The Quiet War by Paul McAuley
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
It's worth taking a moment to consider the title. Is a quiet war meant to make us think that in space no-one can hear
you scream? But this is no space war, and the pitched battle, when it comes, is fought under a dome on a moon of
Jupiter away from the silence of vacuum. No, I think we are meant to see this as war on the quiet, a stealth war,
formented away from the public eye. Certain political factions and extremists on either side are eager for war,
but while they are doing their best to stymie the peace movement and bring on the conflict, most people see no need
for war and are actively promoting peace. Sound familiar?
Anathem by Neal Stephenson
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
Let's take a trip through time, space, and the history of human thought. The journey starts with the observations and
suppositions of ancient philosophers, gains both credence and clarity through the development of the rules of logic,
and eventually leads all the way to modern theories of everything, including the possible existence of not one but
multiple universes and realities. That's the goal here and it succeeds better than
any work of fiction with such ambitions has a right to.
Kilimanjaro by Mike Resnick
reviewed by Steven H Silver
When many authors want to explore how different decisions would have played out, they turn their attention to alternate
history. The author has taken a different tack with Kilimanjaro, the follow-up to Kirinyaga. Set in
the same universe a century later, Kilimanjaro has studied the errors of Kirinyaga so they can avoid the
pitfalls Koriba led his society through. Despite their close study, the Kilimanjarans find themselves facing many
of the same issues without a plan of action.
The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett
reviewed by Tammy Moore
By day mankind tends to their fields, loves their families and gathers to drink beer and cheer the jongleurs
performances. Come nightfall, however, and they must deed the earth over to the corelings, the elemental demons that
crawl out of the earth and shadows. Wood, fire, air and water -- they are invulnerable, unstoppable and viciously,
poisonously hungry. Wards carved onto doors and windows and walls can provide protection against the demons
but they are complex, fragile things and the smallest disruption of precise lines can weaken them fatally.
Karma Kommandos by Paul Cook
reviewed by John Enzinas
Rory Koestler is a member of the L.A.P.D's
Protean Set, undercover cops with the ability to change their appearance recruited from L.A's actors. The Protean
Set's reason for existence is a hallucinogen called Chuckle being dealt by a man named Bob Thermopylae.
Then the Supercomputer named Eidolon Rex disappears from its lab at Eidolon Technology before reappearing 10 hours later. The
stories start to mingle when the scientists discover an anomalous number of Rex's programs containing the name
Rory Koestler. Then things get complicated.
The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Ariel Manto, seemingly by chance, discovers an extremely rare book, in a store she would never have found if her car wasn't stuck in
the car park of the university where she works. Is it serendipity, or just coincidence, that the book is a
fabled tome, which she had read about but never expected to see in person? The work, which is a supposedly
true account, disguised as a novel, is by an obscure Victorian novelist named Thomas Lumas, whose body of work
Ariel is familiar with due to the fact that he is one of her main dissertation subjects. The book, it is rumoured,
comes with a curse: "Those who read this are doomed to die."
British Invasion edited by Christopher Golden, Tim Lebbon and James A. Moore
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
British writers currently dominate the horror fiction scene, so much so that the American publisher Cemetery
Dance acknowledges the fact by releasing an anthology of twenty-one stories by UK-based contributors.
Supposedly, the volume collects work by the best british horror writers, but several distinguished
authors (L.H. Maynard and M.P.N. Sims, Graham Masterton, Mark Samuels, to mention a few) are unfortunately
absent. At any rate, the book does include a number of top-notch tales.
Countdown by Michelle Maddox
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Kira has been eking out a passable existence as a thief and pickpocket ever since the brutal murder of her family
when she was in her teens.
Occasionally using her psychic ability to "read" people, she picks her targets carefully. Unfortunately, she's
finally crossed the wrong person. She wakes up in a dark room, chained, with an infamous mass murderer
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.
In Memoriam: 2008
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 2008 included
Janet Kagan, Algis Budrys, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Lynn Asprin, Tom Disch,
Brian Thomsen, Barrington J. Bayley, Forrest J Ackerman, Leo Frankowski and Edd Cartier.
Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link
Principals of Angels by Jaine Fenn
reviewed by Rich Horton
This is a collection of Kelly Link stories which can be deemed "Young Adult." For the most part, this
simply means they feature teenaged protagonists. Otherwise they are as challenging in many ways as much of Link's
work -- they do not necessarily end happily, they feature twisted self-referential narrative structures,
they... they entrance.
Bitten to Death by Jennifer Rardin
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Once again, secret agent extraordinaire Jaz Parks has been sent on a dangerous mission. Along with her mentor/sort-of
lover Vayl, she's been dispatched to Greece, to infiltrate a Vampere Trust, a secretive community of vampires that once
played home to Jaz's number one target, the terrorist Edward "The Raptor" Ramos. Unfortunately, the mission's pretty
much screwed before Jaz and Vayl even arrive.
compiled by Neil Walsh
Among the latest new arrivals at the SF Site mail drop are new and forthcoming works from Brian Lumley, Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman, Keith Brooke, John Birmingham, David B. Coe, Ed Greenwood, plus much more.
Best of 2008
complied by Greg L. Johnson
2008 may not have been the greatest year ever for science fiction and fantasy, but
even in a down year there are plenty of good books to read, and when narrowed
down to the choices of a top ten list, the quality and state of SF and fantasy
look as good as ever. There are also a couple of trends that appear
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
From the time Rick could read, his mother took him to the library. As a child, he lived in Old Bridge, NJ, which had
this minuscule two-story house for a public library. He could hear his mother from literally anywhere in the
building. In the 70s, the prevailing wisdom in education circles argued that comic books impaired a child's
reading development. Thankfully for Rick, neither his mother nor (apparently) the Old Bridge librarian ascribed to that
view. Rick Klaw tells us of the joy of discovery of comics in bound book form and his geek future was all but guaranteed.
News Spotlight -- Genre Books and Media
a column by Sandy Auden
A quick round up of internet snippets -- listen to an interview with Neil Gaiman and Stephen Jones
about the upcoming Coraline movie and The Visual Companion book; the
David Gemmell Award has been launched; Author Andy Remic is giving away free electronic copies
of his books Spiral and War Machine; win a Sony e-Reader with Orion books but be
quick; Watchmen movie tie-in publications are on the way from Titan Books; Dean Koontz's
Frankenstein: Prodigal Son graphic novel launches a new website; and Indy publisher AccentUK are
previewing free pages of their World's Fastest Man comic on their website.
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick has some thoughts on the second part of the 2008-2009 TV season beginning with the fate of Smallville,
how Friday night is a sinkhole and will it kill Terminator and Dollhouse.
He also gives us a list of what SF is on TV in February.
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Inkheart is a moderately good children's fantasy, much like last year's City of Ember. For the first
few minutes, Rick had high hopes that this would be one of those memorable children's films, like
the The Thief of Bagdad or Monty Python's Time Bandits.
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
The action takes place in Khesh City, an enormous
disc-like construct, which orbits above the uninhabitable planet of Vellern. There, Angels are
state-sponsored assassins, who bump off failed politicians according to public vote. As the name implies,
the Angels have the ability to fly via anti-gravity technology, and fight using built-in weapons,
in an almost peerless fashion. An Angel named Nual, who has never failed in her duties, does.
The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
At the beginning of the novel, most of the world has done exactly that, gone
away. The reasons for that happening, and how some of the world was saved by the Jorgmund Pipe seem to have something
to do with a band of adventurers calling themselves the Haulage & Hazmat Emergency Civil Freebooting Company of
Exmore County, who, as the story opens, are being called upon to save the world. Again.