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Locus Magazine's monthly

1998 cumulative:

sf novels

f/h novels

first novels






Complete Locus reviews are available in
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These lists are compiled from the monthly editorial selections of new and recommended books in Locus Magazine. The separate monthly lists are available here:

Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec

1998 SF Novels

Starfarers, Poul Anderson (Tor 10/98) Relativistically realistic space flight adds vast distances of time and space to this visionary account of a mission to find the source of alien signals thousands of light-years away and return to a much-changed Earth.

Flanders, Patricia Anthony (Ace 5/98, $23.95, hc) Anthony's interest in history dominates almost completely over genre elements in this intense epistolary novel of a soldier with visionary dreams fighting in the trenches in WWI.

In the Garden of Iden, Kage Baker (Harcourt Brace 2/98, $23.00, hc) A time-traveling immortal 24th-century cyborg, born in the 16th century, finds life and love in Tudor England.

Earth Made of Glass, John Barnes (Tor 4/98, $23.95, hc) SF novel, sequel to A Million Open Doors, an intelligent blend of far-future cultures and dark human drama.

White Light, William Barton & Michael Capobianco (Avon Eos 9/98) A complex and intense exploration of human nature that goes beyond the normal limits of time and space. Two families escape a dying Earth and discover that aliens have created something maybe God that appears to be destroying the universe.

Moonseed, Stephen Baxter (HarperPrism 10/98) A planet-eating threat from outer space chews up the scenery in more ways than one in this spectacular technothriller of disaster and moon colonization.

Dinosaur Summer, Greg Bear (Warner Books 2/98, $23.00, hc) Alternate-history/YA adventure novel of a boy and his father chronicling a 1947 expedition to return dinosaurs to the Lost World, in a quasi-sequel to the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Foundation and Chaos, Greg Bear (HarperPrism 3/98, $24.00, hc) This second book in the ''Second Foundation'' trilogy by Benford, Bear, and Brin, based on the Asimov works, is a well-told tale with strong characters, mingling the Asimovian pattern with Bear's own take on SF.

Cosm, Gregory Benford (Avon Eos 2/98, $23.00, hc) Near-future thriller and novel of academic politics dealing with an extraordinary artifact.

Mir, Alexander Besher (Simon & Schuster 7/98) Near-future virtual reality novel and metaphysical thriller, sequel to Rim. An investigator tracks a sentient computer virus that spreads through tattooed ''epidermal programs,'' causing chaos in the hacker underworld.

Psychoshop, Alfred Bester & Roger Zelazny (Random House/Vintage 7/98) Begun by Bester, finished after his death by Zelazny, this posthumous collaboration by two groundbreaking authors is a wonderfully skewed tale of a mysterious shop where customers can trade for anything.

Komarr, Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen 6/98, $22.00, hc) In this latest ''Miles Vorkosigan'' adventure, sequel to Memory, Miles travels to Komarr in his new job as Imperial Auditor, looking for a conspiracy, and finding romance.

Parable of the Talents, Octavia E. Butler (Seven Stories 10/98) The Earthseed philosophy/religion of man's destiny in space gains momentum even as ultra right-wing forces bring new nightmares to the world in this powerful sequel to Parable of the Sower.

Tea from an Empty Cup, Pat Cadigan (Tor 9/98) Sharp-edged cyber-SF with virtual post-apocalyptic environments gives a dark edge to this near-future thriller about a woman and a cop investigating deaths in Artificial Reality.

Cythera, Richard Calder (St. Martin's 8/98) Virtual beings downloaded into holograms walk the streets as ghosts, and want to alter reality to suit their needs. A vivid portrayal of a strikingly glitzy and gritty near-future world, where reality is getting harder to define.

Circuit of Heaven, Dennis Danvers (Avon Eos 2/98, $14.00, hc) SF novel of life and love in a virtual-reality cyber-utopia and a depopulated Earth.

Ciphers, Paul Di Filippo (Cambrian Publications 2/98, $16.95, tp) This secret history of the '60s, described as a ''post-Shannon Rock-n-Roll Mystery'' written in a slice-and-splice style, is prime Di Filippo, which can mean anything.

Full Tide of Night, J.R. Dunn (Avon Eos 8/98) A colony planet is torn by revolution just as a ship comes from Earth either to restore contact, or bring the alien threat the colonists fled from. Memorable characters bring to life this extended exploration of the politics and ethics of revolution.

Diaspora, Greg Egan (HarperPrism 2/98, $23.00, hc) Stapledonian SF novel of a drastically changed humankind threatened by strange astrophysical disasters, by a master of wide-ranging SF speculation.

Rogue Star, Michael Flynn (Tor 4/98, $25.95, hc) Near-future SF novel of Earth politics, space construction, asteroids, and personalities. A sequel to Firestar.

Commitment Hour, James Alan Gardner (Avon Eos 4/98, $5.99, pb) Offbeat far-future SF novel (and murder mystery) set on an Earth abandoned by high-tech spacefarers and left to villagers who decide gender identity only when they reach the age of 20.

Halfway Human, Carolyn Ives Gilman (Avon Eos 2/98, $5.99, pb) This powerful social SF novel of a traumatized neuter being from a distant, human-colonized world eloquently examines the nature of human social systems, sexuality, and prejudice.

Flesh and Gold, Phyllis Gotlieb (Tor 2/98, $23.95, hc) Far-future courtroom drama/mystery, a noir look at the lives of humans and other sentients in a time-worn galactic civilization.

Helm, Steven Gould (Tor 3/98, $24.95, hc) Aikido-based SF/fantasy adventure novel of romance, intrigue, swashbuckling, and lots of hand-to-hand combat.

Mother of Plenty, Colin Greenland (Avon Eos 6/98, $5.99, pb) The quirky British space opera trilogy of Captain Tabitha Jute and the alien starship Plenty comes to a sweeping finale as the captain seeks to regain control from the Capellan brain parasites.

The Nano Flower, Peter F. Hamilton (Tor 2/98, $25.95, hc) SF thriller, third of the Greg Mandel adventures in a high-tech Libertarian 21st century.

Accidental Creatures, Anne Harris (Tor 7/98) A gritty exploration of exploitation through technology, updated in biotech style as a firm with a poor safety record wants to create humanoid ''biological machines'' slaves to perform dangerous tasks.

Standing Wave, Howard V. Hendrix (Ace 8/98) A wave of light brings revelations and a strange new intelligence to Earth in this exploration of wave mechanics, mazes, religion, and the nature of intelligence and consciousness, set in the universe of Lightpaths.

Brown Girl in the Ring, Nalo Hopkinson (Warner Aspect 7/98) Caribbean magic transported to an apocalyptic near-future Canada brings fresh flavor to this impressive and energetic first novel.

Deepdrive, Alexander Jablokov (Avon Eos 8/98) Humans will do anything to gain the secret of the deepdrive used by the many alien races now inhabiting the solar system, in this complex and intense tale of intrigue, interspecies interactions, and drives both spacial and psychological.

Noir, K.W. Jeter (Bantam Spectra 10/98) Ex-cop McNihil prefers to view the world through a virtual b&w overlay of the 1940s, a nod to classic noir hard-boiled detection, in this allusive murder mystery of ruthless corporations, the living dead, and the dark sexual underground of glitzy near-future L.A., apparently an extension of the world of Jeter's Dr. Adder.

Phoenix Café, Gwyneth Jones (Tor 1/98, $24.95, hc) Strong conclusion to the ''White Queen'' SF trilogy of a strange alien invasion.

Virus Clans, Michael Kanaly (Ace 3/98, $12.00, tp) SF novel of seemingly intelligent viruses, their long evolution, and their plans for humankind....

Maximum Light, Nancy Kress (Tor 1/98, $22.95, hc) Suspenseful, powerfully intelligent SF thriller dealing with three characters in a desperate future America.

Stinger, Nancy Kress (Forge 9/98) Kress deftly transfers her favorite SF themes of biotechnology and a sense of otherness to this contemporary thriller (featuring FBI agent Robert Cavanaugh from Oaths and Miracles) of a deadly disease that threatens to spark a race war.

Dark Water's Embrace, Stephen Leigh (Avon Eos 3/98, $3.99, pb) SF novel of the descendents of colonists on an isolated planet, plagued by problems of infertility, an exploration of gender and society.

Outpost, Scott Mackay (Tor 3/98, $24.95, hc) SF adventure novel with a well-drawn prison planet setting, interesting characters, aliens and werewolves!

Prisoner of Conscience, Susan R. Matthews (Avon Eos 2/98, $3.99, pb) SF novel, sequel to An Exchange of Hostages, of an Inquisitor with a conscience in a harsh far-future galactic civilization.

Child of the River, Paul J. McAuley (Avon Eos 6/98, $14.00, hc) The first book of ''Confluence'', an SF series set ten million years in the future, on an artificial world run by machines and inhabited by humanoids of mixed animal and alien races, a rich backdrop for this tale of a young man of mysterious origin looking for his destiny.

Bloom, Wil McCarthy (Del Rey 8/98) Technology gone wrong provides hard-SF terror in this fast-paced thriller of nanotech-as-mold. Technogenic lifeforms get loose and spread, forcing humanity to flee to the moons of Jupiter to stage last-ditch efforts to fight or flee the deadly mycospores.

Moonfall, Jack McDevitt (HarperPrism 4/98, $24.00, hc) Entertaining SF disaster novel where a giant comet smashes into the moon, putting Earth in peril.

The Centurion's Empire, Sean McMullen (Tor 7/98) Time travel through early cryogenics provides the background for this tale of a Roman centurion recruited by a mysterious organization to help save civilization: in Dark Ages Britain, medieval France, and finally in a bewildering 21st century.

Proxies, Laura J. Mixon (Tor 8/98) Android bodies controlled through virtual reality are a boon to the handicapped, but also to assassins and to those who would hijack the first interstellar expedition. A fast-paced thriller, yet dense with the human details of life in the next century.

The Iron Bridge, David Morse (Harcourt Brace 7/98) A woman goes back in time to prevent construction of the world's first iron bridge, thus derailing the Industrial Revolution and saving the ecologically precarious future but she finds the past more complex than she ever expected. In best SF style, this thought-provoking first novel illuminates the present while looking at the future and the past.

Vast, Linda Nagata (Bantam Spectra 8/98) In this far-ranging sequel to Deception Well, four humans, or near-humans, as well as ghosts, partials, clones, and other computer-generated personalities take (or are taken on) a sentient spaceship in an intergalactic quest to find the deadly enemies of humankind. Nothing is exactly what it seems in this fascinating future by one of our most underrated writers.

Signal to Noise, Eric S. Nylund (Avon Eos 5/98, $23.00, hc) A so-called ''hyperpunk'' novel of ''bubble realities'' that replace computer interfaces, alien messages disguised as noise, and a Faustian deal with an alien businessman. A weird, wild ride that pushes the boundary between SF and fantasy.

Hand of Prophecy, Severna Park (Avon Eos 3/98, $14.00, hc) Brusquely effective SF novel of galaxy-spanning war, slavery ... and a possible way toward freedom and redemption, set against the same background as her first novel, Speaking Dreams.

O Pioneer!, Frederik Pohl (Tor 5/98, $21.95, hc) A good old-fashioned SF adventure novel. Instant transportation lures a computer hacker to a colony world inhabited by many races and secretly threatened by humans' plans for it.

A Hunger in the Soul, Mike Resnick (Tor 5/98, $21.95, hc) ''Dr. Livingstone, I presume?'' Another Africa-inspired SF novel, this time about a journalist's quest to locate a great medical researcher gone missing in the jungles of the primitive planet Bushveld. A colorful tale of exploration and obsession.

Antarctica, Kim Stanley Robinson (Bantam 7/98) Intriguing thriller of politics and eco-terrorism involving the development on a part of Earth so alien it might as well be Mars. Robinson's best book yet.

Children of God, Mary Doria Russell (Villard 4/98, $23.95, hc) This sequel to The Sparrow further explores the role of evil and pain in God's vale of tears, as far-future Jesuits travel to alien worlds.

Factoring Humanity, Robert J. Sawyer (Tor 6/98, $23.95, hc) Messages from space, a quantum computer, and accusations of sexual child abuse entangle two academics in a web of SF ideas resulting in revelations about human intelligence and the nature of awareness. An ambitious effort with some intriguing ideas, despite a plot burdened with coincidences and some excess sentimentality.

The Shapes of Their Hearts, Melissa Scott (Tor 6/98, $22.95, hc) Computers and religion merge in this provocative far-future SF novel, as an AI merged with the uploaded mind of a nominally Christian religious prophet becomes a god to its followers, but a cause of religious terrorism on other worlds.

Aftermath, Charles Sheffield (Bantam Spectra 8/98) Near-future Earth is permanently changed when Alpha Centauri goes supernova, wiping out all microchip-based technology. Sheffield brings a welcome hard-SF spin to the post-holocaust sub-genre, mixing fascinating speculation with well-plotted action in this first part of a two-book novel.

The Alien Years, Robert Silverberg (HarperPrism 8/98) In this complex blend of alien invasion and family chronicle, generations of the Carmichael family keep up resistance against the takeover of Earth by incomprehensible, squid-like ''Entities.'' Possibly Silverberg's best novel in years.

Blueheart, Alison Sinclair (HarperPrism 5/98, $6.50, pb) SF novel of a waterworld divided between terraformers and transformed humans, an impressive mix of world building and personal emotion.

The Children Star, Joan Slonczewski (Tor 8/98) To save their world from drastic terraforming, biochemically altered humans seek the unseen sentient life form they believe controls the ecology; an entertainingly melodramatic plot that mixes smoothly with solid scientific speculation.

One of Us, Michael Marshall Smith (Bantam 8/98) In a skewed future world where people can pay others to take their bad or guilty memories, one man finds himself stuck with a memory of murder he may literally not be able to live with. Powerful near-future suspense.

Inherit the Earth, Brian Stableford (Tor 8/98) A virtual-reality artist is caught up in terrorist plots in a seemingly utopian 22nd century where biomedical nanotechnology has made near-immortality possible. A hard-hitting, hard-SF thriller.

Dreaming in Smoke, Tricia Sullivan (Bantam Spectra 5/98, $5.99, pb) Mind-bending, cyberpunkish SF novel full of jazz, drugs, and attitude. A mad statistician's Dream interface crashes the artificial intelligence that maintains a colony planet.

Six Moon Dance, Sheri S. Tepper (Avon Eos 7/98) The colony planet Newholme is not what it seems in this complex, semi-satiric, almost-fantasy exploration of sex roles and utopian theories in trademark Tepper style.

Ports of Call, Jack Vance (Tor 4/98, $24.95, hc) Picaresque SF adventure novel mingling Wodehousian humor with vivid portrayals of a wide variety of worlds.

The Golden Globe, John Varley (Ace 9/98) An itinerant actor with a price on his head travels with a motley troupe doing Shakespeare on the outer limits of the solar system in this companion/sequel to Steel Beach. A much-anticipated work by one of SF's true virtuosos.

Echoes of Honor, David Weber (Baen 9/98) In this prison-break adventure, frustrated fans of the ''Honor Harrington'' military SF series can finally find out what happens after last volume's cliffhanger ending that left Honor stranded on an enemy prison planet.

Empire of the Ants, Bernard Werber (Bantam 2/98, $23.95, hc) European literary novel with elements of both SF and horror, centering on the civilization of some very sentient ants; a translation of Les Fourmis (1991) from the French.

Fine Prey, Scott Westerfeld (Penguin/Roc 8/98) On an Earth ruled by aliens, one young human wants more than to just play by alien rules. An exciting exploration of what it really means to be human, and to be free.

Otherland: River of Blue Fire, Tad Williams (DAW 7/98) The possibilities of virtual reality go far beyond mere fantasy adventure (though there's plenty of that) in the second volume of this epic SF/mystery series of conspiracy, murder, and the search for immortality.

To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis (Bantam Spectra 1/98, $23.95, hc) 21st-century time travelers visit WWII and Victorian England on a splendidly antic quest, where elements of Wodehouse and Jerome K. Jerome mingle with serious musings about history.

Darwinia, Robert Charles Wilson (Tor 6/98, $22.95, hc) Alternate history SF, or maybe fantasy, this novel presents a totally different 20th century in which Europe was miraculously replaced in 1912 by a strange, wild land. Wilson foregoes the potential pulp adventure for a vivid exploration of the changes in history and society.

A Scientific Romance, Ronald Wright (Picador 4/98, $23.00, hc) Near-future SF novel featuring H.G. Wells's Time Machine in a tale of social satire, apocalyptic dystopia, and adventure.

Playing God, Sara Zettel (Warner Aspect 10/98) An interesting almost-all-female alien society provides a solid core for this tale of a corporation's attempts to save a war-torn world while doubts and paranoia on all sides set off violence and destruction.

War in Heaven, David Zindell (Bantam Spectra 1/98, $5.99, pb) This conclusion of the ''Requiem for Homo Sapiens'' SF trilogy combines Stapledonian scope with space opera raised to an almost Miltonic grandeur.

© 1998 by Locus Publications. All rights reserved.