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From the Editor
SF Insite: Reviews Editor Neil Walsh continues his survey of some recent small press & self-published titles.
One of this year's Hugo Award writer nominees is SF Site Contributing Editor Steven H Silver.
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Susan King A Conversation With Susan King
An interview with Catherine Asaro
On judgment stones:
"At one point I felt, well, I was overdoing the stones in this book, that there were too many! But they're fascinating. The Celts actually have judgment stones. It is a stone precariously balanced, often on top another stone, so that the slightest touch sends it rocking one way or the other. The Druids apparently used them to decide trials and important questions. They would note the direction of the rocking, east-west or north-south, and it would mean yes-no, positive-negative. So they called on it to provide answer from an outside source."

The Stone Maiden The Stone Maiden by Susan King
reviewed by Catherine Asaro
This is a lyrical novel set in 12th century Scotland, a tale of Celtic clans and Norman knights intertwined with the legend of an ancient maiden whose spirit has been trapped in a stone pillar for 700 years. With grace and style, the author weaves together the threads of fantasy, romance, and historical fiction.

Learning Fear Learning Fear by B.A. Chepaitis
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Jaguar Addams is possibly the most complex, enigmatic female character to emerge in SF in decades. An orphan of the Killing Times, the descendant of Native Americans, a Teacher on Planetoid Three, an empath, and an intensely private person, she reluctantly opens up a little more of herself with each adventure.

Midnight Robber Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson
reviewed by David Soyka
In the course of only two novels, this author has established herself as a unique voice in the SF and Fantasy genre, largely because that voice is grounded in the rhythms and vernacular of Caribbean and Creole dialects. This sometimes makes it hard to follow, though if you got through A Clockwork Orange or Riddley Walker and their made-up dictions, you could certainly handle this.

Darkness Descending Darkness Descending by Harry Turtledove
reviewed by Steven H Silver
In Into the Darkness, the author began to relate the history of a massive war on the magical continent of Derlavai. The cultures and causes of the war had distinct parallels with both World Wars of the 20th century. Here, he plays up the parallels with World War II even as he shifts his focus from the field of battle to the societal changes which are occurring because of the world-wide war being fought.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his opinion on twins raised by separate parents in The X-Files episode "Fight Club" by Chris Carter, on the return of Kes in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Fury" by Brian Fuller, Michael Taylor, Rick Berman, and Brannon Braga and on another episode featuring Reg Barclay and Deanna Troi in the Star Trek: Voyager's "Life Line" by Robert Doherty, Raf Green, Brannon Braga, John Bruno, and Robert Picardo.

Flesh Wounds Flesh Wounds by Brian A. Hopkins
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
If you've already read some of the author's work, you know the title bodes ill for everyone in these stories. If you aren't familiar with his fiction -- first of all, shame on you -- then a peek at the contents should dispel any of those happy thoughts. It goes for the deep cut, the indescribable pain. Oddly, the wounds in this collection are often to the heart, and always fatal.

New Arrivals May Books
compiled by Neil Walsh
So far, this May has brought us new books from Rudy Rucker, Gregory Benford, Elaine Cunningham, and C.J. Cherryh, as well as some fabulous reprints from the likes of Neal Stephenson, Theodore Sturgeon, Joël Champetier, and Vernor Vinge. You'll also find some intriguing small press offerings on this list, including an e-novel from John Argo and an amusing vision of High Tech Hell from James Ignizio.

The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, Volume 4, Number 3
reviewed by Stephen M. Davis
Stephen found the best overall poem to be Sandra Lindow's "Because We Must," which tries to find a new approach in talking about a sexual encounter. He also discovered some nice moments in the poems of Charlee Jacob and Rachael M. Lininger. Most of the poetry, however, didn't stand up to Stephen's rigid 'Wordsworth prose paraphrase' test.

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.

John Marco
John Marco A Conversation With John Marco
An interview with Trent Walters
On an outline's level of detail:
"For The Jackal of Nar, I went into extensive detail in the outline. I had hundreds of pages of notes, and the actual outline itself was well over a hundred pages. That seems ridiculous looking back at it, but I think I needed to have that kind of detail. I needed to have the world fully fleshed-out and the story firmly pinned down before I began, probably as a way to boost my confidence. The sad part is that a lot of that outline never even got used."

The Grand Design The Grand Design by John Marco
a novel excerpt
   "The night burned a pulsing orange."
   "General Vorto, supreme commander of the legions of Nar, stood on a hillside beneath the red flash of rockets, safely distant from the bombardment hammering the walls of Goth. It was a cold night with frost in the air. He could see the crystaline snow in the sky and on his eyelashes. The northern gusts blew the battle rockets up and over the city and bent the fiery plumes of flame cannons..."

New Arrivals Forthcoming Books
compiled by Neil Walsh
New novels from Martha Wells, Eve Forward, James Alan Gardner, Juliet Marillier; continuations of series from Stephen Lawhead, Sarah Isidore, Anne McCaffrey; collections from Gardner Dozois, David Hartwell, Sheree R. Thomas -- you can look forward to all these and many more.

Second Looks

The Power The Power by Frank M. Robinson
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
Bill Tanner is a professor of anthropology at an unnamed university in Chicago. He's part of a team working on Navy-financed studies in human endurance, focused on answering the question of what qualities make some people so much stronger, smarter, more efficient, and more likely to survive than others. Colleague John Olson, however, thinks the studies have a secret agenda -- there's a superman among them, in hiding, just waiting for the right opportunity to take over the world.

Pasquale's Angel Pasquale's Angel by Paul J. McAuley
reviewed by Jean-Louis Trudel
This story will delight lovers of the unexpected juxtapositions of steampunk, the clanking engines of modernity set in ancient streets, the wandering heroes of our own history rubbing shoulders with characters of the author's own devising. In an alternate world 16th-century Florence, the inventions of Leonardo da Vinci have wrought an industrial revolution centuries before its time.

The Sirens of Titan The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
reviewed by Neil Walsh
The novel is centrally concerned with the meaning of life. Or rather, the meaninglessness of life. Winston Niles Rumfoord is a wealthy playboy who takes his privately funded spaceship and drives it straight into a chrono-synclastic infundibulum, just to see what will happen. He is smeared from here to the far end of the galaxy.

The Compleat Boucher The Compleat Boucher edited by James A. Mann
reviewed by Peter D. Tillman
The wry, literate, understated and still very readable stories collected here were mostly written between 1940 and 1952. The author's best stories have entered the permanent science fiction and fantasy repertoire. It's a collection to be read a story or two at a time.

First Novels

Prospero's Children Prospero's Children by Jan Siegel
reviewed by Pat Caven
A doomed ship, tossed by a raging tempest, the siren who helps destroy it, and the key to the beginning of a tale that will span centuries.  Flash forward to the present where a young girl and her family are drawn into the tale when her father inherits a house in Yorkshire.  Fernanda Capel is an extremely self-possessed and practical young woman.  But a woman with a blossoming gift and a destiny that she has no idea how to fulfill.

Clickers Clickers by J.F. Gonzalez and Mark Williams
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Sometimes, the chilling possibilities of dark realism get just a touch too frightening. The vampires, werewolves, and black magic in the shadows of dark fantasy multiply too rapidly to keep pace with. Don't you just feel like a good, old-fashioned, mutant monster story? One of those Saturday afternoon creature features that got you interested in this genre in the first place? Here's your ticket...

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