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SF Insite: Reviews Editor Neil Walsh and SF Site Founder John O'Neill want your vote for our 2nd annual Readers' Choice Best Read Of 1999 list. Letters: Find out about the Millennium imprint, Anita Blake Vampire Hunter, and Rebecca Bradley's books. Also, the son of Ralph Williams offers a glimpse at the character of the man who was his father.
Michelle West Reading List: did you read her latest, The Uncrowned King? Here are others you might like.
Science Fact: Sometimes fiction isn't enough. Here are a few places to start.
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Our Contents Page highlights reviews of Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody, Twilight Tales: Tales of Forbidden Passion edited by Tina L. Jens, The Other Side of Dawn by John Marsden and Code of Conduct by Kristine Smith.
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The Martian Race by Gregory Benford
a novel excerpt
For American John Axelrod, it's not about nationalism or personal fame. It's about the money: the Mars Prize, a $30 billion purse offered for the first successful manned mission to the Red Planet. When NASA becomes bogged down in politics and bureaucracy, businessman Axelrod and a conglomerate of backers seize their chance.
    But for astronauts Julia; her husband, Viktor; Marc; and Raoul -- Axelrod's team of ex-NASAnauts -- it's not about wealth or media attention. It's about courage, discovery, and facing the unknown. It's about Mars...and staying alive.

Mars in Our Time
an article by Gregory Benford
Back to Mars—again. This season's two Mars missions have already seen the embarrassing smashup of an orbiter, sent off course by an error mistaking yards for meters. That blunder will ring in our memories, cited endlessly as classic hubris from all-powerful NASA...
    But the landing on December 3 will be the right stuff indeed — the most difficult ever attempted on the Red Planet. The Martian south pole is deadly cold and rugged.
    If it survives, we will hear the winds of another world for the first time. Our robot lander will dig for water. Then another two years will pass before another team of two craft probes our Earthlike neighbor.

Harry Potter Novels Harry Potter Novels by J.K. Rowling
reviewed by Pat Caven
In the media the Harry Potter books have been compared to C.S. Lewis and The Little Prince. Ostensibly for children, but with deeper meaning for adults. Maybe Pat is still just a big kid, but she didn't see any of this. She just enjoyed them for what they are. Great reading that takes you back to that time in your life. They are wildly imaginative, wonderfully funny and well thought out. The author has created instant classics that deserve a valued place in children's literature.

A.D. 999 A.D. 999 by Jadrien Bell
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Oh, how primitive and superstitious people were in the 10th century! Just because a calendar was about to roll over, they thought the world was going to end, that horrors awaited them on the opposite side of that midnight. Can't we all be proud how much more rational and sensible we are now?

Twilight Tales: Dangerous Dames Twilight Tales: Dangerous Dames edited by Tina L. Jens
reviewed by Rodger Turner
This chapbook contains some terrific fiction. You should get a copy and settle in for some vivid prose and delightful characters. In particular, Rodger recommends Tina L. Jens' "Death Gets a Make Over," Lynda Licina's "Something I Can Never Have" and Viki S. Rollins' "Safe at Home."

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
In his column, Rick gives us his take on Star Trek Voyager, "Pathfinder," written by David Zabel and 2 episodes of The X-Files, "Rush" by David Amann, "The Goldberg Variations" by Jeffrey Bell.

Demonesque Demonesque by Steven Lee Climer
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
If you're one of those readers who can't resist trying to solve the mystery before the end, you're going to be second-guessing yourself every few pages. Huron City is supposed to be a peaceful hamlet, a retreat from the dangers and distractions of the big city. That's how it's supposed to operate, but things don't always work out like you hope. Especially when a serial killer is on the loose. Something like that can ruin a good town for everybody. It can also make everyone in town suspect everyone else. Ask Detective Rick Gilroy -- he can hardly decide who to investigate first; all the suspects look so good.

New Arrivals December Books
compiled by Neil Walsh
In addition to the new books this month (including Joe Haldeman's latest and a collection taken from the pages of Asimov's SF Magazine), one of our book reps dropped off copies of some novels published several months ago -- thanks Jennifer! Maybe some of these were your favourites this year? Don't forget to vote for your top picks in the SF Site Readers' Choice: Best Read of 1999.

The Hand That Feeds / Alternate Lives / In The Mirror The Hand That Feeds by Peter Crowther and James Lovegrove, Alternate Lives by Paul Bradshaw and In The Mirror by Sarah Singleton
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
These are 3 exceptional chapbooks with a vitally important theme. It would be nice if these stories gave us pause, caused us to examine the shadows around us more closely. "Nice," but not likely, according to these authors. People are people and human nature is virtually set in stone; a genuine, lasting change just may be beyond such simple creatures.

Star Trek on DVD Star Trek on DVD
reviewed by Rick Norwood
Star Trek is out on DVD, an ideal way for those too young to have seen the original to watch it, and for those of us so old we haven't watched it in years to relive it. Rick has watched "The Corbomite Maneuver" written by Jerry Sohl and gives us his thoughts.

New Magazines New Magazines
compiled by John O'Neill
The SF Site's FictionHome page brings you the latest news and reviews of genre magazines and other short fiction. This week we look at brand new issues of Altair, Weird Tales, Interzone, Dark Planet, and many more.

The Good Die Twice The Good Die Twice by Lee Driver
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Hasn't the horror market seen enough supernatural detective tales? No, not if the next entry into the market is this savage and stylish mystery from Lee Driver. It may be a crowded field, but you will want to make room for private investigator Chase Dagger and his offbeat crew, especially Sara Morningsky, able assistant and shape-shifter.


The Discworld Assassins' Guild Yearbook and Diary 2000 The Discworld Assassins' Guild Yearbook and Diary 2000 by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Briggs
reviewed by Steven H Silver
Each week is divided into eight days (after all, this is Discworld), including Octeday. Each Octeday is unnumbered but includes a piece of trivia about Ankh-Morpork's famous Assassins' Guild. These can take the form of strange weapons used in assassinations (a teaspoon, May 14), open commissions (Foul Ole Ron: 1 groat, March 5), or (in)famous assassins (Mr. Teatime, December 17).

Second Looks

3 Novels 3 Novels by Philip K. Dick
reviewed by Neil Walsh
Millennium is an imprint of the Orion Publishing Group in the UK. Their SF Masterworks series saw the reprinting of 24 classic science fiction titles (roughly 2 per month) throughout 1999. It is no accident that Philip K. Dick has more titles than any other single author in the series.

God's Fires God's Fires by Patricia Anthony
reviewed by David Soyka
Here, the author is not concerned with technology, but rather human frailties and presumptions, particularly as they are embodied in institutional ignorance, in facing up to the "unknowability" of the universe. In this case, it is that peculiar 15th century organization known as the Inquisition, and how it deals, or rather fails to deal, with "shipwrecked" aliens.

Dreaming in Smoke Dreaming in Smoke by Tricia Sullivan
reviewed by Rich Horton
The book aggressively amalgamates cyberpunkish tropes with some very neat speculation about an alien ecosystem. At one level it's an almost conventional story of humans attempting to colonize a new planet. The planet has a different type of life than Earth: so much so that the colonists almost fail to recognize it as life. The eventual solution is for the colonists and the alien ecosystem to sort of meet in the middle.

First Novels

Time of the Wolf Time of the Wolf by Julie D'Arcy
reviewed by Catherine Asaro
An absorbing read for fans of dark fantasy blended with other genres. Keahla comes through a time portal that takes her 300 years in the future. Her goal is to find Radin Hawk, prince of the Wolfhead Clan. A prophecy has named him as the warrior who can lead her people in their fight against the tyranny of the sorceress Anayha. But once she meets the warrior of the prophecy, Keahla is not convinced.

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