Dispatches From Smaragdine: February 2008
a column by Jeff VanderMeer
In Smaragdine, all of the major newspapers and websites have posted their lists of the best books and stories
published in the country over the past year. This it is time for writers not included on these lists host elaborate parties at
which they are expected to pretend to cry and to seek comfort from their friends. Usually, though, it's all in aid of promoting their
next project. Jeff takes time out to talk to Gregory Frost, author of Fitcher's Brides and his newly released Shadowbridge.
A War of Gifts by Orson Scott Card
reviewed by Steven H Silver
This is a short novella set in the Ender universe during the time that Ender was at the Battle
School and before he became Ender the Xenocide. Although Ender appears and plays a pivotal role, the focus of the story
is on Zeck Morgan, the Battle School's only pacifist. Zeck sees himself as a victim and a martyr, and here
he tries to avenge his perceived persecution on the others students.
Star Wars: Darth Bane - Rule of Two by Drew Karpyshyn
reviewed by David Maddox
In Darth Bane - Path of Destruction, a young man named Dessel created the modern Sith legacy by wiping out all rivals and
taking command of the Dark Side's destiny by invoking the Rule of Two. This tale picks up where the other left off with the rescue of
a confused, frightened and angry young girl named Zannah from the war torn battlefield left from the clashing forces of the Jedi
Army of Light and the Sith Brotherhood of Darkness. Bane sculpts her as his apprentice and prepares to bring his plan and ideals to pass.
compiled by Susan Dunman
At times it's more convenient to use ears rather than eyes to experience the latest in science fiction and fantasy.
Recent audiobook releases include works by Jules Verne, Mary Shelley, Kim Harrison, Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner.
In Memoriam: 2007
a memorial by Steven H Silver
Science fiction fans have always had a respect and understanding for the history of the genre.
Unfortunately, science fiction has achieved such an age that each year sees our ranks
diminished. Deaths in 2007 included Robert Anton Wilson, Charles L. Fontenay, Roger Elwood,
Leigh Eddings, Kurt Vonnegut, Lloyd Alexander, Fred Saberhagen, Madeleine L'Engle and Robert Jordan.
Jumper: Griffin's Story by Steven Gould
reviewed by Jayme Lynn Blaschke
Jumper: Griffin's Story is, to say the least, an odd bird. Another book like it may not exist. It is
a tie-in to the David Liman-directed science fiction action film, Jumper, starring Hayden Christensen and
Samuel L. Jackson. The movie itself is loosely based on the 1992 novel of the same name by Steven Gould, taking the core
premise from the book and essentially re-inventing everything else.
The First Betrayal and The Sea Change by Patricia Bray
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Slowly recovering from a mysterious illness which nearly destroyed both mind and body five years ago, Brother Josan has resigned
himself, however reluctantly, to a life of quiet solitude as a lighthouse keeper in a remote part of the kingdom of Ikeria, where he
busies himself with quiet study and the reclamation of his skills. Why exactly he has been exiled, he doesn't know; in truth, only the
merest handful understand why he's been cast aside by his brothers. A chance encounter following a major storm brings him into contact
with Lady Ysobel Flordelis of the Seddon Federation, whose mission of trade hides a deeper, more sinister purpose: to rekindle a
revolution in Ikeria. And that chance meeting is all it takes to upset Josan's life once again. And when an assassin comes for him,
Josan displays a frightening ability to defend himself, followed by momentary blackouts, and a magical power he never knew he had.
Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine 30th Anniversary Anthology edited by Sheila Williams
Primary Ignition by Allen Steele
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
There is a reasonable case to be made for tracing the history of 20th century science fiction through its keynote magazines. Such
a history takes us from Amazing to Astounding to F&SF, across the Atlantic
to New Worlds, and then into the curious asteroid belt of the 70s original anthologies. By this reckoning, science
fiction during the last quarter of the 20th century was defined by Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. Since
it was launched in 1977 it has generally had higher circulation figures than its rivals, it has produced more stories that
have won or been shortlisted for awards, it has produced more stories that have featured in the various Year's Best anthologies.
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror #18 edited by Stephen Jones
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
The present volume features a number of excellent tales.
Outstanding examples are "What Nature Abhors" by Mark Morris, a superb, breathtaking tour de force of terror depicting a man who
wakes up alone on a deserted train to be engulfed in a nightmarish adventure, and the splendid "The American Dead" by Jay
Lake, a melancholy fable set in a marginal world of cruelty and poverty where a young boy nurses his personal version of the
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Again this year, Rick offers his movie predictions for what is worth seeing in 2008 (based
entirely on the reputation of the writers) and reflects upon his predictions for 2007.
reviewed by Steven H Silver
As the twentieth century gave way to the twenty-first century, Allen Steele wrote a series of essays for Absolute
Magnitude and Artemis magazines. Initially set to be looks at science fiction and space exploration,
the Absolute Magnitude columns, published under the title "Primary Ignition" gave way to more general
topics, which led to the series in Artemis, which would remain focused on space exploration.
These essays, along with a few others, have been collected in the book.