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Planesrunner Planesrunner by Ian McDonald
reviewed by Rich Horton
The novel opens with Everett Singh going to meet his physicist father at a lecture -- but instead Everett witnesses his father's kidnapping. The police are little help, and neither is his divorced mother. Soon enough Everett realizes that his father was involved in some very interesting research, research which led to opening a gate between parallel worlds. And when his father's rather creepy boss comes around, it seems clear that Dr. Singh must have made an important discovery, and that the authorities are after it.

Santa and Other Criminals Santa and Other Criminals by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
reviewed by Trent Walters
Not in the Christmas spirit yet? You might try this collection wich opens with a pair of mystery shorts, "Rehabilitation" and "Snow Angels." They are essentially psychological explorations of criminals who made their appearance on Christmas. In the first, Matt is a Mall Santa who stops young men from executing a jewelry heist. The police tongue-lash him for acting so boldly, but he had his reasons.

Millennium People Millennium People by J.G. Ballard
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
Less than a decade after the book's first appearance, it seems, if anything, even more science fictional, because a story about middle class revolt appears not just prescient, it is eerily predictive. Everywhere we look around us, from the Tea Party to the Occupy movement, from clashes over tuition fees to the sight of doctors and teachers and top civil servants on strike, we see the middle classes in revolt. Surely that is exactly what Ballard was writing about in this novel?

The Wild Side The Wild Side edited by Mark L. Van Name
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Don't let yourself be put off by the vulgar cover nor deterred by the ambiguous promise of "urban fantasy with an erotic edge" suggesting cheap, second-rate fiction by mediocre writers. This is a very good book, extremely engrossing and entertaining, including a couple of remarkable highlights of superior quality when compared with more celebrated anthologies.

Ready Player One Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
It's the middle of the twenty-first century, the oil has run out, economies have collapsed, people are living in trailers stacked on top of each other, and the virtual reality known as OASIS is an attractive place for lots of people, including Wade Watts, his fellow students, and gamer friends. Oasis was the brainchild of James Halliday, a genius game designer with an obsession for 80s pop culture who built Oasis to encompass all the aspects of personal relationships.

The Nosferatu Scroll The Nosferatu Scroll by James Becker
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
It begins in Bohemia in 1741 with Bohdan Reznik, a priest who has to perform certain rites on a Hungarian princess before she is laid to rest. These are not ordinary rites though, as she has her head removed, holy water splashed over her corpse, and many other rituals, but no one other than him knows why this happens. This first part of the story brings readers into the mind of the priest who performs the rites without any emotion. He does as he is told and, strange as it seems, he also removes all trace that the princess ever existed.

The Woman Who Hated Halloween The Woman Who Hated Halloween by Matthew S. Rotundo
reviewed by Trent Walters
It tells of lawyer Janine D'Angelo who defends an occult serial killer who won't help her help him cop a plea of insanity. It's not that he agrees or disagrees but that he's completely emotionless. Now that he's in the process of being sentenced, he appears not to approve of Janine's handling of the case (or maybe she insulted or doubted him), for he appears in her house with a showy display of ooze coming from the walls to tell her she must die on Halloween.

Greed Greed by L. Ron Hubbard
an audiobook review by Susan Dunman
This is a collection of three short stories written by L. Ron Hubbard and published in science fiction pulp magazines during the 40s and 50s.  These stories are brought to life with sound effects and a multicast performance reminiscent of old-time-radio, plus the sound quality is crystal clear.

Odyssey of the Gods Odyssey of the Gods by Erich Von Däniken
an audiobook review by Dale Darlage
The theory is that humanity, thousands of years ago, was visited by aliens who built gigantic structures such as the pyramids and Stonehenge and were mistaken for gods by our ancestors. They are the inspiration behind much of the ancient mythology around the world and the fantastic beasts included in many of those myths are actually the result of genetic experimentation.

Five for the Winter Holidays Five for the Winter Holidays by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
reviewed by Trent Walters
This collection isn't just about Christmas -- it treats Thanksgiving and New Year's as well -- but several also capture some of that old-time holiday spirit. Itn opens with a Thanksgiving mystery, "Pudgygate," where young men are bragging about their most embarrassing moments. Reuben claims his tale rivals them all. He manages to serve his secret love (Princess Diana), steal a kiss, and capture a criminal -- thanks to a turkey-crazed cat named Pudge.

Embassytown Embassytown by China Miéville
reviewed by Christopher DeFilippis
The human outpost Embassytown is on the far distant planet Arieka -- accessible only by a dangerous trip through extra-dimensional space dubbed the immer -- home to a diplomatic corps of specially cloned twins that are the only line of communication to the native Ariekei, whose unusual double-mouthed physiology makes their language unique in the known universe. Ariekene speech can only convey literal concepts, so Ariekei can't lie. But they will occasionally expand their language with the help of human volunteers.

Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories The Writing Engine Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories and The Writing Engine by Luc Reid
reviewed by Trent Walters
The collection of short shorts, Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories, widely displays his ability for ideas: fiery tornados aswim with sharks, attempted murders on Barbie, a war conducted by clowns. His stories have a penchant for turning familiar ideas on their head: aliens abduct a human to conduct... a taste-test for to discover the superior cheesecake? Another book worth looting is his book on ideas, The Writing Engine. He discusses the psychology of finding and developing ideas.

Nexus Graphica Nexus Graphica Nexus Graphica
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
As promised last issue by Mark London Williams, Rick Klaw is presenting the finale of the fourth annual Nexus Graphica best graphic novels of the year. This year's selections offer the fewest crossovers of any of the previous lists with only one title making both top ten lists. Partially this occurs because the two of them are not always getting the same books for review and also a result of the natural deviations in personal taste. Whatever the reason, it results in a greater coverage for you, the reader.


Seduced by Twilight Seduced by Twilight by Natalie Wilson
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
Stephenie Meyer's novels have interested many people over the past few years, and feature a lot of messages on love sexuality, class, race and cultural issues. This time around the characters in her books are discussed by lecturer Natalie Wilson using these themes of life, love and other cultural issues. Her interest is making this book happened when she was asked to do a series of talks.

The Lesbian Fantastic The Lesbian Fantastic by Phyllis M. Betz
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
This critical study of science fiction and other related genres is comprised of several chapters that deal with lesbian writing and the novels which feature prominent lesbian characters. Phyllis M. Betz leaves no stone unturned with her analysis of lesbians in famous fiction whether it is old or new. For many, lesbians have been seen as frightening characters in novels due to their differences to other more feminine heroines.


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