A Conversation With Dan Simmons|
An interview with Steven H Silver
On an affinity between writing poetry and SF:
"As with poetry, quality
speculative fiction demands great skill with language and invites linguistic invention. As with poetry, good SF delves deep into metaphor
while sliding lightly on the surface of its own joy of telling. As with poetry, quality SF demands a much greater collaboration on the
part of the reader -- a greater sensitivity to detail, word-meaning, texture, and nuance, as well as a greater involvement in ferreting out meaning."
Trampoline edited by Kelly Link
reviewed by David Soyka
The editor should be commended, not only for an intriguing compilation (even if perhaps criticized for not including a story of
her own), but that she manages to stay out of the way of it. The only thing that intrudes here is her taste in the story selection and
ordering. There's no tiresome manifesto here, no chest-beating about movements or genres or rants against publishing mediocrity and how
some merry band of rogues is going to revolutionize anything. She understands that the role of editor is to let the work speak for
itself. Even if all the stories don't always bounce back successfully, at least they take the risk of making the jump.
A Handful of Coppers by Charles de Lint
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
This is a collection of stories from when the author was, in his own words, "not done yet" -- he
made up with enthusiasm what he lacked in wealth of experience, or pure insight. The luminosity with which some of his later
stories are infused, with which they positively glow -- that isn't quite here. Not yet. These stories are the equivalent of the tilting
yard, where the young squire trains with sword and lance until he is good enough to become a knight. There is value in this practice. If
there is no luminosity yet, there is a glimmer of its formation, of the first bright sparks of it.
The Companions by Sheri S. Tepper
reviewed by Hank Luttrell
There is a certain type of science fiction that deals with political ideas in a roundabout manner. These stories aren't
obviously about our society, since they take place in the future, or maybe an alternate world. Perhaps they are satirical,
or whimsical or farcical; and so the theme and message isn't obviously or confrontationally stated. Critical ideas are stated
in a manner that isn't openly critical of contemporary institutions or customs. These stories are subversive in the
sense that they try to influence a reader's opinions by insinuating ideas into recreational reading.
Witpunk edited by Claude Lalumière and Marty Halpern
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
No doubt about it. No matter where you live in this world, now is not a time supplying you with big laughs. Dread, resignation, and anger,
maybe, but not the chuckles you really need to take your mind off (insert relevant impending doom here).
The editors couldn't help but notice and they've come to your rescue with a literary tweak. Whatever
your complaint, there is something in this anthology that will make it all better -- for a time, at least.
compiled by Neil Walsh
New novels from Terry Brooks, Sara Douglass, Stephen Baxter; new collections from Cory Doctorow, Michael Swanwick, Thomas F. Monteleone; new anthologies from Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling, Claude Lalumière, Sheree R. Thomas -- these are some of the new and forthcoming books to flow through the SF Site office this month.
January 2003 E-Magazine Roundup
an article by Trent Walters
Trent has read and provides commentary on several e-magazines including
Dark Fluidity, Fangoria, Ideomancer, Sci Fiction,
Strange Horizons and Vestal Review.
Skyfall by Catherine Asaro
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
The book gets started with a blood rush and never slackens the pace a notch. Roca Skolian is on the run and determined not to be
found until she is ready. Her son Kurj plans to force a vote in Assembly to declare war on the sickeningly cruel Aristos, but to get
the votes he needs, he must find Roca and hide her away so that she cannot oppose him. Determined to stay out of his control, Roca
travels to a distant planet where she is unknown and she can catch a last minute ship to the Assembly.
The Leopard Mask by Kaoru Kurimoto
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Notwithstanding where the later episodes in the Guin Saga may have taken the
series, if this first volume is at all representative of what's to come, you'll either
want to learn to read Japanese real quick, or haunt your bookstore's new releases rack. This is the sort of stuff that gives one some hope that
multi-volume Heroic Fantasy isn't just an excuse to recycle old growth forests into doorstops. This has it all, a powerful but mysterious
fate-driven hero, a nasty plague-bearing villain who is actually more than
what he first appears, a forest plagued with spirits, demons and worse, a pair of twin heirs to a kingdom with undeveloped paranormal
capabilities, and action, action, action!
Red Thunder by John Varley
reviewed by Peter D. Tillman
A bunch of likeable Florida teens get together and build a homemade spaceship, a couple decades from
now, with the help of a cashiered NASA astronaut and his idiot-savant
cousin, Jubal, who has discovered a simple vacuum-energy shunt. With free,
unlimited energy, just about anything can fly, even a spaceship made of used railroad tank-cars...
Ilium by Dan Simmons
reviewed by William Thompson
Reportedly ten years in conception, this epic, the first of two parts, opens
before the gates of Troy, not within the myths of our ancient past, but reenacted in some far-flung future, and not on Earth but
Mars. Homer has been supplanted by a 20th century classics professor, Thomas Hockenberry, in his own words an "unwilling
Chorus" who, along with other "scholics," has been resurrected from remnants of his own DNA to observe and report the unfolding
saga to the gods on Mount Olympos.
Though he and his fellow academics know how events will play out -- this new siege so far faithful to Homer's
verse -- the gods, aside from omniscient Zeus, haven't a clue as they act out their appointed tasks.
SF Site News
The Fifth Sorceress by Robert Newcomb
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.
Mistress of Dragons by Margaret Weis
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
Dragons are the superior race, the secret masters of the world. For centuries they've watched the development of humankind,
an upstart species whose odd blend of intelligence and weakness intrigues the dragons. By dragon law, humans are not to be harmed, nor are
dragons to interfere or interact with them. There's just one exception: the Watcher, a dragon who consents to take human form and go among
the humans, keeping watch and reporting back to the Dragon Parliament.
Honour Among Punks by Guy Davis and Gary Reed
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
The Victorian Age hasn't really died, but the punk and gothic movement are in full swing, creating a subculture that
clashes against the Victorian world they all live in, and Baker Street is in the centre of it. Medical student Susan Predergrast
has taken an apartment with a pair of punker girls. It is soon apparent that she's really a less daffy Dr. Watson,
playing to her new roommate and employer Sharon Ford's less acerbic Holmes. She is an ex-cop with an irreverent attitude that
helped get her kicked off the police force.
Parzival and the Stone from Heaven by Lindsay Clarke
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Gahmuret was a born soldier. He could not bear to stay behind while there was fighting to be done and glory to be won, so he set off to
lands well beyond Europe's borders. He served the Caliph of Baghdad, and eventually found himself on the shores of the African city of
Zazamanc, where he fell in love with the Queen Belakane. He would leave her for the call of trumpets elsewhere, granting her a son,
half white, half black. Eventually he would fight for a Welsh Queen, Herzeloyde, and win her hand, as well. He gave her a son, too, and
left her, dying on the road to a new battle.
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his thoughts on the first episode of the new season on Enterprise, "The Xindi."
From the teaser, it makes one think Enterprise is all about torturing prisoners and alien sex. But is it?
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
The book opens with the wizard Wigg on a ship. He and the crew have sailed
for fifteen days, as far as anyone has managed to cross into the Whispering
Seas. They put four women in a small, beat-up skiff and set them
free. Four sorceresses who, despite the cruelties and depravations they
have forced upon the people in their quest for power and darkest magics, the
Directorate of wizards can not kill, for it is against their vows to murder.
Ghostwalk by Monte Cook and Sean K Reynolds
a gaming review by Craig Shackleton
The premise of this campaign setting is that the city of Manifest is located at the gateway to the afterlife, and that the
ghosts of the dead manifest there in physical form. This allows players to continue to play their characters as ghosts after they die.
While this is not an entirely new concept, it does have a refreshing tone for an afterlife/undead role-playing game.