A Conversation With Conrad Williams
An interview with Jeff VanderMeer
On a preference for writing short stories or novels:
"I prefer writing short stories, because I know how to do it. Novels are still frightening for me, despite having written six
since I was 21. I don't think I'm the only writer who frets over books like that. I want to be a novelist and aim to write a novel
every year, but I think it's one of those things that take time and practise to master. I'd like to think I'm producing good work
now, but that I'll really hit my stride in another ten years or so."
Zanesville by Kris Saknussemm
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
A naked man awakens in Central Park with no memory of who he is or where he came from. He's blond, handsome, and
hugely endowed; on his back is carved the truncated phrase FATHER FORGIVE THEM F. He's discovered by the
Satyagrahi, the denizens of Fort Thoreau, a secret hi-tech sanctuary for society's dropouts run by an ex-lawyer
drag queen and an embittered dwarf, under the aegis of shadowy master hacker Parousia Head.
Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman
reviewed by Amal El-Mohtar
In Cape Cod, there is a small farm compassing a small house, called Blackbird House. It's called that because of
the white blackbird -- perhaps a ghost, perhaps not -- that has haunted the house since the eighteenth century. In
it, people lose things; people who are lost find things; desire, love, heartbreak and fulfillment chase each other
through the rafters and around the fields full of sweet peas, while the house witnesses and keeps their stories.
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
What's on TV in March? Rick offers a list of what to watch. As well,
he has some thoughts on recent episodes of Battlestar Galactica and Smallville.
The Voyage of the Sable Keech by Neal Asher
reviewed by Peter D. Tillman
This is the sequel to the author's acclaimed Skinner, set again on the Line planet
Spatterjay: a world of many monsters, some of them human. So pull up a stool, matey, pour a mug of seacane rum, and
listen to more salty tales of titanic man-eating whelks, leeches the size of sperm-whales, swarms of vicious rhinoworms,
glisters and heirodonts....
Wicked or What? by Sean Wright
reviewed by David Hebblethwaite
Jamey O'Rooke is the fat kid at school, forever being bullied until a couple of strangers mistakenly
handed him a mysterious object that was intended for one of his tormentors. Jamey's best
friend is Layla, who seems to be on his side but may have her own agenda. And, somewhere else entirely, an individual
known as the Third travels across a strange landscape to join them, before it's too late...
Already Dead by Charlie Huston
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
Joe Pitt's a Vampyre. He's been infected by a Vyrus that slows aging, imparts phenomenal strength and sensory abilities,
enables almost instantaneous healing, and survives by feeding off its host's blood -- which forces its host to go out and
drink more blood so the Vyrus can have plenty of sustenance. There's a whole Vampyre subculture in New York City, loosely
gathered into Clans or collectives -- a hidden world of power and struggle unsuspected by ordinary human beings who live
their lives in daylight. In this secret world, Joe's something of an outsider.
Orphans of Chaos by John C. Wright
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
reviewed by David Soyka
Five seeming children (the titular orphans) attend a British boarding school where just about everything is not as
it appears on the surface -- not the least of which is that each orphan possesses a singular supernatural
ability. While every kid in school probably has felt imprisoned, the orphans literally are so, and there is
considerable uncertainty in whose interests their schoolmasters/captors operate.
The Begum's Millions by Jules Verne
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
The Franco-Prussian War of 1870 was a small war (the last of the French army had surrendered by February 1871), but it had
a big effect. It led to the unification of Germany, and it scared the other European powers into an arms race and a system
of alliances that would lead directly to the First World War. In Britain a succession of stories
prophesied German invasion, and were instrumental in the invention of the scientific
romance (via H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds) and the spy novel (via Childers's The Riddle of the
Sands). And, in France, it led their most successful novelist to create this peculiar dystopia.
compiled by Neil Walsh
New arrivals this past month have included the latest from Sara Douglass, Jennifer Fallon, Peter F. Hamilton, forthcoming works from Jeffrey Ford, Barth Anderson, Lisa Tuttle, and new editions of some old classics from Brian Lumley, Robert Silverberg, and Orson Scott Card
reviewed by James Seidman
Trouble comes in the form of Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show. The show looks on the surface like a
regular carnival, but it has a particularly special attraction. The carrousel, functional despite the "out of order"
sign, can change a person's age. Ride the carrousel forward, and with each revolution you age one year. Ride
it in reverse, and the years melt away.