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Richard Matheson

Dystopia Dystopia by Richard Christian Matheson
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
No one matches him in the art of the truly short story. Maybe it's the brutal economy with which he chooses and uses words, as if they cost thousands apiece. Throughout this collection, there is not an unnecessary word to be found. Pick the stories apart. You won't find a better way to say what he has already said. And you won't find a better spokesman for him than this book.

Susan R. Matthews

Nocturne for a Dangerous Man Nocturne for a Dangerous Man by Marc Matz
reviewed by Todd Richmond
It takes place sometime in the not-so-distant future, in a world not so different from our own. Gavilan Robie, once a member of the Clandestine Action Rescue Committee, is a freelance art recovery expert. When rich people or corporations lose a valuable piece of art, Robie is hired to retrieve it. He's very good at his job. Occasionally he retrieves other more valuable objects -- people.

Dragonforge Dragonforge by James Maxey
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Some time in the far future, after the presumed collapse of human society, sentient dragons, who reproduce through a strict system of eugenics, rule the world and humans are largely slaves. But Albekizan, the evil dragon tyrant is killed during a human rebellion and his son, the heir to the dragon throne wishes to enact policies of human/dragon cooperation. However a number of forces including the heir's own brush with power, an insane and murderous uncle, and a mad human prophet bent on annihilating the dragon race are derailing this project.

Nobody Gets the Girl Nobody Gets the Girl by James Maxey
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Richard Rogers was a person with a very normal life. He had a clean-freak wife, he would go to open mic nights and use his comedic talents to poke fun at current events. True, the world was going a bit mad around him, but he was going along with it. Until one day, he wakes up to find his house is furnished completely different and he's sharing his bed, not with his wife, but with strangers. It doesn't bother the strangers. They can't see him.

The Theatre of Shadows The Theatre of Shadows by B.E. Maxwell
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Almost four years on from The Faerie Door, the author returns with a sequel. The premise is that the dark fey queen Ulricke, operating incognito as Mrs. Dreadlake, has found her way into Victorian England. The queen's malign influence is resulting in all manner of ill fortune, including workhouses staffed by enslaved children and hobgoblins marauding across the British countryside.

The Faerie Door The Faerie Door by B.E. Maxwell
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
The story concerns two 11 year-old children, on intertwined quests to find magical orbs that can help thwart a rising evil. Victoria Deveny is from 1890's Britain, where she discovers a magical ring and steps through an equally magical door, into small town America of 1966. There, she meets Elliot Good, who also has a magic ring. Following an almost fatal encounter with a renegade Shadow Knight, the pair escape though yet another magical portal, into Faerieland.

Ironcrown Moon Ironcrown Moon by Julian May
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
In this second book of The Boreal Moon Tale, Snudge, spy, wild talent, and trusted friend of King Conrig Windcantor continues to reveal the secrets of what really happened, risking his own life and the security of the Blenholme Sovereignty. In the last book Conrig's wife, Queen Maudrayne, forced into a divorce from her husband, calmly signs the papers, then leaps off the castle walls and to her death. But now Conrig knows she did not die, and that she may have born a child.

Conqueror's Moon Conqueror's Moon by Julian May
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
When we first meet him, he calls himself by his given name, Deveron Austrey, but soon he will tell us how he earned another name, and a title. When we first speak to him, he is an old man, bored, realizing that his exile from his homeland will soon be ended by an assassin sent to make sure his blood is what is spilled, not the royal secrets to which he is witness. So, he has decided to take another option. He has decided to write about all he knows, beginning with Prince Heritor Conrig Wincantor and his desire to re-conquer the four island provinces once ruled by his own line. Conrig is willing to do anything to reach this goal.

The Falling Machine The Falling Machine by Andrew P. Mayer
reviewed by Dave Truesdale
Steampunk is quite the sub-genre de jour of late, its popularity having grown to the point over the past number of years where it has even acquired its titular name. As its audience has grown so have the number of writers jumping on this proto-SF bandwagon in both the novel and short form. It thus becomes necessary for the author to distinguish himself from the crowd by coming up with some sort of fresh take, or variation, on what have already become steampunk tropes.

Falling Into Heaven Falling Into Heaven by L.H. Maynard and M.P.N. Sims
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
The world is more inhabited with hopeless, lonely people than we care to admit most of the time. Every other person who passes us on the street is trying desperately to forget something too painful to carry around all their lives, someone they can never replace, some peace that cannot be theirs. In this collection there are ways around this suffering, but they seldom lead where we and the characters hope. And pain has many more forms than we imagine.

The Hidden Language of Demons The Hidden Language of Demons by L.H. Maynard and M.P.N. Sims
reviewed by Trent Walters
The U.S. government is at it again. This time, they've tapped into human paranormal powers -- only they don't know what they've tapped into. A power greater and darker than any paranormal has ever experienced has awakened in the mind of Michael Moreland, the evil third of three paranormal brothers who haven't spoken in years. As the paranormals and their loved ones fall like flies to the insecticide mind of Michael, brothers Robert and Frank Moreland have to grapple with this demonic presence and banish it before it destroys them.

Darkness Rising Darkness Rising edited by L.H. Maynard and M.P.N. Sims
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Fans of horror fiction have come to trust the judgement of the editors, and with good reason. This team has been editing some of the best anthologies and novellas in the genre for several years now. If we're very lucky, they'll continue to bring us this quality work for many years to come. This anthology is an excellent example of the kind of work the duo is famous for.

Succubus Heat Succubus Heat by Richelle Mead
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
Georgina is a succubus in need of counselling after breaking up with her boyfriend Seth, a human novelist, and seeking solace in another man's company. She made the great mistake of sleeping with her councillor, a man of lesser morals than her, him being a married man. As if that is not enough to contend with, suddenly her demon lord Jerome decides to have another woman as his spy then, for no apparent reason, he becomes the victim of a kidnapping.

John Meaney

Spirits in the Park Spirits in the Park by Scott Mebus
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Spirits in the Park is the sequel to Gods of Manhattan and is a direct continuation of the original story, set just one month later. It starts with an attempted assassination via poison slug. From there on, it's straight into the guts of the story, setting up another adventure for Rory Hennessey, the last Light of New York City. As before the story flits between the mundane world, and the unseen layer of spirit world that is Mannahatta.

Gods of Manhattan Gods of Manhattan by Scott Mebus
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Gods of Manhattan was not at all what Nathan expected. As a former MTV producer and author of two BlokeLit novels, Nathan was anticipating this author's venture into Harry Potter territory would be loaded with modern cultural references, and techno clever-dickery. Instead, what he found was a quaintly old-fashioned work, brimming with quirky invention and subtle charm.

Three Days to Dead Three Days to Dead by Kelly Meding
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Evangeline Stone was on a job with her colleagues, and the next thing she knows is when she wakes up on a mortuary slab, in another body. Her colleagues are dead, her Handler is missing, and she is being held responsible. Evy Stone -- inhabiting the body of suicide victim Chalice Frost -- is immediately on the run, with just three days to find out what really happened.

The Johnson Amulet The Johnson Amulet by William Meikle
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
This is just the type of Lovecraftian collection it is easy to envision unfolding in one of the dark mansions that dot the Scottish countryside. With wide expanses of misty moors and craggy highlands, who knows how many tentacled, slimy beasties might hide in the shadows? The rough seas stir up the very fears that breed a story like "The Colour of the Deep" and the graphic violence of "In the Coils of the Serpent."

Singularity's Ring Singularity's Ring by Paul Melko
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
The post-human universe isn't just for grown-ups anymore. In his first novel, Paul Melko brings the classic style of young adult science fiction headlong into a future where the singularity has come and gone, leaving old-fashioned human beings and a new kind of humanity, the pods, reeling and attempting to recover in its wake. It's a fast-moving story full of adventure, angst, and the growing pains of a young being known as Apollo Papadopulos.

Napoleon Concerto Napoleon Concerto by Mark Mellon
reviewed by Steven H Silver
The book, an alternate history of Napoleonic France, is based on the concept of Robert Fulton providing a steam-powered ship to Napoleon. The focus of the novel is on Wolfe O'Sheridane, an Irishman who has fled his native land and is looking for vengeance against the British invaders. He hooks up with Fulton in an attempt to persuade the French to give Fulton's experiment a chance.

A Short History of Fantasy A Short History of Fantasy by Farah Mendlesohn and Edward James
reviewed by Jason Erik Lundberg
It is an ambitious task to lay out the entire history of the fantastic, as fantasy is perhaps the oldest literary genre in the world, going back thousands of years with ancient myths of the gods of various pantheons. Such an examination could easily fill a number of 500-page volumes, and still not tell the entire story.

On Joanna Russ On Joanna Russ edited by Farah Mendlesohn
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
Anyone who came into science fiction during the late 60s and 70s would have been aware of Joanna Russ. Even if you never read any of her relatively few novels or stories, you couldn't avoid the name. Of the three great women writers who did so much to transform science fiction at this time, Ursula K. Le Guin, James Tiptree Jr., and Russ, Russ was far and away the most controversial. So much so that it was known for her name to be greeted with boos at an sf convention, and believe me even in the conservative world of fandom that was unusual.

Rhetorics of Fantasy Feminist Narrative and the Supernatural Rhetorics of Fantasy by Farah Mendlesohn and Feminist Narrative and the Supernatural by Katherine J. Weese
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
As a preface, it is worth pointing out that these titles are written by academics, largely for academics in the field of English literature, so even if you are an academic like Georges, but in the field of agriculture, some of this is difficult to wade through if one isn't knowledgeable in the field's jargon. He admits he had to take notes to sort it all out. This isn't to say the material isn't interesting or the approach valid, just that these aren't the sort of books one takes to the beach.

The River Kings' Road The River Kings' Road by Liane Merciel
an audiobook review by Sarah Trowbridge
A knight-for-hire whose lord is ambushed in a chapel during a diplomatic expedition in the hostile kingdom next door. The infant heir is the only other survivor of the ambush. Add in an unwed, potato-faced baker's daughter with her baby on her back. When these characters converge, so begins a tale of political intrigue, high adventure, blood feud and diabolical enchantment in a land of ancient enmities and shifting alliances.

The River Kings' Road The River Kings' Road by Liane Merciel
reviewed by Katherine Petersen
Fire arrows and bloodmist -- the dark magic of a maimed witch -- obliterate the Langmyr village of Willowfield, killing a noble from the kingdom of Oakharn, his wife and retinue of knights. This devastation shatters the temporary truce between the two kingdoms, causing both kings to call forth their soldiers. Unbeknownst to anyone at first, Brys Tarnell, one of the noble's men and the noble's babe survive.

The Metal Monster The Metal Monster by A. Merritt
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Fans of classic, pulp science fiction along the lines of E.E. "Doc" Smith are no doubt going to be swooning at the prospect of Hippocampus Press' new Lovecraft's Library series. The chance to read novels such as this one in their original form will be irresistible. Others may long for the savagely slashed version the author struggled to produce. Chances are, you're going to fall solidly on one or the other side of the debate.

The Moon Pool The Moon Pool by A. Merritt
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Are characters like the scientist-skeptic, the hulking blonde Norse berserker, the slightly fey heroic Irishman, and the nefarious double-crossing Russian clichéd? Completely. Are plot devices like lost races, male characters enraptured by incredibly beautiful virginally pure or malevolently evil priestesses (or possibly both combined), alien super-science, and vampiric transdimensional life-forms as ancient as the hills? Absolutely. Except that the author is one of those who created these clichés. Besides which, his breadth of imagination and sense and ability to depict completely alien surroundings and atmospheres far outweigh the aspects of his work which tie it to his time.

Picoverse Picoverse by Robert A. Metzger
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
For those of us who haven't quite mastered all the principles of quantum mechanics, particles physics, and other such demanding theoretical disciplines of science, this book is one ride where we're just going to have to hold on and hope everything comes out okay. For you physicists out there, here is the roller coaster of your dreams. Regardless of your left- or right-brain orientations, keep the safety bar pulled down and your hands inside the car, because the story takes off at well past light-speed.

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