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Whole Wide World Whole Wide World by Paul J. McAuley
reviewed by William Thompson
Set in London after the Infowars, its former financial district in ruins, society monitored by security cameras constantly surveying the streets, a landscape whose architecture is decaying while technology and information has outpaced the very civilization it supports. In the aftermath of rioting, computer-generated fires and microwave bombs that wiped every hard drive within their targeting radius, within a moment crippling the information infrastructure of corporate London, every police department has a computer crimes division, watching behind search engines whose sole purpose is to seek out and monitor information traffic.  Into this realm comes a detective novel, our protagonist is a man at the end of his career, measured more by his failures than successes, called in on his day off to pick up evidence at a particularly brutal crime scene that involves the use of video cameras and the theft of computer hard drives. It soon becomes a personal obsession for him, as well as a last, and some would say desperate, effort to vindicate a life that has slipped from its track.

Origin Origin by Stephen Baxter
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
If this were a mainstream novel, it would have the words "literary experiment" written all over it. It is the third, and final, book in a series that began with Manifold: Time and Manifold: Space. Each book features nearly the same cast of characters, with 3 different versions of their history and their lives. In a mainstream novel, the author would be focusing on the depth of the characters, with the background differences used to illuminate the details of their existence. But this is SF and the point of writing 3 alternate histories of the same characters is not the characters themselves, but their part in examining one of the Big Questions.

New Arrivals New Arrivals
compiled by Neil Walsh
Recent arrivals at the SF Site include new novels from Ray Bradbury, Graham Joyce and S.L. Viehl; all-new collections of vampire stories (edited by P.N. Elrod) and cat stories (edited by Denise Little); some classic reprints; and more.

Seven Touches of Music Seven Touches of Music by Zoran Zivkovic
reviewed by William Thompson
This is collection of tales that, upon their surface, bear no immediately obvious relationship, outside the shared element of music.  Though each of the 7 short stories found here could be read singly, they are narratively and thematically woven together in a way that binds them inextricably, though with a subtlety that might be easily overlooked by the casual reader.  And once again the author has shown his control and mastery over his spare prose, a style entirely appropriate to the quietude of his subject and themes, where silence is as much an element as melody, and the characters live lives more removed than present.

Steven Gould
Steven Gould & Laura J. Mixon A Conversation With Steven Gould & Laura J. Mixon
An interview with Jayme Lynn Blaschke
On writers married to writers:
"We share an office, and there's this really nice feeling when you work at home. Writing is a very lonely profession, and when you write books, you don't get feedback for years. When I was an industrial engineer, I got feedback on a daily basis. It can be very lonely, and to have somebody right there in the office working too -- I just, look up and I look over, and I just kind of smile. So I think the thing about "don't marry a writer" is -- they're full of it. I think the smartest thing I ever did was to marry a writer. Period."

Blind Waves Blind Waves by Steven Gould
reviewed by Donna McMahon
It is the mid-21st century and the beaches of America are a distant memory. Patricia Beenan lives on the floating city of New Galveston, and makes her living doing underwater salvage in the ruined city 200 feet below. When she stumbles across a sunken freighter with a hold full of fresh bodies and finds clear evidence that it was sunk by US authorities, she has unleashed a world of trouble.

Helm Helm by Steven Gould
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Centuries after leaving Earth and only one glass helm (helmets that can "imprint" Earth's knowledge) remains, fiercely guarded by the ruler of the city-state of Laal. Dulan is grooming his eldest son to wear the helm and eventually govern Laal, but his plans are wrecked when his youngest son dons the helmet instead, little realizing that it is potentially the most dangerous weapon on his world.


Casting Shadows Casting Shadows by Jeanne Cavelos
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
As the book begins Galen, an apprentice techno-mage, and his mentor Elric are awaiting the gathering of the community of techno-mages for the Convocation. Should he successfully pass his initiation, Galen will be a full-fledged techno-mage when the celebrations conclude. It's enough to make a young student fraught with anxiety; Galen has no idea just how dangerous it will be. If he did, he might run in the opposite direction. But, the ceremony is about to be dwarfed by an infinitely greater threat: the Shadows are about to return.

 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 has been listening to The Nine Billion Names of God and Other Stories by Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov Himself Reads 5 Complete Stories by Isaac Asimov.

Narcissus In Chains Narcissus In Chains by Laurell K. Hamilton
reviewed by Charlene Brusso
Vampire hunter Anita Blake's sensitivity to paranormal forces, including her necromantic ability to raise the dead, first drew her into the supernatural demi-monde. In this volume and throughout the 8 previous books of the series, her relationships with Richard and Jean-Claude have deepened and continue to get her into trouble with dangers both human and inhuman -- sort of Modesty Blaise meets The Exorcist.

A Temple Of Forgotten Spirits A Temple Of Forgotten Spirits by William F. Wu
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
The author's imagination and meticulous research takes readers this time into the mind of Jack Hong, a young man with no direction in life. He is ambivalent about his Chinese-American heritage, his past, his future -- everything except his own survival. A meeting with a most unusual visitor in an equally unusual place will set him on the road in search of a mystical creature. To discover what Jack is looking for, he must follow and find the legendary keilin.

Tales from the Cloud Walking Country Tales from the Cloud Walking Country by Marie Campbell
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Sometimes it's good to act a bit of a Luddite, ignore the current fantasy factories and their multi-volume production lines and get back to the roots of a genre -- and oral storytellers are arguably just that. Oral storytellers have been around since humans developed a language, but except for the remotest regions of the Earth have largely disappeared in today's world. The author, a young schoolteacher in the "hillbilly" regions of eastern Kentucky from 1928 to 1934, collected tales from what was likely the last generation of mountain storytellers.

The Glass Harmonica The Glass Harmonica by Louise Marley
reviewed by Steven H Silver
This novel's focus is the parallel lives of Eilish Eam, an 18th century street urchin, and Erin Rushton, a 21st century glass harmonist. While Eilish and Erin mirror each other, their associates also have parallels. Mackie, the crippled boy for whom Eilish cares in 18th century London appears in Erin's world as her wheelchair-bound twin brother Charlie. While Eilish is experimenting with a new instrument, Erin and Charlie are experimenting with new enhancements to the instrument.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his notes on what to watch in November along with his experiences while watching his brand new wide-screen high-definition television set.

Rhysling Award Anthology Rhysling Award Anthology edited by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
reviewed by Trent Walters
This anthology picks its residents from nominators that belong to the Science Fiction Poetry Association. With as few readers as they have, poets should not snub readers. All Merwin required was for even a child to respond. All Eliot required was for his mother to like how it sounded. Perhaps poets should tune in closer to the populist barometer -- without sacrificing art or vision.

Black House Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub
an offer from audible.com
Audible lets you download and listen to a great book at a great price. Listen to a free sample now.

First Novels

A Shadow On The Glass A Shadow On The Glass by Ian Irvine
reviewed by William Thompson
Perhaps the author's greatest accomplishment in this debut is in the evolving creation of his world.  Neither a mere image of medieval Europe, a borrowing from the realm of faerie, nor an obvious mirroring of some third world culture meant to delight the Western reader in its imitation of the exotic, in many respects the author has developed a world largely his own, in which humans are the oldest race, along with remnants left of three alien and uninvited cultures, the Charon, the Aachan and the Faellem.  The events of the present and the future of all are rapidly becoming shaped by a murder that took place far in the past.

Second Looks

Valis Valis by Philip K. Dick
reviewed by David Soyka
Here, the author writes an autobiographical parable about a crazy man who recovers his identity and perhaps his sanity through a theological discovery, only to lose his sanity again upon a subsequent revelation of the deeper underpinnings of the phenomenological world. In other words, the lesson is that the only way to deal with a crazy reality is to go crazy yourself.

Commitment Hour Commitment Hour by James Alan Gardner
reviewed by Donna McMahon
It's the 25th century and most humans have gone to the stars, leaving a small remnant population on Earth who live in relatively backwardness among the ruins of "Old-Tech." Fullin lives in one of the oddest corners of this world, Tober Cove, a remote East Coast fishing town. And in Tober Cove every child switches genders each year until the age of 20. Fullin is 20 years old. Tomorrow, he must choose which gender he will remain for the rest of his life.


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