Overlooked or Over-hyped?
a column by Neil Walsh
In reading this column, you may have come to suspect that it's really just an excuse for Neil to clear some books off
his reading shelf -- and in the process to share with you each month his opinions on a book that is generally deemed a classic,
alongside one that has been more or less neglected. This time out he takes a look at Dhalgren (1975) by Samuel R. Delany
and Minions of the Moon (1999) by Richard Bowes.
Death Draws Five by John J. Miller
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
It was a world where an alien virus had been deliberately released in Earth's atmosphere, with the intention of testing its
ability to turn ordinary people into super-powered soldiers. It killed ninety percent of those it affected, usually in horrific
ways. The unfortunates were said to have drawn the Black Queen. A further nine percent of victims found their bodies or
minds cruelly twisted. The world called them Jokers. The remaining one percent gained special abilities, ranging as far
and wide as anything ever imagineered in comic books. They were the Aces.
Shrek the Third
and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
movie reviews by Rick Norwood
The three summer blockbuster threequels are not as bad as the reviewers would have you believe. They are, to praise them with
faint damns, the best genre films so far in 2007.
So, three stars each for Spider-man 3, Shrek the Third, and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. The
bad news is that none of these is as good as the second film in the series, which in turn was not as good as the first. To
find a film trilogy that actually improved in the third film, you need to go back to The Return of the King, and before
that to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer is a fun film. It isn't a great film -- it doesn't pretend to
be. Unlike some Summer films, it does not try too hard and wind up deeply flawed. Instead, it aims at the same brand of
lighthearted entertainment found in the Jack Kirby and Stan Lee comic books, and hits the mark.
The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson
reviewed by Neil Walsh
In this sixth volume of Tales of the Malazan Book of the Fallen,
the events of the Malazan campaigns on Genabackis and Seven Cities, the
Tiste Edur conquest of the Letherii Empire, the machinations of the Malazan
Empress, her allies and enemies, assassins and wizards, soldiers and
priests, gods and ascendants, foundlings, slaves, refugees -- almost everyone
we've met so far and everything that has happened is pulled together in this
book. You won't find answers to all your questions, but you will be left
with a sense that all these events we've been treated to thus far are not
going to pass by without an even more profound impact on the world than we had already anticipated.
Feeling Very Strange edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel
reviewed by David Soyka
This is the second "please don't call us science fiction or fantasy" anthology of the summer. Unlike
the "new wave fabulists" in Paraspheres, this collection is more firmly rooted in the genre; the editors
are well-recognized SF&F authors in their own right, as are most of the anthologized writers. Moreover,
the subtitle employs a term originated by Bruce Sterling back in 1989. This is "The
Slipstream Anthology," though the stylistic variations among the selections don't help to clarify exactly what slipstream
is. The editors themselves note that they weren't sure "there was such a thing as slipstream."
The Ocean and All Its Devices by William Browning Spencer
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
More than ten years after his first collection, the critically acclaimed The Return of Count Electric, William Browning
Spencer returns, much to his fans' delight, with a second volume of short fiction.
This book assembles nine previously published stories, scattered so far among the pages of a number of genre magazines.
Dispatches From Smaragdine: June 2007
a column by Jeff VanderMeer
In Smaragdine, it is summer and the weather is hot. Jeff and his buddies run afoul of the Smaragdine Navy.
The result gives him time to reflect on Solaris, a new publisher and what they have coming for readers.
George Mann, the Solaris Editor passes along a few teasers on what we can expect in the next year or so.
Nova Swing by M. John Harrison
Cover Story by John Picacio
reviewed by David Soyka
The science fiction of the book is also heavily blended with noir, a detective story of sorts in which the question isn't "whodunit" but
rather "who does it to us." Right from the opening page, the name of the bar, Black Cat White Cat, connotes both the on/off
state of Schrödinger's cat as well as the cinematic tones of classic noir film. Indeed, the theme here
echoes The Maltese Falcon.
Going Back by Tony Richards
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Two years after the appearance of his last collection Ghost Dance, Tony Richards, an excellent, but hardly prolific author
of dark fiction, provides yet another bunch of short stories, much to the satisfaction of his many admirers.
It assembles fourteen tales varying in themes and atmospheres, but mostly revolving around the difficult but unavoidable relationship the
human race has with time.
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick has some news on the renewal of Jericho and the cast changes on Smallville.
Flash Gordon will be returning to television in August and Rick has some thoughts on
its history and whether it will succeed.
Star Wars: Allegiance by Timothy Zahn
reviewed by David Maddox
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... a simple farm boy helped destroy a space station, a scoundrel found fell in love with a
Princess and a Sith Lord found redemption. The original Star Wars Trilogy reverberates through the hearts of all ages. As this
year marks the 30th Anniversary of Episode IV: A New Hope, what better way to relive those nostalgic feelings than with
a trip back to mere weeks after the destruction of the first Death Star.
The Best of Philip José Farmer by Philip José Farmer
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Any 'best of' title is, by its nature, prone to individual interpretation, and putting together a cross section of work
by an author as prolific as Philip José Farmer was never going to be easy. Some of his best includes entire series,
which clearly could not form part of this single book collection, although the Riverworld is represented here. What
the book does manage, is to provide an excellent primer for what made Farmer so popular for so long. Readers who have
heard his name, and want to know what all the fuss is about without risking their cash on an entire series, should start here.
Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds
reviewed by Rich Horton
It opens with a curious prologue set 18,000 years in the future, describing an ambitious plan to celebrate the legendary
Benefactor who started humanity on the road toward expansion into the Galaxy. Then we get a flashback to 2057, and the story of
this Benefactor, a woman named Bella Lind. Bella is the captain of an ice mining spaceship, the Rockhopper. This ship is
suddenly diverted to chase a moon of Saturn, Janus, which has suddenly accelerated and headed out of the Solar System: clearly,
it's an alien artifact of some sort. Bella, however, must convince her crew to go
along: it's a highly dangerous mission, and their corporate bosses do not inspire confidence.
reviewed by Jayme Lynn Blaschke
Jayme has seen the future of speculative fiction art, and its name is John Picacio.
Except, if he's being honest with himself and readers, that's not true. You
see, to be the future would imply that he has yet to come into his own. Anyone who
even casually thumbs through this book knows full well that
this young artist has arrived. The question isn't how good he is, it's how much better can he possibly get?