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The Fixer The Fixer by Jon F. Merz
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Lawson isn't your typical hit man. He's a fixer, which means when vampires step out of line and threaten the law of Balance, (the code of ethics that protects the oblivious humans as well as vampire kind) he steps in and takes care of them. It's easy for him, because he's not worried about their mythological strength, or their hypnotic power. He's a vampire too.

Scarlet Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Linh Cinder, humble mechanic, has been exposed as both a cyborg and a Lunar, and imprisoned. Levana, ruthless queen of Luna, is demanding her extradition, knowing full well that Cinder is one of the few threats standing between her and domination of both Luna and Earth. Cinder has only just learned that she's actually the lost Princess Selene, long thought dead but secretly spirited away to hide on Earth. She has no intentions of staying locked up. But if she escapes, she's going to need friends. Enter Scarlett.

Twilight Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Girl moves to a small, boring, almost constantly overcast town, where she attends high school and falls hard for a gorgeous young boy, who has the added bonus of being an outsider, seemingly very rich, and is initially trying to drive her away. This story has probably been done a thousand times in the annals of young adult literature and television; except, it turns out he has a pretty good reason for avoiding her, he's a vampire.

Firethorn Firethorn by Sarah Micklem
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
In a mediæval setting, where those of the feudal aristocracy, "the Blood," lord it ruthlessly over a conquered agrarian class, the "mudpeople," and where women are largely heir-bearers or drudges, an unusually red-haired foundling girl is raised by a well-meaning high-born female herbalist. Upon the latter's death, and after being raped by a man of the Blood, the now teenage "Luck," rather than becoming just another drudge, flees to the woods, where she overwinters and undergoes a physical and spiritual ordeal to be reborn as "Firethorn".

China Miéville

Red Planets: Marxism and Science Fiction Red Planets: Marxism and Science Fiction edited by Mark Bould and China Miéville
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
There is an oddly symbiotic relationship between science fiction and Marxism. One of the necessary conditions for the emergence of science fiction was the idea that the world might be changed, that a material difference could be made to one's own circumstances, not after death or in some fantastical Cockayne, but here and now. Such a notion developed during the Renaissance.

Swarmthief's Dance Swarmthief's Dance by Deborah J. Miller
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
Long ago, in punishment for the crime of offering immortality to a human, Aria, one of the six spirits known as the Nulefi, was banished to the underworld -- the realm of the god Rann, whose passionate advances Aria once spurned. But before Rann could do more than gloat, Aria's sisters did the unthinkable, and rose up to defend her. In wrath, the gods' leader, Herrukal, dispersed their spirits into the ether. But gods are eternal and indestructible. Even scattered, the substance of the Nulefi survived.

Death Draws Five Death Draws Five by John J. Miller
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
It was a world where an alien virus had been deliberately released in Earth's atmosphere, with the intention of testing its ability to turn ordinary people into super-powered soldiers. It killed ninety percent of those it affected, usually in horrific ways. The unfortunates were said to have drawn the Black Queen. A further nine percent of victims found their bodies or minds cruelly twisted. The world called them Jokers. The remaining one percent gained special abilities, ranging as far and wide as anything ever imagineered in comic books. They were the Aces.

Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman by Walter Miller, Jr.
reviewed by Steven H Silver
For Steven, Miller's world is far more complex than glimpsed in the classic A Canticle for Leibowitz. Miller examines the cultures of the novel's nomadic tribes, focusing on the war and alliances between them, the Church, and Texark.

A Canticle for Leibowitz A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
reviewed by Stephen M. Davis
Here is a novel that demands to be read. The author speaks through his characters on a number of universal issues -- euthanasia, abortion, the differences between men and animals, and the conflict between the Book of Nature and the Book of God. The long-awaited sequel, Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman, has just been published in hardcover.

A Zombie's History of the United States A Zombie's History of the United States by Dr. Worm Miller
reviewed by David Maddox
Zombies continue their relentless, foot dragging, moaning assault on popular culture. And the concept of the "mash-up" has allowed many to meld two completely unrelated genres to create something entirely new and sometimes amazing. This book falls into the written word category and takes the simple premise of retelling early US history, but revealing through hidden files that the early untamed Americas were rife with the undead.

After Dark #1 After Dark #1 by Peter Milligan, created by Antoine Fuqua & Wesley Snipes
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
Brood, a lieutenant of the local police force in Solar City, is a post-apocalyptic place of perpetual darkness. Brood uses drugs to suppress parts of his brain that control fear and loathing to be at his best to do his job, yet through them he gains memories of a better past spent with those he loved, when the light once lit the city showing its once glorious sights.

The Accidental Sorcerer: Rogue Agent, Book 1 The Accidental Sorcerer: Rogue Agent, Book 1 by K.E. Mills
an audiobook review by Amy Timco
The Accidental Sorcerer, follows the adventures of Gerald Dunwoody, Third-Class Wizard, who has learned to accept his inferior magical abilities despite his ambition for bigger things. Gerald is a civil servant, a magical safety compliance inspector whose job is unfulfilling in general -- and positively dangerous on bad days. When Stuttley's Superior Staff Factory explodes due to unsafe conditions, Gerald's attempts to curb the damage are seen as the cause of the explosion.

Slaine: Book of Invasion Vol. 1 Slaine: Book of Invasion Vol. 1 by Pat Mills
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
Balor and his evil demon warriors want to take over the Land of the Young, and Slaine, the first High King of Ireland along with his wife, Queen Niamh, have to battle them in order to keep their land safe from the invaders. During the battle, once it looks like Slaine and his men have won, a cruel demon lord, Moloch, offers to make a deal with them.

Lud-in-the-Mist Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Lud-in-the-Mist, situated at the confluence of the Dapple and the Dawl rivers, is the capital of the country of Dorimare, a land of sensible, prosperous, stodgy, conservative merchants. Some centuries ago a debauched, impulsive, hedonistic sometime poet, and worst of all fairy lore-loving aristocrat, Duke Aubrey, had been deposed by a growing merchant middle class. To the west of Dorimare, beyond the Debatable Hills and home to the source of the Dapple, is Fairyland -- the taboo, unmentionable source of all the worst things that can undermine an ordered society such as exists in Lud-in-the-Mist. Fairyland is also from whence are smuggled the unmentionable fairy fruit, which when eaten lead to exuberant, impulsive behaviour and a heightened sense of wonder. These are items so utterly taboo that merely naming them is considered the vilest of obscenities.

The Changeling Plague The Changeling Plague by Syne Mitchell
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Geoffery Allan is a young man with everything to live for, but he's dying of cystic fibrosis. With nothing to lose and a huge fortune at his disposal, he bribes a genetic researcher to engineer an illegal cure for him -- a viral treatment that will repair his defective DNA at the cellular level. It works, but instead of rewriting his DNA and then stopping, it keeps rewriting. And the virus is highly contagious.

The Amazing, Incredible, Shrinking Colossal, Bikini-Crazed Creature From the Public Domain The Amazing, Incredible, Shrinking Colossal, Bikini-Crazed Creature From the Public Domain by E. Mitchell
reviewed by John Enzinas
The book is the story of a scientist in lust who travels through the plots of various science fiction movies that are now out of copyright. Normally John loves this kind of thing; a farcical mash-up playing with the tropes of classic science fiction cinema.

Technogenesis Technogenesis by Syne Mitchell
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Jasmine Reese is brilliant, and even better she's a "natural." As her boss says: "You slip into network protocols like the computer's clock cycle is the beating of your own heart." Jaz spends all her waking hours connected to the net, and most of them working at her job as a "data miner" for a software company. But when her top-of-the-line data mask breaks down, this arrogant workaholic is unwillingly thrust into a real Seattle where she can't go anywhere or do anything without a connection -- she can't even switch on her own apartment lights.

The Changeling Plague The Changeling Plague by Syne Mitchell
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Nothing packs the gut-wrenching fear of a pandemic; no disaster evokes the all-out panic that a killer virus let loose on the world instantly spreads. How much more quickly that terror blooms, when we learn that the lethal plague is man-made. Do you feel that rush of ice water in your veins at the admission that our best medical minds have no way to stop this catastrophe? Well, prepare yourself for that kind of impact as you embark on her latest, breathless bullet-train of suspense.

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.

Escape from Earth Travel Light Escape from Earth edited by Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois and Travel Light by Naomi Mitchison
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
All of the 420 pages of Escape from Earth, even the stand-out stories by Joe Haldeman and Orson Scott Card, are put to shame by the 135 pages of Naomi Mitchison's Travel Light. First published in 1952, it is a model of how a story should be written for teenagers. No, let's make this right, the book may have been written for teenagers, but it can be read with real pleasure by anyone. Which is probably the secret of its success: there is no implication of talking down to the audience, of an adult saying I know how you feel.

Burning the Ice Burning the Ice by Laura J. Mixon
reviewed by Jayme Lynn Blaschke
On a frozen moon, Manda, a singleton and outcast of the clone society there, stumbles into a peculiar mystery. A computer-projected syntellect of Carli, the long-deceased founder of the colony, inexplicably shows Manda a secret room that is cut off from all electronic surveillance. A room that also holds the frozen corpse of the original Carli. As if that wasn't enough, the syntellect leaves Manda with an ominous warning that the colony ship that deposited the clones upon Brimstone decades before never actually departed the system, and even now is in orbit around the planet, monitoring the colony's terraforming efforts.

Proxies Proxies by Laura J. Mixon
reviewed by Kim Fawcett
Which of the hordes of books in stores is worth your time and money? Here's a tip -- the next time you go to the bookstore, look up Proxies. The only reason it doesn't actually leap off the shelf is because it's jammed in too tight.

L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

Darling Jim Darling Jim by Christian Moerk
an audiobook review by Jennifer McCann
In this modern gothic tale of love, lust, betrayal and murder, Niall Casey, a rather ne'er-do-well mail clerk and wannabe graphic artist, comes across the diary of Fiona Walsh, one of three sisters from Castletownbere, Ireland. Fiona was found dead with one of her sisters, Roisin, and their Aunt Moira Hagarty in a house in Dublin. The diary describes the last days of Fiona's life and the twisted tale of how Jim Quick, a traveling seanachai (storyteller) came to Castletownbere and changed the lives of four women.

The City of Dreaming Books The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers
an audiobook review by Julie Moncton
Imagine a world where books are valued -- not like we appreciate books in our society, but really valued. A place where authors are celebrities, first editions are coveted, people memorize and recite famous excerpts, and even crimes are committed over rare books. This is the world of Zamonia, a mythical lost continent. The story features an unlikely hero, Optimus Yarnspinner, a naïve dinosaur-like creature from Lindworm Castle, a self-proclaimed author who has yet to be published.

The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
It has certain thematic similarities to the imaginary voyage novels of the 16-18th century (e.g., Gulliver's Travels) in that each life of the bluebear, while couched in broad comedy, presents as an underlying theme one or more foibles of humanity (but don't worry, the serious stuff is well buried in weird and goofy fun and thrills). The author keeps the laughs and adventure at a fever pitch, managing to write a book that would appeal to and be appropriate for both children and adults.

Pennterra Pennterra by Judith Moffett
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
The one place the humans wish to go is called Pennterra, and they view it as a last ditch attempt at colonizing a planet as well as making sure humanity lives on in one way or another by their own hands. Their only problem lays in the fact that Pennterra, a lone planet, is already inhabited by aliens thought to be hostile and dangerous.

Twenty Epics Twenty Epics edited by David Moles and Susan Marie Groppi
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
With the rather grandiose goal to leave you feeling "joyous, melancholy, rejuvenated, satisfied," it's hard to see how the authors of this themed anthology have addressed it any more effectively, or indeed any differently, from other writers of fantastic fiction who conjure up imaginary worlds or drop their characters into the midst of pivotal events. What's not in doubt, however, is that this is a superior collection -- entertaining, inventive, original, and almost without exception, very well written, with remarkably few entries that drag or miss the mark.

All Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories All Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories edited by David Moles and Jay Lake
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
Several of the stories try to recapture that golden, curiously innocent, age of heroic fantasy, and a couple spoof it. The rest of the stories range in amazing variety, tone, and idea. The two shared elements are zeppelins in some form, and strong writing. Some are idea stories, some character, many are both. And what zeps! At least two stories feature live ones. Flying cities, balloons that attract ghosts, pirate airships -- the breadth of vision represented by these authors completely disproves the idea that one-idea anthologies don't work. This anthology takes off and soars.

A Companion to Wolves A Companion to Wolves by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
The authors, with a degree of apparent effortlessness that is astonishing, have pulled off not one but several very difficult things in this book. The first, and by no means the least, is the sometimes vexed collaboration issue. You I have read co-authored books in which you could have chopped out and parceled into neat little piles the bits that belonged to the various authors because the voices simply never gelled enough to produce perfect seamlessness. Here, it just doesn't even matter. It flows. The two authors work as one; it's not so much cooperation as a symbiosis. A job very well done.

Darkfever Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
MacKayla Lane Mac tends bar, paints her nails, wears a lot of bright colours, and doesn't think too deeply. Until her sister is murdered while studying in Dublin, Ireland. Mac decides that the Irish police have not tried hard enough to find the killer. Crossing the Atlantic, she sets about the daunting task of uncovering the truth about her sibling's brutal demise. Almost immediately, she finds herself neck deep in a world where ancient and lethal magic is vying with other local parties to find a powerful, ancient tome.

The Theology of Dracula: Reading the Book of Stoker as Sacred Text The Theology of Dracula: Reading the Book of Stoker as Sacred Text by Noel Montague-Étienne Rarignac
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
To some, Dracula is just a horror novel, the one that brought the vampire phenomenon to the world and set off many writers using the theme to pen some of their greatest novels to date. Stephen King and Anne Rice are among many who have been inspired by its author, Bram Stoker, and no doubt there will be many more new writers out there who have felt equally inspired by his work. This is not the only reason for writers being inspired though.

Fearful Symmetries Fearful Symmetries by Thomas F. Monteleone
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
The themes of the stories in this collection range widely from revenge, black magic, Lovecraftian monsters to stories of cruel wagers, obsessive fatherly love, sheer madness, sometimes with a gentle Twilight Zone touch, sometimes with a nasty taste.

The Lazarus Drop The Lazarus Drop by Paul Moomaw
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
A Lazarus drop, in spy lingo, implies that once the agent is inserted, the contractor will disavow all knowledge of them. In this case, Nathaniel Blue's employer is the US government. That means he's working for the "good guys" this time, right? Don't be so sure.

Dog Blood Dog Blood by David Moody
an audiobook review by Gil T. Wilson
In this sequel to Hater, recently infected Danny McCoyne continues the bloody kills to destroy the Unchanged while also looking for his five year-old daughter, Ellis. After escaping from a camp where Haters are destined for slaughter, Danny makes his way back to the city where his wife and daughter could be hiding/surviving. While Haters act as vicious as any zombie from any zombie movie or story, they can think and they don't eat their victims -- well, not always.

Hater Hater by David Moody
an audiobook review by Gil T. Wilson
The world appears to be tearing itself apart through sheer insanity. Seemingly normal people inexplicably react as if a switch goes off and suddenly, without warning, they try to kill anyone in their proximity. Danny McCoyne is our main witness to this destruction of society. On his way to work one morning, Danny sees a man brutally attacking an elderly lady. Although there's no apparent cause for his anger, he doesn't stop the vicious assault until he finally kills the woman by stabbing her with an umbrella.

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