The Light Ages by Ian R. MacLeod|
reviewed by Gabe Mesa
Robert Borrows is born into one of the lowlier guilds in the village of Bracebridge, a town that lives off the mining of
aether. He leads a normal existence, living with his parents and older sister, going to school... barring any disaster
he will one day be expected to follow his father into the toolmakers' guild and into the same life of grinding, borderline
poverty. One day, however, Robert accompanies his mother on a mysterious trip to a rundown house in a nearby town
Shortly after the visit, Robert's mother takes ill and the family's worst fears are realized when it is clear that she
is becoming a changeling, for reasons Robert can't fathom.
Lion's Blood by Steven Barnes
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Turnabout social satires have long been popular in SF and Alternate History. American writers, particularly, love to speculate on the
South winning the Civil War or the Native Indians defeating American expansionism. Here, we have a novel where
North America was settled by Muslim Africans who imported Northern Europeans as slaves. (Think Gone With the Wind with a regal
black Rhett Butler and a cast of kowtowing Irish.)
Zulu Heart by Steven Barnes
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
Following up on Lion's Blood, in which Carthage defeated Rome, and Africa has colonized the New World, it is the
year A.H. 1294, (aka 1877 A.D.), and the conflict between the Pharoah and the Empress is beginning to boil over in the New World. Kai
ibn Rashid, the new Wakil, is still recovering from the psychological aftermath of the battle, but he can see that he and his
family will inevitably be drawn into the struggle. Kai faces pressures to ally with various political factions, and also to
consummate his arranged second marriage to the niece of Shaka Zulu. Bit by bit, Kai finds himself involved in events that will pit
him against the power of the Pharoah, and place his family in jeopardy.
Death Masks by Jim Butcher
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
As usual, Harry's in trouble. The war between the White Council of Wizards and the Red Court of Vampires, which Harry accidentally precipitated in
Book 3 of The Dresden Files, is still claiming casualties. Now Harry's been approached by
Paolo Ortega, a Duke of the Red Court, with a challenge to settle matters in
single combat. If Ortega wins, the Red Court will accept peace overtures from the White Council. If Harry wins, the city of Chicago will become
neutral ground. It's an offer Harry can't refuse...
Crimewave 7: The Last Sunset edited by Andy Cox
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
This magazine has remained on the cutting edge of dark realism while maintaining its high standards and bringing readers the very
best in the genre. What a shame it is only quarterly; stories of this callibre a person could easily get addicted to and find themselves in
withdrawal a large part of the year. This issue, subtitled The Last Sunset, is another winner -- crammed to bursting with the "good stuff."
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his thoughts on the new TV season. Returning shows include Andromeda, Enterprise,
Smallville, Stargate SG-1, Angel and Jeremiah. New this year
Blade Dancer by S.L. Viehl
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Jory was one of the best Shockball players in the Terran league. Determined to beat the odds despite the extensive damage to her knee,
she kept playing, knowing that it would give her and her mother much needed security. Following a phone call, she races home
only to find her mother dead of a common human sickness. Her mother was an alien, a Joren who was kidnapped and raped along with
others of her kind. Aliens, especially Joren, are hated on Earth, and Jory knows that, when they discover that she's half alien, they'll
desecrate the body and deport her. She's right.
Speaking With Angels by Michelle West
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
This collection contains thirteen stories, all reprints from various anthologies. In her introduction, author Tanya Huff likens the stories to
dark chocolate. This may be apt in that the stories all have a similar tone. New readers might wish for a few crunchy bits, a few peppermints
amidst all that chocolate, but it may be that her readers are going to know just what to expect and will be pleased; her long, very complex
fantasies tend to sustain a similar tone throughout.
compiled by Neil Walsh
New arrivals this time bring us new novels from Dan Simmons, Terry Goodkind, Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman, classic reprints from Poul Anderson, Robert Silverberg and more.
Surviving Frank by David A. Page
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Georges was sort of expecting/hoping for a cross between Cornell Woolrich's
Black Alibi and Dirty Harry, with a touch of lycanthropy à la The Howling thrown in.
To make a parallel between the book's vengeful murderer and the protagonists of Woolrich's The Bride Wore Black and
Rendezvous in Black would be quite a stretch indeed, but at least the villain wasn't immediately obvious and
remained a fairly dark and largely humourless character.
Slave Ring by Tim Dedopulos
reviewed by Steve Lazarowitz
Theo, the protagonist of the story is a vampire. This is not particularly unusual, as any Anne Rice fan can tell
you. However, this particular vampire is a black man, who was once a slave in America's deep south.
Moreover, Theo is an Archon, a vampire that enforces Vampire laws. Think of him as a one man SWAT team.
The Scoundrel Worlds by Chris Bunch
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Star Risk, LTD. has been hired to do two very hard missions. The first involves the most popular and dangerous game in the solar
system -- skyball. The referees have been threatened and it's up to the team to make sure things stay fair and the referees stay alive. The
next is a slightly more complicated mission. Maen Sufyerd, head of the Strategic Intelligence Division has been tried and convicted
for selling particularly sensitive secrets to his world's greatest enemy. Jen Reynold, former premier and friend of Sufyerd, is
certain he's innocent, and needs Star Risk to find out who really sold these secrets and why, before Sufyerd is executed.
A Conversation With Margo Lanagan
Gullivar of Mars by Edwin L. Arnold
An interview with Trent Walters
On writing fantasy:
"The main reason I started considering fantasy was because the Australian market is so small that a person is very unlikely to make enough
money to live on from writing unless she writes in an international genre. And as crime and romance don't appeal, that left SF, fantasy
and horror! Then there's the added benefit that you can bung in any old weird Australian animal and mess about with the seasons and the
language all you like, and if you call it fantasy, the xenophobia falls away."
Future Wars edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Larry Segriff
reviewed by Ian Nichols
There is something redolent of failure in the title of this anthology, as if it takes for granted that war is so much a part of human
nature that it will always be with us. Given current events, this may be correct. Given the massive sales of books which deal with
war and the mechanisms of war, they have obviously tapped into a fairly lucrative market. Sad, really.
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.
He wonders what the big deal is when a customer will come into the bookstore and decides to not buy anything
because they have NOT READ EVERYTHING THEY HAVE. You can never, ever have too many books.
The Merlin Conspiracy by Diana Wynne Jones
reviewed by Rich Horton
Arianhrod ("Roddy") Hyde is the daughter of a weather magician at the Court of the King of Blest. She and
her young friend Grundo discover a plot involving Grundo's unpleasant mother and her new boyfriend as well as the new Merlin of
Blest. The rest of her family becomes enchanted in various ways and unable to move against this plot. Roddy and Grundo become
separated from the Progress of the Court (the King cannot stay in any one place for long) and they gad across Blest, looking for
help from Roddy's two powerful Grandfathers, and her eccentric Grandmother.
Same Difference and Other Stories by Derek Kirk Kim
reviewed by David Maddox
The internet has allowed a plethora of aspiring artists to post their comics and cartoons for all to see. This isn't always a good thing, but
a few jewels are hidden amongst the myriad of autobiographical, poorly sketched rants out there. This collection is one of those jewels.
Kim's artwork can be seen in full color glory at www.smallstoriesonline.com and he keeps the site updated with serials and stand-alone strips
on a (most of the time) regular basis.
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 Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
by C.S. Lewis. He also has a look at five audio anthologies released in 2000 by dhAudio.
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.
reviewed by Jayme Lynn Blaschke
This may come as a shock to some readers, but it appears that John Carter was not the first Earthling to make a
miraculous visit to the planet Mars. Indeed, despite the obvious heresy, Lieutenant Gullivar Jones accomplished a voyage to the Red Planet
aboard a miraculous flying carpet, raced about the alien landscape to rescue the beautiful Princess Heru, then escaped back to Earth
aboard his carpet as the army of the tyrannical Ar-Hap burned Seth, the city of the beautiful Hither Folk.