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SF Site's Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2002 SF Site's Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2002
compiled by Neil Walsh
Once again we solicited our loyal SF Site readership to vote for their favourite books of the year. The results are in, and the Top 10 Readers' Choice Best Books of 2002 are a healthy mix of science fiction, fantasy, and other genre-bending, boundary-blurring work. You're invited to compare this list to the Editors' Choice Top 10 Books of 2002 to see what the SF Site staff recommends and where there is some overlap in what you, the readers, have chosen.

Who Shot SF? Who Shot SF?
an article by Trent Walters
"God knows how long the Science Fiction Super Fish has flopped around out of water. It gasped its last when H.G. Wells turned from SF as thought and entertainment toward SF as utopian symbol, but revived in the nick of time, twenty years later, with Hugo Gernsback's Amazing Stories and his infamous fan clubs and decoder rings. It gave up the ghost during the Great Depression, but John Campbell, Jr.'s Astounding pragmatic science of the 40s did chest compressions while the 50s' literary wit of F&SF and Galaxy did mouth-to-mouth. "

The Facts Of Life The Facts Of Life by Graham Joyce
reviewed by Martin Lewis
Martha Vine is the matriarch of the Vine family, mother of seven daughters. Cassie is the youngest of these, "the result of a night of careless and rough passion after the celebrations over the election of the first ever Labour government of 1924." The story opens with Cassie waiting to give away her infant son to a stranger. Just as she is on the point of doing so, she has a vision of golden light streaming from the three spires of Coventry.

Best Read of the Year: 2002 Best Read of the Year: 2002
compiled by Neil Walsh
Just as our last Best Read of the Year: 2001 list did, this one had its share of surprises and treasures. As much effort as these kinds of Awards are to do, the rewards for the diligent compiler are considerable. The writers, reviewers and editors of the SF Site present their pick for the Top Ten Books of the year. Everyone who contributed to this list -- no matter how widely read we thought we were -- walked away with a discovery or 2 (or 10) that made all the work worthwhile.

Crossfire Crossfire by Nancy Kress
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
A shipful of interstellar refugees from a rapidly self-destructing Earth are en route to an uninhabited planet where they have modest to radical plans for starting over. Aboard the Ariel the atmosphere is a bit edgy as some travellers attempt to make as much of the voyage out of stasis as possible; a dangerous situation under the best of conditions and these are not the best.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers some thoughts on reasons why Star Trek: Nemesis tanked at the box office. And he gives us a summary of what, if anything, to watch on television in March.

Empire of Bones Empire of Bones by Liz Williams
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Jaya Nihalani is having hallucinations, and she doesn't welcome them. Strange visions caused her rapid rise from a poor conjurer's daughter to a wealthy guru and then to a revolutionary Bandit Queen. But all that's over now. Her guerrilla movement has been crushed and Jaya is crippled with premature aging, the victim of a new disease called Selenge which is decimating the untouchable caste in 2030's India. But the visions, unexpectedly, are real.

Legacies Legacies by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
A magical cataclysm has destroyed the world of Corus, fracturing it into several smaller countries that have forgotten the peace and beauty of the past. Instead, they find themselves struggling up from the ashes of their civilization and fighting against each other. Because magic ruined their world, any one with talent is treated with suspicion, usually becoming enslaved to the rich and powerful. When Alucius heals his grandmother's injury, he shows that he has much more Talent than is healthy.

SF Site News 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.

Crossroads of Twilight Crossroads of Twilight by Robert Jordan
reviewed by William Thompson
The author revisits all his main characters, bringing the reader current with events following Winter's Heart. In terms of plot progress, this expands the narrative little more than a couple days. Perrin Aybara continues his pursuit of the Shaido, seeking a way to rescue Faile, a challenge that has occupied him since the start of Winter's Heart, and that he seems no closer to resolving. After traveling for two books, Eqwene's army is finally poised before Tar Valon, but only in view from across the river. Within the White Tower, intrigues entangle Black Ajah, rebels and Elaida's supporters alike without further conclusion.

Never After Never After by Rebecca Lickiss
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
Yes, it actually DOES start with "once upon a time", and ends with "and they lived happily ever after". But what comes in between lines is, well, less than classic -- or more so, depending on your point of view. The recipe includes straw spun into gold, the perennial enchanted frog-prince, the pea that bruised a princess's tender skin, fairy godmothers...

Blackwood Farm Blackwood Farm by Anne Rice
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Tarquin (Quinn) Blackwood has lived with his personal ghost for as long as he has memory. Goblin is his mirror image, a sometimes bratty, sometimes sly but always loving shade that no one can see but Quinn. The family ignores him for the most part, unsure what to make of their beloved child's habit of talking to the air, judging it harmless. Harmless and loving until recently, that is. Now Quinn has been given the dark gift, and Goblin wants his share of the blood.

Ricardo Pinto
Ricardo Pinto A Conversation With Ricardo Pinto
An interview with Victoria Strauss
On his process of writing:
"Each of my three books has been written using a progressively revised technique. Currently, I have spent more than a year working on an outline -- I have not written a single word of the final book. This outline consists of a central document which I call "tapestry" into which I weave the "threads" for each character and theme. As for revisions, if the previous two books are anything to go by, I can do as many as six complete run-throughs... This is not neurotic perfectionism. My readers will, eventually, become aware of just how complex, how finely crafted the books have had to be..."

The Standing Dead The Standing Dead by Ricardo Pinto
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
As the 2nd volume of The Stone Dance of the Chameleon opens, Carnelian and Osidian are discovered by the legionary in charge of disposing of the urns, who illicitly opens them in search of goods to steal and sell. Terrified of these Masters, yet knowing himself doomed for having seen their uncovered faces, the legionary decides to take them south, beyond the Guarded Land, and try to sell them there.

The Standing Dead The Standing Dead by Ricardo Pinto
a novel excerpt
"Beneath the imperious gaze of the funerary colossi of the Chosen, the fires lit by a hundred thousand tributaries formed a trembling field of light on the Plain of Thrones. High above the colossi, on a balcony cut into the cliff enclosing the plain, stood the Ruling Lord of House Suth. He turned his head enough that the eyeslits of his mask shielded his eyes from the dying sun, then surveyed the scene below. Flanked by the immense, towered saurians the barbarians childishly called dragons, the crowd seemed numberless. More than a third were the children brought by tribes from beyond the Commonwealth to pay their flesh tithe."

Paint by Magic Paint by Magic by Kathryn Reiss
reviewed by Ian Nichols
One of the objectives of the time-travel story is to evoke the period to which the journey takes place. This is, perhaps, easier when the scene is in the dark ages, or the age of dinosaurs, where action can take the place of characterisation, and the unfamiliarity of the setting can be a fascination in itself. However, when the setting is just a little while ago, and the action is not particularly violent, then the writer is required to evoke the people of the time, rather than the action. It is this skill in characterisation at which the author excels.

Devil's Bargain Devil's Bargain by Judith Tarr
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
Sioned, Richard the Lionheart's illegitimate sister, is sent by her brother to the court of a rival claimant to the throne of Jerusalem, where she is framed for murder and accused of being an Assassin. One of the legendary kind, that is, the ones from Masyaf who owed their allegiance to the Old Man of the Mountain and whose trademark was a hashish cookie, the so-called Assassin cake, left by the corpse after he was dispatched.

Nebula Awards Showcase 2003 Nebula Awards Showcase 2003 edited by Nancy Kress
reviewed by Steven H Silver
In this anthology, the editor was given Severna Park's "The Cure of Everything," Kelly Link's "Louise's Ghost," and Jack Williamson's "The Ultimate Earth" by the members of the SFWA. What she brought to the collection was the decision to include runners-up Mike Resnick and James Patrick Kelly, as well as commissioning the commentary by a variety of authors, some established and some still making a name for themselves.

 Vox: SF For Your Ears 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 3 new releases from Audible.com: The Best of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction 2002, The Best of Analog Science Fiction and Fact 2002 and The Best of Asimov's Science Fiction 2002.

First Novels

The Fifth Ring The Fifth Ring by Mitchell Graham
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Mathew Lewin may have dreamed of a world beyond his own quiet village, but a magical ring and a ruthless tyrant were hardly the reasons he imagined forcing him out. Now, with a power-mad king, repulsive and deadly Orlocks, and war brewing, Mathew and his friends must run for their lives. Can they restore peace to the divided country? Will they survive long enough to make a difference? And how will they learn the truth about the mysterious ring?

Altered Carbon Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
reviewed by Donna McMahon
It's far future Earth, and mercenary Takeshi Kovacs is waking up in another unfamiliar body. Kovacs has been revived to investigate the murder of Laurens Bancroft, a man centuries old and immeasurably wealthy. Bancroft is alive and healthy in a backup copy of himself, but he wants to know who managed to kill him and how. And if Kovacs succeeds, he will earn freedom, money and release on his home world.

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