September 2003
© 2003 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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September 2003 US Releases by Ernest Lilley                                           Last Month / Next Month

September ushers in a new school year, with all the angst that brings, but in those years when I should have been getting ready to make something of myself by reading textbooks, I found reading Science Fiction much more interesting...and thanks to the efforts of authors like Hal Clement (whose new book Noise, is reviewed elsewhere this issue) I actually picked up a general knowledge of science that managed to baffle teachers for decades. Still, if you're going to forgo your schoolbooks for these titles, bear firmly in mind that neither Alternate History nor the Science Fictional physics of FTL, Quantum Entanglement, Time Travel, or Recombinant DNA will provide answers for your exams. They will, however, provide perspective for you to examine the "actual" answers...and that's worth quite a bit. Well, on to the month's new titles, or at least those I received in time for the issue. - Ernest

ACE - Come Armageddon by Anne Perry (Ace / Penguin Putnam HCVR $ 24.95 09/01/03)
Here's the sequel and conclusion to Perry's fantasy epic, Tathea. Though it picks up where the first book left off, it's not exactly the very next day…in fact, it's five hundred years worth of very next days later. Tathea, exiled empress of Shinabar, has spent the intervening time in the Lost Lands, boning up on the magical teachings she's learned from the Book, which she found there. Now though the prophesy that includes warriors to help her and the return of her lost love to stand beside her seems to be wishful thinking, the time has come for her to face the Great Enemy in the Darkness. Nocturne by Elaine Bergstrom (Ace / Penguin Putnam PPBK $ 6.5 09/30/03) The Austra family of vampires are into art, music, and love, and in ths first new story in over ten years, it's love that may make the nearly immortal Richard Austra vulnerable when he falls for a woman who happens to posses the rare quality that makes her a possible bearer of more vampires and drags his family back to the old country, where old dangers await them. The Wrong Reflection by Gillian Bradshaw (Ace / Penguin Putnam PPBK $ 6.5 09/01/03) Reviewer: Jeffrey J. Lyons Issue: 0903 (See review) When Paul Anderson wakes up after a car crash in the English countryside, he may be suffering from amnesia, but the one think he's certain of is that he's not Paul Anderson, no matter what his licenses says, in fact, he's quite sure that the face in the mirror is The Wrong Reflection. Originally published in a smaller run by Severin House in 2000, British author Gillian Bradshaw's first departure from historical fiction to SF comes out in a welcome mass-market edition from Ace this September. We profiled Bradshaw's SF work in Eyal Mozes' essay in our May 2003 issue, where he praised her "strong, original and suspenseful plot and interesting, heroic and sharply drawn characters." Feast of the King's Shadow by Chaz Brenchley (Ace / Penguin Putnam PPBK $ 6.5 Originally published as part of The Feast of the King's Shadow by Orbit (UK) in 2000, this continues, but by no means finishes the Outremer saga. Star Hawk 4 - Battle at Zero Point by Mack Malhoney (Ace / Penguin Putnam PPBK $ 0 09/01/03) If the sight of an contemporary jet fighter, specifically an F-16 Fighting Falcon, in the midst of a deep space slugfest makes you scratch your head, don't fret, just think of the historical precedents: Buck Rogers, John Crichton, and now…Hawk Hunter. Actually, Hawk's been in the Seventieth century for a while now, and you'd have to go back to StarHawk, or more likely even before that to the author
's Wingman series (set in the present) to figure it out.

Baen - Crown of Slaves by Davied Weber and Eric Flint (Baen HCVR $ 25 09/01/03) Slavers in Space! This novel begins a new story arc in the Honor Harington universe, whereby Queen Elizabeth, of the Star Kingdom sends an envoy on to Erewhon, an ally troubled by the presence of a slave labor planet in their backyard, skullduggery by the Solarian leauge and the "radical freed slave orgainization, the Audobon Ballroom. It's a mess for the Manitcorians to muddle through, but you know they'll clean things up in the end. The Course of Empire by Eric Flint and K.D. Wentworth (Baen HCVR $ 22 09/01/03) Twenty years before the book opens Earth is conqered by the Jao. Still the human resistance demands freedom, and the Jao Viceroy is all too willing to silence their cries with bloodletting. As if we didn't have enough problems, there's another alien invasion on the way, and they're not interested in slaves, just a nice clean human and Jao alike. Our only hope lies in an alligiance between a young Jao prince and a young human woman. The Fall of Atlantis by Marion Zimmer Bradley (Baen HCVR $ 22 09/01/03) Originally published in paperback, in 1991, Fall of Atlantis combines two novels: Web of Light and Web of Darkness.


Quest for the Well of Souls by Jack L. Chalker (Baen PPBK $ 7.99 09/01/03)
Originally published in 1978. Book Description: Imprisoned in alien bodies, sentenced to subhuman destinies, Mavra Chang and her cohorts plotted an impossible escape from a world with no exits . .
The Shadow of the Lion by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint, and Dave Freer (Baen PPBK $ 7.99 09/01/03) Originally published in 2002 in hardcover, it's a big book of Alternate History, Fantasy and Romance set in another world's sixteeenth century Venice. The Tyrant by Davide Drake and Eric Flint (Baen PPBK $ 7.99 09/01/03)Opriginally out in hardcover in 2002, this is the eight book int The Raj Whitehall Series.Thraxas by Martin Scott (Baen PPBK $ 7.99 09/01/03)
Jim Baen is showing extraordinarily good sense in bringing Thraxas, already popular in England (and already reviewed by John Berlyene for SFRevu) to the US. Typical of Baen, this volume combines both"Thraxas" and "Thraxas and the Warrior Monks" in a hilarious set of adventures by then next big thing in fantasy and humor. Thraxas is a overweight forty three year old shamus with no ambitions, living in a magical city where you can dally with whores, talk to dolphins (if you can find someone to translate) or go see the new dragon in the King's Zoo. If you've got a problem that needs solving though, you can go see Thraxas.As occasionally happens though, I like the UK covers much better.

Bantam Spectra - Nine Layers of Sky by Liz Williams (Bantam Spectra PPBK $ 0 09/02/03) Book Description: A former Soviet rocket scientist, Elena Irinovna now cleans office buildings--until she crosses paths with Ilya Muromyets. A remnant of Russia’s glorious and fabled past, Ilya is an eight-hundred-year-old hero turned heroin addict, dreaming of a death that never comes. They are brought together by a strange artifact Elena has found, which offers a glimpse into another dimension, creating a dangerous breach in a world Elena only thought she knew... Ilya is no stranger to the unexplained. He’s been hired by a mysterious organization to track down the artifact. But nothing prepares him for what it offers--or for a woman like Elena. Fighting their own inner demons as well as those from across the breach, Ilya and Elena embark on a harrowing trip between nations and worlds. And for the first time the man of myth and the woman of science discover that they have a dream to defend--and even die for...

The Black Library / Simon and Schuster - Sabbat Martyr by Dan Abnett (The Black Library / Simon and Schuster PPBK $ 6.99 09/01/03) Book Description: "A new wave of hope has been unleashed in the Chaos infested Sabbat System when a girl claiming to be the reincarnation fo Daint Sabbat is revealed. " Ah, then. It's Joan of Arc meets the bloody Warhammer 40K universe. Well, they could use a saint, that's for certain.

DAW - Gates of Heaven - Seven Brothers, Book 3 by Curt Benjamin (Daw / Penguin Putnam HCVR $ 23.95 09/01/03) Book Description: The magnificent Seven Brothers series continues with The Gates of Heaven...Even as Prince Llesho's hard-won alliances are threatened, he is caught in a race against time and the evil sorcerer Markko, as he struggles to complete his prophecy-fulfilling quest. Will the price of Llesho's quest prove too high to pay? For every step forward must be paid for with the lifeblood of those he holds dear. And even with gods and legendary creatures championing his cause, will he reach his goals too late and too weakened by the struggle to stand against both the enemies he knows and those who have not yet been revealed?  At the Edge of Space by C.J. Cherryh (Daw / Penguin Putnam PPBK $ 7.99 09/01/03) This omnibus combines two out of print Cherryh tales, Brothers of Earth and Hunger of Worlds in one doorstopping paperback. Both stories tell tales of humans of a period about 4000 years hence who have taken "armed exception" to the invasion of their territory. The fact that both stories are about humans in captivity, shouldn't bother us, the author says…we're pretty widespread by then. All in all it has an Andre Norton flavor to it, with humans cut off from their past forging new futures wherever they are. Sorcerer's Academy by Denise Little (ed) (Daw / Penguin Putnam PPBK $ 7 09/01/03) From LeGuin's Sparrohawk, to this generations beloved Harry Potter, the training of wizards has been fertile ground for the best of fantasy. Editor Denise Little has grown a bountiful crop from that ground with tales from Josepha Serman, Robert Scheckley, Jody Lynn Nye and others to explore the very peculiar world of the education of wizards.

Del Rey / Random House -
The Heritage of Shannara by Terry Brooks (Del Rey /Ballantine/ Random House HCVR $ 27.95 09/01/03)
If you were wondering how you could catch up with the Sharnnara Saga so you could enjoy the beginning of Brooks' new series, you're in luck. Del Rey has brought out all the four Shanarra stories, which followed the original Sword of Shannara: The Scions of Shannara, The Druid of Shannara, The Elf Queen of Shannara, and The Talismans of Shannara in a collection aptly named The Doorstopper of Shannara. Ok, it's really the Heritage of Shannara, and a rich heritage it is. If you like your fantasy bold, Brooks is your man. High Druid of Shannara - Jarka Ruus by Terry Brooks (Del Rey /Ballantine/ Random House HCVR $ 27.95 09/01/03) The author begins a new Shannara series, one in which Grianne Ohmsford, once the evil "Ilse Witch" is no longer under the sway of an evil mentor, but now the High Druid, and a force for peace these last twenty years, But Druids thrive on secrets, intrigues, and treachery, and there are those that will stop at nothing to see her removed from power. Tales Before Tolkien by Douglas A. Anderson (ed) (Del Rey /Ballantine/ Random House HCVR $ 14.95 09/01/03) Reviewer: Edward Carmien (See Review) To be published simultaneously in hardcover and paperback, this collection fo twenty-two tales assembled by Tolkienist Anderson includes notes on how they relate to Tolkien. Included is an unpublished story by David Lindsay, whose work Tolkien praised. Master of Middle-Eath by Paul H. Kocher (Del Rey /Ballantine/ Random House Trade $ 12.95 09/01/03) Reviewer: Edward Carmien [carmien@mac.com] (See Review) Originally published in 1972, this highly acclaimed critical study of Tolkien's work is required reading for new fans of middle-earth and old. The late Prof. Kocher asks and answers questions about the story that you might not have thought of yet, as well as some that have probably been bugging your for some time (Does the story take place on "our" Earth? If so, when?" I'm sure our resident expert on these sorts of things (Edward Carmien) will have more to say.

Firebird Fantasy / Penguin Putnam - Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction by Sharyn November (ed) (Firebird Fantasy / Penguin Putnam Trade $ 19.99 09/01/03) Like the SF collections of olden days, Firebirds doesn't have much of a theme except to celebrate excellent writing, and at the same time to introduce readers to the Firebird imprint and authors, which took flight last January and has been publishing great YA F&SF from the start. Though the content in these stories often deals with the dilemma's of being young, there is nothing juvenile about the quality of the writing. And the editor, who is also editor of Firebird, thoughtfully put the author bios and story notes after each story so as not to distract you beforehand. Highly recommended for all ages.

Four Walls Eight Windows - One Lamp by Gordon Van Gelder (ed) (Four Walls Eight Windows Trade $ 0 09/18/03) Reviewer: Rob Archer Issue: 0903 (See Review) Collected from the pages of Fantasy and Science fiction by its editor, Gordon Van Gelder, this is a fantastic survery course in Alt Hist written by the crème of the crop. Poul Anderson, Paul McAuley, Alfred Bester, Ben Bova…need I go on? Whether it’s a timeline in which Rome never fell or one where Dick Nixon hobnobbed with Phil Dick, those who do not study alternate history are doomed, perhaps not to repeat it, but at least to miss out on the fun.

Golden Gryphon Press - Nothing Human by Nancy Kress (Golden Gryphon Press HCVR $ 27 09/15/03) Reviewer: Ernest Lilley Issue: 0903 (See Review) Who are the pribir, and when are they coming? All the world wonders as twelve year olds start getting messages about their arrival. When they do arrive, nothing will ever be the same for humanity, but then, nothing ever is. Reminiscent of John Brunner's The Sheep Look Up and perhaps even Clarke's Childhood's End, Nancy Kress has written a story about the future of humanity and the choices it will face between transformation and extinction.

Harper Collins - Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett (Harper Collins HCVR $ 24.95 09/30/03) Reviewer: Pat Nash (See Review) I'll tie back my hair, men's clothing I'll put on / I'll pass for your comrade as we march along / I'll pass for your comrade, no one will ever know - The Cruel War. Well, that's much the premise of Pratchett's 29th Discworld novel, when Polly goes off to war in search of her brother and something better than ler lot on the home front. Of course, nobody is what they seem in a Pratchett novel, so she'll fit right in when she joins The Monstrous Regiment. If you're looking for brainless fun, don't let me dissuade you…but there's more here than meets the eye when this articulate author turns his saber sharp wit to war.

Meisha Merlin - Low Port by Sharon Lee (ed) and Steve Miller (ed) (Meisha Merlin Trade $ 16 09/01/03)Reviewer: Edward Carmien (See Review and Interview) Ever wonder about the folks who shovel the coal to keep the warp core hot? The girls who bring the drinks to off duty space heroes at space stations or in castle kitchens? Sharon Lee and Steve Miller have put together and engaging collection of short stories that do, and they've gotten a first rate crew to come up with the answers including L.E. Modesitt, Jr., Jody Lynn Nye, and a crop of folks who you are advised to get to know better, before everyone else does Sharon and Steve take a break from their Laiden Universe to collect a group of stories about the low frontier, those unsung types that make up the fabric of SF and Fantasy, but never get to star in the story. It's more fun than hanging out on the bridge.

Simon and Schuster - Swan Sister by Ellen Datlow (ed) and Terri Windling (ed) (Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers HCVR $ 0 09/01/03) The editorial team of Datlow and Windling (Year's Best Fantasy, Snow White, Blood Red) follow up their A Wolf in the Door by transforming traditional folk tales into stories that take place in settings more familiar to us. The stories though, remain as enchanted as ever and their lessons as compelling. No surprise there, considering the talent they've gotten together for this collection, with names like Neil Gaiman, Will Shettery, Pat Yolen, Lois Metzger and more. Recommended for anyone who ever wanted three wishes.

Roc / Penguin Putnam - Worlds That Weren't by Turtledove, Harry (et al) (Roc / Penguin Putnam Trade $ 14 09/01/03) Four master crafters of Alternate History, Harry Turtledove, S.M. Sterling, Mary Gentle, and Walter Jon Williams, provide novellas of world's that weren't for this collection.

Tor - Goddess of the Ice Realm by David Drake (Tor HCVR $ 27.95 09/01/03) This is the fifth novel in Drake's Lord of the Isles series and should be eagerly snapped up by fans of the earlier volumes of this series based on Sumerian lore and Latin literature. The title continues to stop me when I look at the book, and even a terrific illustration by Donato doesn't keep my mind from translating it into the quixotic "Goddess of Ice Cream" Is it just me? I'm sure this is a terrific book, and I'll read it as soon as I've gone for a cone…Threshold by Sarah Douglas (Tor HCVR $ 25.95 09/29/03) Talented Australian Sarah Douglas says that this new standalone novel about a cult of mathematician magi seeking to establish communications with "the one" though a glass monolith is her favorite among all her books. That's a pretty good endorsement considering the popularity of other stories like The Axis Trilogy, Starman, or The Wayfarer Redemption. It's told from the viewpoint of a young woman who is sold into slavery when her father's debts ruin their glass making business in the northern regions and they are both sent south to lands where there are plenty of good sands to melt down for glass. The girl has a talent that sees into the soul of her artwork, and pressed into service as one of the workers building the artifact that may link here to hereafter, she is at a pivotal place when the magi's dreams become more reality than they intended. Noise by Hal Clement (Tor HCVR $ 23.95 09/01/03) Reviewer: Paul Giguere (See Review) Hal Clement, this year's Readercon GOH, has been writing Hard SF since long before it was cool…in fact, his early Mission of Gravity, written in the 1940s, stands out as the seminal example of SF, "played with the net up." In his new novel, Noise, there are all the Clement trademarks: a weird world: this time a water world circling a binary star, a scientist on a mission, and locals exploring their world. Clement is loved for his scientific vision and accuracy, and for his unencumbered characters, scientists and explorers all. Here he's trying his hand at writing about a cultural anthropologist visiting a Polynesian colony generations after its establishment. Knowing the author, I wouldn't look for much island romance, but there is a coming of age element to the story, and it's worth reading for both the clean prose and the underlying message. The American Fantasy Tradition by Brian M. Thomsen (ed) (Tor Trade $ 76517.95 09/01/03) There are types of Fantasy that are uniquely American, offers this collection of powerful tales. Archetypes, like the loner without a past who must succeed without the benefit of wealth or heritage, who will succeed because he refuses to fail. There are folks tales, tales behind the scenes of America's historical events, and tales that show the spirit of America, though not in our world. Though all the stories here are complete, several became longer works, including one that proclaims: "If you build it, they will come." Of course. How could the American Fantasy Tradition not include a story about baseball? Tapping the Dream Tree by Charles De Lint (Tor Trade $ 0 09/01/03) see review our 12/2003 Review by Victoria McManus:

Warner Aspect/Books - Smallville: Strange Visitors by Diana G. Gallagher (Warner Aspect PPBK $ 5.99 09/01/03) The radioactive debris of Clarke's arrival continues to affect the residents of Smallville. Here Clarke and Lana discover a secret lab where an evil scientist seeks to make mutated monstrosities with the glowing green rocks. Night Blooming by Chelsea Quinn Yarboro (Warner Books PPBK $ 6.99 09/01/03) Published in hardcover in 2002, here's a historical vampire novel set in 800 A.D. on the road to Rome, where a vampire in the service of the Franken King must decide whether to save the woman he loves from Papal inquisition at the cost of her immortal soul, not to mention turning both King and Pope against them.

Other Publishers, Small Press...

Half Human Half Animal by Jamie Hall (1st Books Trade $ 14.95 09/01/03)
Clearly the result of a longstanding interest in shape shifting legends, this is a nice collection of legend and lore regarding human-animal transformations. Broken up by chapter and beast, there are were-wolves, cats, foxes, dolphins, snakes, hyenas, and a few assorted herbivores. Most stories are about predator animals, because they make better stories, the author starts out by explaining. She has a readable tone, lots of interesting anecdotes, and an extensive resource guide at the end. Like the horror movies that these legends spawn, a sequel is currently in the works.

Mandibles by Jeff Strand (Mundania Press Trade $ 15.99 09/01/03) Quirkly horror/sf writer Strand's small press tale of giant ants terrorizing Tampa, Florida is surprisingly fun…if fairly predicable.

Titles are (hopefully) linked to Amazon.com pages for each book and buying through our links to support our site costs. Amazon offers these titles at up to 30% off and gives free shipping for orders over $25. 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 more titles than moonwatcher could shake a stick at, so we mostly limit ourselves to what we've actually received from publishers. If you've sent us something and it didn't get in here, feel free to mention it to us at: usbooks@sfrevu.com.

© 2003 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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