|February 2003 US Releases by Ernest Lilley Last Month / Next Month|
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If you were to pop over to Amazon.com and do a search of all the SF and Fantasy they have listed for being published this month, you'd come back with something over 200 titles. That's too many to do anything more than just list...which is what I've been doing for a while in this column...but it's a) pointless, since I could just send you there and let you list them yourself and b) no darn fun. So, instead of covering everything I'm focusing on hardcovers and whatever we've actually recieved.
Index: Ace · Avon/Eos Baen · Bantam/Spectra/Dell · Daw · Del Rey · Golden Gryphon · Forge · 4W8W · Pocket · Roc Scholastic · Star Trek · Star Wars · Tor · Warner/Aspect · Wizards of the Coast · Art/Reference · Other Publishers
Avon/EOS - Acorna's Rebels Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough continue the bestselling Acorna series about faroff planets and a unicorn girl. Acorna (found floating in a lifepod as an infant) must search for her lifemate, Ari, on an embargoed jungle world, the home of the Temple cats. I bet a dragon would make quick work of a Temple cat, but that aside, it's no surprise that this pair can really tell a story.
Baen Books - In Pyramid Scheme by Eric Flint, Dave Freer, an alien device falls to earth (through a wormhole) and lands on the University of Chicago Library. Then it 1) starts growing...unstoppably and 2) starts sending people into mythological worlds where they have to fight for their lives. See what spending all your time in a library will do to you? Warlord by David Drake, S. M. Stirling, is a compilation reissue of the first two books in Drake and Stirling's classic General Mil-SF series. The concluding volume, Conqueror follows next month. What's Grimmer Than Hell (by David Drake)? Fourteen stories of warfare and conflict by a master of the art of sf-war, including one previously unpublished story. In The Guardians of the Flame Baen puts together Joel Rosenberg's first fantasy trilogy (The Sleeping Dragon; The Sword and the Chain; The Silver Crown) in which a trio of role playing gamers enter an alternate world to stop the power mad scheming of...their philosophy professor. Finally, A Plague of Demons & Other Stories by Keith Laumer, Eric Flint combines Laumer's classic story of abducted soldiers with others by Laumer, nobody does it better.
Random House Bantam - Del Rey- Spectra - Del Rey's Evolution (see review) by Stephen Baxter (Manifold Origin, Moonseed,...) follows an unusual character...our genes...through epoch after epoch on a journey from primate to posthuman. Not your usual story, but rich for those who get into it. Then for something completely different, Alan Dean Foster takes us all to a soggy swamp of a world in Drowning World, where he treats readers to another adventure in his Commonwealth series. Foster never fails to make a tale enjoyable, even though I've never much like slogging through rain forest worlds.
Doubleday - While I'm here, I ought to mention Max Barry's latest novel, Jennifer Government even though it came out last month, because we have a review planned. It's a near future thriller where corporations have taken the place of everything, and you take the last name of your affiliated corp. Yes, that would make Jennifer a fed. Not the first time this idea has been trotted out before the libertarian, cyberpunk SF community, but we've heard good things about Barry.
Penguin Putnam: Ace - Daw - ROC - Ace releases a new novel by Sharon Shinn, Angelica, about a legion of angels-in-black sent to save the world. The leader of the legion takes a human woman to be his life-mate...his Angelica. Daw starts out with a new series by Mercedes Lackey, in which the author " took pre-dynastic Egypt and the conflict between Upper and Lower Egypt, used Atlantis as Lower Egypt, turned the whole thing into a fantasy setting and added raptor-dragons..." The first book is Joust, and it should be available late Feb.
Simon&Schuster: Star Trek (Pocket Books) - It's true that these are mass market paperbacks, but what would a month be without new Star Trek titles? In Gemini by Mike W. Barr, James T has to make diplomatic overtures to a pair of Siamese twins ruling an uneasy coalition and The Genesis Wave by John Vornholt brings the third book in the popular continuation of the movie plotline - now that the genesis has been stopped by Picard and his crew, what will the cost be for the havoc it's already created?
St. Martins Press: Tom Doherty Books - Tor - ORB - Forge - St. Martin's Press releases Jinn, Matthew B.J. Delaney's first book (Hardcover, ) which it describes as "Saving Private Ryan meets Alien" but they should have said Predator. Delaney has mixed some hard edged war fiction together with a classic bogeyman story stretching from the Japanese held islands of WWII to Boston today. Nice job, especially for a first book.
TOR brings another great month of reading out, starting with Crossfire by Nancy Kress, a story of first contact, a conman colonizing the stars...and getting caught in the crossfire of somebody else's interstellar war. Humans (see review), Robert Sawyer's sequel to Hominids (review), moves the action back and forth between our Earth and the one where Neanderthals stayed at the top of the food chain to become a technological culture. Cory Doctorow (this month's Feature Author Interview ), who's gotten a lot of positive feedback for his short story work takes us on a ride in his first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (see review), in which he decided that if you're going to live forever...why not do it in Disneyland? The Dark Path by Walter H. Hunt follows his first book, which we praised (review), and Walter told us that he's happy with the development he's gone through since then (see next month's issue for a review of his newest book and more). Ken MacLeod (interview) finishes off his Engines of Light trilogy with Engine City following the Hugo nominated Cosmonaut Keep (see review)and the story of humanity, dinosaurs, and intelligence spread throughout the stars. It's an excellent series. Keith R.A. DeCandido authors the first tie in from Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda: Destruction of Illusions (see review) as well as finding time to write a review of the new Daredevil movie for us (film-review).
Robert Silverberg, with the help of the SFWA membership, has come up with an absolutely spectacular first volume in: The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, 1929-1964: The Greatest Science Fiction Stories of All Time, Chosen by the Members of the SFWA. If you grew up reading Golden Age SF, you've got to have this collection of what had to be your favorite stories. If you just started, you'd better read this before you start thinking old SF was out of touch. The style is different, but the ideas are just as rich as anything coming out today...and usually prescient. Also of interest is that John Clute's excellent novel Appleseed (see review) is out this month in trade paperback.
Judith Tarr's Daughter of Lir, follows White Horse's Daughter in the series of stories about Neolthic culture. In The Return of Santiago Mike Resnick, follows up his earlier book (Santiago 1986), with more tales of the high frontier told in the style of the old west. Hecate's Glory by Karen Michalson concludes the story of Wizardry she started in Enemy's Glory.
Warner/Aspect: The Skrayling Tree: A Tale of the Albino by Michael Moorcock continues the multiverse fantasy he started in The Dreamthief's Daughter hopping back between our universe in 1951 and a magical one a thousand years before. The epilogue promises that the story will continue, but it's not too late to start at the beginning.
Visions of the Third Millennium: Black Science Fiction Novelists Write the Future by Sandra M. Grayson (Africa World Press). February is Black History Month...but I think a black future month would be even better, so maybe Ms. Grayson's book would be a good thing to read. Or you could go back to olden days and examine the premise in Tolkien the Medievalist by Jane Chance (Routledge). But whatever you do, take a moment to appreciate one of SF's greatest artists in Science Fiction Art of Vincent Di Fate by Vincent Di Fate (Collins & Brown).
Received from Other Publishers (We try to at least list all the books we receive, and small press often does not arrive in its month of publication.)
Meisha Merlin : Is offering The Gossamer Eye - a most unusual collection of poetry and prose by Mark McLaughlin, Rain Graves and David Niall Wilson alternately horrific, darkly humorous, erotic and downright nasty. Each author commands a third of the book, and each speaks in his/her own unique voice. Also being released this month in both Hardcover and Trade is Liaden Universe writing duo Sharon Lee & Steve Miller's The Tomorrow Log in which a freelance thief becomes embroiled in interplanetary politics and interstellar war.
Wesleyan: This excellent university press has a noteworthy Jules Verne translation out - The Mighty Orinoco (Jan '03) - and it's a rare "feminist" adventure novel, with a young woman as the central protagonist in the search for her father in the jungles of South America. Verne was the Michael Crichton of his day, tapping the public's fascination with emergent technology to turn out absorbing adventures.