The Halcyon Drift: Beautiful in places

The Halcyon Drift by Brian Stableford

Grainger, a spaceship pilot, has been shipwrecked on a deserted island in a dangerous star system called the Halcyon Drift. He’s just about to give up hope when he is unexpectedly rescued by a commercial spacecraft. They charge him for the rescue and take him to court, so now he’s deep in debt. When he arrives on Old Earth, he finds it in decline. There’s no hope of getting off or finding lucrative work, so he’s forced to accept a job offer to pilot the prototype of a new hi-tech spaceship, the Hooded Swan. Unfortunately, this means going back to the Halcyon Drift to help his boss, a mad scientist, hunt for the Lost Star, a spaceship that disappeared in the Drift carrying a potentially valuable cargo. This is a very dangerous job, but perhaps Grainger will get some help from the alien parasite that took up residence in his brain while he was stranded in the Drift.

There’s so much b... Read More

The Warlord of the Air: Political message doesn’t overwhelm the adventure

The Warlord of the Air by Michael Moorcock

In 1971, Michael Moorcock published a trilogy called Nomad of the Timestreams. Titan Books is reissuing this series. The first book, The Warlord of the Air, introduces us to Oswald Bastable, a captain of the 53rd Lancers in 1902, who, through a bizarre occurrence is hurled into 1973 — a 1973 that is very little like the one our history books, or Wikipedia, tell us about.

Moorcock is an excellent writer, and in The Warlord of the Air he set out to create a late Victorian/Edwardian pastiche. At this, he succeeded brilliantly. Except for the politics and the use of actual historical figures, The Warlord of the Air reads as if it flowed from the pen of H. Rider Haggard, Arthur Conan Doyle or Rudyard Kipli... Read More

Under the Green Star: Short, fun, and cheap

Under the Green Star by Lin Carter

Under the Green Star is Lin Carter’s homage to Edgar Rice Burroughs and it’s a quick, fun, exciting adventure with some terrific scenery. Our hero (who’s telling the story in first person) was crippled by polio when he was a child and, as an adult, he’s confined to a wheelchair. He’s wealthy, though, so he has managed to get hold of an ancient scroll that describes the lost Tibetan science of eckankar — soul travel. After years of studying, he manages to free his soul from his crippled body so that he can explore the Earth... and beyond!

It’s not long before he finds himself on a green star which supports a beautiful land where people live in the trees and ride dragonflies. When he gets too close to the crystal-encased tomb of one of their ancient heroes,... Read More