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B.A. Chepaitis

C.J. Cherryh

The Lifecycle of Software Objects The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
We begin with Ana Alvarado, an unemployed zookeeper taken on by a cutting edge software company to train up their latest developments: software objects who are meant to function as virtual pets. Meanwhile, Derek Brooks, an animator, is working for the same company designing the new creatures.

The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate by Ted Chiang
reviewed by Steven H Silver
This is an Arabian Nights style story with the merchant, Fuwaad ibn Abbas, relating four interconnected tales to the Caliph in Baghdad. The framing mechanism is that Fuwaad was approached by an alchemist, Bashaarat, who claimed to have a magic door which would permit Fuwaad to visit Baghdad twenty years in the future. Before Bashaarat would allow Fuwaad to make use of the gate, he told the merchant three stories, which Fuwaad also relates to the Caliph.

Stories Of Your Life and Others Stories Of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
The author burst onto the SF scene in a way that few others have when his first published story, "Tower of Babylon," won the Nebula Award in 1991. "Tower of Babylon" is the story of an alternate Babylon in an alternate universe building a tower to heaven. It's one of several stories in this collection that explore religious themes, while at the same time being unmistakably the work of a writer immersed in the world of science and science fiction.

Positive Match Positive Match by Tony Chiu
reviewed by Todd Richmond
If you've a fondness for B-movies or the medical thrillers of Michael Crichton and Robin Cook, or if you enjoy the exploits of computer hackers, Todd thinks you'll love this book.

The Best of Crank! The Best of Crank! edited by Bryan Cholfin
reviewed by David Soyka
David found much of this anthology is more fantasy than SF, though even that distinction is kind of meaningless. What's here is literature. At times it annoyed him, puzzled him: even frustrated him. But, above all, it made him think.

Kar Kalim Kar Kalim by Deborah Christian
reviewed by Steven H Silver
Christian does have ideas for interesting worlds and civilizations. But Steven found the narrator so dislikable he waited for Inya to receive her just desserts.

The Bachelor Machine The Bachelor Machine by M. Christian
reviewed by Kit O'Connell
Justine is a high-priced hooker that is wired for a perverse but unique kind of thrill. Thanks to extensive implants and modifications, she can have her throat slit by a client who can then fulfill necrophilic fantasies on a body that can wake up again, save them from criminal charges, and collect a hefty fee. In the story, "Everything But the Smell of Lilies," her pimp asks her to stage a distraction from a crime and act as a real victim, placing her in the hands of a paramedic with a taste for actual corpses.

Time To Prey Time To Prey by Stephanie Churchill
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Trust the common wisdom about sociopaths and you may very well end up putting your trust in the wrong person -- and it will be the last thing you do. Except, possibly, scream. Believe that all serial killers are men and you may find yourself at the mercy of a woman like Terry Donnelly.


Clockwork Angel Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
reviewed by Dan Shade
Vampires, Demons, Clockwork Men, Shape Shifters, Faeries, Evil Humans, and even Werewolves; these creatures make up the Downworlders, beings or persons who are in part supernatural in origin. On the other hand, we have the Nephilim who swear their lives to fighting the Downworlders. These are humans who use magic in many forms to fight their battles against evil. They call themselves Shadowhunters.

The Other Side of the Lens The Other Side of the Lens by G.O. Clark
reviewed by Chris Przybyszewski
In easy, open language, the author starts his poetry collection with a symbolic bang in "Audience of One." The evening's first star appears on the horizon and is observed by a single person, settling down for the night. "[A]s I settle in for the night,/audience of one,/to take in another incredible show."

A Box Full of Alien Skies A Box Full of Alien Skies by G.O. Clark
reviewed by Trent Walters
Writers -- whether they are aware of it or not -- have an agenda that they work out as any oeuvre gathers enough mass to bear out. This collection should fill that gap in poetry left by Ray Bradbury's more literary fiction endeavors proving that, yes, Virginia, it is a Science Fictional world... with poems like "Where Are You Now My Bug Eyed Ones" which puts Bob Dylan's eco- and humanitarian-lamenting lyrics of this title to strange use: half-seriously, half-mockingly lamenting the loss of SF tropes from 50s cinema.

Prodigy Prodigy by Jan Clark
reviewed by Leon Olszewski
Leon suggests that fans of C.J. Cherryh will find much to enjoy in this debut novel. It rises beyond the expectations of a standard space opera. The interactions and conflicts of the many interesting and well-fleshed-out characters and races combine to add an additional layer to the story.

Let Me Whisper In Your Ear Let Me Whisper In Your Ear by Mary Jane Clark
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Laura Walsh is a rising star in the news game, shooting for the top production slots at the Key television network, hoping to give up the obituary beat. With the support of a powerful mentor she is on her way to her dream job. When that supporter suffers an untimely and messy death, Laura starts digging and turns up a bigger story than she bargained for and the roots may reach back to a thirty-year-old unsolved murder case. Along the way she unwittingly emerges as the prime target of the killer or killers.

Silver Kiss Silver Kiss by Naomi Clark
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
Ayla and Shannon, a lesbian couple, have just moved back into "the city." (We never really know where we are, though toward the end, brief mentions of Yorkshire hint at England.) Ayla is a werewolf; the stresses in her family over her gender choice, and her place in the Pack, had driven her out for eight years. Her partner is a human woman, a PI named Shannon.

Arthur C. Clarke

Sunstorm Sunstorm by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter
an audiobook review by Steven Brandt
On June 9, 2037, a major solar event occurred. All across the planet Earth, people experienced electrical blackouts, communications outages, and all other manner of electronic disruption. At a monitoring station on the moon, a Russian scientist registered the event and he and his colleague began investigating the matter. The results of the study were at once astounding and terrifying. The electronic interruptions experienced on Earth were found to be merely a precursor to a more devastating event that was yet to come.

Time's Eye Time's Eye by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
In the Dawn times, Seeker, an ape woman, is looking at the stars when the world shivers around her, while in 2037 Bisesa Dutt and her companions are flying an observation helicopter in Pakistan. Josh White and Rudyard Kipling are journalists acting as correspondents in the same land, though the year is now 1885. Back in 2037, a trio of astronauts don't notice the shift so much. They're still in space, riding the ferry down to the planet. Little do any of them know what this Discontinuity will do. But soon they all discover the world they know is hopelessly changed forever.

The Light Of Other Days The Light Of Other Days by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter
reviewed by Steven H Silver
Hiram Patterson has found a way to broadcast news as it happens from remote locations without the time and expense of transporting a live reporter and camera crew. He can create a temporary wormhole, point a camera through it, and capture the images from a home office, no matter where it is located. Or when. Once the ability to look into the past is discovered, wormhole technology supplants the internet as the primary time-waster. Privacy has ceased to exist as anyone can spy on anyone else, at any time, without any chance of detection.

The Light Of Other Days The Light Of Other Days by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter
reviewed by Ernest Lilley
After waiting a lifetime for space travel to get underway, Arthur C. Clarke has joined forces with fellow British master Stephen Baxter to write a story about what lies beyond the death of the dream. Instead of journeying outward, this novel shows us an all too plausible future closer to home.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Anybody who takes a delight in Dickens or Thackery, or in Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon books, is likely to have a fine time reading Susanna Clarke's first novel. This is definitely a book that requires you to sit back and enjoy the journey because it is long and discursive, and even has footnotes. But the journey is full of delight -- quaint period detail, sly characterizations, and charming language.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
reviewed by Margo MacDonald
Mr Norrell emerges out of decades of seclusion in his isolated library to prove that English magic has not completely been lost and that he is the sole remaining practical (rather than theoretical) magician. He sets about, in his own pedantic way, to restore English magic and make himself useful to the government in the wars against the French, and so on. It soon becomes evident, however, that he is not the only magician in England. There is another: Jonathan Strange. Norrell takes on Strange as his pupil but refuses, in his paranoid way, to teach him even half of what he knows. Nevertheless, Strange is obviously more naturally talented than Norrell.

Parzival and the Stone from Heaven Parzival and the Stone from Heaven by Lindsay Clarke
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Gahmuret was a born soldier. He could not bear to stay behind while there was fighting to be done and glory to be won, so he set off to lands well beyond Europe's borders. He served the Caliph of Baghdad, and eventually found himself on the shores of the African city of Zazamanc, where he fell in love with the Queen Belakane. He would leave her for the call of trumpets elsewhere, granting her a son, half white, half black. Eventually he would fight for a Welsh Queen, Herzeloyde, and win her hand, as well. He gave her a son, too, and left her, dying on the road to a new battle.

Noise Noise by Hal Clement
reviewed by Steve Lazarowitz
Kainui, a world settled by descendants of the Polynesian cultures of Earth, is a water-world, boasting not even a single land mass. The atmosphere is heavy on carbon dioxide and no fun to breathe. Constant thunder makes communication so difficult that most of the natives speak "finger," a very advanced form of sign language. Cities, and the ships that sail between them, are proto-life, grown by the inhabitants from seeds. "Fish" are grown and set loose in the acidic oceans, each with the job of collecting a different metal. These fish are later found and mined by traders who spend most of their lives on the seas.

Half Life Half Life by Hal Clement
reviewed by John O'Neill
At times, this novel felt like exercising long-unused muscles. But the end result is worth it, a fine reminder of why hard SF resides at the very core of our genre -- that part of our diet that really forces us to think, and think hard, about the big questions -- such as life, death, and the fragile chemical barriers between the two.

Steven Lee Climer

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.

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.

Ready Player One Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
reviewed by Charlene Brusso
Scientists have noted that by the time the average student graduates from high school, they've spent as much time playing computer games as they have studying for their courses. In school you master your coursework and (hopefully) learn how to learn. So what are gamers becoming experts at? Maybe they're learning the skills needed to save the world.

Revise the World Revise the World by Brenda Clough
reviewed by Steven H Silver
Historically, Captain Lawrence "Titus" Oates was born in 1880 and died in the Antarctic in 1912 after leaving his tent to walk into a blizzard, saying, "I am just going outside and may be some time." His body was never recovered and his comrades, Scott, Henry Bowers, and Edward Wilson, died thirteen days later. While his comrades bodies were recovered later that year, Oates's body has never been found. It is suggested that his body was pulled into the mid-20th century and repaired, giving Oates a second chance at life.

How Like a God How Like a God by Brenda W. Clough
reviewed by Steven H Silver
Despite being a fast and easy read the ethical issues raised, and in many cases left open, gave Steven much to think about.

Pardon This Intrusion Pardon This Intrusion by John Clute
reviewed by D. Douglas Fratz
This seventh collection of commentary is an eclectic mix of material reaching back to the 80s, but has its main focus on his 21st century writings about the evolution of the genre over the past century. Its title is a reference to the first words spoken by Frankenstein's Monster in the seminal 19th century novel by Mary Shelley, words which John Clute argues provides a touchstone of meaning. Pardon This Intrusion includes 47 essays and talks, several of which have not been published previously.

Appleseed Appleseed by John Clute
reviewed by Rich Horton
Nathaniel Freer, the solitary interstellar trader, comes to a system called Trencher to pick up his latest cargo, a shipment of nanoforges for the planet Eolxhir. Earth is long dead, a victim of a galaxy-wide information disease called "plaque", which seems to corrupt any computer based systems it infects. The still-functioning parts of the Galaxy are inhabited by a mix of "meat" species and AI's (aka "Made Minds"). As he picks up his cargo, Trencher suddenly comes under attack, apparently from both plaque and from an inimical alien entity called Opsophagos of the Harpe.

Appleseed Appleseed by John Clute
reviewed by Ernest Lilley
This novel reprises the lone trader merchant with a fast ship and a willingness to take on dangerous cargo. But Freer -- aka "Stinky" to the artificial intelligences that surround him, merge with his consciousness and crew his ship, the Tile Dance -- is no Han Solo. He's less hero and more human, and thanks to the augmented technology of the author's future universe, he's human in ways that we can only struggle to grasp.

The Department of Spirit Research The Department of Spirit Research by James Patrick Cobb
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
The idea of what lies beyond this earthy existence, be it the after-life or a big nothing, has fascinated humanity since before people developed written language. So it comes as no surprise that the subject continues to inspire both those who embrace spirituality, and those who are miners of the imagination. This work comes across as something in-between theosophical speculation and light science fantasy.

Messiah Messiah by Andrei Codrescu
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
The millennium is just around the corner and some major shake-ups are coming with it. This book is "peopled" with a cast of characters that could come from nowhere else but fantasy. Heaven and Hell have chipped in with their fair share of creatures. But don't expect to find the ending in any religious document; that's not the way this apocalypse crumbles.

Children of Amarid Children of Amarid by David B. Coe
reviewed by Stephen M. Davis
The central conflict revolves around a pre-invasion scorched earth operation launched by a powerful war-lord. Mercenaries with awesome weapons are wandering around impersonating mages, hoping to cripple the rulers by sowing mistrust amongst the people and it appears there is a traitor...

A Hideous Bit of Morbidity A Hideous Bit of Morbidity edited by Jason Colavito
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
A non-fiction anthology assembling a number of critical essays and commentaries on horror and supernatural literature published between 1750 and 1917, the present volume provides an interesting overview of how that genre's body of work was critically received at the time of its first appearance in print.

The Magical Worlds of the Lord of the Rings The Magical Worlds of the Lord of the Rings by David Colbert
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
The front cover avers that this particular volume was not "authorized, prepared, approved, licensed or endorsed by the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien, New Line Cinema, Warner Bros, or any individual or entity associated with The Lord of the Rings books or movie". Oh good, an unauthorised biography. Alma likes it already.

Wizard of the Winds Wizard of the Winds by Allan Cole
reviewed by Rodger Turner
It begins in a pastoral setting where we meet Safar Timura, boy potter and amateur magician. All he wants to do is avoid getting punched out by the Ubekian brothers and be as good a craftsman as his father. Into his life comes Iraj Protarus, a boy sent to the village to protect him from a vengeful family. The boys bond (natch), do boyish things until Safar heads off to school, a reward for saving a rich caravan from the demon hoards.

Wolves of the Gods Wolves of the Gods by Allan Cole
reviewed by Wayne MacLaurin
Book Two of the Timura Trilogy: Timura is on a quest for Syrapis, the legendary home of the great demon-wizard Asper. There are some terrific supporting characters and a couple of absolutely wonderful scenes -- including a reappearance of Methydia's Circus of Miracles.

Wizard of the Winds Wizard of the Winds by Allan Cole
reviewed by Wayne MacLaurin
Wayne is hooked by volume one of a new trilogy from the co-author of The Far Kingdoms. Now, he's trying to guess what Cole's next plot move could be.

The Witch's Tale The Witch's Tale by Alonzo Deen Cole
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Suspense radio dramas are from another era, but they aren't completely forgotten. Here are 13 of the best stories from the original scripts of The Witch's Tale series, one of radio's longest running and most popular shows. These are the kinds of tales that would allow children to scare themselves silly and the lady of the house to be suitably shocked.

Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Colonel Alan Bookbinder. Married, with kids. Career soldier. Professional paper pusher. His life is sedate, his military service is undistinguished, and he's only good if you want to follow the money trail. And then his Latent magical abilities surface. The Supernatural Operation Corps may not know what Bookbinder's special gifts are yet, but it doesn't matter: he's still theirs.

Threads of Ambition Threads of Ambition by Loren L. Coleman
reviewed by Don Bassingthwaite
On March 3, 3060 in the Capellan Confederation, there is a man with a plan -- Sun-Tzu Liao, Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation and First Lord (for now) of the recently reborn Star League. His plan is to... well, that's a little harder to figure out. Sun-Tzu is one sneaky guy.

And Another Thing... And Another Thing... by Eoin Colfer
reviewed by Christopher DeFilippis
Picking up right where Mostly Harmless left off, we find Arthur, Ford, Trillian and Random improbably rescued from the final destruction of Earth by none other than Zaphod Beeblebrox and the Heart of Gold. But Zaphod (being Zaphod) botches the rescue, forcing them to seek help from Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, who just happens to be passing by Earth to deliver some more insults. Wowbagger reluctantly saves them, and the story spirals out from there.

2012: A Conspiracy Tale 2012: A Conspiracy Tale by Bryan Collier
reviewed by John Enzinas
Unknown by most, there has been a conspiracy to return some aliens to their former god king status with the help of their human underlings who have been maintaining and managing their master's agenda for millennia.

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