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SF Insite: In the first installment of The SF Site Reader's Guide to Fantasy, John O'Neill takes a look at a truly original series: The Redwall Novels of Brian Jacques.
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Michelle West Reading List: her latest, The Uncrowned King, is due in bookstores this month.
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Our Contents Page highlights reviews of The Borrowers by Mary Norton (5 volumes plus the movie tie-in), Song for the Basilisk by Patricia McKillip and Going Home Again by Howard Waldrop.
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TVNow
Immortality Immortality by Dr. Ben Bova
reviewed by Todd Jackson
Written by one of the grand names of both science fiction and science writing, Immortality speculates that various biomedical advances could achieve human immortality within fifty years -- meaning some people alive today would be immortal. Happily, you wouldn't have to be born "fixed" to benefit; human immortality, once possible, would be retroactive.

Armageddon Summer Armageddon Summer by Jane Yolen and Bruce Coville
reviewed by David Soyka
What do you do when your parents tell you The End is only weeks away? While Marina believes in God, she has a hard time reconciling her faith with a prophecy of Doom. Jed is an outright non-believer, reluctantly going along with the preparations, watching and waiting... and wondering why some of the cult members are secretly gathering weapons.

The Essential Bordertown The Essential Bordertown edited by Terri Windling and Delia Sherman
reviewed by Robert Francis
The locale is a kind of cultural DMZ between our mundane world and the Realm of Faerie. Most of the stories at least touch, if not center on, the cultural clashes between elves and humans, or the small group of folk trying to forge a new synthetic culture from both.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick gives us is a checklist for classic Star Trek. He's put it together to help today's fans find the good ones and to avoid the bad. Naturally, to some extent this is a question of taste.

Eternal Lovecraft Eternal Lovecraft edited by Jim Turner
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
The editor has put together an excellent anthology. Some tales are set in Lovecraft's fictional and personal haunts, some merely use or allude to his mythology and props, and some share the cosmic vision, especially prevalent in his early Dunsanian tales.

The Scent of Magic The Scent of Magic by Andre Norton
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
The author's focus on the city's smells and unseen signatures presents a unique way of viewing the setting and the cast of characters. Every location and every player bears the indelible mark of scents, good and bad. The descriptions of lavish furnishings and garments remain, but become secondary to the olfactory signals.

The House on Hound Hill The House on Hound Hill by Maggie Prince
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
Sixteen-year-old Emily is miserable. Her parents are divorcing, and she's moved to an ancient house in London. She hates her new school, misses her friends, and is dismayed by the fact that her mother seems to be attracted to the man next door. But there are worse things than personal unhappiness, as she discovers when she senses something terrible in her brother's room.

An Exchange of Hostages & Prisoner of Conscience An Exchange of Hostages and Prisoner of Conscience by Susan Matthews
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
There is a monster inside all of us. It takes only the right situation to bring it to life. With some luck, that situation will never coalesce and we can go on pretending to be the sweethearts or run-of-the-mill jerks everyone thinks we are. But what happens when we are forced to admit to the heinous secret we hold? Andrej Koscuisko is about to find out.

Bloodlines Bloodlines by William R. Burkett, Jr.
reviewed by Todd Richmond
Keith Ramsey -- poet, journalist, historian and hunter -- is looking forward to using all of those skills on a visit to Ptolemy to research the famous Renga poetry competition. He also intends to look up his old friend Ball, a human brain encased in a floating shell, a former covert Terran Services operative and a terrific source of stories. It'd almost be a vacation, if someone wasn't so intent on killing him...

A Killing Frost A Killing Frost by John Marsden
reviewed by Thomas Myer
Sensory detail pervades this novel of war, told from the point of view of a teenager, who, with her friends, becomes a partisan against an intractable enemy that has invaded her homeland.

New Arrivals Mid-September Books
compiled by John O'Neill
After a few solid days of scanning SF book covers and writing endless synopses, you start to notice things. Odd connections between books. Strangely familiar faces in the cover art. Inexplicable marketing trends: bizarre spaceships, women in scanty clothing, aliens with guns. Well, okay, maybe not so inexplicable. More women, fewer guns, and enough with the dragons already. And a scanner with a "medium crispy" setting would be nice, too. This issue the conspirators are Angus Wells, K.W. Jeter, Geoff Ryman, S.D. Perry, Howard V. Hendrix, Patricia Anthony, Dennis McKiernan,, and several others. Don't look now, but their agents are everywhere.

The Witches of Eileanan The Witches of Eíleanan by Kate Forsyth
reviewed by Regina Lynn Preciado
Regina felt immediately comfortable with this impressive debut, which blends the best of traditional fantasy with the author's unique vision.

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fifteenth Annual Collection The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fifteenth Annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois
reviewed by Steven H Silver
This anthology continues to be the leader in the field. Dozois's insightful summary of the previous year's SF and an extensive recommended reading list on their own make this book worth buying.

Tea from an Empty Cup Tea from an Empty Cup by Pat Cadigan
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
With a prose style both dense and minimalistic, the latest novel from the author of Fools, is a story that demands the reader pay attention to every word, resisting the urge to rush ahead to discover the truth that lies behind the imagery.

Legends Legends edited by Robert Silverberg
reviewed by David A. Truesdale
This monumental anthology is a must buy for lovers of high fantasy; you'll want this one in hardcover. After devouring it, you will no doubt then choose to showcase it in an honoured position on your fantasy bookshelf.

Gaming

Thornhold Thornhold by Elaine Cunningham
reviewed by Don Bassingthwaite
The Harpers, TSR's long-running and open-ended series, finally draws to a conclusion with this novel. Despite the fact that each of the 16 entries in the series stands on its own, this one left Don with a lot of unanswered questions, and a feeling there should be more.

New Arrivals September Games
compiled by John O'Neill
Modern gaming features some of the most creative work in Fantasy and Science Fiction today. From the rich background of TSR's Forgotten Realms to the detailed future of White Wolf's Trinity, gamers and game authors around the world are enjoying some of the most fully-realized fictional settings ever created. If you're looking for innovative ideas and energetic prose, look no further.

Series Review

Lost Years of Merlin Lost Years of Merlin by T.A. Barron
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Until a teenage Merlin arrives on the scene to tell king Vortigern why his royal tower continually collapses, English texts never mention the Arthurian sorcerer. T.A. Barron attempts to detail Merlin's childhood in these three volumes (of a projected five), which Georges reports are packed with excellent fantasy, entertaining adventures and nasty beasties.

First Novels

Beyond Good & Evil Beyond Good & Evil by Frank Viollis
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
This novel a straight shot to the finish line. The story is original and involving. A chapter or two in, and the language and the page appearance become familiar. After that it's only the plot, characters, and the strange, magic-filled world they inhabit that stand out.

Silicon Sunset Silicon Sunset by Scott T. Grusky
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
If John Sladek's Mechasm was the last book that made you laugh at technology gone awry, you are going to be so pleased you stopped to enjoy this novel. With paranoia in style again, it has conspiracies to spare and a cynical slant that will entertain almost every segment of the population.

Second Looks

The BFG The BFG by Roald Dahl
reviewed by David Soyka
This is not the kind of book you want to read at bedtime to lull your children asleep. Not because it's scary, not because some of it will go over their head, and not because kids won't understand it. No, you may not want to read it to them because it will keep them up from laughing too hard.

What Rough Book: Dark Poems and Light What Rough Book: Dark Poems and Light by Keith Allen Daniels
reviewed by Chris Donner
There is no doubt in Chris' mind now that the author has a distinct and personal voice in his poetry. His language, whether describing the fantastic or the horrific or the sublime, always sounds particularly like Keith Daniels. This is no small feat for a poet of any type, and it speaks highly to Daniels' credit.

The Gift The Gift by Patrick O'Leary
reviewed by Rodger Turner
In a reprise review to coincide with the paperback release, here is a story within many stories told by The Teller to a ship's captain and his crew. With the usual interruptions to remind us of the audience, we read the simple tale of a woodcarver's son, Tim, and a new king, Simon, and how they come to conquer the evil magic loosed in this world by The Usher, a scarred man who sold his soul to become a powerful wizard.

Plague Tales The Plague Tales by Ann Benson
reviewed by Alice Dechene
In a reprise review to coincide with the paperback release, when an artifact from the 14th Century is unearthed in 21st Century London, it may mean the beginning of a terrifying new plague. A novel of science fiction from a fresh new voice.

Gravelight Gravelight by Marion Zimmer Bradley
reviewed by Ann Benson
Novelist Ann Benson finds MZB has an unparalleled ability to write stories that make us accept things we would not ordinarily believe. We drop all our preconceived notions of what the world truly is in exchange for her sometimes wild ideas of what it might be -- if we just looked a little closer. A reprise review to coincide with the paperback release.

The White Tribunal The White Tribunal by Paula Volsky
reviewed by James Seidman
James was captivated. Readers of Paula Volsky's other books will find this novel to be a definite change of style. A reprise review to coincide with the paperback release.


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