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

We've more or less finished moving to the new address, which was nearly as much fun as you probably imagine. Books are still trying to catch up to us though, and if you're thinking of sending anything to us, the new address is: 1405 Abingdon Dr. E #5, Alexandria, VA, 22314. Our preferred method of shipping: Media Mail.

Ace / Penguin Putnam

Any Man So Daring by Sarah A. Hoyt (Ace / Penguin Putnam HCVR $ 23.95 11/04/03) In the conclusion of Hoyt's Shakespeare meets the fairies, Will, weary and wishing he'd never met the Elven King Quicksilver, even if it did spark his talent, learns that his son Hamnet (Did Shakespeare really have a son named Hamnet?) has been taken to Quicksilver's forest and Will must go after him. Edward Carmien reviewed the second of this this series: All Night Awake (See Review). The Forgotten Truth by Dawn Cook (Ace / Penguin Putnam PPBK $ 6.99 11/25/03) Here's the third in a series of truths: First Truth, Hidden Truth and now…um, what was that title…ah. Forgotten Truth. Alissa, the only student of magic at the once thriving hold, learning from the only Master left, slips up with a spell and finds herself centuries earlier, when the Hold was full of students and magic, but not where she wants to be…with the man/mage she loves. More, she's having trouble controlling her dragon shifiting ability, and she might not just get stuck in time, but in shape as well.Agents of Light and Darkness by Simon R. Green (Ace / Penguin Putnam PPBK $ 6.5 11/01/03) PI John Taylor is back in the second Nightside novel, about a mythical secret part of London where it's always three am, and gods and monsters cut deals in pubs, where magic works and anything can be had for a price. This time John's hot on the trail of the grail, the other one, the one Judas drank from…the un-holy grail. Whoever finds it will gain dark and terrible powers and there's no shortage of sinners and saints who'd like to be the one. Green's got the noir tone down perfectly, and the bizarre characters that he conjures up in this Twilight Zone part of London town are memorable, if only so you can avoid them on the street.   Storyteller by Amy Thompson (Ace / Penguin Putnam Trade $ 14 11/25/03) If you come upon a storyteller in the market square, and stay to listen to the end of the tale, you must pay them. Of course, you can always slip away in the middle and not owe the teller a thing…but when the storyteller's prose is guided by an author like Amy Thompson, and when the stories are of an exotic land where telpathic sea creatures bond with downed spaceship pilots and the culture and history of a planet's people is passed by oral tradition…well, you'll probably forget to turn away soon enough, or to put down the book before you're hooked. Future Crimes by Jack Dann (ed) , Gardner Dozois (ed) (Ace / Penguin Putnam PPBK $ 5.99 11/25/03) Including Michael Swanwick's deservedly 2003 Hugo winning "The Dog Said Bow Wow", and seven other stories of notable quality, including the classic "'Repent Harlequin!' Said the Ticktock Man" by Harlan Ellison, Future Crime certainly has the goods, as it were. The overarching theme seems a bit stretched though, and I'd like to see an anthology of stories written for the topic rather than ones culled from the market. Good stories though, and worth actually paying the pittance it costs, instead of resorting to crime to own a copy.

Avon/EOS

Impossible Odds by Dave Duncan (Avon/Eos HCVR $ 25 11/91/03) Two years have passed since the events of Paragon Lost, which was in turn set a dozen years after the King's Blades Books (The Gilded Chain; Lord of the Fire Lands; Sky of Swords). Though readers of the earlier books will no doubt be unable to resist the lure of Impossible Odds, this new tale in Duncan's swashbuckling saga stands on its own as an embattled Duke comes to the King's city to seek the aid of the Blades against a sorcerer who can command the dead, but the cost of peace is dear, and rather than seasoned blades, all the King can offer is seniors from Ironwood, the academy where blades train. "His Majesty has need of a Blade. Are you willing to serve?"

Baen

Brain Ships by Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey, Maraget Ball (Baen HCVR $ 24 11/01/03)Starting with "The Ship Who Sang" Anne Mcaffrey created a shared universe where humans born with birth defects to serious to allow a normal life were grafted into starships, and paired with a normal to do those things you needed a human form for. Together, the Brainships and their "brawns" form memorable teams as they cross the galaxy and on occasion, wind up saving it. Though the idea seems a bit out of date today, that in an era with FTL spaceships, the best you can offer a cripple is life in a tank running the ship, the stories are easy to get wrapped up in, thanks to the human drama at their core.     Tinker by Wen Spencer (Baen HCVR $ 21.95 11/01/03) I've been looking forward to Tinker, since Wen mentioned it in our interview. It's a story about Tinker, a mechanically inclined girl living in a junkyard in a near future where elves and magic have taken over Pittsburgh, and this clever gal has to cope with runaway elvish magic on the one hand, and runaway teenage hormones on the other. It's sort of Jimmy Neutron meets Junkyard Wars in Wonderland, or it would be, if Jimmy was a girl. Well, if you can call an eighteen year old with a brain like Einstein a girl…and in the finest SF tradition, it seems that Tinker is a redhead. The Far Side of the Stars by David Drake (Baen HCVR $ 25 10/01/03) Though the war may be over and the corvette Princess Cecile privatized, there's still work for the crew that made her famous under fire. Work like escorting nobles on an expedition into deep space. But this will be anything but a pleasure cruise, and all Lt. Leary and Signals Officer Adelle Mundy's warrior cunning and courage will be needed to see them through this adventure to the far side of the stars.

Expanded Universe by Robert Heinlein (Baen HCVR $ 22 10/01/03) If you've never read Heinlein's breadth of short stories, you've missed a breadth of his thought. Expanded Universe can help you fix that in short order. The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon (Baen HCVR $ 26 10/01/03) Elizabeth Moon has a knack for creating characters that pull you into a story. So it is with Paksearrion, "Paks" to her friends, who left her childhood home as a sheepherder's daughter rather than marry a pig farmer and joined the Duke's army, for she had heard that they had companies that accepted both men and women…and frail wasn't a word anyone would use to describer her either at the beginning of her story or when the deeds of Paksenarrion were written down on a scroll for all to wonder at. Here you have, not a scroll, but eleven hundred pages (or more) of the finest sword swinging saga you could hope for, three books set together to make one heroic tale. There Will Be Dragons by John Ringo (Baen HCVR $ 25 11/01/03) Though the cover of this departure from the author's normal mil-sf fare shows a warrior babe with a bow and a dragon behind her, this really isn't as much Fantasy as it is the ultimate role-playing event for the Society for Creative Anachronism. Sometime in the future, when humanity has achieved its golden age and things are getting too boring for words, all the magic goes away (the techno-magic, that is) for our own good. We need to struggle a bit to remember what we're made of, it appears. So, with humanity's support systems failing, everyone turns to the few die-hard re-enactors who've been living without a net already. Don't expect everything to be worked out in one book though, it's the start of a series.

The Immorality Option by James Hogan (Baen PPBK $ 6.99 10/01/03) Code of the Lifemaker, Hogan's original story about a robotic culture created by aliens millennia ago, but left to its own devices, was fairly interesting, and if you enjoyed it, you might want to follow up with what happens when the alien intelligences (stored in computers) wake up and ask where the super-bodies they ordered went.     Digital Knight by Ryk E. Spoor (Baen PPBK $ 7.99 10/01/03) When author Eric Flint says on the cover that he got pulled into a novel and couldn't put it down, and it's a vampire novel, even one about a digital detective, only the foolish would open it up if they didn't want to get sucked in. Well, I'm no angel, and Eric's right.   For King and Country by Robert Asprin and Linda Evans (Baen PPBK $ 7.99 11/01/03) SAS Captain Trevor Sterling must follow a terrorist back 1500 years into England's past to stop an assassination attempt…on King Arthur. Planets of Adventure by Murray Leinster (Baen PPBK $ 7.99 10/01/03)

The Helverti Invasion by John Dalmas (Baen PPBK $ 6.99 11/01/03) In this sequel to "The Lizard War" the post technological Earth faces another alien invasion, this time from soft, but not cuddly aliens intent on sowing chaos through the galaxy…but opposed by humanity's mystic warriors. War of Honor by David Weber (Baen PPBK $ 7.99 11/01/03) Nearly a thousand pages of Honor Harrington for those that resisted her lure when this was published in hardcover last fall.  

Bantam-Spectra

The X President by Philip Baruth (Bantam Books Trade $ 11.95 11/04/03) There's a very X-Files feel to this time-travel-techno thriller about a certain ex-president starting with a biographer's task working with an aged Bill Clinton, always referred to as BC, in his archival library in Little Rock and zipping back to boyhood and beyond. Why would a secret branch of the government want to travel back in time to find the young BC? Dive in and find out. Baruth has written a great tale of the near past and future.  The King Betrayed by Deborah Chester (Berkley Pub Group PPBK $ 7.99 11/25/03)
Book Description The Sword, The Ring, and The Chalice trilogy ensnared readers in its web of fantasy and suspense. The Queen's Gambit added more layers to the tale. Now, national bestselling author Deborah Chester delivers a novel of a king's duty to his land, his love for his wife-and the ultimate betrayal of both.  When Dragons Rage by Michael Stackpole (Bantam-Spectra PPBK $ 6.5 11/01/03)

Daw / Penguin Putnam

Doomsday Brunnette by John Zakour, Lawrence Ganem (Daw / Penguin Putnam PPBK $ 6.99 02/01/03) After their first tribute to pulp; The Plutonium Blonde, here's the second part of this hairifying trilogy: The Doomsday Brunette. Hi-jinks in the future abound in this noir-light private eye piece about genetically engineered divas and death. Exile's Valor by Mercedes Lackey (Daw / Penguin Putnam HCVR $ 24.95 11/01/03) By rough count, this is the twenty-seventh book in the author's Herald's of Valdemar storyline, and the second in the Exiles series, following last year's Exile's Honor. Court intrigues abound as the daughter of the fallen king must assume her place as ruler before she is ready, and the council seeks to wed her to someone they cannot only crown king, but whose strings they can pull. The Book of Air by Marjorie B. Kellogg (Daw / Penguin Putnam PPBK $ 6.99 11/01/03) The Dragon Quartet has seen the books of Earth, Water and Fire, with the stories of elemental dragons awoken in mankind's future to remind them of their origins. Each has a human counterpart, unknowing descendants of bloodlines from ages past and each has a role in the coming conflict. The Dragon Fire now rules a devastated America with his human counterpart as high priestess, This is the fourth volume and I haven't read the others. The writing looks like fun, with a mix of olden and newen, serious and humorous. I'd guess that the question is whether Fire needs to be defeated or just balanced, but who knows the workings of Dragons?

Del Rey / Random House

The Unifying Force by James Luceno (Del Rey /Ballantine/ Random House HCVR $ 26.95 11/04/03) The 19th, and final volume in the New Jedi Order finds our heroes (Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia Organa Solo, their children, and their comrades) facing an epic battle against the Yuuzhan Vong, and the decision whether or not to use a weapon of such devastation as to leave the entire galaxy in ruin. For background, the book includes a CD ROM with the first New Jedi Order title and more information.  Tunnel In The Sky by Robert Heinlein (Del Rey /Ballantine/ Random House Article $ 6.99 11/04/03) A better text on citizenship than "Starship Troopers" and anyone who thinks RAH didn't give women equal footing clearly hasn't read this. This story of a group of students stranded on an alien world and their fight to survive the dangers without and within would make excellent reading for any student of democracy. (See David Hecht's essay this issue) Master Of Middle Earth by Paul H. Kocher (Del Rey /Ballantine/ Random House Trade $ 12.95 11/01/03) from Edward's review this issue: Last month’s trio of Tolkien-oriented reviews weren’t enough, it seems. Two reprints are also coming on the market. Each is part of the fabled pre-Jackson past of Tolkienalia, and each is well worth owning. (see review)

Roc / Penguin Putnam

Path of Fate by Diana Pharoh Francis (Roc / Penguin Putnam PPBK $ 6.99 11/01/03) A child abandoned in infancy, Reisil made a place in the town that fostered her as a healer, and after a long path to adulthood stands on the brink of being respected, if not completely accepted. But fate has another road in mind for her, and she's chosen to be one of the roving agents of The Lady, bonded to a goshawk and sent to be the eyes, ears and hand of the magical protector of the land. The only problem is that it's a road she doesn't want to take. This promising Fantasy is the author's first book, and Roc has two more in this series under contract.  Omnifix by Scott Mackay (Roc / Penguin Putnam PPBK $ 6.99 11/01/03) Book Description: An alien invasion left part of Earth's population deteriorating from alien viruses. The drug called Omnifix replaces the victims' DNA with microtechnology, saving their lives at the cost of their humanity. And now, the aliens have returned...  

Low Red Moon by Caitlin R. Kiernan (Roc / Penguin Putnam Trade $ 14 11/01/03) Following on from Threshold: A Novel of Deep Time (2001), the characters from that book, Deacon, a psychic and Chance, a paleontologist, have married, moved away and are trying to forget the monsters that they encountered. But from its start in a motel room thick with the smell of blood and the plaintive whisper of a dead hooker you can tell that this is a story that won't give anyone a chance to forget, or move on to a better life. Deacon is pulled into a murder investigation that's stumped the local police and Chance is both pregnant and seeing visions of blood and skeletons. The author has a powerful voice and the ability to conjure dark visions that do not want to let go of the reader. Trickster by Steven Harper (Roc / Penguin Putnam PPBK $ 6.99 11/01/03) Set in the far future, Trickster is the third "Silent Empire" novel, with slavers, deep space voyages, telepaths, meditation and a state called "the dream", where the collective minds of all the telepaths merge to form another plane of reality. Following the "Despair", and event which left most telepaths mentally mute, it is Father Kendi Weaver's ability to enter the dream, and to hear the echoes of those voices now silent that offer the crew of the Poltergeist a chance to find their friends, lost to slavers for over a decade.

Tor

The Golden Transcendence by John C. Wright (Tor HCVR $ 25.95 11/01/03) What a long strange trip it's been. Here at last is the final chapter in the Golden Oecumene trilogy, and we can only hope it lives up to the new golden age of space opera classic standard that the first two met. Phaeton, our hero, has defied the entire solar system to win back the Phoenix Exultant, mankind's first true starship, and now must face a new enemy who would deny mankind the stars, whether it wants them or not. Recommended, though you should probably read the first two books, The Golden Age and The Phoenix Exultant first. (see our feature review and interview)


The Crystal City by Orson Scott Card (Tor HCVR $ 25.95 11/01/03) From Bruce Wallace's review: In short, avid fans of Orson Scott Card should buy this last installment immediately and pen a thank-you note to the author, for not only ending our long wait but for doing it in a such a thoughtful manner. (see review)  Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton (Tor HCVR $ 24.95 11/19/03) Not only is Tooth and Claw different from her earlier novels, The King's Peace and The King's Name, its different from any fantasy I can quite recall. Delightfully so. In it, the author uses a society of dragons as a metaphor for Victorian England, and creates something wonderful to echo the works of Jane Austen and Anthonry Trollope. It may well be the way of dragons to eat each other, as the author says, but if so, these dragons at least do it with impeccable manners.  

Ecolitan Prime by L.E. Modessit, Jr. (Tor Trade $ 17.95 11/01/03) Reviewer: Unassigned Issue: 1103 This omnibus combines the third and fourth of Modesitt's Ecolitan series and follows a previous omnibus, Empire and Ecolitan, which collected the first two. These stories take place four hundred years after the others though, and the star system of Accord is beginning to make overtures to Earth to resume trade after seceding along with 50 other star systems. Now Nathaniel Whaler, of Accord is going to find out that old feuds never die, and in the Empire of Earth, they don't even fade away.

Phobos by Ty Drago (Tor HCVR $ 25.95 11/01/03) This is Ty's first novel, and it's an exciting blend of political thriller and SF. Mike Brouge, the only native Martian (colonist) to be commissioned as an officer and the military's hope for defusing tensions between colonials and Terrans. Mike was just trying to do his job, but got in the way of an "extremist" plot, which he thwarted, and now he's been sent off to somewhere out of the spotlight, Phobos. But it's not a vacation spot on Mars' minor moon, where soldiers at a research facility have stirred up an Martian dust devil. Which is killing them off one by one. Sister Alice by Robert Reed (Tor HCVR $ 25.95 11/01/03Previously published in the UK by Orb, and reviewed by John Berlyne 0305 (see review) The Lair of Bones (Runelords, Book 4) by David Farland (Tor HCVR $ 27.95 11/01/03)

Forge / Orbit / Starscape

Tango Midnight by Michael Cassutt (Forge / Tor HCVR $ 25.95 11/19/03) Here's a book that shows we've crossed another line into the imagined future. A plague outbreak on a space station with everyone racing against time to save the crew could well have been a plot for an old sf movie, (Actually, it was…see Green Slime, which combined the plots of Tango Midnight and Armageddon, and I distinctly remember an SF novel with about the same plot from decades ago) but today the story can be written with existing hardware and technology - the ISS, genetic engineering tech, and an X-Prize SSTO craft. Once it was moderately futuristic, now it's close enough to reach out and touch. More techno-thriller than SF, but equal parts of each

A School for Sorcery by E. Rose Sabin (Starscape / Tom Doherty PPBK $ 5.99 11/01/03) Our reviewer (Pat  Nash) says: E. Rose Sabin has written an interesting book about a school for budding sorcerers, and that is the only similarity it has with Hogwarts. Tria Tesserell is a 16 year old farm girl who, like Harry Potter, one momentous day receives a letter from the Headmistress of the Lesley Simonton School for the Magically Gifted. (see review)

Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock (Orbit Trade $ 14.95 10/01/03) From EJ McClure's review: “Mythago Wood” draws on the universal archetypes woven throughout English mythology to create a haunting tale of discovery, love and loss that actually seems more relevant during these uncertain times then when first printed in 1984. (see review)

Warner Aspect / Warner Books

Yuletide Universe, A: Sixteen Fantastical Tales by Brian M. Thomsen, ed (Warner Aspect Trade $ 12.95 11/01/03) Old chestnuts perhaps, but tasty ones. These yuletide tidings date back to '64 though most are more recent and the editor includes a new piece of his own. They're a terrific bunch of stories to sit by the fireside and read while contemplating the upcoming holiday, Santa, and the meaning of life. Batman: The Rise of Sin Tzu by Devin Gryason, Flint Dille (Warner Books PPBK $ 5.99 11/01/03) Though hardly the first Batman novel, I’m pretty sure this is the first time the caped crusader has been out in game-fic, and the adventure follows the release a game of the same title by Ubisoft. Smallville: Silence by Nancy Holder (Warner Books PPBK $ 5.99 11/01/03) Zombies in Smallville. It sounds like a Halloween episode to me, though it should have come out a month earlier for that. These stories are as easy to get hooked on as the show, easier since there are no commercials. It's Friends meets Superboy and if I try I can even forget that we all know how it turns out in the end. I really wish that Warner Bros would explain that this is an alternate reality and nobody knows what comes next.

Other Publishers

The Guin Saga Book Three: The Battle of Nospherous by Kaoru Kurimoto, Alexander O. Smith (Translator), Elye J. Alexander (Translator) (Vertical HCVR $ 22.05 09/01/03) The Guin Saga Book Two: Warrior in the Wilderness by Kaoru Kurimoto, Alexander O. Smith (Translator), Elye J. Alexander (Translator) (Vertical HCVR $ 22.05 09/01/03)

Guith Camlann by Thomas Brown (1st Books Trade $ 22.95 09/01/03)
The author says that the story chronicles the struggle for identity in Britain following the fall of Rome, and with it he hopes to address a lack he finds in most books about Arthur, that they force a Middle Age or Romantic period viewpoint on events that predate them, rather than working forward from "dark age texts and archeological evidence." Another interesting point stands out, that the author has written this story as "hard fantasy" without actually resorting to magic, but by having the characters view the world in terms of magic. All in all it seems a good effort, and worth undertaking.

Interstellar Travel and Multi-Generation Space Ships by Yoji Kondo (ed), Frederick Bruhweiler (ed), John Moore (ed), Charles Sheffield (ed,) John Moore (ed ) (Apogee Books HCVR $ 24.95 06/01/03) This slim but indispensable volume is a collection of papers on interstellar travel presented in February 2002 at an AAAS symposium in Boston. Presented by scientists and authors and replete with facts and figures about the nuts and bolts of interstellar travel, it's technical…but not too technical, and highly recommended to anyone interested in writing about this stuff, or just getting a handle on the possibility of travel from star to star. It includes contributions from both Rob Forward and Charles Sheffield, who died last year, but whose contributions continue to enrich us.

Letters From the Flesh by Marcos Donnelly (Red Deer Press HCVR $ 19.95 11/01/03)
God Meets Darwin in the Donnelly's second book.

Alice: The Girl From Earth by Kir Bulychev (Xlibris/Fossicker Press Trade $ 26.99 11/01/03) Those Who Survive by Kir Bulychev (Xlibris/Fossicker Press Trade $ 19.54 11/01/03) 

The PsiScouts: At Risk by Phil Meade (Speed-of-C Productions Trade $ 9.99 11/01/03)

© 2003 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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