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End of the World Blues End of the World Blues by Jon Courtenay Grimwood
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
Kit Nouveau has more than his fair share of buried traumas: an abusive father, service in Iraq as a sniper during which he killed a child, the death of a friend just as Nouveau was stealing his girlfriend. The fact that the girlfriend was the daughter of Britain's most powerful and fearsome crime family just adds another complication to the mix. As the novel opens, he has somehow found his way to Japan where he runs a disreputable biker bar; is married to a famous potter; and is bedding, in a desultory manner, the wife of a Japanese crime lord. Then, on the same day that a street urchin saves him from an apparent assassination attempt, his bar is blown up and his wife killed.

A Dirty Job A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
reviewed by Charlene Brusso
Meet thirty-year-old Charlie Asher, mild-mannered owner of a thrift shop in colorful San Francisco. Charlie's small business pays the bills, and he loves his wife Rachel and the brand new baby girl they've just welcomed into the family. As an average "Beta Male" just trying to get by comfortably in a city known for the unusual, Charlie wouldn't normally stand out from the crowd -- nor would he want to. But fate has something more planned for Charlie, despite his best efforts to avoid it.

Bring It On Bring It On by Laura Anne Gilman
reviewed by Michael M Jones
For lonejack mage/professional thief Wren Valere, and her partner Sergei, there's no such thing as a normal day. Even when Wren's not hot on the trail of missing artifacts, precious jewels, rare paintings, or unusual treasures, she's dealing with all manner of strange people. Heck, on a mostly-normal day, a demon very much resembling a four-foot tall polar bear wanders into her apartment and ransacks the refrigerator!

The Scarifyers: The Nazad Conspiracy The Scarifyers: The Nazad Conspiracy by Cosmic Hobo
reviewed by Martin Lewis
Professor Dunning who, in addition to being an Ancient History don, is a hack writer of supernatural thrillers. Dunning's tale to his students is interrupted by the appearance of a Russian émigré who arrives in something of a panic and promptly jumps out the window. His death is then investigated by Detective Inspector Lionheart. Wouldn't you know it, there is more to the death than meets the eye.

Gift from the Stars Gift from the Stars by James Gunn
reviewed by David Hebblethwaite
Aerospace engineer Adrian Mast finds designs for a spaceship in the back of a remaindered book on UFOs -- designs that, to Adrian's trained eye, appear workable. Could the plans be of extra-terrestrial origin? Adrian is determined to find out and persuades the sprightly bookseller Frances Farmstead to help him track down the author of the mysterious book. Naturally enough, they manage to do so, and the plans are genuine.

One Nation Under George One Nation Under George by Z.M. Wagner
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
The book includes satirical inventions that are, at turns, amusing and subtly terrifying, but these are floating around holes big enough to swallow a politician's ego. The premise is that the author is writing his personal take on the history of the last few years in America, from the jaundiced perspective of 2008. This alternate future history includes a great many uncomfortably close parallels to real world events, and what may happen in the "Land of the Free," if liberty is crushed by anti-terror legislation.

Keeping It Real Keeping It Real by Justina Robson
reviewed by David Soyka
Lila Black was brutally tortured; what was left of the young woman, primarily the head and torso, has been surgically merged into a nuclear-powered and AI-augmented mechanical body. Moreover, she's outfitted with an array of weaponry and associated gizmos that would make James Bond's "Q" gadgeteer supply master positively green with envy. And at 21, Lila is also in her sexual prime, which adds to the already considerable psychological dilemma of being half-human, half-machine.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
All of the episodes of Star Trek: The Animated Series are available on DVD. Rick offers a guide to the full series.

Second Looks

The Child Garden The Child Garden by Geoff Ryman
reviewed by Jakob Schmidt
In a future world where the cure for cancer had the unfortunate side-effect of increasing the speed of ageing rapidly, children must become adults within a few years after birth. Genetically engineered viruses that transfer knowledge are used to cut childhood as short as possible. But Milena Shibush turns out to be immune. Learning things the hard way, she's also not bound by the social conformity spread by the omnipresent viruses. When Milena meets the outsider master-singer Rolfa, she falls in love with the strange, genetically engineered creature.

The Lady of the Terraces The Lady of the Terraces by E. Charles Vivian
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
The 20s was nearing the end of the popularity and plausibility of lost-race novels. This book has most of the tropes (not to say clichés) of lost race novels, a strong good looking male hero, a birthmark announcing him as prophesied leader/saviour of an ancient race, his relationship with a beautiful princess/queen, his defeat of an evil priest, ditto for the nasty usurper king, and lots of battles. However, unlike many such tales, the hero, Colvin Barr, brings along a love-lorn Spanish-English half-breed who serves as mooching sidekick and comic relief, though he can be handy in a fight too.

Non-Fiction

Prehistoric Humans in Film and Television Prehistoric Humans in Film and Television by Michael Klossner
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
When reviewing reference works, one can rarely hope to compete with the author in terms of knowledge of the field, so saying that there are no obvious omissions or errors isn't saying much. One must judge the work on its ease of use, readability, the quality of its indexes and bibliographies, how clearly the scope is defined and the completeness of the survey of said scope, along with the probity of the author's commentary and inclusion of other expert's views -- on these fronts, this book delivers the goods.


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