, 1980
--novel : 1984 Hugo
--finalist : 1984 Philip K. Dick
--sf novel : 1984 Locus /3

--/ third place sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ adventure award
--/ shock value
--/ awesome scale

© Universe # 9, 1979
Blue Champagne, 1986
--novelette : 1980 Hugo
--novelette : 1980 Nebula
--novelette : 1980 Locus /2

--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award

"Overdrawn At The Memory Bank"
© Galaxy, May 1976
The Persistence Of Vision, 1978
--novelette : 1977 Locus /10
--/ third place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award

"The Persistence Of Vision"
© F&SF, Mar 1978
The Persistence Of Vision, 1978
--novella : 1979 Hugo W
--novella : 1979 Nebula W
--novella : 1979 Locus W
--international fiction : 1979 Ditmar
--novella : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /3

--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award

"The Persistence Of Vision" (coll)
(in UK as "In The Hall Of The Martian Kings")
© 1978, Quantum Books
--single author collection : 1979 Locus W
--1980 Apollo W
--sf paperback : 1980 TABA
--all-time collection : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /8

--/ third place sf collection
--/ wonder award
--/ style award

"The Phantom Of Kansas"
© Galaxy, Feb 1976
The Persistence Of Vision, 1978
--novelette : 1977 Hugo
--novelette : 1977 Locus /4

--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ style award

"Press Enter [] "
© IASFM, May 1984
Blue Champagne, 1986
--novella : 1985 Hugo W
--novella : 1985 Nebula W
--novella : 1985 Locus W
--novella : 1985 SF Chronicle W
--foreign short fiction : 1987 Seiun W
--novella : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /26 (tie)

--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award

"The Pusher"
© F&SF, Oct 1981
Blue Champagne, 1986
--short story : 1982 Hugo W
--short story : 1982 Nebula
--short story : 1982 Locus W
--short story : 1982 SF Chronicle W
--short story : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /41 (tie)

--/ third place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ idea award
--/ style award

"Retrograde Summer"
© F&SF, Feb 1975
The Persistence Of Vision, 1978
--novelette : 1976 Nebula
--novelette : 1976 Locus /4

--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award

"Steel Beach" (nv)
(Eight Worlds series)
(prequel to "The Ophiuchi Hotline")
© Ace Books, 1992
--novel : 1993 Hugo
--sf novel : 1993 Locus /5
-- novel : 1993 Prometheus
--foreign novel : 1995 Seiun

--/ cool sf novel
--/ shock value

"Tango Charlie And Foxtrot Romeo"
© Blue Champagne, 1986
Tango Charlie And Foxtrot Romeo / The Star Pit
(Tor Double - with Samuel Delany)
--novella : 1987 Locus /3
--foreign short story : 1991 Hayakawa W
--foreign short fiction : 1992 Seiun W

--/ third place sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ adventure award


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Jack O'Connell "The Resurrectionist"
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Overpopulation, Sex and Sensibility

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H. P. Lovecraft "At the Mountains of Madness"

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more than 2,000 writers, 1990-2009
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"The Situation", "The Cookie Monster"
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Theodore Sturgeon's "More Than Human"

There’s a problem with this new gestalt being: needs a conscience.

Jack Williamson's "Legion of Space" Series

Classic Space Opera
The ultimate weapon, controlled by a gorgeous woman

Astounding Stories, August 1934

Jack Williamson, Nat Schachner, "Doc" Smith
Epic space opera gems and horror surprises

Rare Pulp SF&F, Issue 3

Leigh Brackett, Fritz Leiber, Vic Phillips
Rediscovered gems of wonder & adventure

William Gibson's Novels

"Pattern Recognition", "Neuromancer"
A Fractured Delight...

Alfred Bester "The Computer Connection"

"Bester was the mountain, all the rest of us..."
Pyrokinetic writing in one neat package

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Theodore Sturgeon's "The Cosmic Rape"

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Alastair Reynolds' Epic Novels

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Hidden Gems of Pulp Fiction
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Grand Old Times... in the Future

Overview of Pulp Art
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Exclusive: Interview with Nancy Kress

From High Fantasy to Hard Science Fiction
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"To Live Forever"
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incl. David Keller, Horace Gold etc.

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incredible line-up of writers

Hidden Gems of Pulp SF, Part 1

Neat & Rare Stories
incl. the mad rally story "The Racer"

Astounding Stories, June 1935

Full Issue Review
incl. Gallun, Schachner, Campbell

Astounding Stories, May 1941

Full Issue Review
incl. Heinlein, Asimov, Eric Frank Russell

Horace Gold; P. Schuyler Miller

"Apocalyptic Blockbusters"
"Inflexure" and "Spawn": guilty pleasure

Interview with John C. Wright

Plus his advice to new writers
Adventures in Space & Magic

Frank Belknap Long

"The Horror from the Hills"
Great Lovecraftian Weird Novella

Interview with Jeff VanderMeer

Plus his Recommended Reading List
A Triumph of the Bizarre

Alastair Reynolds, Part 2

More "Galactic North" Stories
A Mixture of Hard Sf, James Bond & Jaws...

Alastair Reynolds Review

"Galactic North"
staring down infinity...

Most Shocking Article

"Holey Fools" by M. Christian
Warning: Gross Subject Matter

Alfred Bester Review

"The Stars My Destination"
"...nail it to the Retro Hugo voting board..."

Larry Niven Review

"Neutron Star"
"better get GP alien ship hull"

Poul Anderson Review

"Ensign Flandry"
"or how to start a sub-genre..."

Thomas M. Disch Review

"The Squirrel Cage"
"...seriously mind-bending stuff..."

Henry Kuttner Review

"Mimsy Were the Borogoves" (The Last Mimzy)
"...great storyline for a pretty average movie..."

Robert A. Heinlein Review

"The Moon is the Harsh Mistress"
" caused a tooth ache, and put my brain on freeze..."

Frank Herbert Review

"Destination: Void"
"...a layered cake of ideas and a scientific extrapolation on a genius level..."

Harlan Ellison Review

"The Abnormals"
"...editors slapped the most outrageous titles on his stories..."

James White Review

"All Judgement Fled"
"...the tension is palpable, soon to grow almost unbearable..."

Grand Adventure Strikes Again

Space Opera Article, by Avi Abrams
Based on Arthur Clarke's "Against the Fall of Night"

William Gibson Review

"Burning Chrome"
"...sheer pyrotechnics and exuberance of style..."

Ace Double: Murray Leinster

"The Pirates of Ersatz /The Mutant Weapon"
"...the characters might as well be cats or hamsters..."

Astounding Stories, May 1935

Pulp SF Magazine Review
with many original illustrations

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"SF&F Reading Experience" is part of "Dark Roasted Blend / Thrilling Wonder" family of sites. We try to highlight the most entertaining and rewarding science fiction and fantasy, with emphasis on memorable reader experience, not necessarily general acceptance by the critics. Have fun, and delve into our extensive ratings and reviews!

Most reviews are written by Avi Abrams, unless otherwise noted. Reviews also appear on our unique historical retrospective page Wonder Timeline of Science Fiction. Feel free to submit your own review, if a particular story is not listed here.

All major OFFICIAL AWARDS are highlighted in BLUE
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--/ first place :
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--/ cool : (equal to fifth place)

These awards are given in the following categories:
- novel :
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- novella :
- story :
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Also, there are our personal STYLE / GENRE SPECIFIC AWARDS. These reflect the story's content and the lasting impression on the reader:

--/ wonder award
sense-of-wonder, "visual intensity" and inventiveness

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