Notable new SF, Fantasy, and Horror books seen, 12 - 24 March
* Brooks, Terry : Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life(Ballantine Del Rey 0-345-45828-1, $22.95, 9+197pp, hc, March 2003, jacket design David Stevenson)
Nonfiction book about writing from the author who gave up a law practice in middle age to write, and whose first book was the bestselling, Tolkien-inspired The Sword of Shannara (1977). The Amazon page has its own review by Lacey Fain, several five-star reader reviews, and the Publishers Weekly review, which calls it a "succinct and warmhearted autobiographical meditation on the writing life". Brooks' official website has this excerpt.
* Daniels, Ezra Claytan : The Changers / Part 1: Evolution Is Our Right(Dream Chocolate Confections , $8.95, 95pp, tpb, 2002)
Graphic novel, first of two parts, about two young men from an "apexed Human society" in the distant sent back in time to 2027 to catalyze a leap in Human evolution, by a 24-year-old freelance designer living in Portland OR. The author's official website, Dream Chocolate Confections, has this description and sample.
* David, John : Destroying Worlds(1stBooks Library 1-4033-7550-x, $14.95, 14+274pp, tpb, November 2002)
SF novel, second episode of "Enemies of Society", a series of future thrillers that combine SF and social commentary, following Becoming Death (2002); set in a distant future dominated by feudalism, where people sacrifice their freedom for protection by powerful lords. Available from Amazon (click on title) or directly from 1st Books Library, whose webpage includes a description and preview.
* Denning, Troy : Star Wars: Tatooine Ghost(Del Rey 0-345-45668-8, $25.95, 403pp, hc, March 2003, jacket illustration Steven D. Anderson, jacket design David Stevenson)
"Classic" Star Wars novel, set just after the events of Episode VI Return of the Jedi, concerning Han Solo, his new wife Princess Leia, Chewbacca, et al, who return to Tatooine to recover a crucial New Republic spy code. The Amazon page has the book description, and several enthusiastic reader reviews. The official Star Wars site has this interview with Denning, which links to several pages of excerpts, beginning here. There's also this excerpt on the Del Rey site.
* Heimann, Jim, ed. : Future Perfect: Vintage Futuristic Graphics(Taschen 3-8228-1566-7, $10, tpb, September 2002, cover design Claudia Frey)
Softcover art book of graphics, mostly from old advertising sheets, of the future as depicted in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, depicting multi-decked passenger airliners, streamlined tractors, futuristic automobiles, and the occasional "all-concrete blast-resistant home". Images are from Popular Mechanics magazine, and "the Jim Heimann collection". There's an introduction (in English, German, and French), "Futures That Never Arrives", by Bruce McCall, but otherwise no text at all. The publisher's site has this page about the book, with sample illustrations; there are also numerous books by the same author on associated themes (see the Popculture directory), such as "All-American Ads" of the '30s, '40s, '50s, and '60s, which contrast ironically with the future that came to be.
* Hopkinson, Nalo, ed. : Mojo: Conjure Stories(Warner Aspect 0-446-67929-1, $13.95, 10+340pp, tpb, April 2003, jacket design Julie Metz)
Anthology of 19 original stories on the subject of 'mojo' -- personal magic, in the etymology of West African slaves brought to America -- contributed by Andy Duncan, Neil Gaiman, Tananarive Due, Eliot Fintushel, Steven Barnes, Barbara Hambly, Sheree Renee Thomas, and others. The Amazon page has a review by Cynthia Ward, and the PW review. The publisher's page has this excerpt comprising Hopkinson's brief Editor's Note, and the Introduction by Luisah Teish.
* McGarry, Terry : The Binder's Road(Tor 0-765-30428-7, $27.95, 508pp, hc, March 2003, jacket art Gary Ruddell)
Fantasy novel, sequel to her debut, Illumination (2001), with one more volume to follow. The Amazon page has the PW review, a note from the author, and a brief excerpt. Aside from the author's personal page, there's Eiden Myr devoted to this series, with a page about this volume, and links to several excerpts.
Pinto, Ricardo : The Standing Dead(Tor 0-312-87209-7, $27.95, 560pp, hc, March 2003, jacket art Mark Harrison, jacket design Martha E. Sedgwick)
Fantasy novel, sequel to his debut, The Chosen (2000), with one more volume to follow; this is "Book Two of the Stone Dance of the Chameleon". The Amazon page has the PW review, book description, and reader reviews, including one by (who else?) Harriet Klausner. The official website is The Stone Dance of the Chameleon, quite detailed, with an overview, an introduction to Quya and text of the Earth Song in Quya, and much else, including links to online reviews. Carolyn Cushman reviewed it in the February 2003 Locus Magazine, remarking that it "lacks the striking opulence and ceremony of the court in the series' first novel, but the tribes' own complex culture provides plenty of interest..."
* Silverberg, Robert, & Karen Haber, eds. : Science Fiction: The Best of 2002(ibooks 0-7434-5816-8, $7.99, 9+420pp, pb, March 2003, cover art Scott Grimando, cover design J Vita)
Anthology of 11 stories first published in 2002; the first released of the three annual best-SF-of-the-year anthologies, beating Hartwell/Cramer's and Dozois's books into print, and the second SF volume by these editors. Selections include Charles Stross's "Tourist", Ian R. MacLeod's "Breathmoss", and stories by Ted Chiang, Orson Scott Card (novelette "Angles", first published at Card's website www.hatrack.com), Christopher Priest, Brian W. Aldiss, James Morrow, Robert Reed, Geoffrey A. Landis, Yoon Ha Lee, and Benjamin Rosenbaum. There's a breif historical Introduction by the editors, but otherwise no story notes, annual overviews, etc.
* Westerfeld, Scott : The Risen Empire(Tor 0-765-30555-0, $24.95, 304pp, hc, March 2003)
SF novel, a far future space opera, first book of two. The Amazon page has the PW and Booklist reviews, the description (dust jacket copy), and a 4-star review from Harriet K. Blurbs on the dust jacket include this from Mike Resnick: "proof that space opera can be as complex and sophisticated as any other form of literature. Doc Smith would barely recognize it". Gary K. Wolfe reviews it in the March 2003 Locus Magazine, noting that the author reportedly planned a trilogy but "threw out the middle book when he realized it was mostly just marking time. If true, he deserves some sort of prize for that alone..." and concluding that this book "is the first part of what promises to be a rousing romantic adventure". And Russell Letson reviews it in the forthcoming April issue of Locus, describing it as a mix of "high tech, interstellar warfare, court intrigue, doomed romance, and rogue AIs, among other spicy ingredients".
The five small craft passed from shadow, emerging with the suddenness of coins thrown into sunlight. The disks of their rotary wings shimmered in the air like heat, momentary rainbows flexing across prisms of motion. Master Pilot Jocim Marx noted with plesure the precision of his squadron's formation. The other pilots' Intelligencer craft perfectly formed a square centered upon his own.Opening lines:
Instead of bed, where she usually awoke from her dreams, Leia found herself slumped forward in her crash webbing, ears hissing with static and eyes aching from the glare of two G-class suns. Han and Chewbacca were still busy at their stations, Han plotting approach vectors and Chewbacca setting sensor filters. The planet Tatooine was just drifting into view, its yellow sodium-rich sands glowing so brightly it resembled a small sibling star in orbit around the big twins.
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