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Asimov's Science Fiction

Human Resource Human Resource by Pierce Askegren
reviewed by Michael M Jones
When Erik Morrison is transferred by his company to Villanueva Base, a corporation-controlled city which acts as the center of civilization for the Moon, he understands that it's both a last-ditch effort to redeem his dying career, and a chance to make his mark on things. His bosses at EnTek have a mission for him, but aren't clear about spelling it out. As a result, Erik's forced to do some investigating and stone-overturning.

Gateway to the Stars Gateway to the Stars by Pierce Askegren
reviewed by Alexander von Thorn
At a remote starport on the edge of the Imperium, a man wearing the face of another repossesses an unremarkable starship. The ship is noteworthy only in that it is heading offworld, attracting an assortment of motley rogues as crew and passengers desperate to get offworld. So it begins...

Myth-Chief Myth-Chief by Robert Asprin and Jody Lynn Nye
reviewed by Michael M Jones
After an extended time away from M.Y.T.H. Inc. to focus on his studies, Skeeve's decided that it's time to get back in the groove of things. But rather than rejoin his friends, he's going to start his own consulting agency. Of course, even the best-intentioned plans tend to go askew, and before Skeeve can even blink, he's somehow managed to talk himself into a competition with his best friend and former mentor/partner, Aahz.

No Phule Like An Old Phule No Phule Like An Old Phule by Robert Aspirin and Peter J. Heck
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Captain Willard "Jester" Phule of the Space Legion, and his irrepressible team of misfits, Omega Company are back for their fifth action-packed outing. Ever since Phule took over the leadership of Omega Company, generally regarded as the dumping grounds for the Space Legion's worst and most incorrigible soldiers, he has turned it into an elite unit through an infusion of money and business sense, and good old-fashioned dumb luck. But there's always someone willing to rain on the parade.

A Phule and His Money A Phule and His Money by Robert Asprin with Peter J. Heck
reviewed by Steven H Silver
This installment of the series begins with Phule's company serving guard duty at the Fat Chance Casino. In addition to the run-of-the-mill gangsters and other casino operators, Phule must deal with a group of new recruits, the IRS, and his commanding officer, who would like to see nothing more than Phule fail in an explosive and public manner.

Project: Maldon Project: Maldon by Chris Atack
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
This novel puts the bite on you right away and hangs on like a %$@*& pit bull. The action moves with the force of the best suspense or action novels on the market.

The Goulep The Goulep by Stella Atrium
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Lisa found this an intriguing tale. The struggle to overcome oppression, to preserve a way of life, to maintain compassion in a cold and hateful conflict, is always interesting and involving. Some may find this novel a difficult read, but it is a worthwhile one, nevertheless.

Oryx and Crake Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
It opens on a mystery: a lone man called Snowman, slowly starving to death in a world apparently empty of human beings like himself. Some great catastrophe has clearly taken place; there are references to rubble, buildings drowned by the sea, relics of civilization washed up by the waves. Strangely-named creatures -- pigoons, wolvogs -- stalk the land (Snowman sleeps in a tree for fear of them). There are also the Children of Crake -- eerily perfect beings whose exquisite human forms can't disguise the fact that they're not quite human, for whom Snowman appears to feel both distaste and some sort of responsibility. Who is Snowman? How did he survive? What happened to bring things to such a state?

The Handmaid's Tale The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
reviewed by Martin Lewis
Following a coup that leaves the government of the United States dead, a fundamentalist Christian regime establishes the state of Gilead in New England. Immediately all women's rights (to vote, to own property, to make any decision) are revoked. The constant civil war that followed the coup has left swathes of the continental USA blighted and the majority of women infertile. Inspired by the biblical tale of Rachel and Bilhah, Gilead decrees that all fertile woman are forced to act as Handmaids, surrogate mothers who will bare the children of infertile couples.

Inquisition Inquisition by Anselm Audley
reviewed by Rob Kane
We rejoin Cathan and his friends Palatine, and Ravenna just after they have managed to foil a plot of the Domain, the overbearing and power hungry religious order of Aquasilva. After recent events, it is decided that iron and weapons from Lepidor, Cathan's city, can no longer be sent to the trading city of Taneth, as the supplies will eventually fall into the hands of Domain, who are preparing for war. Instead, our three young characters set out for the distant Archipelago to try and arrange to sell weapons to dissident factions there.

Heresy Heresy by Anselm Audley
reviewed by Rob Kane
To get an idea of the setting for this novel, take Arrakis from Frank Herbert's Dune, and then invert it. It takes place on the planet of Aquasilva which is covered in a pan-planetary ocean thousands of miles deep. Clan-ruled cities lay behind high walls and aether shields in order to remain protected against the great storms that ravage sea and land, and the Great Houses plot and scheme to enrich themselves on trade. The world is a technological-medieval society. Under the sea large submarines, mantas, transport valuable cargo, while on land kings and emperors ruled in a monarchic society.

Aurealis

Second Contact Second Contact by J.D. Austin
reviewed by Rich Horton
This is the story of a planet named Kivlan, far across the Universe from Earth. An Earth expedition visits Kivlan, only to be chased away by a couple of missiles. Some time later, Earth sends another expedition, this one armed rather better, in a sincere attempt to really get to know the Kivlanians.

The Crown Rose The Crown Rose by Fiona Avery
reviewed by Steven H Silver
This appears, in many ways, to be a straight historical novel about Isabelle of France and her family, yet the author successfully manages to weave threads of mystery and fantasy into the work in a manner which intrigues the reader without asking the reader to suspend their disbelief too far.

Toxicology Toxicology by Steve Aylett
reviewed by David Soyka
Attaining irony, pure or otherwise, seems to be the overarching objective of this author's short (very short) fiction collected in Toxicology. For the most part, the contents rarely rise above the level of a vignette or even just a long joke, and are not stories in the conventional sense. Indeed, he characteristically strives for unconventionality. Which isn't a criticism, necessarily, just accurate description. He is also frequently funny, sometimes bitterly so.

The Crime Studio The Crime Studio by Steve Aylett
reviewed by Gabe Chouinard
In this collection, the author turns a laser-point eye on the dregs of humanity, a searing vision that strips away the layers of society and morality to expose the corruption of the soul. With these short tales, all set in the mythic, iconic city of Beerlight, he tears the masks from laws and justice, to lay bare the inherent nastiness of mankind. Yet he does so with extreme irony and sense of humor, lulling the reader into a state of giddy anticipation as each story builds and builds and explodes.

Atom Atom by Steve Aylett
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Call it noir bizarre. Call it hard-boiled spec. However you think of it, it's a kick in the frontal lobe, a sucker punch to the soul. If you've had the great good fortune to read the masterpiece, Gun With Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem, and if you've been hungering for more of its like since then, your pleas are answered...

Slaughtermatic Slaughtermatic by Steve Aylett
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Not since John Sladek (one of the best satirist in SF) has a writer had so much fun playing with words. The author twists definitions and toys with expressions. The story is a tale of a far future where crime is an art and the cops aren't just crooked, they're Gordian knots of corruption and insanity.

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