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A Conversation With Kim Stanley Robinson A Conversation With Kim Stanley Robinson
An interview with D. Douglas Fratz
On the genesis of the novel:
"I wanted to write a novel about a relationship between a mercurial character and a saturnine character, and I wanted them to be from Mercury and Saturn respectively. That meant I had to describe a civilization that was inhabiting Mercury and the Saturn system.... Once I got going, the project of describing where humanity might be three hundred years from now took on equal interest for me, and became at least as important to the book as the original idea. The context of the culture was crucial to making the story of the couple strong."

2312 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
reviewed by D. Douglas Fratz
The story starts on Mercury with the unexpected death of the influential grandmother of Swan Er Hong, who finds that she has been left messages for herself and others that she must deliver, including one to a colleague in near Saturn. This leads her to meet, among others, Fitz Wartham, a Saturnian diplomat, and inspector Jean Genette, who is investigating mysterious occurrences which he believes could be related to Swan's grandmother's death. After unexplained incidents on Titan and Mercury, it becomes clear to them that there is some kind of conspiracy at play.

Ashes of Candesce Ashes of Candesce by Karl Schroeder
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
After four previous volumes that introduced us to the world of Virga and several of its inhabitants, the final volume brings all the various plots and characters together, in ways that both play to and confound expectations. It's a good way to end a series that has not only featured wooden spaceships and artificial suns, but also worked in serious observations on evolution, the nature of intelligence, post-human morality, and just how humanity might survive in a galaxy gone wild.

Chicks Kick Butt Chicks Kick Butt edited by Rachel Caine and Kerrie L. Hughes
reviewed by David Soyka
Let's first stipulate that women both fictional and real shaped David's concept of positive femininity. Which is why he is a sucker for characters like Mary Gentle's Ash and Justina Robson's Lila Black, independent women who can handle themselves despite considerable social and physical obstacles, and despite self doubts and insecurities sometimes unique to feminine sensibilities, and frequently better than the men for or against them. So this anthology sounded like something that would appeal, even if he had never read anything by the female authors collected here, nor the editors. But, that's half the fun of picking it up.

Shadow's Fall Shadow's Fall by Dianne Sylvan
reviewed by Katherine Petersen
Fans of Shadow World will love the third installment, Shadow's Fall which takes place three years after Shadowflame. David, the Prime for the South, and his queen, Miranda, are hosting the Signet Council meeting that takes place every 10 years. They're on guard as Prime Hart of the Northeast may have plans for revenge against Miranda who threw him against the wall and granted sanctuary to Cora, one of the women he had held captive. Cora only has a smallish part in this book, but it's likely we'll see much more of her in future storylines.

Foreshadows: The Ghosts of Zero Foreshadows: The Ghosts of Zero edited by Jeff LaSala
reviewed by Susan Dunman
Stories have always been a source of inspiration for musicians, but this illustrated cyberpunk anthology turns the tables by using music as an idea catalyst for the authors of these stories.  A group of twenty-eight authors, musicians and graphic artists have combined their talents under the name of "The Very Us Artists" to create a near-future world that is dark and gritty, but not without hope.

Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies by James Marshall
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
Comedy never dies, no matter what genre it is in. This novel pretty much concentrates on the main ones that are popular right now; ninjas, pirates, and zombies and fairies. Just think of Samurai Girl, Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean and Shaun from Shaun of the Dead and you'll be on the right lines. This first book in the series starts out when GuyBoyMan, an unlikely hero (he doesn't even know it himself at the beginning) wakes in his parent's basement thinking he is their prisoner.

Work with Occasional Molemen Work with Occasional Molemen by Jeremiah Tolbert
reviewed by Trent Walters
It feels like a cross between a malformed L. Frank Baum Oz book and Daniel Woodrell's backwoods noir, Winter's Bone. Mel, the first-person narrator in this stylized narrative, tells of life in Topeka, Kansas where men have come home with a severe case of alopecia from their battle with the flying-saucer Martians. Mole men, however, are a relatively more recent phenomenon. The locals spin all kinds of speculation about where the molemen's political allegiances lie.

Astronauts and Heretics Astronauts and Heretics by Thomas Marcinko
reviewed by David Maddox
Seven stories set in seven different worlds very similar to our own, but very different as well. This is what the author creates with his short story collection. It is a compelling read that ventures through the super-hero genre, alien/human intermingling, the second coming of Jesus, and even a well-known sitcom retold as a fan-boy extravaganza.

Under My Skin Under My Skin Under My Skin by Charles de Lint
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
This fast-paced tale for older teens takes off fast with first person narrator Josh, a normal surfer teen in a coastal California city, until his mom's abusive boyfriend attacks him. Josh turns into a mountain lion and mauls the guy, then races off in a complete panic until he meets another animal human. Josh has become a Wilding, a shape-shifter who can switch back and forth between his animal shape and human. For some reason it's been happening to local teens, no one knows why.

Fort Freak Fort Freak edited by George R.R. Martin
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
As is the case with the majority of Wild Card books, Fort Freak is a mosaic novel; multiple writers working to common themes, honed by an editor. After the wider world adventures of more recent Wild Card titles, this work sees a return to where it all began, and focuses on Manhattan's Fifth Precinct, the 'Fort Freak' of the title. So named because Joker and human cops work side by side along with a smattering of Aces, albeit those with minor league abilities. For those who have been following this series for some considerable time, seeing Joker Town depicted again is a welcome return.

Monsoon and Other Stories Monsoon and Other Stories by Arinn Dembo
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Journalist, reviewer, essayist, video game author, Arinn Dembo appears here simply as an author of short fiction and poetry. The volume collects ten tales and nine poems covering different genres. Mario found her poem "The Humanist's Prayer" quite effective and "The Crown" elicited memories of some of the best Bob Dylan's lyrics from his golden era. As for the short fiction, it is extremely good. She is refined stylist, yet a strong storyteller, and a versatile author of memorable stories.

Nexus Graphica Nexus Graphica
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
This month's column is like a Giant-Sized Annual! The kind that used to be a whopping twenty-five cents in the days when regular comics were twelve cents. Yes, this dates London Williams. You may have noticed that at the top of this month, you have double the amount of Nexus Graphica than you usually do. And while some might say it was techno-gremlins that delayed the arrival of new material on this website, Mark prefers to think of this as his and Rick's Summer Annual! offering you more reviews and column width than ever before! Meanwhile, in compendium fashion, this column is a round-up of stray thoughts and observations from the world of comic-dom.

Nexus Graphica Nexus Graphica
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
Captain America: The First Avenger chronicles the initial adventures of a character that first premiered over seven decades ago. Joe Simon and Jack Kirby introduced Captain America in December 1940, one year before Pearl Harbor. In 1940, war raged throughout Europe but most Americans saw Nazi Germany and the accompanying atrocities as a strictly European problem. Though sympathetic to the plight, polls showed that a vast majority of Americans stood against entering the war. Rick Klaw gives us a lesson in Cap's media history.

Watching the Future Watching the Future
a column by Derek Johnson
It was May 1982, and Derek was living in Alief, a suburb rapidly going to seed in southwest Houston, and he had just finished the eighth grade. His freshman year of high school loomed three months away like some unspeakable eldritch horror, teen angst as written in some profane collaboration by S.E. Hinton and H.P. Lovecraft. As a means of escape, that summer he stayed in a small Central Texas place with his father. They'd drive the thirty miles into Austin each day and, using his allowance, he'd watch a movie during the afternoons. During the summer of 1982, he saw an awful lot of movies. Not just good ones, but great ones.

New Arrivals New Arrivals
compiled by Neil Walsh
Some of the new and forthcoming books this time include the latest from Alan Dean Foster, Gregory Benford, Chris Roberson, Kij Johnson, and Terry Brooks, as well as classic reprints from Robert Jordan, George R.R. Martin, and Poul Anderson. All this and much more.

The Avengers The Avengers
a movie review by Rick Norwood
John Steed and Mrs. Peel join forces when the Earth is attacked by gods and monsters. No? All right, you know better. You've almost certainly already seen The Avengers, and chances are you loved it. It may be the best superhero movie ever, and while it is a little too much of a fanboy film to win the Oscar for best picture, it will be on the short list.

Men in Black III Men in Black III
a movie review by Rick Norwood
The third Men in Black film is a clever and sentimental entertainment. You won't believe it for a minute, but it has enough charm that your suspension of disbelief will be willing. After the achingly bad Men in Black II, I'm glad Hollywood, in a rare moment of sanity, realized that an intelligent writer was needed.

Battleship Battleship
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Battleship is not nearly as bad as many reviewers would have you believe, certainly not, as one reviewer said, the worst movie ever made. It took quite a bit of ingenuity to get an actual battleship into the film. (There are no battleships in the modern Navy.) And it took a certain cleverness to have a reason for warring combatants to use a strategy not unlike that in the Battleship game.

Dark Shadows Dark Shadows
a movie review by Rick Norwood
The new Dark Shadows move has some good bits in it, but the inconsistency in character and tone, as when Dr. Julia Hoffman gives Barnabas Collins a blow job, are enough to spoil it for any Dark Shadows fan, and not enough to endear it to fans of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. Here's what you need to do to enjoy Dark Shadows.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
The good news for June is the return of last Summer's Falling Skies. It is the only sf series in years to hold Rick's interest. There was a brief time, a few years ago, when there was intelligent sf on tv. But Firefly and Defying Gravity were never given a chance to find an audience, yanked from the schedule before all the episodes had aired.


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