Nebula Awards Showcase 2009 edited by Ellen Datlow
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
At some point in the not too distant past, when we probably weren't really paying attention, the Science
Fiction Writers of America, which presents the Nebula Awards, became the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers
of America. All the way through this forty-third annual anthology of Nebula Award winners and nominees there
is an uneasy awareness of this shift in focus. Perhaps Brian Stableford and John Clute were right, you only have to
look in the bookshops to see fantasy is in the ascendant so maybe science fiction has indeed run its course.
Conspirator by C.J. Cherryh
reviewed by Charlene Brusso
C.J. Cherryh is the best writer of first-contact stories in the business. Nobody offers more insight in the
psychological subtleties of human-vs-'Other' communication, and the problems and issues that can result
when one group thinks -- mistakenly -- that it understands the other. Previous works like the
Faded Sun series and the Chanur series amply demonstrate her skill, but
the Foreigner series, of which this book is part, is her masterwork.
Unclean Spirits by M.L.N. Hanover
reviewed by Katherine Petersen
Jayné gets a life-changing surprise when she flies to Denver to
settle her murdered Uncle Eric's estate. The good news is she has inherited a lot of money and property all
over the world, but the bad news is she finds herself embroiled in a battle with the Invisible College. What
you might ask is the Invisible College besides the group that killed Jayné's uncle?
Genesis by Bernard Beckett
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
Set in a near future where the inhabitants of an island
have walled themselves off from a world dying of disease and devastation, this book is nominally the story of a
young student facing an examination that will determine her qualifications for the next step up in her
career. But with characters with names like Anaximander and Pericles, and a society that refers to itself as
the Republic, it's evident that there's more going on here.
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
It's a supernatural love story. Young Grace, whose parents tend to forget that she exists half the time, was once (when
she was very young) dragged off by a pack of wolves into the woods behind her home -- and was rescued by one of the
pack, a wolf whose golden eyes she has never forgotten and with whom she keeps up a strange and distant relationship
during the winters of her lives when the pack is roaming the woods. She has plenty to handle in the rest of her life.
Tesseracts 13 edited by Nancy Kilpatrick and David Morrell
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
The interesting and exhaustive overview of Canadian dark fiction by Robert Knowlton placed at the end
of the book makes the inattentive reader realize how many horror writers commonly assumed to be
American are actually Canadian. And the whole of this latest instalment in the series, entirely devoted to horror fiction,
confirms that Canada is a prolific country for that genre fiction.
Batman: Dead White by John Shirley
an audiobook review by Ivy Reisner
Be aware, this title isn't work safe or kid safe. It contains foul language and racial epithets. The story is
overdone. Everything is overstated and larger than life, and that's exactly what a comic book novel should
be. There is no subtlety here, no layers of meaning. You have the good guys, who are in all ways good, duking
it out with the bad guys, who embody everything we could consider bad.
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
In an earlier column, Mark London Williams had talked about a couple of "Madeleine Cookie" experiences
he'd had with recent arrivals over the transom, the first of those being the 4th Batman collection
in DC's Showcase series of archival B&W compendiums.
And how that collection brought him back not only to "then," but several subsequent phases/stages
of growing, changing, aging in general, and as a comics reader -- and occasional writer -- in particular.
He also wrote of a second "cookie," but had run out of space for it, and he figured he'd get to it in a subsequent column.
The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
compiled by Neil Walsh
This time, our recent arrivals feature the latest from Robin Hobb, Greg Egan, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, David Anthony Durham, Robert Holdstock, a graphic novel adaptation of Ray Bradbury, a manga version of X-Men, a colleciton of essays on Robert Bloch, and much more.
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Caprica, a prequel to Battlestar Galactica set more than fifty years before the age of the
Battlestars, is currently only out on DVD. It will come to television in 2010, as the pilot of a new series.
The DVD of Dollhouse contains two episodes that were never shown on television, both on
disk three, "Echo" and "Epitaph One." Both include a few scenes that were aired in other episodes.
reviewed by Dominic Cilli
We are introduced to the Final Empire, a dark, seemingly
post-apocalyptic world that features raining ash and a mysterious mist that comes at night. The final empire
is governed by the oppressive and god-like Lord Ruler and has been around for a thousand years. Society is divided
into the nobility and the skaa or slaves. Vin is a seventeen-year-old half-skaa girl who is
a member of a small-time gang of street thieves. She is their lucky charm. Vin has no idea
that the ability to create that luck is something much more.
Battlestar Galactica: Downloaded by David Bassom
reviewed by David Maddox
It seemed like a crazy idea at first. Taking an old one-season science fiction show from the 70s
and re-imagining it for a modern day audience, while working in themes of current day politics and military
struggle. Stepping outside the approved world of SF and focusing on characters and emotional responses
rather than space ships and aliens was the next step. And, as a surprise to everyone, the hit
series Battlestar Galactica was (re)born.
A Mage of None Magic by A. Christopher Drown
reviewed by John Enzinas
Neil, a young man on the cusp of adulthood thinks he knows what his life has in store but his journey
is disrupted by as he discovers that he is the Apostate, a prophesied mage of none magic who will change
the world. To assist him in his new journey he has his band including the reformed assassin, the
charismatic leader and the gruff yet surprisingly intelligent fighter.