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SF Insite: John O'Neill continues his salute to Asimov's SF and Analog in "A Brief History of Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine."
Letters: news, rumours, and indignant rebuttal from authors and readers around the world. This week, we hear from Publisher Lou Aronica, writers Damien Broderick and Bruce Holland Rogers, and others.
Conventions: we've updated our coverage to include listings broken down by date, by location and by category.
Marc Goldstein looks at computer role-playing games.
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Our Contents Page highlights reviews of Fractal Paisleys by Paul Di Filippo, Nazareth Hill by Ramsey Campbell, Dreaming In Smoke by Tricia Sullivan and Planet Dreams by Michaela Carlock.
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Have you seen our previous issues?
The Sea Man The Sea Man by Jane Yolen & The Great Redwall Feast by Brian Jacques
reviewed by David Soyka
Two books from Peguin/Philomel share Christopher Denise as illustrator, and, though aimed at different age groups, proved worthy bedtime reads on a reliable test subject, David's eight-year-old daughter, Sydnie.

Slaughtermatic Slaughtermatic by Steve Aylett
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Not since John Sladek (one of the best satirist in SF) has a writer had so much fun playing with words. The author twists definitions and toys with expressions. The story is a tale of a far future where crime is an art and the cops aren't just crooked, they're Gordian knots of corruption and insanity.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
In his column, Rick reviews the new movie X-Files: Fight the Future (worth seeing but disappointing), and the season finale of DS9, "Tears of the Prophets" (which stands out in a season of great episodes).

The Horribly Haunted School The Horribly Haunted School by Margaret Mahy
reviewed by Neil Walsh
This is an intelligent, playful adventure with an air of mystery about it. There are plenty of silly-sounding names (like Scrunley Filcher and Jessica Frogcutlet), interesting characters, and spoofing glimpses at some of the unusual obsessions and instabilities of adults.

The Dazzle of Day The Dazzle of Day by Molly Gloss
reviewed by Katharine Mills
This is the kind of book that lingers in memory; at once harsh and sweet, a poetic celebration of humanity's potential for destruction and creation.

New Arrivals Mid-June New Arrivals
compiled by John O'Neill
It's July. It's hot. Like, really hot. Looks like all the SF eco-disaster novels you read ten years ago were right. The end is near. Nothing to do now but find an air-conditioned corner and read up on the surprises comin' next decade. The experts this week are Mike Resnick, David G. Hartwell, Mary Doria Russell, Steve Perry & Gary Braunbeck, Jacqueline Harpman, Parke Godwin, Lisa Mason, Sherwood Smith, Alison Sinclair and many others.

Retribution Retribution by Elizabeth Forrest
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Charlie Saunders was a child prodigy of the art world. The inspiration behind her stunning canvasses were terrifying dreams. Who knew that a brain tumour was fostering her genius? And threatening her young life? It's undeniable entertainment. A good, rapid-fire read that grips your attention until the last page.

Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary by Pamela Dean
reviewed by Margo MacDonald
A brooding foreshadowing of doom, deep and compelling relationships between the characters, and their near irrational rationalizing away of all the weirdness popping up around them -- all this kept Margo reading long after the plot had failed to hold her interest.

The Demon Spirit The Demon Spirit by R.A. Salvatore
reviewed by Regina Lynn Preciado
Story grows out of character and the author's characters make this series rise above the plethora of similarly plotted fantasy trilogies. Salvatore has said he spent six months just building his world, getting to know his characters, and it shows.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Mist Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Mist by Dean Wesley Smith and Kathryn Rusch
reviewed by Alexander von Thorn
The Captain's Table is a bar in the interstices of space and time, where ship captains from past and present gather to exchange stories, in the tradition of Gavagan's Bar or Callahan's. Unfortunately, it seems like more of a marketing device than a literary one.

Asimov's SF Asimov's SF, June 1998
reviewed by David Soyka
The June issue of Asimov's SF marks the debut of a new larger format resulting in 10% more content. This issue also appears to send a few probes to the fringe regions of SF while maintaining a home base in the terra firma of the mainstream.

The Neutronium Alchemist The Neutronium Alchemist by Peter F. Hamilton
reviewed by Stephen M. Davis
This novel, the sequel to The Reality Dysfunction, concerns the return of souls from the Beyond. The author does an excellent job of keeping this from getting silly, and the possessors act in a generally logical fashion, with a bit of localized mayhem thrown in to keep things interesting.

The Still The Still by David Feintuch
reviewed by Kim Fawcett
Kim found this to be one of the most enjoyable fantasy books she's read this year -- a sweeping story with plenty of action and plenty of characters to love and to hate. The author generates enough tension to keep you at the edge of your seat right up until the final line.

Editor's Choice: Short Fiction Reviews Editor's Choice
short fiction reviews by David A. Truesdale
In his column, David looks at the May 1998 issue of Science Fiction Age. His choice is "Saddle Point: Roughneck" by Stephen Baxter.

River of Blue Fire River of Blue Fire by Tad Williams
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
Like Volume 1, the second part of Otherland is skillfully written and flawlessly paced. It's an incredibly complex work, bristling with themes, characters, symbols, and storylines. The domains of Otherland are mind-boggling in their variety and inventiveness. Williams juggles it all with remarkable skill.

First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women by Eric McCormack
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Wanna see to what levels horror literature can be taken? McCormack's novel is reminiscent in some ways of the works of E.F. Benson -- an atmospheric British-style ghost story with a hefty dose of more graphic horror.

Black Oak #1:  Genesis Black Oak #1: Genesis by Charles Grant
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Charles Grant owes Lisa one night's sleep. What kind of fool stays up past midnight when the alarm is set for 5:30 am? The one who started this novel and knew by page 3 it had to be finished before something as trivial as sleep came.

Warrior Princesses Warrior Princesses edited by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough and Martin H. Greenberg
reviewed by Lela Olszewski
This anthology celebrates women who refuse to be constrained by society's rules, even though they know the result is as likely to be their doom as it is their freedom. The majority of the stories are sword & sorcery, with the emphasis on "sword." Most are fresh and some are surprising, providing a variety of pleasures for the reader.

Highlander: Shadow of Obsession Highlander: Shadow of Obsession by Rebecca Neason
reviewed by Todd Richmond
Fans of the TV series will enjoy this novel, which fills in a few holes and offers a wealth of detail on the history of MacLeod's old friend, Darius. With only a handful of Highlander books out now, Todd hopes any others to come will be up to the standards set by this novel.

Second Looks

Bunker Man Bunker Man by Duncan McLean
reviewed by Chris Donner
A masterful tale of how one man's obsession grows to the point where it overtakes and obliterates his former personality, turning him into what he hates. The tension and ambiguity build until the reader is uncertain whether the protagonist is going mad, whether he is simply evil, or whether he is actually trying to ward off a genuine threat.

First Novels

The Stone Prince The Stone Prince by Fiona Patton
reviewed by Alexander von Thorn
Fiona Patton writes with clarity and conviction, rare and required qualities for a writer of epic fantasy. With a genuine late-medieval flavour, hers is also a world where magic plays a central role in the affairs of nations.

For the Emperor For the Emperor by Christine W. Murphy
reviewed by Thomas Myer
Two warring factions, and stuck in between is a race of disinherited people known as the Imsada -- sort of a cross between Geronimo's freedom fighters of the Old West and the Afghani mujahedin. Vibrant with tension, well-drawn characters and a plot which skips along at a good pace, this novel may indicate a bright future for the medium of electronic books.


Werewolf Players Guide Werewolf Players Guide edited by Ed Hall and Allison Sturms
reviewed by Alexander von Thorn
This is a must-buy for anybody interested in the Werewolf: the Apocalypse game. Almost everything in this book is new material, with little overlap with the core rule book. It's an excellent comprehensive reference for players, as well as a good broad expansion set for gamemasters.

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