Mirror Kingdoms by Peter S. Beagle
reviewed by Steven H Silver
When the name Peter S. Beagle is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind are unicorns. In Mirror Kingdoms:
The Best of Peter S. Beagle, there are plenty of unicorns to satisfy his fans, but there are more stories without
the iconic beast, and the volume thereby demonstrates the breadth of Beagle's writing and interests.
Babymouse: Dragonslayer by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
reviewed by Charlene Brusso
Babymouse is an engaging kid
with big dreams that tend to carry her away at the most inopportune times. Then
there's her school, with all its low-level "Lord of the Flies" annoyances, from pop quizzes to bad cafeteria
food. She also has to contend with an off-screen narrator
who never slacks off when it comes to pointing out her mistakes -- usually in the most sarcastic tone possible.
Now Babymouse is off on an epic journey of fantastical proportions.
The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade: The 11½ Anniversary Edition by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins
reviewed by Bonnie L. Norman
If you've been living under a rock for the last ten years or so, you might not have heard of the
web comic Penny Arcade. Featuring two cameo
characters called Tycho and Gabe, it covers not only the ins and outs of the latest news and releases from the video
game industry, but geekdom in general. People such as John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton are staunch
fans of the comic and well acquainted with the authors in real life; the foreword of this book is written lovingly
by Scalzi himself.
The Accidental Sorcerer: Rogue Agent, Book 1 by K.E. Mills
an audiobook review by Amy Timco
The Accidental Sorcerer, follows the
adventures of Gerald Dunwoody, Third-Class Wizard, who has learned to accept his inferior magical abilities despite
his ambition for bigger things. Gerald is a civil servant, a magical safety compliance inspector whose job is
unfulfilling in general -- and positively dangerous on bad days. When Stuttley's Superior Staff Factory explodes
due to unsafe conditions, Gerald's attempts to curb the damage are seen as the cause of the explosion.
Mortalis, Part 1: The Demon Wars by R.A. Salvatore
an audiobook review by Gil T. Wilson
In part one of Mortalis we learn the Touel'alfar, the elves in the land of Corona, have taken the son of
Elbryan and Pony and have begun his training as a ranger to replace Nightbird (Elbryan). The Touel'alfarar have also
begun the training of another ranger, Brynn Dharielle, a To-Gai girl whose family was killed during the war.
Warbreaker, Part 2 by Brandon Sanderson
an audiobook review by Ivy Reisner
Warbreaker is divided into three parts, which is only unfortunate in that, when you
get to the end of one part, you won't want to stop listening. Part two deepens the characters. Some change and
grow. Some show us aspects of themselves we didn't see before. Some discover the truth of themselves and their pasts.
Dune: House Harkonnen by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
an audiobook review by Gil T. Wilson
This book takes place approximately 20 years after House Atreides and about 30 years prior to the original
Dune series. Shaddam Corrino IV is the emperor and wants a son, yet his Bene Gesserit wife produces
only daughters, leaving him without an heir to the throne. The emperor is aware of the Bene Gesserit's ability to
determine the sex of their children and grows annoyed at Anirul for not giving him a son.
When Shadows Fall by L. Ron Hubbard
an audiobook review by Gil T. Wilson
The first of three stories in this collection, "When Shadows Fall," tells the story of Earth
after most of its population has left to colonize the universe, leaving
the planet depleted of its natural resources. The few inhabitants have very little food, fuel, air or water. The
Earth president and council decide to make a last ditch effort and pool all remaining resources to send out among
the stars a plea for help.
Chasing the Dragon by Justina Robson
reviewed by David Soyka
So, when you're four volumes into the Quantum Gravity series, a fantasy adventure that
manages to pull off a tongue-in-cheek collage of comic book action heroines, the Six-Million-Dollar Woman, James
Bond, sword and sorcery, self-help bromides, archetypical folk tales and just about every epic high fantasy trope,
what do you do to top yourself and keep the mix interesting?
Makers by Cory Doctorow
Tome of the Undergates by Sam Sykes
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
If I want to send a message, Sam Goldwyn is reported to have said, I'll use Western Union. He was wrong, of
course; most fictions convey a message of some sort, they cannot do otherwise since they emerge from the creator's
awareness of and ideas about the world around her.
But in the main, and in most successful cases, the story comes first and the message emerges naturally from it.
Cory Doctorow reverses this.
Freedom™ by Daniel Suarez
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
This book is a direct continuation of the themes begun in the author's
debut novel, Daemon, and reading that title first is essential. Once
again, the cast are all players in the world-changing plans set in
motion by deceased on-line game guru, Matthew Sobol. The character
continues to appear periodically as an avatar, reacting to events in the
manner of what gamers know as an NPC; non-player character.
The Book of Dreams edited by Nick Gevers
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Dreams disturb us, scare us, haunt us. Dreams provide us with unearthly experiences, make us reach the
unreachable. Calderon de la Barca wrote that La vida es sueno (Life is but a dream).
So, what better subject for a theme anthology? And if you invite to contribute five masters of fantastic fiction
the expected result should be a great book.
Uncle Bones by Damien Broderick
reviewed by Rich Horton
This is a collection of four novellas, one from both the beginning of his
career and another from 2009 plus two from the early 80s which was a particularly productive period for Broderick.
The title story is arguably a Young Adult story and is also a zombie story along with being
pure Science Fiction: not at all the tiresome cliché
zombie stuff we see altogether too much of these days.
Interzone #225, December 2009
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
One of the most popular magazines for mainstream fantasy and science fiction, it also has a great deal of extra filler
information in the form of film reviews, book reviews, comical anecdotes and a two page history of movies.
Early on, the reader will be faced with Dave Langford's Ansible Link mentioning various snippets on the world of writing,
publishing and the lives of writers in general. His brand of light humour is just enough to ease the reader into
the magazine at the start.
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Every year Rick predicts the best movies, based on the writers, not the director or the stars. A month from now, he'll do that
for 2010. He listed thirty genre films in 2009, not counting talking gerbil movies. One 2008 movie, The Imaginarium of
Doctor Parnassus, wasn't released until 2009. One 2009 movie, The Illuminati: Out of Chaos Comes Order,
won't be released until 2010. He saw 16 of the films listed, plus Imaginarium.
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
So it's Kick-Ass day here in the comics media.
Mark London Williams had originally come to talk just about eroticism in comics, occasioned by the two books:
Gilbert Hernandez' High Soft Lisp, and the Eddie Campbell/Daren White collaboration The Playwright.
Instead, he's been to see Kick-Ass and noticed how both fit together.
reviewed by Dominic Cilli
The adventure begins with the group aboard a ship
being paid to protect a high ranking church official. Almost immediately, the ship comes under attack by pirates
and then soon thereafter by certain other denizens of the deep. The group then finds themselves on a nearby
island fighting with said denizens and some other particularly nasty enemies in an attempt to recover the
title book that was stolen during the first engagement.