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US Books Received- 04/2005  Next Month / Last Month
In order to provide timely reviews, we prefer to receive Advance Reader Copies of books when possible. Send books to Gayle Surrette / Editor c/o SFRevu 16440 Baden Westwood Road Brandywine, MD 20613

Aliens and AIs by Lawrence M. Schoen ( April, 2005 / ) - Book Description: Dr. Lawrence M. Schoen is probably most known as "That Klingon Guy" because of his years of service as the founder and director of the Klingon Language Institute. Now, through a collection of seven short stories--three of them original to this collection--he explores the in-human condition. At times humorous, other times thoughtful, "Aliens and AIs" touches upon psychic aliens, punning computers, not-quite-intelligent robots and the humans who interact with them all.

Ace Books

Down Time by Lynn Abbey (Ace Books 30 April, 2005 / $6.99) - The fourth of Abbey's Time series. Emma Merrigan and her mother Eleanor do not get along, but they do share a singular ability: the power to move through time and prevent curses from harming future generations. On a Caribbean cruise meant to heal their rift, the two find themselves faced with an all-new challenge. This may be one journey from which Emma never returns (reviewer Harriet Klausner joins us with a review she did for Amazon - we expect to be seeing original content from her soon - Ern). (see review)

Ironcrown Moon by Julian May (Ace Books 30 April, 2005 / $24.95) - This novel continues the tale of King Conrig and his loyal friend Snudge, now a knight with obligations that may put him in opposition to his king's ambitions. To secure his throne, Conrig must have the missing Trove of Dansilo... but Snudge fears Conrig would use it for conquest. Can he serve the king's lust for power and be true to himself? (see review)

Saint Vidicon To The Rescue by Christopher Stasheff (Ace Books 30 April, 2005 / $6.99) - Tony Ricci is a geek, of the techno variety, and he's been called in to fix a mysterious virus that's cropped up in one of his corporate client's system. But it turns out not really to be a virus at all; it's really a job listing from beyond the beyond. It seems St. Vidicon, once a corporeal Catholic Priest, now a canonized ghost in the machine, needs a hand with some support calls. It's fast and funny techno-fantasy at its best. (see review)

The Unhandsome Prince by John Moore (Ace Books 26 April, 2005 / $6.99) - Caroline's got a plan: she's going to find a frog to kiss and turn back into a handsome prince. But Prince Hal was not exactly what she had in mind. Unfortunately for Hal, he has to make things work with Caroline or it's back to the lily pad for him. (see review)

Ace Trade

Silverlock by John Myers Myers (Ace Trade 05 April, 2005 / $14.95) - Amazon.com: Silverlock needs no introduction, though this reprint bears three; skip them. A. Clarence Shandon, not a very pleasant person, falls into a postmodern whirlwind tour of folklore and literature, with a bard as his Virgil. Shandon gradually absorbs better qualities from the people he encounters. The plot is great fun; the true entertainment for many readers comes from playing spot-the-reference, for Myers packed every page with scraps and tags of blended allusions to other works. Don't worry -- the story is wonderful even if you're not well-versed, but you may find yourself suddenly interested in the Odyssey, ballads, Izaak Walton, Don Quixote or Apuleius.

Altair Australia Books

Ships in the Night by Jack McDevitt (Altair Australia Books 4/05 / 19.95) - A new collection of Jack McDevitt's short fiction published by Altair-Australia, a small, eclectic publisher in Australia. (see review)

Aspect

Cagebird by Karin Lowachee (Aspect 01 April, 2005 / $6.99) - John W. Campbell finalist follows the life of Yuri Kirov, orphaned at four when his colony was destroyed by an alien enemy. Now in his twenties, raised by pirates who found him in an refugee camp, he is a pirate captain, and more...or at least he was until he got caught. Now he's in prison for life, unless someone can find a better use for his skills, and that someone is more ruthless than the pirates Yuri is sent to betray. But are they more ruthless than Yuri? Someone's going to find out the hard way.

Mystic Quest (The Bronze Canticles, Book 2) by Laura Hickman (Aspect 18 April, 2005 / $24.95) - Twenty-three years have passed since Galen Arvad first exposed the deep magic--a power that spans three separate worlds. Now, that magic brings tragedy and darkness to the lives of all who wield it. Galen and his clans suffer an endless war in the realm of the dragonkings; a gruesome kingdom of the undead rises in the faery domain, and in the realm of the reanimated rusting titans, a tyrant goblin?s lust for conquest goes unchecked. A new generation of heroes sets out on separate, life-changing journeys, and each will find their redemption may be beyond the power of magic.

Baen

Alternate Generals III by Harry Turtledove (Baen 01 April, 2005 / $24.00) - The third entry in Harry Turtledove's Alternate Generals series, this book includes tales from Mike Resnick, Esther Friesner, Roland Green and Turtledove himself in its 13 entries. What would history have been like if someone else had been in command during a pivotal battle? (see review)

Crown of Slaves by David Weber (Baen 01 April, 2005 / $7.99) -

From Back Cover:

The Star Kingdom's ally Erewhon is growing increasingly restive in the alliance because the new High Ridge regime ignores its needs. Added to the longstanding problem of a slave labor planet controlled by hostile Mesans in Erewhon's stellar backyard, which High Ridge refuses to deal with, is the recent assassination of the Solarian League's most prominent voice of public conscience indicates the growing danger of political instability in the Solarian League -- which is also close to Erewhon.

In desperation, Queen Elizabeth tries to defuse the situation by sending a private mission to Erewhon led by Captain Zilwicki, accompanied by one of her nieces. When they arrive on Erewhon, however, Manticore's envoys find themselves in a mess. Not only do they encounter one of the Republic of Haven's most capable agents -- Victor Cachat -- but they also discover that the Solarian League's military delegation seems up to its neck in skulduggery.

And, just to put the icing on the cake, the radical freed slave organization, the Audubon Ballroom, is also on the scene -- led by the notorious and ruthless leader, Jeremy X.

Dark Companion by Andre Norton (Baen 01 April, 2005 / $26.00) -

From Book Description:

In a future where humanity has scattered itself across the stars and Earth itself is now a dimly-remembered place of legend, two worlds of near-supernatural strangeness challenge two naive but courageous heros. The planet Beltane had been unscathed by the all-encompassing war of the four Sectors when Vere Collis and his friends, exploring caves underground, were trapped by powerful explosions on the surface. Their leader was killed, but the group wandered for days underground to find a way to the surface. They emerged to find that they were the last human survivors on Beltane. Only strange and deadly mutant creatures now roamed the surface. Elsewhere in the galaxy, Kilda's home planet had no place for her, so she took employment as a teacher and governess to two young children on the planet named Dylan. But she soon found that one of her charges has an invisible "dread companion"-and soon Kilda knows that the companion is not imaginary at all, as it leads her charges into an other-dimensional world resembling the legends of Faerie. Though the other world has unknown dangers on every hand, Kilda follows the children across the spatial barrier, knowing that she is their only hope. Two complete novels of two very different heroes battling alien and unknown evil, and fighting to protect the helpless in worlds that are wondrous, terrifying, and utterly alien. Publisher's Note: Dark Companion has previously appeared separately as Dark Piper and Dread Companion. This is the first combined publication of the complete book.

(Source: Baen)

The Creatures of Man by Howard Myers (Baen 01 April, 2005 / $7.99) -

From Book Description:

A future war is being fought across the galaxy and the key to victory can be found on the legendary lost world where humanity originated-Earth. But even if the lost home world can be found, there may be no place for humans on it anymore. The creatures who are now the sole inhabitants, and which mankind once dominated, have been raised to a high level of intelligence and the future they plan is not one with any room for the former rulers of the planet. This future saga is here assembled for the first time, as well as several bonus short novels in a huge volume of highly original space adventure.

The Quantum Connection by Travis Taylor (Baen 01 April, 2005 / $24.00) - Sequel to Warp Speed, this volume continues the story of future Earth, where warp drive might have given mankind the stars... if others hadn't gotten there first. (see review)

We Few by David Weber (Baen 01 April, 2005 / $26.00) - Continuing the March series, chronicling the adventures of Prince Roger MacClintock, this tale follows the course of Roger's quest to regain his throne against the armed might of an entire star empire. In his corner are the misfits and hardened veterans of his alien legion. It hardly seems like a fair fight.

Bantam

The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases by MARK ROBERTS (Bantam 26 April, 2005 / $14.00) - From Back Cover: You hold in your hands the most complete and official guide to imaginary ailments ever assembled -- each disease carefully documented by the most stellar collection of speculative fiction writers ever to play doctor. Detailed within for your reading pleasure are the frightening, ridiculous, and downright absurdly hilarious symptoms, histories, and possible cures to all the hills human flesh isn't heir to, including Ballistic Organ Disease, Delusions of Universal Grandeur, and Reverse Pinocchio Syndrome.

Wildwood Road by Christopher Golden (Bantam 29 March, 2005 / $12.00) - Michael Dansky finds himself embroiled in a surreal quest to help a girl who may not be entirely real-- or alive. When his wife vanishes, his quest turns intensely personal, leading him back to where it all started: at the end of a lonely road. (see review)

Benbella Books

Finding Serenity : Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly by Jane Espenson (Benbella Books 01 April, 2005 / $17.95) - BenBella books has put together a fine collection of essays about the now defunct Joss Wheedon series. The fan base found out that in sf space, no one can hear you scream when your favorite series is taken off the air, but that doesn't mean you're alone in the void. The editor wrote the episode "Shindig" as well as episodes for numerous other SF/Fantasy shows. Essayists include Mercedes Lackey, Tanya Huff and Jewel Staite ("Kaylee"). (see review)

Carroll & Graf Publishers

Isaac Asimov: A Life of the Grand Master of Science Fiction by Michael White (Carroll & Graf Publishers 10 April, 2005 / $15.95) - No stranger to biographies of the intellectually influential, including, Da Vinci, Tolkien, and most recently C.S. Lewis, Michael White turns his talents to the bedrock on which SF was laid, Issac Asimov. It's engaging, illuminating, and very readable. The author of the robot and Foundation stories comes off as both brilliant and human, but equally fascinating in both lights.

Collector's Guide Publishing Inc

Deep Space: The NASA Mission Reports : Apogee Books Space Series 48 (Apogee Books Space Series) by Robert Godwin (Collector's Guide Publishing Inc 28 April, 2005 / $34.95) - Deep Space: The NASA Mission Reports is a compilation of press packets and probe datasheets covering all the unmanned probes sent by NASA to explore the outer solar system. There are still plenty of probes left to cover, and hopefully Apogee Books will get around to covering the inner solar system probes someday. And while almost all of this information is freely available to the public, this book collects all the information in one place for easy reference. And considering the amount of effort necessary to dig through the NASA archives and request all the disparate bits and pieces, the cover price turns out to be well worth it. (see review)

DAW

I, Alien by Mike Resnick (DAW 05 April, 2005 / $6.99) - Stories about aliens trying to make sense of humans is a sub-genre of SF that's known some terrific stories, though my favorites (The Flat Eyed Monster, Look What They're Doing Now, and They're Made of Meat) are all humor. Here's a collection of twenty-seven new stories by "some of today's most inventive authors" about close encounters of the third kind, as seen from the other side.

Lords of Grass and Thunder by Curt Benjamin (DAW 05 April, 2005 / $24.95) - Prince Tayyichiut, last seen in Benjamin's Seven Brothers fantasy trilogy, is returning home after an all-out war between gods and demons. This book starts out fairly mundane: political schemes, and human jealousy, and power grabbing among the Khan's family, but the magical world of demons and gods and shamans soon brings this to a more exciting level. This is heroic fantasy on an epic scale, finally involving the living, the dead, the gods, and the demons. This book does very nicely as an independent story. (see review)

Daw / Penguin Putnam

Smoke and Shadows by Tanya Huff (Daw / Penguin Putnam April 1, 2005 / 23.95) - 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 the special effects start to get more special than he's like.

DAW Hardcover

Guardian Of The Freedom : (Merlin's Descendents #5) (Merlin's Descendants) by Irene Radford (DAW Hardcover 05 April, 2005 / $24.95) - Guardian of the Freedom is the 5th book in Irene Radford?s Merlin?s Descendants series. The basic conceit of the series is that magic is real and the members of the Pendragon Society are the magical guardians of Britain. The Society is led by The Pendragon. Drake Kirkwood, the Earl of Kirkenwood is the current Pendragon. The Kirkwoods are Merlin?s direct descendants. The Pendragon has been the magical advisor to the Kings of Britain since Merlin?s time but at the start of the book, it is the 1760?s, the heart of the Enlightenment and Britain is ruled by the German Hanoverians who don?t believe in magic. (see review)

Del Rey

Tsubasa Volume 5 : RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE (Reservoir Chronicles Tsubasa) by CLAMP (Del Rey 26 April, 2005 / $10.95) -

From Back Cover:

Following the trail of the stolen children of Spirit Town, Sakura is captured at the forbidden castle, where she encounters the golden-haired ghost! Syaoran and his friends?the sociable magician Fai D. Flowright, the master swordsman Kurogane, and the odd creature Mokona?must now penetrate the ancient stronghold in order to rescue Sakura and the missing children. Will they finally uncover the truth behind the legend of Princess Emerald? And will they recover another fragment of Sakura?s lost memory?

Eos

Flight of the Nighthawks: Book One of the Darkwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist (Eos 01 April, 2006 / $25.95) - This is the first book in a new trilogy set in the universe of Midkemia. The story opens with new, yet vague perils which are foreseen by the wizard Pug. As this is going on, one of Pug's sons is taking a pair of young boys under his wing while the evil wizard Sidi, utilizing the assassin guild of the Nighthawks, begins a new plot of domination. These three story lines weave in and out of each other, along with lesser ones, until everything comes together in the final chapters. The action takes place two years after the first trilogy while a time of peace has settled over the land. Perils abound, plots are hatched, and the action moves at a fairly steady pace keeping interest firmly attached to the story. (see review)

The Hidden Queen by Alma Alexander (Eos 01 May, 2005 / $6.99) - Anghara, a nine year old queen, flees for her life from her illegitimate brother, who has seized her throne. Now she must survive... and plot a way to regain what is rightfully hers.

Eraserhead Press

Foop! by Chris Genoa (Eraserhead Press April, 2005 / $13.95) - There are strange happenings going on at Dactyl, Inc, the world's first and only time travel tourism company. So strange that Joe is promoted to the new position of Chief of Probes. His first probe: find out who's been traveling back in time and torturing his boss in rather disturbing ways.

Joe quickly finds himself catapulted from his dull life into a surreal journey where a blind hog-tying monkey is one of the sanest creatures he meets. Traveling through a past where the only thing that changes the present is death, while dealing with the fabric of space-time slowly unraveling, Joe stumbles into the middle of events that threaten both the Earth's future and past.

Orb Books

Innocents Aboard : New Fantasy Stories by Gene Wolfe (Orb Books 01 April, 2005 / $14.95) - Book Description: Gene Wolfe may be the single best writer in fantasy and SF today. His quotes and reviews certainly support that contention, and so does his impressive short fiction oeuvre. Innocents Aboard gathers fantasy and horror stories from the last decade that have never before been in a Wolfe collection. Highlights from the twenty-two stories include "The Tree is my Hat," adventure and horror in the South Seas, "The Night Chough," a Long Sun story, "The Walking Sticks," a darkly humorous tale of a supernatural inheritance, and "Houston, 1943," lurid adventures in a dream that has no end. This is fantastic fiction at its best.

Roc

Buried Deep (Retrieval Artist Novels, No. 4) by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Roc 05 April, 2005 / $6.99) - Kristine Kathryn Rusch has done it again. Buried Deep is another excellent novel in the Retrieval Artist series. Buried Deep, the new and fourth novel in the series, continues to develop the universe Ms. Rusch created, giving the reader more insight into the relationship between humans and the rest of the galaxy. Ms. Rusch?s abilities as a writer continue to develop as well. In this novel she masterfully expands the number of character viewpoints the reader follows and is able to weave the various threads together to form a coherent whole without any problems.

(see review)

Once Upon A Summer Day by Dennis L. McKiernan (Roc 30 April, 2005 / $23.95) - Following Once Upon A Summer Night the first book in this saga, the story picks up with Prince Borel of Winterwood obsessed with a golden-haired maiden that comes to him in his dreams, and whom he believes in grave danger. Whether she is a dream or not, the dangers he will face as he searches for her in the land of Faery are all too real. (see review)

Sword Of Sedition (Mechwarrior: Dark Age) by Loren L. Coleman (Roc 30 April, 2005 / $6.99) - Book Jacket: Newly elected Exarch Jonah Levin is facing censure from the senators of The Republic. Wary even of his own Paladins, Levin agrees to a summit of Inner Sphere leaders on Terra-praying his enemies won't use the gathering for an assassination attempt.

The Last Light Of The Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay (Roc 30 April, 2005 / $16.00) - Product Description: From the multiple award-winning author of Tigana, A Song for Arbonne, and the three-book Fionavar Tapestry that "can only be compared to Tolkien's masterpiece" (Star-Phoenix), this powerful, moving saga evokes the Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and Norse cultures of a thousand years ago.

Simon Pulse

Spring (Witch Season) by Jeff Mariotte (Simon Pulse 01 April, 2005 / $5.99) -

From Book Description:

Kerry's life has done a one-eighty. Once she was a college kid with a summer share. A girl whose friends affectionately called her Bulldog. Now she's gotten mixed up with real live witches who are embroiled in a centuries-old feud.

For months Kerry's been on a hunt to uncover the truth. She's visited bizarre places and gained extraordinary skills. In a quest to uncover the secrets of the past, she's discovered a magical part of herself she never could have imagined.

As the final season begins, Kerry realizes she is the only one who can end this witchy war. Doing so, however, will cause one last, unbelievable twist. A twist that will change Kerry's life -- and that of her friends -- forever.

Thunder's Mouth Press

Fourth Planet from the Sun: Tales of Mars from the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction by Gordon Van Gelder (Thunder's Mouth Press April, 2005 / $15.95) - Taken from the pages of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, this book collects a dozen of the best stories to appear in this classic digest, all sharing Mars as a theme. Edited by FandSF editor Gordon Van Gelder, this volume includes -We Can Remember It For You Wholesale- by Philip K. Dick (basis of Total Recall) and Roger Zelazny's -A Rose for Ecclesiastes.-

Master Of Space And Time by Rudy Rucker (Thunder's Mouth Press 10 March, 2005 / $14.95) - Master of Space and Time by Rudy Rucker is a farcical, check-your-brain-at-the-door tale of a man who wants to be rich, and the genius who can make anything, but can't remember how he did it when it comes time to fill out the patent application. (see review)

Tor Books

Earthbound by Richard Matheson (Tor Books 01 April, 2005 / $13.95) - Stephen King credits Matheson with being the author who influenced him the most, and no doubt he's not alone. Earthbound is "an erotic ghost story" set in a lonely beach side cottage where a couple have come to confront their troubled marriage, but encounter a seductive spirit that draws the husband into her spell, and threatens more than just the marriage. (see review)

Inventing Memory by Anne Harris (Tor Books 01 April, 2005 / $14.95) - Product Description: Shula is a slave in fabled Sumer--until Inanna, Queen of Heaven, appears before her...Wendy Chrenko, former high school misfit, is now an overworked graduate student, researching her dissertation on "Remnants of Matriarchy in the Ancient Sumerian Inanna Cycle." ...and determined to prove that men and women once lived together in perfect equality, even if it means volunteering for a bizarre and dangerous scientific experiment...Separated by millennia, Shula and Wendy appear to be two very different women, leading completely separate lives...Or maybe not.

Spin by Robert Charles Wilson (Tor Books 01 April, 2005 / $25.95) - Robert Charles Wilson brings no shortage of inventive thoughts to his new novel, in which the Earth is trapped behind an artificial barrier in a bubble outside which the hands of the cosmic clock spin madly by...a million times faster than inside. At this rate the sun's fiery death is only forty Earth years away, but the terraforming of Mars can be done in the blink of an eye. Wilson is not only inventive, but a brilliant writer as well. Recommended.

Tales of the Grand Tour (The Grand Tour) by Ben Bova (Tor Books 01 April, 2005 / $15.95) - Odds and ends from Bova's Solar System spanning stories...now in trade paperback.

The Brian Lumley Companion by Brian Lumley (Tor Books April 13, 2005 / $26.95) - Product Description: Edited by Brian Lumley and multiple Bram Stoker Award winner Stanley Wiater, The Brian Lumley Companion is an indispensable guide to the life and works of Brian Lumley. The Companion is illustrated with photographs from the author?s private collection and full-color reproductions of Hugo Award?winning artist Bob Eggleton?s eye-catching cover art for Lumley?s works. (originally published in 2002, now reissued again in Hardcover)

The Well of Stars by Robert Reed (Tor Books 01 April, 2005 / $25.95) - A dark nebula with a mysterious intelligence within it provides the setting for this sequel to Marrow and the short stories he's written about this universe in which a giant world ship glides through solar system after solar system collecting colonists for its unfathomable destiny. The Marrow worldship now faces entry into a dark dust nebula with an unknown power within.

Three Hands for Scorpio by Andre Norton (Tor Books 01 April, 2005 / $23.95) - The Princess triplets, Drucilla, Sabina, and Tamara, are kidnapped by their father's enemies and plunged into the mysterious realm known as the Dismals. Here they must overcome overcome horrors while trying to find a way to merge there telepathic powers. Only united can they overcome the dangers of the Dismals and eventually escape.

Underground by Craig Spector (Tor Books 01 April, 2005 / $23.95) - Underground is a really dark piece of contemporary fantasy which crosses The Big Chill with The Evil Dead and sucks a group of friends that broke up on their graduation day during the Vietnam War when the horror house they spent it in took one of them into its depths. Now they're back to confront it, and each other. Master creature creator Stan Winston says that reading it, you will "experience a truly visceral sense of dread." Doesn't that sound like fun?

Windwalker by Natasha Mostert (Tor Books 05 April, 2005 / $6.99) -

From Back Cover

Justine is a photographer and adventurer with a tragic past. Feeling the weight of her secrets and history, she takes the job of caretaker at a Palladian mansion in the English countryside. The house is almost derelict, but it feels to her as though trapped within it are the whispered words and silent dreams of its past occupants.

Wisdom Publications

The Dharma of Star Wars by Matthew Bortolin (Wisdom Publications 25 April, 2005 / $14.95) - A light-hearted philosophic exploration of the Star Wars movies, providing a new take on the six-part space fantasy epic. This book also examines what Jedi training might be like and whether Yoda is a Zen master as well as a Jedi Master. Though the cover graphics might put you off, it's a good introduction to Dharma, the teachings of Buddha, and how they infuse the characters of Star Wars...on both the light and dark sides of the force.

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