2002  
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From the Editor
SF Site's Trent Walters says J.R.R. Tolkien Is Dangerous. Is he right?
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
The Philip K. Dick Award Nominees have been announced. It will be presented on March 30, 2002 in Seattle.
Michelle West Reading List: did you read her latest, Sea of Sorrows? Here are others you might like.
The X-Files: here is where to go and what's there.
Author Book Lists: anything you may have missed? Here are some of ours and some from elsewhere.
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Memories of Ice Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson
reviewed by William Thompson
If any work is truly deserving of the accolade epic, it is the writing in Tales of the Malazan Book of the Fallen.  Vast in scope and imagination, spanning continents and cultures as diverse and multifaceted as any to be found in fantasy, the author readily towers over every other author writing military fantasy today, or for that matter, from the past.  Possessing in a single volume the equivalent storylines and action found elsewhere within a trilogy or three, events happen here with such kinetic energy, so compellingly and dramatically rendered, that the senses threaten to become overloaded with a surfeit of vivid imagery and deed.  Nor is this simply superbly written drama or gripping conflict told through a cast of likeable if often deadly combatants, but also an allegorical hunt through themes as large and sweeping as his panoramic and painterly vistas, complex as the winding labyrinths of The Warrens, or alternatively as secretive as the portal House of Azath.

In Memoriam: 2001 In Memoriam: 2001
a memorial by Steven H Silver
Science fiction fans have always had a respect and understanding for the history of the genre. Unfortunately, science fiction has achieved such an age that each year sees our ranks diminished. The science-fictional year 2001 could have been much worse for the science fiction community in sheer numbers. While there were a few tragic surprises, the mortality rate for 2001 was no higher than would normally be expected.

The Saints of the Sword The Saints of the Sword by John Marco
reviewed by William Thompson
The author has continued to improve upon his military saga, Tyrants and Kings, with this novel, building upon the strengths of the previous two books, while continuing to step back from some of their earlier weaknesses. In particular, he has skillfully expanded upon his use of multiple point of view used to such good effect in The Grand Design, adding new and strong characters with the introduction of Alazrian, Kasrin and Elrad Leth, as well as further developing the emerging roles played earlier by Biagio, Nicabar and the Queen of Liss.

Blood of Winterhold Blood of Winterhold by Stephen Almekinder
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
This novel takes readers back to this fascinating monarchy divided. Picking up almost 20 years after the dramatic close of Winterhold, we return to the politically mad world of the half-kingdoms. The Queen/Lady continues to rule the territory of the Hold, while the King/Lord rules the Camp below. Every moment without open warfare is spent in a tense truce that any change in the balance could shatter.

Fool Me Twice Fool Me Twice by Matthew Hughes
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Filidor Vesh is the foppish, self-indulgent nephew of the Archon, mysterious ruler of Old Earth. Although Filidor is officially the Archon's Apprentice, he neglects his duties and education in favour of riotous high living and the sort of parties that make frequent veiled appearances in the gossip column of the Olkney Implicator. His carefree dissolution is brought to an abrupt end when a righteously outraged citizen pummels him to the ground and steals his official plaque and vigil.

LT's Theory of Pets LT's Theory of Pets by Stephen King
reviewed by Trent Walters
The author is probably one of the best readers of contemporary fiction. He has the perfect small town voice to read his own peculiar type of fiction, with a trace of a lazy, drawn accent that says, yep, you can't get there from here. Some folks put down audio fiction, but narratives naturally have their roots in an oral, storytelling tradition. Also, listening to fiction gives the listener better attention skills and utilizes a different set of processing mechanisms to instill the structure of story.

Man Over Mind Man Over Mind by Dean S. Warren
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
In the 33rd century, rule by a man/computer hybrid has become a nightmare. Billions seethe, waiting for the slightest chance to overthrow the Minds that control them and have made life unbearable for centuries. Until now, no one has come along who has presented any hope for destroying these human brains who join with the computers to become all-powerful and monstrous in their appetites.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his hopes for Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers. This series, written by J. Michael Straczynski, debuts on January 19, on the Sci-Fi Channel.

The Nameless Day The Nameless Day by Sara Douglass
reviewed by William Thompson
At its most basic, this is an alternate history, set within the conflicts of the Hundred Years' War amidst the divisions within the Church between the political papacies of Rome and Avignon.  Broad, at times detailed scholarship of the period is evident, and few of the historical figures for the mid-14th century have not assumed a role as characters, up to and including Chaucer.  Using the epic scope of the conflict, one that gripped most of Europe within a morass of political and military upheaval and intrigue the equal of any to be found in fiction, the author has interposed into that struggle a largely unseen battle waged between angels and demons for control over mankind's future, of which the earthly conflicts are but a mortal reflection.

The Mothman Prophecies The Mothman Prophecies
a film preview
The film is a cerebral and creepy tale of the paranormal that, like the book it's based on, claims to be based on actual events that allegedly transpired in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, between November 1966 and December 1967.

Hunted Hunted by James Alan Gardner
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Edward York is tall, strong, handsome and the son of an admiral, but he's got a big problem. Unlike his perfect, brilliant twin sister, Edward is stupid. Only his father's influence gets him past the minimum IQ requirements to join the Explorer Corps, then after his sister dies on their terribly bungled first mission, he is exiled to a remote moon post. 20 years later, Edward is unexpectedly evacuated by a navy ship, and then the unimaginable happens...

Night Lamp Night Lamp by Jack Vance
reviewed by Rodger Turner
An off-world couple find a young lad named Jaro who has been beaten into a coma. They take him home when no trace of his family can be found. As he grows up, he becomes more determined to discover his past and the cause of jumbled images which appear periodically in his mind. He's brought up on a world of formalized castes for which he gives not a fig. His status as a nimp throws him in with others like himself but most of his energy is devoted to raising the cash to search for his home world.

The Dragon-Charmer The Dragon-Charmer by Jan Siegel
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
Although Fern denies her Gift, its strength draws others to her, including the sorceresses Morgus and Sysselore. These ancient, evil crones dwell outside of time beneath the Tree of Life and Death, whose branches support the earth and whose roots penetrate the underworld. On the eve of Fern's wedding, Morgus kidnaps Fern's soul and brings it to the Tree, intending to train Fern's Gift and then join it to hers and Sysselore's, in order to make a gateway back into the world of time.

Silicon Dreams Silicon Dreams edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Larry Segriff
reviewed by Rich Horton
This is a theme original anthology on the subject of Artificial Intelligences, particularly AIs inhabiting robots. The introduction suggests that "robots are the heart of science fiction," in essence because intelligent robots would be, in a sense, our "children." While arguing that that makes robots the "heart" of science fiction seems wrong, it is certainly true that the theme, or the question of what responsibility we will bear for the AI's we create, is indeed an important SF theme.

Empress of the Endless Dream Empress of the Endless Dream by Tom Arden
reviewed by Neil Walsh
As Jem and company return to Ejland for the final stage of the quest, you'll be reacquainted with several characters from earlier volumes. And after two full books in exotic, far-off locales, we share in Jem's sense of coming home. If you've ever spent a long time abroad -- either travelling extensively or living in a foreign country -- then you'll understand the meaning of the phrase "the biggest culture shock is coming home." Jem has gone through quite a lot since he was last in Ejland, and we've gone with him. So it's a weird mix of familiar and strange when we return to Agondon.

The Seven Isles of Ameulas The Seven Isles of Ameulas by Casey Fahy
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Doesn't it seem that every other fantasy these days is a story of brave but naive individuals rushing off to snatch the powerful artefact-of-the-week before Mr. Nasty uses it to toast civilization as they know it? Just like cloning Dolly the sheep, literary cloning of Tolkien et al. tends to lead to arthritic literary offspring. While there are problems with this book, it is redeemed by being fairly unconventional and weaving together a number of distinctive narratives and character psychologies. For one price you get large-scale wizardly landscape rearrangements, alternate dreams worlds, political intrigue, troubled love affairs, and high-seas adventure, amongst others.

Dr. Who: The Five Doctors Dr. Who: The Five Doctors
a DVD review by Rick Norwood
They are a guilty pleasure, but the three stories where the Doctors meet one another are especially fun. This DVD has more Doctors and more Companions than any other. The series follows the adventures of a Time Lord, never named but called simply "The Doctor". Because the show ran for time out of mind, actors came and went, and the internal explanation for these changes of appearance is that a Time Lord can regenerate, gaining a new face and a personality to fit. Then you add time travel to the mix, and the Doctor can meet himself coming and going.

First Novels

Brown Girl In The Ring Brown Girl In The Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
reviewed by Donna McMahon
When Ti-Jeanne got pregnant, she walked out on her charming, buff-addicted boyfriend Tony, and went back to live with her grandmother. Mami Gros-Jeanne is the local expert in herbs, healing and magic -- old lore from Jamaica that Ti-Jeanne has never wanted anything to do with. But soon she has no choice. Powerful visions are invading her mind, and then she is drawn into helping Tony escape the local druglord. To survive, Ti-Jeanne must learn to use the powers of obeah, even though she is terrified of going insane like her mother before her.

Second Looks

Fury Fury by Henry Kuttner
reviewed by A.L. Sirois
Originally published in Astounding in 1947 under the pseudonym Lawrence O'Donnell, the book is set on Venus several centuries after an atomic Armageddon has destroyed Earth. Mankind lives in a series of domed undersea Keeps, because the land-life is so virulent that earlier attempts to settle there have all failed. The race is slowly stagnating inside those domes, despite the more or less benevolent wardship of the Immortals, a group of long-lived mutants.

Shadow of Ashland Shadow of Ashland by Terence M. Green
reviewed by Rodger Turner
Leo Nolan's mother is dying. She rambles on about her brother, Jack, coming back for a visit. But Jack disappeared some 50 years ago. Leo wonders about what happened to him. His fascination with Jack leads him to question his father and his family about the cause. He discovers Jack left Canada for Detroit to build cars. Some letters kept by family members surface, leading Leo on a journey to find out more. Eerily, the post office begins to deliver letters from Jack with a postmark a half-century old.

Once A Hero Once A Hero by Elizabeth Moon
reviewed by Donna McMahon
The 2nd book in a series, this novel opens with Lieutenant Esmay Suiza facing a court martial and board of inquiry, investigating her role in a mutiny aboard her last ship, during which all the senior officers were killed and she ended up in command. Not only did she take command, she managed to win a space war and save a planet. Many people view Suiza as a hero, but the upper ranks are nervous about junior officers who kill senior ones (even senior traitors).


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