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The Runes of the Earth The Runes of the Earth by Stephen R. Donaldson
reviewed by William Thompson
It has been nearly thirty years since he published his first novel, Lord Foul's Bane, the start of twin trilogies collectively known as The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. Immediately recognized as the most important and original work of epic fantasy after Tolkien, it intentionally parodied the themes and archetypes established in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, subverting these motifs to address the sources and nature of despair that in part informed his consolatory fiction. The series also represented a repudiation of much of the Christian values and romance underlying Tolkien's writing, abetted by the use of a central character that actively undermined the ideals of heroism found in his novels, as well as most subsequent and imitative high fantasy.

Swiftly Swiftly by Adam Roberts
reviewed by David Soyka
This book marks the author's long overdue American debut. Though in keeping with his habit of one word book titles, this short story collection employs an adverb rather than the customary noun, a particularly apt modifier as Jonathan Swift is the direct inspiration for a pair of tales that bookend the compilation in depicting an alternate Victorian-era England whose industrial might is dependent upon enslaved Lilliputians.

Bengal Station Bengal Station by Eric Brown
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
This is a hard-boiled detective novel with aliens, telepaths, religious cults, and the kind of port city where anything can be found for a price. As befits a detective story, the plot revolves around the uncovering of secrets, the secrets of Jeff Vaughan's past, Sukara's present, and the hidden rituals of The Church of the Adoration of the Chosen Ones. Vaughan's the investigator, and what he finds will start and end with the deaths of friends.

New Arrivals New Arrivals
compiled by Neil Walsh
New and forthcoming books this fall include new works from Paul Kearney, Neal Stephenson, Timothy Zahn, Piers Anthony, Stephen R. Donaldson, Alison Baird, David & Leigh Eddings, Gene Wolfe, and many others.

The Lone Drow The Lone Drow by R.A. Salvatore
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
As far as Drizzt knows, everyone he loves -- Catti-Brie, Wulfgar, Bruenor -- are dead. So he stays out in the wilds, attacking and harrying the orcs, who still have plans to lay siege on Mithral Hall, designs that now seem even more possible that their leader, Obould, has gained some sort of uncanny strength and insight thanks to a religious ceremony. Drizzt lets the Hunter take over, and he, friendless save for Guenhwyver, revels in taking out every orc he can.

The Rose in Twelve Petals and other Stories The Rose in Twelve Petals and other Stories by Theodora Goss
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
How to characterize Goss's writing? There is not a single weak or wasted word here, no labored or trite image. Her prose calls to mind the Chinese feng shui, a state of harmony, of balance, between life and art. The prose evokes feng shui, but the stories themselves knock the mind and spirit askew. It's precisely that tension between balance and imbalance, the mental kinetics that send one's mind running, that makes the writer so interesting.

Innocents Aboard Innocents Aboard by Gene Wolfe
reviewed by Chris Przybyszewski
Gene Wolfe has a friend in this ol' world, and Chris is sure the author has no idea who that person might be. However, that friend is a big fan of his work, as well as his genre-defying efforts that use the tools of fantasy and science fiction to best illustrate those everyday things like belief, trust, and doubt. The fan, of course, is Chris. Of interest, he is not the only one who believes these things.

Interzone #194 Interzone #194
reviewed by Martin Lewis
The king is dead, long live the king. After twenty two years at the helm of what has become Britain's longest running SF magazine David Pringle has stepped aside. He passes the magazine over to Andy Cox, editor of the highly regarded The 3rd Alternative and Crime Wave. So what's changed?

Xena: Warrior Princess Xena: Warrior Princess
a give-away contest
In a time of ancient gods, ruthless warlords and capricious kings, a land in turmoil cried out for a hero. She was Xena, a mighty Warrior Princess forged in the heat of battle. Together with her sidekick Gabrielle in tow, Xena battles barbarians, overcomes oppressors and defeats demigods to protect the innocent and fight for peace in ancient Greece. Combining the series' trademark humor and dark mythological drama with Lucy Lawless's fiery and sexy persona, Xena: Warrior Princess completely redefined the role of the female action hero on television.
Read the contents, answer the questions, win a DVD. Easy, eh?

Radiant Radiant by James Alan Gardner
reviewed by Rich Horton
Youn Suu is a young Explorer with a birthmark on her left cheek who has been infested with spores of the superintelligent but rather sinister Balrog, a hive mind. Festina Ramos, Youn Suu, her partner Tut, and two irritating Technocracy diplomats, head off for the planet Muta. It seems that the Unity's recent attempt to colonize that planet has ended in disaster -- all of the colonists have disappeared, with only a brief SOS. It turns out that two previous groups of aliens on the planet also disappeared: the Greenstriders, and more ominously, the Fuentes.

Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Louis Stevenson edited by Tom Pomplun
reviewed by Susan Dunman
When someone mentions a "classic" author, what's your first reaction? Do you sparkle with pleasant memories? Or, do you duck out of the conversation entirely, remembering painful English classes and equally painful trips to the library? If your "literature appreciation" meter tends to waver toward the negative side of the scale, then you might want to consider giving Graphic Classics a try.

Deathstalker Return Deathstalker Return by Simon R. Green
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Former Paragon and King's Champion Lewis Deathstalker is on the run, disgraced and condemned by the people he used to protect. His companions include his lover, the famous Jesamine Flowers, the alien reptiloid known only as Saturday, the psychic con man Brett Random, and the sociopathic gladiator Rose Constantine. Their mission is an impossible one.

Stargate SG-1 Stargate SG-1
a promotion
The Stargate is a round portal that can instantaneously transport an object from one point in space to another by generating an artificial wormhole. A wormhole is created between any two Stargates when one Stargate dials the address of another Stargate. A Stargate uses 6 of 38 symbols, representing star constellations, to locate another Stargate and then uses a final 7th symbol, unique to each Stargate, as its point of origin.

So Long Been Dreaming So Long Been Dreaming edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan
reviewed by Matthew Cheney
Colonization has been a common topic of science fiction for ages, generally in one of two ways: either well-intentioned adventurers wander to other planets to learn about the natives and convert them to their own point of view, or aliens venture from their own domain to enslave or destroy the innocent society of which the protagonist is a member. These two types of stories have spawned hundreds and thousands of variations, some more nuanced and complex than others.

The Charnel Prince The Charnel Prince by Greg Keyes
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
In a world other than our own -- formerly the domain of the inhuman Skasloi, who were long ago overthrown by the human beings they once held as slaves -- in the second millennium of an age known as Everon, fearful change is stirring. Fell creatures out of myth and folklore stalk the countryside and terrorize the populace. The Church, keeper of the power of the saints, secretly seeks to wake forbidden magics. William, King of Crotheny, and most of his family lie dead, betrayed by his mad brother Robert.

Laurell K. Hamilton
Laurell K. Hamilton A Conversation With Laurell K. Hamilton
An interview with Alisa McCune
On creating a distinctive voice for each character:
"With Merry I wanted someone who argued with me less.  Anita is very middle America while Merry is not.  I had hundreds of pages done I had to throw out on Merry originally.  She was too middle America so I had to go back and redo it.  Her culture is totally different from Anita's.  For Merry I read a lot of old folklore and oral tales that had been written to get her attitude and voice."

Incubus Dreams Incubus Dreams by Laurell K. Hamilton
reviewed by Alisa McCune
The book opens at a wedding -- Tammy and Larry's. This is not a church event as the blushing bride is not only a cop, but a witch as well. Not to mention that the groom raises the dead for a living. It would seem a Halloween theme has been somehow made to fit for a wedding -- orange bridesmaid dresses, orange and black decorations, and so on. Thankfully, Anita is on the groom's side and allowed to wear a tux as a 'groomsman.' The Anita we know has been forced into many a bridesmaid dress -- but the orange creations for this wedding are horrid in every way.

The Best of Xero The Best of Xero by edited by Pat and Dick Lupoff
reviewed by Rich Horton
Back in 1960, Pat and Dick Lupoff started a fanzine which they called Xero. They were part of the SF fan community and the 'zine certainly did feature plenty of commentary on SF. It also had a distinct slant toward commentary on comics, but also more general interest stuff. It was quite successful, eventually getting too big for comfort, and after some 10 issues the Lupoffs stopped putting it out. But it still won a Hugo for Best Fanzine in 1963 (and Pat Lupoff was the first woman to win a Hugo).

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.

Star Wars: The Cestus Deception Star Wars: The Cestus Deception by Steven Barnes
reviewed by David Maddox
Thousands of soldiers, alike in looks, training and drive. Clones of a great warrior, trained in his style of hunting and fighting. But are they truly the same? Is there no difference in how they think, behave... feel? This latest novel in the ongoing Clone Wars saga, approaches a subject left untouched until now. How are the clones of Jango Fett, the Grand Army of the Republic, dealing with the world they have been cloned into? Do they just fight as automatons? Or is there more to them?

Burden of Proof Burden of Proof by John G. Hemry
reviewed by Michael M Jones
It has been over a year since Paul Sinclair, legal officer for the Space Navy's USS Michaelson, testified in the court-martial of his first commanding officer. Since then, he's settled down to a life in space, serving to the best of his abilities and faithfully. With a new promotion to Lieutenant, and an ongoing relationship with fellow officer Jen Shen, everything seems to be going smoothly. Then, things go horribly wrong.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his thoughts on what to watch on TV in November along with reviews of the Farscape episode titled "Peacekeeper Wars," Star Trek: Enterprise episode titled "Home" and the Smallville episode titled "Run."

First Novels

The One True Prince The One True Prince by Thomas Brennan
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
The premise is that centuries past there was an apocalyptic war and only a very few still have access to high technology. The majority of the world's population has reverted to a medieval lifestyle. In order to guarantee an unbroken line of succession for the English throne, the protocol is that the first born son is cloned, four times.

Lion Boy Lion Boy by Zizou Corder
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Written by a mother and daughter using a name based on a pet lizard, this is the story of Charlie Ashanti, a boy who can talk the language of cats. Charlie, whose mum is English and dad is African, moved to England when he was a baby. Not long after an incident where a leopard scratch -- and exposure to cat blood -- gave him his special power.

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