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From the September 1999 Locus

Neil Barron, ed., Fantasy and Horror (Scarecrow Press 6/99) This hefty reference offers a substantial critical and historical guide to fantasy and horror literature, illustration, TV, film, radio, and the Internet. Despite the ambitious scope, Barron finds space to discuss over 2,300 works of fiction and poetry, along with reference works and lists of awards, series, and ''bests.''

Russell Blackford, Van Ikin, & Sean McMullen, Strange Constellations: A History of Australian Science Fiction (Greenwood Press 5/99) The authors pack an impressive amount of information into this reference, which covers Australian SF from early romances and utopian works to the rise of traditional SF, and the recent recognition Australian SF has received in the '90s.

James P. Blaylock, The Rainy Season (Ace 8/99) Don't let them tell you it never rains in California and when it does, the ghosts come out, in this richly complex dark fantasy about love and loss, set in 1884, 1958, and the present.

Basil Copper, Whispers in the Night (Fedogan & Bremer 7/99) This collection features eleven stories, eight original, an eclectic mix of suspense, gothic horror, dark fantasy, and even science fiction, that displays the range and power of this master of the mysterious and macabre.

Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling, eds. The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Twelfth Annual Collection (St. Martin's 7/99) Shivers of fear and delight fill this year's best anthology, as usual a must-have for fans of short-fiction fantasy, whether dark or light. Exhaustive introductions cover literary and economic developments in the field.

Frederic S. Durbin, Dragonfly (Arkham House 10/99) Children's nightmares of monsters in the closet and things that go bump in the night are terrifyingly real in this baroque dark fantasy of a girl who discovers a doorway to a grim Hallowe'en world in her uncle's basement.

Graham Joyce, Dark Sister (Tor 8/99) A book of Wiccan lore leads a woman to her own hidden powers and awakens her malevolent Dark Sister in this revealing dark fantasy, an adroit exploration of human nature, winner of the 1993 British Fantasy Award, finally available in the US.

Colin Manlove, The Fantasy Literature of England (St. Martin's 8/99) A noted fantasy scholar explores the roots and distinctive qualities of British fantasy, from early fairy tales to Tolkien and on to recent writers such as Robert Holdstock, Christopher Priest, Terry Pratchett, Salman Rushdie, and Philip Pullman.

Kit Reed, Seven for the Apocalypse (Wesleyan 7/99) Seven stories from an author whose work transcends genre (and thus ends up published by a university press) sometimes absurd, often with a feminist edge and psychological insight, usually witty and satiric, and always original.

Madeleine E. Robins, The Stone War (Tor 8/99) New York City gets thoroughly trashed and magically transformed in this pointed and sometimes poignant near-future tale, an unusual mix of social commentary, dark fantasy, and post-holocaust survival.

Rudy Rucker, Saucer Wisdom (Tor 8/99) Using a fictional narrator time-traveller/alien abductee Rucker, in his own inimitable style, presents scientific facts and speculates on the wonders of a possible future in this quirky and highly imaginative work of popular science.

Robert Silverberg, Lord Prestimion (HarperPrism 8/99) Madness and destruction haunt Prestimion in this latest novel, second in a trilogy, in Silverberg's popular ''Majipoor'' series. In the aftermath of war, Prestimion tries to heal his people with a Spell of Oblivion forgetting they will have to deal with the wounds of a war they can't remember.

Peter Straub, Mr. X (Random House 8/99) One of the acknowledged masters of the field mixes psychological suspense and Lovecraftian supernatural horror in this riveting tale of a man and his malignant doppelgänger.

Michelle West, The Shining Court (DAW 8/99) Grim and exotic, this third volume of ''The Sun Sword'' offers culture clashes as seer Jewel ATerafin travels to exotic Tor Leonne in time for the Festival of the Moon, where demon masks threaten to turn the party hellish.

Walter J. Williams, The Rift (HarperPrism 7/99) The biggest earthquake in centuries strikes the New Madrid fault in Missouri, devastating the central US. Full of convincing and frightening details, this goes on to reveal dark undercurrents in American life that provide a depth unusual in disaster novels.

Jack Williamson, The Collected Stories of Jack Williamson, Volume One: The Metal Man and Others (Haffner Press 7/99) The first volume in an impressive effort to collect all the shorter works from the 70+ years of Williamson's career, this gathers nine stories and several items of correspondence dating from 1927-1931, with an afterword by Williamson looking back on those early days.

© 1999 by Locus Publications. All rights reserved.