FFB: Exploring the Horizons

Exploring the Horizons: Explorers and the Furthest Horizon edited by Gardner Dozois, SFBC May 2000 hardcover, science fiction anthology omnibus. Collects 2 previous anthologies. 916 pages. Cover by John Berkeley.

Put together by one of the best editors in the genre, an eleven-time Hugo Award winner for editing. Now sadly gone.

I picked up a copy after I saw this reviewed on the Black Gate blog, and later on George Kelley’s blog. Exploring the Horizons combines two separate collections, Explorers and The Furthest Horizon, bound together in this omnibus edition.

Table of Contents:

Preface by Gardner Dozois
“The Sentinel,” by Arthur C. Clarke (10 Story Fantasy, Spring 1951)
“Moonwalk,” by H. B. Fyfe (Space Science Fiction, November 1952)
“Grandpa,” by James H. Schmitz (Astounding Science Fiction, February 1955)
“The Red Hills of Summer,” by Edgar Pangborn (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September 1959)
“The Longest Voyage,” by Poul Anderson (Analog, December 1960)
“Hot Planet,” by Hal Clement (Galaxy, August 1963)
“Drunkboat,” by Cordwainer Smith (Amazing Stories, October 1963)
“Becalmed in Hell,” by Larry Niven (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, July 1965)
“Nine Hundred Grandmothers,” by R. A. Lafferty (If, February 1966)
“The Keys to December,” by Roger Zelazny (New Worlds, August 1966)
“Vaster Than Empires and More Slow,” by Ursula K. Le Guin (New Dimensions 1, 1971)
“A Meeting With Medusa,” by Arthur C. Clarke (Playboy, December 1971)
“The Man Who Walked Home,” by James Tiptree, Jr. (Amazing Science Fiction, May 1972)
“Long Shot,” by Vernor Vinge (Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, August 1972)
“In the Hall of the Martian Kings,” by John Varley (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, February 1977)
“Ginungagap,” by Michael Swanwick (TriQuarterly 49, 1980)
“Exploring Fossil Canyon,” by Kim Stanley Robinson (Universe 12, 1982)
“Promises to Keep,” by Jack McDevitt (Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, December 1984)
“Lieserl,” by Stephen Baxter (Interzone #78, December 1993)
“Crossing Chao Meng Fu,” by G. David Nordley (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, December 1997)
“Wang’s Carpets,” by Greg Egan (New Legends, May 1995)
“A Dance to Strange Musics,” by Gregory Benford (Science Fiction Age, November 1998)
“Approaching Perimelasma,” by Geoffrey A. Landis (Asimov’s Science Fiction, January 1998)
Preface by Gardner Dozois
“Guyal of Sfere,” by Jack Vance (The Dying Earth, 1950)
“Old Hundredth,” by Brian W. Aldiss (New Worlds Science Fiction #100, November 1960)
“Alpha Ralpha Boulevard,” by Cordwainer Smith (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, June 1961)
“Day Million,” by Frederik Pohl (Rogue, Feb/March 1966)
“Bumberboom,” by Avram Davidson (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, December 1966)
“Coranda,” by Keith Roberts (New Worlds, January 1967)
“Nightwings,” by Robert Silverberg (Galaxy, September 1968)
“Pale Roses,” by Michael Moorcock (New Worlds 7, December 1974)
“Anniversary Project,” by Joe Haldeman (Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, October 1975)
“Slow Music,” by James Tiptree, Jr. (Interfaces, February 1980)
“The Map,” by Gene Wolfe (Light Years and Dark, November 1984)
“Dinosaurs,” by Walter Jon Williams (Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, June 1987)
“The Death Artist,” by Alexander Jablokov (Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, August 1990)
“Sister Alice,” by Robert Reed (Asimov’s Science Fiction, November 1993)
“Recording Angel,” by Paul J. McAuley (New Legends, May 1995)
“Genesis,” by Poul Anderson (Far Futures, December 1995)
“The Days of Solomon Gursky,” by Ian McDonald (Asimov’s Science Fiction, June 1998)

I have another copy of the first half of this, but this omnibus was too tempting not to buy.

Posted in Books & Reading, Friday Forgotten Books, Science Fiction | 6 Comments

Shelf Shot 6

A shelf in my study. A little of everything, pulp fiction, western science fiction…

The Black Lizard Book of Black Mask Stories, and (skipping a book) The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps are both big fat excellent anthologies anyone who enjoys hard-boiled fiction should own. In between, The Big Book of Western Action Stories, an anthology of western stories, I decided to try since I’m not much of a western reader and wanted to try some.

The science fiction genre is represented by The Crystal Variation, a Liaden Universe (you can look it up) novel. I’ve read several of these, though not those one, and out of order, but I have enjoyed them.

The last book, edited by by John Harvey is an themed anthology with stories about music. I’ve read about half of it.

That’s it until next week. Stay safe and well.

Posted in Books & Reading | 15 Comments

Reading Pern

In these stressful times, many of us have been turning to old favorites, or comfort reads, and I’ve done the same. Whether it’s a favorite mystery series, science fiction, fantasy or other beloved books from our past, there’s comfort and a relaxing smile to be had from our “oldies”.

Few series give me as much enjoyment as Anne McCaffrey’s books about Pern. Though they all have to do with dragons, they are science fiction, not fantasy (some will argue that), as the whole thing starts with humans on three colony ships arriving at the planet Pern (Parallel Earth, Resources Negligible, as defined in The Dragonriders of Pern) and beginning a new colony. Later events call for bioengineering “dragons” from a small native species.

I’ve read the entire series of books by Anne McCaffrey several times. Note: I’ve tried, and do not care for or recommend those written or co-written by her son, Todd.

There are two ways to read the series. One is the way McCaffrey herself suggests reading the books. While I like and approve of that order, I have a second order of my own, which my experience with the books makes me think is better. Here you go:

McCaffrey’s Order:
1. Dragonflight
2. Dragonquest
3. Dragonsong
4. Dragonsinger
5. White Dragon (1st 2 chapters)
6. Dragondrums
7. White Dragon (chapter 3 to end)
8. “The Smallest Dragonboy” from Get Off the Unicorn
9. Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern
10. Nerilka’s Story
11. Dragonsdawn
12. Nerilka’s Story
13. Dragonseye
14. “The Girl Who Heard Dragons” from The Girl Who Heard Dragons
15. The Renegades of Pern
16. Masterharper of Pern
17. “Runner of Pern” from Legends
18. All the Weirs of Pern
19. Dolphins of Pern
20. Skies of Pern

the Robinson suggested order:

1. Dragonsdawn
2. Chronicles of Pern: First Fall
3. Dragonseye
4. Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern
5. Nerilka’s Story
6. Dragonflight
7. Dragonquest
8. White Dragon
9. Dragonsong
10. Dragonsinger
11. “The Smallest Dragonboy” from Get Off the Unicorn
12. Dragondrums
13. “The Girl Who Heard Dragons” from The Girl Who Heard Dragons
14. “Runner of Pern” from Legends
15. The Renegades of Pern
16. Masterharper of Pern
17. All the Weirs of Pern
18. Dolphins of Pern
19. Skies of Pern

Either way, enjoy the reading! Expect reviews of these over the next weeks.

Posted in Books & Reading | 20 Comments

Shelf Shot 5

Something different, this time, part of a shelf of reference books. Some Star Trek stuff, the rest mystery related.

There are more, to be included in future Shelf Shot posts.

Posted in Books & Reading | 16 Comments

FFB: Safe Secret by Harry Carmichael

Safe Secret by Harry Carmichael, Macmillan Company 1964, hardcover mystery, “A Cock Robin Mystery” Carmichael was the primary pseudonym of Leopold Ognall. He also wrote as Hartley Howard, mostly about PI Glenn Bowman. (thanks, Jeff)

The blurb:
“No matter how often men are warned not to mix big money and beautiful women, they don’t seem to remember the warnings very long. Richard Thornton remembered for about forty years, and then–as his employer, his wife, and his associates ruefully learned–Richard apparently forgot, to the tune of £35,000 of his employer’s cash.

Insurance investigator Piper, his reporter friend Quinn and Detective-Inspector Hoyle must find out where Thornton, and the money have gone.”

My Take
This is a fairly traditional British mystery, with a few plot twists and more than one deadly encounter. This is the first one I’ve read by this author, having chosen it after a review I read somewhere or other. A nice switch from the science fiction and fantasy on which I’ve been focused.

Posted in Books & Reading, Science Fiction | 7 Comments

Glazed Yogurt Lemon Loaf

We got this recipe from the LA Times via our local paper, and decided to try it. It’s delicious!

Read through the entire recipe before starting!

freshly glazed and ready to eat


  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Heat the oven to 350°.
  2. Lightly coat an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray again.
  3. Combine flour,  baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and whisk together. Set aside for next step.
  4. Place 1 cup sugar in a separate bowl. Zest both lemons directly over the sugar. Rub the zest by hand into the sugar to the texture of wet sand. Juice and strain the lemons into a separate bowl and reserve; you should have at least 6 tablespoons. Into the sugar/zest bowl, whisk in the oil, then the eggs, then the yogurt and 1 Tbl of the lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp of the vanilla extract. While whisking slowly, sprinkle in the flour mixture until the batter resembles pancake batter. Add half of the remaining flour and fold with a spatula just until incorporated and repeat with the remaining dry  ingredients.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar with 4 Tbl (1/4 cup) of the reserved lemon juice in a small saucepan. Set over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then boil until the liquid is clear, about 1 minute. Remove pan from the heat and stir the remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla into the syrup.
  7. Unmold the warm cake and brush the bottom and sides evenly with the lemon syrup. Cool completely on the wire rack. The cake can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for up to 1 week. Or…add Glazing to the top.

Glaze: Stir remaining lemon juice (about 1 Tbl) and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla into 1 cup powered sugar to make a very thick glaze. Spread evenly over the top of the cooled loaf, letting the glaze naturally drip down the sides.

Note: you can substitute other citrus, such as oranges, mandarins, clementines, grapefruits or lime, or any combination, for the lemons. [have not tried that yet, but maybe in the future].

– recipe from LA Times

I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it’s worth it. It’s really good.

Posted in At Home in Portland | 11 Comments

Shelf Shot – 4

Here is something else again, not a shelf at all, but a couple of tables stacked with books.

Back when we moved to this house in November 2010, the task of unboxing books was started shortly after kitchen and bedrooms were completed. What you see is the contents of some of the science fiction and fantasy boxes, laid out on tables in what is our kitchen nook.

How many books can you identify? See anything you’d like to read?

⇒ click to see larger, click again when you see the magnifying glass icon for really big

Have you ever had to move a lot of books?

Posted in Books & Reading | 26 Comments

I Was Gonna Do A Post…

But WordPress, Damn them to Hell, has completely changed their editing program, and besides being a confusing mess, it’s made it just about impossible to do anything more than type a single sentence, which this is, and so no post beside this one so have a nice weekend.

Posted in Books & Reading, Science Fiction | 17 Comments

Reading: Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life

Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life by Marta McDowell, Timber Press 2019 hardcover

In these stressful times, something peaceful is nice. I know this isn’t for everyone, but I enjoy gardening, and Dickinson’s poetry, so it was a natural for me. I had it on a wish list, and received it for Christmas, and have been dipping into it now and then. Lately I’ve been spending more time with it and now I’m finished.

Dickinson lived in Amherst, MA her entire life, her father an attorney there and part founder of Amherst College, now part of the University of Massachusetts system.

The book is devoted to the home and gardens, with poetic pieces inserted, describing the flowers, shrubs and trees, thereon.

I’ve enjoyed both the historical perspective of the times and locations, as well as photographs of the area and the gardens. The poems are a bonus. Very relaxing and enjoyable.

Posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Non-fiction, reference | 17 Comments

HVAC: before and after

They finished about 4:00 pm yesterday, and everything is working fine. Here is the before and after, which doesn’t look that different, I guess, but new is good.

What may not be apparent is the Air Scrubber unit, the thing at the bottom with the foil around it. It’s an extra filtering unit at will clear the air of pollen, dust and animal dander. We haven’t had a lot of problems with that, but these days everything we can do to clean the air is good.

Along with the new furnace came the new A/C unit, which is huge. 

How big is it? I’m 6’1″,

Posted in At Home in Portland | 8 Comments