Readers' Choice: Best Read Of The Year|
Do recent events make you feel more than a little uneasy about the whole process of voting? Well now it's time to cast a ballot
that should actually make you feel good about voting. Here's your chance to make your votes (all 10 of them) count, by
voting for what you consider to be the best SF & Fantasy books of 2004.
The deadline for voting is February 11, 2005.
A Conversation With Susanna Clarke, Part 1|
An interview with Steven H Silver
On serendipity while researching:
"There was a wonderful bit about Waterloo. All these people came out to watch Waterloo from Brussels. It was very,
very dangerous, but apparently they didn't care. A lot of Wellington's messengers, his aides-de-camp, were being
killed. He had no one to deliver his orders, so he used civilians. He got them to deliver his orders, and one of
them was a commercial traveler for Birmingham Button manufacturer. He had been wandering around getting orders for
buttons on the battlefield of Waterloo. "
All Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories edited by David Moles and Jay Lake
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
Several of the stories try to recapture that golden, curiously innocent, age of heroic fantasy, and a couple spoof it. The rest of the stories range in
amazing variety, tone, and idea. The two shared elements are zeppelins in some form, and strong writing. Some
are idea stories, some character, many are both. And what zeps! At least two stories feature live ones. Flying
cities, balloons that attract ghosts, pirate airships -- the breadth of vision represented by these authors
completely disproves the idea that one-idea anthologies don't work. This anthology takes off and soars.
Darkness on the Edge of Town by J. Carson Black
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
There ought to be a law that novels should not be this well-plotted, assured, and addictive. It just ain't right. It
may be the complex, compelling characters, the vivid, out-of-the-way settings, or the constant tension the author
weaves into the story, but once you started reading you'll move faster and faster, with
no way to stop until the breathtaking ending. Forget sleep, because you won't have time for such trivialities; you're
here to read.
GoblinQuest by Jim C. Hines
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Jig, a runty, nearsighted, cowardly and ugly goblin, finds himself leading an expeditionary force hell-bent on reclaiming a
long lost artefact, the Rod of Creation, apparently hidden deep underground by a powerful Necromancer. Through all the
dangers, both those from within (a possessed wizard, a gung-ho I've-got-something-to-prove warrior, a captive she-elf thief,
and a tough as nails warrior-cartographer dwarf) and without the group (venomous lizard-fish, skeletal zombies, bats,
dragons, hobgoblins, and a necromancer), Jig learns of courage, friendship, faith and what it really means to be a hero.
Dangerous Games by Michael Prescott
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Try to imagine being trapped in the darkness. Alone. Shackled and left to die. Knowing that no one was going to find you
until it was too late, if ever. Feel the desperation and despair of waiting there, hidden from the world, completely alone
in the cold, dark, damp of the maze that is the Los Angeles storm-drain system. How many of us would go mad long before
the torrents of water came to cover us?
The Technopriests, Book One: Initiation by Alexandro Jodorowsky
reviewed by Susan Dunman
Albino's dream is to become a game creator for the Technoguild so he can create fabulous virtual worlds for the citizens
of the galaxy to enjoy. His ultimate dream of becoming the Supreme Technopriest lies in sharp contrast to reality, where he
is the unwanted bastard son of a cruel mother interested only in avenging her rape by marauding space pirates.
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick has TV reviews of the Star Trek Enterprise episode titled "Babel One,"
the Smallville episode titled "Unsafe" and the Battlestar Galactica episode titled "Act of Contrition."
He also lists what to watch on TV in February and some thoughts on Dark Shadows, "Return to Collinwood," an audio drama.
In Memoriam: 2004
a memorial by Steven H Silver
Science fiction fans have always had a respect and understanding for the history of the genre.
Unfortunately, science fiction has achieved such an age that each year sees our ranks
diminished. The science-fictional year 2004 could have been much worse for the science fiction
community in sheer numbers. While there were a few tragic surprises, the mortality
rate for 2004 was no higher than would normally be expected.
xxxHOLiC, volume 3 by CLAMP
reviewed by Kit O'Connell
The opening story arc concerns Angel-san, Japan's answer to the Ouija board. Himawari tells Yuko about a school haunted
by evil after students took up the innocent-seeming occult practise, and Yuko sends our hero Kimihiro and his spiritually-inclined
rival Domeki to investigate.
Although American occultists frequently speak of the dangers of the Ouija, this series seems to have
refreshingly unique view of where the true dangers lurk. There's also time for a little cross-over with
Tsubasa and some Chobits inspired silliness.
A Cold Summer Night by Trystam Kith
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
The Sheriff of Nottingham, Hugh deSteny, feels his blood chill when he is told of bodies found in a crofter's hut in
Sherwood Forest. The bodies were completely drained of blood, no wounds save for four small puncture holes, not a drop spilled
anywhere in evidence. On the crusades, he saw and fought monsters capable of this, and fears greatly for the safety of his
people. His investigations put him within the reach of
Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men, who slake their thirst, not for gold, but for blood, on all who are foolish enough to come near.
Steel Sky by Andrew C. Murphy
reviewed by Susan Dunman
A vast underground city is built in stone to save humanity from catastrophic events on the surface of the planet. Now, four
hundred years later, the citizens of Hypogeum have no memory of their origins or the purpose the Founders had for their subterranean
metropolis. In fact, they do not even realize there is anything above their colossal city entombed in rock.
SF Site Discussion Forum
Each day we get many emails from SF Site visitors. Some are simple to answer. Others ask questions which stump us and we refer them
to others who may have the answer. Several just want to exchange views with somebody who will listen. All of this correspondence
convinced us to try installing a discussion forum. Drop by for a visit. Browse the topics. If you see something
that piques your interest, register and send your reply.
SF Site News
Projections: Science Fiction in Literature and Film edited by Lou Anders
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.
British Kids Have More Fun: Swallows and Amazons
a column by Georges T. Dodds
John, Susan, Letitia, and Roger Walker are British school-children
spending their summer holidays with their mother near a lake in northern England. From an overlook they can see a large
island, and plan to sail there and camp. After some planning and gathering of equipment and food, they do so, with John
as captain of the small sailboat Swallow, Susan as mate, Titty as Able-Seaman, and Roger as ship's boy -- setting
up camp on the island.
So Long Been Dreaming edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan
reviewed by Donna McMahon
For all that SF claims to deal with new and challenging ideas, the field is still dominated by white male writers in the
tradition of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne who -- like all of us -- have trouble thinking outside of their own cultural
boxes. And that's the point of "postcolonial" SF written by people of colour.
The Art of Discworld by Terry Pratchett
reviewed by Steven H Silver
From the images of Rincewind and Twoflower, who first graced the pages of The Colour of Magic more than twenty years ago,
to Tiffany Aching and the Nac Mac Feegle of A Hat Full of Sky, Paul Kidby presents memorable images of some of Terry Pratchett's
most (and sometimes not so) memorable characters.
Houdini's Last Illusion by Steve Savile
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
The master magician has the will to make the greatest escape of all; the evasion of death
itself. How he sets about accomplishing this is as simple yet ingenious as many of his genuine tricks. Houdini, in reality
and in this story, thrived on publicity which described what he did as magic. Although he always said that his show was
not supernatural, he cleverly encouraged others to believe the deceit of their own eyes.
Murdered by Human Wolves by Steven E. Wedel
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Katherine Cross, a good girl from a good home, cannot imagine why her best friend Elise Stone would give herself out of
wedlock to one of the local bad boys. No one likes Luther McGrath, he and his family are looked down upon by the local
people because of rumors attached to him of missing girls, murder, and deviltry. She
discovers that the McGraths are actually werewolves.
Tinker by Wen Spencer
reviewed by Peter D. Tillman
Circa 2050, Pittsburgh has been transported to Elfhome, as a side-effect of the startup of a new Chinese orbital
interdimensional gate. Tinker, just turned 18, owns the junkyard, and is a full-fledged Grrl Genius to boot, with a
mouth (and steel-toe boots) to match. Oh, and Tink's Dad, the gate's inventor, died 10 years before she was born...
reviewed by Matthew Cheney
Like Venn diagrams passing in the night, the audiences for science fiction movies and books may overlap at certain points. But
there is no law saying that a person who went to see I, Robot three times in the theatre also has a subscription to
Asimov's magazine. The pleasures the two media offer are different.
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
reviewed by Chris Przybyszewski
Before Will Smith presented his rendition of I, Robot, Isaac Asimov had a pretty good collection of short stories on his
hands. The original book, published first in 1950, was a collection of pulp science fiction short stories which were
published between 1940 and 1950. In it, the author explored what he saw as the inevitability of the human condition: the
creation of artificial life. Or, as Asimov argues, the created life is not so artificial.