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Talebones #28 / Full Unit Hookup #5 Talebones #28 and Full Unit Hookup #5
reviewed by Matthew Cheney
The greatest joy of reading small press magazines is discovering odd and/or beautiful and/or enchanting and/or marvelously uncategorizable writing, the kind of writing that makes you catch your breath, that sends shivers through your spine and timbres. In the twenty-eighth Talebones, this joy is at its height with Sandra McDonald's fine story "Bluebeard by the Sea"; the fifth issue of Full Unit Hookup brings shivering bits of "ah ha!" with the breadth of the poetry presented and, especially, with "Hurricane Sandrine", a thoughtful and enigmatic tale by Daniel Braum.

Going Postal Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
Con man, embezzler, and thief Moist von Lipwig is given a choice: be hanged (and he comes close enough to know what that means, and that there is no escape this time) or else... reorganize Ankh-Morpork's post office. Of course he takes the job, and figures by dawn he'll be miles away. No, because he's got a Golem guarding him. He meets the two remaining postal employees, who, mental-health-wise, are both a taco or two short on their combination plates.

Something Rotten Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde
reviewed by Rich Horton
After a two year stint away, Thursday returns to her home in Swindon. There she finds her husband is still eradicated. Her mother is entertaining a couple of house guests -- Hamlet, who is tired of his reputation for indecisiveness, and Emma Hamilton, who gets into the liquor a lot. The evil Goliath Corporation is trying to turn itself into a religion. And Yorrick Kaine, who has escaped to become England's chancellor, is rousing anti-Danish sentiment as part of a ploy to take over the English government.

New Arrivals New Arrivals
compiled by Neil Walsh
This time, our New Arrivals page offers a glimpse of new novels from Terry Pratchett, Stephen Baxter, Stan Nicholls, Alan Dean Foster, Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory, Raymond E. Feist, as well as classic reprints from Olaf Stapledon, A. Merritt, Robert A. Heinlein, Jonathan Carroll, and others. There's also a nice selection of young adult reading here, plus several genre-related non-fiction titles.

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. His column will fill you in on recent news in science fiction. We'll be updating the page as he sends in new items.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his thoughts on TV with reviews of the Smallville episode titled "Spell," the Star Trek Enterprise episode named "The Augments III" and the DVD collection, Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume II.

Thumbprints Thumbprints by Pamela Sargent
reviewed by Chris Przybyszewski
In her Afterword, the author talks about the importance of science fiction to rebuild a new world, a post-9/11 world. "There were, after all, a number of anecdotes about science fiction readers who had become physicists working on nuclear weapons, or to cite a more hopeful example, science fiction fans who ended up as engineers, research scientists, even as astronauts. The world could be remade, and your writing might even, in some small way, help to remake it."

Take No Prisoners Take No Prisoners by John Grant
reviewed by Adam Volk
Over the years, science fiction and fantasy have developed an undeserved reputation as the ugly stepsisters of so-called "literary fiction". Neglected by critics, disdained by academics, and largely considered little more than juvenile escapism by the majority of mainstream culture, the two genres have existed in a kind of literary limbo, despite the fact that both science fiction and fantasy have produced novels with depth, substance and ingenuity that rival even the greatest works of the western literary canon. And yet, every so often there comes along an author who is able to bridge the gap between literary elitism and the world of speculative fiction.

Horizon Storms Horizon Storms by Kevin J. Anderson
reviewed by Susan Dunman
As the third book in this series unfolds, it seems that confrontations between the mysterious, gas-planet Hydrogues and the equally astounding, sun-dwelling Faeros are nothing new. A resumption of their hostilities brings great concern to Jora'h, the new Ildiran Mage-Imperator, as he prepares to establish his control of the empire and his people's theism, a racial collective consciousness that gives the ruler awareness and control over his subjects.

The Elfstones of Shannara The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks
an audiobook review by Chris Przybyszewski
This most recent edition is read by Shakespearean veteran Charles Keating. He pours his dialectic skill and sober baritone into a complicated story. The result is a restrained and honest performance. One gets the impression that Keating has respect for this story, and his dedication brings to it a new life. In addition, Keating's vocal talents bring distinction to the various characters, and he often manages three or four characters at a time.

Twisted Rhymes, Volume 1 Twisted Rhymes, Volume 1 by Bob Harper
an audio review by Lisa DuMond
The selections are lavishly produced and presented, with an emphasis on pure entertainment. This is the equivalent of gathering your sleeping bags into a tight circle and trying to scare the pants off each other with horror stories. Even better if you were camping in an appropriately "Blair Witch"y forest. No need to shine a flashlight under your chin with these sound effects and creepy music to put a fright into you.

Tales of the Grand Tour Tales of the Grand Tour by Ben Bova
reviewed by Michael M Jones
This is a collection of excerpts from the "Grand Tour" series of novels, which have slowly but surely filled in the not-so-distant future of mankind, and short stories relating to the grand overview, featuring a number of familiar characters and offering the occasional insight into events detailed elsewhere. Bit by bit, these books have created a farflung tapestry, filled with recurring and overlapping characters, sharp plots, and edge-of-the-seat suspense.

Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE, volume 2 Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE, volume 2 by CLAMP
reviewed by Kit O'Connell
The creators seem to have hit their stride in the stories collected here and it's now worth it to get on board (though you might want to dig up a copy of volume 1 first). Syaoran and his traveling companions, Fai D. Flowright and Kurogane, begin to entertain both as individual characters and as a team. Each has a real personality and it is especially fun to see them played against each other by the skillful authors, especially with furry sidekick Mokona as a comic foil.

Elvisland Elvisland by John Farris
reviewed by David Maddox
Dark, foreboding and a frightening insight into man's darker nature, words that can certainly be used to describe this new collection of short stories. The collected stories all contain a similar setting, the American Deep South. It is a fine piece of work, including four never before seen tales; "Waiting for Mr. Gilroy," "Talking Heads," "Storytime with the Bluefield Strangler" and "Hunting Meth Zombies in the Great Nebraskan Wasteland."

Men Writing Science Fiction As Women/Women Writing Science Fiction As Men/New Voices in Science Fiction Men Writing Science Fiction As Women, Women Writing Science Fiction As Men and New Voices in Science Fiction edited by Mike Resnick
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Two of these anthologies explore two sides to the same coin. Science fiction has always been about exploring the realm of possibilities, and that includes exploring gender and perception. The editor approached a number of writers, and asked them to imagine a world from the viewpoint of the opposite gender. The only rules: that the story had to be told from the viewpoint of a specific gender (male if the author was female, female if the author was male), and if changing the narrator from Victor to Victoria or vice versa didn't invalidate the story, they didn't want it. That said, the authors were all ready for the challenge.

Interzone #194 / The 3rd Alternative #39 Interzone #194 and The 3rd Alternative #39
reviewed by David Soyka
As most of you know now, David Pringle has transferred editorship of Interzone magazine to Andy Cox, publisher of The 3rd Alternative. Welcome news that the longstanding British SF magazine wasn't folding, but also worrying if Interzone can be the same without Pringle. Well, of course, it won't. Arguably, some fresh perspective was overdue. However, the more immediate concern is whether Cox has a vision of Interzone distinct from that of The 3rd Alternative.

Geeks With Books Geeks With Books
a column by Rick Klaw
Rick Klaw gives us a look at the importance of writer's workshops. Recently, he taught at his third consecutive Armadillocon Writer's Workshop. There, he met some with talent, some with attitude and some who didn't understand what the process is all about. He fills us in on why they are important.

The Polar Express The Polar Express
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Rick gives The Polar Express four stars because it succeeds in showing you things you've never seen before, some of them exciting, some beautiful. It admirably does what it sets out to do. But there is a sick worm at the heart of the rose.

The Incredibles The Incredibles
a movie review by Rick Norwood
It is very enjoyable but not transcendently great. Essentially it takes Stan Lee's idea for the Fantastic Four -- superheroes who have problems with their job, family, and love life -- and applies a budget, technical polish, and special effects far beyond the Lee and Kirby creation. It bears roughly the same relation to The Fantastic Four that the Star Trek films bore to the original television Star Trek.

Shaun of the Dead Shaun of the Dead
a movie review by Rick Norwood
The joke here is that our everyday lives are so mindless that when people start turning into zombies, things aren't all that different. The problem with the film is that that's the joke -- the only joke. There is, however, a theory that if something isn't funny, you have only to say it in a working class British accent to make it funny.

Team America: World Police Team America: World Police
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Rick laughed out loud. That's a good thing. It doesn't happen often at movies, probably because he does not find human bodily fluids automatically hilarious. It has been a long time since he has seen a film in theaters as funny as, say, Buster Keaton in Our Hospitality.

Gifts Gifts by Ursula K. Le Guin
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Orrec and Gry have grown up in the harsh world of the Uplands. Here there is poverty and hardship and a heroic past, where each family has a gift, some terrible, some helpful. Gry can call the animals to her, and Orrec can unmake anything he sets his eyes upon. Both are expected to use their gifts to help their respective families and marry in ways that will keep the family blood, and therefore the gift, which is passed down father-son, mother-daughter, strong.

Stable Strategies and Others Stable Strategies and Others by Eileen Gunn
reviewed by Peter D. Tillman
She is surely one of SF's least-prolific good writers, having published all of eleven stories since her debut in 1978. Fortunately, all of the stories in the collection are worthwhile, and some are brilliant -- such as "Green Fire," co-written with Michael Swanwick, Andy Duncan, and Pat Murphy: a WWII pulp burlesque, starring Isaac Asimov and Bob Heinlein, and featuring Tesla super-science, topless pirates, giant plesiosaurs, a kraken -- and a special guest appearance by Lord Quetzalcoatl.

The Locus Awards The Locus Awards edited by Charles N. Brown and Jonathan Strahan
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
The science fiction community certainly hands out its fair share of awards, starting with the Hugos and multiplying into all the different categories and their various best-ofs that we know today. The Locus awards, covering the last thirty years in SF and fantasy, stand about half-way between the Hugos and the Nebulas, the Locus awards are voted on by readers from a list of recommendations put together by the critics and reviewers of Locus magazine and a few others.

Second Looks

Elsewhere/NeverNever Elsewhere and NeverNever by Will Shetterly
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Somewhere beyond the World, past the ever-changing expanse of the Nevernever, there's a city that used to be part of the real world, now just known as Bordertown. It's a place where humans and the Fae live and interact between their respective worlds, where magic is real and sometimes works as planned, where music plays an important part and anything can happen. Into this world comes Ron, a young man trying to escape his mundane past and follow in his missing brother's footsteps. And for Ron, it's the start of a long, strange journey.

Hybrids Hybrids by Robert J. Sawyer
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Contact between a world where humans were the dominant evolutionary path, and a world where Neanderthals survived instead continues to heat up, as the two worlds share aspects of science, culture, history, and more. Ponter Boddit, the first Neanderthal to cross over to our world, continues his growing love affair with human geneticist Mary Vaughan, and the two begin to plan ways to be together permanently, and ways to signify their union with a child of both races.


Horror and Mystery Photoplay Editions and Magazine Fictionizations Horror and Mystery Photoplay Editions and Magazine Fictionizations by Thomas Mann
reviewed by Trent Walters
This book is a curiosity. It covers a period of books made inspired from film, which morphed into what we know today as the movie tie-in. The author writes why he began collecting: "At the time, I usually assumed I would never get to see all the movies to which photoplay books were linked," noting that he could not have anticipated the invention of the DVD and cable TV.

Men of Tomorrow Men of Tomorrow by Gerard Jones
reviewed by Hank Luttrell
There are many complications when trying to write a history like this. In a novel, well known stories and legends could become ingredients without wondering just how true they were. He, the author has to consider conflicting versions of the history, and whether familiar legends of the comics' creation have any basis in fact. Some details may not be clear, and some parts of this history are controversial.

First Novels

A Hazy Shade of Winter A Hazy Shade of Winter by Simon Bestwick
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
A few years ago, the author came to everyone's attention with "Graven" in Darkness Rising One: Night's Soft Pains. This beautiful, unique tale presents a relationship readers can instantly identify with and mourn; a universal experience of love's strains and lasting power. How fitting that "Graven" graces the author's first collection, a debut guaranteed to start him on the road to well-deserved literary fame. No longer will he remain a precious secret shared by a select circle of fans; after this, everyone is going to be watching his career blossom.

Jerome and the Seraph Jerome and the Seraph by Robina Williams
reviewed by Steve Lazarowitz
There are books that recount great upheavals in society. Others deal with crime, passion, or life and death. Indeed so much fantasy seems to revolve around fighting evil and saving the world, one might forget there is more to the genre. Brother Jerome lives at a Friary in the English countryside. It is often where the protagonist dies in the first paragraph.

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