SF Insite Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map

New and Noteworthy

Once again we dive into the mix of titles arriving at our office to pick out the week's most noteworthy titles. We've also added On The Shelves, a look at notable SF and Fantasy books still in print that you may have missed.

New Releases

Last year Philip Pullman, a writer of Victorian thrillers and children's books, surprised us with a breakout novel called The Golden Compass, a not-so-obvious retelling of the legend of The Snow Queen. And now Knopf has released his anxiously awaited follow-up book, The Subtle Knife (Knopf, August 97, 326 pages, $20), the second in what is now being called a trilogy entitled His Dark Materials. It's not often we find demand for a book this high among our readers, especially when it's split evenly between adults and our younger audience.

The novel picks up immediately after the last. Desperate for answers after her ordeal Lyra heads into a new world, where she meets and befriends Will, twelve years old and on a quest of his own. Together they explore the strange world of Citagazze, where soul-eating Specters stalk the streets and the distant sounds of angels drift from the sky, and where an object of devastating power lies waiting.

I've been reading the work of Fred Saberhagen for over two decades now. He's crafted many fine fantasy and SF series, including the lengthy Book of Swords and the Dracula chronicles. But he's still most famous for his Berserker novels, tales of ancient and mysterious killing machines whose sole purpose is to destroy all life. And now Tor has released the latest novel in the saga, Berserker Fury (Tor Books, August, 383 pages, $23.95).

The Berserkers have developed a new and lethal weapon: self-contained constructs that masquerade as androids. With the knowledge they'd gained, and a fleet slowly gathering on the borders, they're prepared for a deadly attack deep into human space. But mankind has possibly an even greater weapon -- a technique which may finally crack Berserker communication codes and give a glimpse into the thoughts and plans of the ancient enemy. The battle lines are drawn and both sides are betting everything. For one or the other, it will be the beginning of the end.

Stephen King calls horror writer Bentley Little "A master of the macabre." The author of the Bram Stoker award-winning novel Revelation has now released his seventh novel in paperback, The Ignored (Penguin/Signet, June 1 1997, 429 pages, $5.99). Bob Jones is an ordinary guy. Perhaps a little too ordinary. He has problems getting noticed -- even by his girlfriend. And when he is noticed, he's not remembered very long. In a world where the common man doesn't have much of a voice, Bob finds that no one hears him at all.

Until the day a stranger called Philipe takes notice of Bob. Philipe seems to understand. Philipe, in fact, knows the problem intimately. And he has a plan -- a whopper of a plan. A plan to take revenge on a world that has ignored too many for too long. And soon enough Bob finds himself deeply involved in the kinds of creepy goings-on that keep readers up much later than they'd intended. A spooky novel with an original premise.

In January of 1990 Delacorte Press released Chung Kuo: The Middle Kingdom, a first work of fiction by David Wingrove, the Hugo award-winning co-author (with Brian Aldiss) of Trillion Year Spree. A vast future epic set in an Earth long conquered by China, it was an exotic blend of Chinese culture and cutting-edge SF. The Seven T'ang, leaders of the world seeking to attain "The Peace of Ten Thousand Years" based on the tenets of New Confucianism, rule the seven great cities through strict order and stability.

Since 1990 Wingrove has published roughly a novel a year in the series, and now Dell releases the seventh and final volume in trade paperback, Days of Bitter Strength (Dell, August 1 1997, 688 pages, $14.95). One of the most sustained epic SF series in recent memory -- and one with a vast scope -- it's certain to be of great interest to all fans of the genre.

FASA's Shadowrun role-playing game is one of the most innovative and original RPG's on the market. Set in a near-future where the cycle of reality is bringing magic back into the world, returning creatures of myth and legend to the forests (and to the streets of LA), it has spawned popular novels, video games, and much more. Shadowrun has also attracted and nurtured some of the most influential fantasy artists in the field. Now FASA has listened to the demands of its fans and released High Tech & Low Life: The Art of Shadowrun (FASA, June 1977, 120 pages, $20).

This oversized volume collects a generous sampling of color artwork from contributors such as Rick Berry, Tim Bradstreet, Brom, Dave Dorman, Larry Elmore, Luis Royo, and especially John Zeleznik, whose ultra-clean style perhaps best communicates the game's energy. At $20 this book is a tremendous bargain for all lovers of fine fantasy art. Highly recommended.

On the Shelves

Here we point out those books still in print which we've recently discovered or which we've just had recommended to us. As always, if you have your own suggestions (and we know you do!) be sure to let us know.

Jack McDevitt earlier novels, such as Ancient Shores and The Engines of God, have earned him favorable comparisons to the likes of the great Clifford D. Simak, among others. And he recently published his fourth work of science fiction, Eternity Road (HarperPrism, May 1 1997, 338 pages, $22), a novel of adventure and discovery in a post-apocalyptic America.

Like all of Chaka's people, she's heard of the Roadmakers -- those who left behind the magnificent ruins, and whose cups and jewelry still linger in every Illyrian home. They also left a legend, of a place where a scant few Roadmakers survived the great plague that killed them all, and where even today powerful relics of their mighty civilization may be found. Chaka's brother was one of those who went seeking this mythical place, and never returned. And now Chaka has set out after him with a great Roadmaker artifact, a book called A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. With this and the help of those she meets, including a an old scholar and a young soldier, Chaka confidently follows the ancient roadways north toward the dragon-haunted ruins of Chicago, in search of her brother and secrets she cannot even begin to imagine.

And lastly we have the closing volume in that rarest of beasts, the two-volume fantasy saga. Last year Del Rey published the first novel of acclaimed newcomer J. Gregory Keyes, The Waterborn, a rousing adventure of watergods, magic and destiny. And now the second and final novel in the story arrives: Blackgod (Del Rey, April 1997, 559 pages, $24). Hezhi, the River's daughter, is now running for her life. Together with her protector Perkar and his magic sword, Harka, she finds a bountiful land beyond the River's reach. But they are not out of danger yet, and they need a way to defeat the rivergod permanently. When a dangerous creature of guile and cunning knows as Karak, the Blackgod, claims to have a means of defeating the River, they find themselves with some difficult choices. A compact and effective fantasy series with an original flavor.

A word of warning: Blackgod is not a stand-alone work. You'll need to read The Waterborn first.

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to editor@sfsite.com.
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide