The Starry Rift edited by Jonathan Strahan
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
This anthology of original stories is an attempt to re-invent science fiction
for the young readers of today. Its goal is to re-capture that sense of wonder and amazement that characterized the Golden
Age and the books that so many of today's SF writers grew up on. In order to do so, the editor has assembled a cast of many of the
biggest names in science fiction today. The stories they've written are not copies of the old space-faring adventures of the
30s and 40s, instead they reflect the concerns and dreams of young people today.
Tales Before Narnia edited by Douglas A. Anderson
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
This anthology reprints a score of works which were putative
direct or indirect influences on the writings of C.S. Lewis,
although the relevance of the material extends beyond merely the Chronicles of Narnia to such of Lewis'
works as The Screwtape Letters and the Space Trilogy. Lewis was a voracious and lifelong reader,
so lots of potential material exists for such an anthology, and the editor has distilled some of the best of these here.
The Surgeon's Tale and Other Stories by Cat Rambo & Jeff VanderMeer
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
A slim booklet of only 90 pages, it assembles five pieces of fiction including
the title story, a collaborative work by the two writers. It is the highlight of the book, providing an excellent
mix of horror and fantasy where an old surgeon reminisces about his years as a medical student and the daring experiment
attempting to bring back to life the corpse of a young woman.
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
Nexus Graphica is a column about graphic novels and comics that grew out of discussions
between Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams. They will alternate columns. The nature and subject of
each piece will vary from month to month, but it will always have something to do with graphic novels or comic books.
For his first column, Mark is grappling with the idea of what comics are for. Are they just
for fun? Or are comics -- when at their best -- simultaneously about individual lives (even
spandex-encased ones) and everyone's lives, our lives, all at once? Social commentary, perhaps.
A Guide to Folktales in Fragile Dialects by Catherynne M. Valente
reviewed by Amal El-Mohtar
In Antoine Galland's Arabian Nights, there's a story called "Aladdin and the Magic Lamp." In the story, Aladdin orders his
Djinn to build a palace for the Sultan. He specifies, however, that he wants there to be one flaw in the whole,
one window-frame of gems that is incomplete, in order to allow the Sultan
the honour of finishing it. The Djinn complies. Then, when the Sultan's being
led through it, his eyes light on the incomplete window, and he's
relieved to have found the flaw, the one tiny thing that can give his soul a break from the otherwise overwhelming awe.
That's what reading this collection is like.
Tales from the Secret City: A Cryptopolis Anthology
reviewed by David Hebblethwaite
Cryptopolis -- a writers' group based in Austin, Texas -- offers us an anthology of ten stories by its members, each introduced by
another contributor. The book is elevated above the status of back-slapping exercise by actually being pretty good,
yet at the same time, it's frustratingly not good enough to be much
more than pretty good. It seems that three of the stories go the extra distance to become
something quite special; the other seven are interesting, but stop a little short.
A Conversation With Patrick Rothfuss
An interview with Dustin Kenall
On his audience for his writing:
"I do remember that fairly early on someone pointed out that I used the word 'alloy' and 'counterpoint' in the same sentence. That
person pointed out that some people wouldn't actually know what an alloy was. I made a conscious decision right then that my book
was written for people who either knew what that word meant, or were willing to look it up."
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
reviewed by Dustin Kenall
At the center of the first book in The Kingkiller Chronicles stands Kvothe. At
different times an orphan, a lutist, a student, a mage, and a dragon slayer,
at the opening of his tale Kvothe is only Kote, a simple innkeeper who has renounced his adventurous ways and heroic
persona. The author shows us, in a prologue that is about as perfectly polished as one page of prose can get, the layered
silence that envelops him, "the patient, cut-flower sound of a man who is waiting to die." There are demons -- monsters
equal parts spider, lobster, and Edward Scissorhands -- about and, unsurprisingly, it appears Kvothe's past is catching up
with him. A scrivener tracks him down to take his life story. Kvothe demands three days -- one for each book.
Inside Straight edited by George R.R. Martin
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
In the plus column, Inside Straight introduces three or four credible new characters, there's a smattering of informative
continuity with the established Wild Cards canon, and new blood in the pool of writing talent. In the minus
column, most older characters and their chronology appear to have been consigned to history, except for cheesy cameo
Wastelands edited by John Joseph Adams
reviewed by Stuart Carter
This anthology collects 22 stories together, the majority from
the 21st century, although some reach back to the mutually assured destruction of the 80s, and a couple even hail from the crazy
70s. Is this anthology a result of the new age of insecurity and Terror (with a capital "T") that we live in? It might be argued
so, because nuclear armageddon seldom rears its ugly head here; instead the eponymous apocalypse is more likely to be biological,
a post 9/11 war of attrition or even the Biblical Day of Judgment.
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick has some thoughts on Dr. Who, and the Dr. Who spinoffs, Torchwood and The
Sarah Jane Adventures. All three begin their run on American TV in April. He also has some
notes on new shows by Ronald D. Moore and by Joss Whedon on Fox coming this Fall.
compiled by Neil Walsh
The newest batch of books to arrive on our doorstep include the latest from Stephen Baxter, Steven Erikson, John Kessel, John Meaney, Keri Arthur, Joe Abercrombie, Greg Keyes, Adam Stemple, L.E. Modesitt, Jr., as well as new anthologies from William Schaffer of Subterranean Press, Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, and much more.
compiled by Susan Dunman
At times, it's more convenient (and enjoyable) to hear the latest in science fiction and fantasy. Recent
audiobook releases include works by Jim Butcher, Orson Scott Card, Philip Pullman and Lois McMaster Bujold.