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From the July 1999 Locus

The Conqueror's Child, Suzy McKee Charnas (Tor 6/99) Events come full circle in this finale to the ''Holdfast'' series begun in the powerful dystopian novel Walk to the End of the World. Women take over the Holdfast and the men who once ruled them, but one woman fears for her adopted son in a world where his only choices are to be alien or slave.

The Divinity Student, Michael Cisco (Buzzcity Press 6/99) Elegant surrealism suffuses this first novel of a student seeking enlightenment, literally stuffed full of text, and employed in dissecting brains for forbidden words. Aptly illustrated by the weird collages by Harry O. Morris.

Dark Cities Underground, Lisa Goldstein (Tor 6/99) Myths and archetypes reaching back to Ancient Egypt are linked to prosaic Oakland, CA through a mysterious underground world in this magical contemporary fantasy about a man who, as a boy, played in those realms, and gave his mother stories for her children's fantasy books, leaving him with some serious issues and real magic to deal with when a writer comes digging up the past.

Year's Best SF 4, edited by David G. Hartwell (HarperPrism 6/99) This strictly-SF year's best anthology weighs in with 20 stories by authors including Bruce Sterling, David Brin, and Nancy Kress.

Centaurus: The Best of Australian Science Fiction, David G. Hartwell & Damien Broderick (Tor 6/99) For those without access to some of the recent anthologies published in Australia, this US-published overview anthology is an opportunity to check out the recent burgeoning of SF in Australia. The roster of serious SF contenders includes Terry Dowling, Greg Egan, George Turner, and Cherry Wilder.

The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane, Robert E. Howard (Wandering Star 3/98) Spectacular paintings by Gary Gianni, in the classic illustrative style of Wyeth, are the highlight of this elegantly packaged, limited-edition collection of the fantasy adventures of Howard's grim, Puritan adventurer complete with a CD of three poems set to music.

What Ho, Magic!, Tanya Huff (Meisha Merlin 3/99) Huff's first collection presents fifteen stories of SF, fantasy, and horror, all infused with Huff's vivid characters, entertaining action, and wry humor. Four stories are from the ''Blood'' series, a must for fans of the vampire mysteries featuring Vicki Nelson and Henry Fitzroy.

The Terrorists of Irustan, Louise Marley (Ace 6/99) Repressed women on a harsh mining planet settled by Moslems use the only means they have to stop abusive men medical knowledge, forbidden to males. A sharp-edged dystopia with a Feminist edge.

Souls in the Great Machine, Sean McMullen (Tor 6/99) Australia in the 40th century provides the backdrop for this complex adventure set in a dehumanizing, low-tech culture where calculators are made up of humans, and ancient orbital satellites threaten to bring a new ice age. Reworked from two earlier Australian small-press novels, Voices in the Light and Mirrorsun Rising.

The SFWA Grand Masters, Volume 1, Frederik Pohl (Tor 6/99) See why SFWA named these writers ''Grand Masters'' in this new series of three anthologies honoring some of SF's greatest. This first volume brings together several stories each from Robert A. Heinlein, Jack Williamson, Clifford D. Simak, L. Sprague de Camp, and Fritz Leiber.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling (Scholastic Press 6/99) The first ''Harry Potter'' novel launched the hottest new YA fantasy series around, and now the second book is out for all those frantic US fans. Harry's second-year adventures at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry are as entertaining as his first, good reading for both kids and adults.

Far Horizons, edited by Robert Silverberg (Avon Eos 6/99) The SF complement to Legends, this anthology brings all-new novelettes and novellas by eleven noted authors writing in their best-known worlds and series, including David Brin's ''Uplift'' universe, Ursula K. Le Guin's ''The Ekumen'', Frederik Pohl's ''Heechee'', Dan Simmons's ''Hyperion Cantos'', and Orson Scott Card's ''Ender''.

Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson (Avon 6/99) Exuberant, Pynchonesque novel of cryptographers in WWII, and their descendents in the present fighting their own battle to keep information free on the computer nets. A potent thriller with creative prose and just a hint of SF.

A Good Old-Fashioned Future, Bruce Sterling (Bantam Spectra 6/99) A collection of seven recent stories by a critically acclaimed author on the cutting edge of science fiction. Includes several award-winning stories.

Down There in Darkness, George Turner (Tor 5/99) Turner's final SF novel, a sequel of sorts to The Destiny Makers, ties together the harsh world of Turner's early novels with the more optimistic future of Genetic Soldier as it chronicles the destruction and eventual rebirth of human civilization. An important final addition to Turner's body of work, and uncompromising SF.

© 1999 by Locus Publications. All rights reserved.