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Vote for SF Site's Readers' Choice Awards for 2005

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:00:00 GMT

You've waited patiently for a whole year, but at last your favourite season has rolled around again. Yes, that's right, it's time to finish reading those new books that have been stacking up on your bookshelves, your floor or bedside table, because very soon you'll need to determine which ones you feel are the best of the best. Or at least, you will if you want to have a say in the annual SF Site Readers' Choice Awards! The deadline for voting is February 11, 2005. If you've forgotten what you chose in previous years, you can find them all linked at Best Read of the Year including Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke which was the top choice last year.



Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:00:00 GMT

By this stage in his career, Neil Gaiman is in the enviable position of being a Household Name and legions of fans out there not only buy his books as soon as they hit the shelves but pre-order them in droves in the months prior to that. Contraband pre-publication copies even manage to turn up on Ebay. He is certainly one of those writers whose work people will buy without so much as having set eyes on it, simply because they know he'll tell a rollicking good tale.



Godslayer by Jacqueline Carey

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:00:00 GMT

J.R.R. Tolkien is frequently faulted, though not entirely fairly, for a one dimensional portrayal of good versus evil. Jacqueline Carey's Sundering series (of which Godslayer concludes the tale begun in Banewreaker), takes several Tolkienesque tropes and forges them into something more nuanced. This is Carey's Paradise Lost version of The Lord of the Rings.



Tales From the Brothers Grimm and the Sisters Weird by Vivian Vande Velde

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:00:00 GMT

While rewriting fairy tales is not new in fantasy literature, it's interesting to see a writer's take on these bits of our cultural subconscious. The author does a nice job of bringing something new to stories like "Little Red Riding Hood" and "The Frog Prince." Who knew that Red Riding Hood, or the princess for that matter, were such spoiled brats?



King Kong: a movie review by Alec Worley

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:00:00 GMT

Following up the successful hat-trick of The Lord of the Rings was always going to be tricky, but then Peter Jackson is a filmmaker who seems to thrive upon risk. Who would have thought the director of Meet the Feebles could adapt J.R.R. Tolkien's opus as well as he did in an age when Hollywood's idea of epic fantasy was Dragonheart. Several Oscars later the director returns to the project he was trying to get off the ground before Rings, a remake of what is, without question, one of the greatest movies of our genre, Ernest B. Schoedsack and Merian C. Cooper's 1933 masterpiece King Kong.



The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe: a movie review by Alec Worley

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:00:00 GMT

The movie opens in Blitz-shattered London. The Pevensie children -- Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy -- are evacuated to a rambling country mansion occupied by a lurking professor and his ferocious housekeeper. During a game of hide and seek, Lucy conceals herself inside a monolithic wardrobe hidden in an empty room. She steps backwards between seemingly endless rows of fur coats that suddenly give way to cold air, pine needles and snow.



Babylon 5.1: TV reviews by Rick Norwood

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:00:00 GMT

Rick offers his thoughts on the Smallville episode, "Lexmas" along with a review of the DVD Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume 3.



The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe: a movie review by Rick Norwood

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:00:00 GMT

There have been two previous TV adaptations of the book, one animated, one live action. They were well intentioned, but proved that certain stories cannot be filmed with investing a great deal of money. Everything here looks real, from the snowflakes falling from the sky to the battles featuring centaurs, ogres, and a rhinoceros. And then the special effects have the grace to step aside, and allow the human characters center stage.



Numbers Don't Lie by Terry Bisson

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:00:00 GMT

There seems to come a time in the life of every writer of quirky science fiction when they latch on to a series character. The ancestor is clearly the pub story (think of Tales from the White Hart by the decidedly unquirky Arthur C. Clarke) but these have evolved by ways as varied as R.A. Lafferty's crackpot team of researchers and the denizens of Spider Robinson's Callahan's Bar.



A Feisty Temperament: an interview with Raymond E. Feist

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:00:00 GMT

"If magicians are making loaves of bread fall from the sky to feed the troops, that's one thing. If someone's got to buy the wheat, make the flour, put it in sacks and transport it to the front, have ovens built of brick, then bake the bread for the army, that offers up an entirely different bunch of problems."



Farthing #1

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:00:00 GMT

This is the first issue of a new quarterly speculative fiction magazine from Wales making its appearance with nine stories by authors such as Karen M. Roberts, Peter Andrew Smith, Melissa Mead, Cherith Baldry and Paul Renault along with three short pieces called Farthing drabbles.



Introduction to A Reverie for Mr. Ray by Michael Bishop: an article by Jeff VanderMeer

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:00:00 GMT

"I first had a chance to talk to Michael Bishop at the 1998 Slipstream Conference in La Grange, Georgia, but I had really met him years before through his fiction -- countless short stories and, in particular, the novel The Secret Ascension. What I loved about his fiction was its restless curiosity about the world, as well as its sharpness, often disguised under a disarmingly gentle veneer. I always felt, when reading a piece of fiction by Bishop, an underlying honesty, even in his most experimental or structurally complex works."



Singer in the Snow by Louise Marley

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:00:00 GMT

The author's career as a singer was the inspiration for Nevya, an ice planet where energy is created psychically through music. People with the "Gift" are trained as cantors and cantrixes, to provide heat and light to small communities scattered across the hostile terrain. Singers train for years at the Conservatory, then at the end of their training they are assigned to a "House" where they may remain for much of the rest of their lives.



An Exotic Sprinkling of Murder: an interview with Jon Courtenay Grimwood

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:00:00 GMT

"I went to Tunis and the medina for the Ashraf Bey books but I based El Iskandryia on many different places. The broad plan was based on Alexandria, but I nicked bits of Palermo, Valetta and Tangiers too. And then there was Marrakech. You'll notice that food turns up in the books a lot."



New Arrivals compiled by Neil Walsh

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:00:00 GMT

The latest crop of books to spring up at the SF Site office include the latest from Kage Baker, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Tanya Huff, John C. Wright, plus newly released classics from Philip K. Dick, George Alec Effinger, Patricia A. McKillip, Arthur C. Clarke. All this and more...



Touched by Venom by Janine Cross

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:00:00 GMT

Zarq Darquel is nine, and doesn't understand why her mother is an outcast, or her beautiful sister is sold into sexual slavery, or why it's such a bad thing to be a half-breed Djimbi. Nonetheless, when her mother flees the pottery clan, she discovers that life can be much, much worse. First they live in the Zone of the Dead with people who tend corpses, then they join the Dragon Convent of Tieron, where a small group of desperately poor women care for old dragons. There she is drawn into the rites and taboos surrounding highly addictive dragon venom, and begins dreaming of revolution.



River Rats by Caroline Stevermer

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:00:00 GMT

The story begins after the "Flash" (an unexplained global disaster, followed by a terrible epidemic) transformed the Mississippi into a polluted waste lined with little scratch towns, a village controlled by a tough family, the Lesters, and, in the ruins of a once-big city, a gang of Wild Boys. The protagonists are a small group of kids who lived on an old paddle wheel steamboat that was serving as a grim sort of orphanage.



Stealing Magic by Tanya Huff

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:00:00 GMT

Tanya Huff fans will want this book, plain and simple. Not only are the stories good, the packaging is brilliant. The book is bound like an old Ace double -- one side for the Terazin stories, and one for the Magdalene stories -- making for a great bi-directional read, with double cover art by David Willicome that's both handsome and suitable to the stories.



The Egerton Hall Novels by Adele Geras

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:00:00 GMT

First published between 1990 and 1992, these three novels, set around three young women at a British public school, Egerton Hall, are tenuously based on the well-known fairy tales of Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White, respectively. Certainly these are no simple retellings of these tales, but stories built around selected elements of the tales, adapted and interpreted in terms of the issues and emotions of young women.



Science Fiction Quotations edited by Gary Westfahl

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:00:00 GMT

This is the kind of book that is both easy and hard to review. Easy in that its virtues are obvious; it's a comprehensive, far-ranging collection of quotes from writers both famous and obscure, compiled from source material ranging from short stories to novels, movies, and plays. The difficult part is what to say next.



Polaris by Jack McDevitt

Thu, 30 Nov 2005 11:00:00 GMT

We return to the universe inhabited by Alex Benedict and Chase Kolpath, last seen in A Talent For War (1988). Benedict is a seller of antiquarian artifacts mostly having to do with space travel and he's got a current crop from the spaceship Polaris. Decades earlier, the Polaris ran into trouble, sent out an SOS but when help arrived, was found adrift and empty. The Polaris had been chartered to take a mixed group of individuals to witness the death of a far-off solar system. Benedict's interest is piqued when someone apparently wants these artifacts destroyed, along with anyone who gets in the way.



In Stone's Clasp by Christie Golden

Thu, 30 Nov 2005 11:00:00 GMT

Five Dancers guard the world: one for each of the elements, and a fifth for the realm of spirit. Each is accompanied by a mythic Companion beast, and by a Lorekeeper, whose duty it is to preserve the memories of the Dancers' earlier incarnations, and teach the Dancers to know themselves -- and to know their destiny. For it's the Dancers' task to oppose the Shadow, a fearsome force of destruction that has menaced the world four times before.



The Plot Against America by Philip Roth

Thu, 30 Nov 2005 11:00:00 GMT

As with most his novels, this one has many layers. It is not only a keenly observed account of a boy growing up in a Jewish-American New Jersey community in the 40s but also a chilling step-by-step clinic on how a democracy can descend into facism; a carefully thought-out alternate history novel in which Charles Lindbergh defeats FDR in his bid for a third term.



New Arrivals compiled by Neil Walsh

Thu, 30 Nov 2005 11:00:00 GMT

It's a short list this time, but we've got the latest from Alastair Reynolds, James Barclay, and George R.R. Martin; classic re-releases of Jules Verne, Robert A. Heinlein, and Hal Clement; a King Kong collection sporting a truly inspired cover; and much more.



Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: a movie review by David Newbert

Thu, 30 Nov 2005 11:00:00 GMT

The Harry Potter films have gotten progressively darker as they've matured, until they've now snuggled closer to sex and death than ever before in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, directed by Mike Newell, the first British director to helm the series. This is only fair and sensible, as the characters (and actors) are just entering their teenage years. American Chris Columbus did a perfectly serviceable job directing the first two entries as popular childrens' entertainments, while Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron fashioned the third and to date best installment as a darkly attractive "coming of age" story for pre-teens. It only makes sense that the fourth film should do some growing up.



Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: a movie review by Rick Norwood

Thu, 30 Nov 2005 11:00:00 GMT

The new Harry Potter film gets off to a shaky start. No sooner do we get used to one setting than we are snatched away to another. One might worry that the task of adapting a 636-page book had been too much for Steve Kloves, who has written all the Harry Potter movies. Then, Harry arrives at Hogwarts, and it turns out that Kloves knew what he was doing -- get the first third of the book out of the way, fast, and concentrate on the Tri-Wizard Tournament.



Zathura: a movie review by Rick Norwood

Thu, 30 Nov 2005 11:00:00 GMT

Rick loved Zathura. The use of telling details makes it easy for you to believe three impossible things before breakfast. The box that the old game comes in is foxed. The sound of the metal game as it is laid down on a hardwood floor is exactly right. That is the sound that the old Tom Corbett -- Space Academy toy made when you put it down on a hardwood floor. The illustrations in the game perfectly capture the style used in science fiction toys in the late 40s and early 50s.



Treachery and Betrayal at Jolly Days by Dan Greenburg

Thu, 30 Nov 2005 11:00:00 GMT

After facing the terrors of first book, Wally and Cheyenne Shluffmuffin return to Jolly Days Orphanage, where the Onts come to retrieve them, and the headmistress, Hortense Jolly, is all too ready to betray the children for the adoption money. Who knew that Cincinnati could be so dangerous?



Perfect Circle by Sean Stewart

Thu, 30 Nov 2005 11:00:00 GMT

At first glance, people might be excused for thinking that William Kennedy's nickname, "Dead," refers to his dead end life or deadbeat habits. He's divorced, sweltering in a scummy Houston apartment, failing to pay child support, and has just been fired from his latest mcjob for giving extreme attitude to an obnoxious customer. He can't get over his ex-wife and he can't get his life together. Under these circumstances, the fact that he can see dead people is a decidedly minor inconvenience.



Mister Boots by Carol Emshwiller

Thu, 30 Nov 2005 11:00:00 GMT

Get yourself to the children's aisle, because this is one of Carol Emshwiller's most satisfying books, which is to say it is a novel of skill and beauty and sadness and love, which is to say it is the sort of book that brings depth to our lives. It is being marketed as something for kids, and that is a good thing, because kids need this book, but so do those of us who are busily trying to digest our inner children into post-industrial waste.



Mirrormask: The Illustrated Film Script of the Motion Picture by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean

Thu, 30 Nov 2005 11:00:00 GMT

Alma very much wanted to see Mirrormask the film -- see it cold, as it were, without knowing anything about it other than the hints dropped, for instance, by Neil Gaiman himself on his blog or snippets of information gained from the media. So when the review copy of this book arrived in the mail she was torn between writing a timely review, or hanging onto it fiercely until she could see the movie and only then dive into the book.



Mirrormask: a movie review by Alma A. Hromic

Thu, 30 Nov 2005 11:00:00 GMT

Her little town is hardly a metropolis and, when showing times and places began to be released, Alma was hardly surprised that they were almost uniformly concentrated in the bigger conurbations -- this was hardly the sort of movie that would explode into common-or-garden multiplexes like a Harry Potter flick. So she was both gratified and excited to learn that it would be coming to her "art house" theatre.



The Secret of Redemption by Jennifer St. Clair

Thu, 30 Nov 2005 11:00:00 GMT

It's another ordinary day at the library for Assistant Director Penny Montgomery -- until, that is, Malachi of the Wild Hunt pays a visit, feeling guilty about his past and seeking... well, he's not quite sure. But Penny has an idea: why doesn't he come along and tell stories of Faerie to the children at the library's after-school club?



Babylon 5.1: TV reviews by Rick Norwood

Thu, 30 Nov 2005 11:00:00 GMT

Rick offers his thoughts on what to watch on TV in December, what shows are faves with the audience and those which aren't plus the merits of an Aquaman pilot, a Smallville spin-off.



Spotted Lily by Anna Tambour

Thu, 30 Nov 2005 11:00:00 GMT

Angela Pendergast is a 30ish Australian woman who has moved from her family's ranch in the bush to the big city. She wants to be a Writer, specifically a Bestselling Writer, but she finds it hard to actually get down to writing her Novel. Put simply, she wants to Have Written, not to write. She has a part-time job at a New Age bookstore, and she lives in a house with a few roommates. Then the Devil shows up. He wants to be the new roomer -- but more than that, he offers her a deal.



Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

Thu, 30 Nov 2005 11:00:00 GMT

Death is about the only incentive that could get Moist von Lipwig (or anybody else) to consider the job of postmaster. To begin with, the monumental post office building is crammed with guano-encrusted letters that haven't been delivered since the postal service collapsed decades before. Oh, and then there's the fate of the last few postmasters who all met with swift and fatal accidents in the bowels of the building.



RSS Feeds

Sat, 1 Jan 2005 11:00:00 GMT

After constructing our first RSS feed, it soon became apparent that the size of files could grow quickly. We decided to separate them into smaller ones, breaking them up by month. On this page you will find RSS feed files for all of our content beginning with January 2005.