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The Islanders The Islanders by Christopher Priest
reviewed by Christopher DeFilippis
Twins, doubles and doppelgangers often take center stage in the novels of Christopher Priest, and his narrators are often not entirely reliable. Fans who enjoy these aspects of his work are sure to love his new novel as the author foregoes a single unreliable narrator for an entirely unreliable narrative. The book is presented as a gazetteer, or guidebook, of the Dream Archipelago, a world-spanning chain of islands with fantastical properties.

Ivy and the Meanstalk Ivy and the Meanstalk by Dawn Lairamore
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
The jacket art introduces us to Princess Ivy riding her trusty dragon, Elridge who is desperately trying to avoid the ravenous Meanstalk. Other than these two there is another equally funny character, Gizzle the Green, a Plant Mage. No, that's not quite right, he's a former Assistant Head Plant Mage at the Blooming Brightly Institute of Magical Flora, and he is key to the plot. Drusilla and Gizzle were once an item and she broke off their affair, leaving Gizzle feeling bad about the whole thing, and who can blame him.

After the Apocalypse After the Apocalypse by Maureen F. McHugh
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
What do you do next after the zombies have moved into town? After the chicken nugget epidemic, or the global economic collapse? That question or a variation thereof, is faced by every character here in this collection. In a way, any large enough catastrophe is an apocalypse of sorts, leaving lives altered in its wake, with survivors who still need to live in a changed world.

The Moon Maze Game The Moon Maze Game by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes
reviewed by Dave Truesdale
Set in 2085, 34 years following the amusement park's debut, the corporation funding Dream Park have now moved the action to the Moon, as the finishing touches are being put on the new park located at Heinlein base. The basic setup of the game is the same as in the previous novels: the elite live-action players from around the world flock to this first-ever game set on the Moon, and the stakes for everyone are enormous.

Ghost Ship SF Site's Readers' Choice: Best Read of the Year: 2011
compiled by Neil Walsh
Welcome to the results of our annual SF Site Readers' Choice Top Ten Books. Every year we ask our readers to vote for their favourite books of the preceding year. What follows are the results of that voting. I want to thank everyone who participated, and I invite you all to compare the Readers' Choice Top Ten with the Editors' Choice Top Ten to see where our reading interests and yours differ and overlap.

Embassytown SF Site's Best Read of the Year: 2011
compiled by Neil Walsh
This is Year 15 of our annual SF Site Editors' Choice Best Books of the Year, the SF Site official Best Reading and Top Ten (...er, 11 this time, due to a tie) recommendations from everything we read in the previous year. The voting results were extremely close this time, which I shall take to mean -- even more so than usual -- that absolutely everything mentioned below is worth seeking out and reading, if you haven't already done so.

Visitants Visitants edited by Stephen Jones
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Angels are generally represented as either God-sent messengers or guardians protecting our souls from evil. And we must remember that devils and demons are, supposedly, just fallen angels. All in all, angels are supernatural beings bringing either light or darkness into our life. What better topic, then, for an anthology of fantasy /dark fiction?

Bloodshot Bloodshot by Cherie Priest
reviewed by David Soyka
Raylene Pendle (aka Cheshire Red) is a vampire who pretty much keeps to herself, even avoiding her own kind, with a personal moral code that doesn't allow for killing humans to suck their blood unless, of course, there's a good reason. She's even such a softie that she harbors two homeless kids in a Seattle warehouse where she stores her stuff. Not just any kind of stuff, but stuff she has stolen. She is a professional thief for both pay and pleasure, and when you're undead, things start to collect after a few centuries.

Embassytown Embassytown by China Miéville
reviewed by Rich Horton
The central idea is Language, which is the language of the Ariekei, the native intelligent species of the remote planet (remote as defined by its accessibility through human FTL travel, which is based on something like wormholes) of which Embassytown is the single colony city. Language is unique, in that it is spoken by two voices simultaneously, in that it will not support a lie, and in that it is unintelligible to the natives if not spoken by an intelligence.

Nexus Graphica Nexus Graphica
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
Without Jack Kirby, the forthcoming The Avengers film simply would not exist. The Black Widow and Hawkeye, both of whom Stan Lee created with Don Heck initially appeared as villains in the pages of Iron Man, a concept conceived with Kirby. Kirby, alongside his longtime collaborator Joe Simon, first introduced the world to Captain America in 1941. The Lee-Kirby team were responsible for Hulk, Thor, Nick Fury, S.H.I.E.L.D., and the first appearances of The Avengers. They were truly the McCartney-Lennon of comics. Rick Klaw explores the work and legacy of Jack Kirby.

New Arrivals New Arrivals
compiled by Neil Walsh
New this time, we're looking at the latest from China Miéville, Melanie Rawn, Timothy Zahn, Matthew Stover, Jane Yolen, John Birmingham, and many others.

First Novels

Veteran Veteran by Gavin Smith
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
This is one of those books that either hits the spot or misses completely. There is no black and white in terms of its style, although it does buck the trend a little more, getting from beginning to end. The premise is a veteran military special forces operative, forced out of retirement to track down an alien killing machine. An infiltrator of the same type wiped out his entire squad, back in the day. Now, it's loose in his home town. Except, things aren't quite the way they seem.

Series Review

The Malazan Book of the Fallen The Malazan Book of the Fallen The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson
reviewed by Dominic Cilli
The Malazan Book of the Fallen has single-handedly raised the bar for fantasy literature. Its full impact upon the world of writing in general probably won't be felt for several years, but for fans of the genre and of the series, its impact is immediate and world changing. After Dominic finished The Crippled God, he closed the book and reflected back upon what he had just read and realized that this series of books is surely the best fantasy series that has ever been written. In fact, he couldn't think of anything even close. However, he took it one step further and asked himself if this once obscure series genre writer from Canada has created the crown jewel of fiction? The answer is, arguably, yes and why not? If you don't believe him, read it and then you tell him the work that you believe surpasses it. Dominic dares you.

The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus by Jonathan Green
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
The plot begins to thicken with the murder of Professor Galapogos, in his office at the Natural History Museum. Ulysses Quicksilver is soon on the scene, and determines that the killer has also stolen the professor's difference engine; the steam-punk equivalent to a personal computer. Throughout this work the author amuses with alternate tech, such as Ulysses Quicksilver's personal communicator; a brass and leather mobile phone, an Overground train network in Londinium Maximus, mechanical bobbies, and Beefeater-drones with clockwork craniums. We soon learn that Magna Britannia is the ultimate superpower, dominating a world where the sun never set on the British Empire, and Queen Victoria is almost 160 years old.

Second Looks

Brave New Worlds Brave New Worlds edited by John Joseph Adams
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
Dystopias have almost as long a history as their twin, the utopia. But it was the 20th century when dystopias really came into their own, in novels such as Zamyatin's We, Huxley's Brave New World, Orwell's 1984 and Karp's One. Indeed it is possible to view the 20th century as the dystopian century, not just because of the prevalence of dystopias as a literary form but also because of the political horrors that provided so much inspiration.

Terminal World Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds
reviewed by Rich Horton
The story is set on Earth (perhaps), far in the future, as the climate is failing. The dominant "city" is called Spearpoint -- a vertical city, spiralling around a structure that seems to extend all the way to space. As the levels in Spearpoint increase in altitude, there is also an increase in what technology works. From the top comes Quillon, a posthuman renegade who discovers that his former masters are sending newly modified angels to kill him.


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