The fourth installment in Farmer’s Riverworld series, wherein the source of the alien power that has resurrected all of humanity (we’re like the stock market – one minute we’re down, then we’re up!) on a distant planet is finally discovered. SPOILER ALERT: it was aliens with a resurrection machine. They wanted to test Earthlings’ morality, and we failed said test, scoring just above an immoral species of flatworm from Antares IV which befriends you only so it can bang your sister. Also, the clocks go ahead this weekend, so remember to change the batteries in your spoiler-alerter.

On a scale of famous labyrinths ranging from the Pac Man board to Minotaur’s hideout, this book is: the hedge maze from ‘The Shining’.

RIP, PJF.


An Earthman travels to a distant star where he meets strange beings and engages in lengthy discussions about reality, morality and the veracity of various philosophical systems. And I’m all like, “Enough jib jabberin’! Break out the lasers!” Sadly, the lasers remained sealed in their blister packs throughout the novel. Literary critic Harold Bloom loved this book so much he wrote a sequel to it, which is indicative of how boring it is. If you don’t know who literary critic Harold Bloom is, Google him. Look at his sour, pompous, fish-like puss and ask yourself if you’d ever want to read anything he recommended, ever.

On a scale of doomed voyages ranging from the Challenger to the Titanic, this book is: a car ride where you get stuck in traffic.

Stay home.

I can sum up this anthology of Russian scifi stories in one word: дрянной. With a capital ‘д’. Most of them are written by and told from the point of view of scientists who, despite their depiction on NBC’s Scientists In The City as promiscuous, self-narrating singles who sip cosmopolitans from Erlenmeyer flasks and wear $30 Manolo Blahnik arch-support loafers, aren’t as thrilling and sexy as you may think. This makes for what I call a ‘burnt toast book’: edible but dry. Pass the butter.

On a scale of guys ranging from to Aiden to Big, this book is: Berger.

The Ultimate Threshold of BOREDOM, maybe. Snap!

Few founders of religions were as skilled and prolific authours as L. Ron Hubbard. Jesus wrote one book, and He’s been milkin’ it for two thousand years. Bhudda scribed some semi-pithy stuff, but nothing I’d buy in hardcover. And while Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki’s series of novels about teenage babysitters who also run a detective agency is passable, it’s mostly ghostwritten by Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo. Hubbard’s the way to go. And if you’re going with Hubbard, give Final Blackout a try.

On a scale of famous Scientologists ranging from Edgar Winter to Tom Cruise, this book is: Beck.

In Mexico they call him ‘El Ron Hubbard’.

Before H.G. Wells became morbidly obese and started doing wine commercials, he wrote this book, in which two 19th century Londoners journey to our nearest celestial neighbor. A celestial neighbor, by the way, is good to have when you leave Earth on vacation and need someone to water your plants. Anywho, they discover a highly complex society living beneath the barren lunar surface, like we all kinda knew they would. With its blend of spirited adventure and heady social commentary, The First Men In The Moon is a story everyone can enjoy. Well, almost everyone; conspiracy theorists believe this entire book was a hoax staged by the Nixon administration to draw attention away from the war in Vietnam. Recommended.

On a scale of people mentioned in the Neil Diamond song ‘Done Too Soon’ ranging from Genghis Khan to Ho Chi Minh, this book is: H.G. Wells.

In your face, Armstrong!

A group of people discover a dimensional portal which leads them to a dimension peopled by people from another dimension. And that previous sentence is better written and more interesting than this entire novel.  Damon Knight once said The Blind Spot has ‘no recognizable vestige of merit’, so I too denounce it. Not that I do everything Damon Knight tells me to, I just happen to agree. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to pick up Damon Knight’s dry cleaning and vacuum his car, which is weird, because he’s dead.

On a scale of how traffic accidents happen ranging from talking on your cell phone while you’re driving to icy roads, this book is: not checking your blind spot.

The upside of being blind? You’d never have to read this book.

A brawny space hunk and coquettish space gal become stranded on Jupiter. Despite their close quarters, mutual attraction and torn, revealing clothing, they manage to hold their instincts in check until they’re rescued and can be married by a space captain. Although corny, this book is a quaint throwback to the days when grown men and women apparently lacked genitalia of any kind. Today, of course, teens stranded on Jupiter are involved in rainbow parties, borealis bangs and other meteorological sex acts at no older than fourteen. And that’s just hot wrong.

On a scale of space operas ranging from Space Tosca to The Magic Space Flute, this book is: The Barber Of Seville, And Also Of Space.

Yeah, you know me!