April 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 - Avon/Eos - Baen - Ballantine - Bantam/Spectra - CDS - DAW - Del Rey - Harper Collins - Orb - Roc - Tor - Wesleyan - Other Publishers - Better late than never...

Ace 

The Light Ages: A Novel by Ian R. MacLeod (Ace / Penguin Putnam HCVR $ 24 04/01/03)
Reviewer: John Berlyne Issue: 0403
About an industrial revolution based on the discovery of the magical aether with all the grim consequences industrial revolutions are wont to have, If you're a fan of Swanwick, Powers, Mieville and their ilk, Ian MacLeod's second novel should enchant you. John Berlyne reviewed the  UK edition last year (See Review) and interviewed the author as well (See Interview)..

The Many Faces of Van Helsing by Jeanne Cavelos (ed) (Ace / Penguin Putnam Trade $14.95 04/06/04) Reviewer: Unassigned Issue: 0404
For every monster, there needs to be someone who stands against them. For vampires, that task has fallen most notably to Van Helsing, and in this collection of stories we get to see his many sides through the eyes of authors including: Tanith Lee, Christopher Golden, Kathe Koja, Thomas Tessier, Kim Antieau, Steve Rasnic Tem & Melanie Tem, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Adam-Troy Castro, Lois Tilton, William D. Carl, and others.

Monument by Ian Graham (Ace / Penguin Putnam Trade $14 04/01/04) Reviewer: Bill Herriman Issue: 0404
A fat man sits in a pub drinking, stinking, and thinking of theft. Trading treachery for kindness, Ballas is an unlikey, but compelling protagonist. One that will bring an army down on his head to retrieve the trinket he's taken. Our UK editor noted that this book, originally published in the UK by Orbit, "a genre fantasy in the vein of David Gemmell, which deserves to do well." It's Graham's first book, and indeed has gotten some excellent reviews already.

Nightingales Lament by Simon R. Green (Ace / Penguin Putnam PPBK $6.5 04/27/04)
Reviewer: Drew Bittner Issue: 0404
John Taylor is kind of a detective. He finds thing, often which don't much want to be found, in the Nightside, a supernatural part of London where its always 3am and dark and evil things come out to play. This is the third book in the series, but don't let that put you off. It's just a bit more noir than most detective stories, and you'll catch on. Now if John can just catch on to why a certain Diva's fans are killing themselves over her voice, and the reason (or the Nightside) doesn't kill him, he'll be able to come back again in the next book.

Avon/Eos   Baen   Ballantine 

The Secret by Ava Hoffman (Ballantine / Random House Trade $ 12.95 04/27/04)
Reviewer: Sam Lubell Issue: 0404 (see review)
Our review finds that this previously published NY Times notable book strains the definition of Science Fiction, both because it's about contemporary technology and because the author has really attempted to graft SF onto a mainstream theme, that of a young woman (who discovers she's a clone) and her brilliant, possessive, and controlling mother in the not too distant future. Send in the clones? Don't bother. They're already here.

Labyrinth Key by Howard Hendrix (Del Rey /Ballantine/ Random House Trade $ 13.95 04/01/04) Reviewer: Larrry Pfeffer Issue: 0304 (see review)
"If Robert Ludlum or Eric Ambler had written a science fiction novel, then it might have resembled THE LABYRINTH KEY. An intriguing thriller, it's also first-rate speculation: a masterful blend of genres. If you searching for thought-provoking novel, this shouldn't be missed." - Allen Steele, Hugo Award-winning author of Chronospace

Bantam-Spectra  

The Lion of Senet by Jennifer Fallon (Bantam-Spectra PPBK $6.99 04/06/04)
Reviewer: Madeline Yeh Issue: 0404
Austrailian Fantasy Novelist Jennifer Fallon is introduced to US readers through her first book in The Second Sons trilogy, to be followed on a monthly basis by the remaining books: Eye of the Labyrinth and Lord of the Shadows. Set on a world of two suns and a harsh environment, it takes place when the religious edicts of the Goddess's order are coming into question and a new age is coming about.

Devlin's Justice by Patricia Bray (Bantam-Spectra PPBK $6.5 04/06/04)
Reviewer: Madeline Yeh (myeh@wap.org) Issue: 0404
Third in the Sword of Change saga (Devlin's Luck, Devlin's Honor) finds Devlin of Duncaneer has made his sacred quest to find the Sword of Light, only to find that the royal court has been turned to under a weak king. Imprisoned, tourtured and presumed dead, Devlin is a long way from protecting his adopted country from the ruthless invaders that are coming, yet he must find a way.

CDS   DAW  

Smoke and Shadows by Tanya Huff (Daw / Penguin Putnam HCVR $23.95 04/01/04)
Reviewer: EJ McClure Issue: 0404
Tony Foster was a street kid in Tanya Huff's previous Blood series, but he's moved on to better things, working as a producer on a TV series about a vampire detective, something he knows about first hand. But things on the set get weird even by his standards when a dark shadow touches the cast and the special effects wizard turns out to be more special than anyone could imagine. This volume sets the stage for the rest of this contemporary fantasy trilogy.

Conqueror Fantastic by Pamela Sargent (ed) (Daw / Penguin Putnam PPBK $6.99 04/06/04)
Reviewer: Unassigned Issue: 0404
Here's a collection of tales of what might have been (or might yet be) if some of the "conquerors" throughout history had met different fates, or had been different men, like Alexander the Mediocre, for example. Some of these stories feature the expected, Hitler for example, now victorious, and Napoleon, recreated in a virtual history bedeviled by the knowledge that he is but a phantasm. Others show the creative cunning of speculative fiction writers. Who else would consider John Wayne or Lyndon Johnson among the company of Conquerors?

The Silken Shroud by Elizabeth Gilligan (Daw / Penguin Putnam PPBK $6.99 04/01/04)
Reviewer: Emily Richter (mgscifi@aol.com) Issue: 0404
Set in an allternate Renaissance Italy, this is the second book in the Silken Magic series. A dead princess's body is stolen and her soul trapped within it to be used for dark magics. Maggiore Mandero di Montago, her lover and our hero, must find her corpse before a year is up or her spirit will be transformed into a creature of evil.

Del Rey 

The New Lovecraft Circle by Robert M. Price, ed (Del Rey / Random House Trade $14.95 04/01/04) Originally out in Hardcover from Fedogan & Bremer; in April 2000, and now in trade. Here's a delightfully gruesome collection of new horror writings by celebrated authors, all in the Lovecraftian mode, and edited by a man whose affection for the master's writings approaches a dark obsession itself…

The Zenith Angle by Bruce Sterling (Del Rey /Ballantine/ Random House HCVR $24.95 04/01/04) Reviewer: Ernest Lilley Issue: 0404
We come from a generation that grew up with Pogo's truism, "We have met the enemy and he is us." and we can live with that. But Bruce Sterling's new cyber-techno-terrorism thriller presents a scarier truth. We're also the new establishment. Growing up means taking on the mantle of responsibility, and the adolescent-genius-hacker-dot-com-anti-hero-entrepreneurs that we fancied ourselves in the 90s are giving way to the next generation of scared and spooky guys out to save the world, or at least enough of it for their kids. Starting with the events of 9/11, Sterling's new book follows a super-geek computer whiz's evolution from happy nerd boy to totally committed government security guru. A lot of this story rings weirdly true, from the obsessive nature of hackers to the vicious infighting between agencies, and though it's set in the present, using real technology and threats, you only have to think back a few years for this to be a wild cyberpunk tale, told by the best in the business.


Black Horses for the King by Anne McCaffrey (Del Rey / Random House Trade $ 6.99 04/01/04) Book Description: Lord Artos--later to rule as the legendary King Arthur--knew he could defeat the Saxon invaders if only he could find a race of horses swift and strong enough to carry warriors in full regalia fast and far. And so he set out for the Continent, in search of the famed horses of the desert. The key to Lord Artos' plan was the young runaway Galwyn Varianus, whose gift for horse-trading was second only to his skill with horses. What no one expected was how crucial Galwyn would be to the upcoming battles--as he mastered the secrets of the iron shoes that would protect the desert horses' delicate hooves . . . This fast-moving historical fantasy by bestselling author Anne McCaffrey--the story of King Arthur as it has never been told before--is about the beginnings of the British cavalry, as recounted by a boy growing up in exciting and perilous times

Dell 

Area 51 - Legend by Rober Doherty (Dell / Bantam / Mass Market PPBK $ 6.99 04/06/04)
Though I was there at the start (Area 51- see review) of this saga of buried UFOs and Aliens Hibernating in ancient monoliths, and a bit of the way (Area 51: The Response - see review) along, I appear to have missed the middle, and was surprised to find the story coming round full circle to King Arthur's time. Merlin, I think my head's spinning.

Harper Collins

Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett (Harper Collins PPBK $ 6.99 04/30/04)
Reviewer: Unassigned Issue: 0404
From Book Description: While everyone always talks about slowing down, one young horologist is about to do the unthinkable. He's going to stop. Well, stop time that is, by building the world's first truly accurate clock. Which means esteemed History Monk Lu-Tze and his apprentice Lobsang Ludd have to put on some speed to stop the timepiece before it starts. For if the Perfect Clock starts ticking, Time -- as we know it -- will end. And then the trouble will really begin…

  Orb   Roc  

The Chernagor Pirates by Dan Chernenko (Roc / Penguin Putnam Trade $14.95 04/06/04)
Reviewer: Unassigned Issue: 0404
Book two of the Scepter of Mercy follows the Bastard King. Book Description: From the Book Description: The longer the Kings go without acting on their dream of retaking the Scepter of Mercy, the greater the advantage the Banished One gains. King Grus will have to act quickly-before his people realize just how formidable an enemy the Banished One truly is...


Patriot's Stand by Mike Moscoe (Roc / Penguin Putnam PPBK $6.99 04/01/04)
Reviewer: Unassigned Issue: 0404
A ragtag group of locals try to fight off better armed and funded mercenary invaders in this continuation of the Mechwarrior Dark Age saga, which takes place after mankind's galactic communication net has gone down leaving the colony worlds on their own. Despite a certain heavy-handedness, and my inability to believe in Battlemechs as practical war fighters, Grace O'Malley, the leader of the resistance, almost makes this worthwhile.

Consequences by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Roc / Penguin Putnam PPBK $6.5 04/06/04)
Reviewer: Cathy Green Issue: 0404
Book Description: Retrieval Artist Miles Flint brought one of the Disappeared out of hiding, believing she would be safe. But then she's murdered, plunging Flint into a mystery involving an enigmatic alien race-and the fate of the entire solar system.

The Caves of Buda by Leah R. Cutter (Roc / Penguin Putnam PPBK $6.5 04/01/04) Reviewer: Unassigned Issue: 0404
Following an old man on a quest born of delirium to his boyhood home in Hungary, his granddaughter discovers that within his madness may lie a truth more terrible than she could imagine, and dangers greater than any the world has known.

Tor

Frek and the Elixer by Rudy Rucker (Tor HCVR $27.95 04/01/04)
A thousand years hence this story finds the adolescent Frek living in a future just like the present, his mom teaches air guitar, his dad ran off and left the family (and Earth) and his room (halfway up their bioengineered tree house) is a mess. All that normalcy goes out the window when he finds a flying saucer under his bed and becomes embroiled in a plot to overthrow the government and market humanity to aliens. "Gov" doesn't like that much, and things go badly for Frek. Rucker is one bright puppy, as twisted as n dimensional mathematics (he's a Prof) and a two time winner of the Philip K. Dick award.

House of Reeds by Thomas Harlan (Tor HCVR $25.95 04/01/04)
Reviewer: Ernest Lilley Issue: 0404
Five hundred years after the Empire of Mexica, aligned with Imperial Japan, dominated the world, we find these descendents of the Aztecs taking on the universe, despite being relative newcomers to the game of galactic empire and "almost insignificant players in a millennia long struggle between enormous alien ancient empires." Sounds a bit like the author, still fairly new on the scene, Reed is highly talented and readers are rapidly discovering that he, like his thoughtfully conceived stories and characters are worth keeping an eye on. (Wasteland of Flint is available in paperback)

Inventing Memory by Anne Harris (Tor HCVR $25.95 04/03/04)
Reviewer: Unassigned Issue: 0404
Shula is a slave in fabled Sumer---until Inanna, Queen of Heaven, appears before her…Wendy Chrenko, an overworked graduate student researching her dissertation on the equality of the sexes in Ancient Sumerian. Seperated bt thousands of years, the two women may find that they have a lot in common when Wendy volunteers for a full immersion reality simulation of Sumeria. Just to complicate matters, Wend'y ex-boyfriend is going to wind up joining her in the simulation to try and make amends. Susan Matthes called it an "engaging tale of magical realism," which makes me curiouse enough to want to see if a virual reality can qualify as a magical one.

The Dragon Quintet by Marvin Kaye (Tor HCVR $24.95 04/01/04)
Reviewer: Sharon Archer (see review) I only read dragon stories when they're really, really, good. Fortunately, this collection of five stories by top authors: Orson Scott Card, Elizabeth Moon, Mercedes Lackey, Tanith Lee and Michael Swanwick, qualifies easily. It's a handful of different takes on the dragon myth, ranging from romantic to ravaging with no chance you'll mistake these scaled beasties for horseys with wings. Recommended.

Medalon - Book One of the Hythrun Chronicles by Jennifer Fallon (Tor HCVR $24.95 04/01/04) Reviewer: Karey Herriman  Issue: 0404
This is Australian Fantasy author Fallon's first novel, originally published in 2000 when it became an immediate bestseller. One wonders why it took so long to come to the US? Medalon is the first of an already published trilogy, with another to follow. In the story, R'shiel, whose mother is an elite warrior sworn to keep heathens out, runs afoul of her mother and falls in with those same heathens. Worse, she discovers that she may be the legendary "demon child" born to slay a god as her world is turned upside down.

Moonrise by Mitchell Smith (Tor HCVR $ 25.95 04/21/04)
A generation has passed since Kingdom River,  the author's previous novel of post ice age North America, fallen to climate changes caused by a shifting of Jupiter's orbit. Now the adopted son of Sam Monroe and Rachel, runs for his life as death marks the end of the peace Sam's leadership brought to the Middle Kingdom. The boy, Bazajet, fleeing for his life runs into an unlikely trio of "Boston-made" genetically modified "persons": Richard, the man-bear, Errol more weasel than man, and Nancy catlike and cunning. Made, or born by the underground masters of Boston, who meddle with the "so-tiny twisted ribbons-of-planning inside only slightly-less-tiny-bits in the juices when man and women come together." But these "persons" do not call New England's wizards master, and are on a mission to destroy Boston. A mission Bazjet is compelled to join. If they fail, the Bostonians will move into the mid-west conquering and enslaving the peoples fighting their way back from the ruins of civilization.

A Scholar of Magics by Caroline Stevermer (Tor HCVR $ 19.95 04/01/04)
Reviewer: Madeleine Yeh Issue: 0405 (See Review)
This is the sequel to A College Of Magics and is set a couple of months after the events in that book. One of the characters in A College Of Magics is also in this novel, but this book stands alone very well. It is set in an alternate Britain, where airplanes are a new invention and motor cars are uncommon, and the British practice afternoon tea as an art. Here the ancient and honorable university of Glasscastle is teaching magic. The undergraduates and teachers spend part of their time maintaining the wards and magic of Glasscastle, and the rest in studies or research.

Wellspring of Chaos by L.E. Modessit, Jr. (Tor HCVR $ 27.95 04/01/04)
From Book Description: Wellspring of Chaos is the twelfth book in the Recluce Saga and takes place roughly 60 years after the close of The Order War (Recluce #4). It is Modesitt at the top of his form, returning to his most famous fantasy world, yet does not require previous knowledge of Recluce to be enjoyed. It's publication is sure to be one of the fantasy milestones of the year.

Beneath The Moors by Brian Lumley (Tor Trade 04/01/04)
Isn't it a little early for horror? Evidentially not, as the ""tribute by veteran fantasist Lumley to horror author H.P. Lovecraft" is just out in Trade.

Fargon Fairingay by Niel Hancock (Starscape / Tom Doherty Trade $ 5.99 04/01/04) Book Description: Welcome to Atlanton Earth! In this second spellbinding adventure that began with Greyfax Grimwald, friends Bear, Dwarf, and Otter are joined by Faragon Fairingay, the valiant young warrior. Sent to Lower Earth at the request of Lorini, the Lady of Light, the four allies embark on a fateful quest in search for the legendary Arkenchest and its vital Five Secrets. Never before has the trio of friends ventured so far--and risked so much--for so glorious a prize.

Wesleyan  

Other Publishers

Christopher Lee Filmography by Tom Johnson and Mark A. Miller (McFarland & Company, Inc HCVR $ 55 04/27/04) Reviewer: Unassigned Issue: 0404
Book Description: The career of towering, handsome actor Christopher Lee has stretched over half a century in every sort of film from comedy to horror. He has assumed such diverse roles as the Man With the Golden Gun, Frankenstein’s monster, Fu Manchu, Sherlock Holmes, and Dr. Catheter (from Gremlins 2).

Iterations by Robert Sawyer (Red Deer Press Trade $ 16.95 04/08/04) If you've ever read anything by Sawyer you know that at his worst he's not half bad. At his best, he's superb, and this collection is the best of his best - and in short story form besides. Oh, and you have to go to Canada to get it. View Title at Amazon.Ca

In the Face of Death by Chelsea Quinn Yarboro (BenBella Books HCVR $14.95 04/01/04)
Reviewer: Unassigned Issue: 0404
Vampire novels, with their immortal protagonists, make a good backdrop for historical fiction, as the author proves by combining supernatural horrors with those of the Civil War.

Robinson Crusoe 1.000,000 A.D. by Terry Sunbord (Clocktower Books Trade $12 04/01/04) Reviewer: Unassigned Issue: 0404
A cloned man awakes in the far future on an Earth where man has long been extinct. Can his gal Friday be far behind?

Cities by Peter Crowther (ed) (Four Walls Eight Windows Trade $17 04/01/04) Reviewer: Unassigned Issue: 0404
China Miéville, Michael Moorcock, Paul Di Filippo, and Geoff Ryman all contribute tales of what has to be considered Urban Fantasy to this foursome of stories edited by Hugo Award winning editor Peter Crowther. Except that they're not actually all Fantasy, actually. I was pleased to find Geoff Ryman's "V.A.O" in here, which appeared in a chapbook and again in the Year's Best Science Fiction: Twentieth Annual Collection (see review). Nonetheless, I've no qualms about recommending this collection.

It Came From Outer Space by Ray Bradbury (Gauntlet HCVR $125 04/01/04) Reviewer: Unassigned Issue: 0404
Talk about classic SF! This isn't just the screenplay of one of the most important SF Films of all time (complete with typos, cross-outs and typewriter glitches) it's a compendium of ads, letters, commentary and remembrances. As a matter of fact, though it has four different treatments of the story in it and Bradbury is credited in the film, he actually didn't write the final screenplay, fortunately for us, since that makes this book possible. Available only in signed limited edition, collectors, scholars and librarians should queue up early to try and get their hands on this noteworthy book.

Two Trains Running by Lucius Shepard, Lucius Shepard, Charles Stross (Golden Gryphon Press HCVR $22.95 04/01/04)
Reviewer: Bill Herriman Issue: 0404
Shepard wrote a magazine artcle for Spin that starts this short collection of hobo tales. The article was about a brotherhood known as the FTRA (Freight Train Riders of America) and to research it the author rode the rails with a hobo he named Madcat. That article appears here, as well as two new novellas, "Over Yonder" and "Jailbait" about the gritty life on the rails as trains moves through the murky landscape that Lucius Shepard conjures up.

Face of a Stranger by Dan Roentsch (iUninverse Trade $11.95 04/01/04) Reviewer: Unassigned Issue: 0404
(PubDate: Jan 04) Author Dan Roentsch is director of the Promethean Theater Company of NYC, and is apparently has a hero fixation. In his novel, Face of a Stranger, he builds a stage to examine the utility of the hero when a young man's brain holds the solution to a Martian plague and a despot pressures him to accept his control. It's a slim book with a vaguely A.E. Van Vogt tone to it.

Island Dreams by Claude Laluminere (ed) (Vehicule Press 12.95 $0 04/01/04) Reviewer: Unassigned Issue: 0404
Available previously in Canada, and now in the US, here's a collection of stories of the fantastic from Montreal's talented writers, collected by author/editor (Witpunk, See Review) Claude Laluminere.

Faint Echoes - Distant Stars by Ben Bova (William Morrow HCVR $25.95 04/01/04) Reviewer: Unassigned Issue: 0404
SF author and science writer Bova outs himself as a life-ist in this well put together book on the science and politics of finding life elsewhere in the universe. All in all, he shows the evidence for pro and con, and maintains a healthy skepticism, though it's clear he'd like life to be popular out there. As he points out in his chapter on the (unlikely, but fun to entertain) notion of UFO visits to Earth, when news was unreliable in the Civil War, newspapers would post the disclaimer: "Good News, If True." So it is with life in the universe and Dr. Bova's book, good news, if it bears out.

Better late than never...(books that came in after they were published but are worth a look anyway)

Odyssey by Julie E. Czerneda (ed) (Trifolium Books Trade $ 12.95 09/01/03)
This collection of original short stories for young readers takes on the mission of incorporating solid science into each plot to sneak some education in under the reader's radar. That's nothing new for good SF, in fact, it's as old as the genre, and it done nicely here in seven tales of high adventure in dire circumstances. The protagonists are young, and likeable, and the scientific puzzles include everything from the rate of continental drift to the surface tension of a mercury ocean. It's a classic SF idea, freshly executed for the next generation of speculating readers.

© 2004 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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