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SF Site's Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2003 SF Site's Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2003
compiled by Neil Walsh
Once again we solicited our loyal SF Site readership to vote for their favourite books of the year. The results are in, and the Top 10 Readers' Choice Best Books of 2003 are a healthy mix of science fiction, fantasy, and other genre-bending, boundary-blurring work. You're invited to compare this list to the Editors' Choice Top 10 Books of 2003 to see what the SF Site staff recommends and where there is some overlap in what you, the readers, have chosen.

Guy Gavriel Kay
Guy Gavriel Kay A Conversation With Guy Gavriel Kay
An interview with Alma A. Hromic
On categories or labels:
"I am very conscious, for example, of how differently a book such as Tigana is read and understood in places like Poland or Croatia, where there is an intense awareness of the issues of cultural obliteration, compared to, say America or English-speaking Canada. This idea of mine, to make use of fantasy as a tool for exploring certain themes obviously resonates in different ways for different people."

Read Guy Gavriel Kay's The Last Light of the Sun Tour Journal

The Last Light of the Sun The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
Holding a bewildering array of worlds in one's head is one of the things that writers do, that's part of the job description, and with fantasy it's more pertinent than most because the worlds in question can be so very different from the one we are used to seeing around us every day. But holding multiplicities of worlds in one's mind is something that the author has already transcended -- he's been there, done that, issued readers' visas for a number of different and equally fascinating spheres of otherworldliness.


New Arrivals New Arrivals
compiled by Neil Walsh
Featured this time are new and forthcoming books from Steven Erikson, Charles de Lint, Guy Gavriel Kay, Sara Douglass, Lucius Shepard, Steve Aylett, Chris Wooding, and many more.

Sunshine Sunshine by Robin McKinley
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
The story begins with our first person protagonist describing her pleasant but claustrophobic life as the baker for a roadside diner that is very popular in her small town. We gain the impression of ordinary folk of the type we recognize in our own lives, an ordinary diner, an ordinary small town. Exactly when the reader feels as closed in by all these cheery, well-intentioned ordinariness as does the protagonist, she takes off to be by herself to the lakeside, which, we are told, is not popular any more since the Voodoo Wars.

Dead Roses for a Blue Lady Dead Roses for a Blue Lady by Nancy A. Collins
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Sonja Blue isn't like any other vampire. Taken against her will, then thrown out of a moving car and left to die, she was revived on the operating table just enough so that she still has control over herself, even though she's a vampire. The vampire spawn in her head, The Other, is her dark mirror, a sadistic creature whose thirst she must constantly fight. Sonja dedicates herself to hunting the very people who stole her life away. In these eight stories, we see for ourselves that her job is neither easy, or clean cut.

 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 A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, Anne Manx and the Trouble on Chromius and Roger Gregg's Big Big Space. Also, you'll find out this year's nominees in the Science Fiction category for the 2004 Audie Award.

Plastic Man #1 Plastic Man #1 by Kyle Baker
reviewed by David Maddox
Who's the stretchy super-hero who's almost indestructible and has a sense of humor more outlandish than Robin Williams? Plas! Damn straight. Plastic Man, the pliable prankster of the comic book scene, has been around for over 60 years and now takes the forefront in his own ongoing series published monthly by DC Comics.

Hound Hound by George Green
reviewed by William Thompson
Told from the perspective of Cuchullain's charioteer, a Roman galley slave washed up on the shores of Erin, the description of Conor's fractious court and the Hound of Ulster's exploits capture the mythic proportions of its source material, and are related with intelligence and wit. Like the nonpareil exemplars they are, avatars of legend and a warrior ethos, Maeve, Connaught and Cuchullain quarrel with themselves, the gods and fate, exhibiting the pettiness of humanity and powers of deity in common measure.

Acorna's Triumph Acorna's Triumph by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Long time readers know that Acorna, parted from her beloved life-mate Aari, who is lost is time, has been struggling and hoping for a chance to be with him again, and has followed hints of him throughout the galaxy. But the triumph pales. When she gets him back, he's different, strange, the bond they share doesn't feel quite right. Has she finally found her beloved husband, or has time brought her someone else entirely?

2003 Reloaded 2003 Reloaded
compiled by David Newbert
"The structure of this list is very simple: it begins with my choice for the five best films of the year, followed by the two most disappointing and the two worst (a film that breaks your heart isn't the same as a film that assaults your sense of taste). Then there is the best DVD of the year, with runners up."

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. His column will fill you in on recent news in science fiction. We'll be updating the page as he sends in new items.

Best Read of the Year: 2003 Best Read of the Year: 2003
compiled by Neil Walsh
Just as our last Best Read of the Year: 2002 list did, this one had its share of surprises and treasures. As much effort as these kinds of Awards are to do, the rewards for the diligent compiler are considerable. The writers, reviewers and editors of the SF Site present their pick for the Top Ten Books of the year. Everyone who contributed to this list -- no matter how widely read we thought we were -- walked away with a discovery or 2 (or 10) that made all the work worthwhile.

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 he tells us about how publishers are bringing back classic science fiction and fantasy titles and whether their approach works for customers.

Hidden Warrior Hidden Warrior by Lynn Flewelling
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
King Erius, who managed to seize power when the last queen died out, refuses to allow the prophecy to come to pass. Instead he slaughters mercilessly: priests, wizards, the original people who inhabited Skala, anyone who even speaks of the prophecy. This caused some people to take pretty drastic measures. The King, determined never to have a girl child around to try and take the throne from him, has had any eligible daughter killed. His sister, who gives birth to twins, kills her own newborn son, and with the help of a witch uses his likeness to cover his sister.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his thoughts on what to watch on TV in March. It seems that Stargate is your best bet. But Dark Shadows may return to television this Fall.

The Emerald Cavern The Emerald Cavern by Mitchell Graham
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Despite the best efforts of his enemies in The Fifth Ring, Mathew appears to have landed on his feet, in the safest place possible. Ensconced in Tenley Palace, under the fierce protection of King Gawl -- a giant of a man and the ruler of Sennia -- what could possibly happen to Mathew, his beloved Lara, and the others? Nothing could be as horrifying as the ghoulish Orlocks or as powerful as Karas Duren. And, Mathew has his incredible ring to fight anyone who threatens the fragile peace of the land.

First Novels

Orbital Burn Orbital Burn by K.A. Bedford
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
Lou is the victim of an accelerated tissue necrosis nanovirus. Clinically she's dead. Some time ago, a nanogenic cure restored her to something very much like life -- but since then she hasn't been able to afford another full treatment, just periodic refreshers that leave her looking (and smelling) like a week-old corpse. Shunned by most normal living people, Lou has become part of the underclass on a planet named Kestrel, eking out a living as a private investigator. Unfortunately, Kestrel is soon due to be destroyed by a giant asteroid.

Mortal Engines Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
It is a world where cities are built on axles or treads, the number of tiers the city has determines its place on the food chain, and London, even though it has been skulking in the wastelands, is high up there. One of the first cities to take to the treads, it has determined, like a shark, to keep moving, and to keep moving it needs to chase down prey -- smaller cities and towns -- and consume them. Literally. It has huge jaws in the lowest tier that open and drag the city or town in, while people from the various guilds wait to dismantle it and take the dwellers as prisoners and slaves. Tom Natsworthy, an apprentice at the Museum of Natural History, has been sent down to help, to make sure that anything of value doesn't get recycled in the great maw of Mechanized Darwinism.


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