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Avilion Avilion by Robert Holdstock
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
Jack makes the journey to Oak Lodge in order to conjure up a mythago of his own grandfather, George Huxley. From George, he hopes to gain the clue to help him on an even more perilous journey, for Yssobel has disappeared and Jack must venture into the heart of the wood to find his sister. Yssobel, meanwhile, has a quest of her own, for her mother Guiwenneth has left the villa with a shadowy troop of horsemen. While Steven, as ever, waits behind, Yssobel, aided by the mythago of a young Ulysses, sets out to rescue her from Avilion once more.

Bitter Angels Bitter Angels by C.L. Anderson
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Over three decades ago, Terese Drajeske retired from the Guardians, and from the business of preventing war from threatening Earth and its far-flung colonies. The last thing she ever expected or wanted was to be recalled to active duty, but the brutal murder of her old friend and mentor is something even she can't ignore. Reluctantly, she accepts her assignment: travel to the corrupt and dangerous Erasmus System, a set of worlds where slavery, smuggling, abuse of power and treachery run rampant, and find out if a true threat to humanity's peace exists.

Anathem Anathem Vote for SF Site's Readers' Choice Awards for 2009
Traditionally, the arrival of the new year is a time to look ahead, and make plans for the future. But it's also a time to look back and reflect on the year we've just completed. And at the SF Site, it's traditional to review the past year's worth of reading and to vote on what you considered to be the best of it. This is your chance to have your say. The same rules apply as in previous SF Site Readers' Choice Awards: if you read it, you liked it, and you want to vote for it, go nuts. If you've forgotten what you chose in previous years, you can find them all linked at Best Read of the Year including Anathem by Neal Stephenson which was the top choice last year.

Aurealis, #42 Aurealis, #42
reviewed by Rich Horton
Patricia O'Neill's science article, "Private I," is an interesting look at how our sensory perceptions of the world are unique to ourselves (and how they differ, in a more extreme way, from those of other species). The book review column is by Keith Stevenson and there is an interview with Greg Egan, conducted by Russell Blackford. Rich thought this was a particularly good issue for the fiction.

Nexus Graphica Nexus Graphica
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
In Edwin Starr's Vietnam-era song, War, the rhetorical answer to the lyric, "War. Huh. Yeah. What Is it Good For?" was the intuitively obvious "Absolutely nothin'." And while history has created moments where wars of "necessity" seemed unavoidable, it becomes increasingly obvious that "war" is a zero-sum game, except for both the industrialists and unhinged nationalists for whom "war" is their favorite political institution, because it transfers so much power into their necrotic hands. Is Mark London Williams sounding a bit polemical? Well, it's because he has rediscovered war is actually good for something after all -- oppositional art.

The God Engines The God Engines by John Scalzi
reviewed by Peter D. Tillman
John Scalzi tries something new with this long novella. He calls it dark fantasy, but it's really more science-fantasy -- the action is largely aboard an FTL starship, and the setting is an interstellar religious empire. The title is literally true.

Lord Valentine's Castle Lord Valentine's Castle by Robert Silverberg
an audio review podcast by Fred Greenhalgh
Lord Valentine's Castle is a sweeping epic novel that immerses us in the alien world of Majipoor. The story begins with a man named Valentine who has no memory of his past. Unsure what to do, he begins the long journey of reclaiming his identity by joining a band of traveling jugglers.

Practical Demonkeeping Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore
an audiobook review by Jennifer McCann
Pine Cove is a sleepy little tourist town which is populated with characters like Augustus Brine, the owner of a popular shop that sells bait, tackle and fine California wines; Rachael, the homicidal, vegan, aerobic instructing witch; and "Breeze" an aging semi-bald surfer dude. They are all about to be joined by two new visitors, Travis and his constant companion, Catch -- the man-eating demon from Hell.

Vatta's War: Trading in Danger, Part 1 Vatta's War: Trading in Danger, Part 1 by Elizabeth Moon
an audiobook review by John Ottinger III
Kylara Vatta, drummed out of the military academy, has her hopes and dreams of a military career dashed. However, being part of one of the most successful trading families in the known universe provides a fairly soft cushion. But what Kylara does not expect is that, as a scion of her house, she will be immediately given a captain's position and sent off on what should be a routine trading mission.

Suicide Kings Suicide Kings edited by George R.R. Martin
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
The story opens with a dirty little war, between the PPA, (People's Paradise of Africa), and Caliphate of Arabia. The PPA is a despotic regime run by corrupt revolutionary siblings, Dr. Nshombo and his sister Alicia. Think Robert Mugabe, and Idi Amin in drag, for a fair idea of what these two are like. The Caliphate is under the leadership of Prince Siraj, who was installed earlier in this sequence via the meddling of British Ace Noel Matthews. As usual when one country interferes in the affairs of another, things haven't worked out quite as planned.

Boneshaker Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
reviewed by Katherine Petersen
Gold prospectors flocked to the Northwest in search of treasure in the late 1800s, and during this frenzy the Russians sought a way to reach a vein of gold hidden below a vast amount of Alaskan ice. To this end, they held a contest for a machine that could manage the task and commissioned Seattle scientist Leviticus Blue to build his Boneshaker. But things went awry as he carved out much of Seattle's downtown, accidentally releasing blight gas that turned individuals into the living dead.

Jupiter, Issue 26, October 2009 Jupiter, Issue 26, October 2009
reviewed by Rich Horton
The opening story, "The Space Sphinx" by Edward Rodosek, is a novelette told by a man who came to a colony planet as its chief "hunter," protecting the colony from the dangerous local fauna. He tells the story of his successor, who met and married a mysterious local woman only to lose her, apparently, to some alien creature, then disappeared himself.

Ghost Ship Ghost Ship
a BluRay review by David Newbert
An Italian luxury cruise ship called the Antonia Grazia disappeared at sea in 1962 on its way across the North Atlantic to America. It has supposedly been spotted today (today being 2002, when the film was first released) floating around the Bering Sea, which is on the other side of America from the North Atlantic which just goes to show that forty years later, a lost ghost ship can really get around.

10th Anniversary Edition of Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
an article by Rodger Turner
In 1999, Bantam Press, an imprint of Transworld Publishers in the UK, published Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson, the first book in the multi-volume sequence, The Malazan Book of the Fallen. They have gone on to publish eight more titles in the series. In addition, they wanted to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the first book and have recently released a hardcover edition.


The Wizard Knight Companion The Wizard Knight Companion by Michael Andre-Driussi
reviewed by Steven H Silver
The book is primarily a companion to the two books which make up Gene Wolfe's The Wizard Knight series. Andre-Driussi's entries for his lexicon are all taken from the source work, whether the names of individuals, such as Able, Wolfe's narrator for the cycle, or places, like Yens. Each entry not only explains the role the entry plays in Wolfe's work, but also its etymology, when appropriate, and notes where in the series the reference appears.

Series Review

The Hitchhiker's Trilogy The Hitchhiker's Trilogy by Douglas Adams
reviewed by David Maddox
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, penned by the late, great Douglas Adams, still needs no introduction. David actually said this a few years ago when he wrote a review of the first three books in the trilogy. First of all if you STILL haven't ready the sci-fi genre-transcending SF experience that is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, go read it already. David will wait.

Second Looks

The Metal Giants and Others The Metal Giants and Others by Edmond Hamilton
reviewed by Dave Truesdale
For a dozen years now Stephen Haffner and his Haffner Press have been tirelessly devoted to resurrecting for the first time, the complete short works of Jack Williamson, Leigh Brackett, and Edmond Hamilton. Not just throwing together and reprinting the stories, which would have been a worthwhile, albeit monumental, task in and of itself, but going to great pains in preserving them in beautiful, deluxe, hardcover editions.

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