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Un Lun Dun Un Lun Dun by China Miéville
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
We start in contemporary London, where teenage schoolgirl Zanna and her best friend Deeba seem to be the focus of a series of strange events. Eventually these lead them through a crack between the worlds into a parallel city, UnLondon, where they discover that Zanna is the Shwazzy, the Chosen One, destined to lead them to victory against the evil Smog. UnLondon is a magnificent creation, as vivid, as full of spectacular invention, as New Crobuzon.

The Jennifer Morgue The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross
reviewed by Stuart Carter
Bob Howard, like James Bond, works for the British Secret Service -- but that's where the resemblance ends. Howard is a computer networks manager for the Laundry, the arm of the British Secret Service that deals with events that, for want of a better word, we might label "occult." "Lovecraftian" might also do, even "transdimensional" at a pinch, but not "glamorous" -- never glamorous.

Overlooked or Over-hyped? Overlooked or Over-hyped? Overlooked or Over-hyped?
a column by Neil Walsh
If you followed this column last month, you may have come to suspect that it's really just an excuse for Neil to clear some books off his reading shelf -- and in the process to share with you each month his opinions on a book that is generally deemed a classic, alongside one that has been more or less neglected. Supposedly, his thesis is that we can all read more if we are studious in our endeavours to avoid less important tasks like flossing, grocery shopping, a really thorough cleaning of the bathroom, or sleeping more than absolutely necessary to stave off hallucinations.

The Fate of Mice The Fate of Mice by Susan Palwick
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
The intelligent, literate stories in this collection -- eight previously published, three brand-new -- showcase the author's range and versatility, moving easily from science fiction to fantasy, from fabulism to realism, from humor to tragedy -- sometimes in the space of a single story. The book's standout is "Gestella," a novella about a female werewolf who has been tamed by her human lover.

Best Read of the Year: 2006 SF Site's Readers' Choice: Best Read of the Year: 2006
compiled by Neil Walsh
As many of you know, since mid-December, SF Site has been soliciting your votes for your favourite books of the past year. We had a good rate of participation this year, and some very interesting choices. Thanks to everyone who participated. One suprise is how little overlap there is with the Best Read of the Year: 2006 list. It's almost like we weren't even reading the same books. But the good thing about that is it means there are even more great recommendations to be found by looking through both lists.

Before They are Hanged Before They are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie
reviewed by John Enzinas
Inquisitor Glotka has to deal with a city besieged by the forces which made him what he is. It leads to the consequences of his success in the role given him by his superior. Meanwhile he keeps finding threads of the conspiracy hinted at in the previous book. His struggle is set against the war in Angland between the Union forces and the invading Northmen. as we follow West, an officer of the union.

Warrener's Beastie Warrener's Beastie by William R. Trotter
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Ever since he travelled to the remote, haunting Faeroe Islands as a young man, Allen Warrener has longed to return. He's obsessed in equal measure by the beautiful young woman he fell in love with, the failure of his own ambitious dreams, and a legendary sea monster. It isn't until he's a middle-aged, divorced professor of History that he gets his chance to go back.

Geeks With Books Geeks With Books
a column by Rick Klaw
In the second part of the article on the making of Weird Business, the 400+ page comic book anthology he co-edited with Joe R. Lansdale, Rick tells us of his days at Blackbird Comics and how he honed his skills as an editor.

Spin Control Spin Control by Chris Moriarty
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Arkady seems to be a lamb sent to slaughter. Nothing in his sheltered, heavily socialized upbringing in a deep space creche with hundreds of identical A-series Rostov Syndicate clones has prepared him for being dumped on a dying Earth as a pawn in a cynical and violent espionage game. He's never been outside Syndicate space before, never mind on the ground in war-ravaged Israel among un-engineered humans.

Secret Life: The Select Fire Remix Secret Life: The Select Fire Remix by Jeff VanderMeer
reviewed by Jakob Schmidt
The Select Fire Remix is a slightly altered version of his short fiction collection Secret Life, published in 2004. It features about twenty pieces of short fiction (the exact number is not that easily determined, given the nature of some of the texts), ranging from realism to post-apocalyptic SF. Some stories from the original edition have been excluded and a few new pieces have been added, all that (and more) explained in the thirty pages of author's notes.

New Arrivals New Arrivals
compiled by Neil Walsh
Here at the SF Site, we've seen quite a number of exciting new books come our way lately, including the latest from Jack Whyte, James Barclay, Minster Faust, Charlaine Harris, Robert Holdstock, Keri Arthur, Eliot Fintushel, China Miéville, and many others.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick has been watching the second and third seasons of Smallville on DVD along with the network TV episode "Promise." He has some thoughts on them along with what is going on in Battlestar Galactica.

Non-Fiction

The Fabulous Women of Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell The Fabulous Women of Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell by Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell, and Anthony & David Palumbo
reviewed by Steven H Silver
One of the stereotypical images found in fantasy art is of the woman wearing a chain-mail bikini. Often found on the four-color covers of pulp magazines, these damsels, frequently in distress, would be shown chained and awaiting rescue at the arms of some iron-thewed Conan clone. While they may be the foremost artists when it comes to depicting women in chain-mail bikinis since Frank Frazetta, their damsels are in anything but distress.

The Existential Joss Whedon The Existential Joss Whedon by J. Michael Richardson and J. Douglas Rabb
reviewed by Jakob Schmidt
The number of academic texts dealing with Joss Whedon's TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer is truly extraordinary. Like most of these books, this monograph combines the perspective of the fan and that of the scholar. Their argument is that Joss Whedon's oeuvre can (and should) be read as narrative explication of a communitarian ethics based on existentialist philosophy.

Second Looks

A Game of Thrones A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
reviewed by Amal El-Mohtar
The Seven Kingdoms have a tumultuous political history, but have been at peace since Robert Baratheon slew the Mad King Aerys Targaryen some ten years earlier and took his throne. He accomplished this thanks to the other noble families of the realm, but most notably the Lannisters, to whom his Queen belongs, and the Starks, led by his best friend Eddard. When the Hand of the King, John Arryn, dies under suspicious circumstances, King Robert summons Eddard from his northern stronghold of Winterfell to become the new Hand and help him rule the realm.


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