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SF Site's Best Read of the Year: 2005 SF Site's Best Read of the Year: 2005
compiled by Neil Walsh
If you've been an SF Site reader for more than a couple of years, you'll know that our annual Top 10 list is never limited to a mere 10 books. We've never fudged the numbers, which means that we always present ties exactly as they came out in the voting. Usually, however, there is a clear winner in the number one spot -- a runaway lead that leaves everything else far behind. This year was different.

Conrad Williams A Conversation With Conrad Williams
An interview with Jeff VanderMeer
On a preference for writing short stories or novels:
"I prefer writing short stories, because I know how to do it. Novels are still frightening for me, despite having written six since I was 21. I don't think I'm the only writer who frets over books like that. I want to be a novelist and aim to write a novel every year, but I think it's one of those things that take time and practise to master. I'd like to think I'm producing good work now, but that I'll really hit my stride in another ten years or so."

Zanesville Zanesville by Kris Saknussemm
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
A naked man awakens in Central Park with no memory of who he is or where he came from. He's blond, handsome, and hugely endowed; on his back is carved the truncated phrase FATHER FORGIVE THEM F. He's discovered by the Satyagrahi, the denizens of Fort Thoreau, a secret hi-tech sanctuary for society's dropouts run by an ex-lawyer drag queen and an embittered dwarf, under the aegis of shadowy master hacker Parousia Head.

Blackbird House Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman
reviewed by Amal El-Mohtar
In Cape Cod, there is a small farm compassing a small house, called Blackbird House. It's called that because of the white blackbird -- perhaps a ghost, perhaps not -- that has haunted the house since the eighteenth century. In it, people lose things; people who are lost find things; desire, love, heartbreak and fulfillment chase each other through the rafters and around the fields full of sweet peas, while the house witnesses and keeps their stories.

Babylon 5.1 Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
What's on TV in March? Rick offers a list of what to watch. As well, he has some thoughts on recent episodes of Battlestar Galactica and Smallville.

The Voyage of the Sable Keech The Voyage of the Sable Keech by Neal Asher
reviewed by Peter D. Tillman
This is the sequel to the author's acclaimed Skinner, set again on the Line planet Spatterjay: a world of many monsters, some of them human. So pull up a stool, matey, pour a mug of seacane rum, and listen to more salty tales of titanic man-eating whelks, leeches the size of sperm-whales, swarms of vicious rhinoworms, glisters and heirodonts....

Wicked or What? Wicked or What? by Sean Wright
reviewed by David Hebblethwaite
Jamey O'Rooke is the fat kid at school, forever being bullied until a couple of strangers mistakenly handed him a mysterious object that was intended for one of his tormentors. Jamey's best friend is Layla, who seems to be on his side but may have her own agenda. And, somewhere else entirely, an individual known as the Third travels across a strange landscape to join them, before it's too late...

Already Dead Already Dead by Charlie Huston
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
Joe Pitt's a Vampyre. He's been infected by a Vyrus that slows aging, imparts phenomenal strength and sensory abilities, enables almost instantaneous healing, and survives by feeding off its host's blood -- which forces its host to go out and drink more blood so the Vyrus can have plenty of sustenance. There's a whole Vampyre subculture in New York City, loosely gathered into Clans or collectives -- a hidden world of power and struggle unsuspected by ordinary human beings who live their lives in daylight. In this secret world, Joe's something of an outsider.

Orphans of Chaos Orphans of Chaos by John C. Wright
reviewed by David Soyka
Five seeming children (the titular orphans) attend a British boarding school where just about everything is not as it appears on the surface -- not the least of which is that each orphan possesses a singular supernatural ability. While every kid in school probably has felt imprisoned, the orphans literally are so, and there is considerable uncertainty in whose interests their schoolmasters/captors operate.

The Begum's Millions The Begum's Millions by Jules Verne
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
The Franco-Prussian War of 1870 was a small war (the last of the French army had surrendered by February 1871), but it had a big effect. It led to the unification of Germany, and it scared the other European powers into an arms race and a system of alliances that would lead directly to the First World War. In Britain a succession of stories prophesied German invasion, and were instrumental in the invention of the scientific romance (via H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds) and the spy novel (via Childers's The Riddle of the Sands). And, in France, it led their most successful novelist to create this peculiar dystopia.

New Arrivals New Arrivals
compiled by Neil Walsh
New arrivals this past month have included the latest from Sara Douglass, Jennifer Fallon, Peter F. Hamilton, forthcoming works from Jeffrey Ford, Barth Anderson, Lisa Tuttle, and new editions of some old classics from Brian Lumley, Robert Silverberg, and Orson Scott Card

Second Looks

Something Wicked This Way Comes Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
reviewed by James Seidman
Trouble comes in the form of Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show. The show looks on the surface like a regular carnival, but it has a particularly special attraction. The carrousel, functional despite the "out of order" sign, can change a person's age. Ride the carrousel forward, and with each revolution you age one year. Ride it in reverse, and the years melt away.

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