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From the Editor
SF Insite: Vote for your favourite books of 2001 in our 4th annual Readers' Choice: Best Read Of The Year list. The deadline for voting is February 15.
Features
Younger Readers: Looking for a title or two for them? Here is a starting point.
Topical Book Lists: would you like to see what's been written on certain topics? Here are a few lists to pique your interest.
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Fool's Errand Fool's Errand by Robin Hobb
reviewed by William Thompson
She may well be the best author today writing traditional high fantasy.  A large statement, perhaps, but taken within the context noted, readily defended.  Unexcelled in the depth of her characterizations, and the equal of any when it comes to the creation of an alternate society, her work is as much about the study of human character as it is about fantasy or the trappings of a mythical world.  Nor, as an author, is she dependent upon mere action through which to drive her words, allowing her stories to naturally unfold around both the mundane and more singular events occurring in her narratives, with a sureness of grip upon her plot lines that has much improved since her writings as Megan Lindholm and her first Farseer novels.

Charles de Lint A Conversation With Charles de Lint
An interview with Jayme Lynn Blaschke
On the importance of setting:
"It's another character as far as I'm concerned. In Forests there's a huge ice storm that brings the entire city to a halt and that was as much an important part of the story as the more individual characters going about their business. The spiritworld -- at least in how it relates to the Newford stories -- gets more defined in it as well, and even more so in the book I'm currently working on, The Onion Girl."

Strange Trades Strange Trades by Paul Di Filippo
reviewed by Rich Horton
The author's 5th collection of short fiction is one of the most satisfying SF single-author collections Rich has read in some time. As the title announces, the stories are concerned with people at work, exploring a variety of science-fictional jobs, some strange due to technological advances, others due to marginal or experimental economics, others because they're set in unusual milieus.

New Arrivals New Arrivals
compiled by Neil Walsh
Recent arrivals at the SF Site include some new editions of some old favourites, as well as the latest from Terry Goodkind, Raymond Feist & William Forstchen, Charles de Lint, Kristine Smith, Jerry Oltion, and others. Plus some sneak previews from Greg Egan and Richard A. Lupoff.  Plenty of reading for the holidays...

A Lower Deep A Lower Deep by Tom Piccirilli
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Fans of the author have waited a long time for a novel about their favourite necromancer and his wise-cracking, remorseless familiar. In answer to that demand, this will not fail to delight and disgust his most ardent admirers. The Necromancer and Self are back, and back with a literal vengeance. This is going to be an encounter that may leave none of the bizarre cast of characters alive. Or, as alive as they were at the beginning of the book.

Bold as Love Bold as Love by Gwyneth Jones
reviewed by David Soyka
In a near-future England that has dissolved all ties to other countries in what was once the United Kingdom, Pigsty Liver, an Ozzie Osborne-type rock star, initiates a bloody coup to take control of the Counterculturals, a sort of shadow government whose popularity with the people (at least those people who like rock music) reaps significant, albeit not total, political power. Pigsty's personal perversities, however, soon lead to his downfall. The fate of the revolution falls into the hands of a popularly-exalted triumvirate...

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his thoughts on Enterprise's on-going story arc. It is about a "temporal cold-war" but what, exactly, do they mean by that? The best of many SF novels on this theme is the Hugo Award-winning The Big Time, by Fritz Leiber, a masterpiece in which the entire story takes place inside a single room. Poul Anderson's The Time Patrol series and H. Beam Piper's The Complete Paratime cover the same ground on a more epic scale. So, how does Enterprise stack up against these classics?

Second Contact Second Contact by J.D. Austin
reviewed by Rich Horton
This is the story of a planet named Kivlan, far across the Universe from Earth. An Earth expedition visits Kivlan, only to be chased away by a couple of missiles. Some time later, Earth sends another expedition, this one armed rather better, in a sincere attempt to really get to know the Kivlanians.

The Tranquility Wars The Tranquility Wars by Gentry Lee
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Donna got quite a kick out of reading this moderately dreadful novel. "Offers surprise after surprise" says The New York Times, and they're sure not kidding. If Commander Data from Star Trek wrote a novel, he would probably produce something like this bizarre mix of perceptive detail and ridiculously stilted writing. Nevertheless, Donna is willing to recommend it.

Asimov's, January 2001 Asimov's, January 2001
reviewed by David Soyka
The magazine has a well-earned reputation as an eclectic publisher of work that, with the exception of slipstream, largely defines the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre in almost all of its permutations. Indeed, the index of the previous year's stories that traditionally appears in the January issue is replete with "heavy hitters" both new and longstanding -- from Arthur C. Clarke to Greg Egan to Cory Doctorow to Jane Yolen -- who mine the field from various angles.

Impact Parameter and other Quantum Realities Impact Parameter and other Quantum Realities by Geoffrey A. Landis
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
This author is a rare breed in the world of SF, a writer with a strong background in science and an almost tragic sense of romance. The author knows his physics, but he also knows that the best way to approach the world of science is through the human heart. And he has created characters that will stay with you long after the story has finished.

Series Review

Harry Potter Series Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Donna is surprised that outraged adults aren't pounding on J.K. Rowling's door. By her fourth Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, she has broken most of the unwritten rules of current children's literature. Bad things happen to good people. Adults lie to children and make bad decisions. Life isn't fair or safe. And here's the kicker. People die in Harry Potter books. Even children. Even good, heroic children. Wow.

Second Looks

The White Circle / Y. Cheung Business Detective The White Circle and Y. Cheung Business Detective by Harry Stephen Keeler
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Generally categorized as a mystery writer, the author certainly wrote some of the largest and weirdest mystery novels to grace the English language. He's has been compared to Ed Wood and Weird Al Yankovic, though in the former case, it was pointed out that he, if quirky, was at least talented and successful. A quick scan of links releated to the author will yield one an enumeration of all of his literary quirks, along with why these very quirks work in his "wild and woolly world."

Mistress of Mistresses Mistress of Mistresses by E.R. Eddison
reviewed by William Thompson
Originally published in 1935, more than 10 years after his more well-known and popular work, The Worm Ouroboros, this book is the first part of the larger Zimiamvia sequence, though, while published first, chronologically last in the events unfolding within the trilogy. However, it possesses a narrative unity that allows it to be read on its own, even though it is an extension of events established in the other two novels completing the cycle. This is accomplished in part because time, locale and characters within the author's novels blur in identity, separated yet coexisting, almost, though in a very different fashion, as a pre-echo to Moorcock's multiverse.

Childhood's End Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke
reviewed by David Maddox
Imagine humanity on the verge of universal travel, space crafts primed to break the final barrier and open up a cosmos full of mystery and wonder. Then imagine that in one moment it's all taken away. A technologically superior race descends from the heavens to become our keepers. Life as we know it ends. The book's opening scene is probably the most recognizable of SF introductions. The vision of gigantic Overlord space ships appearing over every major Earth city is so phenomenally powerful that it has been recreated and honoured in countless science fiction films.

Ventus Ventus by Karl Schroeder
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Ventus is a terraformed world gone haywire, where the human colonists have lost control over the massive, intelligent network of terraforming machinery that runs the planet. In fact, as centuries passed, they even forgot that the "Winds" were AIs, and now they worship them as gods in a culture that has regressed to medieval technology. Young Jordan, a newly qualified stone mason, is having strange visions -- episodes so vividly real that for a few seconds or moments he sees through the eyes of General Armiger, a man fighting a war in another land. But Armiger is not truly a man -- he's a cyborg extension of a rogue AI that nearly destroyed the galaxy.

Broken Time Broken Time by Maggy Thomas
reviewed by Donna McMahon
A book which succeeds due to charming characters and the author's light touch is this one -- an improbable collision between space opera, fantasy and The Silence of the Lambs. Even describing the plot of this book is difficult; nonetheless the author manages to glue it together and deliver a satisfying wrap-up.


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