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New & Recommended Books

(From the September 1998 Locus.)

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.

Heartfire, Orson Scott Card (Tor 8/98) Alvin goes to New England in this fifth novel in the popular alternate-America fantasy series, ''The Tales of Alvin Maker''.

Stalking Tender Prey, Storm Constantine (Meisha Merlin 8/98) The first volume of the ''Grigori'' trilogy, a rich and vivid contemporary gothic tale of an ancient race living among humans.

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.

The Road to Science Fiction, Volume 6: Around the World, ed. by James Gunn (White Wolf 8/98) Gunn expands his series of teaching anthologies with this sampling of non-English-language SF. A wide-ranging overview for those who believe SF is more than a single-language phenomenon.

Beaker's Dozen, Nancy Kress (Tor 8/98) A strong collection of 13 stories from an acclaimed author. Many stories explore the potential of genetic engineering, including the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning ''Beggars in Spain''.

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.

An Alien Land, Mike Resnick (Dark Regions Press 8/98) Why Africa? Resnick explains how he came to be inspired by that continent in this collection of seven Africa-based stories (not in the ''Kirinyaga'' sequence), including one Nebula winner.

The Compass of the Soul, Sean Russell (DAW 8/98) Readers finally get to meet the mysterious mage Eldrich, previously only a legend in the alternate-Darwinian duology ''Moontide and Magic Rise'', and a sinister lurking figure in the first volume of this prequel series, ''The River Into Darkness''. A properly enigmatic ''conclusion'' to a complex, colorful, and richly atmospheric set of series.

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.

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.

Irrational Fears, William Browning Spencer (White Wolf 8/98) Lovecraftian weirdness meets Alcoholics Anonymous in this delightfully twisted, dark, and humorous tale of self-help and chaos.

Mockingbird, Sean Stewart (Ace 8/98) A young woman determined not to take up her mother's magic is tricked into becoming a vessel for small gods including the Mockingbird, a tricky personality, in this simultaneously sad and funny, Texas-flavored, character-driven, contemporary magic realism, or maybe fantasy, novel.

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.


Arthur C. Clarke & Lord Dunsany: A Correspondence, Keith Allen Daniels, ed. (Anamnesis Press 8/98) A charming and occasionally revealing collection of letters between two major writers from the opposite poles of the genre but with a surprising number of interests in common.

The Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Awards, Howard DeVore (Advent 8/98) Grown out of a fan publication, this useful reference lists both winners and nominees for each award, bringing to light some forgotten, but worthwhile, also-rans and some interesting bits of SF history.

© 1998 by Locus Publications. All rights reserved.