January 2004
© 2004 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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US Releases by Ernest Lilley                                                                        Last Month / Next Month

US Books received will be listed in this column if possible in their month of publication. Our address for submissions: 1405 Abingdon Dr. E #5, Alexandria, VA, 22314. Our preferred method of shipping: Media Mail.

Ace / Penguin Putnam Heirs of the Earth by Sean Williams (PPBK $7.99 01/01/04) Third in the Orphans of Earth trilogy, the heirs of Earth are caught between two alien races with little hope for survival. It's no time to be meek, and desperate humans attempt to take the fight to the enemy in a stolen starship. Sea Of Time by Will Hubell (PPBK $7.5 01/27/04) Maybe Constance Clements' name should be Causality Clements, because it turns out that not only is she a mine owner in the 1800s, but before that she was her own granddaughter in the future. Yes, thanks to the miracle of time travel, she's her own grandma. But I'll let the author fill you in on the details, which take you back and forth and sideways in time when Constance tries to stop the man who killed her husband. Fortunately she has the help of the man who would have been her husband in an alternate time stream. No, I was right. Let Will Hubbell explain it all. He does a bang-up job of it. Starship by Kevin D. Randle (PPBK $ 5.99 01/30/04) Every generation has to discover the "generation ship" novel for itself, I suppose. In the second of Randle's The Exploration Chronicles mankind's first starship, the Alpha, hurtles towards its destination, a planet circling a star a hundred year voyage away. Onboard we find the classic gambits, Earth a legend, society stratified and stilted, a young man who doesn't take things for granted, stuff like that. It's pretty engaging reading though, and Randle's series, which started with Signals, a UFOlogist as well as SF author, is worth looking into.

Avon / EOS

The Burning Land by Victoria Strauss (HCVR $ 24.95 01/01/04) Following up her success with The Garden in the Stone, Ms. Strauss has embarked on a "more ambitious" epic fantasy with The Burning Land. Dave Duncan says "it sparkles with original ideas", Jacqueline Cary says it's "richly imagined", and none other than Andre Norton says it's "Skillfully crafted…". From the little I've read of it, they're right, but I'm at a loss to try and flesh out the plot.

Baen

The Reaches by David Drake (HCVR $ 24.00 01/01/04) All three of David Drakes Reaches novels: Igniting the Reaches, Through the Breach and Fireships, packed into nearly 900 pages of humanity's return to the reaches of deep space after a thousand years of collapse.  Ring of Fire by Eric Flint (ed) (HCVR $ 23.00 01/01/04) In 1632 and 1633 readers were treated to Eric Flint and John Weber's take on the result of a West Virgina town being temporally transposed into the middle of Germany's 30 year war during the mid 1600s. Now Flint has invited a host of prominent authors to write stories of their own about this meeting of cultures, and as with the original novel it's more about the adoption of ideas than technology. You can read this to get your bearings before Flint's "1634 The Galileo Affair" comes out this April.  Demon's Gate by Steve White (HCVR $ 24.00 01/01/04) Here's a classic fantasy premise: Demons who once roamed the world threaten to return through a portal that a band of heroic adventurers must close before "creatures evil beyond all human conception … return to rule the world." And of course no fantasy classic would be complete without a scantily clad damsel on the cover, but if she's scratching the head of a demon, does that mean she's not one of the good guys? While it may not be a new plot, it's a durable one, and fortunately it's all being handled by Steve White's capable hands.

Freehold by Michael Z. Williamson (PPBK $ 6.99 01/01/04) Where can you run when Earth and all its colonies are settled under one government and somebody has decided to make you the fall guy for a black market in military goods that you didn't steal? Freehold, that's where. It's not a colony world, but a free trade zone which galls the monolithic state even more because it's profitable. Of course, going there mean that doesn't mean that Earth's government will stop looking for you, as Kendra Pacelli discovers when she tries to find sanctuary. Not only is it fun and well handled, but at 688 pages you're getting a lot of book for your money.  Fallen Angels by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Michael Flynn (PPBK $ 6.99 01/01/04) This is one of my favorite pieces of SF about fandom, in fact, before I read it I'd never even been to a Con. In the not too unimaginable near future, when the world has turned anti-technology (with the result that an ice-age is coming along nicely) two astronauts from an orbital space hab are shot down and stranded on Earth. The only thing that can save them is a well organized network of brave and resourceful people who haven't given up the dream: SF Fans to the rescue!  Janus by Andre Norton (PPBK $ 6.99 01/01/04) Judgment on Janus and Victory on Janus are as classic Norton as you'll ever find. Here they're published together for the first time.

Daw / Penguin Putnam Mage of Clouds by S.L.Farrell (HCVR $ 23.95 01/01/04) Following Holder of Lightning, this is the second of the Cloudmages trilogy, a "multigenerational series" sure to delight fans of Celtic fantasy. The Sun Sword - Book Six by Michelle West (PPBK $ 7.99 01/01/04) The final volume in the series of the same name finds the sword about to be delivered to its "rightful" holder, the last survivor of his clan, though there is no way to tell if he will be able to wield it, or if it will in turn consume him in its power. Microcosms by Gregory Benford (ed) (PPBK $ 6.99 01/01/04) Here's a fine collection of tempests in a teapot, so to speak. Greg Beford challenged a collection of terrific authors (Paul Levinson, Robert Sawyer, Mike Resnick, Stephen Baxter and more) to come up with stories about what goes on in little universes of their devising. Quite a lot, evidentially, as it turns out that big worlds can exist in small spaces. Recommended.

Del Rey / Random House Legends 2 by Robert Silverberg (ed.) (HCVR $ 28.95 01/01/04) (See Iain Emsley's Review) We reviewed this excellent collection for its UK release, now available in the US. Times Eye by Arthur C. Clarke and Steven Baxter (HCVR $ 26.95 01/13/04) (See Ernest's Review) Clarke and Baxter have joined forces to produce two novels "linked to Blarke's bestselling Space Odyssey series," and the first, Time's Eye, will come out in January 2004, accompanied by all the promotion that Del Rey can muster. While a collaboration between SF's senior statesman and anyone else might seem one-sided, it's clearly not the case with Stephen Baxter, who has established his own reputation both as an independent writer and as an active collaborator with Clarke. In this first book, Earth is again visited by an enigmatic object in a prehistoric landscape, but this time it's a glowing orb over Central Asia. Somehow, the Earth is transformed into a patchwork of time zones millennia apart and humanity across the ages clashes with people from ages long past or yet to come. It's a setup that will give the authors plenty to play with, and I'm sure they've got a message woven into the whole thing worth teasing out of the story. Fans of either author will find this to be a "must read".

Prince of Dreams by Nancy McKenzie (Trade $ 14.95 01/01/04) Among early Britain's legends, the tale of Tristan and Essylyte, he a prince, she betrothed to Kin Markion, both fiercely in love, echoes down through the centuries. Nancy McKenzie, author of The Grail Prince and Queen of Camelot, breaths new life into her telling of the ill fated love between a warrior bard and the princess he must deliver to his king. Halo - First Strike by Eric Nylund (PPBK $ 6.99 01/01/04) I haven't been keeping up with the gamefic that's come out for Halo, a suspiciously Ringworld-like setting for a battle between armored marines and aliens. I did read the first of these Halo: Fall of Reach (see Ernest's review) by this author and enjoyed its shoot first and never ask questions frenzy thoroughly. Nylund does a great job keeping the pace up and the characters engaging. Thoughtful SF? No. Addictive? Definitely.

Four Walls Eight Windows The Twist by Richard Calder (Trade $ 12.95 01/08/04) "After the Venusians arrive on Earth in the 1950s, a 'psycho-geographic event' split the American Wild West from the rest of the planet, creating a world in which gunfighters roam, Jerry Lee Lewis Wails, and modern technology is useless.' That's from the book blurb, and, twisted as it is, I believe it. The Twist referred to in the title, is John Twist, gunfighter, who along with his Cochise, a Venusian Vamp named Viva, and Nicola Newton, the new girl in town, is out to save the world from the resolution of the cold war…by Venusian weaponry that will incidentally wipe out all life on earth. Twisted indeed.

Orb

Maps In A Mirror by Orson Scott Card (Trade $ 16.95 01/01/04) Originally published in 1990 in hardcover, you can pick up this trade edition of Card's collected short fiction for a song. The book breaks the stories up into four categories: Tales of Dread, Tales of Human Futures, Fables and Fantasies, and Hidden Stories. Amongst the stories Card intersperses essays on writing and afterwords for stories written. It's an ecxellent collection, which proves the author to be as good (or better) at short fiction as at epic sagas.

Roc / Penguin Putnam

Deathstalker Return by Simon R. Green (HCVR $ 23.95 01/01/04) Reviewer: Jeffrey J. Lyons
Lewis Deathstalker comes from a long line of warriors, including his famous ancestor Owen, who sacrificed himself to establish an age of peace in the galaxy. But Lewis decided not to sacrifice himself to the life of King's Champion and instead is on the lam with Jasmine Flowers, the woman he loves, recently the King's intended and a galaxy renowned glamour queen, though without her flock of beauticians, she's fallen to merely marvelous. Besides Jasmine, he's thrown in with a motley crew whose common bond is their enemy, Finn Durandal who's out to end the golden age Owen began. But there's more - the Terror prophesied to destroy all humanity is approaching, and the only one who can stop it is Owen Deathstalker himself, dead or missing for two hundred years. Of course, Lewis and his lot might just kill each other before they manage to save the galaxy, but either way, it will be something to see. Thief of Lives by Barb & J. C. Hendee (PPBK $ 6.99 01/01/04) (See Nicki Lynch's Review) Following on the trail of their first story about the half-vampire hunter in Dhampir, Magiere, their heroine has accomplished what Buffy never seemed to manage, freeing her adopted villiage of vampires. Now all she wants is to tend her tavern, hang out with her half elf partner, and relax. Like that's going to happen. When a councilman's daughter is found dead in the distant capital, and the signs point to vampires, pressure is brought to bear on Magiere to take her talents to the big city. Maybe she doesn't have it any easier than Buffy at that.

Simon and Schuster / Scribner

For Us The Living by Robert Heinlein (HCVR $ 25 01/01/04) (See  Peter N. Glaskowsky's Review) When a navy pilot crashes his car in 1939 and wakes up in 2086, he's in for a shock, and Robert Anson Heinlein just couldn't wait to deliver it and his vision of things to come. Though it's touted as the lost first novel of Robert Heinlein, as Spider Robinson points out in his introduction, it's not really a novel, though it may have been first. Instead, it's a series of utopian lectures strung together with the thinnest of fictional excuses, so that RAH could explain to the world how it needed to be saved. It's Heinlein before he discovered that you need a compelling story to hook your readers on, but for all that it's clearly Heinlein, and you can see any number of storylines that will ultimately emerge getting their start right here.

Tor

Berserker Prime by Fred Saberhagen (HCVR $ 25.95 01/07/04)
Reviewer: Unassigned Issue: 0104
Politcal intrigue combines with the planet killing agenda of the Berseker juggernauts in the Saberhagen's ninth novel of the nearly unstoppable machines left by an ancient race to scour life out of the galaxy.
Tales of the Grand Tour by Ben Bova (HCVR $ 24.95 01/05/04) Along with the novels that Bova has written chronicling humanity's expansion into the solar system he's written a number of short stories using the same characters. Here's an even dozen of those tales, wrapped up with an introduction and afterword from the author, and if you've read any of the novels in the series you'll want to read this too partly because it wraps up a few loose ends, but mostly just for fun.New Spring by Robert Jordan (HCVR $ 22.95 01/01/04) Reviewer: Bruce Wallace
New Spring is an expanded version of a novella published with the same name in Robert Silverberg's anthology Legends (1998). This prequel to Jordan's immensely popular Wheel of Time series purports to tell the full story of the events, complex plots and even more complex alliances, deceptions and betrayals that abound as the birth of the Dragon Reborn comes to pass A Perilous Power by E. Rose Sabin (HCVR $ 19.95 01/01/04) A prequel to her 2002 "A School For Sorcery" which takes us back to the founding of the Leslie Simonton School for the Magically Gifted. Compelling, and darker than Potter, Sabin's characters are teens facing choices that will mark their lives, or even end them. Sagas Of Conan by Lin Carter, L. Sprague de Camp, Bjorn Nyberg (Trade $ 18.95 01/24/04) This omnibus puts three Conan novels by superlative authors together into one book: Conan the Swordsman, Conan the Liberator, and Conan and the Spider God.

Warner Books:

Reading the Bones by Sheree R. Thomas (HCVR $ 25.95 01/02/04)
Book Description: In the tradition of The Norton Anthology of Black Literature, DARK MATTER: READING THE BONES, like its ground-breaking predecessor, will introduce black SF, fantasy, and speculative fiction writers to those who have not yet realized the depth and breadth of their work-or even, in some cases, that it exists. Including original short fiction and nonfiction as well as previously published works and essays, DARK MATTER will contain approximately 30 stories from the early part of the century through the most cutting-edge work of today. Contributors to this new volume include Charles Johnson, National Book Award-winning author of Middle Passage; Tananarive Due; Walter Mosley, W.E.B. Du Bois; Samuel R. Delany; Nalo Hopkinson; and many more.

Other Publishers:

 Julia and the Dream Maker by P. J. Fisher (Traitor Dachshund Books Trade $ 13.95 12/01/03) First in a series by new author P.J. Fisher, is set in a trial over the experiments of a biologist that has tampered with evolution, pulling a talking rabbit out of his hat, among other things. Essentially it’s a story about self modifying AI, and this first book introduces us to a cast of reasonably likeable characters though the writing is still a bit rough. The author is working on a sequel: Julia and the Song of the Soul.

Dr. Tim by Christopher Varian etompro (etompro.com) Trade $ 12 01/01/04) Chris Varian's cartoon creation, Dr. Tim, tells the story of an mild mannered genius on the lam from corporations and the scientific community in general. The comics are simple, but fun, and the book does suck you into a vortex of page turning…but mostly to see if the curvaceous and mysterious "Kat" will turn up again or if a plot actually emerges. Neither happens unfortunately, because the premise, characters and drawing all work. If the writing comes up a tad, he'll have something.

Open Space by Claude Laluminere (ed) (Red Deer Press Trade $ 16.95 01/01/04) New Canadian Fantastic Fiction, it says on the cover. Damn right it is Claude has done an excellent job of finding fresh voices for this collection of stories with a loosely multi-cultural edge to them. Though the blurb says that the stories are by "new and established" writers, I confess that I wasn't familiar with most of them, and not seeing Rob Sawyer's name in the middle, had to check twice to make sure they really were Canadian. Just kidding. Cory Doctorow does spin an intro for the volume, and despite a legendary tendency towards politeness, as Cory says, these authors have nothing to apologize for. Just great fiction to be proud of.

© 2004 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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