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SF Site's Readers' Choice Awards for 2005 Vote for SF Site's Readers' Choice Awards for 2005
You've waited patiently for a whole year, but at last your favourite season has rolled around again. Yes, that's right, it's time to finish reading those new books that have been stacking up on your bookshelves, your floor or bedside table, because very soon you'll need to determine which ones you feel are the best of the best. Or at least, you will if you want to have a say in the annual SF Site Readers' Choice Awards! The deadline for voting is February 11, 2006. If you've forgotten what you chose in previous years, you can find them all linked at Best Read of the Year including Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke which was the top choice last year.

Anansi Boys Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
By this stage in his career, Neil Gaiman is in the enviable position of being a Household Name and legions of fans out there not only buy his books as soon as they hit the shelves but pre-order them in droves in the months prior to that. Contraband pre-publication copies even manage to turn up on Ebay. He is certainly one of those writers whose work people will buy without so much as having set eyes on it, simply because they know he'll tell a rollicking good tale.

Godslayer Godslayer by Jacqueline Carey
reviewed by David Soyka
J.R.R. Tolkien is frequently faulted, though not entirely fairly, for a one dimensional portrayal of good versus evil. Jacqueline Carey's Sundering series (of which Godslayer concludes the tale begun in Banewreaker), takes several Tolkienesque tropes and forges them into something more nuanced. This is Carey's Paradise Lost version of The Lord of the Rings.

Tales From the Brothers Grimm and the Sisters Weird Tales From the Brothers Grimm and the Sisters Weird by Vivian Vande Velde
reviewed by Jonathan Fesmire
While rewriting fairy tales is not new in fantasy literature, it's interesting to see a writer's take on these bits of our cultural subconscious. The author does a nice job of bringing something new to stories like "Little Red Riding Hood" and "The Frog Prince." Who knew that Red Riding Hood, or the princess for that matter, were such spoiled brats?

King Kong King Kong
a movie review by Alec Worley
Following up the successful hat-trick of The Lord of the Rings was always going to be tricky, but then Peter Jackson is a filmmaker who seems to thrive upon risk. Who would have thought the director of Meet the Feebles could adapt J.R.R. Tolkien's opus as well as he did in an age when Hollywood's idea of epic fantasy was Dragonheart. Several Oscars later the director returns to the project he was trying to get off the ground before Rings, a remake of what is, without question, one of the greatest movies of our genre, Ernest B. Schoedsack and Merian C. Cooper's 1933 masterpiece King Kong.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
a movie review by Alec Worley
The movie opens in Blitz-shattered London. The Pevensie children -- Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy -- are evacuated to a rambling country mansion occupied by a lurking professor and his ferocious housekeeper. During a game of hide and seek, Lucy conceals herself inside a monolithic wardrobe hidden in an empty room. She steps backwards between seemingly endless rows of fur coats that suddenly give way to cold air, pine needles and snow.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick offers his thoughts on the Smallville episode, "Lexmas" along with a review of the DVD Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume 3.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
a movie review by Rick Norwood
There have been two previous TV adaptations of the book, one animated, one live action. They were well intentioned, but proved that certain stories cannot be filmed with investing a great deal of money. Everything here looks real, from the snowflakes falling from the sky to the battles featuring centaurs, ogres, and a rhinoceros. And then the special effects have the grace to step aside, and allow the human characters center stage.

Numbers Don't Lie Numbers Don't Lie by Terry Bisson
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
There seems to come a time in the life of every writer of quirky science fiction when they latch on to a series character. The ancestor is clearly the pub story (think of Tales from the White Hart by the decidedly unquirky Arthur C. Clarke) but these have evolved by ways as varied as R.A. Lafferty's crackpot team of researchers and the denizens of Spider Robinson's Callahan's Bar.

Raymond E. Feist A Feisty Temperament: an interview with Raymond E. Feist
conducted by Sandy Auden
"If magicians are making loaves of bread fall from the sky to feed the troops, that's one thing. If someone's got to buy the wheat, make the flour, put it in sacks and transport it to the front, have ovens built of brick, then bake the bread for the army, that offers up an entirely different bunch of problems."

Farthing #1 Farthing #1
reviewed by Steven H Silver
This is the first issue of a new quarterly speculative fiction magazine from Wales making its appearance with nine stories by authors such as Karen M. Roberts, Peter Andrew Smith, Melissa Mead, Cherith Baldry and Paul Renault along with three short pieces called Farthing drabbles.

Introduction to A Reverie for Mr. Ray by Michael Bishop Introduction to A Reverie for Mr. Ray by Michael Bishop
an article by Jeff VanderMeer
"I first had a chance to talk to Michael Bishop at the 1998 Slipstream Conference in La Grange, Georgia, but I had really met him years before through his fiction -- countless short stories and, in particular, the novel The Secret Ascension. What I loved about his fiction was its restless curiosity about the world, as well as its sharpness, often disguised under a disarmingly gentle veneer. I always felt, when reading a piece of fiction by Bishop, an underlying honesty, even in his most experimental or structurally complex works."

Singer in the Snow Singer in the Snow by Louise Marley
reviewed by Donna McMahon
The author's career as a singer was the inspiration for Nevya, an ice planet where energy is created psychically through music. People with the "Gift" are trained as cantors and cantrixes, to provide heat and light to small communities scattered across the hostile terrain. Singers train for years at the Conservatory, then at the end of their training they are assigned to a "House" where they may remain for much of the rest of their lives.

Jon Courtenay Grimwood An Exotic Sprinkling of Murder: an interview with Jon Courtenay Grimwood
conducted by Sandy Auden
"I went to Tunis and the medina for the Ashraf Bey books but I based El Iskandryia on many different places. The broad plan was based on Alexandria, but I nicked bits of Palermo, Valetta and Tangiers too. And then there was Marrakech. You'll notice that food turns up in the books a lot."

New Arrivals New Arrivals
compiled by Neil Walsh
The latest crop of books to spring up at the SF Site office include the latest from Kage Baker, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Tanya Huff, John C. Wright, plus newly released classics from Philip K. Dick, George Alec Effinger, Patricia A. McKillip, Arthur C. Clarke. All this and more...

First Novels

Touched by Venom Touched by Venom by Janine Cross
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Zarq Darquel is nine, and doesn't understand why her mother is an outcast, or her beautiful sister is sold into sexual slavery, or why it's such a bad thing to be a half-breed Djimbi. Nonetheless, when her mother flees the pottery clan, she discovers that life can be much, much worse. First they live in the Zone of the Dead with people who tend corpses, then they join the Dragon Convent of Tieron, where a small group of desperately poor women care for old dragons. There she is drawn into the rites and taboos surrounding highly addictive dragon venom, and begins dreaming of revolution.

Second Looks

River Rats River Rats by Caroline Stevermer
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
The story begins after the "Flash" (an unexplained global disaster, followed by a terrible epidemic) transformed the Mississippi into a polluted waste lined with little scratch towns, a village controlled by a tough family, the Lesters, and, in the ruins of a once-big city, a gang of Wild Boys. The protagonists are a small group of kids who lived on an old paddle wheel steamboat that was serving as a grim sort of orphanage.

Stealing Magic Stealing Magic by Tanya Huff
reviewed by Donna McMahon
Tanya Huff fans will want this book, plain and simple. Not only are the stories good, the packaging is brilliant. The book is bound like an old Ace double -- one side for the Terazin stories, and one for the Magdalene stories -- making for a great bi-directional read, with double cover art by David Willicome that's both handsome and suitable to the stories.

Series Review

The Egerton Hall Novels The Egerton Hall Novels by Adèle Geras
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
First published between 1990 and 1992, these three novels, set around three young women at a British public school, Egerton Hall, are tenuously based on the well-known fairy tales of Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White, respectively. Certainly these are no simple retellings of these tales, but stories built around selected elements of the tales, adapted and interpreted in terms of the issues and emotions of young women.


Science Fiction Quotations Science Fiction Quotations edited by Gary Westfahl
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
This is the kind of book that is both easy and hard to review. Easy in that its virtues are obvious; it's a comprehensive, far-ranging collection of quotes from writers both famous and obscure, compiled from source material ranging from short stories to novels, movies, and plays. The difficult part is what to say next.

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