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This page lists selected newly published SFFH books seen by Locus Online (independently from the listings compiled by Locus Magazine).

Review copies received will be listed (though reprints and reissues are on other pages), but not galleys or advance reading copies. Selections, some based only on bookstore sightings, are at the discretion of Locus Online.

* = first edition
+ = first US edition
Date with publisher info is official publication month;
Date in parentheses at paragraph end is date seen or received.

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Books reviewed in February

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Notable new SF, Fantasy, and Horror books seen : February-March

+ Benford, Gregory : Beyond Infinity
(Warner Aspect 0-446-53059-X, $23.95, 338pp, hardcover, March 2004, jacket illustration Don Dixon)

Far-future SF novel, an expansion of Benford's 1990 novella "Beyond the Fall of Night" that was a sequel to Arthur C. Clarke's early short novel Against the Fall of Night, which Clarke expanded later as The City and the Stars (a complex family tree!). It concerns the last surviving 'Original' human on Earth seeking answers to the destruction of her people. There's a brief Afterword by Benford describing the genesis of the book.
• The publisher's site has this description and excerpt.
• Benford has a page at UC Irvine's site, and set up a homepage at (though the URL is no longer active).
• The Publishers Weekly review (reprinted on the Amazon page) concludes "With its thoughtful extrapolation and mind-bending physics, this book reinforces Benford's position as one of today's foremost writers of hard SF."
• The book was Gary K. Wolfe's lead review in the February '04 Locus.
(Thu 11 Mar 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


(Shocklines Press 0-9769087-1-1, $29.95, 144pp, trade paperback, 2003)

Art book showcasing "darkly surreal fine art, book covers, disturbing works of illustrated art and fantastic mixed media photography".
• The artist's website includes a description and a gallery.
• The publisher's site has ordering information. (Not available from Amazon.)
• The artist has been nominated for this year's International Horror Guild Awards, winners to be announced April 10th.
(Sat 6 Mar 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Doctorow, Cory : Eastern Standard Tribe
(Tor 0-765-30759-6, $23.95, 224pp, hardcover, March 2004, jacket design Shelley Eshkar)

Near-future SF novel set in 2012 when some people pay their allegiance to members of time-zone based 'tribes'--people they know via e-mail and the web--over people they're living with or working for; the protagonist is a misfit inventor and management consultant who's victim of a conspiracy among friends who don't see things quite the same way.
• The author's webpage for the book offers free downloads of the entire text in various formats.
• The Amazon page has reviews from PW and Booklist.
Locus Magazine's March issue runs reviews by both Faren Miller and Jonathan Strahan.
(Wed 10 Mar 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


+ Fforde, Jasper : The Well of Lost Plots
(Viking 0-670-03289-1, $24.95, 15+375pp, hardcover, February 2004)
First US edition (UK: Hodder & Stoughton, July 2003).

Humorous fantasy novel, third in the series about detective Thursday Next. This is the first US edition, and has an extra chapter, 34a, not in the original UK edition.
• The author's websites include Fforde Grand Central, which has a Special Features page requiring a password obtainable from the book, and Thursday
• Amazon has the PW review ("Fforde's sidesplitting sendup of an increasingly antibookish society is a sheer joy.") and reader reviews.
(Tue 2 Mar 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Glass, Isabel : Daughter of Exile
(Tor 0-765-30745-6, $24.95, 365pp, hardcover, March 2004, jacket art Kinuko Craft)

Fantasy novel, described on the jacket as a first novel by a writer living in the Bay Area, about the daughter of an exiled nobleman who finds herself unprepared for the intrigues of court life.
• Faren Miller reviews the book in the upcoming April issue of Locus Magazine.
• Amazon has the PW review: "Romance fans looking for an entrée into fantasy could do worse than to start with Glass's accessible debut, which includes nearly every convention of the genre, from giants, shape-changers and zombie-like creatures to civil war, dungeons and some mild torture."
(Wed 25 Feb 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Haber, Karen, & Jonathan Strahan, eds. : Science Fiction: The Best of 2003
(ibooks 0-7434-7919-x, $7.99, 12+435pp, mass market paperback, March 2004, cover art Ciaran Devine)

Anthology of 14 stories chosen as best of 2003. This is the earliest published of the various best-of-the-year anthologies, and this year Locus reviews editor Jonathan Strahan takes over for Robert Silverberg as co-editor with Karen Haber.
• Haber provides an introduction to the book, though unlike some of the other b-o-y anthologies, there are no introductions or notes to the individual stories. (They were written, but cut for space by the publisher, according to Strahan.) Authors include Lucius Shepard, Neil Gaiman, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Vernor Vinge.
• The complete Table of Contents for this book (and for several other best-of-year anthologies forthcoming) are posted in this Asimov's Message Board thread.
(Wed 17 Mar 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


+ Hamilton, Peter F. : Pandora's Star
(Ballantine Del Rey 0-345-46162-2, $26.95, 758pp, hardcover, March 2004, jacket illustration John Harris, jacket design David Stevenson)
First US edition (UK: Macmillan, February 2004).

Far-future SF space opera novel, concerning a vast human Commonwealth threatened by an alien mass mind accidentally released from its energy barrier prison.
• Del Rey's site has this description -- "Hamilton's bestselling fiction -- powered by a fearless imagination and world-class storytelling skills -- has also earned him comparison to Tolstoy and Dickens." -- an author Q&A, and an excerpt.
Publishers Weekly's Feb. 23rd starred review is reprinted on the Amazon page: "Hamilton's exhilarating new opus proves that "intelligent space opera" isn't an oxymoron. ... Hamilton (Fallen Dragon) resembles a less cheery but very tech-savvy-and extremely paranoid-Charles Dickens."
• A sequel, Judas Unleashed, is due next year.
(Wed 10 Mar 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


+ Holdstock, Robert : The Iron Grail
(Tor 0-765-30726-X, $24.95, 299pp, hardcover, February 2004, jacket art Larry Rostant)
First US edition (UK: Simon & Schuster/Earthlight, August 2002).

Fantasy novel, book two of the "Merlin Codex" after Celtika (2001), concerning Merlin in the centuries before Arthur. In this one Merlin and Jason meet again in Alba (England), in an "evocative mix of Greek myth and British legend" according to Locus' New and Notable Books for April.
• The author's website,, has an essay, The Mythago Process, by the author; an excerpt; and a short essay by David Langford, Thoughts on The Merlin Codex.
• The Dec. 15th Publishers Weekly's starred review (reprinted on the Amazon page) calls it "Haunting, intricately plotted and richly revisionist..."
• It was reviewed in the September 2002 Locus by Faren Miller.
(Thu 11 Mar 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Kay, Guy Gavriel : The Last Light of the Sun
(Roc 0-451-45965-2, $24.95, 10+501pp, hardcover, March 2004, jacket art Larry Rostant)

Historical fantasy novel, a "powerful and complex alternate-history fantasy with its equivalents of Celts, Anglo-Saxons, and Vikings in Britain" as described by Locus Magazine's April issue New and Notable Books column.
• The author's website,, has this description, and a just-completed tour journal.
Publishers Weekly's Feb. 9th starred review, reprinted on the Amazon page, comments "Solid research, filtered through vibrant prose, serves to convey a sense of how people really lived and died in Viking and Anglo-Saxon times and how they might have interacted with the realm of magic on a daily basis."
• Faren Miller reviews it in the current, March 2004, issue of Locus Magazine.
(Wed 25 Feb 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Lee, Sharon, & Steve Miller : Balance of Trade
(Meisha Merlin 1-592220-19-3, $25, hardcover, February 2004, cover art Donato Giancola)

SF novel in the popular Liaden series about space-traders, set early in the series' timeline.
• The book includes an introduction, a section on Liaden currency & time, a cast of characters, and preliminary cover sketches.
• The authors' Liaden Universe site has this page about the book, with a link to an excerpt.
• The Booklist review, reprinted on the Amazon page, comments "Lee and Miller's latest is the well-constructed story of a young man coming of age in the midst of a sometimes deadly clash of cultures."
• Carolyn Cushman reviews the book in the upcoming April issue of Locus Magazine.
(Thu 11 Mar 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


+ McAuley, Paul : White Devils
(Tor 0-765-30761-8, $25.95, hardcover, February 2004, jacket design Drive Communications, New York)
First US edition (UK: Simon & Schuster UK, January 2004).

Near-future SF biotech thriller, involving apelike creatures, genetic engineering, and an official cover-up in the Congo.
• McAuley's untitled webpage includes extracts.
• The Amazon page reprints reviews from PW and Booklist. John Clute has reviewed the book for SF Weekly. Other reviews have appeared in UK papers Guardian and Independent.
• Gary K. Wolfe reviewed the book in the December '03 Locus, commenting "It is almost irrationally violent, over-the-top, exploitative, paranoid, and tasteless, and I liked it."
Locus interviewed McAuley in June 2002.
(Wed 10 Mar 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* McCarthy, Wil : Lost in Transmission
(Bantam Spectra 0-553-58447-2, $6.99, 370pp, mass market paperback, March 2004, cover illustration Stephen Youll)

SF novel, third in the far-future "Queendom of Sol" series described as a high-tech comedy of manners; it follows The Collapsium (2000) and The Wellstone (2003). In this one, rebels attempt to start a colony at Barnard's Star.
• The book has various appendices, including a glossary, technical notes, and engineering issues.
• The author's website,, has this page about the series, with links to comments and excerpts. At least one more novel will follow, The Squozen Moon.
• The publisher's site has a description and an excerpt.
(Wed 17 Mar 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* McIntyre, Vonda N., ed. : Nebula Awards Showcase 2004
(Roc 0-451-45957-1, $14.95, 280pp, trade paperback, March 2004, cover design Ray Lundgren)

Anthology published in 2004, commemorating the Nebula Awards presented in 2003, for works appearing in 2002 and 2001. (The Locus Index to Science Fiction Awards posts the 2003 Nebula finalists and winners.)
• Stories in this volume include the winners by Richard Chwedyk, Ted Chiang, Carol Emshwiller, and Neil Gaiman, the last an excerpt from his winning novel, and nominated works by Adam-Troy Castro, Jack McDevitt, Megan Lindholm, Michael Swanwick, and Charles Stross.
• There are also stories by Grand Master Ursula K. Le Guin and Author Emeritus Katherine MacLean, appreciations of same by Molly Gloss and Sharon Lee, and several remembrances of the late Damon Knight. There's a book introduction by McIntyre, and background notes by story authors, plus a list of past Nebula Winners.
(Tue 2 Mar 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


+ Morgan, Richard K. : Broken Angels
(Ballantine Del Rey 0-345-45771-4, $14.95, 366pp, trade paperback, March 2004, cover illustration Steve Rawlings, cover design David Stevenson)
First US edition (UK: Gollancz, March 2003).

SF novel, a 25th century noir space opera featuring private investigator Takeshi Kovacs; sequel to the author's celebrated first novel Altered Carbon. This one involves mercenaries attempting to salvage an ancient alien spacecraft.
• has a review by Cynthia Ward, comparing Morgan to Raymond Chandler, and the review from Publishers Weekly, which calls the book "superior, satisfying cyberpunk noir adventure".
• Gary K. Wolfe reviewed the UK first edition in the March 2003 Locus. See Locus Online's 2003 Book Directory entry for links to various online reviews.
(Tue 2 Mar 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Shepard, Lucius : Two Trains Running
(Golden Gryphon Press 1-930846-23-1, $22.95, 14+112pp, hardcover, March 2004, jacket painting John Picacio, jacket design Lynne Condellone)

Collection of an article and two stories about the "hobo mafia" aka the Freight Train Riders of America (FTRA), based on Shepard's own experiences riding the rails. The article is "The FTRA Story", published here uncut from its 1998 shorter version in Spin magazine; the stories are "Over Yonder", winner of the 2003 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best short fiction (first published by, and still available at, Sci Fiction), and novelette "Jailbait", original to this volume.
• The Amazon page has a description and the PW review, which calls it a "fascinating excursion into modern mythmaking".
• Golden Gryphon's site has this description with links to reviews.
• Faren Miller's review will appear in the April issue of Locus Magazine.
(Fri 13 Feb 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Traviss, Karen : City of Pearl
(HarperCollins/Eos 0-06-054169-5, $6.99, 392pp, mass market paperback, March 2004)

SF novel, the author's first novel, concerning a human colony co-existing the several alien societies.
Locus Magazine's New and Notable Books column for April describes the book as "A thoughtful and engaging first novel of alien contact, environmental responsibility, and basic human nature." And the book has brought no less than 3 reviews from Locus reviewers -- Gary K. Wolfe in the January issue, Faren Miller in February, and Russell Letson in March.
• The publisher's site has this description, with links to an author's note, and an excerpt.
• The author has her own URL,, with various links, a bibliography, and an excerpt.
(Tue 24 Feb 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


Opening lines:
Nicholas Hyde is working late and alone when Tremaine Thompson comes up the hill to ask his question. The setting sun throws Tremaine's shadow ahead of him as he climbs through strip fields on the slope above the shallow tributary of the Congo river and the ruins of the village. The day's stored heat beats up from the red African dirt. Dry stubble crackles under his boots. In the gallery forest at the edge of the fields, mobs of butterflies, their wings printed with the blue, red and white logo of a famous soft drink, are love-bombing flowering vines, as indifferent to what happened here as to what has been done to their genes.
Opening lines:
I first met Jan Schneider in a Protectorate orbital hospital, three hundred kilometers above the ragged clouds of Sanction IV and in a lot of pain. Technically there wasn't supposed to be a Protectorate presence anywhere in the Sanction system--what was left of planetary government was insisting loudly from its bunkers that this was an internal matter, and local corporate interests had tacitly agreed to sign along that particular dotted line for the time being.
Opening lines:
At time Cley thought that she was, well, a bit too intense. She seemed to have too much personality for one person and yet not enough for two.

Perhaps the cause lay in her upbringing. She had been most attentively raised by her Meta, an ancient term for the meta-family. Hers had several hundred loosely related people clustered in ever-shifting patterns. It provided an overview, a larger version of how to grow up.

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