From the November 1999 Locus
Peter S. Beagle, Tamsin (Roc 10/99) Beagle's back in grand style, mixing history and myth in this tale of Jenny, a contemporary teen (and refreshingly acerbic narrator) unhappy over being transplanted from New York City to rural Dorset. Then creatures of local folklore appear, including Tamsin, a ghost-girl Jenny tries to help, facing evils of both past and present, supernatural and all too human.
Greg Bear, Darwin's Radio (Del Rey 9/99) An ancient virus embedded in the human genome gets loose as a devastating disease and possible evolutionary agent in ''one of the most intelligent and original thrillers of recent years....'' (Gary K. Wolfe, Locus).
Quint Buchholz, The Collector of Moments (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 10/99) Surreal and wistfully dreamy art highlights this picture-book tale of an alienated boy whose world is changed by a neighbor's paintings of special moments.
Judith Raphael Buckrich, George Turner: A Life (Melbourne University Press 9/99) A detailed biography of the enigmatic and influential SF author and critic, one of Australia's foremost literary figures.
Jonathan Carroll, The Marriage of Sticks (Tor 9/99) Carroll's brilliantly unsettling prose gives all his work an uncanny feel, but genre fans will rejoice as he returns to fantasy for this haunting contemporary tale of a young woman facing the ghosts of her past – and future.
Eric Leif Davin, Pioneers of Wonder: Conversations with the Founders of Science Fiction (Prometheus Books 10/99) The history of pulp-era SF comes alive in this collection of interviews with some of the early authors and editors, including David Lasser, Sam Moskowitz, and Curt Siodmak; Davin places them in context with background on the period and the development of SF.
Terry Dowling, Antique Futures: The Best of Terry Dowling (MP Books Australia 9/99) Wondrous, often baroque, images fill this cross-section collection of works by the most noted prose stylist in Australian speculative fiction.
Edward L. Ferman & Gordon Van Gelder, eds., The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Fiftieth Anniversary Anthology (Tor 10/99) Not a retrospective, as a title suggests, but an excellent collection of stories from the last five years, an eclectic sampling that amply shows the magazine's trademark mix of lyrical prose, quirkiness, (usually) refined humor, and a literary approach to horror.
Nina Kiriki Hoffman, A Red Heart of Memories (Ace 10/99) A hard-won sense of optimism infuses this latest tale of wanderer Matt Black, who uses her abilities to see others' dreams and talk to inanimate objects to help a new friend traumatized by repressed memories. A fine mix of passion, whimsy, and down-to-earth grit, tackling tough issues of abuse, self-esteem, and the importance of family.
Paul Levinson, The Silk Code (Tor 10/99) Amish biological engineering, an eighth-century encounter on the Silk Road, information technology, and Neanderthals combine in this odd and thrilling detective novel featuring forensic investigator Phil D'Amato, who previously appeared in a number of stories. Levinson shows a knack, rare in SF, for hard-boiled detection and fully realized characters that makes this exceptional first novel succeed as both mystery and speculative SF.
Michaela Roessner, The Stars Compel (Tor 10/99) The history, art, and culinary extravaganzas of Renaissance Italy provide a rich background for this second volume of the ''Stars Trilogy'', as Caterina de Medici and her enterprising young cook-cum-spy travel to Rome to face more magic and intrigues.
Al Sarrantonio, ed., 999: New Stories of Horror and Suspense (Avon 9/99) A major anthology with 29 original stories by notable authors, a celebration of modern horror – if not a completely convincing statement on the state of the art at the end of the millennium – that provides plenty of prime, compelling reading.
Brian Stableford, Architects of Emortality (Tor 10/99) Stableford returns to the world of Inherit the Future for this futuristic thriller of bio-tech gone wild, as police officers Watson and Holmes and an amateur detective named Oscar Wilde investigate a series of murders where the victims are devoured by man-eating flowers. Strong scientific speculation and thrilling action combine in this fascinating depiction of a future where life extension has led to eccentric and obsessive lifestyles.
Gene Wolfe, On Blue's Waters (Tor 10/99) SF's literary eminence follows the epic Book of the Long Sun with this first volume in a sequel trilogy, ''The Book of the Short Sun''. Narrator Horn seeks help for the struggling colonists of the waterworld Blue from now-legendary leader Patera Silk. A revealing SF Odyssey set on a fascinating world.
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