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A Secret History and Carthage Ascendant by Mary Gentle
reviewed by Rich Horton
It begins as a seemingly "normal" historical fiction, with a very realistic and believable portrayal of Ash's childhood as a 15th-century mercenary camp follower, then jumping to her role as the Captain of some 800 mercenaries at the age of 19 or 20. Then the reader begins to notice little details, such as the voices Ash hears, or the references to a different-seeming variety of Christianity, or the odd mention of Carthage and the Eternal Twilight. Somehow Carthage has survived until the 1470s, and, more strangely, the Sun never shines over that ancient city. Before long, there is an encounter with robots (Stone Golems) used as weapons of war, unusual speculation about parallel worlds, long-term breeding projects, and other decidedly fantastical devices.

Really, Really, Really, Really, Weird Stories Really, Really, Really, Really, Weird Stories by John Shirley
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Sometimes there's just no way to keep reading a variety of material and come out unscathed. Sooner or later, exposure to all the experimental, creepy, stomach-churning fiction sneaks up on you. Lisa suggests substituting such words words as "clever," "inventive," "unique," for all those "really"s in the title.

The Winter Queen The Winter Queen by Devin Cary
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
With his dying breath, King Ethelred of Albor designates his young wife Elissa as regent for his son, Prince Edgar. In a land where women are regarded as inferior creatures and a long-standing law prohibits a woman from ever ascending to the throne, this is a shocking choice. The lords of the Privy Council, outraged, begin immediately to plot how to prevent the king's decree from coming to pass.

The Fourth World The Fourth World by Dennis Danvers
reviewed by Stephen M. Davis
The plot centres around the plight of the chiapanecos, who are poor, oppressed, Mexican farmers. Technological advances for the rest of the world have passed them by, and they still rely on TV and radio for news and entertainment. A VR website reporter for NewsReal arrives just in time to witness a massacre of unarmed farmers. The reporter soon discovers that NewsReal isn't interested in the real news.

New Arrivals Forthcoming Books
compiled by Neil Walsh
You've got more to look forward to in the coming months than just a change of season, with new books from Gregory Benford, James Alan Gardner, Terry Pratchett, C.J. Cherryh, new author Juliet Marillier, and more.

Andy Nebula, Interstellar Rock Star Andy Nebula, Interstellar Rock Star by Edward Willett
reviewed by A.L. Sirois
This story is for younger readers, but it's sufficiently gritty and clever that an adult can get through it with little trouble. Kit is a street musician in a burg called Fistfight City on Murdoch IV, your basic "backwater" planet. One rainy night, Kit, who is being trailed by a mysterious man in black, opts to share a room in a flophouse with a spacer who is "between ships." The spacer turns out to be an alien.

Brotherly Love Brotherly Love by David Case
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
This collection will stay with you not so much for the frights or laughs it may generate, but for the questions it raises about good and evil, intolerance, and the nature of humanity. It's no dry philosophical treatise, but a set of stories with lots of action, interesting characters, and plenty of murder and mayhem in, as Ramsey Campbell puts it, "impeccable taste."

Final Destination Final Destination
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Timing is everything in a film like this, and exaggeration is essential. You know someone is going to die, but it has to come at the moment you least expect it. Then, in retrospect, the moment has to seem exactly right. The director and screenwriter are just over-the-top enough, while keeping the characters sensible and sympathetic.

Michael Moorcock's Multiverse Michael Moorcock's Multiverse by Michael Moorcock
reviewed by Steven H Silver
The author is known for his ability to recycle his characters and concepts into a variety of forms. This collection is confirmation of this ability. Originally published as a series of three tales in the magazine of the same name, this graphic novel weaves these disparate threads together well.

Finity Finity by John Barnes
reviewed by Peter D. Tillman
Lyle Peripart is reasonably content with his quiet life as an expatriate American academic in New Zealand. Until he accepts a plum job offer from billionaire industrialist Iphwin -- and he's roughed up by the Gestapo in Surabaya, shot at in Saigon, and comes home to a smoking crater where his house used to be.

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. We look at brand new issues of Talebones, Interzone, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and many more.

J.V. Jones A Conversation With J.V. Jones
An interview with Jayme Lynn Blaschke
On trilogy endings vs. a single book:
"In a trilogy, because you have so many plot lines, you have lots of little separate endings before the end. It often takes up half the last book to resolve all the various plot lines. But for the one-off book, it has one big, bad ending, one mother of an ending at the end -- which is where it's supposed to be."

The Warrior King The Warrior King by Chris Bunch
a novel excerpt
The wizard Tenedos transformed decaying Numantia into a mighty empire, but his lust for conquest has destroyed everything he created. Now, in the climax to the saga begun with The Seer King and The Demon King, Laish Tenedos returns from the grave to command hellish demons, not to free his people, but to gain absolute power.

Gates of Hell Gates of Hell by Susan Sizemore
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Ask most people about the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918 and you will probably get a blank stare. Tell them that approximately 20 million people worldwide died and you may get shock and disbelief. Imagine something this lethal but spread across galaxies. Suddenly, the astounding loss of 20 million lives becomes a drop in the bucket.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers us news and rumours regarding The X-Files and Star Trek: Voyager plus his opinion on the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Good Shepherd" by Dianna Gitto and Joe Menosky and The X-Files' "En Ami" by William B. Davis.

New Arrivals Mid-March Books
compiled by Neil Walsh
New this month are novels from Sean Stewart, Harry Turtledove, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter, Paul Kearney, Marie Jakober, and many more. SF theme of the month seems to be time travel, and in fantasy news we have the début of Millennium's exciting Fantasy Masterworks series.

Second Looks

Journey to Fusang Journey to Fusang by William Sanders
reviewed by Rich Horton
After the Mongols continued into Western Europe and laid it to waste, Europe continued as a backwater. North America was separately colonized on the East Coast by Islamic people and on the West Coast by the Chinese. Several centuries later, Finn and his buddies, Yusuf and Alfred, escape an Arabic slave ship, find themselves on the Great Plains (with a beautiful redhead named Maeve) and decide to head for the Chinese colony, called Fusang.

Second Variety Second Variety by Philip K. Dick
reviewed by David Soyka
This collection, the 2nd of 5 chronologically-based editions, has a prevailing tone (with the exception of a couple of Bradburian-type tales) that is firmly rooted in the epoch in which these stories were written: the time of McCarthyism, the Organization Man, Ozzie and Harriet, and the Cold War. If any of those terms puzzles you, you're not likely to "get" what's going on here.

The Wonder The Wonder by J.D. Beresford
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
First published in Britain in 1911, this was the first novel to deal fully with the sociological implications of a vastly superior human amongst us. Since then, numerous genre titles have appeared all following superhuman children in one way or another. This story stands out by avoiding the sensationalism and paranoia of much of the later works.

The City Watch Trilogy The City Watch Trilogy by Terry Pratchett
reviewed by Charlene Brusso
The City Watch is composed of stout (and not so stout), skilled (and not so skilled)... umm... 'professionals' whose job is to protect Ankh-Morpork's citizens from Barbarians, miscellaneous Marauders, unlicensed Thieves, and other social riff-raff. Leader of the Night Watch is Captain Samuel Vimes who leads his crew in this wild trilogy of adventures.


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