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Best Read of the Year: 2000 Best Read of the Year: 2000
compiled by Neil Walsh
Just as our last Best Read of the Year: 1999 list did, this one had its share of surprises and treasures. As much effort as these kinds of Awards are to do, the rewards for the diligent compiler are considerable. The writers, reviewers and editors of the SF Site present their pick for the Top Ten Books of the year. Everyone who contributed to this list -- no matter how widely read we thought we were -- walked away with a discovery or 2 (or 10) that made all the work worthwhile.

The Silent Gondoliers The Silent Gondoliers by William Goldman
reviewed by Steven H Silver
Best known as the screenwriter of All the President's Men and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, he is also the author of both the novel and film The Princess Bride. His attribution of The Princess Bride to his fictitious persona "S. Morgenstern" still seems to cause confusion among some readers. This time he adopts the same persona to tell the story of Luigi and his variety of compatriots, explaining why the gondoliers of Venice no longer sing when they ply their trade.

Murphy's Gambit Murphy's Gambit by Syne Mitchell
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Thiadora Murphy knows all about the prejudice and the pain of being a second-class citizen. She was born a floater, one of the humans who live their lives in zero-gee who wants to serve in the Collective Enforcement Agency. That puts her physically in the world of "grounded" society -- not that they accept her as an equal. The fact that she is an ace pilot hasn't won her many friends at the Academy.

My Favorite Horror Story My Favorite Horror Story edited by Mike Baker & Martin H. Greenberg
reviewed by Hank Luttrell
This book follows similarly titled anthologies for SF and fantasy by the same editor. Popular writers in these fields were asked to select and introduce a favourite story. Not only does it pull together classic and influential stories, but stories that have had particular influences on important writers, with comments that help define the nature of the influence.

Year of the Griffin Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones
reviewed by David Soyka
David's daughter thinks this book is better than Harry Potter. High praise, indeed, coming from someone who has ingested the work of J.K. Rowling to the point where it is part of her very soul. The author is widely considered an unheralded forerunner of the Potter phenomenon, in particular for using a Wizards School setting for coming-of-age tribulations.

Spectrum SF 3 Spectrum SF #3
reviewed by Steven H Silver
This issue features the 3rd and last part of a serial by Keith Roberts set in the same world as his novel Kiteworld and 3 stories by Charles Stross, Jack Deighton and Eric Brown.

Darkspawn Darkspawn by Lois Tilton
reviewed by Rich Horton
The vampires of Kharithnya are the long-time rulers of that land and their leader, Emre, has been trapped in his "grave" for hundreds of years. But then Kharithnya is invaded by the Circhaks, horse raiders resembling the Mongols. They accidentally free Emre, and he finds himself making his way to his old castle, seeking revenge as well as trying to find a way to rally the few people still loyal, to take back his country and repel the invaders.

Lunar Encounter Lunar Encounter by Harold W.G. Allen
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Let's make this clear right from the start: this book is full of bad science, bad writing and bad science fiction. It is an attempt by the author to disseminate his peculiar theories of cosmology in the form of a science fiction novel. With respect to the writing and science fiction elements, Georges can honestly say that it is likely the worst science fiction novel he has ever read.

Frequency #1 Frequency #1
reviewed by Steven H Silver
This is a new short fiction-on-audio CD publication. Highlights include oral versions of Ray Vukcevich's humorous story, "Problem Solved," Kurt Roth's epistolary story, "Rift," John Serna's "User Error," Stan Schmidt's alien-on-conquest story, "Panic" and Stephen Dedman's "Honest Ghosts," set at a New Orleans science fiction convention.

Simon R. Green
Simon R. Green A Conversation With Simon R. Green
An interview with Lisa DuMond
On a model for the lovely and lethal Princess Julia:
"Julia came about as a deliberate reaction to the kind of female characters I was used to seeing in F&SF when I was starting out. Prizes to be rescued or fought over, sex kittens or femmes fatales. Just images, with no reality to them. Boring. I wanted to see some real women, just for a change. And since I've always been attracted to strong women who know their own mind..."

Beyond The Blue Moon Beyond The Blue Moon by Simon R. Green
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Hawk and Fisher are law keepers of the most dangerous order. To fall afoul of these two is to sign your own death warrant. They are unbeatable, unstoppable warriors and incredible wiseasses, besides. No husband-and-wife team ever fought evil the way these living legends do. No one ever swung a blade or an axe like this, either.

Parallax View Parallax View by Keith Brooke and Eric Brown
reviewed by Nick Gevers
Here is that rare phenomenon, a collaborative story collection. This one contains 2 stories and 6 collaborations which vary in quality. At their best, they combine the wondrous exotic inventiveness of Cordwainer Smith (as in the deployment of peculiar modes of psychically convoluted space travel) with the dire existential insights of James Tiptree, Jr. (reflected particularly in a recurring sense of how primordial biological imperatives can sunder "higher" human aspirations).

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his opinion on two of the best and the worst episodes of Star Trek Voyager and The X-Files: The X-Files' "Medusa" which is set in a Boston subway tunnel and Star Trek Voyager's "Prophecy" in which 205 Klingons beam onto Voyager.

First Novels

Burn Burn by Jonathan Lyons
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
This is a fast-paced, well-plotted and entertaining novel of the near future. A combination of Sam Spade and cyberpunk, it takes us to an Earth where ecosystems have been devastated by unchecked industrial emissions and their consequences, old coastal cities have been flooded by rising oceans and rebuilt into smog enshrouded dark corridors awash with rains so acidic the buildings are slowly digested away. Amidst all this, apparently unconnected people appear to be victims of spontaneous combustion... enter Cage, the down-on-his-luck ex-cop turned private-eye.

Second Looks

I Am Legend I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
This sink-your-teeth-in vampire masterpiece will change the way you look at yourself and the amalgam of the world around you right now. Robert Neville has a rough life, working day and night. While the sun shines he slaves away, killing off the competition... one vampire at a time. His methods are simple and direct. Kill as many as humanly possible. Kill them -- kill them again, that is, and make sure they don't come back this time.

The Dreaming Jewels The Dreaming Jewels by Theodore Sturgeon
reviewed by Steve Lazarowitz
Not many science fiction books written in the 50s stand up today. Many come off campy. Others are based on scientific theories that have since been disproved. Yet others contain a certain unrealistic, almost innocent view of reality, born of what the day's society would accept in a print book. Happily, this one remains as great a story today as it was when it was first penned in 1950.

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