Matter by Iain M. Banks
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
At its heart is the story of three siblings, two sons and the daughter of the King of Sarl. Sarl is a low-tech
civilization, steam power is just recently being put to use, situated on a Shellworld. The Shellworlds are artificial constructs,
planet-sized habitats made up of a series of concentric shells, built long ago by a civilization that has since vanished
from the galaxy. They are now inhabited by many different species, low-tech societies like the Sarl are watched over by other
species to prevent interference in their development.
Shadowbridge by Gregory Frost
reviewed by Dustin Kenall
This is something different. It is not quite fantasy and not quite science fiction. Not quite a quest epic and not
quite a character study. But it is, for the most part, a good read. There are pleasures to be found in its pages that
comprise the story of Leodora, a shadow puppeteer, and Diverus, a god-touched musician, and their performances across the
interlinking, innumerous bridge-cities that stretch across the fathomless oceans of Shadowbridge.
Wrath of a Mad God by Raymond E. Feist
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Instead of Zorro-style swordsmen as central protagonists, the author has reverted to the formula
that began his success, and dusted down the magic. The result was a
small renaissance, rekindling past glories, alongside the best enemy that the author has created in twenty years.
These were the Dasati; a wholly militaristic alien society, where casual cruelty is seen as the social norm, and any
weakness as an abhorrence to be swiftly and fatally terminated.
The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov
an audiobook review by Nicki Gerlach
Elijah Baley is a regular police detective, content in his work and his life until the day his boss assigns him the most delicate
and dangerous case of his career. A Spacer scientist has been murdered by an Earthman, and Baley is responsible for finding the
culprit and avoiding increased tension between the City and Spacetown.
He has been assigned a partner from Spacetown, R. Daneel Olivaw, a robot designed to exactly mimic human appearance.
In Olivaw's case, the appearance he is mimicking is that of the murder victim.
Sword Masters by Selina Rosen
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
Most people understand sword & sorcery to mean derring-do with pointy weapons, set in a far-away kingdom where there may or may not
be involvement with the supernatural and or magic. There is a distinct flavor of the Arabian Nights in most early twentieth century
sword and sorcery, probably left over from the largely imaginary "travel" tales of the late 1600s and 1700s. The conflict in
sword & sorcery tales is usually personal rather than ideological or political -- even when the enemies are two kingdoms. Most
Paper Cities edited by Ekaterina Sedia
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
As pointed out in Jess Nevins' introduction to the volume, urban fantasy -- intended as a type of fiction where cities are the setting
and the supporting character of the story -- has a long-established tradition in the literature, can be traced as far back as the
Arabian Nights and appears throughout the centuries in Gothic novels, Dickens' London and modern horror and SF fiction.
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
On May 8, 1940, The Chicago Daily News published Sterling North's influential condemnation of
comic books "A National Disgrace (And a challenge to American Parents)." North calls comics "a poisonous mushroom growth,"
calling upon parents and educators to "break the 'comics' magazines." And those who don't would be "guilty of criminal
negligence." He claims that "the antidote to the 'comic' magazine poison can be found in any library or good
bookstore." Rick Klaw notes that in 2008 most libraries and bookstores gladly sell "these lurid publications"
and that the line between prose and comics literature has never been closer.
Severian of the Guild by Gene Wolfe
compiled by Neil Walsh
New books recently arrived in the SF Site office include the latest from Ray Bradbury, John Crowley, Margaret Weis, Jeffrey E. Barlough, limited editions of some classic Tim Powers, an assortment of genre magazines, new and classic titles for younger readers, and much more.
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick speculates on why shows like Smallville and Battlestar Galactica have such low
viewership numbers along with which shows are returning later this summer.
He also gives us a list of SF on TV in June.
Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce
reviewed by Charlene Brusso
Flora Segunda Fyrdraaca is neither a girly-girl, nor a nerd. She is not an heir-in-disguise, nor does she have some tremendous
magical power hidden away inside her, just waiting to be discovered. This isn't that kind of YA fantasy novel. Instead, Flora
is the decidedly un-illustrious youngest daughter of a very illustrious family fallen on hard times, just a bit like Califa,
the country where they live.
reviewed by Paul Graham Raven
The eponymous hero Severian begins this omnibus edition of Book of the New Sun
as an apprentice of the obscure Torturer's Guild in the city of Nessus, and he experiences a revelatory
event in the necropolis near the Guild's tower which causes him to begin questioning the established dictums of
authority -- both those of his guild and those of the society beyond it.
As a result, he later transgresses the rules of the Guild by helping a prisoner to commit suicide and is effectively
expelled for it, though he is saved from the ignominy of death at the hands of his fellow guildsmen by the seeming
compassion of his old Master. Instead, Severian is sent out into the world beyond Nessus to take up a post as the torturer
and executioner of a distant city -- a form of exile that falls just short of excommunication.
Elak of Atlantis by Henry Kuttner
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
After Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan, died in June 1936, a number of the works he had submitted before his death continued to be
published in the pulps, particularly in Weird Tales. However, by 1938 this supply had largely run out, yet the demand
for such fare hadn't -- so a number of authors attempted to fill the void, amongst them Henry Kuttner.