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The winners of the 2000 Sidewise Awards for Alternate History have been announced.
Paul J. McAuley Reading List: The Secret of Life is his latest. After you've read it, you should try one of these.
Online Fiction: may be the way of the future. But is it any good?
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The nominees for the British Fantasy Awards have been announced. The winners will be announced in London, UK on September 23, 2001.
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James Barclay
James Barclay A Conversation With James Barclay
Part 1 of an interview with John Berlyne
On his career in the theatre:
"Always liked to act, it has to be said. I've always done the old 'am-dram', schools plays, things like that. Like most of us who want to act, I expect. The thing was that when I actually left college I had no idea what I wanted to do but because I quite liked acting, I thought, bugger it -- I'll think I'll stay in education and do a year's training. I did a one-year post-grad course at The London and International School of Acting. Some of the teachers were great, some were horrible but that's life for you!"

Nightchild Nightchild by James Barclay
reviewed by John Berlyne
5 years have passed since the events in Noonshade, and The Raven have gone their separate ways. War-ravaged Balia is slowly healing, but this process is being hampered by freak weather conditions that are battering the land, conditions attributed to disturbances in the mana field that runs through all things. It becomes clear that Lyanna is the cause of all this, the product of a union between two of the great colleges and the likely focus of a daunting prophesy that will bring about the end of the collegiate system that has been in place for hundreds of years.

Passage Passage by Connie Willis
reviewed by Rich Horton
Her new novel concerns Near Death Experiences (NDEs), and the attempts of a couple of researchers to explain them as the reaction of the brain and body to the physical conditions of dying -- with a glimmer of hope that such understanding might even lead to a means of bringing more people back from the brink of death. As such, the book deals with several people on the verge of dying -- including some who have, as it were, been there and back.

Time Gifts Time Gifts by Zoran Zivkovic
reviewed by William Thompson
This collection of 4 short stories, which together form a larger whole, at surface seem deceptively simple and direct. All tell the story of apparently different people in different circumstances -- an astronomer, a paleolinguist, a watchmaker and an artist -- separated temporally and by profession who are granted gifts of time by a mysterious stranger: opportunities to see into the future, verify beliefs lost in the far past, alter a tragedy or measure the span of their own mortality. And all are enacted within a setting and interaction that would have delighted Rod Serling.

Dislocated Fictions Dislocated Fictions
a column by Gabriel Chouinard
Gabriel Chouinard's column is dedicated to exposing the risk-takers working in SF and fantasy. He calls them the Next Wave, in a nod to the obvious influences that the New Wave writers had upon them. Here, he gives us some thoughts on 'escapism' as the antithesis of fantastic literature rather than its synonym. Here too are Gabe's views of Anselm Audley's Heresy and The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany.

The Beasts of Barakhai The Beasts of Barakhai by Mickey Zucker Reichert
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Consider Benton Collins, mild-mannered graduate student in biology, not your typical hero-type, maybe not even your average second-banana. One inhabitant of the strange world of Barakhai thinks that Ben is the deliverer the citizens have been waiting for. Zylas, the recruiter of this unlikely champion, doesn't give him much of a chance to say no; instead, he tricks Ben into following him through a bolt-hole into a place no human ever envisioned.

Outlaw School Outlaw School by Rebecca Ore
reviewed by David Soyka
Jayne's problem as a child is that she doesn't fit in. For one thing, she's smarter than she's supposed to be for her social class. For another, Jayne's unhappy mother doesn't think her daughter fully appreciates her. While Jayne's step-father is sympathetic to her plight and tries to help in his own fumbling way, he is basically powerless. The author takes these archetypical female coming-of-age conditions and casts them in a near-future world in which drugs and technology are used to coerce conformity to social norms rooted in a 50s suburbia zeitgeist.

Oxygen Oxygen by John B.Olson and Randall Ingermanson
reviewed by Suzanne Krein
Life can hold many kinds of crises. Physical crises can include natural disasters or serious illnesses. Emotional crises may be created by broken relationships or by personality conflicts. Crises of faith can arise when these other kinds of predicaments cause us to question or doubt our faith. This novel contains all of these types. As the title suggests, there is one basic emergency that we all fear: the lack of oxygen.

Son of the Shadows Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
Sorcha has returned home to Erin with her husband, Briton Hugh of Harrowfield. Together they've become stewards of Sorcha's ancestral estate of Sevenwaters, with its magical forest and strong ties to the old, druidic faith. They've been blessed with happiness, prosperity, and 3 children. But this time of peace can't last. There's a fated relationship between Sevenwaters and the capricious Fair Folk. And the old evil that ensnared Sorcha isn't gone, but only waiting.

Origin Origin by Stephen Baxter
reviewed by Nick Gevers
This is the conclusion of one of the most ingeniously conceived sequences of novels SF has yet seen, a trilogy of cosmic iterations in furious revelatory dispute. The template is probably Kim Stanley Robinson's Three Californias series (1984-1990), which imagined three contrasting futures for the same section of California, embodied each in a novel with characters and situations mapped to those in the others, and allowed echoes to ring and dissonances to sound, all that utopia might take shape in the reader's mind. In the Manifold novels, the author is about a similar parallelism of scenarios, but he is too ruthless an ironist for utopia, preferring cosmological debate; and his Big Issue is the Fermi Paradox...

The Wolf King The Wolf King by Alice Borchardt
reviewed by William Thompson
A snowdrift, an Alpine blizzard, a runaway Saxon slave finds a woman near frozen. The wind howls around them and the dark shadow of a bell tower in the distance can be seen through the snow. Stumbling into the monastery, they are set upon by undead brigands and a mad abbot, whose demonic master rises from an alter as a monstrous, flaming bear. Through desperate courage and quick wits, the Saxon and his new-found companion manage to beat back the attack, only to find shape-shifting wolves awaiting them outside...

 Vox: SF For Your Ears Vox: SF For Your Ears
a column by Scott Danielson
Scott Danielson is looking at audio SF -- on tape, on CD, on whatever. This time out, he's listened to a course on tape, Science Fiction: The Literature of the Technological Imagination and relaxed with On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King and Doomsday Book by Connie Willis.

Journey Into Dandelion Wine Country Journey Into Dandelion Wine Country by Alan Ira Gordon
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
There are as many theories about what makes Ray Bradbury's work exceptional as there are Bradbury fans. One aspect of his fiction that shines out is his insight into human nature and his endless fascination with every day people in sometimes extraordinary circumstances. It is this priceless quality that Gordon shares with one of the great masters of speculative fiction. How appropriate that he should pay homage to Bradbury with this collection.

The Glasswrights' Progress The Glasswrights' Progress by Mindy L. Klasky
reviewed by Steven H Silver
In this sequel to The Glasswrights' Apprentice, we are introduced to the world beyond the walls from the first page, when Rani and Bashi leave the city to go hawking. We explore the expansionist kingdom of Amanthia, which has its own complex social structure based on a mixture of castes and guilds which look to astronomical signs to determine the totem to which a person belongs.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
In his column, Rick offers us some thoughts on the new Star Trek series Enterprise and some memories of past series.

First Novels

The Man of Maybe Half-A-Dozen Faces The Man of Maybe Half-A-Dozen Faces by Ray Vukcevich
reviewed by Neil Walsh
Is there a sub-genre for off-the-wall, funny, SF detective mystery stories? This novel definitely fits that mould. It's very off-the-wall and very funny (although not even nearly as surreal as those of Steve Aylett). Neil's first impression of this novel was kind of Jonathan Lethem meets Robert Anton Wilson in a parody of a film noir that Philip K. Dick in one of his lighter moments tossed into the near future, only his aim was off and it didn't end up precisely where he thought it would.


Best of the Web 2000 Best of the Web 2000
reviewed by Trent Walters
The Web is in dire need of a critical foundation, lest it risk no one taking it seriously. The Preditors and Editors website has attempted to settle that with a poll based on popular vote. It's excellent in idea, valiant in the attempt and much needed to dredge through the sludge of written Web material, but the present system is flawed.

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