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Iron Council Iron Council by China Miéville
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
This is a fevered dream of a book. It feels more like it should have come out of some hot, humid and voodoo-saturated bayou. Creatures casually step through veils of space and time -- Remade men and women sporting bodies of horses or lizards or steam-driven machinery, an assortment of mages and thaumaturges, flying bird-men and bird-monkeys and heaven alone knows what other flying things, vodyanoi water people, cactus-people, scarab-headed khepri insect-women, all from the city the world knows as New Crobuzon. And then, before you've had a chance to properly catch your breath after inhaling the first searing bit of New Crobuzon's pungent air, you're yanked out of it -- and things get weirder, fast.

R. Scott Bakker
R. Scott Bakker A Conversation With R. Scott Bakker
An interview with Victoria Strauss
On world-building:
"The big thing, for me, has always been names. I make lists of them, drawn from any number of different sources, so that when the urge to flesh out more of Eärwa hits me, I have this ready reservoir waiting for me. I'm not entirely sure why, but for some reason, when I have the names, the world often seems to build itself. Things just occur to me, then I get bored and move on to 'real life' (though now that I'm making a living doing this, it's actually become real life!)."

The Warrior-Prophet The Warrior-Prophet by R. Scott Bakker
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
Drusas Achamian, Mandate sorcerer and spy, has been joyfully reunited with his lover, the prostitute Esmenet. They travel with the mysterious Prince Anasûrimbor Kellhus of Atrithau, who has asked Achamian to be his teacher. Achamian can no longer escape his certainty that Kellhus is the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy, according to which the return of a descendent of the lost royal line of Anasûrimbor heralds the imminence of the Second Apocalypse. He can't share this knowledge with his companions, for they would not believe him.

Geeks With Books Geeks With Books
a column by Rick Klaw
There are days when Rick Klaw practices the art of creative aversion (also known as pochkey). A fine but little known art, it has many followers. Rick, along with Jonathan Carroll, Jeffrey Ford, Bill Crider, Gene Wolfe and Mark Finn, give us some details on their approach and the discipline needed to do it.

In Lands That Never Were In Lands That Never Were edited by Gordon Van Gelder
reviewed by Steven H Silver
If you look at the stories published over the last several years in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, you'll notice that many of the fantasy stories are modern or urban fantasies. It is surprising, therefore, that for his second thematic anthology, the editor has selected sword and sorcery as the theme. However, the assortment of stories which appears here demonstrates that the magazine actually does print stories of swords and sorcery.

Trash Sex Magic Trash Sex Magic by Jennifer Stevenson
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
Raedawn Somershoe lives with her wild, outspoken mother in a trailer along the banks of the Fox River just outside of Chicago. Living next to them are the remaining members of the Gowdy family, the parents having vanished suddenly one night, leaving a drunken uncle named Cracker in charge. King Gowdy is back after ten years away, unhappy about his wild brothers and the even wilder nine-year-old twins named Mink and Ink who were left behind by one of Cracker's many girlfriends.

The 3rd Alternative #38 The 3rd Alternative #38
reviewed by Matthew Cheney
The summer issue contains a variety of non-fiction, six short stories, and some excellent artwork and design. It's all by and about men, so the casual observer might be excused for thinking this issue aspires to be a British version of Maxim, particularly given how so many of the male characters in the stories yearn to be loved, but this is more than a magazine for the lost, lonely, and lustful. The mix of non-fiction is vastly more interesting than any I've seen in other SF magazines.

A Lunatic Fear A Lunatic Fear by B.A. Chepaitis
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
This latest adventure is the greatest and most deadly test yet for the team members of Planetoid 3. Jaguar, that fearless, complex woman, is more dangerous than her namesake, but irreplaceable. Alex Dzarny, her more cautious but no less courageous supervisor, cannot keep her on a leash. And when the hell are those two ever going to get together?

New Arrivals New Arrivals
compiled by Neil Walsh
Some of the more exciting book recently received here at the SF Site office include new works from Clive Barker, Julian May, Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson, Terry Brooks, Ursula K. Le Guin, James Lovegrove, Gwyneth Jones, Stephen Baxter, Elizabeth Moon, and John C. Wright.

Sequential Art Sequential Art
a column by Matthew Peckham
Beckett Comics' The Ballad of Sleeping Beauty #1 arrived in July on Free Comic Book Day to rousing reviews and enthusiastic fans. Two months later, Matt takes a look at the first and second issues to see how this sold-out supernatural western from a fledgling indie publisher is holding up.

Homeland Homeland by R.A. Salvatore
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Dinin Do'Urden has, under the command of his mother Malice, arranged a cunning attack on a rival house in the shadows of the Underdark city of Menzoberranzan. While his mother gives birth to his little brother, Dinin and his elder brother attack the house of DeVir, even arranging it so that the young son of that house is murdered at the school where he is taking training. This is the way of the land.

The Human Front The Human Front by Ken Macleod
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
It is a feather-weight book, which packs a heavyweight punch. In terms of size, it's a novella, but it includes more entertainment than many books that are four times its length. The theme is alternate history, with specific reference to AHABs, an acronym meaning Advanced High Altitude Bomber. AHABs are better known as flying saucers, and in this timeline, they are the ultimate weapon.

Interzone, Spring 2004 Interzone, Spring 2004
reviewed by David Soyka
This issue marks David Pringle's last as editor and publisher; not, as he notes in his departing remarks, because of any "weariness with the authors and fiction we publish, but rather with the whole business side of running a magazine." Indeed, of late the magazine was unable to maintain a monthly publishing schedule, and this "Spring" issue was originally slotted for January/February.

The Casebook of Doakes and Haig The Casebook of Doakes and Haig by Patrick Welch
reviewed by Steve Lazarowitz
The setting is an alternate history in which the thirteen colonies that formed the original United States never managed to break away from England. Broadenings the gulf between this book and your typical mystery is the fact that one of the two partners of the Doakes and Haig Criminal Investigation team is a leprechaun.

The Dark Tower: The Dark Tower The Dark Tower: The Dark Tower by Stephen King
reviewed by Matthew Peckham
The seventh book in a cycle of seven called The Dark Tower opens with Jake and Father Callahan in a showdown at the Dixie Pig in New York circa 1999, as Roland and Eddie in Maine circa 1977 attempting to ensure the safety of a vacant lot that contains a single rose -- our world's manifestation of the Dark Tower. Eventually the broken ka-tet is reunited, and its members resume their journey along the path of the beam to the place the breakers are kept. There, they must permanently end the plot to break the beams before the final stage of the journey.

The Dark Tower: Song of Susannah The Dark Tower: Song of Susannah by Stephen King
reviewed by Matthew Peckham
The sixth book in a cycle of seven called The Dark Tower opens with Susannah Dean fleeing through an inter-dimensional door. Her destination: New York City, summer 1999. Susannah's companions attempt to follow through the same door. Thwarting their intentions, the door splits them into two groups and flips their destinations: Roland and Eddie are sent to 1977 where they must locate a bookseller who owns a vacant lot sheltering an all-powerful rose, while Jake and Callahan are sent to 1999 to prevent Susannah's capture by minions of the Crimson King.

The Dark Tower: Wolves of the Calla The Dark Tower: Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King
reviewed by Matthew Peckham
The fifth book in a cycle of seven called The Dark Tower opens with Roland and his companions journeying to a deceptively tranquil village named Calla Bryn Sturgis. Every 20 years or so, great packs of "wolves" come riding on horses from Thunderclap to raid the village and take its children. The children are eventually returned to the village, but stricken with horrific mental and physical handicaps. Now the wolves are coming to the Calla in one month.

The Child Goddess The Child Goddess by Louise Marley
reviewed by Donna McMahon
When ExtraSolar Corporation begins building a hydrogen retrieval facility on the planet Virimund, it seems an ideal site -- a planet almost entirely covered in ocean and uninhabited.  So hydro workers exploring some islands are taken completely by surprise when they're attacked by a group of stick and rock-wielding children -- apparently the descendants of a lost Sikassa colony that left Earth three centuries before.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Every schoolboy knows the story of how Kerry Conran vanished into his basement for twenty years, and came out with six minutes of computer-generated film good enough to convince Hollywood to hand him a zillion dollars so he could make the motion picture of his dreams. Less well known are the unsung creators of the images that Conran brings to computer-generated life on the screen, illustrators for comic strips and digest science fiction magazines such as Clarence Gray, Frank R. Paul, and Ed Valigursky.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his thoughts on what to watch on TV in October along with reviews of the Jeremiah episode titled "Interregnum" and the Smallville season opener, "Crusade."

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.

Highlander: The Series Highlander: The Series
a give-away contest
Based on the popular HIGHLANDER film series starring Sean Connery and Christopher Lambert, HIGHLANDER the television series follows the amazing journeys of the Immortal Duncan MacLeod played by Adrian Paul. The six seasons of the TV show follow the action of the Immortal's age-old struggle for dominion - Good vs. Evil.
Read the contents, answer the questions, win a DVD. Easy, eh?

First Novels

Recursion Recursion by Tony Ballantyne
reviewed by Rich Horton
This book opens with Herb, a spoiled rich kid from the 23rd Century, planting an illegal Von Neumann Machine (VNM) on an unspoiled planet, hoping to turn it into a private resort. Unfortunately, something goes wrong, and he ends up with the VNM version of nanotech's "grey goo" -- that is, the VNMs keep replicating and eat up the whole planet. Soon Herb is arrested by an representative of the Environmental Agency, and he is offered a choice.

Second Looks

Newton's Cannon Newton's Cannon by Greg Keyes
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
We begin in 1681, with a young Sir Isaac Newton discovering something called philosopher's mercury. This, possibly heaven-sent substance, is the key to manipulating the four elements. It allows for the transmission of vibrations into the aether, where various states and compositions of matter can then be altered. The story then moves up to the 18th Century, where England and France are still at war. Things are going badly for the French, and King Louis XIV demands his philosophers create a weapon of ultimate destruction; code-named Newton's Cannon.

Alone with the Horrors Alone with the Horrors by Ramsey Campbell
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
When first published in 1993, this then 30-year retrospective of the author's work, won both the Bram Stoker Award and the World Fantasy Award. Here, his early Lovecraftian piece "The Room in the Castle" is replaced by another eldritch tale "The Tower from Yuggoth," but otherwise remains the same. An interesting and informative introduction where the author discusses the influences of M.R. James, H.P. Lovecraft and Fritz Leiber, and assesses the flaws and merits of individual stories, is also part of the package.


Urban Legends: Strange Stories Behind Modern Myths Urban Legends: Strange Stories Behind Modern Myths by A.S. Mott
reviewed by Chris Przybyszewski
Check your e-mail. What sort of letters do you get? There will be the normal collage of friends sending well wishes (or otherwise), posters to your online journal, maybe a listserv message or two. There will, of course, be the endless reams of spam mail that clog every pore of electronic communications. There will also be, maybe even once or twice a week, some wild story told by a friend of a friend.

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