New and Notable Books
Stephen Baxter, Evolution (Del Rey 2/03)
Baxter traces human development from the earliest proto-primate to posthuman in this epic pageant of survival spanning over a half billion years.
Cory Doctorow, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (Tor 1/03)
This fresh and funny first novel depicts a fascinating future in which death has been defeated, work has become obsolete, and Disney World has been inhabited by volunteers who war amongst themselves over the best way to keep the classic theme park going.
Jon Foster, Progressions
(Cartouche Press 12/02)
Robots and dynamic human figures fill this book, showcasing the striking art of John Foster, from sketches to finished paintings and digital works, with occasional insightful comments by Foster.
William Gibson, Pattern Recognition (Putnam 2/03)
Gibson works his usual magic in this sly examination of contemporary consumer culture, a quasi-SF urban thriller set in the present day, following a woman with an allergy to corporate logos as she tries to track down the source of fragmentary video footage posted on the Internet.
Robert Jordan, Crossroads of Twilight
The tenth volume of Jordan’s addictive epic fantasy ‘‘The Wheel of Time’’ finds tension mounting but no resolution near, as the various forces maneuver for position in the final battle against the Dark One.
Kay Kenyon, The Braided World
(Bantam Spectra 2/03)
Earth’s devastation in Maximum Ice left its survivors with inadequate genetic diversity. Their only hope is finding lost genetic information on a world inhabited by humanoid aliens just different enough to be disturbing - for both sides. A provocative, challenging tale of first contact gone wrong.
Greg Keyes, The Briar King
(Del Rey 1/03)
The kingdom of Crotheny is shaken by sorcery and betrayal as ancient forces awaken in this first volume of ‘‘The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone’’, a richly textured fantasy woven out of the myths and legends of various European cultures.
Nancy Kress, Crossfire (Tor 2/03)
Conflicts between humans get explored in this enlightening SF novel, in which 6,000 humans of various cultures set out to colonize the world of Greentrees, only to find themselves in the middle of a war between two alien species.
Ken MacLeod, Engine City (Tor 1/03)
The third and final volume in the spectacular trilogy ‘‘The Engines of Light’’. Humans risk the anger of the gods as they spread through the Second Sphere, while new discoveries and threats of alien invasion have the great city of Nova Babylonia on the brink of cultural revolution and war.
Michael Moorcock, The Skrayling Tree (Warner Aspect 2/03)
Elric visits America in this absorbing sequel to The Dreamthief’s Daughter, which finds the albino Ulric von Bek kidnapped and transported into the far past of a mythic America, where the Multiverse itself is threatened.
Robert J. Sawyer, Humans (Tor 2/03)
The second volume of ‘‘The Neanderthal Parallax’’ continues to challenge our assumptions about human civilization, as cultural exchanges begin between our world and a parallel world in which Homo sapiens died out and Neanderthals dominated.
Shaun Tan, The Red Tree (Simply Read Books 3/03)
The evocative, surreal art of Shaun Tan brings emotions to life in this unusual picture book, a tale of a girl’s dismal day - and the return of hope.
Sean Williams & Shane Dix, Orphans of Earth (Ace 1/03)
The second volume in the ‘‘Orphans’’ trilogy, a sweeping space opera of enigmatic aliens, miraculous gifts, and other aliens who destroyed Earth, leaving survivors Hatzis and Alendar to seek ways to warn the remaining human colonies.
Jack Zipes, Breaking the Magic Spell: Radical Theories of Folk and Fairy Tales: Revised and Expanded Edition (University Press of Kentucky 7/02)
Zipes has revised all the essays from his seminal 1979 work, in which he first laid out his belief that folk and fairy tales should be looked at in their socio-political and cultural contexts. This updated edition now includes such figures as Harry Potter, Philip Pullman, and Shrek in the analysis.