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Ares Express Ares Express by Ian McDonald
reviewed by Rich Horton
This is a long, adventure-filled, extravagantly colourful, often funny, quite moving, highly imaginative, excellently written, story, set on a glorious Mars built partly of sharp-edged Kim Stanley Robinson-style extrapolation, but mostly of lush, loving, Ray Bradbury-style semi-SF, semi-Fantasy, Martian dreams. The author has visited this Mars before -- it's the setting of his first novel, Desolation Road, and indeed his first published story, "The Catharine Wheel", is set in a slightly different version of this setting, and even shares some characters with Ares Express.

Changer of Days Changer of Days by Alma A. Hromic
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
When Dynan Kir Hama, King of Roisinan, falls in battle, his illegitimate son Sif is drafted by the army's desperate generals into leadership. Winning victory against impossible odds, Sif becomes a hero. There would seem to be no barrier to his burning ambition to become King -- none, that is, but Dynan's rightful daughter, 9-year-old Anghara. Her mother, determined to save her daughter's life, sends Anghara in disguise to relatives far away. Forced into exile, Anghara (already wise beyond her years) must grow up very fast -- too fast, perhaps, for her own gift of Sight manifests precociously, and she hasn't the ability to fully control its strength.

The Merriest Knight The Merriest Knight by Theodore Goodridge Roberts
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
This collection gathers for the first time all the author's Arthurian works, in particular his delightfully humorous tales of Sir Dinadan, a character given only passing mention in Sir Thomas Malory's La Morte d'Arthur. Unlike the big-guns (or perhaps lances) like Lancelot, Tristram, and Kay, Sir Dinadan only manages to move up to #17 in the Round Table Knight Rankings by the end of his career, so while he's by no sense a coward, he looks hard and fast at a situation before engaging in combat.

A Step Beyond A Step Beyond by C.K. Anderson
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
When is a science fiction novel not really a science fiction novel? How about when it's set so close to our own time and so much within our present knowledge that it reads like a story which, with very few changes, could be taking place today. This novel is such a book. A story about the first manned expedition to Mars, it is so rigourous in its depiction of the reality of our current spaceflight capabilities that it becomes both more and less than a typical science fiction novel.

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May 2002 The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May 2002
reviewed by David Soyka
There are more than a few laughs -- along with a few things to think about -- in this issue. For aspiring writer types, the laughs may be a little too close to home. "The Essayist in the Wilderness" by William Browning Spencer presents an English professor who wins the lottery (itself a kind of fantasy) that allows his wife and him to chuck the drudgery of grading papers. They buy a retreat in the woods to devote themselves to their twin passions of reading and writing. While the wife is by far the more industrious writer, the highly self-absorbed narrator eventually hits upon the idea of writing nature essays. Nature, however, has other ideas in store for the budding Thoreau.

One for the Morning Glory One for the Morning Glory by John Barnes
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Did you enjoy the whimsical humour of T. H. White's The Sword in the Stone? Well, this is the book for you. It is the story of young prince Amatus, who accidentally swallowed the Wine of the Gods as a child and had the entire left side of his body vanish. Not long thereafter, 4 mysterious strangers appeared and took up positions in the court -- as the Royal Alchemist, Royal Witch, Royal Nurse, and Captain of the Guard. By this time, the whole Kingdom knows that a Story is unfolding...

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his thoughts on the script for Dinotopia, what Andre Bormanis offers as a writer for Enterprise and the merits of the Roswell episode titles "Graduation" written by Jason Katims and Ronald D. Moore.

Interzone, December 2001 Interzone, December 2001
reviewed by David Soyka
David's initial interest in this issue of the magazine was piqued by the non-fiction (though the stories are equally worthy of attention), specifically Gene Wolfe's essay, "The Best Introduction to the Mountains," on the influence of J.R.R. Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings. It has become hip in certain circles to dismiss Tolkien, particularly in light of the popular and critical success of the Peter Jackson movie, as immature fodder for the masses. He was looking for something that would provide a more sensible perspective.

New Arrivals New Arrivals
compiled by Neil Walsh
Along with the usual SF & fantasy fare, we've received a sudden influx of YA & Children's books with strong fantasy connections. Plenty of interesting material for readers of all ages.

Warchild Warchild by Karin Lowachee
a novel excerpt
   "You didn't see their faces from where you hid behind the maintenance grate. Smoke worked its fingers through the tiny holes and stroked under your nose and over your eyes, forcing you to stifle breaths, to blink, and to cry. Foot-steps followed everywhere that smoke went on the deck— heavy, violent footsteps—and everywhere they went, shouts went with them. Screams. Pulse fire. "
Read the excerpt, answer the questions, win a prize. Easy, eh?

The Backburner Book The Backburner Book by Karin Lowachee
an article
"Nobody was more surprised than the author that Warchild came out the way it did. I was working on a fantasy novel when a character's little voice propelled me to the computer one day and strung out what eventually became the opening paragraph to a 40-page, second-person account of his trauma, which then led to a 400+ page narrative of how he dealt with it."

Venus Venus by Ben Bova
reviewed by Donna McMahon
When billionaire Martin Humphries offers a prize of ten billion dollars to the first person to reach the surface of Venus and retrieve the body of his son Alex, he gets an unexpected taker. Alex's younger brother, Van, always worshipped his heroic big brother -- and anyway he needs the money. Dad just cut off his allowance.

Kushiel's Chosen Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey
reviewed by William Thompson
In the aftermath of Kushiel's Dart, Phèdre had retired to her country estate, leaving the political intrigue of the court as well as her devotion to Naamah behind. The continued presence and spidery interest of Melisande, her malign nemesis and intrigante, in the world of Terre D'Ange politics, is made aparent by the delivery of a cloak. As well as marking the opening move in a new ploy for power, it spurs Phèdre to return to her earlier role of spy disguised behind the blandishments and seductions of an anguissette. Her return to the Court and City of Elua, however, is not welcomed by everyone.

SF Site News SF Site News
compiled by Steven H Silver
Every day, items of interest to you arrive in our email. Our bi-monthly format doesn't lend itself to daily updates. However, this is a small inconvenience to our Contributing Editor Steven H Silver. He's begun a new column which will fill you in on recent news in science fiction. We'll be updating the page as he sends in new items.

Star Wars: Attack of the Clones Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Most action films have three big action set-pieces, one at the beginning, one in the middle, and one at the end. This movie has six or seven really big action sequences, and when it comes to action directors, George Lucas is one of the best.

Star Wars: The Approaching Storm Star Wars: The Approaching Storm by Alan Dean Foster
reviewed by David Maddox
As Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones begins, Obi-Wan Kenobi and his apprentice Anakin Skywalker have just returned from a mission. This book chronicles just what that mission was. Separatist elements within the Republic are trying to set-up the backwater world Ansion as the next Naboo, hoping that its cessation from the Republic will cause enough turmoil to bring down the Senate, which itself is so mired in bureaucracy that very little is actually accomplished anymore.

Spider-man Spider-man
a movie review by Rick Norwood
The film is true to the spirit of the original comic book. Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker is the John Romita version, a sweet, intelligent kid, picked on by jocks because he has brains instead of muscles. Steve Ditko's Peter Parker was a skinny dweeb who got picked on by jocks because he wore a sign on his back that said, "Pick on me." The look of the film owes at least as much to Romita as it does to Ditko.

First Novels

The Crime Studio The Crime Studio by Steve Aylett
reviewed by Gabe Chouinard
In this collection, the author turns a laser-point eye on the dregs of humanity, a searing vision that strips away the layers of society and morality to expose the corruption of the soul. With these short tales, all set in the mythic, iconic city of Beerlight, he tears the masks from laws and justice, to lay bare the inherent nastiness of mankind. Yet he does so with extreme irony and sense of humor, lulling the reader into a state of giddy anticipation as each story builds and builds and explodes.

Non-Fiction

Techno Life 2020 Techno Life 2020 by Lois H. Gresh
reviewed by A.L. Sirois
Science fiction writers occasionally find themselves in a dilemma: they have a great idea but no story to fit it. A.L. would bet serious coin that there isn't an SF writer on the planet who doesn't have a bulging idea file or two sitting in his or her filing cabinet, desk drawer or hard drive, full of character sketches, tidbits snipped from newspapers of magazines, or off-printed from a web page somewhere.

Second Looks

Voice of Our Shadow Voice of Our Shadow by Jonathan Carroll
reviewed by Rich Horton
This is the story of Joe Lennox. He is modestly happy, living in Vienna, fairly lonely but otherwise in fine shape. He meets Paul and India Tate, a slightly older couple who sweep him into their life. Joe is fascinated by the two of them: their conversation, their imagination, and, inevitably, India's sexiness. All is well for awhile, until Paul leaves on a trip, and India and Joe spend enough time together to realize their mutual attraction. Before long, events take the expected turn until Paul discovers the affair and he dies of a heart attack. But then Joe and India find themselves tormented by Paul's malicious ghost.

Thunder Rift Thunder Rift by Matthew Farrell
reviewed by Donna McMahon
When the "Thunder Rift" opened up near Jupiter, it sent out an electromagnetic pulse that wrecked every electronic device on Earth, slamming the planet backward a century in a few hours. Consequently, it took decades before Earth could launch a space mission to explore the rift and confirm suspicions that it was an interstellar gateway. Taria Spears, an exo-anthropologist on this mission, is elated when they find an inhabited planet on the other side of the gateway.

Le roi au masque d'or Le roi au masque d'or by Marcel Schwob
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
If in English, dark fantasy is frequently marginalized by those who discuss "serious literature," the case is even worse in French, where the snobbery of the literary elite isn't about to allow them to admit that works of imaginary fiction are more than just cheap popular fiction. These 21 short tales are perhaps most akin, in terms of mood and their extensive vocabulary, to the best of Clark Ashton Smith's prose poem tales, with a smidgen of A. Merritt, and of course with a tinge of the conte cruel so popular in France in the late 19th century.

Heart Of Gold Heart Of Gold by Sharon Shinn
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Nolan Adelpho, an indigo man, is breaking his society's gender barriers by pursuing a career in the city as a medical researcher. Of course his family is simply indulging him for a few years -- everyone knows he will marry the blue-skinned girl he's been betrothed to since age 14, and go back to the countryside to pursue his true calling as a husband. But life in the city, rubbing shoulders with gulden men and women, has broadened Nolan's horizons and he is no longer certain that marriage is all he wants.


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