March 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

No Phule Like An Old Phule by Robert Asprin, Peter J. Heck (Ace / Penguin Putnam PPBK $ 7.99 03/30/04) Reviewer: Cathy Green Issue: 0304 (see review) Fans of this phulishness (Phule's Company, A Phule and His Money. Phule Me Twice) should require little urging to continue the (mis)adventures of Willard Phule and his loyal butler Beeker, still in charge of the Space Legion Company Omega, and still a thorn in the side of General Blitzkrieg. Phule manages to combine dogs, dinosaurs and disaster with humorous results.

The Lady and the Tiger by Jody Lynn Nye (Ace / Penguin Putnam PPBK $6.5 03/01/04) The third in Dr. Taylor's star traveling adventures as planetary physician finds her posted, with her menagerie in tow, to the planet Jardinfor - an Eden-like world whose colonists are hiding a secret that she might be better off not learning. It’s a good thing she likes animals, because the colonists may have gone overboard in populating Eden…

Avon/Eos

Acorna's Triumph by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (Avon/Eos HCVR $ 24.95 03/01/04) Reviewer: Karey Herriman Issue: 0304 (see review) Here's the conclusion to the McCaffrey/Scarbourough Unicorns in Space saga begun in Acorn's World and continued in Acorna's Rebels. Having found her home world and people, driven off the alien invaders and reunited with her lost love, you'd think things were on the upswing for this plucky unicorn/girl. Nope, the alien's are coming back to take advantage of unrest, a vicious criminal is at large, and her lifemate/lover was profoundly changed by his trials. With a title like this, I've got a feeling this is no time to mess with a unicorn.

Baen

The Road to Damascus by John Ringo, Linda Evans (Baen HCVR $ 25 03/01/04)
An world trying to recover from and alien invasion. A Dictator taking the reins and control of the only Bolo tank on the planet, and a resistance force recently fighting alien infantry turned to freedom fighters trying to unseat an unholy regime. Can the rebels stop a Bolo used by a madman, or must it stop itself? It might take a while to find out in this weighty tome, but with authors like Ringo and Evans on the crew, and a Bolo at its heart, it has a lot to recommend it.

Kren of the Mitchegai by Leo Frankowski & Dave Grossman (Baen HCVR $ 24 03/01/04) Out of the fire, and into the frying pan go the colonists of New Kashubia, who have already won their freedom from econonmic onslaught through cyberwarfare and revolted against the oppressive Terran government. Now they're next on the menu for a horde of flesh eating alien invaders moving into human space, and they'll have to cook up a new surprise fast if they don't want to be roasted in the receipe for invasion: "first you take a clean star system…"

The City and the Ship by Anne McCaffrey & S. M. Stirling (Baen HCVR $ 25 03/01/04)
Two previously published Ship Who Sang novels (The City Who Fought, The Ship Who Avenged), combined into one big book. OF the two, I've always like the City Who Fought the best, as the encased brain running a space station fights off an invading force of bad guys…using skills from his wargaming hobby to come up with surprsises for them. In the Ship Avenged, Joat, featured in the first ship novel returns as an adult out to save civilization from space raiders.

Seas of Venus by David Drake (Baen PPBK $ 7.99 03/01/04) Originally out in 2002 in Trade, and before that as two separate books:The Jungle and Surface Action. The premise is that Earth is "a burned out cinder" and mankind lives in undersea pleasure domes hiding from the terrors of Venus' surface. Except for a few humans with more guts than brains…and very short lifespans. Eternal Frontier by James H. Schmitz (Baen PPBK $ 7.99 03/01/04) Originally out in 2002 in Trade, now in mass market paperback, this collection of stories dates from the 40s to the 70s. Alternate Generals II by Harry Turtledove (ed) (Baen PPBK $ 7.99 03/01/04) Thirteen stories about alternate timelines and what history's most famous generals might have made of them. Originally in hardcover in 2002.

Ballantine / Random House

The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon (Ballantine / Random House HCVR $ 13.95 03/02/04) Reviewer: Ernest Lilley Issue: 0103 (see review)
As I said in my review when it came out last January, "Flowers for Algernon, The Martian Child, and now…The Speed of Dark. Congratulations to Elizabeth Moon on writing a superb novel of autism set in the near future and giving voice to a world normally left in silence."


Bantam-Spectra

Lost In Transmission by Wil McCarthy (Bantam-Spectra PPBK $ 6.99 03/01/04) Reviewer: Ernest Lilley Issue: 0304 (see review) Fans of McCarthy will enjoy this continuation of the story begun in Collapsium (see review) and continued in Wellstone, where the Solar System is enjoying a Golden Age, but the next generation doesn't much care for it and winds up exiled on the starship Newhope sent to colonize Barnard's Star at the end of a century long voyage. By this time, these are familiar themes, but thanks to the author's deft storytelling, the book remains engaging and worth reading either by itself or as the continuation of the Wellstone saga.

CDS

The Highwayman by R.A. Salvatore (CDS HCVR $ 25.95 03/01/04)
There's a lot of Robin Hood in the setup for this adventure in the author's favorite playground, his world of Corona. A monk returns to his homeland to find the nobility taking liberties with power and the roads safe for no honest man. Perhaps not, but for one man with strength, skill, and daring, safety isn't what draws him on anyway. But what does? Does the highwayman wield his sword for honor, profit, or vengeance? And what of the wife he brought back from distant lands, heavy with child? It's going to take more than one book to sort all this out.

DAW

Alta by Mercedes Lackey (Daw / Penguin Putnam HCVR $ 24.95 03/01/04)
Reviewer: Karey Herriman Issue: 0304 (see review) Here's the second installment of Mercedes' Joust series, a sort of Gladiator meets Dragonrider's of Pern fantasy. Vetch, formerly a serf working lands taken from his family by marauding dragon riders, has learned the secret of taming dragons, unknown even to his enemies. Now he hopes to take knowledge back to his people to give them a weapon to wield against their oppressors. But a prophet is never loved in his own town and Vetch finds that taming dragons may be easy compared to convincing his own people.

Space Stations by Martin H.Greenberg (ed), John Helfers (ed) (Daw / Penguin Putnam Trade $ 6.99 03/01/04) Reviewer: Ernest Lilley Issue: 0304 (see review)
Here's a collection that's hopeful, thought provoking and just plain fun. Fifteen brand new stories revolving around space stations, not all of which revolve themselves. There's some high powered authorial talent in this collection about life on the high frontier, including Timothy Zahn, Alan Dean Foster, Rob Sawyer, Julie Czerneda, Eric Kotani and Jakc Williamson. And more. Say what you want for stories about survey parties exploring dangerous planets, there's something enjoyable about making space a place to live, and each of these stations evokes a sense of home, the place you hang your space helmet.

Fire and Sword by Simon Brown (Daw / Penguin Putnam PPBK $ 6.99 03/01/04)
Second in the Keys of Power series, the Prince Lynan, falsely accused of the murder of his brother is among the nomadic Chetts hoping to raise an army to take back his place in the kingdom which his sister Areava rules alone. She's young and inexperienced and though her aim is to protect the kingdom from rebellion within and invasion without, she may be turned from her duty by her heart.

Del Rey / Ballantine

Pandora's Star by Peter F. Hamilton (Del Rey /Ballantine/ Random House HCVR $ 26.95 03/01/04) Reviewer: Jeffrey J. Lyons [lyonsjj@comcast.net] Issue: 0304
Hamilton fans will be thrilled that the author of the Night's Dawn trilogy is back with the start of a new saga. In the aptly named Pandora's Star centuries from now, humanity has colonized the stars and discovered many wonders in the cosmos. Now an expedition to uncover the mystery of a pulsar that shifts suddenly from visible to infrared in the blink of an eye opens the door to race of trapped aliens and the unlpleasant answer to the question: "Why would anyone surround a star with a force field?" Some questions, as the title points out, are better left unaswered. Fortunatley for us, we can sit back and enjoy this talented author's weaving of the tale.

The Swords of Night and Day by David Gemmel (Del Rey /Ballantine/ Random House HCVR $ 24.95 03/30/04) Reviewer: Bill Lawhorn Issue: 0304 (see review)
Awakened a thousand years after his death an ancient warrior is brought back to fight a sorceress known as the Eternal and the part human, part animals known as the Joinings. But his memory is fragmented, the cause not his to fight for and what has been brought back is more than the man that died once, clutching a lock of his wife's hair. Though prophesy has foreseen that he would hold the Swords of Night and Day in battle again, it cannot predict the outcome for man or the Drenani who have placed their hopes on him..

Broken Angels by Richard Morgan (Del Rey /Ballantine/ Random House Trade $ 14.95 03/01/04) Reviewer: John Berlyne Issue: 0304 (see review) Previously reviewed when it came out in the UK by John Berlyne, but I think it's edgier than he does. True, it lacks the frame of reference given by the noir Californian setting of Altered Carbon, but it's still a gripping novel in its own right..

The Punisher by D.A. Stern (Del Rey / Random House PPBK $ 6.99 03/09/04) The movie tie in novel for another grim comic book character. This one is an ex-drug enforcement agent driven by revenge for his slain family.

Harper Collins

Novelties and Souvenirs by John Crowley (Harper Collins Trade $ 13.95 03/01/04) Reviewer: Victoria McManus  Issue: 0304 (see review) The fifteen short stories collected in this volume span comprise the author's short works written from 1978-2002. He writes like a man torn from an earlier time, when England laid claim to empire and short stories about smokey clubs and strange affairs ruled literary magazines. It's brilliant stuff from what I've read of it so far, and just the sort of thing to sit down in an overstuffed chair to partake of on a chill evening.

Orb

I'll Be Watching You by Charles de Lint (Orb Trade $ 13.95 03/01/04)
Originally published under the name "Samuel M. Key" in 1994, it's the third of his novels published under that name. I'll Be Watching You is a twisted tale of photography, fear and obsession now in trade.

Roc

The Last Light of the Sun by Gavriel Kay (Roc / Penguin Putnam HCVR $ 24.95 03/02/04) Reviewer: Don Smith Issue: 0304 (see review) "Kay takes the reader on a journey – introducing them first to the pragmatic Arabic trader, Firaz ibn Bakir who has just pulled into the port of the Norse colony, Rabady. Bakir has found out that Rabady’s governor has died. And, is the custom, the governor’s is to be laid out on a raft and set ablaze. The governor’s horse is needed for the ceremony also, to be set ablaze so the governor can have something to ride in the After-life."  - from our review.

Nebula Awards Showcase 2004 by Vonda N. McIntyre (Roc / Penguin Putnam Trade $ 14.95 03/01/04) Reviewer: Ernest Lilley Issue: 0304 (see review) This is a stellar collection of short stories, excerpts for novels and tributes to authors including, as much as possible, the winners from the 2003 Nebular Awards ballot and several worthy runner ups. I especially liked "Bronte's Egg", Richard Chwedyk's winning novella about a home for abandoned dinosaurs, which evokes a combination of Brian Aldiss' "Super Toys Last All Summer Long" and Jurrasic Park, but in a more hopeful light. Inspiringly there isn't a clunker in the bunch, but I'll save the details for my review.

Star Trek / Pocket Books

A Time To Die by John Vornholt (Star Trek / Pocket Books PPBK $ 6.99 03/01/04)
It was cruel of Pocket to send me the second half of the Time to Be Born / Time to Die dualogy, because you really shouldn't read the end first. But it's Trek, and we know the characters and the timeline and it's actually not at all hard to come up to speed in a few pages. In the events leading up to Star Trek: Nemesis,  Picard has been court martial for shooting on another ship after Data convinces him that it's an enemy "chameleon" ship. Wesley Crusher drops in from the Traveler universe to decide whether to stay and help or remain the neutral observer that is required of Travelers. Star Fleet doesn't want to re-open the case and stir up an alien hornet's nest…but sending Captain Riker back on a covert mission…See. How hard was that? And as always, reading Trek is addictive and the pages just keep turning themselves.

Foundations by Dayton Eard & Kevin Dilmore (Star Trek / Pocket Books PPBK $ 6.99 03/01/04) Starfleet has, though you don't often hear about them, all the special organizations that any military has. Marines, Logistics, Intelligence,...and Engineers. In the TNG Trek, the Star Fleet Corp of Engineers has nice new ships and lots of new toys…but it all had to start somewhere, and you probably won't be at all surprised to find Engineer Montgomery Scott diverted from joining his next assignment as Chief of Engineering on a Constitution Class starship to travel with the fledgling corp on a mission to the fix broke stuff on the edge of the Neutral Zone. Pour some scotch and relax. Starfleet's cleverest lads are on the case.

Tor

The Glass Dragons by Sean McMullen (Tor HCVR $ 27.95 03/01/04)
Reviewer: Unassigned Issue: 0304 Following the Voyage of the Shadow Moon Sean continues in his exploration of magic as technology. Having destroyed the magic ridden island of Torea in the previous books, storms laden with the released energies of that event rage across the ocean making travel precarious at best. Something has to be done to tame them, and the reconstruction of Dragonwall, an "etheric engine that turns men into gods, giving them control over the winds" seems to fill the bill. Not only is it a massive undertaking, the kind the author excels at envisioning, but it holds the danger of unleashing even greater evils on the world.

Earth Logic by Laurie J. Marks (Tor HCVR $ 25.95 03/01/04)
Reviewer: Victoria McManus  Issue: 0304 (see review) Laurie J. Marks continues the story begun in "Fire Logic" with the "woman who is the hope of Shaftal" waiting for some sign that she should take the elemental powers she had gathered and use them to renew the war-torn country. Victoria McManus's review praised the authors writing and vision, and we expect nothing less in the second book.

Heat of Fursion and Other Stories by John M. Ford (Tor HCVR $ 24.95 03/01/04)
Ford is a simply brilliant writer with tremendous range. His "How Much For Just the Planet?" is one of best pieces of Trek fiction ever produced, his poem Winter Solstice, Camelot Station is the only poem to ever win the World Fantasy Award for short fiction and who else do you know who writes cunning sonnets as well as clever short stories? This collection brings us stories and poems written over the last two decades and includes "award winners and award nominees, as well as some rarities, amusements, and astonishments."

Queen of the Amazons by Judith Tarr (Tor HCVR $ 24.95 03/01/04)
The spiritual side of this Fantasy about a young woman born without a soul to the Amazon Queen Hippolyta during the time of Alexander the Great is handled as deftly as is the storytelling itself. Ms. Tarr has taken great care to use the supernatural elements of her story to add depth to this recreation of a world thousands of years gone without making it a crutch on which the rest of the story limps along. Though this book follows her earlier work about Alexander, and though he figures prominently in the story, this is, as the title proclaims, about the girl born without a soul and what fate has in store for this empty vessel of life. Recommended.

The Iron Grail by Robert Holdstock (Tor HCVR $ 24.95 03/01/04)
Reviewer: Iain Emsley Issue: 0304 (see review) "Three warnings greet Merlin as he returns to the fortress of Taurovinda in Alba. Firstly he will be used by a man who needs him; secondly, a man whom he betrayed, albeit unknowingly, has the means to kill him; thirdly, a grieving and brooding ship will carry him to his grave. As he ponders these fates, Urtha returns home, intent upon reclaiming his home from the dead and Unborn. Jason also returns, intent upon finding Kinos, his younger son, who has been hidden somewhere in the Celtic world. Subsequently, a war is begun against the Otherworld, one which will bring them back into conflict with Medea and the gods." From Iain's review.


Daughter of Exile
by Isabel Glass (Tor HCVR $ 24.95 03/01/04)
Reviewer: Colleen R. Cahill Issue: 0604 (See Review) A debut fantasy novel about a a noble lady raised during her father's exile from the captial. When her father is killed, she heads back to the capital to confront the King and demand justice…but she finds that nothing is simple and there are plots within plots that she must unravel for her own sake and for the kingdom itself.

Eastern Standard Tribe by Cory Doctorow (Tor HCVR $ 23.95 03/01/04)
Reviewer: Ernest Lilley Issue: 0304 (see review) Like most of us, Cory likes stories about himself, which this novel about a idea flinging consultant in the near future certainly qualifies as. The technoconcept that makes up the title is that groups of people wind up ignoring local time to form their own cliques of web and cell phone connected likeminded folks living on whatever time zone their tribe calls home. For the frenetic idea guy Art Berry, that would be the US Northeast, always running on Eastern Standard Time. Interesting, but writing 15 minutes into the future doesn't leave you much time to stay ahead of reality.

City of Darkness by Ben Bova (Tor Trade $ 6.99 03/01/04) Book Description: He's passed his college entrance exams with flying colors. He can do pretty much whatever he wants. But what teenager Ron Morgan wants most is for his father to quit telling him what to do. Quit running his life. What better way to unwind than having a last blowout on Labor Day in the domed playground of Fun City: Manhattan. Inside the dome, however, Ron loses his wallet and identity card. Worse, he's trapped when the dome closes for the season. There's no way out. Gangs roam the street. Food is scarce. Ron is on his own. All Ron wanted was some fun. He'll be lucky to escape New York alive....

Wesleyan

The Twentieth Century by Albert Robida (Wesleyan PPBK $ 29.95 03/01/04)
My only regret is that this wasn't published for half the price as a trade edition, because this first translation of the classic 1882 novel of the future world of the 1950s is terrifically engaging. The author's wry expectations of the 20th Century will amuse anyone with a spark of imagination for his foresight, at least, if you can get past our lack of air cars and the division of the US into an German half and a Chinese half to appreciate his view of feminism and engineering feats. As an illustrator, Robida's images anticipate the scientifiction covers of SF's Pulps, and it all might yet come to pass. The only error might be in the timing. Who knows? Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Other Publishers

The One and the Golden Circle by Dan Allen Beene (iUniverse Trade $ 18.95 03/01/04)
The author combines debates about evolution, pansperma and creationism with astral projection and regression to come up with something that's almost a science fiction novel. In the story, a subject is regressed backwards through the lives of his ancestors to the beginning of life on Earth, and beyond to the intelligence that seeded our planet with its DNA. The science is rough, the spiritualism painful…but the exercise of creating the snippets of lives of human and prehuman ancestors is kind of interesting, even if not quite original.

 
Chronicles of the Last War by Laura J. Underwood (Yard Dog Press Trade $ 18 03/01/04)  Book Description: "As Black Hunters, demons and blood mages bent on destroying humanity advance, it will take Conor, a man who wields steel as deftly as he deals words, Ethine a woman whose touch can mean life or death, and a battle mage named Michan – who knows these two will play a greater role in the fate of mankind--to save the world But it may actually be harder to bring Conor and Eithne together as man and wife. " Included in this collection are the short novel "The Black Hunter", the novella "Willowherb" and the novelette "Wyrd".

Jules Verne on Film by Thomas C. Renzi (McFarland & Company, Inc Trade $ 39.95 03/01/04) Reviewer: Colleen R. Cahill Issue: 0407
From our review: Jules Verne is the father of science fiction to many and certainly his work has inspired a vast array of films. Jules Verne on Film is a reprint of Thomas C. Renzi’s 1998 filmography of the cinema from Verne’s work and films that own some inspiration from the master’s themes. Although a filmography is usually seen as a reference work, Renzi has made this more than a list of titles, directors and actors by including descriptions and critical comments. (see review)

© 2004 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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