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Wayne MacLaurin's 2001 Fat Fantasy Awards Wayne MacLaurin's 2001 Fat Fantasy Awards
compiled by Wayne MacLaurin
Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the Fourth Annual Fat Fantasy Awards. A night where we pay tribute to the best and weightiest in Fantasy. Yes, it's time again to applaud those authors whose fancy runs long; to those whose imaginations can not be constrained by the covers of a single volume; those authors who believe that if they write enough volumes that Michael Whelan will eventually agree to do their cover art; imaginations that require every last detail of culture and family trees to be explored in detail...

Hawkwood's Voyage Hawkwood's Voyage by Paul Kearney
reviewed by William Thompson
Threatened from the East by the armies of Shahr Baraz and the Merduk sultanates, the kingdoms of the West are faced not only with invasion from without, but possibly an enemy from within, one whose true identity may remain hidden beneath the trappings of piety and faith.  The Inceptine Order has installed a new pontiff, one who seeks to establish the Church's primacy not only over affairs religious, but secular.  To assert his power, he has begun a campaign against heresy directed at all suspected of dweomer and the practice of "dark" magics.

SF Site's Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2001 SF Site's Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2001
compiled by Neil Walsh
The results are in for our 4th annual Readers' Choice Best SF & Fantasy of the Year Top 10 List. Last year, the list was dominated by fantasy titles, but this year there's more of a balance between fantasy and science fiction. Have a look to see which are the most recommended titles from 2001 as determined by your fellow SF Site readers. (Thank you again to everyone who voted!)

Transcension Transcension by Damien Broderick
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Living in the 22nd century, Amanda Kolby-McAllister at almost 30 years old may be an accomplished violinist and a brilliant mathematician, but she is still only a pender. Until the age of 30, she is only pending majority status, kept in an artificial state of adolescence and treated like the youngster she is. After all, if humans have the potential to live forever, what is 30 but the first steps of childhood.

Schild's Ladder Schild's Ladder by Greg Egan
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
A physics experiment goes unpredictably awry, creating a baby universe that steadily expands at a rate slightly greater than that of our own. The universe is being devoured from within. In a far future, some characters live entirely in computer storage, all are used to having new bodies grown for them in case of harm or death. Ii is a world where people barely recognizable as human, face with a life and death crisis, argue passionately, in dense technical language, about physics that may or may not hold the key to the basis of our reality, and may or may not save them. Now that's science fiction.

Son of Brainbox Son of Brainbox edited by Steve Eller
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
After the influenza pandemic, there was a place for horror. After the Holocaust, there was a place for horror. And we have seen already that after the tragedies of that September morning, there is a place for horror. It is only our definition that shifts. Here, in this time of changing perceptions and withering beliefs about what we thought was common ground to all of us, the stories behind these stories are suddenly more important than ever before. Perhaps because they sensed that significance, the authors of this anthology have reached deep to get at the truth, often so deep the pain is apparent in every word.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his thoughts on society as it is portrayed in Enterprise plus notes on Jeremiah by J. Michael Straczynski, the Enterprise episode, "Fusion" by Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, a Roswell episode by Ronald D. Moore and 2 episodes of The X-Files, "Provenance" and "Providence" by Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz.

Vincalis The Agitator Vincalis The Agitator by Holly Lisle
reviewed by Hank Luttrell
Suspension of disbelief can work fine with magic when any use of magic has appropriate costs or consequences. For instance, magic use might deplete the user's stamina, leaving her fatigued. Sort of a metaphysical conservation of energy. Here, magic use creates a backlash of destructive forces. Large-scale magic use would normally destroy the user. Dragons, the ruling class of magicians in this ancient civilization, have developed technology which allows them to redirect the harmful by-product of their magic use so it consumes a population of slaves.

Lord Brother Lord Brother by Carolyn Kephart
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Life is miserable and dangerously chaotic for the noble Ryel. His father lies dead. The city of his apprenticeship faces a grim fate. Now Ryel must go out into the world to face the daimon Dagar, who is determined to destroy Ryel and wreak havoc on the world. Everything Ryel holds dear is at risk and his powers may not be enough to overcome the daimon. His own life may be part of the price he will pay for losing the battle.

Colonel Rutherford's Colt Colonel Rutherford's Colt by Lucius Shepard
reviewed by Steven H Silver
Intertwining two stories about the titular weapon, the weapon belonged to Bob Champion, a white supremacist martyr whose widow is trying to sell the gun to anyone except her former lover, Raymond Borchard. In the other, the gun belongs to Colonel Hawes Rutherford, a tyrannical American living in Cuba who uses the weapon to kill his wife's lover. Both stories focus on Jimmy Guy, a gun dealer who specializes in weapons with an historical provenance. While attending a gun show in Issaquah, Washington, Loretta Snow approaches him and asks him to sell a Colt on commission. Her only condition is that it not be sold to Borchard.

Carlucci's Heart Carlucci's Heart by Richard Paul Russo
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Frank Carlucci, a veteran cop in mid-21st century San Francisco, investigates the death of a man named Tito only because Tito was a friend of Carlucci's daughter. Nobody else is interested in the peculiar death of a poor Mexican AIDS patient until Carlucci mentions "Cancer Cell", a mysterious renegade medical group which allegedly abducted Tito. Suddenly everyone is interested, but nobody will do anything except mutter dark hints. Then the daughter of one of the most powerful men in the city is murdered, and Carlucci begins to suspect that he's on the track of a medical crime which could kill millions of innocent people.

Gene Wolfe
Gene Wolfe A Conversation With Gene Wolfe
An interview with Nick Gevers
On how his characters speak:
"I listen to people, what they actually say as well as what they mean, and how they say it. Both Patera Remora and Patera Incus speak as slight exaggerations of people I've met. Very few people really talk alike. Both my daughters were raised by my wife, so it would be reasonable to suppose that all three would speak pretty much alike. They don't. Their characteristic modes of expression are quite different."

Sword and Citadel Sword and Citadel by Gene Wolfe
reviewed by A.L. Sirois
Severian and his beloved companion, Dorcas, whom he has unwittingly brought back to life in the first book of The Book of the New Sun, are temporarily established in the northern city of Thrax. He is still seeking the Pelerines, the religious order to whom he must return the Claw of the Conciliator, the mysterious gem with which he has restored Dorcas's life. Once again, however, Severian's nature gets the better of him and he lets a client escape her fate. For this, he knows he will be killed because the ruler of Thrax himself had been the one to order the woman's death.

The Time Machine The Time Machine
a movie review by Rick Norwood
How does this film compare with the 1960 version? Quite well. It gives screen credit to David Duncan, writer of the earlier film, which it resembles more than it does the Wells' novel. It replaces the cheesy special effects with some very nice music and visuals, while retaining some of the period charm. The time machine itself will never become the major icon of SF cinema that the George Pal Time Machine model has become, but it's not bad.

TaleBones, Winter 2001 TaleBones, Winter 2001
reviewed by David Soyka
The highlights in this issue include Tony Daniel's tribute to a famous SF curmudgeon "Barry Malzberg Drives a Black Cadillac," "Sugar 'N Spice" by Devon Monk, the lightly erotic, Carrie Vaughn's "Silence Before Starlight" and an interview with Charles de Lint by Ken Rand, and various book and music reviews.

Second Looks

The Book of Taltos The Book of Taltos by Steven Brust
reviewed by William Thompson
The character of Vlad Taltos is one of the more singular in contemporary American fantasy.  An assassin for the introspective, with vulnerabilities and foibles that are all too human, Vlad inhabits a rather unique and jaundiced world and culture that somehow works and prospers despite its best, or worst, efforts.  Bearing a certain skewed resemblance to our own, the Dragaeran Empire (though no one would ever accuse the United States of imperial ambitions) is divided into seventeen Great Houses, around which each book to date has been titled.  Vlad occupies the lowest caste, the Jherig, whose business interests run towards the unsavory.

Cavalcade Cavalcade by Alison Sinclair
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Thousands of people took up the alien invitation and find they have been instantaneously transported to a vast, strange cavern. They are a huge, motley crowd consisting of those people who would risk anything to embark on this greatest human adventure and those -- in great numbers -- who had nothing on Earth left to lose. Some have brought their families, pets and cherished possessions; others have brought nothing but the clothes on their backs; still others are drunk and just coming to the appalled realization that this wasn't a hoax after all.

Blue Limbo Blue Limbo by Terence M. Green
reviewed by Rodger Turner
This novel is a near-future tech-noir thriller that follows Mitch Helwig, a Toronto cop, as he goes up against a criminal gang who are out to kill him in revenge for a raid which destroyed their warehouse. Not content to lick their wounds, they try to kidnap Mitch's father, kill his best friend and threaten his daughter. In effect, they want to wreck his life. Not that it would be hard.

The Colour Of Distance The Colour Of Distance by Amy Thomson
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Juna has a problem. She is sworn to adhere to strict non-interference directives, but her first contact with an alien race comes when her shuttle crashes on an alien planet and the aliens rescue her from certain death. Now she depends on them to keep her alive in a hostile environment until she can regain contact with her Earth expedition.

The Cobweb The Cobweb by Stephen Bury
reviewed by Rodger Turner
Let's suppose you want to start a war or you want to annex some land because you feel that it is part of your country (despite having lost it in battle). Suppose you want to have weapons against which your opponent has little or no defense. But all you have is money: you don't have the technology, you don't have the science infrastructure, you don't have the planning to bring it all together. But you do have the money and you do have the time. One way to do it is to buy the pieces in such a way as to make it appear that you are buying something else.

First Novels

Navohar Navohar by Hilari Bell
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Microbiologist Irene Olsen is a crew member aboard a starship sent out to determine the fate of 22 missing human colonies and also to search for a cure to a bio-engineered plague which is devastating Earth. After visiting 18 planets where humans were killed off by alien environments, they arrive at Navohar and find a small group of survivors who seem surprisingly unhappy at being rediscovered.

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