Anathem by Neal Stephenson
reviewed by Jakob Schmidt
Arbre, is an Earth-like world with a few thousand more years of written history
under its belly. It seems to have spent most of this time in a prolonged condition of post-modern now: there's
no significant social or technological progress, but instead an ongoing profusion of technological
gimmicks. Early on, we see little of this world, since its narrator, Fraa
Erasmas, is a so-called avout, living in one of many large convents of ascetic scientists and philosophers who
isolate themselves from the outside world. Erasmas is a young scholar with a passion for knowledge, who hasn't
seen the outside world for ten years and doesn't miss it, since he has found many good friends among the
avout. However, on the eve of Apert, the opening of the gates to the outside world that occurs only once
every ten, hundred or even thousand years, things start to change.
The Ten Thousand by Paul Kearney
reviewed by Tammy Moore
The Macht, legendary for their military prowess, have little to do with the Kufr in the Asurian Empire to
the South East. Ever since the brutal, long-ago war -- that the Macht narrowly lost -- all contact has been
carefully filtered through the ancient Port of Sinon. Both races prefer to maintain the separation. Even
without the lingering enmity of once-upon-a-time atrocities the two races find each other repellent in
form and culture. Intrinsically alien. So it has been for generations.
The Sweet Scent of Blood by Suzanne McLeod
reviewed by Katherine Petersen
Genevieve (Genny) Taylor works at SpellCrackers.com, a company designed to diffuse magic before it can do
damage. Genny, the only sidhe fae in London, can crack spells and absorb magic, but she can't cast even the
simplest spell. In this magical world that is London but not London, humans and the supernatural mingle together,
so you can buy charms at Witch Central, a downtown market; ride the underground with goblins; or have a troll
as the police detective on a case. And then there are the vampires who have improved their reputation among
humans to celebrity status.
Razor Girl by Marianne Mancusi
reviewed by Michael M Jones
In 2030, as the world was descending into chaos thanks to a flu-like plague that killed many and mutated others
into ravening monsters, Molly Anderson and her mother hid away in a specially-prepared bunker, courtesy of her
father, a brilliant scientist and conspiracy theorist who always knew this day would come. Six years later,
the bunker's locks release, and Molly is released into a world devastated and transformed, a post-Apocalyptic
society where decaying corpses litter empty houses, and vicious zombies prowl the streets.
The Last Science Fiction Writer by Allen Steele
reviewed by Steven H Silver
This is the author's fifth short story collection, released after a long hiatus of
collections, but also after a period in which he wrote five books in his Coyote universe. However, just because he
wasn't publishing a collection, doesn't mean he wasn't publishing short fiction, as this volume, which collects that
fiction, clearly shows.
The Flash: Stop Motion by Mark Schultz
an audiobook review by Ivy Reisner
A series of grisly murders takes place in Keystone City and all evidence points to a metahuman (that is, someone with
super-human powers) being responsible, most likely a speedster. All the murders took place at the same time. All
involve the victim's head being blown open at the top, and the wound instantly cauterized. None of the victims
realized they were in danger before they died. At the same time, strange objects appear in our solar system.
Valis by Philip K. Dick
an audiobook review by Gil T. Wilson
Valis, which is an acronym for Vast Active Living Intelligence System, seems to
reveal PKD's search for the meaning of life within religion during the later part of his life. Not easily categorized,
the work could be classified as science fiction, philosophy, religion, or even an autobiography. For all of these
topics come into play as the main character examines the origin of God and the purpose of life, while suffering through mental illness.
Cursor's Fury by Jim Butcher
an audiobook review by Gil T. Wilson
Cursor's Fury continues the adventures of Gaius Octavius, or Tavi, the only Aleran who cannot perform magic
through controlling a part of nature. But Tavi is the grandson and only heir to the First Lord, Gaius Sextus. His
true identity is kept secret to avoid assassination by those seeking to overthrow the First Lord. Tavi's mother
uses her water-fury crafting skills to prevent Tavi from developing what would no doubt be extremely powerful fury crafting.
Jupiter, Issue 22, October 2008
reviewed by Rich Horton
Here's the fourth issue of Jupiter for 2008. It maintains a regular quarterly schedule, very impressive
for a small press 'zine.
This issue is subtitled Harpalyke, as usual after one of Jupiter's many moons.
Psychological Methods to Sell Should Be Destroyed: Stories by Robert Freeman Wexler
reviewed by John Enzinas
John should have known what to expect once he read Zoran Zivkovic's introduction in which he praises the small press for
protecting the fundamental artistic nature of literature by
publishing authors such as Robert Freeman Wexler instead of the large
publishing houses that dominate the industry and are not willing to take risks for fear of lost profits from not
catering to the masses. However, he failed to pay heed to this, not pausing to wonder why Wexler might not be of
interest to one of the big publishers.
City at the End of Time by Greg Bear
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
With this novel, the author returns to the kind of big idea science fiction that first marked
his appearance in the field. The theme is nothing less than the nature of reality and the possible fate of
the entire universe. That's an awfully big topic to take on in the course of a work of fiction, and one that possibly
no one could successfully address in the telling of a story. It doesn't completely succeed in
its task of melding its vision of the incredibly far future with the need of keeping it all within the
framework of a science fiction story, but it does provide ample moments of wonder, awe, and a sense of
humanity in the face of an implacable universe. Whether the book is eventually
ranked with the best of Greg Bear's novels only time will tell, but it's certainly his most ambitious work, well
worth the attention of any serious reader of modern science fiction.
The Love We Share Without Knowing by Christopher Barzak
The Mirrored Heavens by David J. Williams
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
Christopher Barzak could be one of the best new writers that America has produced
in recent years. Not one of the best science fiction writers or fantasists; one of the best writers, period.
There seems to be only one character that appears consistently throughout the novel, and that is Japan itself. It
comes across as both haunting and haunted, caught between an abiding sense of tradition and its own hyper-modernity,
until you get the feeling that the country itself is disoriented, dislocated, perhaps even schizophrenic.
The Summer Palace by Lawrence Watt-Evans
reviewed by Rich Horton
This concludes the Annals of the Chosen trilogy, in a generally
satisfying fashion. That is, not only is the conflict at the heart of the trilogy resolved, but the implications of
various things we learn during the books are also dealt with. The trilogy as a whole is enjoyable work, though not
brilliant, and not as good as those of Watt-Evans's books Rich most likes. But it is a true trilogy, and
it is definitely best to read all three books in order.
The Proteus Sails Again by Thomas M. Disch
reviewed by Richard A. Lupoff
This may be Disch's last known work, although further unpublished
material may yet be found. A very short book, stretched to 128 pages by
the use of large type and plenty of white space, it is a sequel to The Voyage of the Proteus
(2007). In the earlier book, Disch is summoned through time by Cassandra, meets Homer and Socrates, and
fights off a flock of attacking Harpies. In the second book, Disch is back in his apartment in New York. The
time is a tantalizingly described near future.
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
Mark London Williams says we are the cusp of, if not hopefully some great, or at least good, then at least sane things in
the U.S. (and by extension, whether we like the idea of empire or not, the world).
Much has been made of the new White House occupant's
part-time geekiness -- or nerdiness. Which, in Bush era terms, could've simply meant "anyone who reads a book," or
perhaps "knows six words in a different language."
But with a certain Barack Obama, it means -- as the media has famously let us know -- that it also means he reads
A Conversation With Michael A. Burstein
An interview with Steven H Silver
On Isaac Asimov as an inspiration:
"I could write a whole article about Isaac Asimov. Come to think of it, I have, for the fanzine Mimosa, and
it's available on my website. It would be far too long to reproduce here. But the short version is that Asimov,
being as prolific and open about his life as he was, gave the rest of us a blueprint to follow if we wanted to do so."
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Again this year, Rick offers his movie predictions for what is coming and is worth seeing in 2009
(based entirely on the reputation of the writers).
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
Elizabeth Bear, Dan Simmons, Simon R. Green, Alan Dean Foster,
M.K. Wren, Patricia A. Mckilllip and Joe Haldeman.
compiled by Neil Walsh
This time we're looking at new and forthcoming works from Harry Turtledove, Kelley Armstrong, Gordon Dahlquist, Paul Di Filippo, Charlie Huston, Peter S. Beagle, and many more.
Vote for SF Site's Readers' Choice Awards for 2008
Traditionally, the arrival of the new year is a time to look ahead, and make plans for the future. But it's also a
time to look back and reflect on the year we've just completed. And at the SF Site, it's traditional to review
the past year's worth of reading and to vote on what you considered to be the best of it.
This is your chance to have your say. The same rules apply as in previous SF Site Readers' Choice Awards:
if you read it, you liked it, and you want to vote for it, go nuts.
If you've forgotten what you chose in previous years,
you can find them all linked at Best Read of the Year including
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss which was the top choice last year.
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
The year is 2110, and a Second Cold War between the US and the Eurasian
Bloc is thawing, until a terrorist group calling themselves Autumn Rain bring down the Phoenix space elevator. An act
which, somewhat predictably, launches the world's great military powers on course toward all-out global conflict. Before
the tipping point is reached, a Special Forces team are tasked with finding Autumn Rain, and putting a stop to their