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The Best of Lucius Shepard The Best of Lucius Shepard by Lucius Shepard
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
From the first page of this collection you are already immersed in one of the stories that made Lucius Shepard's name: "The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule." In many ways it seems a conventional fantasy; the setting somewhere imprecise in what appears to be Southern Europe, a dragon brooding high in the mountains over the remote town, a hero with an ingenious way to slay the dragon. But something separates this story from such apparent conventionality. Our central character means to kill the dragon by painting it, an act of slaughter that is also a work of art.

The Born Queen The Born Queen by Greg Keyes
reviewed by Dustin Kenall
Perfection isn't always good enough. With The Born Queen, the author delivers a stellar conclusion to his quartet The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone that nevertheless leaves the reader earthbound in an ultimately conventional, if unconventionally well written, epic fantasy. He executes each of the key elements of the genre as masterfully as his dessrata (fencing) champion Cazio dispatches enemies. He properly reconstructs rather than simply incorporates uncanny linguistic and anthropological sources from this world to breathe verisimilitude into his own. He deals, at a lethally brisk pace, hands of fate to his characters that no card-counting reader could anticipate. His prose hustles the reader forward into the story rather than the other way around.

The Duke in His Castle The Duke in His Castle by Vera Nazarian
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Some authors,admittedly, have taken fantasy in interesting new directions, but Georges must admit to looking more and more to pre-Tolkienian times for his fantasy reading. He grew up in a time when authors like J.B. Cabell, Lord Dunsany, E.R.Eddison, H.R. Haggard, R.E. Howard, W. Morris, T. Mundy and C.A. Smith had been rediscovered in the fantasy boom of the late 60s-early 70s and were widely available. As much as he might wish that any serious fantasy reader of today begin with the 'classics,' he realises that the vast majority don't.

New Audiobooks New Audiobooks
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 Terry Brooks, L. Ron Hubbard, Peter F. Hamilton, Charles de Lint, Fritz Leiber and Kay Kenyon.

Personal Demon Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong
an audiobook review by Jennifer McCann
In this eighth installment of the Women of the Otherworld series, Hope Adams is pressed into a service by Beneico Cortez the ruthless head of the Cortez Cabal. Hope goes undercover as a disgruntled rich girl looking for fun with a gang of dangerous supernaturals who have been giving the Cabals a bad time. While there, Hope, now called "Faith," becomes involved in more than just the robberies the gang is perpetrating.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
an audiobook review by Sarah Trowbridge
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland makes for great listening, and a reader's understanding of Lewis Carroll's language and humor can be greatly enhanced by hearing it interpreted by a talented performer. In this new audiobook edition, the wonderfully talented Jim Dale renders a memorable performance that gloriously delivers Alice to a new generation of reader-listeners.

Star Wars: Jedi Twilight Star Wars: Jedi Twilight by Michael Reaves
reviewed by Michael M Jones
On the city-planet of Coruscant, capital of the new Galactic Empire, no one is resting easy. The Clone Wars are still fresh in everyone's minds, with the fall of the Jedi and the ascension of Palpatine to the Emperor's throne still having far-flung repercussions. For not every Jedi is dead, and not all hope has been crushed. Plotting is afoot, and at the center of it all, unwittingly, is Jax Pavan, Jedi Knight turned bounty hunter, having fled into the worst parts of the city in an attempt to escape the fates of his brethren. The past, unfortunately, is about to catch up to him.

Gale Force Gale Force by Rachel Caine
reviewed by Michael M Jones
When most people get married, all they have to worry about are lost caterers, college buddies who get drunk and embarrass themselves, and relatives lost at the airport. However, when Joanne Baldwin and her lover David decide to get married, it opens up several cans of unpleasantness. You thought your family was bad? David may be the leader of the pro-human faction of the immensely powerful djinn, but there's an anti-human faction that objects to him tying himself to a human. You thought your co-workers were horrible? Joanne's just discovered the existence of a rogue group of Weather Wardens.

Banquet for the Damned Banquet for the Damned by Adam L.G. Nevill
reviewed by David Hebblethwaite
Struggling musician Dante Shaw has his hopes pinned on a planned concept album based around a book on the occult written by reclusive academic Eliot Coltwell. With his friend and bandmate Tom in tow, Dante travels up to Scotland,accepting an invitation to work as Coldwell's research assistant at the University of St. Andrews. Coldwell proves reluctant to discuss his work with Dante, but is keen for the young man to meet his wild and beautiful associate, Beth -- leading Dante to suspect he has been lured to the town under false pretences.

Blood Engines Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Marla Mason comes across as part Zatanna part Elektra, with a dash of American Psycho. Tagging along with Marla is her associate, Rondeau, currently possessing the body of an average human male, which rather nastily, he has held since it belonged to a little homeless boy. The pair turn up in San Francisco looking for something called the Cornerstone, a rare, magic enhancing artefact. The last time Marla heard of the Cornerstone, it was in the care of an old ally, Lao Tsung, but he is dead, apparently murdered, and the only clue to his demise is a poisonous golden frog.

Nexus Graphica Nexus Graphica
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
In 1992, Rick Klaw appeared on his first Armadillocon panel along with Ellen Datlow and Gardner Dozois. In 1993 and at the majority of Armadillocons through the rest of the decade, artist Doug Potter and Rick were typically the only acknowledged comic book guests. In 2002, comic book contributors flooded the convention as the previous detractors embraced this newly discovered medium. My, how things have changed over the last 25 years.

Best Fantastic Erotica Best Fantastic Erotica edited by Cecilia Tan
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Who doesn't like a good, well told, piece of erotic fiction? And if eroticism blends with horror or science fiction that's even better, an exciting mix of strong emotions, a feast for the imagination, a load of adrenaline able to make us forget the grey colours of everyday's reality and to expand the boundaries of daily life. So here we have a promising anthology deceivingly named Best Fantastic Erotica.

Second Looks

Stalking the Unicorn Stalking the Unicorn by Mike Resnick
reviewed by Tammy Moore
John Justin Mallory is a down-on-his-luck Private Investigator who is seeing the New Year in with a bottle of booze and a pocket full of regrets. The main one is Velma, the lush-bodied, loyal secretary who never was, but he has also been evicted from his apartment and been left to take the heat for a blackmailing scheme run by his ex-partner before he debunked with John Justin's wife. The knee-breakers are outside waiting for him and there's a sure loser waiting for him to bet on it at the track.


The History of The Hobbit The History of The Hobbit The History of The Hobbit by John D. Rateliff
reviewed by Steven H Silver
Long before Frodo traveled to Morder to destroy the One Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote another tale of Bilbo, who traveled with the wizard Bladorthin to steal the treasure of the dragon Pryftan. If some of those names are not familiar, it is because Tolkien's The Hobbit went through numerous iterations before reaching its final version.

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