Land Of The Headless by Adam Roberts
reviewed by Paul Raven
This book is written as the first-person retrospective memoir of Jon Cavala, a poet of moderate success
who, within the space of the first few pages, is beheaded for the crime of rape. Straight away, we are into the territory
of words not meaning exactly what we expect them to mean. Cavala lives on Pluse, which is one of many "Planets of The
Book" –- planets colonised by dogmatic religious sects fleeing what they saw as the decadent liberal decline of
Earth for new worlds where they could indulge in their beliefs without restriction or censure.
Overlooked or Over-hyped?
a column by Neil Walsh
This time Neil take a look at a relatively recent work which may not yet have entered the annals
of "classic" speculative fiction, although it did receive something of an instant cult following and,
later, a moderately massive amount of hype. But even as it began to take the bookstores by storm, it didn't
capture any major awards. So is it a classic? Or is it overlooked? And who really wrote the works of William Shakespeare?
The Blue-Haired Bombshell by John Zakour
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Zachary Nixon Johnson, the last freelance PI on Earth in the late 21st Century, is having a typical Tuesday. You know, attacked by
killer plants, nearly killed by traffic while rescuing a heiress's dog, stalked by an ad agency, menaced by genetically-engineered
ogres... the usual. And then things get weird. And dangerous.
The Golden Compass
a movie review by Rick Norwood
The Golden Compass is one of the most beautiful and original fantasy films of all time. Sadly, the call for
a boycott by the Catholic League of Decency caused the money men to order a short film, an hour and fifty-three
minutes. Only about half the book made it to the screen, but everything there is opulent and intelligently crafted.
The Dog Said Bow-Wow by Michael Swanwick
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
There are two types of story. But it isn't as straightforward as the difference between realist and
fantastic or between genre and mainstream. No, the two types of story are those that want you to be aware they are story,
and those that don't. The difference between these two types is not in the telling, but in where the telling is intended to
take us. Immersive stories mean to tell us something about the world by way of the characters, setting, plot we encounter
in the story. Framed narratives mean to tell us something about Story, the imaginative construct by which we comprehend
and negotiate the world.
The Broken Kings by Robert Holdstock
reviewed by Steven H Silver
While most people associate Merlin with the legends of King Arthur, the author has been examining the magician's history
and ties to Jason, Captain of the Argo, in the Merlin Codex trilogy, which culminates with The Broken
Kings. Located now in Alba, the land that would be Britain, Merlin finds himself facing the conflict between King Urtha of
the Cornovidi and his children, Kymon and Munda.
The End of Science Fiction by Sam Smith
reviewed by Stuart Carter
We meet Detective Inspector Herbie Watkins, who has been called out to investigate the
brutal murder of a young woman in central London. At the same time it becomes common knowledge that the end of the world
is nigh -- six days nigh, in fact -- and not merely the world: the entire universe has been discovered to have played
something of a cosmic trick upon us and is collapsing at breakneck speed back into a Big Crunch. Hearing the news,
Watkins carries on with his job as a policeman, spending his last few days investigating the murder. He isn't insane
neither is he so dull as to be unaware of the time limit upon his investigations. Watkins is not an unhappy man but... well,
what else is there to do?
The Nail and the Oracle by Theodore Sturgeon
Spider-Man the Icon by Steve Saffel
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
It is now generally accepted as a truism that Theodore Sturgeon was the best short story writer to emerge from science
fiction. Perhaps even, so a lot of his advocates would claim, one of the best short story writers in American literature. It's a
big claim. But it is not always supported by the evidence.
Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis
Performed by Todd McLaren
an audio review by Brian Price
Warren Ellis wears his heart and his politics on his sleeve in this darkly humorous and twisted detective-genre tale of the near future. Down on his luck private eye, Mike McGill, stares out his office window at a crumbling, drug-infested, distopian New York City wondering where his rent's going to come from when a big black limousine pulls up and a cadaverous President's Chief-of-Staff climbs out and gives McGill a strange assignment -- find and retrieve the alien-influenced alternate Constitution of the United States.
Click on cover/link to get the MP3 podcast file.
reviewed by Steven H Silver
Even if you've never read a comic book or seen any of the Sam Raimi films, you know who Spider-Man is, the iconic super
hero Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created in 1962. The author, however, has not only read Spider-Man comics
and seen the films, he has dedicated a significant amount of time to the webslinger and the various products that have been
tied in to the character over the last 45 years.
Chessie Bligh and the Scroll of Andelthor by Thora Gabriel
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Chessie Bligh, a neglected 14 year-old American girl, is sent to a foreign boarding school accompanied by her only
friend, a puppy named Wuggbert. Seeking to defy the social climbing aspirations of her uncaring, wealthy parents, Chessie
switches places with Aelyn, a physically similar girl she happens to meet while changing aircraft in New York. Thus does
Chessie find herself at Die Sterntaler. The school turns out to be an elf encampment at the rim of the Grand Canyon,
hidden from human sight by magic.