Recent Reviews

The Greylock

by Georg Ebers

A not-bad fairy tale. A knight defeats a demon and frees a fairy, who guarantees happiness, etc. for all his sons born with a grey lock of hair. 15 generations later the family is royal, but somewhat decadent, and twin sons are born, one with the lock, one without. The story of their lives is the bulk of the fable.
The writing is good, and it's a better story than Burroughs' The Mad King, mainly because the magic is trivial and there are no coincidences. It's easier to believe.

Reviewed on 2014.08.29
by Lisa Carr

Halima and the Scorpions

by Robert Smythe Hichens

The story of a sacred hedgehog foot and the shameless dancing girl Halima who somehow got hold of it.
It's hard to judge the story. There is a lot of detail about the desert village, with names and customs larded in, but how much is authentic? Is the story offensive to Muslims? As a story the plotting is fine, but the ending is a mystical cop-out.

Reviewed on 2014.08.29
by Paulo Respighi


by George Manville Fenn

it is very nice book!

Reviewed on 2014.08.28
by shabani selemani

Diamond Dyke

by George Manville Fenn

A surprisingly good read, with a surfeit of action and chills. A few exaggerations, mostly forgivable, and an unfortunately-truncated ending but otherwise fine for teen or adult.

Reviewed on 2014.08.28
by Dai Alanye

The Ghost Pirates

by William Hope Hodgson

(1909) Ghost story (Pirates) / Thriller (Supernatural) / Nautical

R: * * * * *

Plot bullets

  • A ship is engulfed in a mist. This is no normal sea fog. Evil lurks in it, in the form of a ghost ship and it's blood thursty pirate crew.

  • A series of mysterious accidents begin at night. At first it is thought to be only the sailors tricks, or at worst, the result of their superstitious minds.

  • Strange forms that resemble ancient pirates are seen coming out of the sea to do mischief and murder.

  • One crew member after another, begin to die. The captain and officers no longer consider the accidents and sightings as mere superstition.

  • This ship, as perhaps many other ships that never reached port, must deal a life and death struggle with 'The Ghost Pirates'

I do not consider this a pirate story in the traditional sense.. The crew on board the ship must deal with supernatural beings. The fact that they were pirates in another life, is only a pretext for their blood thirsty designs

Hodgson considers his three stories, 'The House on the Borderland', 'The Boats of the Glen-Carrig' and this story as a trilogy. They are not sequels and not related, except for their emphasis on the supernatural presents of
beings, perhaps from another dimension.

The author is one of my favorite authors of unearthly fiction. His 'Carnacki, The Ghost Finder' is no mere story of things that go bump in the night. It is pure terror.

Read these stories by candlelight on a stormy night.
His 'Night Land' is one of my favorite sci-fi/adventure/pulp/romance/thriller stories of the future..

Posted: 2014/08/28 11:08 pm CDT

Reviewed on 2014.08.28
by Henry L. Ratliff

Shadows of Flames

by Amelie Rives

This a beautifully written romance.
The drama centres around an exquisite soul who is reaching for those feelings which are beyond herself.She suffers through her relationships with men.It is both of its time and outside it.

Reviewed on 2014.08.27
by cindy

The Castaways

by Captain Mayne-Reid

(1870) Adventure (Survival) / Young Readers / Nautical (Ship wreck)

Plot bullets

  • Seven persons survive a ship wreck during a typhoon in the Celebes Sea. Soon, only five will be left to find their way to land or starve.

  • Those in the ships small boat are: Captain Robert Redwood his two children (a girl fourteen and a boy sixteen), an Irishman (the ships carpenter and family friend), and a Malay pilot (navigator) named Saloo.

  • A makeshift mast and sail aid them in landing on the East coast of Borneo. The captain can handle his ship at sea, but it is the Malay who knows this region and will keep them alive.

  • The father is constantly, but unintentionally, letting his children get into trouble, which presents action of a continual run of peril and salvation.

  • They learn to survive on the coast and head inland to find a settlement as they fear being detected by Malay pirates.

  • The Malay continues to provide wise council and prompt action to increase the survival chances of 'The Castaways'.

Reid's adventures are in the vein of those young reader adventure stories that supply fast and continuous perils to the brave, honest and upright characters. In all cases there is at least one person who has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of most of the new things they encounter, and takes a rather lecture-like approach to explain things to the others. I believe I will start calling them 'Encyclopedic Survival Adventures'.

Reviewed on 2014.08.27
by Henry L. Ratliff

A Message From the Sea

by Charles Dickens

(1814) Mystery (Search) / Short story (From collection)

From the 1894, Chapman and Hall ]Christmas Stories'.

R: * * * *

Plot bullets

  • A Sea captain finds a bottle. In it is a note that may change the lives of several people.

  • It is not a treasure map, but a confession of past criminal deeds from a stranded, dying man.

  • It may be, if the wise and persistent sea captain has anything to do with it, not the ruin of two brothers and their families, but their deliverance.

  • Confession is good for the soul, and from any quarter, even if via 'A Message From the Sea'.

Reviewed on 2014.08.27
by Henry L. Ratliff

The Creature from Cleveland Depths

by Fritz Reuter Leiber, Jr.

(1962) Sci-fi (Invention) / Thriller (Future) / Short story (Magazine)

From 'Galaxy Magazine', 1962.

R: * * * *

Plot bullets

  • The atomic war is still going on. There are, in Cleveland, as in other cities, those who prefer to live above ground and those who seek what they hope is the safety in the underground city.

  • A writer and his wife choose to live above ground. The under ground city is continually searching for ways to make money and satisfy their need of creativity in an otherwise static existence..

  • The writer's friend, an underground dweller, comes to him for ideas for products that the underground manufacturers can produce for the benefit of all.

  • After much brain storming, the subject of a device to remind people of appointments and coming events, is conceived. It will be called 'The Tickler', which is an old time term for an office appointment/reminder calendar system.

  • The Tickler grows from a small simple device pinned to the shoulder, to a monster device that must be strapped to ones back. It performs its duties well, maybe too well.

  • Now the Tickler not only keeps you on track, it establishes the track you are to follow. Some call it the Tickler, others 'The Creature from the Cleveland Depths'.

Reviewed on 2014.08.27
by Henry L. Raltiff`

With The Night Mail

by Rudyard Kipling

(1909) Sci-Fi (Futuristic view) / Adventure (peril in the air)

R: * * *

Plot bullets

  • Story of the future ( a 1909 look forward to 2000), when the mail is no longer carried by ship, but by dirigible.

  • The story has two distinctive paths.

    o One is a story of the perils of the crowded skies and dangers associated with long distance lighter-than-air flight

    o The second is a clever attempt at revealing the authors idea of future
    events, via the articles and advertisements of the newspapers of the day.

  • The story is told from the writings of a passenger on one of the flights 'With The Night Mail'.

Reviewed on 2014.08.27
by Henry L. Ratliff

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