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Whispers Under Ground Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
This third outing for PC Peter Grant, Britain's first trainee wizard in more years than anyone cares to remember, bears the legend 'If you've been on the underground you know what horrors await...' As astute readers will infer, this means that large chunks of the novel are set in or around London's underground system. Nathan recently reviewed another third book by a best-selling author that he said was akin to rock stars making their difficult third album, and Ben Aaronovitch's third novel in his urban magic series goes some way toward proving that point. But is it another corker of a tale, or more like something the cat coughed up?

New Arrivals New Arrivals
compiled by Neil Walsh
New arrivals at the SF Site office include the latest from Jasper Fforde, Ben Aaronovitch, Ben Bova, Graham Joyce, Patricia A. McKillip, Harry Turtledove, and many others.

Dream Castles: The Early Jack Vance Volume Two Dream Castles: The Early Jack Vance Volume Two by Jack Vance, edited by Terry Dowling and Jonathan Strahan
reviewed by Richard A. Lupoff
Over a span of some sixty-five years, well into the Twenty-first Century, Jack Vance, now ninety-five years of age, produced an astonishing stream of short stories, novelettes, novels, and occasional works of nonfiction. While most of his production has been labeled science fiction, he often tested the bounds of that classification, moving toward the realm of pure fantasy on the one hand, often mixing elements of the detective story into his works on the other. He also produced a respectable body of non-fantastic mystery and adventure fiction.

The Incarceration of Captain Nebula and Other Lost Futures The Incarceration of Captain Nebula and Other Lost Futures by Mike Resnick
reviewed by David Maddox
Stories about the future, where we're going, how we get there, and whether the journey was a good idea in the first place have been written and suggested since man came to the understanding that there WAS something that would happen 'later.' Over the centuries, some stories have taken a positive outlook, but the most intriguing are those that present us a dark tone of warning, and few manage to write them as consistently captivating as Mike Resnick.

Outcasts Outcasts by Vonda N. McIntyre
reviewed by Trent Walters
This ebook collection -- a novella grouped with two shorter stories -- is one which encompasses characters trapped in miserable circumstances: sometimes without choice, sometimes by their own devising. "Screwtop" is the prison labor camp located on Redsun, surrounded by volcanoes and marshes, making escape so impossible that the guards seem unworried when prisoners try to escape.

The Year's Best Science Fiction: by Author The Year's Best Science Fiction: by Volume
compiled by Rodger Turner
In 1984, Gardner Dozois gathered together what he thought was the best short science fiction of the previous year. He scrutinized as many of the magazines, collections and anthologies published in 1983 that he could get his hands on and chose those which he felt best represented the science fiction field. Jim Frenkel published it as part of his Bluejay Books line (for three years) and it has been produced every year since then (by St. Martins's Press). Volume 29 has been added to the lists compiled by author, by title and by volume.

The Devil Draws Two The Devil Draws Two by David B. Riley
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
Cyberpunk is a popular subject nowadays and it's no wonder when the Wild West, new technology and the threat of aliens rear its head. David B. Riley brings the past back to the reader with Miles O'Malley's adventures in what he calls the weird west. The character started out in a few short stories; in "Cabal Asylum," and "Hadrosaur Tales," and then he went on to feature in two other novels.

Snowfall Snowfall by J. Kathleen Cheney
reviewed by Trent Walters
Lourdes Medina has followed her fifteen-year-old mare from Texas to buy back the horse her brother Chuy sold in order to spite her after she spurned the man he chose for her to marry. At the auction, however, she falls for a well-dressed gentleman who is bidding against her and has a more slender, red-haired woman in a dark green walking suit hanging on his arm.

The Dragon Griaule The Dragon Griaule by Lucius Shepard
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
The dragon is dead, yet the dragon lives. From the very first lines of the very first story about the dragon, "The Man Who Painted The Dragon Griaule," that paradox winds its way through the narrative and ensnares the lives of the characters. The dragon is huge, its body sculpts the ridge that forms the Carbonates Valley, and for generations of inhabitants, the will of a dead dragon has been the most pervasive influence in their lives.

Watching the Future Watching the Future
a column by Derek Johnson
As the summer draws to a close, the movies that surprised Derek the most during this steroid-enhanced release season possess little in the way of genre tropes (though both touch on fantasies of some kind or another) and often uneven quality. He's speaking of Steven Soderberg's scattered yet still interesting Magic Mike and Adam Shankman's often lame-brained yet infectiously charming musical Rock of Ages.

Babylon 5.1: Televison Reviews Babylon 5.1
TV reviews by Rick Norwood
Rick has read several articles in the news condemning "binge tv viewing" watching an entire season or an entire series non-stop. What impresses him the most is what busy-bodies people are, how much fun people have telling other people what they should and should not do. He once watched the entire Batman movie serial, four and a half hours, back to back. It's one of his happy memories, as watching the first four seasons of Breaking Bad back to back will be a happy memory for the binge viewers.

The Dark Knight Rises The Dark Knight Rises
a movie review by Rick Norwood
This is a long, silly, disappointing costume hero film with a number of memorable flaws. One is Batman and Bane fight by punching each other in the face. We saw infinitely more exciting movie fights in the previews. Wasn't Batman supposed to know some martial arts? The Karate Kid could beat both these guys with one hand tied behind his back.

The Amazing Spider-Man The Amazing Spider-Man
a movie review by Rick Norwood
The big trouble with the new Spider-Man is that we've seen it all before, and Sam Raimi, director of the movie Spider-Man, did it better. Also: are we really supposed to believe that there are giant mechanical cranes lined up on Broadway, with operators standing by where they can reach their machines on a few minutes notice?

Nexus Graphica Nexus Graphica
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
This is one of those catch-all columns from NG Central, where we play with format a little bit. Mark London Williams rolls the sidebar into the main column, talks up reviews and main subject all at once. He begins by writing about Comic-con (it keeps getting bigger and more crowded), then a review of The Dark Knight Rises which he thought the film failed to fully cohere, and the motives weren't always clear and finishes up with a look at three of the Before Watchmen books.

Second Looks

The Armageddon Rag The Armageddon Rag by George R.R. Martin
reviewed by Sherwood Smith
Youth, anger, and rock and roll -- three things with the power of magic, especially for those of us who were young in the sixties. In this combination murder mystery and road trip novel, George R.R. Martin evokes that vividly, and then ponders where it all went. The opening swiftly sets the scene: as the hippie generation swelled into student protests in the late sixties, the rock band called Nazgûl became the voice of a generation. Their rise to fame peaked on September 20th, 1971, at an enormous outdoor concert in West Mesa, New Mexico, then abruptly fell with the shooting.

First Novels

Struck Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
reviewed by Katherine Petersen
Mia Price, has a unique addiction; she craves lightning and has been struck so many times that she has veiny scars all over her body. Luckily her face has been exempt, but one more strike and they'll expand there, too. Mia, and her mother and younger brother, Parker, live in Los Angeles, a city rarely hit by lightning. Its lack of affinity for lightning, doesn't preclude earthquakes, and a massive one, which many believe originated with an electrical storm has turned downtown L.A. into a wasteland with the surrounding areas not a whole lot better.

Soldiers of the Sun: Overthrowing Sebau Soldiers of the Sun: Overthrowing Sebau by Ivy Reisner
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
Set is a god who has set his sights on a young woman. He has taken an interest in her, and it isn't just a minor crush, he is in it for the long haul after seeing how Naomi is unhappy with her life. She starts out as uninterested in his advances, and even indifferent to them, but she soon comes to understand him more than she thinks later on.


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