Welcome to the Greenhouse edited by Gordon Van Gelder
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
Paul is coming to the conclusion that the worst disservice ever done to "science fiction" was saddling it with that
name. In particular, the "science" part. It raises expectations and assumptions on behalf of both readers and
writers that the genre mostly cannot, and should not, even attempt to fulfil.
As long as we expect fiction to incorporate scientific rigor, we are doomed to disappointment. And if we
expect science fiction writers to be better qualified than any other reasonably well-informed member of the
public to comment on the scientific issues facing us today, we are deceiving ourselves.
The Prisoner of NaNoWriMo by Craig Robertson
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
Have you ever had the inner yearning to write your own novel? Even if it started out as a short concept and you
had got it down on paper or even as a draft on your computer. You needed to see it completed, and hope against
hope to see it published, and gracing the shelves in book stores. It's what everyone wants to see, isn't it? Well,
now you know what poor salesman Piers Langland is going through as he tries his hand at NaNoWriMo every year.
The Dervish House by Ian McDonald
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
A bird turns in the thermals rising from a sprawling, clangorous waterfront city, spread so far below that the details
of its inhabitants cannot be seen.
Ian McDonald may have read John Dos Passos's 1925 novel, Manhattan Transfer as both writers
chose exactly the same image to open their novels, and to exactly the same effect. The remote, aerial viewpoint
is distancing and depersonalizing: the individuals rushing about below are, in the grand scheme of things,
irrelevant, just cogs in the vast, impersonal machine that is the city.
Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Welcome to a world where the gods are alive and well and dealing with humanity on their own terms. Everyone's
got a personal god, who takes care of them according to the level of faith involved and sacrifices offered. Want
that promotion? Sacrifice a calf to Baal. Looking for lower insurance premiums? Marduk's your deity.
After years of holding out, Phil and Teri are fed up
with seeing everyone else get ahead through worship while they get left behind... so they're in the market for a god.
Swords & Dark Magic edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders
reviewed by Martin Lewis
It isn't a particularly inspired title for an anthology of sword and sorcery stories but
then speaking plainly is one of the virtues of the subgenre. This is a collection that does exactly what it says on
the tin, with one exception.
The Godfather of Kathmandu by John Burdett
reviewed by Jason Erik Lundberg
For Thai police detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, our humble narrator, release
from samsara is urgent: his six-year-old son Pichai has been killed in a traffic accident, and his wife
Chanya has fled to a nunnery in her grief. The beginning of the novel sees Sonchai as a broken man, surviving
his despair through liberal consumption of marijuana and the recitation of an ego-annihilating mantra given
to him by a Tibetan yogin in Nepal.
Patient Zero and The Dragon Factory by Jonathan Maberry
reviewed by John Enzinas
Patient Zero is a tightly written Clancyesque techno-thriller with super secret government organizations, jihads, Machiavellian businessmen,
well executed violence, plausible science and zombies! It was a gripping read and that's the only
complaint John had. There were very few pauses in the action where he could set the book down and get some sleep.
Then he started The Dragon Factory.
The Dark Half by Stephen King
reviewed by Steven Brandt
When promising young novelist Thaddeus Beaumont began to suffer from writer's block, he took the cue from one of his
favorite writers and decided to try writing under a pen name, George Stark. Unlike Thad's earlier books, Stark's
novels were darker and more violent, something the public seemed to crave since Stark's books were much more
popular than Thad's had been.
Swords and Deviltry by Fritz Leiber
an audiobook review by John Ottinger III
This three-story volume is the first of several collections of Leiber's iconic Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser
stories. Organized chronologically according to the character timeline, it contains two
origin stories for the unlikely duo and the Nebula and Hugo-winning "Ill Met in Lankhmar" that narrates the
duo's first caper together.
The Mammoth Book of Dracula edited by Stephen Jones
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
Vampires are a part of us. They are the dark side within all of us. Who wouldn't want to have special powers,
be able to live forever and keep looking young even though we might be over a hundred years old. Vampires,
like werewolves and Frankenstein's monster have a special place in our hearts, and Dracula is the crown
prince of all vampires. Since Bram Stoker penned his 1877 novel, it has been the basis for a whole host
of writers who enjoyed its sinister premise, the characters and its dark outlook on life.
Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick by Lawrence Sutin
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
Rick Klaw's earliest comic book memory centers around an issue of Joe Kubert's Tarzan. His father,
a Tarzan movie fan, probably picked it up and after looking through it gave it to
his three-year-old son. While he wasn't quite reading yet, Kubert's powerful portrayal of the
gorillas created a lasting impression. Shortly after, his younger sister destroyed the comic,
ripping it to shreds. Apparently it scared her.
compiled by Neil Walsh
Our latest crop of new arrivals includes the latest from Richard Kadrey, Richard K. Morgan, Stephen Hunt, Kim Harrison, Greg Keyes, and many others.
reviewed by Andy Remic
So let's get the painful stuff out of the way immediately. Philip K. Dick
was a drug-taking, paranoid, wife-beating maniac; or so Lawrence Sutin presents him -- in the nicest way possible. But
please, let us qualify these "facts" with more context. Drug-taking -- yes. Mr. Dick did indeed take handfuls of
dubious tablets on a regular basis, and had many an interesting hallucinatory episode -- both on and, indeed,
off drugs. In fairness, in later life, as he matured, Phil saw the "error of his ways" and according to Sutin
denounced drugs as a social evil, whilst still puffing on weed and popping prescription mood stabilisers. But
hey, the life of a tortured artist is never a easy ride right?
The Very Best of Charles de Lint by Charles de Lint
reviewed by Steven H Silver
Charles de Lint was writing Urban Fantasy before that genre was infiltrated by vampires and gritty
streets. His Urban Fantasy introduces a magical realism to the world, spirit magic seeping into the cement
environments mankind has built and most of the stories selected for this volume reflect that interest. His
urban fantasy is set in the vibrant city of Newford and its environs, which allows him to look at his magic
in a variety of different neighborhoods and social strata.
Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik
The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks
reviewed by Rich Horton
Temeraire and Laurence have been transported to Australia. Laurence
remains loyal to England, with misgivings, and Temeraire of course is utterly loyal to Laurence.
Australia has recently undergone a sort of revolution, with the local landowners deposing the cruel and
incompetent Governor Bligh (of the Bounty, yes). But this cannot stand, and Bligh angles for restoration
to his seat.
reviewed by Dominic Cilli
The trilogy is a multi-layered sprawling tale that will keep even the most fickle of readers thoroughly
engaged throughout. The primary storyline tells the story of Azoth/Kylar. He is a young orphaned street-criminal
that has grown up in the seedy part of town known as the Warrens. In order to survive, Azoth becomes embroiled
in the criminal underworld known as the Sa'kage. In order to escape the Warrens, he apprentices with
legendary assassin Durzo Blint.