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Quin's Shanghai Circus by Edward Whittemore|
reviewed by Jeff VanderMeer
In 1974, Henry Holt published an ex-CIA operative's first novel. It was one of the most astonishingly
original and assured debuts by any 20th century fiction writer. It received great praise in such venues
as The New York Times Book Review and Harper's.
Upon rereading it in this new edition, Jeff found it to be still audacious, unflinching, uncompromising. Ethereal
yet savage. Tender yet coarse. An absurdist fantasy. A poignant snapshot of characters caught in the throes of history and in the throes
of sin and redemption.
Abarat by Clive Barker
reviewed by Matthew Peckham
Sometimes the best things come in unassuming packages, at least to those of us who assume something marketed as "young adult" isn't
worth our time. This novel is in many unintended ways a response to the J.K. Rowling books which, in spite of
their trivial thematic regurgitations and archetypal clichés, still manage to incite millions of bedazzled readers to read
them and then, zinged, reach for something more. But where Rowling's books are meant to go down easy, like ice cream and cake, the author's
second venture into "writing without sex or naughty words" is a dizzy flight into happy madness, a menagerie of exuberance and
pastiche that charms without flinching from tangles of darkness and the disturbing.
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.
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.
Continuing his look at used bookstores, he tells us about the differences between a successful one and those
that may not be around next month. The signs are apparent. Customers can figure it out when they open the door,
lugging their boxes of books to be sold or looking for that last title to complete their Neal Barrett, Jr. collection.
The Ultimate Cyberpunk edited by Pat Cadigan
reviewed by David Soyka
The title of this anthology makes a far-reaching claim so patently unlikely that its editor quickly dispenses with it.
The question then becomes whether there is any need for another anthology some sixteen years after the famous original
compilation, Mirrorshades, edited by Bruce Sterling. But her undeniable contention that it "is not all there is" doesn't
quite explain the rationale for this particular collection.
compiled by Neil Walsh
New arrivals at the SF Site in the past few weeks include new works from Steven Erikson, Piers Anthony, Paul Di Filippo, Steve Aylett, Kate Jacoby, John Meaney, and Anne Rice, plus two brand new SF magazines. Also in is some new old stuff, like re-released classics from Douglas Adams, Tim Powers, and A.E. Van Vogt.
Nightmare by Steven Harper
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Kendi Weaver and his family are captured by slavers. One by one, he sees the people he's loved all his life taken from him and sent to
other worlds. The only thing that will eventually save him is his discovery of a
power inside of him, one that allows him to travel in a dreamlike world and communicate with others of his kind. This power makes him
much more valuable, and he is bought, and freed by the Children of Irfan. He journeys with them to Bellerophon where a serial killer is stalking the
Silent in their Dream state, and killing them, something that no one ought to be able to do.
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his thoughts on what to watch in December, on Steven Spielberg's Taken and
on how you can save Firefly. Something for everyone.
Terrapin Or by Tilper Manaday
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
You could describe as absurdist this tale of an unemployed engineer who discovers a machine capable
of selectively teleporting items or bits of matter all over the world and even the universe. Along with his sidekick, a reclusive
obese billionaire with a pathological fear of women, he uses it to clean up and disarm the Earth, eliminate drug addiction (at
least locally), set straight a televangelist and, of course, set off a number of amusing if odd consequences.
Shadow Planet by William Shatner
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Jim Endicott and a group of young people are leaving the colony ship Outward Bound. They fought a group of Kolumbans,
a race of aliens that look like huge gorillas, and have stolen their ship. These Kolumbans were selling a drug
called Heat, whose main effect is killing who ever takes it, and Jim Endicott wants to find out why the Kolumbans
are producing this poisonous drug and stop them. Before he can accomplish any of this, he needs to settle things on board.
Little Doors by Paul Di Filippo
reviewed by Martin Lewis
Spanning 15 years from almost the beginning of his career to earlier this year, this is the author's 5th
collection. Like all of them, it is
thematic even though in this case it is a little hard to say what that theme might be. In the broadest terms, all the stories are
fantasies even though some of them contain no fantastic elements. Even though there is not a clear, unifying thread running through
the stories it is obvious that they rub up against each other and trade on similar concerns. They are stories of dreams and obsessions.
Sorcerers of the Nightwing by Geoffrey Huntington
The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
Devon March has always known that the monsters in his closet are real -- and that, mysteriously, he has the power to fight them. His Dad
knows it too. But he never explains why the loathsome demons are
there, or why Devon can banish them with a word, or why Devon sometimes manifests other powers, such as the ability to teleport
objects and open doors without touching them. When Devon is fourteen his father falls ill, and reveals a shocking secret: Devon isn't his real son.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is not quite as good as the first Harry Potter film, but it is
still filled with charm and excitement. The director, Chris Columbus, noted for letting his actors go too far in hamming it up,
kept everyone well under control in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
reviewed by Rich Horton
This generously sized 'zine has an impressive list of contributors. There are 11 short stories, from the likes of Jeffrey Ford,
Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Jay Lake, etc.; 5 poems, including one from Rhysling winner Laurel Winter; and an essay by Terri
Windling. The fiction is quite solid work. The poetry was OK, though not wholly to Rich's taste -- he did like
Sophie Levy's "What the Pink Book Said" quite a bit, however.
reviewed by William Thompson
Taking place within a fictional England during the period of Viking incursions and the Danelaw, the realm of faerie still exists
dimensionally side-by-side with mankind, at times heard or glimpsed in storm or twilight, but ever driven to the margins of human
habitation by the encroachment of the White Christ and his proselyting priesthood. Orm the Strong has carved out a home for
himself along the northern Saxon shores, killing its original residents and through coercion, taking an English wife. But his
actions have led to a curse being placed upon him, which will have dire consequences for the future.
Kingdom of Cages by Sarah Zettel
Fantasy and Horror edited by Neil Barron
reviewed by Donna McMahon
The phrase "shit disturbing" takes on a whole new meaning when you work a backbreaking shift in the local sewage treatment plant, but Chena Trust,
13, is a born agitator and she's unhappy. Everyone tells her how lucky
she is to move to the planet Pandora, but conditions there seem unbelievably primitive to a girl raised on a space station. Colonists live
in tiny villages, eking out a subsistence living under harsh rules that forbid them from using machinery or modern medicine -- anything
that might conceivably disturb Pandora's pristine biosphere.
reviewed by William Thompson
A companion to the author's Anatomy of Wonder, a standard reference for science fiction, this book is
a combining of the editor's two previous references, Fantastic Literature and Horror Literature, published in 1990, and both
intended to serve as reader's advisories. Following a format in most respects identical to the long-running Anatomy of Wonder,
this scholarly tome attempts to cover the most important and seminal works written since the start of the Gothic tradition in the
mid-eighteenth century, as well as fantasy from its inception in the origins of literature.
The Prisoner -- The Official Companion to the Classic TV Series by Robert Fairclough
reviewed by David Soyka
This was not your run-of-the-mill television series. Though, at the time, the loner anti-hero had become a staple of the televised
grist mill, none was as unconventional and intellectually
ambitious. The series took the tropes of various pop culture artifacts -- espionage, western, science fiction and
fantasy, and fairy tale genres, as well as elements of then-contemporary film, music, and lifestyle -- and bent them into a unique hodgepodge
that aspired to make viewers think, though often it just baffled them.