The Scar by China Miéville|
reviewed by William Thompson
In many ways, this novel bids to carry on the existential delving into the hidden
and wounded nature of human experience, reinforced by a return to the wonders and horrors of Perdido Street Station's New Crobuzon.
Here, however, the author chooses to build his city anew, in the form of a floating Armada, a
pelagic architecture constructed of decaying and rusted ships roped together by rigging, catwalks and suspended bridges of cordage
and plank that drifts upon the currents of the sea. Unknown to the authorities of the city-state of New Crobuzon,
Armada is a loose confederation harboring many of their former misfits and criminals, a refuge for escaped Remades, divided into
semi-autonomous ridings that support themselves by their own industry, thaumaturgy and piracy. Strange and exotic
gardens grow and overhang decks and crowded, tottering tenements built upon the raised and gutted hulks of ironclad
steamers and rotted wooden frigates that continuously bob and shift upon the water, weathering calms and storms far
from any shore, dwarfed in the vast expanse of the Swollen Ocean.
Tainted Trail by Wen Spencer
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
The 2nd in the Ukiah Oregon series finds expert tracker and PI Ukiah Oregon and his
partner, Max Bennet, on the trail of Alicia Kraynak who has vanished from her campsite. Utilizing Ukiah's
almost supernatural tracking abilities (the product of his mostly-alien genetics), they discover that she has been kidnapped.
Disturbingly, though, Alicia's disappearance may be linked to a larger pattern of deaths and vanishings -- far too
many to be normal in this rural part of Oregon.
Iterations by Robert J. Sawyer
reviewed by Steven H Silver
Although he is best known for writing novels, he has also written numerous pieces of short fiction, many of
which have been nominated, and won, for awards ranging from the HOMer to the Hugo.
Nevertheless, his short fiction is not generally well known, possibly because it doesn't appear in the major genre magazines.
This is a collection of 22 stories which were originally published in a variety of anthologies and a few magazines.
Starman by Sara Douglass
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
It's no secret that fantasy fans like their sword and sorcery in heroic slabs. Well, no one gives readers their fantasy in
more massive doses than this author, and no one hits that magical high more precisely. Here, the epic
Wayfarer Redemption series continues with an expanse and a vision that dwarfs other -ologies that have gone
before it. Is it any wonder that the series is the most successful in Australian history?
a movie review by Rick Norwood
It is intelligent, witty science fiction. There is a fifteen-minute action
sequence that is original, spectacular, and thrilling. There is a murder mystery -- how do you commit
the perfect murder in a society where precogs foresee murder before it happens -- with a clever
solution. There are a lot of deft predictions about the near future that are both convincing and original.
30th Anniversary DAW Science Fiction edited by Elizabeth R. Wollheim and Sheila E. Gilbert
reviewed by Rich Horton
This anthology features 19 stories by writers who have published books with DAW over the
years. They seem to be organized in roughly the order in which the authors first appeared from DAW. Thus the early part
of the book features such venerable authors, all of whom have established reputations outside DAW, as Brian Stableford,
Brian W. Aldiss, and Frederik Pohl. Later on we see authors known mostly for their recent DAW SF:
Lisanne Norman and Julie E. Czerneda, for example.
Vox: SF For Your Ears
a column by Scott Danielson
Scott Danielson is looking at audio SF -- on tape, on CD, on whatever. This
time out, he has been listening to Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card,
The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson and Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones by R.A. Salvatore.
SF Site News
compiled by Steven H Silver
Every day, items of interest to you arrive in our email. Our bi-monthly format doesn't lend itself to daily updates.
However, this is a small inconvenience to our Contributing Editor Steven H Silver. He's begun a new column which
will fill you in on recent news in science fiction. We'll be updating the page as he sends in new items.
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, June 2002
reviewed by David Soyka
In "Dazzle's Inferno," the cover story of the June issue, Scott Bradfield takes
what could be -- and usually is -- easily a "too cutesy" idea and puts some real bite into it. Dazzle is a pooch
apparently without a master, but still subject to human interventions supposedly in the dog's best interest from such
well-intentioned folks as the SPCA and Animal Welfare Agents.
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.
One of his goals is to open new literary doors for customers -- to shake up the foundations of
their reading reality. It is a tricky thing but rewarding when it works.
Dinotopia Lost by Alan Dean Foster
reviewed by A.L. Sirois
It's that time of year on Dinotopia when storms are most prevalent. Indeed, it's the climax of a 6-year
cycle and the storms that lash the northern end of the island are expected to be much more violent that
usual. On a pirate vessel captained by Brognar Blackstrap along with
his intellectual first mate, Priester Smiggens, we meet as scurvy a band of cutthroats
as one could hope to find on the Seven Seas. Flung ashore on the northern end of Dinotopia, the pirates
find themselves on what appears to be an uninhabited island. They set out exploring in hopes of finding
fresh water and game, and almost at once run into a family of Struthiomimuses on a camping holiday.
Arena by Karen Hancock
reviewed by Suzanne Krein
Callie Hayes reluctantly joins her friend Meg in a psychology experiment described as providing "evaluation of
and instruction in the decision-making process." The receptionist assures her that the experiment, an obstacle
course, will be completed in a few hours. Too late, Callie discovers that she cannot back out from the experiment.
Patrick O'Leary Reading List
compiled by Rodger Turner
With the release of a new novel, The Impossible Bird,
Rodger compiled this page on the work of Patrick O'Leary. There, you'll find
a profile of his novels and a list of his short fiction.
Time Past by Maxine McArthur
The First & Second Books of Lankhmar by Fritz Leiber
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Time is the demon that is inexorably stalking Commander Halley
of the space station Jocasta. At least, she wishes she was back on the station; she fervently wishes she had never
tried to steal a forbidden jump drive from under the... well, noses, for lack of a better word... of the Four to
give to the rest of the Confederacy. All her valiant efforts have left her stranded in Earth's polluted, unenlightened
past with only the slimmest chance of every returning to her own time.
The SF Writer's Online Resource: Michael A. Banks
a column by Trent Walters
So many writing books are a dime a dozen, shedding little new light on the
difficulty of writing. On the web are some free and interesting takes on
this eternal dilemma. Michael A. Banks, author of three SF novels and
several short stories, of a book that sets the record straight on
Understanding Science Fiction, and of a style not displeasing to the ear,
is one of those writers with something worthwhile to say.
A Walking Tour of the Shambles by Gene Wolfe & Neil Gaiman
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Should you ever find yourself inside the borders of the Shambles, be warned. Walk as quickly as you can, without stopping,
looking around too much or speaking to any of the odd inhabitants of the place until you obtain a copy of this indispensable
guide. In it, you will discover the best defensive maneuvers against a crocodile, how to avoid being attacked by the denizens
of the House of Clocks, and how to keep yourself from being robbed, poisoned or otherwise incapacitated and sold as a
treat to fellow unfortunates.
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
In 10 years there will be no television. By that Rick mean that the network television
dramatic series will have disappeared and nothing will be left but live sports, "reality" shows, and maybe sitcoms.
Television became the world's most popular form of entertainment because it was effortless and free.
reviewed by William Thompson
Pairing a northern barbarian with an urbane, hedge wizard's acolyte, one could
think perhaps of a no more unlikely couple, except the marriage of Mutt and Jeff,
Stan and Oliver, proving once again "Three of a Perfect Pair." A keen mind in a berserker's body, Fafhrd became the
brawn and calm to balance the Grey Mouser's creative if at times impulsive fancy. Of a larcenous turn, the two confederates
match their differing if mutual skills to thievery and mercenary employment, usually with serio-comedic results. Written
with verve and wit, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser became one of the most original and enduring teams to grace fantasy fiction.
Peace by Gene Wolfe
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
On the face of it, it is almost impossible to classify it as a book of fantasy. So much of it is rooted so squarely,
and so beautifully, in small-town mid-America, that it could simply be a book of Literature with a capital L. It might
well be the ultimate book to hand to someone who dismisses all speculative fiction as a child of a lesser literary
god. It is possible to have a science fiction book be lyrical, philosophical, intricate, possessed of both enough depth to
drown in and enough wit to do so while smiling. This is such a book.
Take Back Plenty by Colin Greenland
reviewed by Martin Lewis
The Plenty of the title is a gigantic space station built by an alien race called the Frasque. The Frasque have long since
been forcibly evicted by another race, the Capellans, and their bureaucrats-cum-enforcers, the Eladeldi. The Capellans,
with their superior technology, have set themselves up as benevolent hands off dictators of the Solar system.
Tabitha Jute is a blue-collar pilot who has had the good fortune to acquire her own ship, the Alice Liddell. She
is also in dire need of cash to pay off fines and get some urgent repairs.
The Frozen Pirate by William Clark Russell
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Between Marryat's The Phantom Ship and William Hope Hodgson's tales of maritime horror, by far the best and most prolific
purveyor of this sort of literature was this author. Largely forgotten today, except by fans of sea stories,
he wrote close to 50 novels of the sea. This book is the first instance in English literature of
the use of cryonic suspension as a plot device, preceding H.G. Wells' suspended animation machine in When the Sleeper
Wakes by a dozen years.