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Brain Thief Brain Thief by Alexander Jablokov
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
This is a funny, often hilarious adventure set in the wilds of rural and suburban New England. Not only that, it's a style of humor that rarely emerges in science fiction; a hip, sarcastic mix of personal observations mixed with pop culture and historical references. The late great Hunter S. Thompson was the master, but if there is such a thing as gonzo science fiction, Brain Thief is it.

Deepdrive Deepdrive by Alexander Jablokov
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
If only the human race had FTL propulsion, then we could touch the stars. Who knows what other life forms we might encounter and what technologies they might share with us? It seldom occurs to us that other races may have no intention of sharing.

Taken Taken by Benedict Jacka
reviewed by Katherine Petersen
The series continues with this third installment that puts our divining hero where he seems to want to be, in the middle of nearly impossible situations. Apprentices of both light and dark mages have been going missing, and Alex Verus gets appeals from both sides to track down who's behind the shielded disappearances. But as usual, he's bitten off more than he can chew alone.

Cursed Cursed by Benedict Jacka
reviewed by Katherine Petersen
Alex Verus, a diviner who can see multiple futures at once, is minding his own business, working with his apprentice, Luna, to try to manage her curse when he's pulled into a plot to resurrect an old ritual to drain the life-force from magical creatures. Verus hates the ritual on principle, but he is also close friends with a huge spider named Arachne, who weaves exquisite clothing. It all starts when a beautiful enchantress runs into his magical shop with an assassin on her heels.

Fated Fated by Benedict Jacka
reviewed by Katherine Petersen
Alex, who runs a magic shop in London, is a diviner, so he can see the results of his actions before he makes choices. If he needs to walk across a room without being seen, he can look ahead and judge the exact moment when someone will look the other way, so he can walk by, for example. Both the Light and Dark mages want to use Alex's talent to open an ancient artifact that has recently surfaced. Alex, an entity unto himself and with an attitude, has no interest in being used and normally he'd flee.

Thieftaker Thieftaker by D.B. Jackson
reviewed by Katherine Petersen
The action takes place in 1765 Boston shortly after the Stamp Act riots and as tension is revving up between the colonists and the royalists. Ethan Kaille, the hero of our tale, is a conjurer, who uses organic matter -- usually his own blood, but leaves and grass will do -- to create magic. He uses his magic to eke out a living as a thieftaker, and as long as he sticks to middle-class clients, Sephira Pryce, Boston's ruling thieftaker doesn't bother him.

Ice Tomb Ice Tomb by Deborah Jackson
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
A new hotspot develops in the Antarctic Ice Sheet, which isn't entirely odd since Antarctica is seismically and volcanically active, but when those who investigate the site disappear, it's time to send in someone who knows what they might be up against. Erica Daniels, a vulcanologist, is assigned to the hot spot project. She's saddled with a media-hungry archśologist with a bent for finding Atlantis along with a bunch of gung-ho armed-to-the-teeth marines. What she will find will demonstrate there's something to that old Atlantean super-technology and determine the fate of the human race in the face a massive impending meteor impact.

Guises Guises by Charlee Jacob
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Within this collection, the author explores endless variations of the masks -- literal and figurative -- that hide human frailties and reveal the true nature of the wearer. From the works of art in the titular story to the seemingly surface attraction of the weary hero of "The Piper," the nature of the camouflage ranges from the breathtakingly beautiful to heart-stopping horror. And sometimes, the extremes are indistinguishable from each other. Such is the makeup of appearances.

This Symbiotic Fascination This Symbiotic Fascination by Charlee Jacob
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Lisa suggests shipping this book in a reinforced paper sack. This will allow readers to receive their copy in something like anonymity and provide a handy barf bag. You'll be wishing for both by the time you read the last page of this remarkable and sick novel.

Trial of Fire Trial of Fire by Kate Jacoby
reviewed by William Thompson
One of the better epics to appear over the past several years has been the Book of Elita. While lacking the imaginative scope of Steven Erikson, Ricardo Pinto or Robin Hobb, the author has nonetheless proven herself adept at infusing her high fantasy with a memorable cast of characters displaying some depth, and a well-delineated world enriched by a system of magic and mythos characterized by enough originality to set her work apart from more standard fare. Add to this story-telling skills that evince a maturity uncommon for a relatively new author, along with a willingness to allow both her tale and characters to evolve and develop without dependence upon action and magical fireworks to primarily propel her narrative along, and one is faced with a damned good read as well.

Mossflower Mossflower by Brian Jacques
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Descriptions of the foods and drinks are mouthwatering, species speak in different dialects and specialize in different trades and weaponry and there is plenty of action and adventure, with narrow escapes galore -- lots to keep a young reader happy. These are some of the reasons why Jacques' books have been so popular. Georges begs to differ.

Even the Stones Even the Stones by Marie Jakober
reviewed by David Soyka
The novel offers a standard fantasy medieval setting complete with a headstrong young queen in the midst of a dilemma and a mysterious maverick soldier who comes to her aid -- and her bed -- along with generous helpings of mythology amidst various treacheries and battles between the forces of good and evil. This is not the first volume in fat book trilogy, but a self-contained story with little hint of, or need for, a sequel.

The Black Chalice The Black Chalice by Marie Jakober
reviewed by Donna McMahon
It is the year 1103, and the German knight Karelian is returning from the Crusades to his home in the Reinmark, with his faithful young squire Paul in his retinue. Karelian is a man of thirty-eight who has made his fortune fighting, but is weary and embittered by the bloody atrocities committed in Jerusalem in the name of the Christian God. Karelian has no desire to fight ever again, but his duke, Gottfried, has returned from the Crusades with a megalomaniacal thirst to start a new holy war.

The Black Chalice The Black Chalice by Marie Jakober
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Karelian Brandeis, count of Lys, for all his associations with pagan magic, displays far more "Christian" goodness than most of his contemporaries. The murder, pillaging and rapine he has seen under the auspices of the great Christian Crusade have turned him into a man who would like nothing better than stop fighting, retire to his castle with a wife and live out his days surrounded by his children. His experiences have also led him to reconsider his blind belief in the Church's teachings to the point of heresy.

The Black Chalice The Black Chalice by Marie Jakober
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
It's 1134. In a bleak monastery somewhere in Germany, Paul of Ardiun begins the chronicle he has been ordered by his religious superiors to write: the story of the knight Karelian Brandeis, for whom Paul once served as squire, who fell prey to the evil wiles of a seductive sorceress, thereby precipitating civil war and the downfall of a king. But before Paul can set down more than a sentence or two of this cautionary tale, the sorceress herself magically appears to him. He is a liar, she tells him, and always has been. She lays a spell on him: from this moment, he will only be able to write the truth.

Monstrum Monstrum by Donald James
reviewed by Wayne MacLaurin
If you are looking for a good mystery/detective novel set in a devastated near-future Russia, Wayne thinks you'll find this a delight.

Warrior Wisewoman Warrior Wisewoman edited by Roby James
reviewed by Amal El-Mohtar
Warrior Wisewoman is the first volume of what's to become an annual anthology put out by Norilana Books as a sister-series to Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress. The idea is to have a series devoted to women's science fiction with a strong focus "on the interface between scientific exploration and our sense of wonder." It consists of twelve short stories, by Douglas A. Van Belle, Rose Lemberg, Catherine Mintz, Bhaskar Dutt, Nancy Fulda, Fran LaPlaca, Mary Catelli, Anna Sykora, Peg Robinson, Vylar Kaftan, Colleen Anderson and Sally Kuntz.

Amazing Adult Fantasy Amazing Adult Fantasy by A.D. Jameson
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
To begin with, these short fictions are funny. They are also experimental, wayward and surreal, any of which might make them seem far more serious and "worthy" than they actually are. They are not stories in the conventional sense. Some of them may offer a narrative, but if you try to follow them too closely you will find characters change, chronologies wander all over the place, and an obsessive interest in something mundane and irrelevant will suddenly intrude into the text.

Redsine Ten Redsine Ten edited by Trent Jamieson and Garry Nurrish
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
As anyone who has read an issue can tell you, this series is a dead cert for quality speculative, fantasy, and horror fiction. A blend of the best of Australia and the rest of the world, the stories deliver amazement, sorrow, and a generous share of unsettling afterimages. Not to mention an in-depth interview conducted by the talented Nick Gevers. The magazine can hold its own with any other fiction periodical in or out of the genre.

redsine seven redsine seven edited by Trent Jamieson and Garry Nurrish
reviewed by David Soyka
After a stint as an online "e-zine," this Australian magazine returns to print format with issue seven. While including "Down Under" authors such as Deborah Biancotti, Cat Sparks, and Paul Hassing who might not be familiar to us North Americans, the editors have also selected works from Jeff Vandermeer, Stepan Chapman, Brian Stableford, and Jeffrey Thomas. All of which adds up to a very nice package of dark fantasy in the tradition of John Collier and Angela Carter.

redsine seven redsine seven edited by Trent Jamieson and Garry Nurrish
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
A person could certainly get used to the format of this magazine; after all, our hands are practically frozen into the claw-like grasp perfect for holding a paperback. More importantly, judging by the wide range of fiction here, who couldn't settle down and make themselves at home in this stellar example of small press publishing? And just when is the next one due? The editors have wisely chosen a broad array of material to fill the coveted slots in the fiction section.

The Counterfeit Heinlein The Counterfeit Heinlein by Laurence M. Janifer
reviewed by Rick Norwood
This is mildly entertaining fan fiction. Rick read it for two reasons. First, Heinlein is one of his favorite writers (though on the few occasions where Rick has tried to live according to the maxims set down in Heinlein's books, the results has been disastrous). Second, Spider Robinson gave the book a rave review.

Thorn Ogres Of Hagwood Thorn Ogres Of Hagwood by Robin Jarvis
reviewed by Martin Lewis
The werlings are a race of small shape-shifting creatures who live almost forgotten in a small corner of the ancient Hagwood. Gamaliel Tumpin is a young werling who has reached the age where he is to be inducted in their grand tradition of transmogrification. His first task is to master the simplest change; from werling to mouse. To do this, his group goes out into the wood to study the mice, under the guidance of Finnen Lufkin, a brilliant shape-shifter a few years older than them.

The Wannoshay Cycle The Wannoshay Cycle by Michael Jasper
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
The time is the near future, the place North America. The Internet is the Netstream, a kind of YouTube that has swallowed various communications media. Terrorist bombings are more frequent, there is a vicious street drug called Blur that turns addicts into monsters. The world, in short, has become a scary enough place before three alien space ships crash landed in the Midwest and over the border into Canada.

Gunning for the Buddha Gunning for the Buddha by Michael Jasper
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
Like the protagonist in his title story, the author lands running. This is a very strong collection from a new writer who hasn't built up a body of work from which to cherry-pick the best stories. Ranging from science fiction to fantasy to horror, the stories offer a pleasing variety that I think will establish him as a guy to keep an eye on.

The Air Loom Gang The Air Loom Gang by Mike Jay
reviewed by Donna McMahon
In 1810, Dr. John Haslam published "Illustrations of Madness," a detailed study of an articulate, educated patient who believed that his mind was being controlled by a gang of revolutionary thugs operating a secret machine called an "Air Loom." Haslam's landmark treatise about patient James Tilly Matthews earned a place in the history of psychiatry as the first example of an "influencing machine."

The Xenocide Mission The Xenocide Mission by Ben Jeapes
reviewed by Rich Horton
This novel opens on the joint Human/First Breed satellite called SkySpy, which is monitoring the fearsome aliens known as the Xenocides, or XCs, because they brutally exterminated the other intelligent species in their solar system. Young Joel Gilmore and his First Breed (or "Rustie") partner Boon Round are making an external repair when the XCs mount a surprise attack. The first priority is to assure destruction of the computer banks and the removal of any chance of the XCs gaining FTL technology.

British Kids Have More Fun: Wood Magic and Bevis British Kids Have More Fun: Wood Magic and Bevis
a column by Georges T. Dodds
Bevis, a young boy wanders into an enchanted woodland world, where all of Nature has stories to tell. In particular, the water flowing in the creeks and the wind whistling through the trees, have more profound truths to reveal, about life, about good and evil, and so on. With their help, Bevis can sort out the intrigues surrounding the woodland creatures' attempts to overthrow the evil autocratic regime of the magpie.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
reviewed by Jason Erik Lundberg
Yeine Darr, our heroine and narrator, is the mixed-race chieftain of her homeland in the north. After her mother dies unexpectedly, Yeine is summoned to the imperial capital by her grandfather Dekarta, the king of the Arameri Empire which rules the eponymous hundred thousand kingdoms of the known world. Once there, she is shocked to discover that she has been named as heir to the throne, along with two manipulative cousins who are none too happy about a barbarian woman competing for the throne of the world.

Twilight Tales: Strange Creatures Twilight Tales: Strange Creatures edited by Tina L. Jens
reviewed by Rodger Turner
This is the third chapbook in the Twilight Tales series. This anthology of stories all revolve around some facet or foible and its effect on you or me. In return, we see how it can makes us stronger or can kill us. A pleasant prospect, eh? Well, they are horror stories after all.

Twilight Tales: Dangerous Dames Twilight Tales: Dangerous Dames edited by Tina L. Jens
reviewed by Rodger Turner
This chapbook contains some terrific fiction. You should get a copy and settle in for some vivid prose and delightful characters. In particular, Rodger recommends Tina L. Jens' "Death Gets a Make Over," Lynda Licina's "Something I Can Never Have" and Viki S. Rollins' "Safe at Home."

Twilight Tales: Tales of Forbidden Passion Twilight Tales: Tales of Forbidden Passion edited by Tina L. Jens
reviewed by Rodger Turner
The hot pink cover should prepare you for this collection of adults-only horrific erotica. Not all the stories are horror in the sense of what readers these days have come expect. Rather, words such as steamy, compelling, uncomfortable, are a few that come to mind.

Shiva 3000 Shiva 3000 by Jan Lars Jensen
reviewed by Charlene Brusso
In a future India, where the caste system has hardened society into unbending rigidity and the gods have been replaced with oddly low-tech machinery, the Sovereign dwells in a splendid palace where holy wandering cattle drink from golden troughs while the lowest tiers of society beg for scraps. The Baboon Warrior is the undisputed hero of the land, beloved protector of the poor and weak. But when Rakesh's betrothed is taken away by the Baboon Warrior, Rakesh is tasked by Kali, Goddess of Destruction, to kill the people's hero...

Dante's Equation Dante's Equation by Jane Jensen
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
What do a weaselish tabloid journalist, an upright Torah scholar, a driven scientist, and a ruthless operative for the US government have in common? Not a lot, initially. Denton Wyle is investigating unexplained vanishings for his paper, Mysterious World. Aharon Handelman, rabbi and family man, works passionately at deciphering Torah code, mysterious messages hidden in the Hebrew text of the Torah. Jill Talcott, associate professor of physics at a large state university, is perfecting a wave mechanics equation that she believes will prove her energy pool theory: that all matter exists as energy waves in a higher dimension.

The Rapture The Rapture by Liz Jensen
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
What would you do if someone, who had accurately predicted the dates of a series of natural disasters, told you the date of "the big one"? What if that person were a psychotic teenager who had murdered her mother and whose predictions came as a side effect of Electro-Convulsive Therapy? And what if you were psychically damaged yourself, confined to a wheelchair as a result of a road accident that killed your lover and your unborn baby?

The 8th House The 8th House by Wendy Jensen
reviewed by Jonathan Fesmire
Popular suspense author ZoŽ Zignego lives a thrice-cursed life. She reads minds, has psychic dreams of horrible murders, and sees ghosts -- all of which started after the car accident that left her with head wounds and her husband dead. Since gaining her powers, she's helped in homicide investigations as a psychic consultant...

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