Hertzsrpung-Russell rating: A10-3.5

Available in: The Best Of Saki


A small English town is shocked to discover one of the local boys is actually a werewolf. Conversely, a small English wolfpack is shocked to discover one of the local cubs is a wolfwere. Anyone could be a feral wolf in disguise; I’d start by rounding up Will Ferrell and Dick Wolf. Even if they’re bona fide humans you’ve still got the beginnings of the most hilarious sex crime police procedural ever committed to film.


Hertzsprung-Russell rating: F106.5+

Available in: The Big Book Of Adventure Stories


A scientist develops a formula that reduces him to the size of a single atom (talk about shrinkage!) and allows him to discover and explore hitherto unknown worlds that exist on the microscopic level. Eventually, he falls in love with the tiny unsuper-sized civilizations and decides to stay down there forever. No biggie. While entertaining, the whole story is preposterous: I took a shrink formula thirty minutes ago and nothing is happening yet and oh shit it’s kicking in and if you’re still reading this you have really good eyesight.

Hertzsprung-Russell rating: O/B102.5

Available in: Great Science Fiction About Doctors

A young couple buys a robo-nanny to care for their newborn baby in all the ways a real mother would. The robot feeds the baby, rocks the baby and writes about the baby on an insufferably self-righteous mommy blog. In the end, however, the baby grows to love the robot more than its human parents. Children eschewing their progenitors in favour of machines is nothing new. In the 80s I spent so much time playing Nintendo I forgot my father’s name. I think it was ‘Mario’. Is this thing on? The computer, I mean – is it on? Yep. Green light’s flashing. It’s on.

Hertzsprung-Russell rating: A103.5

Available in: Expanded Universe

A scientist devises a method for predicting the exact time and date of a person’s death, thus negating the need for life insurance, and gets himself whacked by the Life Insurance syndicate for his trouble (“Make it look like a pre-existin’ condition, ya got it, boys?”) Predicting the date and time of my death doesn’t impress me much. Predict the weather. That way, I can let everyone know how to dress for my funeral.

Hertzsprung-Russell rating: A/F1

Available in: Alternating Currents

After a nuclear holocaust, a dude goes back in time to prehistoric days to try and change history, but returns to find ants ruling the world. And said ants fuckin’ kill him. D’jever notice that, post WWII, everyone was terrified of ants? If I had a nickel for every mid-20th century scifi story that posits a future where ants rule the world, I’d have thousands of sugar-standard-based ant dollars I could use to buy a 20,000-room anthill right beside a picnic basket. I’d just sit on my thorax all day while my centipede butler brought me cookie crumbs. That’d be the life.

Hertzsprung-Russell rating: A/F10

Available in: The Mind Spider And Other Stories

This story has something for everyone: a family of telepaths and an unfathomably evil presence from beyond the stars imprisoned at the South Pole which they band together to defeat. On second thought, this story doesn’t really have something for everyone. In fact, the segment of people this story appeals to is incredibly small: the intersection of the Venn diagram for readers who enjoy both familial telepathy and imprisoned evil looks like Smurfette’s vagina. Still, ich liebe Leiber.


Hertzsprung-Russell rating: B/A0.1

Available in: From The “S” File

A comic future tale where humans are cold, impersonal, and detached, and machines pine desperately for our love. I can relate. I’ve only had my iPod for two weeks and it wants me to move in with it and meet its parents. It’s too much, baby! You’re smothering me! I know you provide me with 60G of storage, but I need some space!