Context by Cory Doctorow
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
Context is the second collection of essays from Cory Doctorow, following on from Content. And like
that first collection, it consists of a large number of very short pieces culled from a wide variety of sources,
the oldest first appeared in 2008, the most recent in 2011. Given that there are 44 pieces squeezed into 238 pages,
you can tell that none of them is particularly long or goes into any great depth. And though Doctorow is well
known not just as a novelist but also for his online presence, it may be something of a surprise to realize that
the vast majority of these pieces first appeared as columns in print media.
City of Dragons by Robin Hobb
reviewed by Dominic Cilli
The story takes up with the crew of the liveship Tarman having reached its destination of the lost city of
Kelsingra. After successfully navigating up the Rain Wild River, Captain Leftrin has delivered his cargo of dragons,
keepers, and hunters and has embarked on his return voyage to Cassarick to collect on his contract and resupply
for his return voyage to his beloved Alise and Kelsingra. Meanwhile, Thymara and the rest of the keepers are
still struggling in their duties as dragon keepers to service and feed their dragons.
The Complete Binscombe Tales by John Whitbourn
reviewed by David Maddox
The reader sees the oddities in Binscombe through the eyes of Mr. Oakley, a new resident of the village who is begrudgingly
accepted into the strangeness of the town only because his family lived there in generations past. He seems to
have taken the interest of Mr. Disvan, a mysterious old man who knows more of the history of the town than anyone
alive probably should know.
The Lion of Cairo by Scott Oden
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Aimed squarely at readers who love action combined with an historical setting, the novel uses the
backdrop of mid-12th century Egypt during the Crusades. The ruling Caliph, Rashid al-Hasan, is losing his grip
on power. Possible successors circle, attempting to murder their way to the top, watched by the scheming Grand
Vizier. Amid the turmoil, the enemies of Egypt seek to take advantage, including Shirkuh, the strong arm of
the Sultan of Damascus, and Crusader knights sent by the King of Jerusalem. The wild card is an old man.
The Silent Land by Graham Joyce
reviewed by Trent Walters
Zoe and Jake, a married couple, take to the Pyrenees slopes early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Shortly thereafter, they are chased by an avalanche that swallows them.
Finding a tree, Jake climbs out of the snow while Zoe, buried upside-down, has to fight for every
centimeter to crawl out. When they make their way downhill,
the land is empty of people and oddly quiet. If this scenario feels slightly familiar,
it is but Graham Joyce infuses it with his own admirable style and descriptive panache.
Approaching Omega by Eric Brown
reviewed by David Maddox
The idea of humans colonizing other worlds is nothing new. Mix in a ship that doesn't have faster than light
capabilities and you end up with a bunch of frozen colonists, making their way out of our solar system, knowing
that not only might they not find a new world to inhabit, but the Earth they've left will be unrecognizable
Interzone #236, September/October 2011
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
This issue begins in an interesting fashion with David Langford's Ansible Link where he mentions all that is
right or terribly wrong in fiction. Personal favourites from this article
are Court Circular, As Others See Us II, and the ever comical Thog's Masterclass. It is a mixture of humour
and factual information that readers will find useful if they like hearing about
everything in the fantasy and science fiction literary world to date.
In Memoriam: 2011
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 2011 included
Anne McCaffrey, Darrell K. Sweet, Glenn Lord, "Rusty" Hevelin, Les Daniels,
William Sleator, Philip Rahman, Martin H. Greenberg, Joel Rosenberg and Jeffrey Catherine Jones.
The Restoration Game by Ken MacLeod
reviewed by David Soyka
This is a techno-thriller, though it's more precisely a geek-thriller
in that the first person narrator, Lucy Stone, is an online game developer for
a company called Small Worlds (one of number of jokes underpinning the novel's plotline). However, Lucy isn't so
much a geek as a "chicks-kick butt"-styled heroine who is usually the smartest one in a room full of clueless
Watching the Future
a column by Derek Johnson
Hollywood has declared war on Mars.
Let's be more specific. With only a handful of days before it begins its theatrical release, John Carter
appears poised to be one of the biggest flops in the history of cinema, a sort of Heaven's Gate for the geek
set. No sooner did the trailer for director Andrew Stanton's adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs's A Princess of Mars
run during the Super Bowl than The Daily Beast's Chris Lee cited the as-yet unseen adventure
film "with Avatar-size ambitions that's being greeted sight-unseen as the next Ishtar."
Vote for SF Site's Readers' Choice Awards for 2011
Here we are again, offering you your annual chance to let the world know what you thought was the best of
all the speculative reading material you encountered from the past year. If you've been a regular visitor to
the SF Site for more than a couple of years, you are quite probably already familiar with this annual
event. If you're new to us, all you need to know is that we want to hear what you believe was the very best
of what you read from the past year.
If you've forgotten what you chose in previous years,
you can find them all linked at Best Read of the Year including
The Dervish House by Ian McDonald which was the top choice last year.
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Chronicle is a fun movie about teens with superpowers. It doesn't take itself too seriously, but it does
take itself seriously enough. It is in the genre of found footage (remember The Blair Witch Project?), and
also in the genre of teens who love making movies (remember Super 8?), but is better than either of those.
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
No tv show in recent months has held Rick's interest, except for the Doctor Who Christmas Special, but he
decided to watch a couple of shows written by writers he admires, even though he doesn't particularly like the series.
Once Upon a Time, "Skin Deep" by Jane Espenson was much better than average, thanks to a great back
story for Mr. Gold, which combines two different fairy tales in a clever way. Rick also gives us a list of what SF is on TV in March.
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
Mark London Williams has been going to award shows lately, and watching news of peoples' deaths. As
some of you know, one of his other lives is that of a showbiz journalist covering various award shows, including,
almost always, the VES Awards -- the accolades for the Visual Effects Society. And lately, he has
been going to the Oscars as well. The VES show is always fun and, each year, there is a lifetime achievement winner.
This year, the honoree was none other than Stan Lee.