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M. John Harrison A Conversation With M. John Harrison
An interview with Gabriel Chouinard
On what Light is about:
"Well, it's an SF novel. Not hard SF, but woven out of quantum theory, emergence theory and a throwaway speculation of Janna Levin's, with the hope that some pretence of quantum indeterminacy is manifested by the story itself. Otherwise, it's two narrative strands of rollicking space opera grounded by a contemporary strand set mainly in London. Steve Baxter has called it a "folded down future history", which is a neat description. The way science is done now, i.e. as a commercially-driven operation, is seen to have become, four hundred years in the future, a kind of galactic beachcombing. The entradistas from Earth are out there trying to score, amid the remains of big, difficult alien technology. Expect some fairly off-the-wall characters, doing what they call "the Kefahuchi Boogie" which is, like, surfing it. Expect plenty of sex, and some whole-body dysmorphia. Oh, also rocket ships."

Baudolino Baudolino by Umberto Eco
reviewed by William Thompson
In certain respects, this is one of those rare novels whose contents can be predicted to a degree by its cover. While the fresco's original allegorical intention is perhaps lost in the book cover's fragmentary appropriation, it captures in part the odd admixture of spirituality, ritual pomp, superstition, and martial character that made up the medieval mindset, and which plays a significant role within this novel. And, in certain other, maybe unintended respects -- the sense of parade and pageantry, features disguised and hidden, distinct yet collectively joined figures, and its restive yet static portrait -- the artwork chosen for this cover anticipates the reader's experience.

Spirit Singer Spirit Singer by Edward Willett
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Besides being a fun novel with engaging characters and having all the basic elements of a good fantasy [a prophesied heroine, a quest, a feudal society, magic, an evil wizard-king, a character wavering between good and evil], this book manages to pack it all into 150 pages. Wait... it's not a 3,000 page, multi-volume series... not even a obvious tie-in for a sequel... could it be that fantasy can be brief and well written too? While I'm not suggesting that

SF Site: Best Read of the Year SF Site: Novel Excerpts
compiled by Rodger Turner
Periodically, SF Site will post an excerpt of a novel. Past fiction includes material by authors such as Peter F. Hamilton, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Nalo Hopkinson, Stephen King, John Marco, Paul J. McAuley and Jeff VanderMeer. Have a look and maybe you'll find a book that makes you want to go and pick up a copy.

The Changeling Plague The Changeling Plague by Syne Mitchell
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Nothing packs the gut-wrenching fear of a pandemic; no disaster evokes the all-out panic that a killer virus let loose on the world instantly spreads. How much more quickly that terror blooms, when we learn that the lethal plague is man-made. Do you feel that rush of ice water in your veins at the admission that our best medical minds have no way to stop this catastrophe? Well, prepare yourself for that kind of impact as you embark on her latest, breathless bullet-train of suspense.

The 3rd Alternative #32 The 3rd Alternative #32
reviewed by Martin Lewis
The first thing you notice is how beautiful the magazine is. Between silky, rigid covers, it is copiously illustrated to a standard unheard of in most genre publications. This commitment to design is reflected in the fact that the illustrators receive as prominent acknowledgement as the writers. The writers, in turn, maintain the high standards of their colleagues.

Terry Pratchett
Night Watch Night Watch by Terry Pratchett
a novel excerpt
    "Sam Vimes sighed when he heard the scream, but he finished shaving before he did anything about it. Then he put his jacket on and strolled out into the wonderful late spring morning. Birds sang in the trees, bees buzzed in the blossom. The sky was hazy though, and thunderheads on the horizon threatened rain later. But for now, the air was hot and heavy. And in the old cesspit behind the gardener's shed, a young man was treading water.
    Well ... treading, anyway."

Terry Pratchett A Conversation With Terry Pratchett
On no more Rincewind:
"No, he's useful, if I need a viewpoint character. But the next adult Discworld book will, like The Truth, contain no major characters from earlier in the series, at least in big roles. It's good discipline for me, and you never know what'll show up. We're heading for 30 Discworld books now, and to keep it fresh I'm franchising it, only I'm franchising it to myself."

Solaris Solaris
a movie review by Rick Norwood
This movie is intelligent and technically excellent, but empty and ultimately boring. It is full of visual and musical quotes from 2001 - A Space Odyssey, but to what point? 2001 was a new visual experience. Everything here we have seen before.

Exile's Honor Exile's Honor by Mercedes Lackey
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Valdemar and Karse have long been enemies. The Karse have made an art of it, sending bandits to plunder Valdemar, having their priests train the people to believe that anyone with a Herald's Gift is a demon in need of death. Alberich of Karse, newly-made captain and gifted with a handsome white stallion, has never formally committed himself to battle with his hereditary enemy. Now, his extraordinary skills as swordsman and leader are being pitted against the very bandits his government hired.

Across the Nightingale Floor Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn
reviewed by William Thompson
In 1600, after consolidating their power over today's Yamaguchi Prefecture in the western end of Honshu Island, the Mori family suffered a defeat at the Battle of Sekigahara, after which the family was deprived of almost all of its territory and forced to retreat to the coastal city of Hagi. The resulting hatred of the Choshu clan, whose center was at Hagi, provided the prime motivity that eventually resulted in the toppling of the Edo shogunate 260 years later, ushering in the Meiji Restoration.

Worlds Enough And Time Worlds Enough And Time by Dan Simmons
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Many readers who recognized the brilliance of his last novel find themselves still in its thrall. The stories here continues that feeling, even if the comparative brevity of the five novellas doesn't allow one to become quite as attached to the characters. See if that's any protection from the empathy you feel for Norman Roth as he finds the watermarks of his past returning to occupy his dreams in a present set against the backdrop of the history of the Soviet space program. Roth's weariness and the tired remains of a hit-or-miss reach for the stars -- who else would have paired these seemingly disparate elements, or done it to such heartbreaking effect?

Summer Knight Summer Knight by Jim Butcher
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
Harry Dresden, Chicago's only wizard for hire (he's in the Yellow Pages, under "Wizards") is working his way through the supernatural catalogue. In the previous books in this popular series, he's faced demons, werewolves, and vampires, plus assorted ghosts, spirits, revenants, and supernatural manifestations. Now, in this one, he's mixed up with faeries -- and the stakes are higher than they've ever been.

Treasure Planet Treasure Planet
a movie review by Rick Norwood
There are worse ways to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon than watching the new Disney animated feature. But there hasn't been a great Disney animated classic since Tarzan (****) and this offering is not even up to last year's Lilo and Stich (***). The key choices that sink this space-faring galleon are so bad they must have been made by someone with an MBA from a Midwestern university.

New Arrivals New Arrivals
compiled by Neil Walsh
The year is closing out with all sorts of interesting new books, including a number of anthologies. And 2003 is already promising some good reading, with books from new and established authors previewed here.

Shadows and Light Shadows and Light by Anne Bishop
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
The witches are dying, and with their deaths, the land they anchored to allow the Fae passage is gone to the hands of another, evilly ambitious man. Aiden, The Bard of the Fae, and his beloved Lyrra, The Muse of the Fae try to convince the Lord of the Sun and Lady of the Moon, the rulers of their people, that the Fae must protect the witches. Unfortunately, the Fae of the East have long fallen into the habit of despising the witches and mortals, denying despite evidence that they are any kin or responsibility of theirs.

Toxicology Toxicology by Steve Aylett
reviewed by David Soyka
Attaining irony, pure or otherwise, seems to be the overarching objective of this author's short (very short) fiction collected in Toxicology. For the most part, the contents rarely rise above the level of a vignette or even just a long joke, and are not stories in the conventional sense. Indeed, he characteristically strives for unconventionality. Which isn't a criticism, necessarily, just accurate description. He is also frequently funny, sometimes bitterly so.

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.

Once Upon a Galaxy Once Upon a Galaxy edited by Wil McCarthy, Martin H. Greenberg and John Helfers
reviewed by David Maddox
All children grow up with fairy tales. They entertained, helped us sleep at night and gave moral lessons intended to shape us into well-rounded individuals. But as any science fiction writer will tell you, the line between science and magic can be quite thin. This is what led to this anthology of 14 classic fairy-tale themes transformed into science fiction stories.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick thinks that Enterprise keeps getting worse and worse, while Firefly keeps getting better and better. Does his opinion match yours?

Cheap Complex Devices Cheap Complex Devices edited by John Compton Sundman
reviewed by Rob Kane
The title story is an odd little piece of fiction. Very enjoyable, but very odd. The short story contained in the book might not seem to be too outrageous. A narrator spins a loose tale bringing in a wide range of elements; everything from analysis of human social structure to a bitter diatribe against the consumerism of Western society. All this is told from the viewpoint of a narrator who is not necessarily completely sane.

Second Looks

Everyone in Silico Everyone in Silico by Jim Munroe
reviewed by Donna McMahon
The author, a former editor of Adbusters magazine and fervent anti-corporate campaigner, used well-known brand names and slogans in his novel about consumerism gone mad -- then he invoiced the companies for his product placements. That in-your-face publicity tactic is in keeping with the tone of the book, a story about the ultimate computer upgrade -- trading in your messy, organic life to be programmed into a gigantic mainframe utopia called Frisco, where you can live forever like a model in a glossy magazine ad.

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