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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.

Waiting Waiting by Frank M. Robinson
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
This is a near-future thriller based on all too plausible speculations in anthropology and evolution. It begins when a man is murdered as he prepares to publish an article about an autopsy performed on a body that didn't seem to be human...

The Dark Beyond the Stars The Dark Beyond the Stars by Frank M. Robinson
reviewed by Leon Olszewski
Imagine that you wake up in hospital bed. All you can remember is the last mission. You don't know who you are, or what happened before that last planetary landing. You don't remember the people around you, either their names or what they mean to you. How's that for an opening?

Kim Stanley Robinson

Nebula Awards Showcase 2002 Nebula Awards Showcase 2002 edited by Kim Stanley Robinson
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
Over the last few years, competition among the various best of the year anthologies has grown particularly fierce. There's only so much space on bookstore shelves, and after Gardner Dozois' yearly anthology takes up its portion, room is at a premium. This annual anthology guarantees its own place on the shelves not only through its connection to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, but also by providing a true alternative to the other year's best collections.

Future Primative Future Primitive: The New Ecotopias edited by Kim Stanley Robinson
reviewed by Thomas Myer
We sometimes forget how tough and redoubtable the planet Earth is, and how totally uncaring. Tom takes a look at an intriguing anthology that helps remind us.

Spider Robinson

Justina Robson

Harvest of Changelings Harvest of Changelings by Warren Rochelle
reviewed by Kilian Melloy
Set in North Carolina in 1992, this novel features everything that makes fantasy a potentially great genre: epic struggles between good and evil; a blend of realism and magic; an enchanted view of the various fantastical species that dwell in realms other than our own, and sometimes trespass here softly or in malicious, murderous force. It starts with widower Ben Tyson meeting an enchanting woman of great beauty and charm named Valeria who proposes marriage. Marriage and parenthood bring with them a certain transparency, which means that Ben becomes privy to Valeria's secret: she is a leading figure among the Faerie.

The Wild Boy The Wild Boy by Warren Rochelle
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
In some ways, this book is a throwback to such mid-20th century alien invasion novels as George O. Smith's Pattern for Conquest and Eric Frank Russell's Sinister Barrier, except, that in this case the humans don't save themselves in extremis, they become pets. The Lindauzi, a race of long-lived, highly advanced genetically-enhanced ursine-like aliens require a primate species as emotional symbionts, lest they revert to their former savage state. However, their former emotional symbionts have perished in a great plague -- and humans are the closest viable substitute.

The Q Chronicles The Q Chronicles by Gene Roddenberry et al.
reviewed by Jonathan Fesmire
You know what they say about the corruptive nature of absolute power, but did you realize that it could also make someone absolutely bored, selfish, or lonely? It made Q all these things.

The Stars Compel The Stars Compel by Michaela Roessner
reviewed by Donna McMahon
The Duchessina Catherine de Medici, age 11, has just moved to Rome from Florence and is scheming to foil Pope Clement's plans to marry her off to the King of France. Despite political pressures, she is hoping to wed her handsome cousin, Ippolito. Inevitably, her personal chef, Tommaso Arista, is pulled into her intrigues as he cooks and spies for the Medici family, and studies with famous artists Cellini and Michelangelo so he can learn to create masterpieces of culinary presentation.

The Stars Compel The Stars Compel by Michaela Roessner
reviewed by Kristen Chew
The sequel to The Stars Dispose is likewise set in the well-mined battlefield that was 16th-century Italy. Caterina is the sole legitimate heir to the once great Medici line, and powers both in this world and in others are warring over possible futures for her. Pope Clement, wanting to keep a closer eye on his great niece, moves Caterina to Rome. Tommaso the chef joins her and becomes her eyes and ears outside of the palace, following the events of his life -- his love affair with Michelangelo, his continuing development as a master cook and reluctant spy, and the slow, inevitable blossoming of his talents as an heir to the Old Religion.

The Music of Razors The Music of Razors by Cameron Rogers
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Seventy-two angels fell with Samael, the Son of Morning, cast out of Heaven for rebellion. Then another angel, who had the task of assigning power and function, grasped the enormity of its own ability. So the angel sundered another of its unkillable kind and fashioned the bones into instruments that contained its great gift of Form and Power. It scattered these instruments across the Earth, to safeguard them in case its plan failed, then attempted to ally with the Fallen One. But Samael rejected the angel.

Devil's Cape Devil's Cape by Rob Rogers
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
This is an entertaining, effortlessly captivating read, dripping with what Alannah Myles once called a slow southern style. It's this sweltering Deep South ambience, and to some extent pacing, which makes it stand out from other superhero based novels. Occasionally, the sheer laid back approach slows to a crawl, which is usually the antithesis of the superhero genre, but the author knows what he's doing.

Ancient Rockets A Dictionary Of Made-Up Languages Ancient Rockets by Kage Baker and A Dictionary Of Made-Up Languages by Stephen D. Rogers
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
Non-fiction writing in the fields of fantasy and science fiction comes in many forms, most of them familiar to a mainstream audience. There are also non-fiction works in the genres that are fairly unique to the field, to the point of looking like oddities to an outsider. Two recent works of non-fiction are good examples of two different types of non-fiction, both devoted to increasing our appreciation of the fantastic.

The Fetter Mission The Fetter Mission by M.L. Roland
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Rick and Bill of the Jerdain military are amongst those attacking Bahar, the lair of Thomas Fetter and son Curtis, a pair of evil, ruthless immortals, masters of mind control as well a number of other advanced technologies, and -- naturally -- bent upon ruling the universe. Sure, this sort of thing has been done a thousand times by the likes of Ray Cummings, Edmond Hamilton, and John W, Campbell, Jr. -- but perhaps never quite so poorly.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull by James Rollins
reviewed by David Maddox
Stalwart adventurous everyman, Indiana Jones explores mysterious jungles, battles angry natives, treks through treacherous temples and outwits ancient traps in the hopes of uncovering mysterious artifacts and ancient secrets. Armed only with a whip, a hat and his courage, he journeys through worlds that audiences and fans can only dream of. His adventures have spanned three feature films, video games, novels and many other elements of multi-media.

Cinema Spec: Tales of Hollywood and Fantasy Cinema Spec: Tales of Hollywood and Fantasy edited by Karen A. Romanko
reviewed by David Maddox
Tinseltown has been the birth of many fantasies and tales of the unusual. But many of the stories that created such tales are just as bizarre as the stories made. And what if you blended those stories with the cultural consciousness that is Hollywood?

Sporty Spec: Games of the Fantastic Sporty Spec: Games of the Fantastic edited by Karen A. Romanko
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
In professional sports there are major leagues and minor leagues. The majors are where the best professionals play their games. The minors are the home of players, some on their way up, some on their way down, and others who know they'll never play at a higher level, but happy to be able to play at all. The world of publishing has a similar structure.

Sword Masters Sword Masters by Selina Rosen
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
Most people understand sword & sorcery to mean derring-do with pointy weapons, set in a far-away kingdom where there may or may not be involvement with the supernatural and or magic. There is a distinct flavor of the Arabian Nights in most early twentieth century sword and sorcery, probably left over from the largely imaginary "travel" tales of the late 1600s and 1700s. The conflict in sword & sorcery tales is usually personal rather than ideological or political -- even when the enemies are two kingdoms. Most

The Ant King and Other Stories The Ant King and Other Stories by Benjamin Rosenbaum
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
Surrealism is a literary mode that looks like an easy option, but if it is done well, it is far from easy. The most obvious characteristic of surrealism is the absurdist leap from one moment to the next as if it forms a perfectly coherent connection. Yet this does not mean that you can simply throw in any weird idea at any time and hope to get away with it. Because at the end of the day the story has got to convince us that it really is coherent or we won't recognise it as a way of subverting our notions of the real, but simply think it is stupid. The line between using the absurd and looking silly is very fine indeed.

The Plot Against America The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
reviewed by Jeff VanderMeer
As with most his novels, this one has many layers. It is not only a keenly observed account of a boy growing up in a Jewish-American New Jersey community in the 40s but also a chilling step-by-step clinic on how a democracy can descend into facism; a carefully thought-out alternate history novel in which Charles Lindbergh defeats FDR in his bid for a third term.

Tales of the Black Earth Tales of the Black Earth by R.A. Roth
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Rubert Pilgor, Jr. is the last man on an Earth where humanity has been "vaporized" by a highly evolved, sentient and vengeful form of the HIV virus. Its remaining viroids inhabit him, render him immortal, and carry on a conversation with him. Besides the many biological implausibilities of such a parasite-host interaction, Pilgor's sole survival seems more serendipitous than sensible.

The Wise Man's Fear The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
reviewed by Dominic Cilli
The Wise Man's Fear continues the story told in The Name of the Wind with Kvothe recounting his life's story to Chronicler at the Wayside Inn. His recollections pick up right where they left off with Kvothe attending the University. His conflict with Ambrose continues in earnest and his exploits in and around Imre continue to build his legend. When circumstances at the University compel Kvothe to take a term off, he travels to the distant land of Vintas to work for one of the wealthiest men in the world. During his travels in Vintas, besides conquering the world, Kvothe manages to uncover more about the Chandrian and furthers his quest to locate them in order to seek vengeance for the death of his parents and his entire troupe of Edema Ruh.

The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed by Pat Rothfuss, illustrated by Nate Taylor
reviewed by John Enzinas
This book is only 72 pages long and each page has only a couple of sentences on it. The rest of the page is filled with precise and fanciful illustrations by Nate Taylor giving us the details of the action described by Pat Rothfuss's words. Given this limited amount of content, it's hard to know how much to tell you about this book without giving anything away.

The Name of the Wind The Name of the Wind The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
reviewed by Dustin Kenall
At the center of the first book in The Kingkiller Chronicles stands Kvothe. At different times an orphan, a lutist, a student, a mage, and a dragon slayer, at the opening of his tale Kvothe is only Kote, a simple innkeeper who has renounced his adventurous ways and heroic persona. The author shows us, in a prologue that is about as perfectly polished as one page of prose can get, the layered silence that envelops him, "the patient, cut-flower sound of a man who is waiting to die." There are demons -- monsters equal parts spider, lobster, and Edward Scissorhands -- about and, unsurprisingly, it appears Kvothe's past is catching up with him. A scrivener tracks him down to take his life story. Kvothe demands three days -- one for each book.

Southcrop Forest Southcrop Forest by Lorne Rothman
reviewed by John Enzinas
The story tells the tale of a colony of Tent Caterpillars named Fur who have somehow developed a group mind and are befriended by Auja, the tree in which they live. Auja explains to the Fur that trees can talk to each other as long as they are connected. But, thanks to the efforts of humans, many trees groups have been cut off as the humans cut them down to replace them with their habitations.

The Woman Who Hated Halloween The Woman Who Hated Halloween by Matthew S. Rotundo
reviewed by Trent Walters
It tells of lawyer Janine D'Angelo who defends an occult serial killer who won't help her help him cop a plea of insanity. It's not that he agrees or disagrees but that he's completely emotionless. Now that he's in the process of being sentenced, he appears not to approve of Janine's handling of the case (or maybe she insulted or doubted him), for he appears in her house with a showy display of ooze coming from the walls to tell her she must die on Halloween.

Aramaya Aramaya by Jane Routley
reviewed by Jeri Wright
Dion Holyhands, The Demonslayer of Gallia, travels to the glorious land of Aramaya with her friend Kitten in search of her missing niece Dally. Braving winter storms in an attempt to escape the heartbreak in her personal life, Dion vows to concentrate on finding Dally instead of dwelling on the recent past.

Fire Angels Fire Angels by Jane Routley
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Strange creatures and stranger characters. Mystical locales. Enviable abilities. Compelling situations. It never occurs to doubt the possibility of this tale, only to hurry to learn the fate of the people and places between the covers.

Nowhere to Go Nowhere to Go by Iain Rowan
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Iain Rowan is a very fine writer, one of those authors endowed with the ability to hook the reader in just a few sentences and keep him nailed until the very last word. The book assembles eleven tales, all fine examples of modern crime stories, gripping and perceptive, probing the dark secrets of the human soul, just like an old Alfred Hitchcock movie.

Circle Tide Circle Tide by Rebecca K. Rowe
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
This novel follows in the footsteps of her first novel, Forbidden Cargo, moving the action from Mars to an Earth that has already been affected by the developments recounted in the first book. That includes MAM, a technology that gives anyone endowed with its abilities access to the entire library of human knowledge, and the spread of a mysterious fungus that is threatening the habitability of buildings across the landscape of Los Angeles. Enter Rika Grant, a data thief charged with investigating one of the first buildings where the fungus has taken over.

Dragon Ultimate Dragon Ultimate by Christopher Rowley
reviewed by Todd Richmond
It nicely finishes off the Bazil Broketail series, though you won't appreciate that if you haven't read the rest of the books. Dragon Ultimate leaps right in and doesn't look back.

Harry Potter Series Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Donna is surprised that outraged adults aren't pounding on J.K. Rowling's door. By her fourth Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, she has broken most of the unwritten rules of current children's literature. Bad things happen to good people. Adults lie to children and make bad decisions. Life isn't fair or safe. And here's the kicker. People die in Harry Potter books. Even children. Even good, heroic children. Wow.

Harry Potter Novels Harry Potter Novels by J.K. Rowling
reviewed by Pat Caven
In the media the Harry Potter books have been compared to C.S. Lewis and The Little Prince. Ostensibly for children, but with deeper meaning for adults. Maybe Pat is still just a big kid, but she didn't see any of this. She just enjoyed them for what they are. Great reading that takes you back to that time in your life. They are wildly imaginative, wonderfully funny and well thought out. The author has created instant classics that deserve a valued place in children's literature.

Under the Cat's Eye Under the Cat's Eye by Gillian Rubinstein
reviewed by Thomas Myer
If you liked C. S. Lewis and Robert Louis Stevenson, then you will absolutely go bananas over Gillian Rubinstein. She captures exactly how Thomas, as a child, would react or think about different things, and her portrait of fantastical subjects is charming and evocative.

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