In Memoriam: 2010
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 2010 included
Kage Baker, Philip Klass (William Tenn), Patricia Wrightson, George H. Scithers, Frank Frazetta,
Everett Bleiler, Neil Barron, E.C. Tubb and Donald H. Tuck.
Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter
reviewed by Katherine Petersen
Jane's vacation with her boyfriend, Rick LaFleur, is interrupted by an announcement that the weres are coming out of the closet. Leo
Pellessier, master vampire of New Orleans, has planned an event to parlay with African weres, but before the
party, he sends Jane to deliver a "get out of town" message to a persona non grata. Expecting to confront
a vampire, Jane faces off instead against a pack of werewolves thirsty for blood.
Shrapnel: Hubris, Part 2 by Nick Sagan and Clinnette Minnis
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
On her way to Luna, Dr. Rita Shankar goes to Tranquillity City and there she meets up with Colonel
Ross, Johnny Yuen and Captain Narayan. She is the guest in an important meeting disguised as an innocent
dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Shankar is on a mission, and they want her to acquire Helium 3, destroying
the leftover supply for them to be able to sell the other at a premium, but getting it will be at high risk.
The Time Machine: A Sequel by David Haden
reviewed by Richard A. Lupoff
Herbert George Wells (1866-1946) was certainly not the first science fiction writer. Scholars quarrel
endlessly over that puzzle, arguing passionately for Jules Verne (1828-1905), Mary Wollstonecraft
Shelley (1797-1851) or even dear old Lucian of Samosata (120-180).
The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron
an audiobook review by Sarah Trowbridge
In the kingdom of Mellinor, in the deepest dungeon below the castle Allaze, the master thief and
gifted wizard Eli Monpress uses his talents to their best advantage to break out of prison and
kidnap King Henrith right out of his own throne room. Eli is asking a king's ransom but this operation
is just one part of an elaborate scheme that unfolds gradually over the course of the entire
book. It turns out that Eli's goal is to force the bounty on his head higher and higher,
aiming to become the thief who summons the price of one million gold standards.
Masters of Deception by Michelle Slatalla and Joshua Quittner
an audiobook review by Steven Brandt
It's 1989, and while personal computers have been around for a few years, their full potential
is still largely untapped. Only about one household in three owns a computer, and most that do
own them don't really know what to do with them. But there are an elite few who understand
instinctively that mastery of the computer means power. These few are almost always teenage
boys, are highly intelligent, and are bored. It was fun at first, like a game, but when a
couple of hackers gain access to New York Telephone's computer system, the stakes are suddenly much higher.
The Human Blend by Alan Dean Foster
an audiobook review by Dale Darlage
The author introduces yet another series with this first installment of a trilogy set in a
relatively near-future Savannah, Georgia. In this interesting new world the direst predictions
about global warming have come true. America's southern states have become near-tropical. Flooding
ocean waters have buried coastal cities, forcing them to move onto stilts or to move inland. Much
of Florida is underwater and the Everglades have swallowed the rest.
The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold
an audiobook review by Nicki Gerlach
Miles Vorkosigan -- crippled son of Barrayar's Prime Minister -- has just graduated from the
Barrayaran Military Academy, and like every graduate is desperately hoping to be assigned to
ship duty. But instead of being put aboard the Barrayaran fleet's newest interstellar cruiser,
he's assigned instead to the post of meteorology officer at a remote arctic training
base. But even in that far-flung outpost, Miles can't stay out of trouble for long.
WWW: Watch by Robert J. Sawyer
an audiobook review by Gil T. Wilson
Born blind, Caitlin Decter receives a retinal implant that allows her to see. In the process,
her doctor accidently gives her the ability to see webspace as well as the real world. With her
online vision, Caitlin notices a presence in the background of the web and begins to explore. She
soon finds that the presence is an accidentally created artificial intelligence which she dubs Webmind.
Immortalis, Part 1: The Demon Wars by R.A. Salvatore
an audiobook review by Gil T. Wilson
This is the first of three parts of the final book in The Demon Wars Saga. This
tale has been a great adventure in fantasy, with heroes which include wizards (of a sort),
elves, dwarves, goblins, giants, a centaur that plays bagpipes, humans, and a dragon.
The author includes everything one could ever want in a fantasy series and populates the
Land of Corona with some great heroes and villains.
Vote for SF Site's Readers' Choice Awards for 2010
Happy New Year! Once again, it's time to voice your opinion about what your favourite reading was from the
year that just ended. Long-time visitors to the SF Site are familiar with the process. If you're new,
what this is about is that we want to hear what you thought was the very best of what you read from the past year.
And since we know how hard it is to pick just one favourite, you can tell us what you would put on your
personal top 10 favourites. We also understand that you may not yet have read all the books from 2010
that you meant to, so we're going to give you a chance to do that -- until March 4, 2011.
If you've forgotten what you chose in previous years,
you can find them all linked at Best Read of the Year including
The City and the City by China Miéville which was the top choice last year.
Carousel Tides by Sharon Lee
The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, Volume One: The King of the Elves (1947-1952) by Philip K. Dick
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
Kate is not at all what she seems to be. She could be an exile from
a weird old place with its shuttered carnival attractions out on the Maine coast next to a great grey
sea. And Kate has more problems than she knows what to do with, and they seem to multiply like gnats every
time she turns around. But there is a gallery of allies she collects along the way.
Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold
reviewed by Rich Horton
The novel is set on the planet Kibou-daini. Miles Vorkosigan has come there ostensibly to attend on conference on
cryogenic technology, but in reality to untangle some suspicious business dealings between the planet's
companies and interests on Komarr. But things go a bit pear-shaped
when Miles and others are kidnapped. Miles ends up escaping and meeting an 11-year-old boy, Jin, a
runaway, who has settled in a sort of squat. But this place also hides a secret cryogenic facility
Music For Another World edited by Mark Harding
reviewed by Seamus Sweeney
"All art aspires to the condition of music." Walter Pater's famous axiom is directly invoked in one of the stories
in this anthology of speculative fiction linked by the theme of music, and is one of the first quotes that
springs to mind when considering the artistic challenge of capturing music in words.
Another well-known quote about music and writing is one by Frank Zappa.
Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Vortex by Troy Denning
reviewed by David Maddox
The evil entity Abeloth has been defeated. The madness-plague affecting young Jedi Knights has
vanished. The alliance between Luke Skywalker and the Lost Tribe of the Sith still holds, although
tenuously. But animosity between Galactic Alliance Head Natasi Daala and the Jedi Order continues to
grow. Assassination attempts are being made on key Alliance figures and slave revolt outbreaks have been
reported from Outer Rim worlds. And is all as it truly seems with Abeloth's corpse?
compiled by Neil Walsh
New and forthcoming books this month include the latest from James P. Blaylock, Steve Cash, Joe Abercrombie, Andy Remic, Elizabeth Bear, Claude Lalumière, Raymond E. Feist, and many others.
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick watched episodes of Being Human, Primeval and The Vampire Diaries but it was other series
that held his interest. He also combed through his movie predictions for 2010 (based on how good the writers
are) and it holds a few surprises.
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
Perhaps we're not going to discuss "love" exactly -- more like its absence, and what happens in the negative
space created by its void, or its loss. But we are discussing "one big book" this time -- and a slight
variant in the usual columnar construction. Besides, how often do we get to reference the exact title of
a Patty Griffin song? One ably covered by Emmylou Harris?
Mark London Williams picked up Jeff Lemire's collected Essex County, from Top Shelf Productions.
reviewed by Richard A. Lupoff
It is remarkable that of all the science fiction writers of the Twentieth Century, Philip K. Dick is one of two
whose works have had the greatest durability, and whose images and attitudes have penetrated the very fabric of
world culture most extensively. (The other is H.P. Lovecraft, who wasn't exactly a science fiction writer
anyway -- but close enough for present purposes.)
One by David Karp
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
The citizens of this unspecified but presumably not too distant future
live a life that is exactly the same as their counterparts in mid-twentieth century America. The
differences would appear to be all for the better: there are no wars, there is no crime, there seems to
be no poverty; most people, understandably, are happy. The State (always capitalized) seems to have come
into being about a generation before and is clearly a work in progress.