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Evolutionary Catastrophes Evolutionary Catastrophes by Vincent Courtillot
reviewed by Peter D. Tillman
We all know that a BIG meteor hit the Gulf of Mexico at the end of the Cretaceous period and wiped out the dinosaurs, right? So, big meteor-strikes probably caused the other mass-extinctions too? Well -- the Chicxulub impact at the KT boundary, 65 million years ago, is indeed well-documented. What's less well-known is that the Deccan Traps, an enormous outpouring of flood-basalts in what is now western India were also in full eruption then.

Thor's Wedding Day Thor's Wedding Day by Bruce Coville
reviewed by Steven H Silver
Drawing from several stories of Norse mythology, the basic tale is taken from the legend of the giant Thrym, who, despite his reputation as a dullard, manages to figure out a way to steal Thor's hammer, Mjollner. To fill out the novel, the auhtor also brought in the legend of Mjollner's creation and the story of Thialfi, the goat boy.

The Monsters of Morley Manor The Monsters of Morley Manor by Bruce Coville
reviewed by Rich Horton
Anthony is a sixth-grader living in Owl's Roost, Nebraska, with his florist parents and his annoying but lovable younger sister Sarah. While his parents are out of town and his Gramma is staying with them, he and his sister visit an estate sale at the spooky Morley Manor. Old Man Morley has just died, but Sarah encounters a strange man looking much like him, who shows her a curious and intriguing box. Sarah convinces Anthony to buy the box. When they get home, he opens it and finds 5 curious figurines: a dinosaur-headed man, a hunchback, a dog-faced man, a vampire woman, and a snake-haired woman.


Philip José Farmer's The Dungeon Philip José Farmer's The Dungeon by Richard Lupoff and Bruce Coville
reviewed by Matthew Peckham
Not to be confused with the barrage of popular and cult games you play with little plastic dice, this series was originally published as a collection of individual novels by four authors under the creative auspices of Philip José Farmer between 1988 and 1990. Borrowing liberally from Farmer's Riverworld saga thematically (without the after-life apparatus) the story concerns one Major Clive Folliot, an officer in Her Majesty's military service in 1878, who embarks on a quest into the deadly Sudd floodplain of central Africa to find his absent twin brother, gone fourteen months and last known exploring the Sudd region. He stumbles instead into a multi-dimensional labyrinth that spans a planet and houses creatures and technologies from throughout the galaxy.

Final Crisis Final Crisis by Greg Cox
an audiobook review by Steven Brandt
Let's see if we have this straight -- in some future battle, Darkseid is defeated and is sent hurtling backward through time. Eventually, he lands on Earth in our own present day. This causes an imbalance in our world, and also in the 51 other universes that hinge upon our own, and the whole big mess begins to slide into a black hole. There’s also something about the anti-life equation, a mathematical proof that shows Darkseid is the true ruler of all. Darkseid broadcasts the anti-life equation all over the planet to enslave humanity and a few super-heroes as well. All the super-heroes of the world, and a few not of this world, will have to band together to save the 52 universes.

One Perfect Mate One Perfect Mate by Tracy Cozzens
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Cozzens has taken an old love theme and run it through her own machinery to produce something new and intriguing. She turns out an irresistible plot -- complete with fascinating characters, a wholly new setting, an ear for dialogue, and a pace that keeps you moving at a brisk clip.

Delore's Confession Delore's Confession by Paulette Crain
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
As long as there is an Anne Rice, there are going to be authors gunning for her spot on the bestseller lists. If anyone has ever had a legitimate chance to surpass the Queens of gothic, steamy horror, Paulette Crain might just be the one.

Ninth Day of Creation Ninth Day of Creation by Leonard Crane
reviewed by Marc Goldstein
One part Tom Clancy, one part Gregory Benford, the story successfully weaves cutting-edge scientific speculation into a political thriller with a propulsive, Byzantine plot. Wrapped in the package of a taut techno-thriller, the novel's core themes revolve around advancements in genetic engineering and their implications for medicine and biological warfare.

Boris and Bella Boris and Bella by Carolyn Crimi
reviewed by Charlene Brusso
"The Odd Couple" gets a spooky romantic spin -- with just enough grue to make the kids cheerfully shiver in this charming book. Picture two warring neighbors. Dapper Boris Kleanitoff, with his crisp, bat-winged suit and an eternally dour E.A. Poe-ish expression, is a die-hard neat-nik. But his neighbor Bella Legrossi is the exact opposite. In her funereal finery, with flies eternally buzzing around her tousled yellow locks, she is known far and wide as "the messiest monster in Booville."

Tolkien and Shakespeare: Essays on Shared Themes and Language Tolkien and Shakespeare: Essays on Shared Themes and Language edited by Janet Brennan Croft
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
If you hated something like The Silmarillion, this is not the book for you. This is essentially an academic book on the Faerie, however incongruous that might sound, and it discusses enchantment in terms that many might find dry, and boring, and superfluous to requirements -- if your interest in the Faerie is merely entertainment, then steer clear of this book. But if you loved The Silmarillion...

The Passage The Passage by Justin Cronin
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
It's one of THOSE books. You know of it long before you glimpse it -- the fabled break-out book, the advance worth millions, the film deal, the works, including a full paragraph's worth of a back-cover blurb by no less than Stephen King. And now here it is, with its eerie near-holographic cover, with its 700+ pages, its full-color promo materials tucked inside complete with the photo of the boyish-looking author and the background story of how the book got written (on jogging outings with his beloved daughter, while the two of them spun the tale of the Girl Who Saved The World). So, then. Alma read it. And she is mightily miffed. Really she is.

Percival's Angel Percival's Angel by Anne Eliot Crompton
reviewed by Charlene Brusso
The story of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table as we know it today is a thorough mix of ancient legends with pagan and Christian iconography to create a lasting, near universal myth. Arthur's fictional Knights are remembered for their honour and loyalty, their dedication to justice and good works -- very different in fact from what we know of actual chivalric figures from history -- and that's one of the points the author makes quite clearly with this story.

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.

Christendom Christendom by Neil Cross
reviewed by Martin Lewis
This is one of those science fiction novels that only says Fiction on the back. Sometimes this is a sign that the author has no knowledge of the genre or that they believe in the old "its too good to be sci-fi" cliché (Paul Theroux and P.D. James are two notorious culprits). Luckily though this is a different type of author; someone who is at ease employing any trope they see fit in order to serve their story.

Planet Quest Planet Quest by Ken Croswell
reviewed by Steven H Silver
The author writes about our solar system with all the pride a native New Yorker or Chicagoan displays when describing their hometown. Unfortunately, Steven feels this type of enthusiasm is somewhat out-of-place in a science book, even popular science such as this.

Crowded Magazine #1 Crowded Magazine #1
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
The stories are a treat to read and will appeal to everyone -- they will all have their favourites, Sandra's was "The Garden," by Rich Larsen, but there are others that will appeal to most, "Mirrorball" by Jason Helmandollar, "The Anything Cloak" by Michael Wehunt and "King of Shreds and Patches" by Thomas Brennan. Though it joins the ranks of the indie magazine department, the quality of the stories and the mixed genres is impressive to say the least and the cover art is just as pro looking as many other mainstream magazines in the sf, horror and fantasy vein.

Conversation Hearts Conversation Hearts by John Crowley
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
On the planet Brxx, a little girl called Trxx is born with no fur. At first her mother and father, Qxx and Fxx, and her older brother, Pxx, don't know what to make of this strange, disturbing disability. But gradually they learn that Trxx's difference does not affect her ability to enjoy life.

In Other Words In Other Words by John Crowley
reviewed by Matthew Cheney
If John Crowley wrote the text on the label of a soup can, it would be worth reading. this book is much more than a label on a can: it is a collection of essays and reviews, a glimpse of a master's workshop, a box of wonders and a museum of joys. This is not to say that his non-fiction will displace his fiction in readers' affections. His fiction is singular; his non-fiction is thoughtful, erudite, and skilled, and it does what most other things of its type do -- it conveys information, ideas, and opinions.

The Girlhood of Shakespeare's Heroines The Girlhood of Shakespeare's Heroines by John Crowley
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
A number of reviewers have stated that John Crowley is the sort of writer whose works you either immediately take to or are immediately put off by. A number of published and even highly marketable writers can tell a story, and then some, like Talbot Mundy, Algernon Blackwood, Ray Bradbury and John Crowley, are storytellers (or raconteurs) — quite a different kettle of fish.

Peter Crowther, ed.

Songs of Leaving Songs of Leaving by Peter Crowther
reviewed by John Berlyne
This new collection of stories offers real nourishment for all connoisseurs of short fiction, for the author is a master of the form. Though prominent and highly respected in the fields of dark fantasy and crime fiction, this brings together a group of gems that are thematically science fiction. What is perhaps most striking about these works is that he is using the genre not to extrapolate futuristic ideas but rather to explore the effects of these concepts on his characters, sometimes in isolation, sometimes as part of a larger society.

The Hand That Feeds / Alternate Lives / In The Mirror The Hand That Feeds by Peter Crowther and James Lovegrove, Alternate Lives by Paul Bradshaw and In The Mirror by Sarah Singleton
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
These are 3 exceptional chapbooks with a vitally important theme. It would be nice if these stories gave us pause, caused us to examine the shadows around us more closely. "Nice," but not likely, according to these authors. People are people and human nature is virtually set in stone; a genuine, lasting change just may be beyond such simple creatures.

Lonesome Roads Lonesome Roads by Peter Crowther
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
It is a title that doesn't promise boatloads of laughs, but evokes an almost instantaneous feeling of loss. No one gets through this life without walking down their own lonesome roads of sorrow. The author presents 3 very different tales with one common denominator that readers will empathize with immediately.

The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction by Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr.
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
What makes this book significant is that it marks a necessary, if belated, corrective to the orthodox Marxist view of science fiction that has been the more or less default academic response to the genre since at least the work of Darko Suvin. As such, The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction is likely to become the central point of sf criticism for some time to come.

Cthulhu Sex #17 Cthulhu Sex #17
reviewed by Chris Przybyszewski
The magazine is an odd assortment of very short stories, poetry, and illustrations. The tone focuses on the odd, and the intention is to embrace a subculture while also repelling those not inside the culture. If there was a bit more of an emphasis on good writing and not on following the clichés of pulp fiction, writing, then it might have a workable plan of attack.

UnderKingdom: Disco Goblins vs. The Machine UnderKingdom: Disco Goblins vs. The Machine by Jonathan Culverhouse
reviewed by John Enzinas
This is not the book you expect it to be, given the title and cover art. The cover looks like something just waiting for a 10-year-old boy to add fighter jets shooting things. The title sounds like a discount video game bought for that same boy, that he never ever played. It, therefore, came as a great shock that what's inside was wonderful.

The Dream Spheres The Dream Spheres by Elaine Cunningham
reviewed by Don Bassingthwaite
Not exactly a sequel to Thornhold, it is the story of a new magic which has come to Waterdeep -- small milky spheres holding a single perfect illusion to be cast into the mind of the user like a dream. As word of their existence and addictive power spreads, various factions struggle to exploit, control, or contain them.

Thornhold Thornhold by Elaine Cunningham
reviewed by Don Bassingthwaite
The Harpers, TSR's long-running and open-ended series, finally draws to a conclusion with this novel. Despite the fact that each of the 16 entries in the series stands on its own, this one left Don with a lot of unanswered questions, and a feeling there should be more.

Magdalen Rising Magdalen Rising by Elizabeth Cunningham
reviewed by David Soyka
The four Gospels account of the life of Jesus suffers from a "Rosemary Woods" gap -- a period of roughly eighteen years between the ages of 12 and 30 in which either Jesus did nothing worth noting or was entirely absent from Palestine. There is some Biblical evidence to suggest the latter view. John the Baptist failed to recognize his own cousin, implying that he hadn't seen Jesus for quite some time. Also, Matthew 17:24-27 recounts that Jesus had to pay a Roman enforced "strangers tax" levied upon aliens. Another speculation goes that his great uncle, Joseph of Aramathea, reputed as one of the first Christian missionaries to Britain and the founder of what became Glastonbury Abbey, might conceivably have taken the young Jesus up North for vacation.

The Passion of Mary Magdalen The Passion of Mary Magdalen by Elizabeth Cunningham
reviewed by David Soyka
The author's concerns extend beyond Gospel mythology to encompass Roman antiquity, Celtic lore, the cult of Isis and goddess worship in general, primarily the notion of whore-priestess as feminist empowerment. This is The Mists of Avalon approach to retelling myth from a female perspective in which the venerated deeds of the male hero could never have happened without a woman's participation, but which role gets erased by patriarchal hegemony. It's also highly entertaining.

Paper Mage Paper Mage by Leah R. Cutter
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Mei-Mei was offered the immortal peach, but filial piety prevented her from taking it. Now, years later, her granddaughter Xiao Yen may finally have a chance to impress Old Zhang enough to be offered this peach. She has been trained to give it to her Aunt, who regrets her decision and longs to be swept away to a better place, away from the cycle of birth and rebirth, pain and sorrow.

X and Y and Other Like Stories X and Y and Other Like Stories by Heidi Cyr
reviewed by David Hebblethwaite
"Is it love, or just another psychotic episode?" This question is posed on the back cover of this enigmatic little book, and it expresses the main theme of the auhtor's first collection; you may find yourself asking it as you read many of the stories.

Julie E. Czerneda

Fantastic Companions Fantastic Companions edited Julie E. Czerneda
reviewed by Steven H Silver
This is a collection of stories which deal with the oftentimes symbiotic relationships between heroes in fantasy fiction and their non-human compatriots. The anthology of nineteen stories run the gamut from the familiar companions, like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like salmon and griffins, to the downright strange of constellations and kites.

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