The Age Of Misrule by Mark Chadbourn|
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
British author Mark Chadbourn might be described as the anti-Tolkien. Not because he displays any special antipathy toward
the great man, but rather due to the way his Age of Misrule trilogy grabs standard fantasy fodder by its danglers, and
squeezes hard. This is not a story which involves noble elves doing good deeds, cute little blokes with furry feet, or
scruffy sods claiming to be the returned king. The ingenious premise questions what might happen to our reality if the gods
of Celtic mythology returned, slap bang into the middle of the modern world? Does it signal the end of the age of
science? These questions dive head first off the standard fantasy diving board, into relatively uncharted territory, resulting
in an edge of the seat, highly credible, page turner.
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Seventeenth Annual Collection edited by Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link, and Gavin J. Grant
reviewed by Chris Przybyszewski
It is a stunning anthology of short fiction from a variety of authors both well known and the not so well known.
It also offers summation on the facets of fantasy and horror, presented by the editors. Of particular interest are the
Media of the Fantastic: 2003; Comics and Graphic Novels: 2003; and Music of the Fantastic: 2003. Clearly, the editors wish to make
inclusive the various mediums by which artists in this modern day work. Artists work best in a community, and publications like
this can draw the various elements together, forging new alliances that lead to creation.
Shadowmarch by Tad Williams
reviewed by William Thompson
Set in a realm where the country is divided between the politically fractured and medieval Eion, the monolithic,
despotic theocracy of Xand, and the exiled Twilight Lands of faerie, the author
has constructed a stage rife with political intrigue, conflict,
mystery and, of course, romantic possibilities. And despite the usual cast of conventions and borrowings, he has
mined old material very well, creating his own imprimatur and quickly establishing why he is recognized as
one of the better writers of this genre.
British Kids Have More Fun: Canadian Crusoes
a column by Georges T. Dodds
Two young teenage boys, Hector andLouis, and a teenage girl, Catherine, get lost in the Rice Lake region of Upper Canada
while picking wild fruit. When they come to realize that they are well and truly lost, they don't panic, but use
their wood lore and experience to build a shelter, kill or trap game, store food, and avoid marauding Native Americans,
while over-wintering in the wilderness.
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. His column
will fill you in on recent news in science fiction. We'll be updating the page as he sends in new items.
Gifts by Ursula K. Le Guin
reviewed by Rich Horton
The gifted families are the aristocrats of small, farming-oriented, domains. The gifts seem mostly rather
terrifying -- the power to take over another's mind, the power to "undo" something (turn order into Chaos), the
power to twist a man's body unnaturally, or to make someone deathly ill. A few gifts are less fearful: calling
animals, or moving heavy things. In general, people seem to be struggling -- diminishing in both numbers
and in the power of their gifts.
Chill Factor by Rachel Caine
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Joanne Baldwin, ex-Weather Warden and ex-Djinn, just can't seem to catch a break, or her breath. In less than a month,
she has died and been reborn twice, saved the world, and seen her entire life thrown into absolute chaos. She has found love
and lost it, been betrayed by those closest to her, and been forced to betray in turn. And just when things should be
settling down, it turns out she's in the eye of a very nasty world-threatening storm.
Crucible by Nancy Kress
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
Fifty years after the events described in Crossfire, the colonists of Greentrees are preparing to celebrate the anniversary
of their arrival. For the two generations since, stories about the first colonists encounter
with the warring aliens known as Vines and Furs and hints of troubles on Earth have become less important than the present problems
of infrastructure or the concerns of their dissatisfied youth.
But then a spaceship from Earth suddenly appears, followed by the reappearance of two characters who
may have succeeded in collaborating with the Vines to attack the Furs.
Terry Pratchett's Discworld Collector's Edition 2005
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Each month, the subjects run from the ridiculous to the lovely. August features a fun surf boarding
wizard (Sandy Nightingale's "The Bursar's Hitherto Unrealized Talent") while "Tiffany in the Snowy Wood of Shadows" (Jon
Sullivan) shows a cold weather scene with Tiffany walking through it, her features utterly delighted by what she sees,
making it the perfect Holiday season picture.
Ice Tomb by Deborah Jackson
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
A new hotspot develops in the Antarctic Ice Sheet, which isn't entirely odd since Antarctica is
seismically and volcanically active, but when those who investigate the site disappear, it's time to send in someone who
knows what they might be up against. Erica Daniels, a vulcanologist, is assigned to the hot spot project.
She's saddled with a media-hungry archæologist with
a bent for finding Atlantis along with a bunch of gung-ho armed-to-the-teeth marines. What she
will find will demonstrate there's something to that
old Atlantean super-technology and determine the fate of the human race in the face a massive impending
xxxHOLiC, volume 2 by CLAMP
reviewed by Kit O'Connell
Kimihiro Watanuki, Yuko's indentured servant, learns more about the strange world
of occult Japan as he follows the witch first to a series of fortune tellers, and then to an ancient temple for a night of ghost
stories. Kimihiro continues to try to win the heart of fellow student Himawari. However, he is now paired off in a classic rivalry
for her heart with the far more dashing and athletic Domeki, a temple priest. Kimihiro's curse means he constantly attracts
harmful spirits that, coincidentally, Domeki can exorcise; even if they can't stand each other, fate seems determined to force
Reservoir Chronicle: Tsubasa, Book 2 by CLAMP
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Syaoran would do anything for his princess Sakura, whom he loves deeply. Her memory has been taken away, the pieces of it
divided into magical feathers that he must travel through different worlds to regain. He is accompanied by Kurogane, a tall,
crabby warrior who has patience only for action, Fai, his sweetly smiling, loquacious opposite, and Mokona, a small, chubby
bunny-like creature whose powers of detecting the feathers and translating languages make him invaluable.
Lurulu by Jack Vance
reviewed by Matthew Hughes
The tale is a continuation of 1997's Ports of Call wherein began the interstellar
peregrinations of Myron Tany. The Glicca wanders from planet to planet, taking on and
discharging cargoes, while the crew visits taverns to sample varieties of bitter ale and more potent beverages like
Ponchoo Punch. It is a pageant of worlds, some civilized, some wild, some hospitable to strangers, some less welcoming
to the traveler's knock.
Gunning for the Buddha by Michael Jasper
Dreams of the Sea by Élisabeth Vonarburg
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
Like the protagonist in his title story, the author lands running. This is a very strong collection from a new
writer who hasn't built up a body of work from which to cherry-pick the best stories. Ranging from science fiction
to fantasy to horror, the stories offer a pleasing variety that I think will establish him as a guy to keep an eye on.
The Labyrinth by Catherynne M. Valente
reviewed by Matthew Cheney
This is the sort of book a reader will either hug to the heart or throw across the room.
Even if someone finds the book itself pretentious and nonsensical, they are likely to praise
at least some of the writer's skill with language, while even someone who adores the cascading imagery and narrative
hallucinations is likely to recognize that the book has thin parts, that the entire endeavor is ethereal rather than
material, more a matter of artifice than art. Line by line and page by page, it contains more beauty than all but a very few books published
Noise by Hal Clement
reviewed by Steve Lazarowitz
Kainui, a world settled by descendants of the Polynesian cultures of Earth, is a water-world, boasting not even a single land mass.
The atmosphere is heavy on carbon dioxide and no fun to breathe. Constant thunder makes communication so difficult
that most of the natives speak "finger," a very advanced form of sign language.
Cities, and the ships that sail between them, are proto-life, grown by the inhabitants from seeds. "Fish" are grown and set
loose in the acidic oceans, each with the job of collecting a different metal. These fish are later found and mined by
traders who spend most of their lives on the seas.
Less Than Human by Maxine McArthur
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Sometimes, we as humans don't live up to our potential. Sometimes, in fact, we seem to be a massive waste of cells -- Nazis,
serial killers, pedophiles -- whose only redeeming quality is the fact of our humanity. As far as we have searched on this
planet and the tiny percentage of outer space we have explored, there is nothing like us; humans are unique creatures. So what
would be our reaction if someone found a way to challenge our essential nature, make us more than the biological shells that
The Rose in Twelve Petals and other Stories by Theodora Goss
reviewed by Charlene Brusso
The author's stories and poems are a haunting mix of cobwebby fairy tale elegance and tough-as-concrete contemporary
sensibility. The mood and setting frequently evoke turn-of-the-century (19th to 20th century) eastern Europe, all skinny Gothic
arches and Art Nouveau curliqueues, baroque music and staticky radios, Goethe and Faust, and the occasional dish of paprikas.
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Tertiary Phase
an audio review by Steven H Silver
The BBC has successfully put together the surviving cast from the first series.
Simon Jones, Stephen Moore, and Mark Wing-Davey, who played Arthur Dent, Marvin, and Zaphod
Beeblebrox on both radio and television, and Geoffrey McGivern (Ford Prefect) return for their third series. Susan
Sheridan, who portrayed Trillian in the first series has returned to the role for the third series. The replacement
of Peter Jones (the Book) by William Franklyn and Richard Vernon (Slartibartfast) by Richard Griffiths works well.
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his thoughts on what to watch on TV in January along with what some call borderline fantasy series.
It is hard to know what is fantasy and what isn't.
reviewed by Donna McMahon
A large expedition from Earth is in the process of settling Alpha, a planet orbiting Altair, when disaster strikes. As its
twin planet eclipses the sun, a mysterious blue "sea" of mist rises, covering all the low lying areas of the continents. None
of the colonists submerged by the sea survive, and those on higher land find that a mysterious force is neutralizing all
electrical energy, and the technology they depend upon suddenly doesn't work. Without flyers they cannot even evacuate to
their ship in orbit.
The Doomsday Brunette by John Zakour and Lawrence Ganem
Planar Handbook by Bruce R. Cordell and Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Zachary Nixon Johnson, the last freelance private investigator on Earth, is called upon to unravel yet another bizarre
case. This time, he and his AI partner are summoned to the estate of Ona Thompson,
one of the world's four most perfect woman, in order to investigate the murder of her sister, Foraa. It seems that the Thompson Quads,
four genetically-enhanced clones, have finally had the falling out people have been predicting for years.
a gaming review by Chris Przybyszewski
Single-planet campaigns are good for many, maybe even most player characters. What's wrong with becoming a big fish in a
small pond? But for others, the cosmos beckon. For others, the universe, in its infinite variety, calls with a silver-tongued
voice, one that cannot be so easily ignored.
For those adventurers, here is a new source book
for the Dungeons & Dragons world which offers a variety of information on multiple worlds, multiple possible
campaigns, and multiple character classes.