2002  
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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
The Philip K. Dick Award Nominees have been announced. It will be presented on March 30, 2002 in Seattle.
Tanya Huff Reading List: her newest book, Valor's Choice was a treat. Maybe you should try one of her others.
Artists don't get the credit they deserve; have a look at what they're doing.
Star Wars: here are a few sites devoted to George Lucas' classic work.
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Redshift Redshift edited by Al Sarrantonio
reviewed by Rich Horton
Rich says this book is easily worth the price. It's above average for a typical anthology; good enough to call this one of the fine anthologies of the past few years. The strangest story in the book is Neal Barrett, Jr.'s "Rhido Wars." James Patrick Kelly's brief "Unique Visitors" is also notable and Paul Di Filippo is at his most all out viciously satirical in "Weeping Walls." Also fine are "The Building," another of Ursula K. Le Guin's excellent essays in "anthropological" SF, with a subtle moral point, and Thomas M. Disch's "In Xanadu," an extended riff on death and cyberspace, built on references to Coleridge's poem.

Ben Jeapes A Conversation With Ben Jeapes
An interview with David Mathew
On what he hopes Big Engine will achieve:
"I felt it shouldn't be too difficult for a low-overheads publisher with modest print runs to make a go of it. I explain this carefully to my authors: I'll publish the book, promote it, take it to conventions, give it a track record so that at the very least it gets reviewed and noticed. Then it will hopefully become a desirable property for the bigger publishers to take on."

Darwin's Radio Darwin's Radio by Greg Bear
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Molecular biologist Kaye Lang, a specialist in retroviruses, works in an obscure corner of her field, so she is utterly unprepared for the tidal wave of fame that strikes when her work becomes the lynchpin of a battle against a devastating new disease. Pregnant women around the world are contracting "Herod's flu," a mysterious illness that severely deforms and kills fetuses. As public pressure and hysteria grow, the U.S. government enlists biotech companies and universities in a race to find a cure, with a reluctant Kaye recruited as their figurehead scientist.

 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 Vitals by Greg Bear and Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. Also, you may want to read his note about Frank Muller who is known for his audio work on many of Stephen King's novels, including the Dark Tower.

The Eyes of God The Eyes of God by John Marco
reviewed by William Thompson
Recently crowned, Akeela the Good hopes to put to an end the interminable wars fought by his father, ushering in a era of peace and prosperity for his country that will nourish noble and peasant alike, in which justice will be based upon notions of equality and mercy, education available for all, and where even the deformed and downtrodden will be provided for.  As a symbol for his vision, he desires to construct a vast and wondrous library where all can have access to the power knowledge can confer.  His new bride, Cassandra, herself barely more than a girl, while drawn to the goodness and nobility of his heart, elects to marry Akeela not only to cement the peace between her father's kingdom and a former foe, but more importantly to escape the confines of her father's house. But the king's former captain, Lukien, now champion to the queen, also falls in love with Cassandra, and, unbeknownst, she with him.  Madness, murder and imprisonment will follow.

The Distance Travelled The Distance Travelled by Brett A. Savory
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
You're sitting around one day in Hell, minding your own business, when some low-life creeps throw a live pig through your kitchen window. Now, that kind of thing doesn't go down well up here among the living and it certainly isn't any more tolerated in Hell. One can't just spend one's time running willy-nilly about the house, dodging airborne livestock.

To Live and Die in Starlight To Live and Die in Starlight
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Rick remembers reading an interview somewhere in which Joe Straczynski talks about calling up Harlan Ellison (before they had met) and saying, "Nobody will buy my stuff." And Harlan, ever the straight shooter, said, "That's because your stuff is shit." And the story goes that J. Michael Straczynski then redoubled his efforts to not only write, but write stuff that was really good, and that's when he broke into television. Rick wishes he had remembered that lesson.

Drinking Midnight Wine Drinking Midnight Wine by Simon R. Green
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
Toby Dexter is an ordinary guy, with a dead-end job at a bookstore and an aimless, totally predictable existence. He has always longed for something different, something better, but having reached his 30s, he has pretty much given up. There's just one not-quite-ordinary thing in his life: he has fallen in love with a woman who shares his daily commute. He doesn't know a thing about her, but still he can't get her out of his mind. One day, in the train station where both Toby and his mystery woman finish their commute, Toby watches the woman walk through a door he's positive was never there before. On impulse, he follows... and everything changes.

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.

Mars Dust & Magic Shows Mars Dust & Magic Shows by Mark Bourne
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
This collection of short stories that flutter along like butterflies and come back to burrow into your mind like yellow jackets. Upon first reading, these stories are fun, light reading, just the thing to bring a smile to your face. It's later, after you've set the book aside, that the full significance of the tales comes back to weigh on your mind.

Tropic Of Creation Tropic Of Creation by Kay Kenyon
reviewed by Donna McMahon
On a routine galactic mission, Captain Eli Dammond stumbles across the crew of a human warship that has been marooned on an uncharted planet for 3 years. Although the war is over (humans sued for peace with the ahtra a year ago, and an uneasy armistice is holding) it is Dammond's duty to search for evidence of mutiny or desertion. His investigation, however, turns up something far more interesting. This desert planet is riddled with underground tunnels -- excavated by their enigmatic enemy, the ahtra.

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.

Sean Williams and Shane Dix
Echoes of Earth Echoes of Earth by Sean Williams and Shane Dix
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Peter Alander is a long way from home -- well, the part of him that didn't remain at home on Earth, that is. He and the rest of his crewmates are engrams, computer recreations of their corporeal selves, minus the corporeal part, of course. Copies of Alander and others went out long ago to explore the universe. Now, they have found something that Earth must know about right away. The question is: should Earth really hear about this discovery? And come to think of it, did the crew find something or didn't it actually find them?

Sean Williams and Shane Dix A Conversation With Sean Williams and Shane Dix
An interview with Lisa DuMond
On how books take shape:
"We prefer to come up with an outline together, then I go off to write the first pass, pretty much on my own. Then Shane gets the first draft to kick into shape. When that's done, I get one final pass over it to make sure the styles are consistent. Then it's done."


Geeks With Books Geeks With Books
a column by Rick Klaw
Rick Klaw gives us a look at how things work from behind the counter of a book store. This time out, he begins a periodic feature that he calls Stupid Publisher Tricks. Read about one involving Ray Bradbury, another that happened to Michael Moorcock and others.

The Bone Doll's Twin The Bone Doll's Twin by Lynn Flewelling
reviewed by William Thompson
It begins with a unusual and intriguing premise: in order to fulfill a prophecy and protect the rightful female heir to the throne of Skala, two wizards, with the aid of an outlawed witch, attend a royal birthing of twins, born to the sister of a king who has usurped what, by tradition, is a matriarchal throne, in the process eliminating every possible feminine contender to his reign, even, it is rumored, secretly murdering his own female kin.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his notes on what to watch in February along with news on the future of The X-Files.

First Novels

Door Number Three Door Number Three by Patrick O'Leary
reviewed by Rodger Turner
All books use blurbs and teasers to sell them. Either they get another author to do one or someone at the publisher writes a teaser describing enough of the plot to hook a reader or they do both. It isn't often that the blurb is a perfect way to describe a novel. But, this book has one which fits it like a glove.

Second Looks

Westmark Westmark by Lloyd Alexander
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
This novel takes us into the beginning of a trilogy that follows the adventures of Theo, a young man who was content to serve as a printer's devil until the tragic night when the soldiers of a corrupt Chief Minister killed his master and set Theo on the run for his life. There is no one for Theo to turn to for help but the duo of flim-flam artists whose playbill was the very printing job that started the trouble. Along the way, they are joined by a mysterious street girl who is more than she seems.

Blood Music Blood Music by Greg Bear
reviewed by Martin Lewis
Vergil Ulam is a brilliant, unkempt, maverick scientist. This SF archetype has been carrying out private research behind the back of the biotech firm he works for. When the company find out, he is fired and ordered to destroy his work. Believing his work is too important to be sacrificed Ulam smuggles it out of his lab the only way he can; in his bloodstream. He's injected himself with a solution containing cellular organisms, noocytes, as intelligent as rhesus monkeys. These noocytes continue to evolve within him, getting smarter, learning about his body.

Maximum Light Maximum Light by Nancy Kress
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Shana Walders has no interest in politics. She has precisely one ambition -- to join the regular army. Unfortunately, even in an era when healthy 19-year-olds are scarce, the military isn't interested in a kid who's already accumulated a criminal record and seven National Service reprimands. But Shana is convinced that her rejection was engineered by a congressional committee she briefly appeared before as a witness. When Shana testified that she had seen highly-illegal vivi-factured chimps, the committee treated her like a liar, so Shana is determined to prove to them she wasn't lying.

Idoru Idoru by William Gibson
reviewed by Rodger Turner
Let's suppose you're a rock & roll star, unbeset by scandal, uncomplicated by interacting with the general populace, unfettered by having staff catering to your every whim. You begin to get fascinated by the evolving cyber-technology and AI and, in particular, an idoru, one of the Japanese idol-singers that are personality-construct AI software rather than a human being. This was happening to Rez of the super-group Lo/Rez. Then the rumour surfaced on the net that he was going to marry Rei Toei, an idoru.

With The Lightnings With The Lightnings by David Drake
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Our hero, Lieutenant Daniel Leary, walks around the streets of Kostroma City, pausing to think about his entire life, remember every detail of the space navy's armaments, and contemplate the history and politics of the galaxy for the last five decades. Meanwhile, our heroine, librarian Adele Mundy, builds bookshelves and sorts old books while contemplating her own tragic past. It isn't until things begin rolling with a political double-cross and civil uprising that the book becomes interesting.

Non-Fiction

Hooking the Reader Hooking the Reader by Sharon Rendell-Smock
reviewed by Charlene Brusso
The book is a compilation of responses from genre writers (mystery, romance, SF & fantasy, western) when asked to supply "what they thought of some of their own opening sentences; to provide some of their own favorites and how they came up with them; and in general their thought processes when creating those sentences." The sheer volume of correspondents is impressive.


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