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The nominees have been announced for the Sunburst Award. Have you read all of them yet?
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Paul Kearney A Conversation With Paul Kearney
An interview with Neil Walsh
On going to sea:
"The closest I've ever come to being a sailor is travelling on the Larne-Stranraer ferry. It's not so much the sea that interests me as the nautical techniques of a particular historical period, the 'Wooden World' of the old square-riggers. I am very much an armchair mariner, who devours accounts of castaways and storms with ghoulish fascination. In my favour though, when all about me are losing their lunch, I seem strangely unaffected, so perhaps there's an old sea-dog buried somewhere in my psyche..."

The Curse of Chalion The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
The first thing to strike you about her work is the warm, welcoming feeling to her narrative. From the first word, she invites you into another world and holds you safely there. This time, the setting is Chalion, a diverse and arresting area of many domains, more potential rulers, and endless machinations. It is a time of chivalrous suffering and cowardly betrayal with a backdrop of courtly manners and wills of iron.

Kushiel's Dart Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
Phèdre, unwanted child of a former adept of the opulent pleasure houses of the Night Court, is born with a red mote in her eye. To most, this is an unsightly flaw. Only a few understand its rare, true meaning: Phèdre is an anguisette, chosen victim of Kushiel, angel of chastisement, called to receive pleasure in the form of pain. One who recognizes Phèdre's value is Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with a false name and a secret past. He purchases her indenture, and sets about training her as a singular and special courtesan -- and also as a spy, to serve his enigmatic quest for knowledge within the glittering tangle of court politics.

Chasm City Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds
reviewed by Rich Horton
Set in the same future as his first novel, Revelation Space, the book follows Tanner Mirabel who comes to Yellowstone from Sky's Edge (a planet of 61 Cygni A in the Delta Pavonis star system). He is looking to kill Argent Reivich, who had killed the woman he loved. While tracking him down, we learn about Reivich's attempt on an arms dealer's life (in revenge for supplying the weapons that killed Reivich's family) and Tanner's infection with an "indoctrination virus," which implants memories of Sky Haussmann, the sometimes revered, sometimes hated, last Captain of the first ship to reach Sky's Edge.

Metaplanetary Metaplanetary by Tony Daniel
reviewed by David Soyka
While the author employs the typical space opera clichés -- standing in the way of a megalomaniacal dictator bent on worlds domination is an outnumbered band headed by an unorthodox military veteran; meanwhile, a precocious pre-adolescent saved by the resistance from concentration camp internment seeks to rescue an imprisoned parent -- he marries this with speculations about how quantum physics, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence might affect human evolution in ways that significantly expand and refresh these hoary tropes.

 Vox: SF For Your Ears Vox: SF For Your Ears
a column by Scott Danielson
Scott Danielson offers his views on audio SF -- on tape, on CD, on whatever. This time out, he tells us of his adventures renting audiobooks via the mail, including his opinions on audio verisions of Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson and A Walk in the Sun by Geoffrey A. Landis.

Once Upon A Winter's Night Once Upon A Winter's Night by Dennis L. McKiernan
reviewed by William Thompson
As its title announces, this is a visit by the author to the realm of folklore, in this case, a retelling and extensive and imaginative expansion upon the well-known Norwegian folk tale, "East o'the Sun, West o'the Moon." It opens with a beautiful, pure and innocent maiden who agrees to a proposal presented by an enchanted bear to marry a mysterious, "faery" prince in order to rescue her family from poverty. The maiden falls in love with the prince, but due to an undisclosed curse, can only see her love at night, and even then he must wear a mask, his true appearance kept from her. Soon, the heroine succumbs to the bad advice of an avaricious mother, and surreptitiously gains a view of the prince's face as he sleeps, inadvertently waking him and bringing on the sentence of the curse.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
With nothing to interest him on TV, Rick offers his thoughts on 50s science fiction films. He's seen them all. He loves them all. A few of them are actually worth watching.

The Pagan King The Pagan King by Edison Marshall
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
If you thought recent films like First Knight and particularly A Knight's Tale were a joke in terms of historical or cultural accuracy, or you are tired of the standard Christianized Arthurian romance of an idealized Camelot, then this is the book for you. Narrated by Arthur himself, he is first a rustic farmboy, discovers through Merlin's help his true identity as the legitimate heir to Vortigern's throne, and goes on to lead his Cambrian troops to the conquest of Britain. Gone are the standard characters of Lancelot, Kay, Gawain and others; the Holy Grail is absent; and Mordred is recast as Arthur's rakish and conniving half-brother.

Fedogan & Bremer Fedogan & Bremer
compiled by Rodger Turner
In their 11-year history, small press publisher Fedogan & Bremer have concentrated on writers from the pulp era of horror and mystery. Their perseverance has paid off with 26 books thus far and several more planned. An eclectic mix, they have done 17 single author collections (including a new edition of their first book), 4 Lovecraftian anthologies, a supernatural detective anthology and 3 novels, all of which have ranged over old-fashioned SF, fantasy, weird-menace, Gothic, Lovecraftian & modern horror.

Star Wars: Cloak of Deception Star Wars: Cloak of Deception by James Luceno
reviewed by David Maddox
Supreme Chancellor Valorum, saddled with the hardships of public office and constantly mired in scandal and baseless accusations, finds more problems from the greedy Trade Federation and the rising terrorist group known as the Nebulan Front. On advice from trusted friend and colleague Senator Palpatine, Valorum attempts to create peace between them, at an emergency trade summit. The Jedi Knights are tasked to protect the delegates from possible terrorist threats, but sinister forces lurk beneath the surface, using politicians as pawns in an unfathomable game.

Metapocalypse Metapocalypse by Mark Brendan
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
His name may be John Everyman, but we'd best hope he doesn't represent all of us. Try to think of a worse existence than being the mind-altered puppet of the government, corporations, secret societies, and whoever else feels like putting their hand in. Then again, maybe none of this is happening and John is just imagining the entire thing. Or maybe that's just what they want him to think.

Gormenghast Gormenghast
a DVD review by Rick Norwood
This is the greatest gothic film ever made. It is fantastic without fantasy, opulent, decadent, baroque, bizarre, beautifully acted, gloriously filmed. The genius is in the characters; John Sessions as Prunesquallor deserves special mention, then there is Steerpike, the charming monster, who smiles and smiles and is yet a villain -- and why shouldn't he be, considering the way he is treated.

Gormenghast Gormenghast
a give-away contest
77 generations built the kingdom of Gormenghast... Will one kitchen boy bring it down?

We're having a give-away contest. To help promote it, we've built pages about the plot, Mervyn Peake, the cast and the characters. If you're among the first to correctly answer the questions, you could win a DVD (Region 1) copy of Gormenghast, courtesy of BBC America Shop.

The Thirteenth Scroll The Thirteenth Scroll by Rebecca Neason
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
To keep evil forces from taking over the kingdom, a young woman must abandon the quiet life she knows as a healer in the heart of the forest. Lysandra's special Sight may lead them to the answer; her own sight was taken away years ago in a violent attack. Armed only with her Sight, an ancient prophetic scroll's vague instructions, and two peculiar companions, she must travel across the dark landscape to save her people.

Dislocated Fictions Dislocated Fictions
a column by Gabriel Chouinard
Gabriel Chouinard's column is dedicated to exposing the risk-takers working in SF and fantasy. He calls them the Next Wave, in a nod to the obvious influences that the New Wave writers had upon them. Here, he writes about authors crossing over into the mainstream, a magazine you should read and 3 authors who have consistently changed the face of speculative fiction.

The Crown of Silence The Crown of Silence by Storm Constantine
reviewed by William Thompson
This 2nd volume of The Magravandias Chronicles opens with the destruction of a rural village far from the shores of Caradore or the heart of the Magravandian Empire, with the brutal rape of a peasant boy, Shan, and his subsequent rescue by a stranger.  This episode will set in motion a series of events that will ultimately lead to a spiritual quest and testing that will eventually divide its participants and announce the existence of a true king who will oppose and destroy the Empire.

Planet of the Apes Planet of the Apes
a movie review by Rick Norwood
It upset Rick that Tim Burton assembled so much talent in the form of costumers, set designers, and choreographers and blew it all away on a deeply, deeply stupid script. William Broyles Jr. is a good writer -- he wrote Apollo 13 -- but Mark Rosenthal has written a dozen bad movies, including The Beverly Hillbillies and Superman IV. Why would anyone allow him to write again?

Jurassic Park III Jurassic Park III
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Joe Johnson is a yeoman director whose work is solidly in the middle ranks. Rick enjoyed Jumanji and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and he liked The Rocketeer a lot. But, oh, what Stephen Spielberg could have done with this material!

First Novels

The Ill-Made Mute The Ill-Made Mute by Cecilia Dart-Thornton
reviewed by John Berlyne
A foundling with no name, no memories and no voice awakes in the lowest servant's quarters of a grand palace. Horribly disfigured, the foundling ekes out an existence at the bottom of the food chain, but shows talent and application in menial work that allows exploration of other levels of the palace. Wit and opportunism eventually bring about an opportunity for escape.

Second Looks

Windhaven Windhaven by George R.R. Martin & Lisa Tuttle
reviewed by Wayne MacLaurin
Flight... for eons man has longed to fly. From the Greek myths of Daedalus to the sketches of Leonardo Da Vinci to the triumphs of the Wright brothers, our literature and culture has been filled with tales of man conquering the skies. Here is a tale of a world of small islands, vicious storms and dangerous oceans, a world peopled by the descendants of a crashed colony starship. The inhabitants scavenged the solar sails of the starship to create metal wings that enable people to fly (the light gravity and dense atmosphere help, too).

The Moment of Eclipse The Moment of Eclipse by Brian Aldiss
reviewed by Gabe Chouinard
Here, you will find 14 stories by this Grand Master of Science Fiction. You'll read him when he is at his best, as in "Orgy of the Living and the Dying," or "The Circulation of the Blood" and "The Worm That Flies." This volume also includes "Super-Toys Last All Summer Long," the story which forms the basis for Steven Spielberg's new film, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence.

The People of the Black Circle The People of the Black Circle by Robert E. Howard
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
(This is a reprise review with additional details.)
To many people the character of Conan is the one they know from two films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; for others Conan is the barbarian character of comic book fame; for others still the literary character written of by a host of modern would-be sword and sorcery authors. Presented in this collection are the original unadulterated Robert E. Howard Conan tales, directly from the pages of Weird Tales and original manuscripts.

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