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Stone and Polystom Stone and Polystom by Adam Roberts
reviewed by David Soyka
Stone depicts a sociopath named "Ae" in a far-future utopia virtually devoid of criminality. Ae is imprisoned in a seemingly escape-proof confinement within the center of a star. There, he is contacted by an unknown entity -- an "artificial intelligence" that secretes its way into the prison and is absorbed into the prisoner's consciousness -- in need of Ae's unusual remorseless homicidal talents. The offer: to spring him out of prison. The price: commit mass murder on a grand scale, serve as executioner of an entire world population. Polystom, in contrast, is based on physical principles in which space contains not a vacuum, but an atmosphere, enabling travel between planets via the open cockpit of a propeller-driven biplane. Polystom is the fiftieth Steward of Enting, a pampered and naïve aristocrat whose personal limitations lead to a doomed marriage and subsequent disaster in the attempt to gain "glory" as an officer in a war for which is intellectually and physically ill-prepared.

Budayeen Nights Budayeen Nights by George Alec Effinger
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
This book collects all the shorter works set in and around the fictional Budayeen, itself a reflection of the author's life in New Orleans and his fascination with the inhabitants of the French Quarter. The first story, "Schroedinger's Kitten," is probably also the best known. A young woman huddles in an alley, knife in hand, waiting to discover which life she will lead, as visions of possible futures pass through her mind. "Schroedinger's Kitten" won both the Hugo and Nebula awards and deservedly so, it's a classic of contemporary SF.

Forrest Aguirre A Conversation With Forrest Aguirre
An interview with Trent Walters
On starting to write a story:
"I almost always start with an idea and an image. 'Reverie Styx' started with the image of a man in a diving suit (the really old kind, with the on-deck bellows pump and all) descending into murky water. I had read Dante's Inferno to my children a few months before, so the association was rather quick. I then tried to get into the diver's head, but soon found myself abandoning him for the people supplying him with air. I didn't care for him anymore. In fact, I hated him and wanted him to die. I needed ruthless characters to kill him off."

Burndive Burndive by Karin Lowachee
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
Ryan Azarcon is a spoiled brat. He's also, at age nineteen (three years into his majority on this far-future Hub station called Austra) the "Hot Number One Bachelor." Good looking, rich, son of extremely famous parents, you'd think he has no reason to be snotty to the media and grumpy to his patient bodyguard of seven years, Sid, as well as to his loving relatives, right?

Mirror Mirror Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire
reviewed by Hank Luttrell
The retelling of Snow White in this book has it placed in a more definite historical milieu and geographical location. Instead of a land far, far away; long, long ago, it takes place in Renaissance Italy, and the architect of the poisoned apple becomes Lucrezia Borgia, a reasonable situation for an infamous poisoner. All the well-remembered players in the old tale are here, but their identities are better defined and complex, their motivations more clear and definite, and their roles much larger.

Agog! Terrific Tales Agog! Terrific Tales edited by Cat Sparks
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Agog! Fantastic Fiction was so enjoyable that there wasn't any hesitation to review her latest anthology. Again, the editor has a talent for finding the some of the most entertaining fiction Australia has to offer, snaring not only familiar names, such as Jack Dann, Sean Williams, and Jack Dann, but uncovering "new" authors readers may never have encountered. What more could you ask of an anthology?

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.

Callahan's Con Callahan's Con by Spider Robinson
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
This novel not only made Alma laugh and made her cry -- it made her mourn for the passing of a character as though that character were a real person and a friend. At the same time, the book encapsulates another great truth -- that the greatest tragedies can hold within themselves moment of the purest, most joyous laughter possible. The laughter that leads to tears that are a release from that tragedy.

Argall Argall by William T. Vollmann
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Where Disney's 1995 Pocahontas further mythologized the story of the meeting between an early 17th century Native American "princess" and the adventurer and leader of the Jamestown colony, John Smith -- who depending on who you listen to may or may not have made up himself the dramatic story of their meeting out of self-aggrandizement -- the author tells the story with all its blood, gore, infighting and nastiness, closely following original sources.

Wild Magic Wild Magic by Jude Fisher
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
Second in the Fool's Gold trilogy, it picks up immediately where the previous volume left off. Katla Aranson has been miraculously healed of the injury she received at the tumultuous Allfair, where religious fanatics from the southern Empire of Istria attempted to burn her for blasphemy. Gentle Saro Vingo has been forced into a horrible servitude to his loathsome brother Tanto, rendered bedridden by a wound incurred in the commission of a rape. Apprentice mage Virelai, who bound his sorcerer master into sleep and stole from him both his paramour, the exquisite Rosa Eldi, and his magic is now in service to devious Istrian nobleman Tycho Issian. And the Rosa Eldi herself, now married to Eyran king Ravn Asharson, finds herself adrift in an alien world, struggling to make sense of her new life and also of the blank that is her past, for she cannot remember who or what she is.

New Arrivals New Arrivals
compiled by Neil Walsh
Take a look at what's new and forthcoming in the way of SF & Fantasy books, including some crazy promo CD give-aways from Baen with just about everything they've ever published, free with some of their new books.

Murder in LaMut Murder in LaMut by Raymond Feist and Joel Rosenberg
reviewed by Steven H Silver
When authors collaborate, each writer should bring something of their own to the collaboration. While most authors work together to create something out of whole cloth, Raymond E. Feist and Joel Rosenberg have attempted something novel here. Feist has provided his detailed world of Midkemia, which first appeared in 1982 with the publication of Magician, while Rosenberg introduced his trio of heroes, Pirijol, Kethel and Durine from the Guardians of the Flame series, although without reference to their origins.

Westchester Station Westchester Station by Patrick Welch
reviewed by Steve Lazarowitz
Robert Winstead finds himself in Westchester Station, an inter-dimensional train station. While waiting for a train he's not sure will ever arrive, he runs into a number of invariably unforgettable characters, including a graffiti artist that paints natural disasters, a panhandler asking for a most unusual kind of donation, an inventor who doesn't realize his inventions can't work, mental acrobats, a man who watches ghost trains and much much more.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his views on the Jeremiah episode, "Letters from the Other Side I," the Enterprise episode, "Raijin" and the Tarzan "Pilot" episode.

The Glasswright's Test The Glasswright's Test by Mindy L. Klasky
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Rani Trader is trying to enjoy the life she's found. We're privy to her relationship with her lover, the handsome Tovin, her place as the sponsor of a troop of Players that he happens to head, her acceptance that her love for the King Halaravilli will never happen, that he belongs to someone else, that she will never truly be a glasswright. She wonders why the king has been trying to contact her. Berylina Thunderspear, the princess Hal was supposed to wed, wants to go on a pilgrimage to the holy land where the prophet of their religion was born.


Up Through An Empty House Of Stars Up Through an Empty House of Stars by David Langford
reviewed by Martin Lewis
This book is a composite of his reviews, essays and other pieces from 1980 up to his review of China Miéville's The Scar from September 2002. The collection is predominantly made up of reviews (from publications such as Vector, Foundation, The New York Review of Science Fiction) and covers an eclectic selection of books. This is because, rather than attempting to present a Great Books theory of the last two decades of SF, it gives us the grab bag of the professional reviewer.

Second Looks

In This World or Another In This World or Another by James Blish
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
This is a very strong collection of stories. Most people may connect the author with the original Star Trek, and while he did some great work there, he is really so much more. This collection is a great tribute to one of the masters of the SF genre.

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