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SF Insite: Vote for your favourite books of 2000 in our 3rd annual Readers' Choice Best Read Of The Year list. Deadline for voting has been extended to February 14.
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The Marriage of Sticks/Kissing the Beehive The Marriage of Sticks and Kissing the Beehive by Jonathan Carroll
reviewed by David Soyka
Kissing the Beehive is a metaphor for what happens when you get too intimate with dangerous things. For Edward Durant Jr, it is the alluring Pauline Ostrova, for whose murder Durant is convicted, and is followed by his in-cell suicide. The Marriage of Sticks is similarly concerned with the notion of not being able to go home again. The two novels share a setting -- Crane's View, evidently modeled after the author's own childhood hometown on the Hudson River in New York. There is also the appearance of, as his aficionados would expect, several dogs, burning or otherwise, that figure in the fate of the human characters. And, as also oftentimes occurs in his other work, a supporting character, in this case local police chief Frances McCabe, appears in both books, though the protagonists and plot lines are different.

George R.R. Martin
George R.R. Martin A Conversation With George R.R. Martin
An interview with Wayne MacLaurin
On the size of the series:
"Initially I knew it was going to be big but I didn't know just how big. When I was still in the very early stages I was projecting three books of about 800 pages -- manuscript -- that would have been bigger than anything I had done, which would have seemed like a lot. Well, the first book was 1100 pages, the second 1200 pages and the third one 1500 pages in manuscript and I'm not done. And there are three more books."

A Storm of Swords A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
reviewed by Wayne MacLaurin
While the author does continue to follow the saga within the Seven Kingdoms, he also spends a bit more time beyond the Wall with Jon Snow and across the sea with Daenerys Targaryen. Daenerys' tale, in particular, moves the plot ahead significantly and offers some intriguing possibilities for the next book or two. It is particularly impressive that while jumping back and forth amongst the characters, no one character really takes over. Every story is given more or less equal billing (with respect to intensity and importance).


Asimov's Science Fiction, October/November 2000 Asimov's Science Fiction, October/November 2000
reviewed by Nick Gevers
A quite impressive array of fiction in this double issue: a new novella by Larry Niven; a long and sensuous exploration of the future potentials of bull-fighting; a new ironic glance at the matter of Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers; an equally ironic take on the issues of The Island of Doctor Moreau.

Asimov's Science Fiction, December 2000 Asimov's Science Fiction, December 2000
reviewed by Nick Gevers
This is a particularly fine and well-balanced issue: of its 6 stories, 3 are rousing adventure narratives, and 3 are quiet, sober meditations on time and chance. The tales of action assert that justice can and must be seized, effected; the philosophical pieces suggest that justice comes randomly if at all.

Asimov's Science Fiction, January 2001 Asimov's Science Fiction, January 2001
reviewed by Nick Gevers
The January Asimov's is dominated by Allen Steele's substantial novella "Stealing Alabama," a proficient thriller and the first in a promising series. Steele, in his usual rather conventional but also very readable Heinleinian manner, relates how, in an economically depressed mid-21st century rump USA, a conspiracy of courageous souls steals back destiny from a right-wing dictatorship.

New Arrivals Mid-December Books
compiled by Neil Walsh
Did Santa fill your stocking with books? You may want to check and see if he remembered all the latest, including new books from David & Leigh Eddings, Joe Haldeman, Robert Asprin & Peter J. Heck, Tom Arden, Jeffrey A. Carver, Peter F. Hamilton, Valery Leith, Pat Cadigan, and Nancy Springer.

Goddesses Goddesses by Linda Nagata
reviewed by Peter D. Tillman
Global Shear (Asia) has won a ten-year contract to govern a poor district in south India, replacing the failed bureaucracy. Their charge: to lift 16 million people out of poverty. Their incentive: a percentage of the new wealth they'll help to create. Michael Fielding, the new project manager, finds a battered street waif on his doorstep and takes her in, which lands him in hot water with his boss, his housekeeper and the local fundies.

The Stainless Steel Rat Joins the Circus The Stainless Steel Rat Joins the Circus by Harry Harrison
reviewed by A.L. Sirois
This adventure begins with the Rat, slippery Jim DiGriz, in comfortable retirement with his lovely wife, Angelina. He is offered a case in which he really has no interest: someone is knocking off banks belonging to the richest man in the universe, Imperetrix Von Kaiser Czarski, and Kaiser Czarski wants DiGriz to put a stop to it. But DiGriz has plenty of money of his own so he refuses to accept the gig. Czarski, however, is not a banker for nothing.

Dark Sleeper Dark Sleeper by Jeffrey E. Barlough
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
This novel is set on an alternate earth, where a catastrophic event known as the sundering (possibly a comet-strike) has wiped out most of the population and plunged the world into a second Ice Age. Only a narrow band of land along the west coast of North America, home to the ancient, fog-wreathed city of Salthead, was spared. For this tiny remnant of human civilization, life goes on much as always -- though icy winds blow down from the heights, and the wilderness beyond the inhabited areas is ruled by mastodon, saber-cats, and other prehistoric beasts.

Michael Marshall Smith A Conversation With Michael Marshall Smith
An interview with David Mathew
On making the first sale:
"The problem with 'success', to the very limited degree to which I have achieved it, is that as soon as it's happened, it's gone -- in the sense that the goal posts move. I can remember how I felt the first time I sold a short story: overjoyed, gob-smacked, like a new life had opened in front of me. Now, though it's still a nice feeling, it's not the same."

The Glass Harmonica The Glass Harmonica by Louise Marley
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
The book tells two stories, widely separated chronologically but linked by music. Eilish Eam is an orphan in eighteenth century London who earns a meager living on the street, playing tunes on a set of water-filled wine glasses. One day she's discovered by Ben Franklin, who is in the process of developing the glass harmonica and needs someone to play it. In a near-future Seattle, Erin Rushton is the world's foremost virtuosa of the glass harmonica. She has begun having strange, ghostly visions of a girl in old-fashioned clothing, which come to her only while she plays.

Forthcoming Books Forthcoming Books
compiled by Neil Walsh
Here's a sampling of some of the F&SF books that are headed our way in the coming months...

Merrick Merrick by Anne Rice
reviewed by Hank Luttrell
The narrator is David, once head of an ancient order of paranormal investigators. In Tale of the Body Thief, David helped get back Lestat's stolen super-vampire body, and then traded up to a younger body himself. Then Lestat promptly made him a vampire. The title character is a powerful witch, Merrick Mayfair, a distant or estranged relative of the Mayfair Witches. Since the death of her guardian grandmother, Merrick has been the ward of David and his organization.

Dark Matter Dark Matter edited by Sheree R. Thomas
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
When people discuss important works in science fiction, they tend to focus on novels, and the occasional short story. Less often, an anthology is credited with being a major event in the field, but it's been a while since that happened. Dangerous Visions was one such anthology, Women of Wonder was another. The last anthology to introduce a new generation of writers with their own sense of style and immediately launch them into prominence was Mirrorshades. We're overdue for something new to shake loose the cobwebs -- this is it.

Second Looks

The Fountains of Paradise The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke
reviewed by Rich Horton
The book tells of Vannevar Morgan, the greatest civil engineer of the mid-22nd century. Having built a bridge across the Straits of Gibraltar, he dreams of an even greater accomplishment: sort of a bridge to space: a "skyhook," or "space elevator." This will be a cable stretching from the Earth's equator to an anchoring satellite at geosynchronous orbit. In a long series of short chapters, he tells of Morgan's efforts to get the elevator built.

The Yellow Sign and Other Stories The Yellow Sign and Other Stories by Robert W. Chambers
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
The book that made Chambers and remains the apex of his work was The King in Yellow. While derived from some Ambrose Bierce tales, Chambers created, so to speak, the Carcosa mythos, its central figure a king in yellow tatters, the talisman of the Yellow Sign, and the mind-corrupting second act of the play "The King in Yellow." As much as Lovecraft expert S.T. Joshi states that H.P.L. developed his Cthulhu Mythos and associated paraphernalia independently, Chambers' creation differs little from it.


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