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From the June 2000 Locus

Gregory Benford, Eater (Eos 5/00) An intelligent black hole visits Earth in this thriller of astrophysics, first contact, politics, and apocalyptic showdown - a fascinating mix of hard SF, disaster novel, and space opera, full not only of original scientific speculation, but also engaging characters.

Terry Bisson, In the Upper Room and Other Likely Stories (Tor 5/00) Bisson’s at his best with his sharp-witted short fiction, and his unerring ear for dialog ‘‘explores and disassembles the language of postliterate consumer culture in a way that is alternately hilarious and chilling’’ (Gary K. Wolfe) in this collection of 16 stories published since 1994.

C.J. Cherryh, Fortress of Dragons (Eos 4/00) The fourth and concluding volume in the ‘‘Fortress’’ series brings the seasons full-circle for sorcerous construct Tristen, who must finally decide his place in the world as he brings his powers and potential to bear in war. A fitting finale, both ending and a new beginning, for this evocative fantasy series.

Terry Dowling, Blackwater Days (Eidolon 4/00) Fascinating images fill this quirky mystery composed of seven linked stories (only three previously published) tied together in a tale of a PI, a cop, a psychiatrist, and two mental patients with inexplicable knowledge. [Terry Dowling website]

Gardner Dozois, ed., The Furthest Horizon: SF Adventures to the Far Future (St. Martin’s Griffin 5/00) With unerring eye, Dozois selects 17 classic stories of high adventure that explore the possibilities of the far, far future, written by an all-star roster of authors including Jack Vance, Cordwainer Smith, Michael Moorcock, Gene Wolfe, and James Tiptree, Jr.

Thomas Harlan, The Gate of Fire (Tor 5/00) Alternate-history fantasy novel of war between Rome and Persia, the second book of ‘‘Oath and Empire’’, sequel to the Harlan’s much-acclaimed first novel, The Shadow of Ararat.

J. Gregory Keyes, Empire of Unreason (Del Rey 5/00) The New World is the focus in this third volume of ‘‘The Age of Unreason’’, as Benjamin Franklin and his allies try to keep the demonic Malekim - and the Stuart king - out of the colonies. A rousing adventure in a fascinating world of alchemy instead of science.

Juliet Marillier, Daughter of the Forest (Tor 5/00) Fairy tale is transformed into powerful, down-to-earth Celtic fantasy in this story of a young Irishwoman who must stay mute as she works to free her brothers from the spell that turned them into swans. The first book in the ‘‘Sevenwaters’’ trilogy, and an exceptionally strong first novel.

Frederik Pohl, ed., The SFWA Grand Masters, Volume 2 (Tor 4/00) The second volume in this anthology series covers Grand Masters Isaac Asimov, Alfred Bester, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, and Andre Norton, with several stories by each, and informative introductions by editor Pohl.

Rudy Rucker, Gnarl! (Four Walls Eight Windows 5/00) For those who can’t get enough inspired weirdness, humor, and wild logic, Rucker presents this collection of 36 stories written in the last quarter of the 20th century, a companion to the non-fiction Seek!. The collection adds five previously uncollected stories (one original) to the contents of the 1991 Transreal!, and includes a number of stories co-authored by partners-in-strangeness Bruce Sterling, Paul di Filippo, and Marc Laidlaw.

James H. Schmitz, Telzey Amberdon (Baen 3/00) One of SF’s most memorable characters, psi-talented teen genius Telzey returns in this first of four volumes collecting Schmitz’s stories set in the Federation of the Hub; this volume includes two stories not previously collected.

Darrell Schweitzer, Nightscapes: Tales of the Ominous and Magical (Wildside Press 4/00) This collection contains seventeen twisted tales of dark fantasy, from historical to contemporary. The sixth story collection from one of the strongest proponents and practitioners of weird fiction today, this gathers mostly stories from the last decade.

Jan Siegel, Prospero’s Children (Del Rey 5/00) A dreary holiday in Yorkshire is anything but for two teens caught up in magic tied to ancient Atlantis. An enchanting and very promising first novel, the first in a trilogy.

Brian Stableford, The Fountains of Youth (Tor 5/00) The conquest of death and its implications for humanity lies at the center of this sweeping ‘‘memoir’’ of a 500-year-old 31st-century historian, set in the same elaborately constructed future as Inherit the Earth and Architects of Emortality.

© 2000 by Locus Publications. All rights reserved.