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The Women of Nell Gwynne's The Women of Nell Gwynne's by Kage Baker
reviewed by Rich Horton
This new novella is a steampunk romp -- one doesn't think of the clanking machinery of steampunk as light but this story certainly is. The title refers to a certain establishment of a particular nature -- exactly what you would think. The kicker is that the ladies involved have another job -- spies. They use their rather privileged access to men of power to gather information, under the direction of their blind proprietress, Mrs. Corvey.

Shambling Towards Hiroshima Shambling Towards Hiroshima by James Morrow
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
After the Second World War, the people of Japan had a national trauma to deal with the like of which none of the rest of us have ever had to experience. It wasn't the fact of defeat, or even the emphatic scale of it, that was at issue, it was the unprecedented nature and violence of the destruction wrought at Hiroshima and again at Nagasaki. One of the ways they found to deal with this trauma was to personalize the destruction in the monstrous character of Gojira or Godzilla.

Xenopath Xenopath by Eric Brown
reviewed by John Enzinas
The story takes place one year after Necropath. Vaughan and his wife are happily married and expecting their first child. He is enjoying a life free of telepathy, even if it is also free of the surplus cash he used to earn. An old acquaintance contacts him with a proposal to join a telepathic detective agency. There is a bit of angst but, in the end, Vaughan does it for the future of his family.

Star Wars: Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor Star Wars: Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor by Matthew Stover
reviewed by David Maddox
The second Death Star has been destroyed. Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine are dead. Luke Skywalker, the last of the Jedi Knights, stands victorious and the galaxy celebrates him as a hero. But a new, dark menace named Shadowspawn has reared its head. With his army of black suited StormTroopers, can this new enemy spell the end of the fledgling New Republic? Or is there a darker game being played behind the scenes?

Blood and Ice Blood and Ice by Robert Masello
reviewed by Tammy Moore
Michael Wilde is a man caught in the moment between hope and grief. His lover, Kristin, has been in a coma since an accident when they were climbing. Kristin too is trapped, in a body that doesn't work and a mind that won't wake, by her parent's desperate, delusional hope she'll someday, somehow recover. Neither of them able to go back to how it was before or move forwards to how it was going to be.

Black Gate #13, Spring 2009 Black Gate #13, Spring 2009
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
One of the strengths of Black Gate is how issues exhibit a character distinct from one another. Issue 12 contained many sequels in ongoing series, but some readers wondered if the magazine was beginning to close in to a favored few authors. No danger. This issue does contain a true sequel and two stories that take place in settings familiar from other stories, but which are not true sequels. The rest are all new stories, and many of these from new authors.

Nexus Graphica Nexus Graphica
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
The first time Mark became truly aware that one could make art directly out of one's life -- unfiltered by fictionalization -- was during his college days, in that long-ago era when the hapless Carter years were giving way to the malignant Reagan ones. He had a Work-Study job in television production and one of his co-workers used the equipment, during off-hours, for various video projects such as sitting in a chair in his backyard recording monologues about life, intercutting narratives with objects like school film strips and interviews with former girlfriends. Mark London Williams is reading two graphic memoirs, Stitches, written and drawn by illustrator David Small and You'll Never Know by C. Tyler.

Cyberabad Days Cyberabad Days by Ian McDonald
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
In the mid-21st Century, India is a land of tradition, mixed cultures and advanced technologies. The country has balkanized, splitting up in to twelve different countries. The stories in this collection are snapshots of the people and places that make up this new India, glimpses of a life where ancient philosophies mix with soap operas whose entire cast is made up artificial intelligences, and where a shortage of women and water is causing upheavals on every level of the society that makes up the political, social, and economic structure of India.

The Pretender's Crown The Pretender's Crown by C.E. Murphy
reviewed by Tammy Moore
It has been ten days since the events of The Queen's Bastard; since Belinda Primrose was exposed to the Gallin court, escaped a Gallin prison and laid a trap to kill a Gallin queen. She is home now, back in Aulun, in her mother's kingdom. That is no surety of safety. Her father, the Queen's beloved Robert, is still missing, Belinda has been undone -- frayed if not entirely unravelled -- by her time as Beatrice Irvine and Sandalia's death has riled Echonia to war.

Fast Forward 2 Fast Forward 2 edited by Lou Anders
reviewed by Derek Johnson
The introduction starts out strong citing what he sees as science fiction's four purposes: its predictive capability, its preventative possibility, its ability to inspire the future, and being "the literature of the open mind," which "acknowledges change and encourages thinking outside the box." And then presents fourteen tales which promise to do just that.

The Caryatids The Caryatids by Bruce Sterling
reviewed by Rich Horton
Set in 2060, after the world has collapsed, more or less, both ecologically and politically, there are three major players in this new world: the one remaining influential nation state, China; and a couple of extra-national organizations: the Dispensation, a fairly Capitalist grouping; and Acquis, a sort of techno-Socialist entity. The latter two groups are explicitly (in their minds) engaged in "saving the world," while China is being China.


The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Volume 1: A-G The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Volume 1: A-G by Stephen J. Sansweet, Pablo Hidalgo, Bob Vitas, Daniel Wallace, with Josh Kushins, Chris Cassidy & Mary Franklin
reviewed by David Maddox
The Star Wars Universe has spawned not only characters, but races, planets, ships, customs, religious beliefs and, well let's face it, an entire working universe. What better way to catalog it all than with this three-book hardcover boxed set designed to encompass all of George Lucas' incredible vision.

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