Below you'll find an overview of the winners, with cover/title links to the SF Site reviews (where applicable) along with synopses of those titles yet to be reviewed (cover images are linked to larger images, when available).
|World Fantasy Award (Novel)|
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reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
There is something otherworldly about the Lyonesse books. That may sound oddly redundant, given that we are talking about a book of fantasy -- surely it is a given that we would be transported into another world. All fantasy aims for that (and good fantasy succeeds). But the mere transportation is not the point. It's the sense that we aren't being told about an imaginary world. Instead, we somehow find ourselves in the real one, there between the covers of this book, while lurking in some other dimension which the inhabitants of the author's world would find passably peculiar.
"Only four men knew what 'KOKO' meant. The were Vietnam vets: a doctor, a lawyer, a working stiff and a writer. All were as different as men could be -- yet all were bound eternally together by a single shattering secret. And now they are joined together again on a quest that could take them from the graveyards and fleshpots of the Far East to the human jungle of New York, hunting an inhuman ghost of the past risen from nightmare darkness to kill."
"At forty-three, Jeff Winston is tired of his low-paid, unrewarding job, tired of the long silences at the breakfast table with his wife, saddened by the thought of no children to comfort his old age. But he hopes for better things, for happiness. But a sudden, fatal heart attack puts those hopes to rest. Until Jeff wakes up in his eighteen-year-old body, all his memories of the next twenty-five years intact. If he applies those memories, he can be rich in this new chance at life and can become one of the most powerful men in America. Until he dies at forty-three and wakes up in his eighteen-year-old body again."
"Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is an orphan, born in Paris in 1738. Abandoned as a child, he is taken to an orphanage, where everyone who comes into contact with him finds something about him to be revulsive. What they don't notice is that Grenouille's body does not have any aroma, a distinction which is so subtle that nobody can place their finger on it. His strange relationship to odors is further highlighted by his own extremely sharp sense of smell. When he comes of age, Grenouille manages to apprentice himself to a perfumer and shows a strong aptitude for mixing strange and exotic perfumes. This skill leads him to his desire to cover his own lack of smell and a quest to create the most unique perfume the world has ever known."
reviewed by Wayne MacLaurin
Tor recently re-released a new edition of this World Fantasy Award-winning horror novel. Only in a setting so foul, so depraved, so utterly without promise -- evoked by the author's brilliant writing -- could the nightmare Dan Simmons has crafted, fester and find life. He conveys the sense of disgust, hopelessness and utter terror of his characters so accutely that you'll squirm as you read.
"Number Ten Ox and his village of Ku-fu face having their children stricken with a strange malady that leaves them comatose and rigid. It is up to Number Ten Ox to seek a scholar to unravel the mystery of their affliction. The result is ancient Master Li Kao, who has a 'slight flaw in his character,' all Ox can afford. Master Li determines that the only thing to save the children is the Great Root of Power, and Li and Ox leave on a quest to obtain this Great Root. Thus begins a set of tales that leads from the Imperial Palace to brothels to an enchanted destroyed city. Along the way we meet Ma the Grub, Henpecked Ho, the greedy Duke of Ch'in, Doctor Death, and the jade-loving Lotus Cloud."
Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock
A collection of four tales about Nifft, thief extraordinaire, and his partner Barnar Hammber-Hand. They travel to a number of venues including the Land of the Dead and the Primary Subworld (land of the demons) and steal some remarkable treasures like the pearls of Queen Vulvula. Theirs is a vast subterranean world of demons that uneasily co-exists with the world of men on some far-future Earth, where humans wonder whether its denizens are the sheddings of humanity in its evolution, or are perhaps some lower life force.
This book was the winner of the 1981 World Fantasy Award, from the author of The Deep, Engine Summer and Ægypt. "Edgewood is many houses, all put inside each other, or across each other. Edgewood is filled with mystery and enchantment: the further in you go, the bigger it gets. This is where Daily Alice Drinkwater lives; this is where Smoky Barnable comes, under strict orders from Daily, to wed her. But on arriving at her family home, having followed her instructions, he finds himself drawn into a world of magical strangeness..."
reviewed by A.L. Sirois
Shadow and Claw combines The Shadow of the Torturer and The Claw of the Conciliator. This is hefty work with precious little padding. Anyone familiar with Gene Wolfe's work knows what to expect -- strange doings, complex and troubled characters, no guarantees of happy endings for anyone, images and events that stick in the mind long after the book is put down, and a command of the language beyond the ability of 90% of writers working today in or out of the SF field.
"When Col Istor's army finish a bloody capture of Tornor Keep, Ryke is quite amazed to find he is stil alive. Istor has need of Ryke. To ensure his cooperation, Artor's only heir is used as the bargaining chip. In order to save Errel, Ryke swears fealty to Col Istor for as long as Errel remains alone and unharmed. To forestall treachery, Ryke is made fourth watch commander for Istor's army. Col Istor keeps his word regarding Errel's assured safety, and turns the prince into a cheari, a fool or jester."
reviewed by David Soyka
For what will prove to be the ominous term of 13 years, unprecedented peace and prosperity characterizes Queen Gloriana's rule over the Albion empire and its various protectorates and allies, in antithesis to the madness and bloodshed of her father, King Hern. The power behind the throne, the architect of the elaborate myth of Gloriana that promotes and maintains this Golden Age, is her trusted Chancellor, Lord Montfallcon, who endured great personal sacrifice to survive the intrigues and purges of, and finally triumph over, Hern's corrupted court.
"Set in contemporary San Francisco, we learn the tale of Franz Westen, a writer of supernatural fiction, recently recovered from both alcoholism and the death of his wife. Using Megapolisomancy -- the prediction of the future by means of large cities. The cities have created beings called paramentals, as Franz discovers when he finds a book by Thibaut de Castries, the inventor of megapolisomancy, together with a journal apparently by Clark Ashton Smith."
"Doctor Rat, Ph.D., the grant-supported, knowledgeable survivor of the most refined scientific experiments, dedicates himself to defending mankind again the worldwide rebellions, uprisings, and insurgencies of his fellow animals."
"In 1971, Richard Collier, dying of a brain tumor, travels toward San Diego and happens upon an old hotel. There he finds the captivating photograph of a young actress, Elise McKenna, who performed at the hotel in 1896. He decides to research everything he can about her. The more he learns, the more deeply he falls in love with her, and the more he's convinced that he has been to her time, and that they were in love." Somewhere In Time (1980) starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, and Christopher Plummer, was based upon this novel.
"Raised on Eld mountain with only her father's magical menagerie for company, a young wizard is drawn into the human world with all its sorrows and delights when a baby comes into her care."
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