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Alchemystic Alchemystic by Anton Strout
reviewed by Katherine Petersen
This is the first book in a new urban fantasy series called the Spellmason Chronicles. Alexandra Belarus learns of her family history when she's attacked one night and saved by a stone gargoyle animated by her great-great-grandfather's spellmason abilities. Alexandra's danger awoke the gargoyle, which was created to protect the family.

Railsea Railsea by China Miéville
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
It seems likely, in years to come, someone who has read Railsea in their youth upon picking up a copy of Herman Melville's Moby Dick and thinking to themselves: Hang on, I've already read this! For the first third or so of the novel, China Miéville is fairly true to his source material. The setting is transformed from the southern oceans to a landscape criss-crossed by a seemingly infinite number of railway lines. Trains of many kinds run on these lines, but the one we're particularly interested in is the equivalent of a whaler, hunting for the gigantic beasts that live under the soil: rats and antlions and especially the mole or moldywarpe.

Interzone #240, May/June 2012 Interzone #240, May/June 2012
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
Here we have short stories, illustrations, and the usual interviews, news and reviews. Ben Baldwin's illustration of a futuristic android prepares readers for what is inside, as there are stories of rebels in the heart of revolutionary France, the poverty of an otherworldly Middle-Eastern country, the secret of dreams, home life with a twist, and what others think of humans. Each story is interesting, and is either fantasy or science fiction, but written in such a way that blurs what is seen in a way that is normal.

Trucker Ghost Stories Trucker Ghost Stories edited by Annie Wilder
an audiobook review by Susan Dunman
It's easy to get in the mood for Halloween with so many great horror stories available to listen to this year. It's always a more frightening experience to hear a good scary story rather than reading it in print. While it can be a challenge to find the best unnerving tales, this audiobook stands out because it claims to be a collection of true ghost stories.

The Last Dragonslayer The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
reviewed by David Soyka
This is first adventure of Jennifer Strange, adolescent foundling and indentured servant, who manages the Kazam Mystical Arts Management, a collective of wizards for hire. Also it turns out that Strange is a chosen one, the last of a long line of Dragonslayers, destined to kill the last surviving dragon, thereby opening up the heretofore magically protected Dragonlands to land development.

Ravensoul Ravensoul by James Barclay
reviewed by Dominic Cilli
James Barclay has created two series of books thus far, The Chronicles of the Raven and The Legends of the Raven, but essentially "The Raven" books are one long series of overlapping stand-alone adventures. Of course, there is some carry-over between books, but in a pinch you can probably pick any one of them up and not be lost in the storyline at all.

Planesrunner Planesrunner by Ian McDonald
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
YA is the new black. At least, within science fiction more and more authors are writing YA novels, and YA novels are attracting more and more attention within the genre. What is it that we say to a YA audience that we do not say to an adult audience, or vice versa? Judging from Ian McDonald's first venture into writing a YA novel, the answer seems to involve, perhaps unsurprisingly, complexity. But it is not simply that one form is more complex than the other.

The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz by Jules Verne
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
In a way, the story of this book is far more interesting than the story in the book. It was one of the last novels that Verne wrote before his death in 1905, and in 1904 he was writing to his publisher to say that he hoped to see the book in print before he died. It was not to be: the novel, indeed, was not quite finished at the time of his death as a couple of minor points in this text show. The novel went on to be one of the works published posthumously under the aegis of his son, Michel, but when Verne's manuscripts were made available in the 1980s it became obvious how extensively Michel had tampered with his father's work.

Albert of Adelaide Albert of Adelaide by Howard L Anderson
reviewed by Seamus Sweeney
The book tells the story of the eponymous platypus, an escapee from Adelaide Zoo, and his adventures in Old Australia, which he had previously idealised as a human-free paradise. Albert is haunted and infuriated by memories of his captivity, and the perpetual eyes watching his every movement. Further back, his capture from a simple life along the Murray River was even more traumatic. The story begins with Albert, days march north from Adelaide, delirious and seeming ready to die.

New Arrivals New Arrivals
compiled by Neil Walsh
Some of the latest new arrivals include new and forthcoming works from Timothy Zahn, Brandon Sanderson, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Ed Greenwood, R.A. & Geno Salvatore, Terry Brooks, and many others.

Looper Looper
a movie review by Rick Norwood
Looper is an original but flawed time travel movie. A number of mainstream reviewers have found it hard to understand. SF readers familiar with Robert A. Heinlein's "All You Zombies" will find the time loops in this film elementary. H.G. Wells once advised science fiction writers to stick to one impossible idea at a time. If you have a story about flying pigs, don't add flying broomsticks. Looper has two science fiction ideas, time travel and telekinesis.

First Novels

Year Zero Year Zero by Rob Reid
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
The aliens have heard our music, and they like it. Actually, they love it to the point where the first time they heard human music it caused all listeners to become comatose with rhapsody, disrupting entire societies to the point where, after recovering from the shock, calendars were re-numbered, with all dates now measured by whether they are Pre or Post K. What the K stands for is one of the underlying jokes of this hilarious first novel.


Ancient Symbology in Fantasy Literature Ancient Symbology in Fantasy Literature by William Indick
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Intended for both academic readers and laymen, the author has produced a small book about big ideas. Specifically, the archetypal symbols which are the basis of fantasy fiction, from the fairy tales of the Middle Ages to the million-selling genre of the present day. Traditional myths are used for guidance and as a starting point, from which the author offers insight based on his psychological interpretation of the figures and themes addressed. Potential readers who are now thinking that this is a stuffy, highbrow work, may like to reserve judgement.

Series Review

Touched By An Alien Alien Tango Alien in the Family Touched By An Alien, Alien Tango and Alien in the Family by Gini Koch
reviewed by Michael M Jones
When marketing manager Katherine "Kitty" Katt instinctively, against all odds, kills a superhuman monster with nothing more than a pen, she's almost immediately dragged into a world of bizarre adventure unlike any she ever imagined. She's spirited away by a group of Armani-clad hotties who work for an agency so secret, it's literally out of this world.

Series Review

Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper by Robert Bloch
reviewed by Richard A. Lupoff
So many authors are known for a single work or even a single character that it practically becomes part of their names: "Mary-Shelley-author-of-Frankenstein," "Harriet-Beecher-Stowe-author-of-Uncle-Tom's-Cabin, Arthur-Conan-Doyle-creator-of-Sherlock-Holmes," "Bram-Stoker-author-of-Dracula." It's a rarity that this kind of lightning strikes the same author twice, but it happened to Robert Bloch. He became famous for his short story, "Yours Truly Jack the Ripper," that appeared in Weird Tales in 1943. For a good many years he was known as "Robert-Bloch-author-of-'Yours-Truly-Jack-the-Ripper.'" But then one of his short novels was published by Simon & Shuster with little fanfare titled Psycho. And the author would be known for the rest of his days as "Robert-Bloch-author-of-Psycho."


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