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Dark Heavens Dark Heavens by Roger Levy
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
The setting is a near-future Earth slowly being ripped apart by tectonic collapse, in the wake of devastating acts of global eco-terrorism. The environment has become all but unlivable, the air choked with volcanic ash, the ground and water poisoned, the landscape scarred by enormous rifts. The only hope for the human race is to go elsewhere: Dirangesept, a distant planet with an Earth-like environment. But Dirangesept has its own inhabitants, mysterious beings that, to human perception, appear as mythological beasts, and they aren't interested in being colonized. Twice they have savagely driven the human forces back.

John Picacio A Conversation With John Picacio
Part 1 of an interview with Rick Klaw
On how he begins an assignment:
"Let's put aside all the business end of it, and talk about process. The first thing is the most obvious: you read the book. You know the book backwards and forwards, you understand it on your own terms, which you're being paid to do. The client (publisher) is not just paying you for what you do with your hands, they're paying you for how you see the world, and that's the most important thing that you can give to the publisher, to the author, to the book, and to your audience."

The Paths of the Dead The Paths of the Dead by Steven Brust
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
It was an innocent experiment, but it destroyed so much. Their Emperor, the Orb of power, and the capital city are all gone, destroyed by a magical mistake. Now people must try and find a new way of life. They are without even the simplest of spells upon which they have depended for so long. When Zerika, the Heir of the Phoenix is discovered, hope for a renewal of this old way of life comes back, bringing together a group of swashbuckling heroes who will gladly risk everything for an adventure.

Witpunk Witpunk edited by Claude Lalumière and Marty Halpern
reviewed by Rich Horton
The editors open this book by recalling a question that came up in an online forum in 2001: "When did reading SF stop being fun?" They object to the implication that SF is no longer fun to read, and this anthology addresses one area of "fun": humourous SF, or more specifically, "sardonic" SF. The book assembles 26 stories, 15 reprints, one revision of an earlier story, and 10 brand new pieces. Are they all funny?

The Matrix Reloaded The Matrix Reloaded
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Our story opens when young Jedi Knight Neo is instructed by Obi Wan Morpheus to forget logic and reason and trust in the Source. Neo kicks ass until he meets his maker, and they talk. Thereupon, Neo leaves his creator and flies to rescue Lois Lane, who is falling from a tall building at the time.

Holes Holes
a movie review by Rick Norwood
This is the most intelligent, original, and entertaining movie so far this year. In a non-linear but compelling narrative, it tells how two curses, uttered more than a hundred years ago and half a world apart, work themselves out in a hole-studded desert in the present day.

X2: X-Men United X2: X-Men United
a movie review by Rick Norwood
The three greatest fantasy novels of the 20th Century (not counting children's fantasy) are The Lord of the Rings, Gormenghast, and The Once and Future King. Director Brian Singer pays tribute to the latter -- we see both the villain Magneto and the hero Professor X reading that book. Easily the best movie so far this year, this is a long way from making the best of the century list. However, it is a lot of fun, full of clever bits, skillfully told.

New Arrivals New Arrivals
compiled by Neil Walsh
Our latest batch of new and forthcoming books includes newly available and soon-to-be available works from Jacqueline Carey, Juliet Marillier, John Barnes, Jim Butcher, Chris Bunch, Terry Pratchett, Harry Turtledove, and many more.

Science Fiction, The Best of 2002 Science Fiction, The Best of 2002 edited by Robert Silverberg & Karen Haber
reviewed by Steven H Silver
One of the questions which must be asked when reading a new best of year anthology is whether it adds anything to the genre beyond what is provided by the already existent Gardner Dozois and David Hartwell series. Part of the answer must be yes, because different editors have (sometimes radically) different views of what science fiction is and what constitutes the "best." It can further be argued that the more anthologies of this type which can exist, the better the state of the genre.

Guardian Guardian by Joe Haldeman
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
This novel tells the story of a nineteenth-century woman who is granted an encounter with a vision of the universe that is far beyond the imagining of most of her contemporaries. It is a quiet, almost pastoral novel that makes its points not through dramatic action or violence, but instead from the inner thoughts of a woman trying to find a place in the world for her and her son.

Otherwhens, Otherwheres Otherwhens, Otherwheres by John Dalmas
reviewed by Donna McMahon
John Dalmas has been reading SF much of his life and writing it since 1968, but he is not what most people think of when they picture a science fiction writer. Dalmas has packed all sorts of jobs into his 76 years, including farm worker, soldier, merchant seaman, logger, smoke jumper, night janitor, forester, research ecologist, writer, editor, and amateur Swede. So he had lots to draw on in writing...

Cold Streets Cold Streets by P.N. Elrod
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Jack Fleming figures the case will be easy. He'll use his vampire abilities to become mist, attaching himself to the suitcase filled with the ransom for Vivian Gladwell's daughter, Sarah. He'll follow the money, overpower the kidnappers, take the girl home. He's right. He does all this with great ease, finishing up by using his hypnotic powers to whammy the men into confessing. This is where things go downhill. It works on all of them, except Hurley Dugan, their leader, who now suspects Jack's true nature. Soon, Dugan will try

Hades' Daughter Hades' Daughter by Sara Douglass
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
When gods, demi-gods, and witches play with humans' lives, inevitably the result is pain and sorrow for the lesser creatures involved. As one of the unfortunate pawns in a game that spills over millennia, pity Cornelia, a young and headstrong princess who has the supreme misfortune of being caught between Brutus, the kingman who would rebuild Troy, and Genvissa, ruthless descendant of Ariadne, who will possess the power Brutus holds.

Boudica: Dreaming the Eagle Boudica: Dreaming the Eagle by Manda Scott
reviewed by William Thompson
Opening in 32 C.E., the earliest Roman legions under Caesar have departed, leaving Britain under the hereditary rule of loosely related tribes, bound by religion and a shared cultural history, past enmities and friendships, linked by trade and dominated politically if not in fact by Cunobelin, known as the Sun Hound, from a dun in the southeast that will eventually become present-day Colchester. Son of the military leader who first opposed the legions of Caesar, he has since united two of the southern tribes and grown wealthy and powerful through trade with Rome. Astute political marriages have given him three sons and extended his influence, though he has violently expelled the dreamers of Mona in order to consolidate his power. But Cunobelin grows old and his three sons are at visible odds...

SF Site News SF Site News
compiled by Steven H Silver
Every day, items of interest to you arrive in our email. Our bi-monthly format doesn't lend itself to daily updates. However, this is a small inconvenience to our Contributing Editor Steven H Silver. He's begun a new column which will fill you in on recent news in science fiction. We'll be updating the page as he sends in new items.

Geeks With Books Geeks With Books
a column by Rick Klaw
Rick Klaw gives us a look at how things work from behind the counter of a book store. This time out, he gives us an inside glimpse into that little-known and little-understood condition which affects so many of us -- the book collector syndrome.

The Gates of Sleep The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey
reviewed by Ian Nichols
At birth, a baby girl is given gifts by her magical relations, gifts which should lead to happiness. But the second-last gift is delivered by an estranged relation, who wasn't invited to the party. Her gift is a curse; death on or before the child's eighteenth birthday. The last gift is one which tries to lift the curse, but only succeeds in softening it. You may have heard this story before.

The 3rd Alternative, Issue #33 The 3rd Alternative, Issue #33
reviewed by David Soyka
Oddly, M. John Harrison's "Guest Editorial" in Issue 33 of the magazine is guilty of precisely what he wants everyone to stop doing -- it's just more bitching about the by-the-numbers fat fantasy factory as if it were actually Tolkien's evil plan for world book domination. Moreover, it's preaching to the choir, which is reading the magazine precisely because its contents strive towards being "something new."

The Jester The Jester by James Patterson and Andrew Gross
an audio review by Lisa DuMond
Allow Lisa to ignore the story-in-story nature of the novel and concentrate on the travails of Hugh De Luc, crusader, common man, and victim of violence. De Luc, though, is not a man to lie down and give up when faced with tragedy; this is one innkeeper who is going to make the cruel and ruthless men in power wish they never came within a hundred miles of him.

The Bone House The Bone House by Luanne Armstrong
reviewed by Donna McMahon
18-year-old Lia is living a harsh, perilous existence as a street kid in the slums of mid-21st-century Vancouver. After her friend, Star, leaves the city in search of a legendary "Kind Place," Lia decides to follow. If she can't find Star, at least she can return to her grandmother's abandoned house near the town of Appleby. Meanwhile, in Appleby, a former logger named Matt is living rough in a shack in the woods. Crippled in a skidder accident, Matt is more than half crazy, and he's haunted by visions of the house he wants to build.

Beyond This Dark House: Poems Beyond This Dark House: Poems by Guy Gavriel Kay
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
If there is a single impossible thing in writing book reviews, it's writing a review of a book of poetry -- simply because poetry is so absolutely subjective, so utterly dependent on individual tastes. And those tastes literally range from dumbstruck awe to a reaction along the lines of, 'If the Secret Police picked me up, all they'd have to do is make me sit there and read poetry and I'd tell them everything they wanted to know...' In between those two extremes, there are the fine gradations...

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his thoughts on TV and the Hugo Awards for Best Dramatic Presentation: Long Form and Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form. In Rick's opinion, who should win? Who will win? As well, he provides us with 2 capsule reviews for episodes of Enterprise, "Cogenitor" by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga and "Regeneration" by Mike Sussman and Phyllis Strong.


Arthurian Sites in the West Arthurian Sites in the West by C.A. Ralegh Radford & Michael J. Swanton
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
For those of you hooked on Arthurian legendary and lore, this book serves as a perfect counterpoint, describing and discussing the archæological evidence at four putative Arthurian sites in southwest Wales: Cadbury-Camelot, Tintagel, Glastonbury and Castle Dore and the Tristan Stone. Originally designed for specialists in mediæval literature attending a conference, the book's purpose was to present what, if any, hard archæological or historical evidence there was for the traditional association of certain sites in southwestern Britain with Arthurian legends.

Second Looks

Time Out Of Joint Time Out Of Joint by Philip K. Dick
reviewed by Martin Lewis
We are introduced to grocer Vic, his wife Margo, her brother Ragle and their aspirational neighbours, the Blacks. All are sketched with impressive economy before the book settles in on its protagonist, Ragle Gumm. He earns his living by winning the prize for a competition in his local newspaper, a game which consists of picking the right square from a grid of 1208. He plays every day and, in two and a half years, has been wrong only eight times. This has made him a local celebrity and provides him with an ample income, yet the stress of being constantly right is taking its toll on him.

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