a column by Michael M Jones
Michael is reading short fiction and young adult titles and he has some thoughts. This time, he looks at
Beka Cooper: Terrier by Tamora Pierce, Larklight by Phillip Reeve and
Spirits That Walk In Shadow by Nina Kiriki Hoffman.
Twenty Epics edited by David Moles and Susan Marie Groppi
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
With the rather grandiose goal to leave you feeling "joyous, melancholy, rejuvenated, satisfied,"
it's hard to see how the authors of this themed anthology have addressed it any more effectively, or indeed any
differently, from other writers of fantastic fiction who conjure up imaginary worlds or drop their characters
into the midst of pivotal events. What's not in doubt, however, is that this is a superior collection -- entertaining,
inventive, original, and almost without exception, very well written, with remarkably few entries that drag or miss the mark.
Trial of Flowers by Jay Lake
reviewed by Matthew Hughes
It is a defensible proposition that the job of a fiction author has two parts: first, create characters that the reader can care
about; second, put those characters through hell. In this foray into the New Weird, the
Campbell Award-winning author takes on the job with gusto and no small measure of fantastical invention, creating flawed yet
interesting characters then giving them a prolonged and thorough roasting, with liberal bastings of irony and pity.
Spin Control by Chris Moriarty
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
Spin Control is the author's second venture into the universe she first crafted in Spin State. But
whereas Spin State was high-tech, hard SF set in space and alien environments, Spin Control, as the title
implies, is a claustrophobic, intense look at the politics of a near-future earth, and the growing split between what's
left of humanity on Earth and its post-human descendants in space.
Reassuring Tales by T.E.D. Klein
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Mainly known for his cult novel The Ceremonies and his mythical collection Dark Gods, T.E.D. Klein is certainly one
of the less prolific authors of dark fiction, much to the dismay of his many admirers who are constantly in waiting for new material.
If you're one of them, this new volume will probably leave you frustrated.
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his thoughts on Smallville breaking new ground along with reviews of
Earth: Final Conflict, Looney Tunes, Golden Collection, Volume 4 and
the three DVDs now available as Chuck Jones Signature Editions.
Dragon's Fire by Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey
reviewed by Lise Murphy
This latest book was written by Todd McCaffrey along with his mother Anne. That being said, it bears
little resemblance to the original Dragonriders of Pern books. The characters are interesting but it is slow at
times and there is so much jumping between points of view that it is difficult to really sympathize with the characters.
Best Short Novels 2006 edited by Jonathan Strahan
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
One may not always agree with the editor's choices (there are two stories here Paul wouldn't even have published let alone picked as
best of the year, and another two he'd have great difficulty arguing should belong in such a volume), but
overall because of its limited range and clear focus, the book comes closer to feeling like it really
does represent the best of the year than any of its over-inflated rivals.
Voices by Ursula K. Le Guin
reviewed by Rich Horton
Memer Galva is a daughter of a prominent family in the city of Ansul. For all of Memer's life, Ansul has been
under the domination of the Alds, a harsh desert people. She has grown up with the remnants of a once thriving household
including the leader of her family, the Waylord Sulter Galva, who survived the Alds'
torture without revealing his house's secrets. The most important of these is a secret room
in which are hidden the surviving books of the people of Ansul.
Dusk by Tim Lebbon
reviewed by David Hebblethwaite
A man wearing a red robe enters the village of Trengborne and proceeds to slaughter everyone there -- all except two
people, that is: Rafe Baburn, the young boy he's looking for; and Kosar, a former thief who hid when he saw the man approaching
the village. Leaving Trengborne, Rafe falls in with the witch Hope and Kosar with his ex-lover, a warrior named A'Meer
from the mysterious Shantasi people. The truth about the red-robed man becomes clear...
Balzac's War by Jeff VanderMeer
reviewed by Sean Wright
Sometimes a story hits you with some knockout punches -- you see them coming but you just can't duck quick
enough. This is one of those kinds of reads and yet... the novella (appearing in
Secret Life or Veniss Underground) entices you within striking
distance, lures and lulls you into a weird, hypnotic trance-like state, then wham! Not only don't you see that punch coming, but
it's definitely below the belt!
compiled by Neil Walsh
Highlights among the new arrivals in our office include the latest from Alan Dean Foster, Sean Williams, Peter Watts, Juliet Marillier, Rob Grant, Eric Flint, Karl Schroeder, Harry Turtledove, plus the screenplay to the upcoming Hogfather film for UK television.
Living Next Door to the God of Love by Justina Robson
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
It seems appropriate to begin this review with a nod to Procul Harum, as reading it makes one feel
like one skipped the light fandango, turned cartwheels across the floor, and was feeling rather seasick. What the author
does in this work is a disjointed, post-cyberpunk exploration of human nature. The setting is a surreal, narcotic-washed
future, in which AI is fully in control of both virtual and actual reality. Gene manipulation, possession and magic all play
their parts, sometimes to fine effect.