SPACE PIONEERS Edited by Hank Davis & Christopher Ruocchio

I’ve been a big fan of Hank Davis’s Science Fiction anthologies over the years. Just in time for the Holiday Season, BAEN Books released Space Pioneers, an anthology with just about something for every readers’ taste. In typical Hank Davis fashion, the mix of stories blends Oldies with some newer stories like David Drake’s “Superweapon” (2018). I especially enjoyed Ross Rocklynne’s “Quietus” and Manly Wade Wellman’s “Men Against the Stars.” If you’re in the mood for an entertaining theme anthology, I recommend Space Pioneers. GRADE: A

You might also enjoy Hank Davis’s seasonal anthologies, A Cosmic Christmas Volumes 1 & 2. You can read my review of these two fine volumes here.


Back in the 1960s, I was a voracious reader of paperback novels. Carter Brown, Mike Shayne, and Gold Medal books appealed to my teenage tastes. One of my favorite series was Stephen Marlowe’s Chester Drum private eye novels. Marlowe was a world traveller and he poured a lot of his international experiences into the Chester Drum books.

In 2006, Stark House published Violence Is My Business/Turn Left For Murder. Violence Is My Business (1958) is the 7th book in the Chester Drum series. Drum reluctantly accepts a case concerning a married college professor who is seeing a call girl. But the case involves political dimensions that bring Drum a savage beating, a near-death experience, and the prospect of losing his Private Eye license.

Max Allan Collins wrote: “The opening chapter of Violence Is My Business…should be force-fed to anybody who is even thinking of writing suspense fiction. It’s a masterpiece of atmosphere, plot, and genuine anxiety.” It would be a rare reader who doesn’t experience genuine anxiety as Chester Drum confronts killers in the harrowing wilds of Canada–outnumbered and out-gunned. Violence Is My Business sparkles with crisp writing, intense action, clever plot-twists, and plenty of menace. GRADE: A-

Stephen Marlowe wrote Turn Left For Murder in 1955 and it was published as half of an ACE Double. Norm Fisher, a young man who mades some Bad Decisions, is a recent army veteran who returns to his familiar New York suburbs. Norm’s wife is pregnant and Norm’s involvement with The Mob creates the kind of trouble that could get Norm, his wife, and his new baby killed. Marlowe ratchets up the tension on the reader as he shows how an average guy can enter a noirish world and struggle to get free. If you’re looking for suspense and action, here are two novels that will take you to worlds where noir rules. GRADE: B

Chester Drum novels (as Stephen Marlowe):

  • The Second Longest Night (1955)
  • Mecca for Murder (1956)
  • Killers Are My Meat (1957)
  • Murder Is My Dish (1957)
  • Trouble Is My Name (1957)
  • Terror Is My Trade (1958)
  • Violence Is My Business (1958)
  • Double in Trouble (with Richard S. Prather) (1959)
  • Homicide Is My Game (1959)
  • Danger Is My Line (1960)
  • Death Is My Comrade (1960)
  • Peril Is My Pay (1960)
  • Manhunt Is My Mission (1961)
  • Jeopardy Is My Job (1962)
  • Francesca (1963)
  • Drum Beat – Berlin (1964)
  • Drum Beat – Dominique (1965)
  • Drum Beat – Madrid (1966)
  • Drum Beat – Erica (1967)
  • Drum Beat – Marianne (1968)


Just a couple weeks ago, I reviewed HEAVEN MUST HAVE SENT YOU: THE HOLLAND/DOZIER/HOLLAND STORY (you can read my review here). Jeff Meyerson commented that he used to own The Supremes Sing Hollard-Dozier-Holland. And, that of course, trigged my memories of owning and listening to a vinyl album of The Supremes Sing Hollard-Dozier-Holland, too. In the early 1980s, I sold our vinyl record collection and converted to music CDs. But I never replaced The Supremes Sing Hollard-Dozier-Holland...until now!

When Jeff jogged my memory, I did a quick Internet search and found a music CD that included The Supremes Sing Hollard-Dozier-Holland as well as More Hits By the Supremes. The price was right and within days I was listening to this great music! How many of these songs are your favorites? GRADE: A


1Ask Any Girl Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02.46
2Nothing But Heartaches Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:59
3Mother Dear Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:45
4Stop! In the Name of Love Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:54
5Honey Boy James Dean / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:35
6Back in My Arms Again Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:54
7Whisper You Love Me Boy James Dean / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:36
8The Only Time I’m Happy James Dean / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:32
9He Holds His Own James Dean / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:32
10Who Could Ever Doubt My Love Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:43
11(I’m So Glad) Heartaches Don’t Last Always James Dean / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:58
12I‘m in Love Again Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:21
13You Keep Me Hangin’ On Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:43
14You’re Gone (But Always in My Heart) Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:37
15Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:50
16I Wanna Mother You, Smother You with Love James Dean / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:36
17I’ll Guess I’ll Always Love You James Dean / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:40
18I’ll Turn to Stone James Dean / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:25
19It’s the Same Old Song Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:32
20Going Down for the Third Time Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:37
21Love in Our Hearts James Dean / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:09
22Remove This Doubt Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:54
23There’s No Stopping Us NowJ ames Dean / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:59
24Heatwave James Dean / Eddie HollandDiana Ross & the Supremes / The Supremes02:38

COLD DAYS By Jim Butcher

Cold Days is the 14th book in the Harry Dresden series. Dresden is a Wizard and a Private Investigator, but in this novel he makes a deal with Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness, Monarch of the Winter Court of the Sidhe, mistress and mentor of every wicked being in Faerie (think alternate magic dimension). In return for Mab’s help, Dresden agrees to become the Winter Knight, essentially Mab’s enforcer. As Winter Knight, Dresden acquires advance powers over ice and snow (which come in handy as his enemies are relentless).

The story arc of the past few books comes to a climax in Cold Days as much of the plot involves evil forces that Dresden only learns about in this novel. Despite overwhelming odds against him, Dresden manages to recruit friends and allies in his fight to save Chicago from destruction. If you’re in the mood for an apocalyptic story of Magic and Deceit, you’ll enjoy Cold Days.


Based on a true story, Just Mercy tells the story of a young lawyer, Bryan Stevenson, (played by Michael B. Jordan) who has just graduated from Harvard Law School. But, instead of taking a lucrative job at a prestigious law firm, Stevenson decides to go to Alabama and work for a non-profit organization trying to defend men convicted of murder and waiting for execution on Death Row.

As you can imagine, the racism and corruption of the Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office is horrific. Stevenson believes he can make a case that can free Walter “Johnny D.” McMillian (played by Jamie Foxx), a man convicted of murdering a white girl. The case moves back and forth in time. We see part of the action that shows Johnny D. could not have committed the crime. But, the White Establishment believe they have convicted the Right Man so Stevenson has to try some audacious tactics to change the legal game.

 Michael B. JordanJamie FoxxRob MorganTim Blake NelsonRafe Spall, and Brie Larson make up the talented cast. If you’re looking for an inspirational movie, Just Mercy certainly qualifies. GRADE: B+


Stephen A. Schwarzmann, co-founder and former CEO of Blackstone–the investment firm that manages over $500 billion in assets–captured my attention in What It Takes when he figured out how to get Little Anthony and the Imperials to perform at his High School. This was 1963 and Schwarzman had no money. But, he devised a way to lure the group who sang “Tears On My Pillow” from Brooklyn to Philadelphia for an unforgettable event. This incident caused Schwarzman to conclude: “It’s as easy to do something big as it is to do something small, so reach for a fantasy worthy of your pursuit, with rewards commensurate to your effort.” (p. 351)

What makes What It Takes different from most books by billionaires, is that Schwarzman’s stories are mostly about his failures. He wants to get into Harvard, but they don’t accept him (perhaps because he was Jewish). Schwarzman ends up at Yale and immediately makes waves. Later, Schwarzman begins his career in the investment field and stumbles badly…and almost gets fired! This leads Schwarzman to conclude: “Failure is the best teacher in an organization. Talk about failures openly and objectively. Analyze what went wrong. You will learn new rules for decision making…and [be] more successful in the future.” (p. 354)

I’m impressed by Schwarzman’s philanthropy. He gave millions to MIT for a new Artificial Intelligence school. He gave $150 million to Oxford University. He set up Schwarzman’s Scholars (an updated version of Rhodes Scholarships) at Tsinghua University in China. Clearly, Schwarzman is a guy who wants to give back. I’m willing to bet you’ll find What It Takes as inspiring as I did! GRADE: A
Made, Not Born 1
Remove the Obstacles
Go Big 11
Everything Is Interconnected 31
Hold the Table: Advice on Interviews 53
The Best Way to Learn Is by Doing 57
All Deals Are Crises 67
Money Is a Poor Cure for a Bad Situation 75
Pursue Worthy Fantasies
The Harder the Problem, the More Limited the Competition 91
Call, Then Keep Calling 105
Go Where Others Aren’t 115
Don’t Miss the Can’t Miss Opportunities 125
Cycles: Investing Through Ups and Downs 143
There Are No Brave, Old People in Finance 147
Don’t Lose Money!!! Developing an Investment Process 157
Spinning the Wheel Faster 161
Seeing Around Corners
Expand 171
Ask for Help When You Need It 189
Entrepreneurship: No One Tells You About the Pain 199
Listen for Discordant Notes 203
Time Wounds All Deals 213
Load the Boat 221
Sprinting Downfield
Be a Friend to the Situation 239
Turn Crisis into Opportunity 263
Engage 283
Answer When Your Country Calls 305
Spin the Virtuous Cycle 325
A Mission to Be the Best 337
Epilogue 345
25 Rules for Work and Lite 351
Acknowledgments 355
Index 369


Patrick and Katie both have Ninja blenders and love the power and versatility of their units. So when Diane decided to make a Peach Pound Cake which required the peaches to be pureed, our children recommended that we buy a Ninja blender.

Diane and I did some online research and in general the reviews by users of Ninja blenders were positive. However, the problem we encountered was that most of the stores in Western New York didn’t have any Ninja blenders in stock.

Fortunately, when Diane and I were walking around our local Sam’s Club a few days later, Diane spotted a group of Ninja blenders on a shelf in the rear of the store. After examining our choices, Diane decided on the Ninja Professional blender. Other units had more features, more buttons, and more elaborate parts, but Diane just wanted a basic blender. We bought it, took it home, and gave our new Ninja blender a workout. I made a Chocolate Milk Shake…delicious! The next day, Diane pureed the peaches and made the yummy Peach Pound Cake. If you’re looking for a blender, we’d recommend the Ninja Professional. Do you like your blender? GRADE: A


In my relentless quest to get as many doctor’s appointments and procedures accomplished before everything shuts down again, I scheduled a Covid-19 test. The Covid-19 test was required before I could have my colonoscopy (scheduled for August 25). I chose the Covid-19 testing site at Sister’s Hospital in Buffalo because the tests are processed in the Hospital’s lab. Results are usually available in 24 hours. I expect my results to be negative since I rarely leave my house.

I debated over postponing my colonoscopy until 2021. But, in the end, I decided that since Western NY’s coronavirus rate is less than 1% right now, why delay? So Monday I’ll be drinking my Gatorade and Miralax to purge my digestive tract. Tuesday, I’m the first patient in for my colonoscopy (7 A.M). Then, a day of sleeping off Happy Drugs. How are you dealing with doctors and procedures during this pandemic? Are you going to get a Covid-19 test?


Back in the early 1970s, ACE Books started publishing a series of books called “Science Fiction From the Great Years.” The series comprised 15 titles (see the list below) before the series was terminated. I have many of these books, but my favorites are Frederik Pohl and Carol Pohl’s Science Fiction: The Great Years (1973) both Volume 1 and Volume 2. Today I’m just focused on Volume One. A good chunk of this anthology is “And Then There Were None by Eric Frank Russell. This short novel displays Russell’s dark side in contrast with his humorous SF stories. I enjoyed Frederic Brown’s “Placet is a Crazy Place.”

Perhaps the best known story in this anthology is C. M. Kornbluth’s classic, “The Little Black Bag.” It still chills me after multiple readings. If you’re looking for an excellent SF collection, I highly recommend Science Fiction: The Great Years, Volume 1. I’ll be reviewing Volume 2 soon. GRADE: A


“Introduction the First — 7

“And Then There Were None — Eric Frank Russell (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, 1951) 13

“The Liberation of Earth” — William Tenn (FUTURE SCIENCE FICTION, 1953) 102

“Old Faithful” — Raymond Z. Gallun (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, 1934) 124

“Placet Is a Crazy Place” — Fredric Brown (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, 1946) 173

“Wings of the Lightning Land” — James MacCreigh (ASTONISHING STORIES, 1941) 193

“The Little Black Bag” — C. M. Kornbluth (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, 1950) 235

“A Matter of Form” — H. L. Gold. ( ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, 1938) 271


Armageddon 2419 A.D., Philip Francis Nowlan (1972, 192 pages, $0.75)
The Mightiest Machine, John W. Campbell (1972, 217 pages, $0.95)
The Moon Is Hell, John W. Campbell (1973, 255 pages, $0.75)
Alien Planet, Fletcher Pratt (1973, 189 pages, $0.75)
Science Fiction: The Great Years, Volume I, edited by Frederik Pohl & Carol Pohl (1973, 349 pages, $1.25)
The Brain-Stealers, Murray Leinster (1974, 177 pages, $1.50)
Metropolis, Thea von Harbou (1975, 222 pages, $1.25)
The Galaxy Primes, Edward E. ‘Doc’ Smith (1976, 238 pages, $1.25)
The Radio Planet, Ralph Milne Farley (1976, 297 pages, $1.50)
Science Fiction: The Great Years, Volume II, edited by Frederik Pohl & Carol Pohl (1976, 276 pages, $1.50)
A Brand New World, Ray Cummings (1976, 205 pages, $1.25)
The Ultimate Weapon, John W. Campbell (1976, 123 pages, $1.25)
The Radio Beasts, Ralph Milne Farley (1976, 231 pages, $1.50)
Sentinels from Space, Eric Frank Russell (1976, 244 pages, $1.50)
The Blind Spot, Austin Hall & Homer Eon Flint (1976, 346 pages, $1.75)


Once again I have to question some of these song selections as “Classic Rock.” “American Pie” shows up on yet another compilation. I’m not sure I would consider Pilot’s “Magic” a Classic Rock hit. The same goes for Andy Kim’s “Rock Me Gently.”

Do you remember these songs? Any favorites here? GRADE: B



1-1The BandUp On Cripple Creek4:32
1-2Billy IdolRebel Yell4:46
1-3Stray CatsRock This Town3:25
1-4Linda RonstadtWhen Will I Be Loved2:06
1-5Poison (3)Nothin’ But A Good Time3:44
1-7QueensrÿcheSilent Lucidity5:46
1-8The J. Geils BandLove Stinks3:36
1-9Canned HeatLet’s Work Together3:13
1-10Pat BenatarYou Better Run3:05
1-11Robin TrowerCaledonia3:40
1-12Andy KimRock Me Gently3:28
1-13SlaughterUp All Night3:45
1-14The TubesTalk To Ya Later3:45
1-15Don McLeanAmerican Pie8:35
2-1The HolliesLong Cool Woman (In A Black Dress)3:16
2-2Billy SquierThe Stroke3:38
2-3The BabysEvery Time I Think Of You4:01
2-4The SmithereensA Girl Like You4:42
2-5George Thorogood & The DestroyersBad to the Bone4:55
2-6Great WhiteOnce Bitten Twice Shy5:24
2-7Dr. Hook & The Medicine ShowThe Cover Of The Rolling Stone [Live]3:56
2-8Little River BandNight Owls5:16
2-9RaspberriesGo All The Way3:22
2-10Vixen (2)Edge Of A Broken Heart4:24
2-11The SweetBallroom Blitz4:01
2-12Tracie SpencerTender Kisses5:26
2-13April WineJust Between You And Me3:55
2-14Blue SwedeHooked On A Feeling2:52
2-15SugarloafGreen-Eyed Lady [Single Version]3:40