Notable new SF, Fantasy, and Horror books seen : October 2004 Week #2
* Anthony, Piers : Currant Events(Tor 0-765-30407-4, $24.95, 336pp, hardcover, October 2004, jacket art Darrell K. Sweet)
Humorous fantasy novel, 28th in the long-running "Xanth" series, this one focusing on Clio, Xanth's Muse of History.
* Banks, Iain M. : The Algebraist(UK: Time Warner UK/Orbit 1-84149-155-1, £17.99, 534pp, hardcover, October 2004)
Far future space opera novel set on a remote gas giant planet awaiting its wormhole connection to the rest of galactic civilization; it's independent of Banks' Culture sequence of novels.
* Baxter, Stephen : Exultant(UK: Orion/Gollancz 0-575-07428-0, £18.99, 490pp, hardcover, September 2004)
Far future SF novel, second in the "Destiny's Children" sequence that began with last year's Coalescent, and part of Baxter's career-spanning "Xeelee" series about mysterious aliens battling mankind for control of the galaxy.
* de Lint, Charles : The Blue Girl(Viking 0-670-05924-2, $17.99, 368pp, hardcover, October 2004, jacket illustration Cliff Nielsen)
YA urban fantasy novel about a 17-year-old former gang member whose family moves to a new town (de Lint's Newford), where she meets a ghost and encounters faeries.
+ Duncan, Dave : The Jaguar Knights(HarperCollins/Eos 0-06-055511-4, $24.95, 386pp, hardcover, October 2004, jacket illustration Paul Robinson)
First US edition (Canada: HarperCollins Canada, September 2004).
Fantasy novel, sixth book in "The King's Blades" series that began with The Gilded Chain in 1998 and whose previous volume was Impossible Odds in 2003.
* Greenberg, Martin H., & Russell Davis, eds. : Haunted Holidays(DAW 0-7564-0223-9, $6.99, 310pp, mass market paperback, October 2004)
Anthology of 13 original dark fantasy stories about holidays. Authors include Peter Crowther, Brian A. Hopkins, Esther M. Friesner, David D. Levine.
+ Lee, Tanith : Piratica(Penguin/Dutton 0-525-47324-6, $17.99, 288pp, hardcover, September 2004, jacket art Glenn Harrington)
First US edition (UK: Hodder Children's Books, February 2004).
YA fantasy novel, subtitled "Being a Daring Tale of a Singular Girl's Adventure Upon the High Seas".
* Pohl, Frederik : The Boy Who Would Live Forever(Tor 0-765-31049-X, $25.95, 380pp, hardcover, October 2004, jacket art John Harris)
SF novel in Pohl's "Heechee" saga, following Hugo/Nebula/Campbell/Locus award winning Gateway (1977), its sequels Beyond the Blue Event Horizon, Heechee Rendezvous, and The Annals of the Heechee, and collection The Gateway Trip (1990).
+ Reeve, Philip : Predator's Gold(HarperCollins/Eos 0-06-072193-6, $16.99, 325pp, hardcover, September 2004, jacket art Christophe Vacher)
First US edition (UK: Scholastic UK, September 2003).
YA SF novel, second in the "Hungry City Chronicles" following last year's Mortal Engines, about cities on wheels that travel and consume smaller cities in their paths.
* Ringo, John, & Julie Cochrane : Cally's War(Baen 0-7434-8845-8, $25, 326pp, hardcover, October 2004, cover art Clyde Caldwell)
Military SF novel, fifth in Ringo's "Posleen War" series that began with A Hymn Before Battle (2000).
* Shepard, Lucius : A Handbook of American Prayer(Thunder's Mouth 1-56858-281-1, $22, 263pp, hardcover, September 2004)
Fantasy novel about a man, jailed for manslaughter, whose prayers in prison are actually answered, and who emerges from prison a national celebrity.
* Shepard, Lucius : Liar's House(Subterranean Press 1-59606-002-6, $35, 90pp, hardcover, August 2004, jacket illustration J.K. Potter)
Fantasy novella set in the world of the dragon Griaule, setting of past Shepard stories including "The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule" and "The Scalehunter's Beautiful Daughter".
I have a story to tell you. It has many beginnings, and perhaps one ending. Perhaps not. Beginnings and endings are contingent things anyway; inventions; devices. Where does any story really begin? There is always context, always an encompassingly greater epic, always something before the described events, unless we are to start every story with, 'BANG! Expand! Sssss . . . ', then itemise the whole subsequent history of the universe before settling down, at last, to the particular tale in question. Similarly, no ending is final, unless it is the end of all things . . .Opening lines:
When people look back at things they're ashamed of having done and say it must have been another person who did those things, and they have no idea who that person was, what they're actually saying, though they may not understand it, is that they do know that person and they don't know who they are now. They believe or pretend to believe that age and experience have combined to make them larger, wiser, a grander and thus less knowable soul than their former self, one incapable of such miscreance. Perhaps committing an act of extreme violence helps to clear way these confusions, for I know exactly who I was on the night twelve years ago when I killed Mario Kirschner, and while I'm more patient that once I was and have rid myself of certain delusions, I'm essentially the same man today, equally susceptible to stupidity. Prayer has made a difference in my life, yet it hasn't proved to be the glorious difference-maker that evangelists suggest. Of course my prayers are aimed lower than the prayers of priests and mullahs, intended to produce not miracles but small, calculable effects.
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