Mind Vampires - Greg Egan

Short Story

Number of words : 2600
Percent of complex words : 8.4
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 14.1


Fog : 9.0
Flesch : 69.5
Flesch-Kincaid : 7.8


Vampire slayer

Disturbed dreamer. Called in by the Headmistress.


Calls him in when she begins menstruating again at 62. Bad things are about.

Jack Rice

School gardener's apprentice who disappeared, and also vampire.

Rice Brothers

Four of them, vampires.

Rice sisters

Three of them, all vampires.

Rice Parents

The usual two, but vampires.



Part of New England.



Device for projecting pictures.


A disturbed man's fevered dreams of vampire hunting and is tormented by light projectors, or we hope so, as otherwise there are vampires feasting on a boarding school where he is called in as a vampire slayer. The gardener's apprentice, his four brothers, three sisters and parents are all vampires. Which is quite a lot for one school to deal with. The now menstruating again 62 year old headmistress that asked for help hangs herself as she couldn't cope, leaving one man alone against the mind vampires.

3.5 out of 5
new space opera

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Shariann Lewitt - Blue Tyson

Shariann Lewitt is a science fiction author with a dozen or so novels and more than double that in short fiction. She has written a Star Trek book and co-written with Susan Shwartz as Gordon Kendall.

The following descriptions are all courtest of Ian Sales and do sound rather interesting :-

ANGEL AT APOGEE (1987) - young privileged woman becomes space fighter pilot on humanoid world in populated galaxy

BLIND JUSTICE (1991) - ghost ship helps wreak revenge on totalitarian galactic empire

CYBERSTEALTH (1989) - two-man space fighter crew, one human and one alien, uncover a spy in the squadron who's leaking tech secrets to the enemy

DANCING VAC (1990) - sequel to CYBERSTEALTH, human star fighter goes after traitorous alien crewmate behind enemy lines

CYBERNETIC JUNGLE (1992) - street fighter and hot female computer jockey team up to wreak revenge on nasty corporation

SONGS OF CHAOS (1993) - human banished from earth finds himself in bizarre starfaring culture

MEMENTO MORI (1995) - plague results in colony world being quarantined, so some artists sit around in coffee shops and plot a way out

INTERFACE MASQUE (1997) - cybernetic intrigue in a future Venice

REBEL SUTRA (2000) - far future power struggle on an alien planet with echoes of Hindu mythology

WHITE WING (1985), with Susan Shwartz under the name Gordon Kendall - elite space fighter squadron are all that remain of Earth destroyed by alien enemy

new space opera

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: C. M. Gilbert - Blue Tyson

C. M. Gilbert is a curiosity, the author of one novel that I am aware of. It was actually marketed as Sword and Sorcery but isn't. The 1981 novel The Ozine Conquest has a disgruntled steel-handed soldier getting involved with an ancient alien race and a conflict over a space station and the alien transport technology. Complete with Star Traders and a barbarian priestess. On her planet comes the low tech science fantasy bit for a time.


Lost Continent - Greg Egan


Number of words : 10800
Percent of complex words : 8.3
Average syllables per word : 1.4
Average words per sentence : 13.5


Fog : 8.7
Flesch : 72.0
Flesch-Kincaid : 6.6



A young man in trouble in Khurosan. Ends up in another world as refugee inmate 3739.


Ali's relative and guardian.s


Ali's older brother, taken by the Scholars.


Ali's parent had his throat cut by the Scholars.


A fellow inmate. Denisovich of the Desert.


A fellow inmate. The Rake.


An Iranian fellow inmate.


A Persian translator.

Colonel Kurtz

Nickname for the previous Center Manager.


A Hindustani man.


A guard.

Mr James

A government official.

Ms Evans

A lawyer who assists refugees with the process.

Mr Cole

The replacement for Evans.


Another interpreter.


A government interviewer.


A fellow Khurosani inmate.


An African inmate.


A local protester against the imprisonment of the refugees.


Land Cruiser

A four wheel drive made by Toyota in this world.



A Sunni group of armed raiders from another time.



A war-torn nation where Ali comes from.


A nation in Ali's world.



A local official in Ali's world, involved with brokering deals.

Stage One

First level of refugee processing.

Stage Two

Second level of refugee processing.


Bridge from the future to the past in Ali's world.

Form 866

Needed for stage one processing.


Ali lives in a strife-ridden country: Khurosan. There is conflict between Sunni and Shi'a and also similar, but raiders from another time. A bridge between the past and future exists, and is guarded and access is brokered. The Scholars are a raider paramilitary group, who kill Ali's father and take his brother. As a result of a conflict he ends up going through another bridge, this one leading to our world. This bridge too is guarded, but Ali didn't realise that you could go to another world, as well as another time. The government in charge, which we assume is likely Australian, wants to rewrite the rules so that this gate is in no-man's land international territory, not local. Therefore the refugees will not be their responsibility.

Ali is in a detention camp along with many others. In Stage One processing no news or outside information at all is allowed, and they are only grudgingly informed of the process. He makes it to Stage Two, finally, but inconsistencies in his story leaves him denied freedom. Many people there have been imprisoned for years.

However, a group of protesters who do understand the law get to the camp, asking for ID numbers so they can help with their cases. Ali throws a stone with a piece of paper wrapped around it with his and a friend's info, before the protesters are forced to leave, and they are stopped.

3.5 out of 5

Learning To Be Me - Greg Egan

Short Story

Number of words : 5900
Percent of complex words : 11.4
Average syllables per word : 1.6
Average words per sentence : 15.7


Fog : 10.8
Flesch : 57.7
Flesch-Kincaid : 9.1



A man who stresses about the philosophy and reality of having his own brain and self replaced with the Jewel.


His first love and girlfriend at sixteen.

Plato and Descartes and Marx


St. Augustine, Sartre, heard of Godel, Turing, Hamsun and Ki

More philosophers.


His wife, a merchant banker.


His lover.


Ndoli Device

The Jewel. A technology that replaces the human brain gradually enmeshing itself in childhood via nanotech surgical robots and teaching itself the brain functions of the person, so the brain can be replaced later in adulthood.


Invasion of the Body Snatchers

A movie.


A man worries about his Ndoli Device process and if he will remain himself after the operation to insert it. His parents underdog the process and don't tell him and he doesn't notice. His wife and later lover do as well and seem no different. This causes even more stress when he is a rare case of the Teacher unit process failing. This causes him and the Jewel to get more out of synch - which means there will be a difference on switchover of that time period. Maybe this happens more than people know, and is covered up. His relationship with his former lover is discarded.

3.5 out of 5

Into Darkness - Greg Egan


Number of words : 7300
Percent of complex words : 9.6
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 16.8


Fog : 10.5
Flesch : 62.4
Flesch-Kincaid : 8.7


John Nately

High-school science teacher and on his eleventh call as a volunteer Intake Runner.


John's driver this time.


A fellow Runner and long-time acquaintance.


A programmer who produces Intake software for Runners.


The Intake

A giant black dome, completely non-reflective, blotting out a great bite of the sky. Possibly a wormhole. Appears at random around the world for a few minutes. Inside, any movement which equates to travelling from the future into the past is forbidden. It destroys whatever was in its touchdown path when it leaves.

The Core

The inner part of The Intake. If you can reach here, you will generally be safe.

South Operations Centre

A couple of vans of tracking electronics on someone's lawn to monitor The Intake.


Demolition Gun

Used by Runners in The Intake.


The Intake is a suspected wormhole/hyperspace travelling artifact that haunts the author, appearing at random places and devastating the small area it affects and trapping people inside, many of whom die, some of them because they don't understand it.

It changes the underlying physics of the area which also means the processes of the human body. John is a fit Runner, able to venture inside The Intake and attempt to assist and rescue people, which he volunteers to do along with others.

On his eleventh run he manages to help a child although it turns out she was dying anyway, and a man who has lost his legs.

He meets Elaine at The Core. Their wait for The Intake to depart is longer than usual. Very rarely, it can last for many hours, dooming all those inside. It ends with Elaine snoozing on John's shoulder, as they wait and see if this time it is all over for them, or if it will go away shortly.

4.5 out of 5
blue tyson

Laird Barron, Misfit

There was a knock at the door. The burly youth in the flannel shirt and jeans put down the book he was reading in the flickering light and got up to answer it. On opening, recognition was instant. "Glenn Danzig? What brings you to Alaska?"

"I want your skulls."

Laird Barron nodded in reply, turned and walked back into the house. A few minutes later he returned. He carried a fleshless orb in each hand. On reaching the doorway he stopped and handed them over to the muscular dark-haired musician. Looking Danzig in the eye, he raised an eyebrow in query.

"Don't ask," he replied. "But I'll have Bob and HP back to you by next Thursday."

Barron watched the singer stride into the night, a bony writer's cranium under either arm.

The Infinite Assassin - Greg Egan

Short Story

Number of words : 5900
Percent of complex words : 10.8
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 16.7


Fog : 11.0
Flesch : 60.9
Flesch-Kincaid : 8.9



Tasked with eliminating the producers of S drug-induced whirlpool effects throughout universes.

Blue-haired woman

Offers the assassin assistance in this particular task and universe, but has other motives.



A reality altering drug. "S grants dreamers the power to live vicariously in any parallel world in which they have an alter ego — someone with whom they share enough brain physiology to maintain the parasitic resonance of the link... For one in a hundred thousand, though, dreams are only the beginning. During their third or fourth year on S, they start to move physically from world to world, as they strive to take the place of their chosen alter egos."


Type of light globe.


The Company

The assassin's employer.


The Whirlpool

Reality shift focus of increasing power caused by mutant S users.

Cantor dust

A fractal set, uncountably infinite, but with measure zero. Assassin is mapped into this by the locals.


Higher levels of reality.



Site of a job for the assassin, and of a whirlpool cult.

Fifth floor Apartment 522

The assassin's S using target lives here.


Fat Single Mothers Must Die

A band.


The assassin's job is to put down users of the drug S who develop reality altering superpowers and cause devastating whirlpools that can grow to affect all their infinite lives. These might harm rich people's existence, so he gets called in when wealthy areas are threatened. He has to do this across all the realities they might exist in, in a probabilistic fashion. Chosen as an extremely stable individual, his latest target has help. A whirpool cult there employs their ability to co-ordinate across infinite lives to negate the assassin's skills. This shakes his sense of identity, which he has to rethink at the end.

4.5 out of 5
new space opera

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: Ignition City - Blue Tyson

Ignition City is a five issue comic series that has also been collected into a trade. It was created by Warren Ellis and Gianluca Pagliarani. In an history with a Martian invasion of Earth, where do the space heroes go to die? Ignition City is an island spaceport, and this is where the daughter of famous space hero Rock Raven goes to find out who murdered her father. The answer lies in corruption and alien conspiracy and coverup.