Locus Online
2004 Archive

New Books Oct. #2
Piers Anthony
Iain M. Banks
Stephen Baxter
Charles de Lint
Dave Duncan
Greenberg & Davis
Tanith Lee
Frederik Pohl
Philip Reeve
Ringo & Cochrane
Lucius Shepard
Lucius Shepard

New Books Oct. #1
Margaret Ball
Jim Butcher
Rachel Caine
Elaine Cunningham
William C. Dietz
Laurell K. Hamilton
Dean Koontz
Michael Martinez
Jalina Mhyana
L.E. Modesitt Jr.
Elizabeth Moon
Mary Murrey
Parker & Parker
Martin Scott
Wen Spencer
Stewart & Riddell
Liz Williams


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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Notable new SF, Fantasy, and Horror books seen : October 2004 Week #3

(Philomel 0-399-23763-1, $19.99, 434pp, hardcover, October 2004, jacket art David Elliot)

YA fantasy novel, first of a new series by the author of five book series "The Lost Years of Merlin", with two more books to follow in this new series.
• The author's website has this description and excerpts from reviews.
• Amazon has the School Library Journal review, describing the book's premise that conceives of "the legendary world of Avalon as a gigantic tree, with a separate realm located on each of its seven roots and stars hanging in the unseen branches far atop its trunk", and commenting "Despite loads of goofiness and violence, the plot moves rather slowly through lengthy introductions of the large cast and descriptions of the Great Tree. While the characters and setting are interesting, this is clearly the prologue to a much longer saga: all beginning, with no middle or end."
(Thu 14 Oct 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Betancourt, John Gregory : Roger Zelazny's To Rule in Amber
(ibooks 0-7434-8709-5, $22.95, 310pp, hardcover, September 2004, cover art Scott Grimando)

Fantasy novel, third in a 'prequel' trilogy "The Dawn of Amber" to the late Roger Zelazny's popular series of 10 Amber novels (which began with Nine Princes in Amber in 1970 and ended with Prince of Chaos in 1991, all of which were reprinted as The Great Book of Amber in 1999); it follows The Dawn of Amber (2002) and Chaos and Amber (2003).
• The author's Wildside Press page notes that he has agreed to write two additional Amber novels.
• Amazon has the book description and synopsis, and mixed reader reviews.
(Thu 14 Oct 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


+ Constantine, Storm : The Shades of Time and Memory
(Tor 0-765-30347-7, $27.95, 444pp, hardcover, October 2004, jacket art Rick Berry)
First US edition (UK: Immanion Press, May 2004).

Fantasy novel, second in the "Wraeththu Histories" trilogy set in the same world has the author's "Wraeththu" trilogy, concerning a race of androgynous beings, published back in the late '80. This volume, concerning the history of the first ruling dynasty in Immanion, follows The Wraiths of Will and Pleasure (2003) and will be followed by The Ghosts of Blood and Innocence (2005).
• Amazon has the book description, and reader reviews.
This page for the UK edition has a book description, publisher's comments, back cover copy, and author info.
• The author's website links to her homepage, a page about a Wraeththu RPG, etc.
(Wed 20 Oct 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Donaldson, Stephen R. : The Runes of the Earth
(Putnam 0-399-15232-6, $26.95, 20+532pp, hardcover, October 2004, jacket art Michael Whelan)

Fantasy novel, book one in the "Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant" quartet, a long-awaited follow-up to the first "Chronicles" that established Donaldson's career beginning with Lord Foul's Bane (1977), and the second "Chronicles" trilogy that followed in the early '80s.
• Amazon has an exclusive essay by Donaldson about why the new series took so long to write, and reviews from PW and Booklist.
• Donaldson's website provides this PDF file of the book's prologue and chapter 1.
• Donaldson's interview in the September issue of Locus Magazine is excerpted here. William Senior reviewed the book in the magazine's October issue, concluding "Flawed as it is at time, The Runes of the Earth offers an intriguing and beguiling return to the "Chronicles of Thomas Covenant" as we await with anticipation the continuation of the tale."
(Wed 20 Oct 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Drake, Emily : The Gate of Bones
(DAW 0-7564-0188-7, $21.95, 416pp, hardcover, September 2004, jacket painting Paul Youll)

Fantasy novel in the "Magickers" series that began with The Magickers (2001) and continued with The Curse of Arkady and The Dragon Guard.
• Drake's website has descriptions of the first three books.
• Amazon has a very brief book description.
(Thu 14 Oct 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Foster, Alan Dean : Sliding Scales
(Ballantine Del Rey 0-345-46156-8, $24.95, 246pp, hardcover, November 2004, jacket illustration Robert Hunt)

SF novel, latest in the ongoing series about empath Philip Lynx and his mini-dragon companion Pip that began with The Tar Aiym Krang in 1972 and most recently included Flinx's Folly in 2003.
• Amazon has the PW review, which concludes "Foster exhibits a keen eye for depicting alien art forms and injects a cohesion lacking in some earlier installments, giving the series a much-needed energy boost."
• The author's website notes he has completed next volume in the series, Running from the Deity, for publication next year.
• The publisher's site has this description.
(Wed 20 Oct 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Kiernan, Caitln R. : Murder of Angels
(Roc 0-451-45996-2, $14, 335pp, trade paperback, September 2004)

Horror novel, sequel to the author's first novel Silk (1998), which won the International Horror Guild for best first novel. It concerns one of the survivors from the first book who is compelled to enter a gothic alternate world that may be real or the product of imagination.
• Amazon has the PW review, which concludes "Dream and nightmare, hallucination and reality, private fantasy and objective experience all merge seamlessly, making this one of the more relentless horror reads of the year."
• Tim Pratt reviewed the book in the August issue of Locus, saying it "may be Kiernan's best book to date" and that the author has brought "together elements of horror, magical realism, experimental fiction, and even epic fantasy (complete with a Dragon and a broadsword, though neither play their standard roles). She makes these disparate elements fit almost seamlessly, at once crafting an exquisite dark fantasy and commenting on the dangers of using fantasy to understand and cope with the difficulties of life."
(Wed 20 Oct 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Lackey, Mercedes, & James Mallory : To Light a Candle
(Tor 0-765-30220-9, $27.95, 656pp, hardcover, October 2004, jacket art Todd Lockwood)

Fantasy novel, second in the "Obsidian" trilogy following The Outstretched Shadow (2003), set in "a complex new fantasy world populated by humans, centaurs, elves, talking unicorns, and demons" according to the book description on Amazon.
• Lackey's website has this description, with links to several excerpts.
(Thu 14 Oct 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* McArthur, Maxine : Less Than Human
(Warner Aspect 0-446-61342-8, $6.99, 387pp, mass market paperback, October 2004, cover illustration Shasti O'Leary Soudant)

SF novel, a "near-future thriller set in Japan, involving a murder mystery, robots, and an exotic cult" according to the author's website. It's her third novel, following Time Future (1999), winner of the George Turner Prize, and sequel Time Past (2002).
• The author's website has this brief description. Warner's website has this description, and an excerpt.
(Wed 20 Oct 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Reichert, Mickey Zucker : The Return of Nightfall
(DAW 0-7564-0201-8, $24.95, 446pp, hardcover, September 2004, jacket painting Jody Lee)

Fantasy novel, sequel to The Legend of Nightfall (1993), about a former thief and master of disguise.
• The author's official site has a description of the earlier book, and stubs for background information on the world of Nightfall, but the site hasn't been updated in a while.
• Amazon has the Publishers Weekly review, which calls it an "absorbing, fast-paced high fantasy" and concludes "Reichart's well-conceived and well-executed world, including its salty seafaring side, will leave fans hoping they won't have to wait so long for a third Nightfall book."
(Thu 14 Oct 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Russell, Sean : The Shadow Roads
(HarperCollins/Eos 0-380-97491-6, $25.95, 433pp, hardcover, November 2004, jacket illustration Stephen Hickman)

Fantasy novel, third volume in "The Swans' War" trilogy following The One Kingdom (2001) and The Isle of Battle (2002).
• Russell's website has a description of the first book in the trilogy, where he comments "I've long avoided writing anything that could be called "high fantasy" to distinguish myself from the many imitators of Tolkien, but I've always been intrigued by the idea of writing a high fantasy. Was it possible to write a fantasy in the spirit of Tolkien but not in the manner? What was it about most high fantasy that left me cold? The One Kingdom is my attempt to answer these questions."
• HarperCollins' site has this description and excerpt.
• Faren Miller writes a brief review in the upcoming November issue of Locus Magazine, commenting "Russell has the ability to bring even the hoariest tropes back to vibrant life: individual players in magic, love and war; and things like the uncanny windings of a maze or this book's title image (which proves to have many meanings, one of them appealingly mundane)."
(Thu 14 Oct 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


+ Sinisalo, Johanna : Troll: A Love Story
(Grove Press 0-8021-4129-3, $12, 278pp, trade paperback, May 2004)
First US edition (UK: Peter Owen, May 2003).

Fantasy novel about a gay photographer who rescues an injured troll. First published in Finland in 2000, where it won that country's prestigious Finlandia Award. This English language translation by Herbert Lomas was first published last year in the UK as Not Before Sundown.
• Michael Swanwick brought it home from Finland; subsequently Cheryl Morgan discussed and reviewed the book in Emerald City.
Village Voice ran this review in May.
• Amazon has the Publishers Weekly review, which calls it a "sexually charged contemporary folk tale".
(Wed 20 Oct 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


(Ace 0-441-01197-7, $12, 10+227pp, trade paperback, October 2004)

Anthology of 12 original fantasy mystery stories, several by authors working in their popular series, including Charlaine Harris, Anne Bishop, and Laura Anne Gilman.
• Amazon has the PW review, which calls the book "uneven" but calls stories by Anne Perry, Michael Armstrong, and Anne Bishop "highly original".
• Reviewed by Carolyn Cushman in the September issue of Locus, who noted "Perhaps the most striking story is Michael Armstrong's tale based on an old Aleut legend, a macabre cautionary story of what happens to bad boys who pester seagulls..."
(Wed 20 Oct 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Turtledove, Harry : Curious Notions
(Tor 0-765-30694-8, $23.95, 272pp, hardcover, October 2004, jacket illustration Kazuhiko Sano)

YA alternate history novel, second in the "Crosstime Traffic" series following Gunpowder Empire (2003), in which a 21st century entrepeneur and his teenaged son set up shop in San Francisco in a world where Germany won WWI.
• Steven H Silver has this review on his site, while Uchronia has this entry for the series so far.
• The Amazon page has the mixed PW review.
(Thu 14 Oct 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


(MonkeyBrain Books 1-932265-11-2, $15.95, 335pp, trade paperback, October 2004, cover illustration Scott Eagle)

Nonfiction collection of 36 essays, reviews, critical pieces, and convention reports, plus a Preamble (titled "Why Should I Cut Your Throat When I Can Just Ask You For The Money?") and a Coda. Includes five pieces first published at Locus Online.
• The Amazon page has the back cover description and author bio, as does the publisher's page.
• The author's blog VanderWorld has this entry about this book.
(Wed 20 Oct 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Williams, Liz : Banner of Souls
(Bantam Spectra 0-553-58676-9, $6.99, 426pp, mass market paperback, October 2004, cover illustration Cliff Neilsen)

SF novel set in a future in which Mars rules over Earth using an alien science called "haunt tech", and the fate of humanity hinges on a Martian warrior called Dreams-of-War.
• The publisher's site has this description, and an excerpt.
• Williams' site has this page about her books; scroll to the bottom.
• Williams' interview in the May 2004 issue of Locus Magazine is excerpted here, and includes some words about this book.
• The Amazon page has the mixed PW review.
(Wed 20 Oct 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


Opening lines:
No, Mr Covenant, she repeated for the third time. I cant do that.

Ever since he had entered her office, she had wished that he would go away.

He gazed at her as if he had not heard a word. I dont see the problem, Dr Avery. His voice cast echoes of his father through her, flashes of memory like spangles off a surface of troubled water. Im her son. I have the right. And its my responsibility. Despite the differences, even his features dragged a tangled net across her heart, dredging up aches and longing. Shes nothing to you, just a problem you cant solve. A burden on the taxpayers. A waste of resources you could use to help someone else. His eyes were too wide-set, his whole face too broad. The flesh of his cheeks and jaw hinted at self-indulgence.
Opening lines:
I'm starting to get worried. Martes's face seems to be sort of fluctuating in the light fog induced by my four pints of Guinness. His hand's resting on the table close to mine. I can see the dark hairs on the back of his hand, his sexy, bony finger-joints and his slightly distended veins. My hand slides toward his and, as if our hands were somehow joined together under the table, his moves away in a flash. Like a crab into its hole.
Opening lines:
My ancestors were Scottish-Irish rum runners, Dutch sailors, German farmers, many of whom lived short, brutish lives holed up in tiny crapmortared castles under perpetually gloomy gray skies. Once, a couple years ago, I looked up one side of my glorious Scottish ancestry only to discover that this particular clan had been treacherously wiped out, almost to the (wo)man, by the clan that constituted the other side of my Scottish ancestry. Strange, strange love.
Opening lines:
Dreams-of-War was hunting the remnants of men on the slopes of the Martian Olympus when she came across the herd of ghosts. The armor bristled at the approach of the herd, whispering caution into her ear, and at first Dreams-of-War thought that it was warning her against the presence of men--hyenae, perhaps, or vulpen, or others of the Changed. She wheeled around, activating the hand-spines of the armor, but there was nothing there. The cold, tawny slopes rolled into the distance, empty of everything except scrub and the sparse desert life that congregated around the canals and sinks. Far on the horizon, the column of Memnos Tower pointed upward, just visible now against a darkening sky. Dreams-of-War frowned. The armor remained alert, porcupine spikes forming and reforming as she moved.

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