A Conversation With Leena Krohn
An interview with Matthew Cheney
On writing influences:
"Hans Christian Andersen and Anton Chekhov, both masters of short
stories. Harry Martinson (not as much Aniara as his smaller masterpiece The Way to Klockrike), Edgar
Lee Masters (I read Spoon River in Finnish for the first time at 10 and I loved specifically "Dippold the
Optician" and "Theodore the Poet"), Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (Il Gattopardo), Albert Camus (especially
The Plague) and of course Franz Kafka. Two American writers who have had a strong influence on me are Emily
Dickinson and Don DeLillo."
Tainaron: Mail from Another City by Leena Krohn
reviewed by Matthew Cheney
The author has, with a slim volume of thirty letters written from an imaginary city of
insects, given us a lens of words through which to consider reality, a microscope to reveal yearning and wonder, a
telescope to look for what it means to be human, a window and a mirror and an eye other than our own.
The Last Guardian of Everness by John C. Wright
reviewed by David Soyka
A young man with a task. Strange signs of impending doom. The disbelief of elders. The young man sets off on a difficult
quest that may determine the balance between Good and Evil.
A loving husband makes an ill-fated bargain to save his wife from a terrible disease. His wife his saved, but the small print
contains hidden contractual obligations for rendering payment due.
Seems familiar, right? Well... not quite.
Exile's Return by Raymond E. Feist
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Kaspar, the deposed Duke of Olasko, is in big trouble. Dumped on the other side of the world, in the Novindus desert, Kaspar is captured by
a group of nomadic tribesmen. Escaping,
Kaspar struggles and sweats his way to civilisation. While attempting to reach the major port of Novindus, he meets a small
group of traders, also on their way back to Midkemia. Their venture has been broken by bad luck, and only four of the original
thirty remain. We learn that things began to go bad when they acquired a strange, sealed suit of black armour.
The Hedge Knight by George R.R. Martin
reviewed by Adam Volk
Taking place a hundred years before the events in the A Song of Ice and Fire, it
chronicles the misadventures of Dunk, a burly and somewhat oafish commoner who has spent his life as a squire
to Ser Arlan; a now elderly hedge knight who earns his living wandering aimlessly from both jousting tournament and
battlefield alike. Dunk naturally longs for the day when he too can take up the mantle of a
knight; a chance he is finally given when Ser Arlan finally passes away on a mud splattered road in the middle
Lost Truth by Dawn Cook
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Conflicted and rebellious, Alissa is thankful when something new comes up: it seems that her dreams of late are not entirely
dreams. The former Master population of the Hold still lives, stranded far away on a distant island, unable to find their way
home. So Alissa, Strell, Lodesh, and a young raku Alissa rescued from feralness, Connen-Neute, set off to find the missing
Masters and bring them home after decades away.
Elphame's Choice by P.C. Cast
reviewed by Alisa McCune
Elphame, the great-granddaughter of Rhiannon and the daughter of Etain, the current Goddess Incarnate is struggling to find her
way. Born part-human and part-centaur, she is worshiped by the people of Partholon and she hates it. Elphame is a woman -- not
a goddess. Epona, the Goddess, has never directly spoken to Elphame. As a matter of fact, Elphame has never experienced anything
magical except her hybrid looks.
a movie review by Rick Norwood
It is very much what you expect from the makers of Ice Age. The dance on ball bearings was Rick's favorite bit.
Robin Williams delivers so many one-liners that a few of them are
bound to be funny. Like so many postmodern cartoons, the movie mocks sentimentality at the same time that it relies
on sentimentality to keep the viewer interested.
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick has TV reviews of the Smallville episode titled "Lucy"
and the Battlestar Galactica episodes titled "The Hand of God."
A Conversation With Sarah Micklem
On violence in Firethorn:
"I wanted to look at a warrior culture -- one that celebrates warfare as essential to manhood -- from underneath and outside. It takes
violence to sustain this society and give it meaning. Everyday violence keeps women and low-caste people in their place. The
violence of war allows men to win glory, not to mention the plunder that sustains their way of life."
SF Site's Readers' Choice: Best Read of the Year: 2004
compiled by Neil Walsh
Once again we solicited our loyal SF Site readership to vote for their favourite books of the year. The results are in,
and the Top 10 Readers' Choice Best Books of 2004 are a healthy mix of science fiction, fantasy, and other genre-bending,
boundary-blurring work. You're invited to compare this list to the
Editors' Choice Top 10 Books of 2004 to see what the SF Site staff recommends and where there is
some overlap in what you, the readers, have chosen.
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.
The Twist by Richard Calder
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
The central character is a 9 year-old anti-hero named Nicola E. Newton. She runs away from home, and
makes friends with Venusian Necrobabe Viva Venera, and John Twist, her half-dead cowboy boyfriend. The story is set
in Tombstone, a version of the Wild West, which exists in
perpetuity as part of a Venusian plan to save humanity from the dangerous technology acquired as a result of
Crystal Soldier by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
City of Towers by Keith Baker
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
Jela is alone on a planet after a crash landing, with enough supplies to survive a short
time. As he follows a line of dead trees down toward what once was an ocean, he reviews his situation: shot down in the on-going war against the
sherieka, who were once human, but who redesigned themselves so radically that they now consider themselves perfect, and in order to make the universe
sublime enough for them to live in, they must eradicate all traces of their human past. Oh, and the human worlds as well.
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.
compiled by Neil Walsh
The latest shipment of new books to the SF Site office include new and forthcoming works from John C. Wright, Robert J. Sawyer, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, Robert Charles Wilson, Caitlin Sweet, Richard Morgan, Orson Scott Card, and many others. Check out the full list below.
Sliding Scales by Alan Dean Foster
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Every adventure Flinx has seems to bring him more troubles. Hunted all over the universe, the very same universe that
depends on him to save it, and separated from his one true love, who is very ill, he is understandably stressed. And depressed. So
his ship mind makes a rather pleasant suggestion. Take a vacation. A real vacation. To a little, not very well known planet
called Jast on the edge of the Commonwealth.
The Autumn Castle by Kim Wilkins
reviewed by Alisa McCune
One fateful day, Christine injures herself and is transported to Ewigkreis. In this strange land, Christine encounters
a talking fox named Eisengrimm and the Fairy Queen. Queen Mayfridh is Christine's childhood friend, May. As children, they
performed a 'blood bond' that allowed Christine to enter Ewigkreis. Queen Mayfridh is amazed and intrigued to be reunited with her friend
Christine. After Christine returns to the real world, Mayfridh longs for all she lost.
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, some of the titles he has been listening to include Roger Gregg' s Diabolic Playhouse,
Dinotopia from ZBS, the Anne Manx adventures of The Radio Repertory Company of America
and Jeff Green's Soundings.
Encounters edited by Maxine McArthur and Maree Hanson
reviewed by Steven H Silver
In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Ford Prefect explains the concept of buzzing to an incredulous Arthur Dent. According
to Prefect, aliens "find some isolated spot with very few people around, then they land right by some poor unsuspecting soul whom
no one's ever going to believe and then strut up and down in front of him wearing silly antennae on their head and making beep beep
noises." This is a concept which is played up in the first two stories of this anthology.
a give-away contest
The Pretender is the story of Jarod, a boy-genius taken from his family as a child. Jarod possesses the ability to
quickly learn and impersonate different jobs and occupations. His abductors, a facility simply known as The Centre, tested
his abilities through various simulations. But after years of these performances, Jarod becomes wise to the fact that these
simulations aren't being used to help people. Knowing this, Jarod breaks free from his captors and sets out
to find his family.
Read the contents, answer the questions, win a DVD. Easy, eh?
reviewed by Craig Shackleton
The novel lends a new grittier edge to the setting. It's refreshing to see a fantasy world in which the impoverished
underclass is truly downtrodden and living in filth and misery. Racism, class conflict and post-war tension abound,
right alongside vice and corruption. The stark contrast of the opulence of the wealthy and their blind indifference to
those (literally) beneath them serves to reinforce this picture.
To the Stars by L. Ron Hubbard
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Alan Corday, engineer-surveyor 10th class, is shanghied on
to the long passage ship Hound of Heaven under the orders of cantankerous Capt. Jocelyn. Angry and frustrated, he
eventually learns how the ship operates, but upon his return to Earth, his girlfriend is long dead, and the world entirely
different from the one he left, so he can never go home. He becomes part of a community of de facto outcasts who
live on the ship, traveling from planet to planet.
The New Masters of Fantasy 2004
reviewed by Steven H Silver
This CD-ROM is published by Epilogue.net, an on-line artists' community with a focus
on the fantastic in art. This collection of art was selected by Don Maitz, Jeff Easley and Larry Elmore. It
is the second annual collection and it includes more than twice as many artists that appeared the first collection.