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Anathem Anathem SF Site's Best Read of the Year: 2008
compiled by Neil Walsh
Welcome to the SF Site's 12th annual Editors' Choice Top 10 Best Books of the Year -- our official Best Reading recommendations from 2008! As the votes came in for our official best read of the year, it seemed that our reviewers and other contributors were not reading very much of the same thing -- our tastes and preferences vary widely. In consequence, the results were very close. Nevertheless, I think you'll find that what we've come up with is a set of recommendations that will be sure to please.

The Stepsister Scheme The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
This first book of a projected three, it is centered around Cinderella. The story opens not long after the happy ending, when new Princess Danielle is trying to adjust to castle life, after a long stretch being a slave to her wicked stepmonster and her two horrible daughters. In short order, one of the stepsisters, Charlotte, turns up to try to kill Danielle. That's not as surprising as the fact that the formerly lazy, slovenly Charlotte has suddenly got access to some heavy-duty magic.

Novel Delights in 2008 Novel Delights in 2008
reviewed by Dave Truesdale
Reading and reviewing primarily short fiction for many years, it was a welcome change of pace in 2008 for Dave to find time to once again read more than the odd handful of novels. He read them for pure pleasure, hanging his critical hat on the peg by the door. Realizing that no short story or novel is perfect and has faults, Dave also remembered that to the average genre reader (newcomer or sophisticate), that what may be important to the critical machinery and its practitioners doesn't really matter to the average book buyer. They're in for a good read, and a good read can be experienced in many ways.

Stalking the Vampire Stalking the Vampire by Mike Resnick
reviewed by Michael M Jones
It's All Hallow's Eve in the bizarre alternate Manhattan where private detective John Justin Mallory has established himself over the past few years. He and his partner, the renowned hunter Winnifred Carruthers, are looking forward to the festivities. That is, until Mallory discovers that someone of a vampiric persuasion has been snacking on Winnifred, and said someone turns out to be her recently-arrived nephew. Well, that sort of thing just won't do.

Foundling Foundling by D.M. Cornish
reviewed by John Enzinas
The book, the first of the Monster Blood Tattoo series, tells the tale of Rossamund as he is selected for service with the Lamplighters (those who ensure that the lights of the empires roads never grow dim) and his journey to a distant city where he will be trained for his new job. The world he travels through could be described as Steampunk, but its technology owes more to Frankenstein than The Difference Engine. Perhaps Fleshpunk might be a better term.

Gaslight Grimoire Gaslight Grimoire edited by J.R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Very few fictional characters have seen their lives indefinitely prolonged by countless tales and books by various devoted followers as the mythical Sherlock Holmes and his friend Dr. Watson. This anthology assembles eleven new stories -- penned by a bunch of contemporary authors eager to revisit the classical characters and atmospheres created by Conan Doyle and graced by a number of black and white illustrations by Phil Cornell -- where the famous detective has to deal with the supernatural.

Journey to Kailash Journey to Kailash by Mike Allen
reviewed by Amal El-Mohtar
Journey to Kailash is a handsomely designed book that brings together the very best of Mike Allen's poetry, collecting almost fifty speculative poems published over the last ten years in a variety of venues, several of which have been nominated for or have won the Rhysling Award.

The Roswell Poems The Roswell Poems by Rane Arroyo
reviewed by David Maddox
No event in conspiracy history has ever topped Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. Whether you believe an alien space ship crashed, it was just a weather balloon, if the government covered it up or if it was just theories that have grown over the decades, the Roswell crash is part of our cultural consciousness.

In Memoriam: 2008 In Memoriam: 2008
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. Deaths in 2008 included Janet Kagan, Algis Budrys, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Lynn Asprin, Tom Disch, Brian Thomsen, Barrington J. Bayley, Forrest J Ackerman, Leo Frankowski and Edd Cartier.

News Spotlight -- Genre Books and Media News Spotlight -- Genre Books and Media
a column by Sandy Auden
Specially dedicated to an exceptional book, we go behind the scenes with Coraline: A Visual Companion and talk exclusively to author Stephen Jones about why he wanted to follow a different path with this particular book…

The Devil You Know The Devil You Know by Jenna Black
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
The publisher describes the goings on here as; "The beautiful. The bad. The possessed." What that translates to is a somewhat camp, demons and damp knickers pot boiler, featuring possessed exorcist Morgan Kingsley. A woman who is one of the few humans with an aura stronger than her possessor. In this world, possession is rather common, it seems. As the story opens, Morgan has recently become aware that her entire past, including her identity, might be a lie.

Nurk Nurk by Ursula Vernon
reviewed by Tammy Moore
Nurk is a very small shrew with a very long name and a famous grandmother with a penchant for severed heads and adventure. Although he could do without the severed heads, Nurk has no objection in principle to the idea of adventure. It's just that he IS a very small shrew and there has never really been any opportunity to go adventuring. Not until the mysterious letter arrived.

The Final Sacrifice The Final Sacrifice by Patricia Bray
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Following the untimely deaths of the rest of the royal family, only Prince Lucius remained to be crowned emperor of Ikaria. Now Lucius reigns supreme over a land that could crack apart at any moment, thanks to the high-level rivalries and scheming of the court, and the just-ended war with the seafaring Seddon Federation. What only a small handful of people know is that Lucius, at one time exiled for a treacherous attempt to usurp the crown in his youth, is not the man he used to be. Dark magics were used to place the soul of a dying monk, Brother Josan, into Lucius' body.

Shadowbridge Shadowbridge by Gregory Frost
an audiobook review by Nicki Gerlach
The world of Shadowbridge is a world unlike any other. It's a world built on an ocean, where vast bridges connect far-flung spiraling towers, and tiny islands underneath the spans are the only land most people ever see. But more than that, Shadowbridge is a world of dreams, of sea dragons and fox-faced tricksters, of capricious gods visiting their gifts upon unsuspecting mortals. And most of all, Shadowbridge is a world of stories.

Nexus Graphica Nexus Graphica
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
Mark London Williams is in New York, brought east by a production of a play of his, running in an off-off Broadway venue. While in the city, he's taking long walks around Manhattan, signing the odd Danger Boy, and stopping in at the legendary Forbidden Planet comics store near Union Square. He has been musing about the effect of the city on the development of the comic book itself. A distinctly American artifact, the comic book was born in NY, even if its antecedents -- the comic strip -- can be traced originally to early 19th century Europe.

New Arrivals New Arrivals
compiled by Neil Walsh
Plenty of intriguing new titles have arrived at the SF Site lately, including the latest from Bruce Sterling, Alexander Irvine, John Meaney, Stephen Hunt, Kit Whitfield, Tom Piccirilli, and many others.

First Novels

The Age of the Conglomerates The Age of the Conglomerates by Thomas Nevins
reviewed by David Hebblethwaite
The US economy has collapsed, and political power seized by the Conglomerates, and now control the President, the currency, and pretty much everything else. The baby boomers are seen as an undesirable nuisance and symbol of what went wrong, and are now promptly shipped off to "retirement communities" in the south-western USA when they reach their eighties.

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