Locus Online




New & Recommended Books

(From the June 1997 Locus.)

Linked titles can be ordered from Books

God's Fires, Patricia Anthony (Ace 4/97, $22.95, hc) When aliens land in Portugal during the latter stages of the Inquisition, this passionate, troubling SF novel tells us little about extraterrestrials, but a great deal about the joys and horrors of humankind.

Contraband, George Foy (Bantam Spectra 5/97, $12.95, tp) Cyberthriller set in a near-future decaying New York City and a world where free-traders are dying of a strange new code, as a smuggler and some friends go questing to save human freedom.

The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, Neil Gaiman; ill. Dave McKean (White Wolf 5/95, $21.99, hc). Children's picture book with text by Gaiman and full-color illustrations by McKean; humorous fantasy where the title trade is just the start of a series of juvenile swaps, and things get very strange indeed.

Assassin's Quest, Robin Hobb (Bantam Spectra 4/97, $22.95, hc) The "Assassin" fantasy trilogy concludes with a journey into strange realms, numerous surprises, and a bittersweet complexity rare in the genre. Hobb (aka Megan Lindholm) has worked wonders.

The Horns of Elfland, Ellen Kushner et al., eds. (Roc 5/97, $5.99, pb) Original anthology of 15 fantasy stories of music and magic, by Gene Wolfe, John Brunner, Terri Windling, and others, featuring excellent, insightful work -- and themes ranging from faerie fiddling to trad jazz and hip-hop.

An Exchange of Hostages, Susan R. Matthews (AvoNova 4/97, $5.99, pb) Intense SF novel of a young surgeon trained as a "Ship's Inquisitor" in deep space. A first novel.

Eternity Road, Jack McDevitt (HarperPrism 5/97, $22.00, hc) Far-future SF novel of a quest through a postapocalyptic America, now home to city-states and the widespread ruins of the "Roadmakers," past engineers from the age of high-tech.

The Stars Dispose, Michaela Roessner (Tor 4/97, $23.95, hc) A thoroughly charming, witty, and delicious historical fantasy of Renaissance Florence, where politics, witchery, art, and cuisine all mingle -- and the recipes are included.

Freeware, Rudy Rucker (Avon 5/97, $23.00, hc) In the 21st century, a young man's illicit romance with a "female" of the artificial life-form known as Moldies leads to big trouble -- and events that may change the cosmos -- in this sequel to Software and Wetware.

Nebula Awards 31, Pamela Sargent, ed. (Harcourt Brace 4/97, $13.00, tp) Gathering stories from 1994 and 1995, this anthology presents SFWA members' choices for "year's best" SF and fantasy, interspersed with non-fiction surveys of the year(s) in fiction, films, etc. It shows how rich the field can be.

Jovah's Angel, Sharon Shinn (Ace 5/97, $13.95, tp) In this successful sequel to Archangel set hundreds of years later, Shinn again mixes SF, apparent fantasy, romance, music, and politics, on a far-future lost colony world ruled by a race of genetically transformed "angels" derived from humans.

Spares, Michael Marshall Smith (Bantam 5/97, $22.95, hc) Tense future-noir tale of clones fleeing the farm where they're harvested for spare parts, and the killers coming after them.

The Family Tree, Sheri S. Tepper (Avon 5/97, $23.00, hc) Ecological fable of early 21st-century America and a farther future that seems to spring from fairytales -- two worlds which finally meet, with a startling revelation for the reader. Once again, Tepper is witty, charming, serious, and wise.

Final Diagnosis, James White (Tor 5/97, $22.95, hc) This latest novel in the "Sector General" SF series returns to the hospital space station on the Galactic Rim, as what may be an inter-galactic plague threatens Terrans and others.

Revelations, Douglas E. Winter, ed. (HarperPrism 5/97, $24.00, hc) An impressive original anthology of stories by Joe R. Lansdale, Charles Grant, and many more, each dealing with a decade of the 20th century, often chronicling dire events -- as SF, horror, or mainstream -- for an intriguing look back, framed by two connected Clive Barker tales of millennia past and soon to come.

Fool's War, Sarah Zettel (Warner Aspect 4/97, $5.99, pb) This substantial but fast-moving SF novel manages to avoid space opera stereotypes, with a combination of subtlety and tension, as a cargo spaceship captain must contend with a dangerous techno-virus.


Vacuum Flowers, Michael Swanwick (Ace 5/97, $5.99, pb) Early cyberpunk tale (1987) of a high-tech fugitive amid Earth's orbiting settlements, an effective mix of drama, adventure, and future technologies.

The Demon Princes, Volume One, Jack Vance (Tor 5/97, $18.95, tp) Omnibus edition of the first three novels in Vance's rousing and inventive SF adventure series, The Star King (1964), The Killing Machine (1964), and The Palace of Love (1967), all featuring Kirth Gerson on his quest to avenge the deaths of his family and his world by hunting down the five galactic outlaws who led the Mount Pleasant Massacre.

© 1997 by Locus Publications. All rights reserved.