Galileo's Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
Our story begins in 1608, with Galileo an ambitious but frustrated teacher in Padua who believes that he never
receives due recognition or, more importantly, the money he needs from the Venetian authorities. It was then, as
Galileo himself told the tale, that a Dutch visitor told him about the telescope that had been invented earlier
that year by Hans Lippershey in the Netherlands. Here the visitor is Ganymede who introduces
himself as coming from Alte Europa. Galileo misunderstands this as a clumsy reference to "Upper Europe," the
Protestant north, though we realise soon enough that Ganymede in fact hails from high Europa, the Jovian moon.
Red Inferno: 1945 by Robert Conroy
reviewed by Seamus Sweeney
The story begins with the American advance troops whom, in the dying weeks of the war in Europe, crossed the Elbe in small
numbers. The newly inaugurated President Truman decides, in the twist on what really happened that gives any
alternate history its impetus, to send two divisions to Berlin to try and ensure that the liberation of the
city is not entirely a Soviet Affair.
Area 51: Nosferatu by Robert Doherty
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Mostly a prequel to the Area 51 series, this is the tale of four undead; Vampyr, Tian Dao Lin,
Adrik and Nosferatu. There are others, including Nosferatu's undead lover, Nekhbet, but for reasons which will
be explained, it is the four named here whose long lives form the principal story. As might be expected from
the title, the murderous machinations revolve around Nosferatu and are most often seen from his perspective.
Revise the World by Brenda Clough
reviewed by Steven H Silver
Historically, Captain Lawrence "Titus" Oates was born in 1880 and died in the Antarctic in 1912 after leaving his
tent to walk into a blizzard, saying, "I am just going outside and may be some time." His body was never recovered
and his comrades, Scott, Henry Bowers, and Edward Wilson, died thirteen days later. While his comrades bodies were
recovered later that year, Oates's body has never been found. It is suggested
that his body was pulled into the mid-20th century and repaired, giving Oates a second chance at life.
Dimiter by William Peter Blatty
an audiobook review by Gil T. Wilson
The author of The Exorcist has a new book out, but don't let that fool you into thinking
it's a horror novel. While this book does delve into some mysticism, it is pretty much a spy
thriller. The story opens in the 1970s in Albania, when a prisoner suspected of being an enemy
agent is captured and subjected to horrendous torture. The prisoner is known as Dimiter, the American "agent from Hell."
Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold
an audiobook review by Nicki Gerlach
Barrayar, the second book of the Vorkosigan Saga, begins almost immediately following the events
of Shards of Honor. Cordelia Vorkosigan (née Naismith) has given up almost everything of her former
life on Beta Colony to be with the man she loves. She's finding life on Barrayar somewhat hard to adjust to, however;
its class and gender stratification, its emphasis on familial lineage and military might, and its lack of technological
progress, all make the entire planet seem somewhat backwards to Cordelia's way of thinking.
Flesh and Fire by Laura Anne Gilman
an audiobook review by Amy Timco
Jerzy, a slave in the vineyards of a Master Vineart, finds himself suddenly taken
as Master Malech's apprentice in the secrets arts of spellwine. In the Vin Lands, power is divided among three
classes: the Vinearts, who make the spellwines but who are forbidden to hold political power; the lords, who
purchase and use the spellwines to hold their lands; and the Washers, the religious institution that guards
The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom
an audiobook review by Gil T. Wilson
Conrad Harrison receives a large inheritance from a father he hardly knew. While returning to his home in Los Angeles,
Conrad stops in rural Wisconsin and buys a house. The century-old house was once a birthing house, where midwives
delivered countless babies, both alive and dead. Conrad is immediately drawn to the house and goes back to Los Angeles
to get his wife, Jo, so they can try to build a new beginning with a marriage that seems to be on the rocks.
One Was Stubborn by L. Ron Hubbard
an audiobook review by Gil T. Wilson
The first story, "One Was Stubborn" was originally published in Unknown Fantasy Fiction, October 1940, under the
pseudonym Rene La Fayette. It is a simple tale of a man unwilling to watch the world as he knows it vanish. The
main character, Old Shellback, is the most stubborn man in the universe. When he goes in for an eye exam, the
doctor's computer says he's depressed and should see the new Messiah that is changing the world.
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
Not that long ago, live action movies based on comics were a scarcity. In the 70s,
a few made-for-TV movies based on Marvel properties littered the airwaves. Spider-man, Hulk,
Dr. Strange, and Captain America all enjoy varying degrees of success. Not to be outdone,
DC supplied the highly popular Wonder Woman series. Buck Rogers even staged
a comeback. These films and series produced in the days before cable and digital effects,
all looked inferior even to the current dismal crop of Saturday night originals airing on SyFy.
Rick Klaw works his way through the decades discussing the adaptation of comics into movies.
The Taborin Scale by Lucius Shepard
reviewed by Rich Horton
Over the decades, some of the author's most popular tales have featured an immense dragon named Griaule, who
lays, perhaps sleeping, perhaps dead, next to the city Teocinte. Griaule is both a sinister and dangerous
figure -- in part merely because of his size and the fact that he's a dragon, but in part for what might be called
psychic reasons -- and a benefit to the locals, mainly as a tourist attraction.
Under in the Mere by Catherynne M. Valente
Memory, Sorrow and Thorn by Tad Williams
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Loosely inspired to the Arthurian legends, the novella recreates old myths, employing the author's imaginative power
and her well-known, uncommon ability to carve exquisite phrasing and to delight the reader with her masterful wording.
Her beautiful language has a musical quality that envelops the reader like an intoxicating melody, or, better,
a complex, overwhelming symphony.
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, December 2009
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
As magazines go, this one has been available for many years, some might joke for millennia, though more seriously it
is one of the best around which is a pure showcase for literary talent in the field of fantasy and science fiction
writing. It brings their individual material into the publication. It is one that likes to go against the grain with
the themes of the stories.
Watching the Future
a column by Derek Johnson
First, Derek has to offer an apology. Though he has been reading science fiction since he was fourteen, his exposure to science fiction
concepts came not from books but from movies and television. He suspects that he's not alone in this: most members
of his generation likely grew up not on issues of Astounding and Galaxy but
on syndicated episodes of Star Trek and The Twilight Zone.
Derek has some thoughts on this year's Hugo Awards for Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.
Fans seems to have an embarrassment of riches. Or at least it seems that way on first glance.
News Spotlight -- Genre Books and Media
a column by Sandy Auden
A distinctly dark flavour to this month's column with Jasper Kent talking about
his Russian vampires in Twelve and Thirteen Years Later, and Conrad Williams
inhabiting the twilight land between your last breath and your arrival on the
other side in Decay Inevitable.
compiled by Neil Walsh
Newest arrivals to the SF Site include the latest from Harry Turtledove, Neal Asher, Robert J. Sawyer, Naomi Novik, Peter Straub, some great collections, an array of magazines, and much, much more.
compiled by Susan Dunman
Recent audiobook releases received by SF Site include works by
David Weber, R.A. Salvatore, Ben Bova, William Peter Blatty, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
At times it's more convenient (and enjoyable) to hear the latest in science fiction and fantasy.
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Is the island sentient? If not, why do people keep saying, "The island wants this." "The
island wants that." Are Jacob and the Man in Black good and evil? Order and chaos? Two
players in a cosmic game? Will the ending of Lost be the Titanic
ending or the 2001: A Space Odyssey ending or the 1940s South Sea Island ending?
reviewed by Dominic Cilli
Simon, a kitchen boy working in the castle of the king becomes unwittingly involved
in the epic struggle between good and evil that will decide the fate of all mankind. After the beloved
King John dies, a power struggle ensues between brothers,
one clearly good and one who was once good, but whose mind has since been compromised by other forces.
Memory, Sorrow and Thorn are three legendary magic swords that must be found, gathered
and brought together in order to defeat the threat that looms over the kingdom.
Spellwright by Blake Charlton
reviewed by Charlene Brusso
When he first started to learn magic, there were those who believed Nicodemus Weal was destined to become a wizard
of prophecy, the Halcyon, who would turn back evil and save the world from the apocalyptic Disjunction.
Then his mentors realized he couldn't spell in the magical sense. Writing his own spells required intense concentration, even for the simplest
magic. And any spell already written down could be turned to gibberish by Nicodemus' touch.
The River Kings' Road by Liane Merciel
reviewed by Katherine Petersen
Fire arrows and bloodmist -- the dark magic of a maimed witch -- obliterate the Langmyr village of Willowfield, killing a
noble from the kingdom of Oakharn, his wife and retinue of knights. This devastation shatters the temporary truce
between the two kingdoms, causing both kings to call forth their soldiers. Unbeknownst to anyone at first, Brys
Tarnell, one of the noble's men and the noble's babe survive.