our little sister
Our Little Sister is a Japanese film (with subtitles) based on the graphic novel Umimachi Diary by Yoshida Akimi. Three sisters travel to Yamagata for the funeral of their father. There, they are surprised to find a 13-year-old half-sister, Suzu, whose mother has died. The oldest sister, Sachi (a nurse), realizes Suzu cared for their dying father. Impulsively, Sachi invites Suzu to come on live with her and the other two sisters in Kamakura. Suzu–for reasons we learn later–agrees. The Koda sisters are very different from one another. Sachi, played by Haruka Ayase, is having an affair with a married pediatrician. Middle sister, Yoshino (played by Masami Nagasawa) works for a bank but drinks too much and always seems to fall for the Wrong Guy. Chinko (Kaho) is a free-spirit. She works in a sporting goods store and dates a guy who lost six toes attempting to climb Mount Everest.

No explosions, no gunplay, no violence. But drama enters every scene as the sisters learn about each other’s problems and fears. This is a quiet film that will stay with you long after you walk out of the theater. GRADE: A

FORGOTTEN BOOKS #386: DETECTIVES A TO Z Edited by Frank D. McSherry, Jr. Martin H. Greenberg & Charles G. Waugh

detectives a to z
As Patti Abbott’s Special FFB on Anthologies approaches, I’ve been surveying the possible contenders in my book collection. Dozens of books. I’ve unearthed several candidates. Dectectives A to Z: 26 Stories With a Sleuth for Every Letter of the Alphabet is a wonderful anthology from 1985. Check out the stories and authors in this volume. Great stories and great fun! I’ve chosen another book for the September 9 FFB, but Detectives A to Z was a strong possibility. Do you see any of your favorite stories on this list? GRADE: A
A: Lew Archer, “Midnight Blue,” Ross Macdonald
B: Father Brown, “The Sign of the Broken Sword,” G. K. Chesteron
C: Steve Carella, “Nightshade,” Ed McBain
D: C. Auguste Dupin, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” Edgar Allan Poe
E: Tricky Enright, “Why Shoot a Corpse?” John K. Butler
F: Gideon Fell, “Invisible Hands,” John Dickson Carr
G: Colonel Anthony Gethryn, “The Wood-For-The-Trees,” Philip MacDonald
H: Sherlock Holmes, “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches,” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I: I, “I,” Edward Wellen
J: Samuel Johnson, “The Disappearing Servant Wench,” Lillian de la Torre
K: Kennedy, “Take It and Like It,” Frederick Nebel
L: Captain Leopold, “Captain Leopold and the Arrow Murders,” Edward D. Hoch
M: Inspector Maigret, “Inspector Maigret Pursues,” Georges Simenon
N: “Nameless Detective,” “A Killing in Xanadu,” Bill Pronzini
O: Patrick Michael O’Bannon, “The Maimed and the Halt,” Joe Gores
P: Patrick Petrella, “The Happy Brotherhood,” Michael Gilbert
Q: Ellery Queen, “The Lamp of God,” Ellery Queen
R: Rumpole, “Rumpole and the Expert Witness,” John Mortimer
S: The Saint, “The Man Who Liked Toys,” Leslie Chareris
T: Virgil Tibbs, “Virgil Tibbs and the Fallen Body,” John Ball
U: Dr. Wendell Urth, “The Singing Bell,” Isaac Asimov
V: Professor Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusen, “The Phantom Motor,” Jacques Futrelle
W: Nero Wolfe, “Instead of Evidence,” Rex Stout
X: Monsignor Xavier, “The Sweating Statue,” Edward D. Hoch
Y: Trygve Yamamura, “Dead Phone,” Poul Anderson
Z: Sidney Zoom, “The Case of the Scattered Rubies,” Erle Stanley Gardner


I found this bargain by accident as I was browsing AMAZON. This box set of 20 CDs was going for $39.90! That’s about $2 per disc! I was a big fan of Soul music back in the 1960s and actually owned the vinyl versions of some of these albums. I played Under the Boardwalk by The Drifters until I wore out the grooves! In the Midnight Hour by Wilson Pickett was a big favorite of mine! And I even made a tape of Booker T & The M.Gs so I could listen to Green Onions in my Dad’s car. If you’re a fan of Soul music, this box set delivers hours of listening pleasure. Great music at a great price!
1. RAY CHARLES – What’d I Say (1959)
2. BOOKER T & THE M.G.s – Green Onions (1962)
3. BEN E. KING – Don’t Play That Song! (1962)
4. SOLOMON BURKE – If You Need Me (1963)
5. RUFUS THOMAS – Walking The Dog (1964)
6. THE DRIFTERS – Under The Boardwalk (1964)
7. DON COVAY and THE GOODTIMERS – Mercy! (1964)
8. OTIS REDDING – Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul (1965)
9. WILSON PICKETT – In The Midnight Hour (1965)
10. PERCY SLEDGE – When A Man Loves A Woman (1966)
11. SAM & DAVE – Hold On, I’m Coming (1966)
12. BAR-KAYS – Soul Finger (1967)
13. EDDIE FLOYD – Knock On Wood (1967)
14. ARTHUR CONLEY – Sweet Soul Music (1967)
15. WILLIAM BELL – The Soul Of A Bell (1967)
16. ARETHA FRANKLIN – Lady Soul (1968)
17. DONNY HATHAWAY – Everything Is Everything (1970)
18. CLARENCE WHEELER & THE ENFORCERS – Doin’ What We Wanna (1970)
19. HOWARD TATE – Howard Tate (1972)
20. SAM DEES – The Show Must Go On (1975)


Okay, I confess. I bought Skyships Over Innsmouth because I liked Stef Masciandaro’s moody cover. Susan Laine is best known for her LGBTQ erotic romances. Yes, it’s disconcerting when characters are being chased by the deadly minions of Dagon yet find time for some romantic hanky-panky. A Cataclysm destroys civilization as we know it. The few million survivors gather in Canal City (aka, New York City) and send steam-punk skyships into the wilderness to find any refugees. One skyship travels to Innsmouth and the crew confronts Lovecraftean horrors. This is basically fan fiction so factor that in. GRADE: C+


muscle shoals
Back in the late 1960s, a record producer by the name of Rick Hall started his own recording studio in out-of-the-way Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Hall gathered together some incredible musicians and started turning out hit records. Eventually, Big Name singers and groups–like Aretha Franklin and the Rolling Stones–came to Muscles Shoals to record their classic records. If you’re a fan of Percy Sledge (“When I Man Loves a Woman”) or Clarence Carter (“Slip Away” and “Patches”) or Etta James (“Tell Mama”) you’ll hear the stories of their songs from their own lips. I loved every minute of Muscle Shoals. A great music documentary! GRADE: A
Gregg Allman
Clarence Carter
Jimmy Cliff
Aretha Franklin
Donna Jean Godchaux
Rick Hall
Roger Hawkins
David Hood
Mick Jagger
Etta James
Jai Johanny Johanson
Jimmy Johnson
Alicia Keys
Ed King
Spooner Oldham
Dan Penn
Keith Richards
Percy Sledge
Candi Staton
John Paul White
Steve Winwood


Traveler or Worlds FULL cover  TEST.indd
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro conducted hours of interviews with Robert Silverberg and the result is this wonderful Traveler of Worlds volume. I’ve been reading Robert Silverberg’s work for almost as long as he’s been writing science fiction: 60 years. Silverberg talks about writing his first stories in the 1950s. Silverberg left the SF field and had a successful writing career producing non-fiction books. Fredrik Pohl lured Silverberg back to SF in the late Sixties and in the 1970s Silverberg wrote a staggering number of award-winning stories and novels. In the 1980s, Silverberg turned to writing the Majiapoor series starting with Lord Valentine’s Castle. In terms of sales, Majipoor books became the best selling books Silverberg wrote.

In addition to talking about his long and successful career as a writer, Silverberg talks about his travels, his book collection, and his health. Silberberg is 80-years-old and suffered a heart attack. I was moved by Silverberg’s candid comments on his health and his mortality. Robert Silverberg is a giant in the Science Fiction field and this book shows why. Highly recommended! GRADE: A
Introduction by Gardner Dozois
◾The Vividness of Landscape
◾In the Continuum
◾After the Myths Went Home
◾Afterword: Travels With Bob by Karen Haber


Philip Roth’s Indignation (2008) is set in 1951. The Korean War is going badly. Logan Lerman plays Marcus Messner, an agitated only child of a Trenton, New Jersey butcher and his wife. Marcus, in a bizarre decision, decides to attend tiny Winesburg College in Ohio. Winesburg is a Baptist school and its religious requirements become part of the plot. Marcus meets the beautiful Olivia Hutton (Sarah Gadon) in his History class and falls for her. But Olivia has “issues.” Many writers from Philip Roth’s generation punish characters who engage in sex acts in their books. That should give you enough of a hint about what Indignation deals with. GRADE: B (for both book and movie)


EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 16: Mario Manningham #82 of the New York Giants pushes off Terrence McGee #24 of the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium on October 16, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
After last Saturday’s 19-18 squeaker loss to the Colts, the Bills got more Bad News. Defensive end, Marcell Dareus, “forgot” to take a schedule NFL drug test so now he’s suspended for four games. Linebacker Manny Lawson is facing a one-game suspension for “domestic abuse.” Yet Rex Ryan assures Bills fans that “We’re right on track.” For what? DEADSPIN has a different opinion here. How is your team faring as the preseason winds down?


the best of amazing stories
The Best of Amazing Stories: The 1940 Anthology features a great mix of tales by Ross Ricklynne, Raymond Z. Gallun, Don Wilcox, Ralph Milne Farley, and other forgotten writers. I remember reading some AMAZING STORIES pulps from the Forties as a kid. Great fun! This anthology shows all the 12 covers from the entire year of 1940 on the back cover. Nice feature! If you’re in the mood for some retro Science Fiction of World War II vintage, this package is perfect for you for a mere $12.99 on AMAZON! GRADE: A
Publisher’s Note
“The Voyage That Lasted 600 Years” by Don Wilcox
“The Monster Out of Space” by Malcolm Jameson
“Truth is a Plague!” by David Wright O’Brien
“Paul Revere and the Time Machine” by A. W. Bernal
“The Living Mist” by Ralph Milne Farley
“The Day Time Stopped Moving” by Bradner Buckner
“The Mathematical Kid” by Ross Rocklynne
“The Strange Voyage of Dr. Penwing” by Riichard O. Lewis
“Three Wise Men of Space” by Donald Bern
“Sons of the Deluge” by Nelson S. Bond


the emperor's railroad
Dystopian future, dragons, knights, zombies. These are just some of the elements of Guy Haley’s short novel, The Emperor’s Railroad: A Tale of the Dreaming Cities. TOR Books publishes a series of novels that average around 175 pages. Guy Haley’s first book in this series features a “knight” named Quinn who rescues a young woman and her 12-year-old son when their wagon breaks down. Quinn also saves them from a zombie attack. Haley provides a grim picture of a ruined world where 21st Century technology is gone. I liked the fact that Quinn carries two swords…and a pistol on his hip. If you’re looking for an adventure novel and a quick read, you’ll enjoy The Emperor’s Railroad. The second book in the series, The Ghoul King, just came out so I’ll be reading that book soon, too. GRADE: B