Air by Geoff Ryman
reviewed by David Soyka
One historical dividing line in science fiction is between those who think technology offers a lot of "cool" things that
better the human condition (Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov) and those who think the opposite (Mary Shelley, H.G. Wells
and their New Wave descendants sprung from the loins of atomic explosions and countercultural indulgences). The
cyberpunks melded both with the sort of Zen-like attitude that technology is neither inherently good or bad, it merely is
what it is.
Dispatches From Smaragdine: February 2007
a column by Jeff VanderMeer
In this month's column from Smaragdine, Jeff marvels at the annual Steve Aylett Literary
Parade held in late January. So intrigued by this event and the foofaraw surrounding it, Jeff takes some time to interview
this literary hero of the Smaragdine inhabitants and reviews his new books, And Your Point Is?: Scorn and Meaning in Jeff Lint's Fiction
and Fain the Sorcerer.
Vote for SF Site's Readers' Choice Awards for 2006
You've waited patiently for a whole year, but at last your favourite season has rolled around again. Yes,
that's right, it's time to finish reading those new books that have been stacking up on your bookshelves, your
floor or bedside table, because very soon you'll need to determine which ones you feel are the best of the
best. Or at least, you will if you want to have a say in the annual SF Site Readers' Choice Awards!
This year will bring the SF Site's 9th annual Readers' Choice Best of the Year Awards. But only with your
help. As many of our long-time readers already know, every year about this time we solicit our readers for their input
on what were the best books they read in the past year. We'll tally the results and post them in February or early
March so that you can see how well your favourites fare -- and, with any luck, find some great recommendations too.
The deadline for voting is February 9, 2007. If you've forgotten what you chose in previous years,
you can find them all linked at Best Read of the Year including
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman which was the top choice last year.
The Small Picture
TV reviews by David Liss
Back in the old days, fictional wizards and witches were made, not born. You gained magical powers either through study of
arcane texts you weren't supposed to read or through bargains with supernatural beings you weren't supposed to know.
Very ambitious sorcerers hedged their
bets and went for both. It's a great tradition, going back to antiquity. We were happy with it literally for thousands of years, and
then came the cultural shift.
The End of Harry Potter? by David Langford
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
As the climax of the Harry Potter series approaches, so the twittering about what J.K. Rowling has planned gets
louder. Somebody, somewhere, has probably worked it out correctly. But until readers know for sure, guessing is a lot of
fun. Such has been the impact of the series that it's easy to believe people will buy any old cobblers, if it has the boy
wizard's name on the front.
Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
Reviewers are saying wonderful things about this book -- and they are right. His writing, as always, is
luminous -- in fact, the prologue is a poem told in prose, a love letter to Provence and its light and the depth
of its past, only lightly covered by its present and by what we like to think of as "civilization"; this is a part of the world
that he clearly knows, and loves, and this comes through clearly in the book. His handling of young adult characters is deft,
often funny, often poignant.
Wolf Hunting by Jane Lindskold
reviewed by Steve Lazarowitz
Animals are people too. If you don't believe me, give Wolf Hunting a shot, where animals are people, people are animals, and
magic is not at all welcome. Let's start with Truth, who is a jaguar. Not just any old big cat, but a wise jaguar,
not only sentient and talented, but quite insane.
Rite: Short Work by Tad Williams
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
This collection will delight established readers, and would make a
satisfying introduction to those who baulk at his multi-volume stuff. It
includes an introduction from the author explaining why he writes what he writes, followed by fifteen short
stories, five non-fiction pieces, two television ideas, and to finish off, a two-page title work. All of which include their
own informative, entertaining introductory pieces. The appeal will depend on personal taste, but it is safe to say each inclusion
has received the literary spit and polish that has made the author so successful.
Outbound by Jack McDevitt
Echelon by Josh Conviser
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
This book is a collection of stories and essays from throughout the author's career. What they reveal is a writer
whose work is firmly within and a part of the modern science fiction tradition. The stories also show a concern for events, and their
consequences, that are a little closer to the here and now than readers usually find in his more future-centered, space-oriented
The James Tiptree Award Anthology 3 edited by Karen Joy Fowler, Pat Murphy, Debbie Notkin and Jeffrey D. Smith
reviewed by Jakob Schmidt
The James Tiptree Award Anthology has been accompanying
the annual Tiptree Award for two years now, collecting a wide range of fantastic
short fiction and essays held together by their common focus on gender issues. The nine pieces of short fiction range from magical
realism to space opera -- on first glance, a rather eclectic mixture. Yet, most of the fiction is connected by a common interest
in the question of how the idea of beauty is negotiated culturally and technologically.
Boris and Bella by Carolyn Crimi
reviewed by Charlene Brusso
"The Odd Couple" gets a spooky romantic spin -- with just enough grue to make the kids cheerfully shiver in this charming
book. Picture two warring neighbors. Dapper Boris Kleanitoff, with his crisp, bat-winged suit and an eternally
dour E.A. Poe-ish expression, is a die-hard neat-nik. But his neighbor Bella Legrossi is the exact opposite. In her
funereal finery, with flies eternally buzzing around her tousled yellow locks, she is known far and wide as "the messiest
monster in Booville."
The Man Who Could Work Miracles by H.G. Wells
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
H.G. Wells, the well-known author of famous SF novellas such as The War of the Worlds, The
Invisible Man and The Time Machine, was also a prolific writer of supernatural fiction, now assembled for the
first time in this stylish hardcover volume. Mind you, in Wells's body of work the term "supernatural" doesn't always
mean dark, horrific or ghostly.
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his thoughts on how good SF on TV is and what his preferences are.
He also gives us a list of what to watch on TV in February.
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
As followers of conspiracy theory will know, Echelon is purported to be the eyes and ears of global Big Brother; an
advanced communications and surveillance monitoring system at the murkier end of the NSA. Legend has it that Echelon
is privy to everything sent over the telephone lines or airwaves. In the near future Echelon has shed its ties with the US
intelligence community, and evolved into a world-shaping force which acts to enforce its masters' idea of a
utopian society. There is no war, no terrorism, and no dissent. Nevertheless, something has gone badly wrong.