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Best of 1998 Cover SF Site: Reader's Choice Awards
Just as the SF Site: Best of 1998 list did in our last issue, this list had its share of surprises and treasures. As much effort as these kinds of Awards are to do right, the rewards for the diligent compiler are considerable. Internet SF & Fantasy readers have diverse and eclectic taste, there's no doubt about it. But you also have a nose for the rare find, and everyone who worked on this list -- no matter how widely read we thought we were -- walked away with a discovery or two (or ten) that made all the work worthwhile.

A Clash of Kings A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
reviewed by Wayne MacLaurin
Once again the author treats us to a magnificent tapestry that is, at once, both stunningly detailed and amazing in its ability to draw the reader in. He juggles several distinct storylines -- one tale follows Jon Snow in the north, another is the battle of four would-be-kings for the Seven Kingdoms, and the third tells of the fate of Daenerys Targaryen a continent away.

Distraction Distraction by Bruce Sterling
reviewed by Ernest Lilley
It's 2044, and America just isn't what it used to be. Cities are privately owned, Caucasians are a distrusted minority, and the country is governed by permanent "Emergency Committees." Guest reviewer Ernest Lilley, editor of the prestigious SF Revu, takes a look at what may be Sterling's best novel yet.

Vacuum Diagrams Vacuum Diagrams by Stephen Baxter
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
This collection is the work of an audacious and wide-ranging imagination, resulting in vast cosmological speculation spanning the entire 20 billion year history of our universe. Only at the end does the pace slow down enough for us to get to know the characters as people, bringing cosmological wonders down to a human scale, and allowing an emotional connection with events far removed from our own time and place.

New Arrivals Mid-January Books
compiled by John O'Neill
1999 continues to shape up nicely, with new books from Kage Baker, George R.R. Martin, Robert Reed, Richard Bowes, Stewart Wieck, Joel Rosenberg, Paul Cook, Chris Bunch, Robin McKinley, and many others -- three full pages of new SF & Fantasy releases. If you've got a mouse, we've got the details.

The Iron Wars The Iron Wars by Paul Kearney
reviewed by Neil Walsh
Characters walk some very fine lines, risking everything to juggle such issues as power and prestige, high treason and fervent patriotism, heresy and true faith. There's politics, magical manipulation, emotional frailty -- everything you could ask for in a good solid work of fantasy.

Hour of Judgment Hour of Judgment by Susan R. Matthews
reviewed by Kim Fawcett
Too many books glorify war in their quest for exciting plots filled with action and heroes. Too few deal with the everyday realities of war -- suffering and death, hatred and oppression, sacrifice and loss. Susan R. Matthews' latest book doesn't shy away from this less palatable side.

The Tough Guide to Fantasyland The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones
reviewed by Rich Horton
Finally available in North America, this is the Fodor's guidebook to Fantasyland. It's an enjoyable read in small, easily digestible chunks. And any writer venturing on creating his or her own tour through Fantasyland would do well to read it -- and think twice about using any clichés skewered herein!

Eternal Romance Comics Eternal Romance Comics by Janet L. Hetherington
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
These are a blend of the best of true confession comics and the romantic notions that persist about vampires, werewolves, etc.  And no need to worry about Eternal Romance taking itself too seriously. This is a far cry from the sloppy sentimentality of other romance comics.

Deathstalker Honor Deathstalker Honor by Simon R. Green
reviewed by Todd Richmond
If you thought the saga of Owen Deathstalker was over, think again. Just because the revolution was a success doesn't mean that their work is done. The government is in shambles, the Hadenmen 2nd Crusade is underway, the AIs of Shrub are on the move and something scary is coming out of the Dark Void.

Best of 1998 Cover SF Site: Best of 1998
There were more than a thousand Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror books published in 1998. The writers, reviewers and editors of the SF Site present their pick for the Top Ten Books of the year. Have a look at their selection -- and cast your own vote for the Best of '98.

Mossflower Mossflower by Brian Jacques
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Descriptions of the foods and drinks are mouthwatering, species speak in different dialects and specialize in different trades and weaponry and there is plenty of action and adventure, with narrow escapes galore -- lots to keep a young reader happy. These are some of the reasons why Jacques' books have been so popular. Georges begs to differ.

Analog Analog, February 1999
reviewed by Steve Lazarowitz
One story, "Nor A Lender Be" by James Van Pelt is a wonderfully haunting tale which Steve feels is a must-read. In fact, it may be his favourite piece in the issue though both "Vultures and Circles of Light" and "Shadow" are up there as well.

Mark V. Ziesing Books Mark V. Ziesing Books
compiled by Rodger Turner
From Gene Wolfe to Joe Lansdale, Stephen King to James Blaylock, Mark Ziesing has published an eclectic mix of titles since he did his first book in 1982. This is the sixth installment of a nine part series putting together a reading list of Mark V. Ziesing Books.

Daughter of Darkness Daughter of Darkness by Ed Gorman
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Neither noir nor occult, as the title might suggest, this is a sort of updated hard-boiled detective with nutty heiress novel. It's a quick and moderately entertaining light read.

Cain Cain by Ren Hayes
reviewed by A.L. Sirois
What we have is essentially a study of violence and pathology, done in Ren Hayes's emphatic but crude post-modern style, with a lot of emphasis on photocopies to provide the backgrounds. In other words, it's a super-anti-hero comic.

Dog Eat Dog Dog Eat Dog by Jerry Jay Carroll
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
It's a bizarre blending of themes and styles, combining over-the-top parody, thriller-like suspense, and some pretty trenchant observations about God, the universe, the nature of evil, and the psychology of dogs. It's a delicate balancing act that constantly runs the danger of descending into mere silliness.

Stardust Stardust by Neil Gaiman
reviewed by Alice Dechene and Neil Walsh
Tristran Thorn, of the 19th century English town of Wall, wants nothing more than to be a sheep farmer -- and to marry Victoria Forester. She, however, will have nothing to do with him. Unless he can fetch the falling star they spy in the night sky above.

Forthcoming Books Forthcoming Books
compiled by John O'Neill
Have a peek at the future of Science Fiction and Fantasy -- including work from John Barnes, Jack Williamson, Alan Dean Foster, Sheri S. Tepper, Christopher Priest, John Marsden, Robin Hobb, Glen Cook, Larry Niven, and many others. We think you'll find it very interesting.

Bearwalker Bearwalker by Steven Lee Climer
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
With good use of unusual settings and little-known beliefs to make what could be just another werewolf story into something at once more complex and more elemental, this is not part of the werewolf/erotic wave that crowds the shelves in your favourite bookstore.

New Magazines New Magazines
compiled by John O'Neill
Looking for the best in new magazines? The FictionHome page has news, reviews and links to the finest short fiction on the market, from SF magazines to anthologies and collections. This week sees the arrival of new issues of Weird Tales, SF Chronicle, and others.

Good Faeries / Bad Faeries Good Faeries / Bad Faeries by Brian Froud
reviewed by Jonathan Fesmire
Filled with paintings and sketches, this book draws you into Faeryland as effectively as a well told tale. Each creature, long and graceful or squat and stocky, has a distinct personality. Froud's greatest talent is making his images seem vibrant and alive.

Raven's Heart Raven's Heart by Jennifer Dunne
reviewed by Steve Lazarowitz
Raven Armistead is the daughter of the head of the Auric Rights League, beautiful, totally devoted to her cause and dangerous when she has to be. Val Tarrent is an officer of the the inter-continental police -- imagine them as fundamentalist Christians with guns. The ICP is Val's life until Raven saves his. That's when things begin to go awry.

Series Review

The Crown and Court Duet The Crown and Court Duet by Sherwood Smith
reviewed by Rich Horton
Very few books keep Rich up at night or make him take an extra-long lunch break to finish -- but these two did. They feature 16-year old Countess Meliara Astiar, and her bumbling but passionate entrance into the worlds of politics and war. The pair of books are nice formal contrasts: the first almost all action and war, the second more magic and formal court life. Highly recommended.

Second Looks

Top Dog Top Dog by Jerry Jay Carroll
reviewed by David Soyka
This is a funny, entertaining jaunt that even manages to raise the Big Metaphysical Questions of the Meaning of Life and why Evil exists without falling into banalities. But on the other hand, don't expect any deeply satisfying answers...

Sorcerers of Majipoor Sorcerers of Majipoor by Robert Silverberg
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
A prequel to the Valentine novels, set a thousand years before the events of Lord Valentine's Castle, this book also stands somewhere between science fiction and fantasy. Silverberg has an unparalleled ability to create vivid images. He brings the great planet of Majipoor to vibrant and convincing life, as much a character in this drama as any of the human ones.

Rose Daughter Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley
reviewed by Robert Francis
In this re-telling of the "Beauty and the Beast" story, the author skillfully creates lush and vibrant realities through painstakingly beautiful descriptions. No doubt you'll recognize the story, but the familiar will be made new again.

Touched By The Gods Touched By The Gods by Lawrence Watt-Evans
reviewed by Jim Greer
In a reprise review to coincide with the paperback release, Jim found it to be a clever, thought-provoking story that moves with good pace. The characters are slightly static, but well-drawn and interesting. There is enough mystery and intrigue to keep the reader glued to the story.

Preternatural Preternatural by Margaret Wander Bonanno
reviewed by Peter D. Tillman
It's an astonishing juggling act -- autobiography, the writer's craft, how your kids grew up while you weren't looking, Trekkie fangirl turns pro, mid-list writer goes to SF conventions, Hollywood business deals, crystal healing, bilingual puns and a Captain Kirk-ish actor who can't get it up.


New Arrivals January Games
compiled by John O'Neill
White Wolf continues to show unflagging support for their World of Darkness line with quality sourcebooks and a hardcover update to the landmark Vampire: The Masquerade. We have all the details in our January games column.

Inanimae: The Secret Way Inanimae: The Secret Way by Rob Barret, Roger Gaudreau, Stephan Herman, R.S. Martin and Angel McCoy
a gaming module review by Don Bassingthwaite
This is one of the most all around satisfying sourcebook products. It's complete in every way, from base concept to fine details to integration with the parent game setting. It's well-illustrated, very well-written, and the incredible sense of wonder, enchantment and imagination could add a rich dimension to your chronicle.

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