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Scenting the Dark and Other Stories Scenting the Dark and Other Stories by Mary Robinette Kowal
reviewed by Rich Horton
This collection is notable, compared to other first books, for its brevity -- only 8 short stories, some 80 pages. This may be a wise choice -- start with something of a taster, a sample. It's not that the author has used up all the good stuff either as two of those appearing in Rich's year's best anthologies are included here. The book does represent her style and concerns very well. It's also representative temporally -- a couple of her earliest stories are included, and a couple from 2009, including one new to this book.

Absolute Promethea: Book One Absolute Promethea: Book One by Alan Moore
reviewed by Susan Dunman
College student Sophie Bangs has no idea what she's getting herself into as she wraps up research for her term paper about a literary heroine named Promethea. Discovering that this enigmatic woman has appeared in poetry, comic books, and urban legends since the 18th century, Sophie is convinced this is no coincidence and is determined to learn the true identity of Promethea.

Queen Mab Courtesy Queen Mab Courtesy by Bruce C. Davis
reviewed by John Enzinas
A "Queen Mab Courtesy" is when a favour is given and received and neither party has a full understanding of the repercussions. It creates a web of guilt and obligation that ties the giver and receiver together for better or, more frequently, for worse.  Tito, is a Denver Dwarf, suffering from a birth defect caused by a bioterrorism incident. He falls in with a fixer named Charlemange Skeezer who is a trader of courtesies and has more than one Queen Mab on his hands.

Blue Moon Rising: Part 2 Blue Moon Rising: Part 2 by Simon R. Green
an audio review podcast by Fred Greenhalgh
The second part of this three-part adaptation picks up right where the first installment ends, so you'll need to listen to the first segment to understand what's going on here. The first scene re-introduces us to Julia, who, as usual, is sticking her nose where no other princess would ever dare.

Angel Time Angel Time by Anne Rice
an audiobook review by Gil T. Wilson
Anne Rice is best known for her Vampire Chronicles, including the most popular, Interview with the Vampire. But any Rice fan knows she's written more than just tales of vampires, so it should be no surprise that her latest novel is about angels. What is surprising is how she explores the topic by telling a story of an angel who "hires" a modern-day contract killer to defend the Jews of 13th century Norwich, England.

Star Wars: No Prisoners Star Wars: No Prisoners by Karen Traviss
an audiobook review by Sarah Trowbridge
Captain Rex is back -- the clone squad leader who distinguished himself in the first Clone Wars novel. Anakin Skywalker has decided to take a brief break from combat to visit his secret wife, Padmé Amidala. He leaves Ahsoka, his young Padawan, in Rex's care. Summoned to the newly refitted Republic assault cruiser Leveler, helmed by Captain Gilad Pellaeon, Rex, Ahsoka, and six untried new clone troopers go for what is meant to be a three-day routine training exercise.

The Demon Apostle, Part 1: The Demon Wars The Demon Apostle, Part 1: The Demon Wars by R.A. Salvatore
an audiobook review by Gil T. Wilson
Continuing on with R.A. Salvatore's Demon Wars saga, this installment begins book three of the seven book series. Once again, the magical production skills of GraphicAudio seamlessly transport you back into the world of Corona. Elbryan Wyndon, the Nightbird, travels north to take back the Timberlands with the help of Bradwarden the Centaur and Belli'mar Juraviel the elf, while Pony moves south to the city of Palmaris for reasons of her own.

Son of Retro Pulp Tales Son of Retro Pulp Tales edited by Joe R. Lansdale and Keith Lansdale
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
A sequel to the acclaimed Retro Pulp Tales, this new anthology, where Joe Lansdale teams with his son Keith to edit more stories in the old pulp tradition, assembles eleven brand new pieces of imaginative and thrilling fiction aimed to entertain, astonish and, most of all, make us forget for a while the dullness of daily life. While it may be beneath the scope of great literature (the purpose of which is supposedly also to educate and to elicit lofty thoughts and feelings), but it is one of the main properties of good fiction.

Across the Wall Across the Wall by Garth Nix
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Subtitled "A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories" this is a collection of short fiction, from the best-selling author of The Abhorsen Trilogy. The title is misleading, as the Abhorsen herself never actually appears and no one crosses the Wall into the Old Kingdom. In fact, only the first story "Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case" is set in the same world as Sabriel. In total, there are thirteen unconnected works here and most demonstrate why Nix is the recipient of such critical acclaim.

Scuzzworms Scuzzworms by Ella Mack
reviewed by John Enzinas
A scientific detective novel, it begins with the arrival of the main character on the research station. She has been hired as an Ethnobiologist, someone who looks at the interactions of creatures and attempts to understand what drives them. She is also a very angry person and carries a chip on her shoulder that the slightest breeze could disturb.  Thankfully on a orbital station, the breezes are few and far between.

Tom Strong Tom Strong by Alan Moore
reviewed by Susan Dunman
Heroes can be so complicated these days. Their motives are smudged in ever darker shades of grey while their angst-ridden lives seem less than rewarding. Are you ready for a hero without all that emotional baggage? Then look no further than Tom Strong. Tom Strong has what it takes to keep the citizens of Millennium City safe from an assorted menagerie of villains.

Nexus Graphica Nexus Graphica Nexus Graphica
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
Another long, fast, strange and lively year, Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams complete their round-up of work that struck them most profoundly, left the most lasting impressions. As Rick noted last time, in Part I, neither of them carry the conceit that this list is an objective "absolute best." Which is to say, there were doubtless other projects -- comics, graphic novels, web comics, etc. -- worthy of making the countdown. But theirs is comprised of the stuff they've actually read.

News Spotlight -- Genre Books and Media News Spotlight -- Genre Books and Media
a column by Sandy Auden
December is traditionally a time for looking back and reflecting on the changes of the last twelve months. For John Lenahan, magician, comedian and actor, there's been the release of his debut novel Shadowmagic; for comic artist and writer Dave West there's been success with his first complete webcomic and first graphic novel of collected stories; and for authors Len Maynard and Mick Sims, they've signed with an agent and they're dipping their writing toes into adventure thrillers for the first time.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Time magazine picked Battlestar Galactica as one of the ten best television series of 2009, and the Dollhouse episode "Briar Rose" as one of the best episodes. But for these shows and others, the number of viewers fell off rapidly as episodes aired. There are a lot of people who want to watch good science fiction, but television isn't giving them what they want.

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