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James A. Hetley
The Winter Oak The Winter Oak by James A. Hetley
reviewed by Alisa McCune
This sequel to The Summer Country starts with Jo and David's return to the real world and all its troubles. Time has elapsed and Jo and David cannot just return to their lives as if nothing has happened. Too much has happened for all to be as it was. David and Jo must find a way to face all the changes and to decide if they do indeed love each other.

James Hetley A Conversation With James Hetley
An interview with Alisa McCune
On happy endings:
"In spite of the obvious fantasy elements, I try to write 'realistic' stories. Life doesn't provide happy endings. Happy points, yes, even long happy stretches of time. That's probably the most you can expect for any of my characters. You have to remember that for a writer, 'happy' often equals 'dull.' Stories need conflict."

Black Brillion Black Brillion by Matthew Hughes
reviewed by Donna McMahon
"I am often struck by how widely a day can escape from one's expectations," says Luff Imbry, and thus begin the escapades of an ill-matched pair, juxtaposed by fate in the form of the Archonate's Bureau of Scrutiny. Baro Harkless, newly minted Agent of the Bureau is partnered with Luff Imbry, the very same portly confidence trickster he apprehended in commission of an extortion mere hours earlier, and whom he reasonably expects to be in transit to the nearest contemplarium.

Prince of Christler-Coke Prince of Christler-Coke by Neal Barrett, Jr.
reviewed by Matthew Cheney
Pity poor Asel Iacola, who only gets to be Prince of Christler-Coke for an hour and a half before Ducky Du Pontiac Heinz kills his family, steals his new bride, and sends Asel off to the National Executive Rehabilitation Facility. No-one of such fine breeding as Asel should suffer the deprivations of tacky clothes and honest work. By the end of the novel, though, Asel will have experienced far worse.

The King Of Ice Cream The King Of Ice Cream by Robert Wayne McCoy
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
There are some highly entertaining ideas here, such as the Codices of Smoke, the object of one character's search. It is the last book of the damned, a dangerous, supernatural tome, which is on Church of Rome's list of books to be burned without ever being opened. Then there are the Paladins; special individuals trained to combat fallen angels, and by so doing implement the Word of God.

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.

The Second Coming The Second Coming by John Dalmas
reviewed by Donna McMahon
The near future United States features more of everything we fear -- more violence, poverty, hatred, pollution, apathy, corruption, economic depression and so forth. With millions out of work, Lee and Ben Shoreff are just another middle class couple facing foreclosure of their mortgage. When they are both offered good paying jobs and free education for their daughters in Colorado, Lee stifles her misgivings about their new employer, Millennium, a cult founded by new age guru Ngunda Aran.

Midnight in New Promise Midnight in New Promise by Lon Prater
reviewed by Kit O'Connell
This chapbook has a certain pleasing circularity to its plot -- it begins and ends with an act of violence. Our hero, Grieven Derleth is a man who makes his living on "dirt" -- that is, collecting secrets selling them to the highest bidder. When the story opens, Grieven has been caught spying by the Governor's ogre, beaten soundly, and left in an alley.

A Slow and Silent Stream A Slow and Silent Stream by Loren W. Cooper
reviewed by Susan Dunman
The Borderlands form an uneasy buffer zone between the Kingdom of Lucia and the Moghan Domain. Tornin feels torn between the Lucian king's request for his allegiance and the previous freedom he enjoyed as nobility in the renegade Borderlands. Complicating matters is the fact that his mother is Moghan herself and has made sure her son is skilled in the ways of the Haman, a Moghan discipline involving the use of psychic and other paranormal abilities.

The Shadow In The North The Shadow In The North by Philip Pullman
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
This book was originally published in a slightly different version back in 1986. Almost 20 years later, its author is widely celebrated as being among the greatest writers of children's fiction working today, and is best known for His Dark Materials trilogy. This early work shows that he achieved an early mastery of his craft.

Freehold Freehold by Michael Z. Williamson
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Framed by unknown people for massive amounts of embezzling, Sergeant Kendra Pacelli is forced to abandon everything she's ever known, turn her back on the world she has served faithfully, and flee for her life, claiming sanctuary with the only human settlement to remain independent of the United Nations' stranglehold: the Freehold of Grainne. Leaving everything behind is hard enough; starting over on a new planet with new rules, new customs, and new people is even worse.

Hopeful Monsters Hopeful Monsters by Hiromi Goto
reviewed by Rich Horton
This collection of short stories are not quite SF rather they fit comfortably in "the mainstream." They feature mythological creatures like kappas, or men with functional breasts, or ghosts, or mutated humans. What this means is that, these days, "the mainstream" encompasses stories with quite overt fantastical elements.

xxxHOLiC, volume 2 xxxHOLiC, volume 2 by CLAMP
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Kimihiro Watanuki works as a servant for the mysterious Yuko Ichihara, a time-space witch of considerable power. In the beginning she sends Sakura and Syaoran, along with two others who have their own agendas, on a quest. She sends with them Mokona Modoki, a cute, long-eared creature that Yuko and another wizard made to give to the travelers. It has a twin, just like it except black, that stays with Yuko, becoming a pet of sorts, but also able to let her know what's going on with the others.

Species III Species III
a give-away contest
Mankind's number is up in this thrilling third installment of the Species franchise! Featuring eye-popping special effects, knuckle-whitening suspense and the dazzling performance of sexy newcomer Sunny Mabrey, Species III is the most jarring, action-packed chapter in the sci-fi series yet! In the ongoing fight for supremacy between mankind and human/alien hybrids, a fatal hybrid weakness has given humans the advantage. Until now. When Sara (Maybrey), the daughter of Eve (Natasha Henstridge) is born, she grows into the most genetically perfect alien form yet! Seeking to repopulate her kind, this dangerously beautiful femme fatale heeds an overwhelming drive to mate…while a crack military team trails her in an attempt to end the war between our two species forever!
Read the contents, answer the questions, win a DVD. Easy, eh?

Nick Sagan
Edenborn Edenborn by Nick Sagan
reviewed by Victoria Strauss
Eighteen years have passed since the events of Idlewild and the Black Epplague is endlessly mutating into ever more deadly forms. A new generation of humans created by Isaac, Champagne, and Vashti is at risk, an outside force observes with possibly hostile intent, and betrayal threatens from within. To survive, the original group must unite -- even angry Halloween. But can they overcome the scars and terrors of the past? And if they do, will it be in time?

Nick Sagan A Conversation With Nick Sagan
An interview with Kilian Melloy
On writing:
"I think that at its best, writing can be both a means of entertaining people, a means of exposing people to a different point of view, a means of working out your own psychological issues or concerns, and a way of figuring out what it is you feel about the world. And a lot of time, I think people think this is how I am: they think this is my psyche and my word-view. But by writing something you might discover things about yourself that you never really knew, and hopefully you can do it in a way that is entertaining enough that people will want to come along for the ride and enjoy the story you are telling -- and at the same time, you are layering it with levels of social, or ethical, or religious meaning, so that the deeper someone looks into what you're writing, the more they'll see."

Murder by Magic Murder by Magic edited by Rosemary Edghill
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
These stories range from historical fantasy to police procedurals with an extra fillip of otherwordly doings -- from Esther Friesner's funny "Au Purr" and Laura Resnick's wisecracker gangsters in "Doppelgangster" to Teresa Edgerton's moody, minor key tale set in her Goblin world, "Captured in Silver." Many of these tales will linger in the mind, and you'll be revisiting a number of them for pleasurable rereads. There isn't a stinker in the bunch.

Earthsea Earthsea
a give-away contest
Earthsea follows the tale of a reckless youth destined to become the greatest sorcerer that the mystical land of Earthsea has ever known. When the young wizard Ged discovers that he possesses infinite magical powers, he seeks to master the ancient arts. As he journeys to manhood, he will combat dragons, rescue a princess, fall in love, cross death's threshold, and ultimately wield the power to reunite a kingdom.
Read the contents, answer the questions, win a DVD. Easy, eh?

Infernal Angel Infernal Angel by Edward Lee
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
He is an author whose work is a sub-genre all on its own. Uber horror, might be an appropriate term. He doesn't so much nail readers attention to the page, as crucify it. But what separates him from so many other writers of gratuitous blood and guts fiction, is the intelligence with which he presents his stories. This book is a chip off the bloody chopping block, which begins in a suburb of Mephistopolis, where a starving Edward Teller is chowing down on the legs of a recently deceased prostitute.

Dog Warrior Dog Warrior by Wen Spencer
reviewed by Charlene Brusso
The story takes off like a rocket from the very first page when, enroute to Cape Cod for some nefarious business, Atticus Steele and his partner and lover Ru (Hikaru Takahashi), discover a dead body hidden in the trunk of a suspicious car at a rest area on the Massachusetts Turnpike. Actually, Atticus sniffs out the body. Literally.

Anime Anime
an article by Trent Walters
If you enjoy animation but have been burned by the hype from anime fans, this may be a place for a little more discernment -- at least on a story level. For a little background on anime, a good DVD to start with is The Animatrix. One of the extra features, "Scrolls to Screen: The History and Culture of Anime," gives informative background on anime and points out a few classics in the genre.

The Incredibles The Incredibles
a movie review by David Newbert
The really incredible thing about it is how well it holds up as a family drama, a comedy, an action film and a superhero epic -- all at the same time. In a year that has provided us with Hellboy and Spider-Man 2 (and lesser lights such as Catwoman and -- oh God, the horror -- Van Helsing), this computer animated crowd-pleaser from writer and director Brad Bird keeps raising the stakes and meeting them, changing its tones from slapstick to irony to fairly profound psychodrama with the ease of leaping a building in a single bound.

Bumper Crop Bumper Crop by Joe R. Lansdale
reviewed by Jayme Lynn Blaschke
He writes some damn horrific stuff, things that one wouldn't go within a hundred miles of otherwise. But the author has such a natural skill with the written word that you become enraptured by the raw elegance of his storytelling down to the sentence level. He writes with such an unabashed confidence -- treats the most hideous subjects with a reverent tenderness, shovels the most rancid cow pies with the straightest face -- that there's almost no way a reader can't fall under his spell.

Agog! Smashing Stories Agog! Smashing Stories edited by Cat Sparks
reviewed by Lisa Dumond
In this fourth volume of the Agog! series of anthologies, the editor has trumped herself again with a collection of the very best in speculative fiction from Australia. As always, the anthology offers the perfect introductory course to the geographically locked-in, with familiar names, such as Deborah Biancotti, Sean McMullen, and Simon Brown, and "new" authors, ready to be "discovered" by the rest of the world. The stories range from science fiction to fantasy to the darkest of horror -- all in every mood imaginable and every approach never imagined.

First Novels

Firethorn Firethorn by Sarah Micklem
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
In a mediæval setting, where those of the feudal aristocracy, "the Blood," lord it ruthlessly over a conquered agrarian class, the "mudpeople," and where women are largely heir-bearers or drudges, an unusually red-haired foundling girl is raised by a well-meaning high-born female herbalist. Upon the latter's death, and after being raped by a man of the Blood, the now teenage "Luck," rather than becoming just another drudge, flees to the woods, where she overwinters and undergoes a physical and spiritual ordeal to be reborn as "Firethorn".

Second Looks

Balance of Trade Balance of Trade by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Jethri Gobelyn, whose family owns a number of trading ships, discovers he's been apprenticed to another ship. He resists the initial idea of leaving the only home he's ever known. However, an investment gone sour opens up new doors of opportunity, and before he fully understands the consequences, he's joined the crew of the Liaden ship Elthoria under the supervision of Master Trader Norn van'Deelin, who sees in Jethri a way to bridge the differences between Liadens and Terrans.


Terry Pratchett's Discworld Collector's Edition 2005 Terry Pratchett's Discworld Collector's Edition 2005
reviewed by Steven H Silver
Discworld holidays appear in a purple lettering which is just different enough from the more traditional black to set them apart. The more traditional holidays are a broad mix of holidays from around the world, many of which may be unfamiliar to some of the calendar's users, but since they are mixed in with such well known Discworld holidays as "Chase Whiskers Day" and "Wizards' Excuse Me."

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