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John Picacio A Conversation With John Picacio
Part 2 of an interview with Rick Klaw
On his favourite cover artist:
"I appreciate illustrators who do work where I can see the process of how they think through a problem, and I always get that sense when I look at Dave McKean's work. It may not always hit the mark every time in terms of execution, but in terms of concept and his level of thinking and how he's seeing the medium or the manuscript or the cd or whatever project he's working on, you can tell that he's thought through the piece in a meaningful way. I've always appreciated that about him. He's approaching the design process at a very, very high level consistently, and he's pushed that level of excellence for a long time now."

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.

White Time White Time by Margo Lanagan
reviewed by Trent Walters
She was finalist for the Ditmar (Australia's Hugo, more or less), shortlisted for the Convenor's Award, shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier's Award, eight-time finalist and one-time winner of the Aurealis. Peter McNamara selected her story "White Time" as one of the ten best stories in the past decade of Australian speculative fiction for his Wonder Years collection. The University of Canterbury graduate-level course on young adult literature lists her novel, Touching Earth Lightly, as a required text alongside Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass. You've heard of her, haven't you?

Finding Nemo Finding Nemo
a movie review by Rick Norwood
It is an absolute delight. The film is beautiful, inventive, and very funny. Rick thinks you should go into the movie with no foreknowledge of what you are about to see. Afterwards, when you get together with someone else who has seen the film, you can both just share a smile.

Crawling Between Heaven and Earth Crawling Between Heaven and Earth by Sarah A. Hoyt
reviewed by Matthew Peckham
Cribbing it's title from one of Hamlet's well-remembered rants, this debut collection is a collage of speculations and fables that invokes the brooding relationship between passion and reason, the beastly and the divine. It collects eleven brief stories -- seven previously published and four new exclusives -- that document the early progress of a writer still working out some stylistic kinks and wrinkles.

Once Upon a Marigold Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Abandoning the teen angst novel and returning to the long-loved form of the fairy tale, we find all the standards of this form: youngest of three princesses, beautiful but headstrong, princess Marigold is blessed (or cursed perhaps) with a special fairy gift, and has a habit of rejecting suitors; the conniving step-mother who dabbles with poisons and the Dark Arts and, who naturally will stop at nothing to attain power; the seemingly befuddled but likeable old king; and finally, a dashing young hero with a mysterious past, raised by a troll, and whose hobby it is to invent gadgets.

Bitter Waters Bitter Waters by Wen Spencer
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Donna keeps expecting this author to knock her socks off. So, when she encountered the third installment in her Ukiah Oregon series her socks were already loose with anticipation, but once again the novel didn't quite make it for her.

Sword-Sworn Sword-Sworn by Jennifer Roberson
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Having freed himself from the stone forests of Skandi, Tiger and Del return to the South. They originally fled the South because, to save Del's life, Tiger broke his vows as a seventh level sword-dancer, declaring himself elaii-ali-ma. Tiger returns to this land, originally, because the South is his home and he hopes to rebuild the shodo at Alimat, where he was trained. Soon he is haunted by dreams, dreams of a skeleton, of a woman's voice that commands him -- "Find me," she says, "And take up the sword."

Visitations Visitations by Jack Dann
reviewed by Steven H Silver
In addition to spanning nearly three decades of publication history, the stories collected here also span the gamut of the genre, from the quasi-Medieval fairy tale setting of "The Glass Casket" to the alternative historical Renaissance setting of "Vapors." Other stories are set in contemporary times, although with fantastic elements, such as Stephen Neshoma's attendance at his own funeral in "Reunion," or the alternate history "Ting-a-Ling" which has Marilyn Monroe and James Dean cruising the hills around Hollywood.

Red Thunder Red Thunder by John Varley
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
"How do we go about building a space ship on pocket change?" Four kids practically fresh out of high school, an astronaut who has fallen out of grace and into the bottle, and a genius with the social skills of an armadillo are about to find out. Manny, Dak, Alison and Kelly are driving along on the beach when they run over a man half buried in the sand. Thankfully, the sand protected him, and they take the stone drunk gentlemen, Travis Broussard, home.

The Silver Gryphon The Silver Gryphon edited by Gary Turner and Marty Halpern
reviewed by Rich Horton
This anthology is the 25th "archival quality hardcover" the company has issued (they have also recently started to publish novella length chapbooks). It includes 20 original stories by the authors of the first 24 books (two of those authors have published 2 books each with Golden Gryphon, one book was an anthology, so only Tony Daniel does not have a story here). The collection is quite entertaining throughout, not perhaps a surprise as Golden Gryphon books have been by a quite noticeably excellent set of authors.

The Reliquary Ring The Reliquary Ring by Cherith Baldry
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
The book is set in an alternate-world Venice (the city is never named, but all the Venetian landmarks are there) where an 18th-century-style social setting combines with the products of high technology. These scientific advances don't come from the city, however, where the laws of the Holy Church of Christos hold sway, but from the Empire to the north, whose scientists and craftsmen have perfected arts unknown elsewhere. Imperial merchants broker strange and wondrous machines to the people of the city, along with living creations: genics, genetically engineered humans designed to fill specific purposes and tasks.

New Arrivals New Arrivals
compiled by Neil Walsh
Highlights of our latest batch of books here at the SF Site include new novels from Fred Saberhagen, Adam Roberts, Kelley Armstrong, Ed Greenwood, R.A. Salvatore, new and forthcoming collections from Michael Bishop, Gemma Files, George Alec Effinger, and much more.

Joust Joust by Mercedes Lackey
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Vetch's whole world was misery. As a serf working for the vile Khefti-the-fat, he has little hope for anything better. One day he is hauling an oversized bucket filled with water when a man takes it from him and drinks it dry. The man is a jouster, and his dragon, the magnificent Kashet, is nearby. Vetch's awe at the rare site is turned to fear when Khefti comes out and, seeing him without the bucket in his hands, begins to beat Vetch. Ari, the jouster, steps in and decides to take Vetch with him, to become his new dragon boy. Vetch can't believe his new luck.

The Eyre Affair The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Focused as Donna is on genre fiction, I would have entirely missed this one, if it weren't for my book club at work. This novel has been marketed as mainstream literature in Canada, even though it's a Fantasy/alternate history novel with a very Douglas Adams-ish style and content, that fondly reminded her of Poul Anderson's A Midsummer Tempest.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
In his column, Rick offers his thoughts on what is worth watching this summer on television. Also, he has put together a 2002-2003 episode guide for Star Trek: Enterprise. Check it out, print off a copy of each one and keep them handy for the summer reruns.

The Best Time Travel Stories of All Time The Best Time Travel Stories of All Time edited by Barry Malzberg
reviewed by Steven H Silver
Steven looked at the name of this anthology and thought: what a great title. Opening the book, he was quickly disappointed. Sure, the stories included are wonderful, but he noticed that all of the stories in the book were published before 1996. Surely a book about time travel purporting to the best of all time should include stories from 2013, 2395 and 3641.

Dragon Blood Dragon Blood by Patricia Briggs
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
As Tisala makes her escape from the temporary torture chamber set up outside of the city of Estain just for her, she knows the only person she can turn to is Ward, the ruler of Hurog. When she arrives, more dead than alive, Oreg, who is actually a dragon who was once bound to the service of the rulers of Hurog, heals her. Ward has long adored the warrior maiden, even though her politics -- she is a known rebel, supporting the faction who seek to over throw the tyrant Emperor Jakoven -- spell danger for him and his people.

First Novels

Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow
reviewed by Martin Lewis
The problem with utopia is that it's boring. Post-scarcity environments tend to be lacking in dynamic tension. Whilst we would like to live in them, we don't necessarily want to read about them. One solution to this is a good old fashioned murder. As Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon recently showed, even immortality doesn't have to be an impediment to a murder mystery. It is just such a murder that frames this debut novel, but the actual meat of the story is social politics.

Second Looks

Lyonesse II: The Green Pearl and Madouc Lyonesse II: The Green Pearl and Madouc by Jack Vance
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
There is something otherworldly about the Lyonesse books. That may sound oddly redundant, given that we are talking about a book of fantasy -- surely it is a given that we would be transported into another world. All fantasy aims for that (and good fantasy succeeds). But the mere transportation is not the point. It's the sense that we aren't being told about an imaginary world. Instead, we somehow find ourselves in the real one, there between the covers of this book, while lurking in some other dimension which the inhabitants of the author's world would find passably peculiar.

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