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Letters to the SF Site

We love letters. They make us think. They make us laugh. They make us sit up and take notice, and get a payment in before service is disconnected.

Mostly, though, we enjoy hearing what you have to say about the SF Site. No publishing enterprise can survive long without paying close attention to its audience, and we're no different. If you've got a comment or thoughtful suggestion, or if you just want to complain about that durned dead link, we want to hear about it.

A Welcome to Paul Riddell

From: Amy Harlib

Paul T. Riddell
© 1999 by Paul T. Riddell
I am really glad you decided to give such a prominent place on your prominent Site to this talented writer with such a refreshingly ascerbic wit and a different perspective. I found the information and opinion in his column entertaining and informative and laugh out loud funny in spots. I have been following Paul's work from his own web-site and am delighted to follow him here. Please give him a long term stay at SF Site and let him stir up some healthy controversy!

Thank you very much
Amy Harlib

P.S. You have the best book reviews on the web and wish you could cover even more books than you do.

From: Assad Khaishgi

The Phantom Menace
Critics are human beings. We can agree with them or disagree. While I agree with Babylon 5.1's Mr. Norwood in his assessment that Horatio Hornblower was the best TV of April, I disagree vehemently that The Phantom Menace deserves an A. However, I do feel that he is judging both productions on their own merits.

Given that Mr Riddell cannot refrain from an extensive personal attack on Mark Altman in his Free Enterprise review (perhaps a fifth of the total space) it is certainly hard to believe that he saw the movie objectively. And as such his opinion becomes quite worthless on the topic.

Oh, and whatever happened to Wormholes and Whimsy? Haven't seen it for a while, and its rare enough to see any coverage of classic BBC telefantasy these days!

See you twice a month,
Assad Khaishgi

Colin Ravey, demented mastermind behind Wormholes and Whimsy column (now called Rant and Ravey) lost access to his computer during a move. Not to worry -- he tells us he'll return to these pages when things settled.

The Facts on Pandragores

From: Arin Murphy

Being a Canadian bookshop has its advantages, and one of them was getting the Canadian edition of Dennis Jones' Stone and the Maiden a good four months before you do in the States (and, in fact, the advance proof a couple of months before that!). Since info is scant, according to your Forthcoming blurb, here you go!

It's a first fantasy for this author, and it's a good, solid one. Action begins in the middle of a war that's not going well for the good guys. Mandine, heir to the kingdom (not that her paranoid father much cares) is on her way to her besieged capital city to carry important information to her father when she's contacted by the gods and told to seek out the Signata, an object/place that can conquer the forces of evil. Accompanied by a soldier who saves her life on the way into the city, Mandine sets out on this quest to achieve the goal and protect the city (and, one assumes, the world) by affecting age-old magics after certain sacrifices.

While it sounds basic in outline, it's very well written and manages to use certain fantasy tropes - the wholesome hero and heroine, the gods-given quest - without sounding stereotypical. One of the best things about it concerns the villains: they aren't just pure evil for the sake of evil (although the sorcerer comes close by the end!), they're weak or flawed human beings. Mandine's father and half-sister exemplify this very well: the paranoid father sees treachery everywhere and is intent only on saving his own life, while the younger half-sister is the true threat, whose desires for power ultimately are her own downfall.

All in all, it was an impressive stand-alone novel, and I'll be on the lookout for Jones' next offering.

Oh, by the way, a pandragore is a reptile-like bird who stands as a significant symbol in the book, both heraldic and divine!

All the best,

Arin Murphy
Nebula Books

Thanks for the email. While SF Site has offices in the US and UK, production of the site and the server where it is stored is in Ottawa. We've had his book in the Ottawa office for some time now too. I read it and I'd have to agree with you, it is a good solid read.

Are we Obsessed?

From: John Mierau


Okay, that's my honest response. Would you mind telling me how you got everybody to sign on? And are you sadistic, or do you plan to give up your day jobs, and maybe sleep, to get through the contents of your site every 'issue'?

Seriously, forgive me, but I have a couple of questions.

1) Are you a volunteer organization, supported only by your banners, or are you in business with each and every site and company listed on your massive and incredibly well organized pages?

2) And more importantly, would you be willing to put up a link to the Critters SF, Fantasy and Horror workshop? ( I'm only a member but I'd like to put you in touch with Andrew Burt at Critters, who runs that very good, very stable writing workshop.

Good luck with the site, it's one of the few I bother to bookmark!

Thanks, John Mierau

3) PS: am I wrong, or did there used to be a picture of the editor/guy-who's-labor-of-love-this-is up on the site?

Well, get back to work, you loveable, hardworking, definitely-obsessed freaks, and thanks again.

Thanks for your enthusiastic note. To answer your questions in order:

1) We are a commercial web site, with all that that entails. In large part we are supported by advertising. We have no relationship with any of the bookstores or publishers we list. Who we are can be found at

2) We've added a link to the Critters website on our Writer's page, at However, if you think you can trick us into mentioning the page prominently (on our Letters page, say) just by including a lot of flattery, you're sadly mistaken.

3) Nope, you're not wrong. You can see pictures of many of the staff at our Hindsite page, at The only one missing is Rodger Turner, our elusive Managing Editor, who has so far proven incapable of being captured on film.

New Author Reviews

From: Steve Cammick

Art by Bob Cassell
Do you review new books from new authors? I recently had a Si-Fi book released, Last Breath Space Station Rescue (see or for more details). If you review such books I would be happy to send you a copy, just say when and where.

Thanks for you consideration.

Of course we review new authors -- that's a big part of what the SF Site is all about. If anything we tend to give emerging authors, and the small press, a disproportionally large share of space on our site. So far, no one's ever complained.

Thanks for sending us a copy of your book. For the record, all is takes to get us to consider your title for review -- regardless of who you are -- is just to send us a copy. We have a number of offices, and you can just pick the one closest to you. They're all listed on our Contact page.

Why no ISBN Numbers?



Just a suggestion for ya.

Is it possible to put ISBN numbers on books you review?

This question is one we've kicked around here for a year or two, without a satisfactory solution yet. I'm on the side against it for a number of reasons. They include trying to find them for all editions. I notice your email has the Australian suffix. Do we include the one for Australia, for USA, for here in Canada, for the UK, for Europe and for elsewhere? They exist, I've seen them on books I used to sell.

Then there is the reprint problem -- where a book's ISBN changes with no visible change to a book except perhaps for the price. Do we update them whenever they change? Because if we don't, some visitor will get upset after they try ordering a book and can't because the store couldn't find it based upon our info and fire off an email or two.

I could go on...

Next Issue

The big books of summer have just started to arrive in real numbers, and we'd love to tell you about them. We have received reviews of the following new and upcoming releases:

Lord Demon by Roger Zelazny and Jane Lindskold
Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card
Future War edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois
Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 12 edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
Rewind by William Sleator
Spinners by Donna Jo Napoli
The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler
All of Us Are Dying and Other Stories by George Clayton Johnson
Battletech: Threads of Ambition by Loren L. Coleman
Nocturne for a Dangerous Man by Marc Matz
Return to the Centre of the Earth by Rick Wakeman

and many others. Plus our usual columns and detailed New Arrivals features. Be sure to join us on July 15th. We'll be here.

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