It is with great pleasure that we announce the addition to the SF Site of
Fantastic Metropolis. Gabriel Chouinard's goal is
'to provide a centralized site for the next wave of fantastic
literature. There you will find in-depth criticism, op-ed essays from writers and reviewers alike, short fiction,
interviews, a message forum, and all the associated goodies that go hand-in-hand with such a site.' He plans to start with
such items as an essay by M John Harrison entitled "What it might be like to live in Virirconium," a piece on John Sladek entitled "The Steam-Driven Author"
by Rhys Hughes, two pieces by Jeff VanderMeer, "In Pursuit of the Imagination" and "Death of the Imagination" and
an in-depth interview with Serbian fantasist Zoran Zivkovic.
Strange Trades by Paul Di Filippo
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
Welcome to another mix of song titles, obscure pop culture references, the
kind of weird ideas only science fiction writers get, and those odd people
who always seem to live just down the street. This writer's at his best in
his short stories, which often feature an oddball sense of humour and
delight in popular culture. This collection is nominally based on the theme
of odd occupations, but it's really a sometimes silly, sometimes serious
overview of the writing of one of those authors whose gift is to present
sharply painted images in small packages.
Dawn of a Dark Age by Jane Welch
reviewed by William Thompson
Ostensibly the start of a new trilogy, this book is actually
a continuation of the saga begun in the Runespell Trilogy and followed by
The Book of Ond. After a 15-year absence, Spar returns to Belbidia to reclaim his rule of
Torra Alta. With him, he brings in tow a fractious and rebellious son, Rollo, still grieving from the recent
death of his mother and resentful at being forced to leave his native land of Artor. Spar is seeking
closure for his own loss, as well as a fresh start for both himself and his son. But much has changed in
his absence: fell and magical creatures of an earlier time now roam Belbidia, wishing to restore their own
ascendancy over the earth and mankind.
Geeks With Books
a column by Rick Klaw
Rick Klaw gives us a look at how things work from behind the counter of a book store.
This time he tells of the keys to becoming a good bookseller that start even before approaching a customer.
It is apparent that having a gift of the gab isn't enough to sell books.
And guest reviewer Mark London Williams gives us his opinion on the cover for Realty Check by Piers Anthony.
Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub
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Being Dead by Vivian Vande Velde
reviewed by Rich Horton
This is a new collection of ghost stories, definitely Young Adult in tone, but
appealing to adult readers as well. The 7 stories are mostly quite dark in tone, as might be expected from the
subject matter, and rather uncompromising in facing death as a reality, not as something easily escaped. The
telling is straightforward, as with much YA fiction, but affecting and often surprising.
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 gives us his thoughts on Tolkien-lite clones and worthy fat fantasy. Also, he's recommending
a Serbian fantasist and several story collections.
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.
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his thoughts on 2 episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise, Fight or Flight" by Rick Berman and Brannon Bragga
and "Strange New World" by Rick Berman and Brannon Bragga, teleplay by Phyllis Strong and Mike Sussman plus the first episode of
Buffy, The Vampire Slayer's 6th season.
The Complete Accursed Wives by Bruce Boston
reviewed by Trent Walters
The author presents the horrors of conjugal bliss in this collection, a
finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for best poetry collection (an award that's been sorely needed). If
you've ever held the undead fear that poetry was for the hoity-toity crowd or that the
vulgar fangs of science fiction may sink into your tea-and-crumpets sanctity of poetry, then
these batch of tales the embalming fluid to put those fears to rest.
The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Sometimes a title is a perfect illustration of a book's contents. "Tapestry" so aptly describes the story
in this horror novel that it is only three-quarters of the way through that the relevance becomes
clear. The tale of Edward Weyland is a weaving of disparate strands that comes together
to make a meaningful whole. The fleeting glimpse we catch of the vampire's life epitomizes what a
tiny portion of the full composition we have been allowed to see.
Wizard Sword by William Hill
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Brin is an amnesic warrior hero with a living telepathic sword and a similarly telepathic miniature dragon
sidekick. In a world straight out of a D&D campaign led by an inexperienced, not
to say inept dungeon-master, the heroes go from encounter to encounter, seemingly invincible if perhaps temporarily
delayed, conveniently healing themselves over and over again, while trying to save the last dimension dancer from
being cloned into an army of super-soldiers by the evil Dark Lord (who incidentally is actually called the Dark Lord).
A Paradigm Of Earth by Candas Jane Dorsey
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Imagine if the first aliens to walk among us didn't come in conveniently labelled packages, the kind of
clear-cut models our more narrow-minded citizens can handle comfortably. What if, instead, they were as
maddeningly non-partisan and as sexually ambiguous as some of our own "troublemakers" here on Earth? Even
worse, what if these rare and precious aliens were introduced to humanity by some of the least mainstream
of our people?
The Chronoliths by Robert Charles Wilson
Le Morte D'Arthur by Thomas Malory
reviewed by Nick Gevers
In the year of ultimate terrorism, this is a novel about ultimate terrorism;
and its logic is inexorable, terrifying. It involves demolition and
monuments. The demolition is predictable enough, targeting major cities and
centres of economic activity. But there are two crucial differences: first,
whatever buildings are destroyed, whatever Towers, twin or otherwise, are
toppled, they are replaced with gigantic formal monuments to the power of
the destroyer; and second, it is not the hot breath of mediaeval
fundamentalism that blows across Wilson's world, but rather an icy wind from
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
reviewed by David Soyka
The typical space opera conventions are here -- interstellar travel among human colonized worlds, a menace
to the universe, a hero on a quest, sardonic dialogue, one dimensional characters -- but they're dressed
up with hard SF speculations about the nature of the universe without violating known astrophysical laws, combined with the
tropes of seemingly sentient artificial constructs and biomechanical prosthetic enhancements
that blur the distinction between human and machine. All of which serves to take the much, and perhaps
deservedly, denigrated term of "space opera" to another level.
Short Fiction Focus
a column by Nick Gevers
Nick Gevers' monthly column is a survey of recent short fiction. This month's picks are
the latest extraordinary novella from Lucius Shepard, "Aztechs" at Sci Fiction and
full praise here for a similarly probing political parable, "Into Greenwood," by Jim Grimsley, the lead story in Asimov's.
Shadows Over Innsmouth edited by Stephen Jones
reviewed by Stephen M. Davis
Innsmouth is a town that was once prosperous, once important, but that
gradually became irrelevant to the world around it. Mistakes were made by
the original settlers that led to the sea's encroachment onto the land, and
the widening of salt marshes surrounding the town, leading to isolation from
the settlements around it, like Arkham. At some point in the 19th
century, a deal was struck between the members of the town and the Deep
Ones, a race of sea-dwelling, amphibious, vaguely humanoid creatures who worshipped Dagon.
compiled by Neil Walsh
Here's a list of new and forthcoming books, recently received at the SF
Site. We hope you find something new and interesting to read here, but
please don't ever stop looking for new works, old favourites and authors who
are new to you -- whether they've been dead for centuries or only just now
published for the first time.
reviewed by William Thompson
This represents not only the first novel in English, but arguably the first
novel of fantasy. Its universal tale of love and betrayal, the striving for unattainable ideals amidst the
turmoil of human frailty, an earlier age at the threshold of profound change, has remain seated in the
imagination of successive generations, profoundly influencing a large and diverse number of authors,
artists and filmmakers, from the Pre-Raphaelites and Beardsley, directors as different as John Boorman,
Bresson and the crew of Monty Python, to writers as far distant in their outlook and intention as Twain,
Steinbeck, The Inklings and Michael Moorcock.
Doctor Who Regeneration by Philip Segal with Gary Russell
reviewed by David Maddox
With an almost forgotten wheezing and groaning sound, time and space were torn asunder to reveal the
familiar shape of a blue police box. The TARDIS appeared. The Doctor had returned. It had been 7 long years
that the heroic Time Lord had been absent from the television screen and BBC Enterprises, Universal Studios along
with Fox Entertainment were determined to make his return the spectacle it should be.
The entire history of the made-for-TV film is recounted in this volume
which succeeds in bringing back the excitement surrounding the attempted resurrection of Doctor Who.