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The Dervish House The Dervish House Vote for SF Site's Readers' Choice Awards for 2011
Here we are again, offering you your annual chance to let the world know what you thought was the best of all the speculative reading material you encountered from the past year. If you've been a regular visitor to the SF Site for more than a couple of years, you are quite probably already familiar with this annual event. If you're new to us, all you need to know is that we want to hear what you believe was the very best of what you read from the past year. If you've forgotten what you chose in previous years, you can find them all linked at Best Read of the Year including The Dervish House by Ian McDonald which was the top choice last year.

Four Stories Four Stories Four Stories Four Stories
Four Stories by Paul Di Filippo
reviewed by Trent Walters
The author claims that two possibilities exist for why writers choose to tell single-idea SF: 1) According H.G. Wells, writers should not beleaguer readers with too many strangenesses in one narrative. 2) SF writers are stingy with their ideas. A third reason not mentioned by him may be that writers want to make a clear, philosophical extrapolation of a single idea or theme. If they add too much to the pot, they fear cooking something more like mud than stew.

Forever Azathoth: Pastiches and Parodies Forever Azathoth: Pastiches and Parodies by Peter Cannon
reviewed by Richard A. Lupoff
The stories here all qualify as Lovecraftian metafiction, ranging from parody to pastiche to homage. The author adds spice to this stew by calling in elements from authors as disparate as William Faulkner and James Herriot. The most surprising and surprisingly successful combination is the importation of P.G. Wodehouse's air-headed Bertie Wooster and Bertie's "gentleman's gentleman," the unflappable Reginald Jeeves, into the world of Lovecraftian weirdness.

Absorption Absorption by John Meaney
reviewed by Katherine Petersen
Absorption, the first book in the Ragnarok series, also marks a return to the world of the pilots and their infinite city of Labyrinth in mu-space. That said, one doesn't need to have read any of his other books to enjoy or understand this one. There is a lot going on in these pages, and perhaps too much, but Absorption is more of a setup novel than a plot novel in which he introduces characters and situations, and much more will hopefully be learned in future installments.

Snow Come to Hawk's Folly Snow Come to Hawk's Folly by J. Kathleen Cheney
reviewed by Trent Walters
In a sequel to Iron Shoes, the story picks up a few years later: Guiare and Imogen have married and have had a child. And her devious fairy father, Mr. Finnegan, has shown up on her doorstep, wanting to get to know his long-lost daughter. Finnegan promises not to harm any of her family -- a promise he cannot break. But Imogen is unsure if her father can still do damage, playing with the wording of the promise.

Jupiter, Issue 33, July 2011 Jupiter, Issue 33, July 2011
reviewed by Rich Horton
The thirty-third issue is subtitled Euanthe, as ever after a moon of Jupiter. This issue has five stories, as well as two poems by Allen Ashley on astronomical subjects (Venus and Mercury). The issue opens with "Battlefield of Woe" by Alexander Hawes.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon Transformers: Dark of the Moon by Peter David
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
It starts with the manned expedition to the moon, but the real reason for doing so was hidden from the public gaze, wasn't televised and never talked about with the net result that it was considered top secret. The government were instead interested in finding out more of an alien ship that had crash landed on the planet. The story starts in the 60s with the scientists trying to find out what it all meant, and whether they could make any sense of what was buried under there.

Batman: No Man's Land Batman: No Man's Land by Greg Rucka
an audiobook review by Steven Brandt
First there was the Contagion, a modern-day plague that washed over Gotham City leaving its population decimated. Then came the Cataclysm, a massive earthquake with its center just miles from Gotham's downtown. Costing $100 billion to rebuild the wasted city, it was a price tag the government quickly decided they did not want to pay. Those who wanted out were evacuated but hundreds of thousands stayed, unwilling to leave their homes, or perhaps having nowhere to go. With the bridges to the mainland demolished, the United States government washed its hands of the whole affair. Gotham City was gone, now there is only No Man's Land.

Kafkaesque Kafkaesque edited by John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly
reviewed by Seamus Sweeney
"Kafkaesque" is a word used very often to describe bureaucratic snafus and paradoxes. Even people who have never read a word of Kafka use it to describe their encounter with the Department of Motor Vehicles, or airport security. So pervasive has "Kafkaesque" become that it has nearly lost its link with the works of Franz Kafka. When it comes to trying to summarise this wonderful anthology, there is something of a dilemma. It can be recommended unhesitatingly to anyone who has ever read any Kafka, but what about those for whom Kafkaesque is a noun they use but Kafka is not someone they've read?

The Goblin Corps The Goblin Corps by Ari Marmell
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
This doorstopper of a book seeks to reverse the bog-standard LOTR-style hero quest by presenting the story from the perspective of the bad guys. As we soon learn, the machinations of Morthul, dreaded Charnel King of the Iron Keep, have failed. Centuries of plotting come to nothing, due to a band of so-called heroes sent by good King Dororam. The price paid for thwarting evil, is the cold blooded murder of Princess Amalia, Dororam's only daughter. As winter falls upon the Brimstone Mountains, a grieving Dororam begins to assemble a mighty army, with the intention of finally destroying the great enemy of humanity.

The Last Dragonslayer The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
reviewed by David Soyka
This is first adventure of Jennifer Strange, adolescent foundling and indentured servant, who manages the Kazam Mystical Arts Management, a collective of wizards for hire. Also it turns out that Strange is a chosen one, the last of a long line of Dragonslayers, destined to kill the last surviving dragon, thereby opening up the heretofore magically protected Dragonlands to land development.

The Children of the Sky The Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
Marooned in the Slow Zone, the last surviving human population has a clear goal; rebuild their technological civilization in time to protect themselves from the Blight that is surely coming their way. Unfortunately, almost all of them are teenagers or young adults, and they're not sure they believe an official story that includes their parents as the villains who freed the Blight.

The Complete Binscombe Tales The Complete Binscombe Tales by John Whitbourn
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Apparently a village located in the south-east of England, Binscombe, is a place where odd things happen all the time, reality is not only what meets the eye and the supernatural and the paranormal are the bread and butter of everyday life. The living center of the village is the Duke of Argyll, the local pub, where, in the tradition of Arthur C. Clarke's White Hart and Pratt and de Camp's Gavagan Bar, things are discussed and revealed, old traditions are kept alive and odd events take place.

Dangerous Dimensions Dangerous Dimensions by Robert Silverberg
reviewed by Trent Walters
Robert Silverberg's science fiction work has won him multiple Hugos and Nebulas. Are these justified? Do they stand the test of time? This is a five-story ebook which puts those questions to the test. All are very different: from culture SF, to classic SF, to contemporary SF, to hip and quirky SF, to a more literary SF. There's something here for every type of SF reader.

Nexus Graphica Nexus Graphica
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
After taking a month sabbatical from reviewing books for this column, Rick Klaw found himself with an abundance of material. In fact so many titles to cover, that they squeezed out his typical Nexus Graphica rantings. He'll be back in 30 with a more traditional piece.

New Arrivals New Arrivals
compiled by Neil Walsh
This time it's a short list, but some of the highlights include the latest works from the likes of Orson Scott Card, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mike Resnick, and Tad Williams.


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