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30 November 2004




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New and Notable Books December 2004


John Barnes, Gaudeamus (Tor Nov 2004)

John Barnes plays himself in this transreal spoof of an SF novel, poking fun at himself (and SF fans) while recounting a friend’s wild tale of a flying saucer powered by the amazing Gaudeamus device.

Stephen Baxter, Exultant (Ballantine Del Rey Dec 2004)

The second book of ‘‘Destiny’s Children’’, a loose sequel to Coalescent, this sweeping SF novel takes on a military flavor as forces prepare for the long-awaited final attack on the Xeelee fortress, but the fascination for readers may lie more in his treatment of time travel and alternate futures.

Jacqueline Carey, Banewreaker (Tor Nov 2004)

The first volume in this new fantasy series ‘‘The Sundering’’ combines a Tolkienesque setting with a more complex understanding of good and evil to tell the story of a world Sundered by a war between the gods, and the dark god Satoris’s efforts to avoid his prophesied destruction. (Like Tolkien, only Sauron’s really just misunderstood, according to one review.)

Lee Brown Coye & Luis Ortiz, Arts Unknown: The Life & Art of Lee Brown Coye (NonStop Press Feb 2005)

Author Luis Ortiz digs deep in this extensively illustrated biography of an undeservedly forgotten artist noted for his striking weird illustrations, both color and b&w.

Charles de Lint, The Blue Girl (Viking Oct 2004)

A troubled teen tries to remake herself when she moves to a new school, but finds life in Newford fraught with magical difficulties - like teenage ghosts and fairy gangs. A compelling contemporary young adult fantasy set in de Lint’s ever-popular town of Newford.

Nancy Farmer, The Sea of Trolls (Simon & Schuster/Atheneum Aug 2004)

A captive of the Vikings undertakes a quest to the wondrous and deadly land of the trolls in this Norse-flavored young adult fantasy.

Cathy Fenner & Arnie Fenner, eds., Spectrum 11: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art (Underwood Books Oct 2004)

The latest in the series of lavishly illustrated annual art books, with over 400 works by over 250 artists.

Rob Gerrand, ed., The Best Australian Science Fiction Writing (Black Inc. Nov 2004)

The latest monument to the Australian SF renaissance, this hefty anthology presents 30 stories from the last 50 years by authors including A. Bertram Chandler, Damien Broderick, George Turner, Lucy Sussex, Greg Egan, Terry Dowling, and many more.

Matthew Hughes, Black Brillion (Tor Nov 2004)

The third novel of the ‘‘Archonate’’, a witty pastiche drawing on Jack Vance’s ‘‘Dying Earth’’, mixes humor, philosophy, and a criminal investigation involving a policeman teamed up with a former criminal.

Stephen Jones, ed., The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror: Volume Fifteen (Carroll & Graf Oct 2004)

The only year’s best dedicated to horror and only horror returns with 25 terror-filled tales from 2003, plus Jones’s invaluable annual overview of the field.

Michael Moorcock, Wizardry & Wild Romance: A Study of Epic Fantasy (MonkeyBrain Books Sep 2004)

Moorcock’s classic examination of fantasy appears in its first US edition, expanded from the 1987 Gollancz edition with added reviews of more recent books, plus an introduction by China Miéville and afterword by Jeff VanderMeer.

James Morrow, The Cat's Pajamas and Other Stories (Tachyon Publications Jul 2004)

Cool collection of 11 stories, one new, and two previously unpublished short plays from one of the field’s most acclaimed authors, noted for his mordant wit and audacious satire.

Frederik Pohl, The Boy Who Would Live Forever (Tor Oct 2004)

Pohl returns to the ‘‘Heechee’’ series (begun in the classic Gateway) for this tale of humans living among the Heechee at the galactic Core, and one man whose hatred of the Heechee could destroy the galaxy.

Terry Pratchett & Paul Kidby, The Art of Discworld (HarperCollins Nov 2004)

Discworld comes to life in this colorful compendium of Kidby’s art, both finished paintings and detailed pencil sketches, many appearing for the first time. Pratchett provides humorous commentary on Discworld and writing, while Kidby adds comments on his artistic process.

Philip Roth, The Plot Against America (Houghton Mifflin Oct 2004)

Noted mainstream author Roth presents an alternate history (with echoes of the present day) in this frightening tale of an America in which the isolationist and rabidly anti-Semitic Charles Lindburgh won the Presidency in 1940, and the effect this had on one middle-class Jewish American family, the Roths.

Darrell Schweitzer, Speaking of the Fantastic II (Wildside Press Oct 2004)

Schweitzer’s latest collection of interviews with masters in the field includes conversations from 1983-2002 with authors including Peter S. Beagle, Octavia E. Butler, Tim Powers, and Gene Wolfe.

Lucius Shepard, A Handbook of American Prayer (Thunder's Mouth Sep 2004)

Shepard critiques America’s obsession with celebrity, spirituality, and money in this offbeat, sometimes surreal fantasy about a man whose prayers are actually answered.

Robert Silverberg, ed., Between Worlds (SFBC Aug 2004)

Noted editor Silverberg assembles six all-new stories of the far future and the distant reaches of the galaxy, by a stellar crew of SF writers: Stephen Baxter, James Patrick Kelly, Nancy Kress, Mike Resnick, Walter Jon Williams, and Silverberg himself.

Peter Straub, In the Night Room (Random House Oct 2004)

Writer Tim Underhill faces one of his own literary creations in this fascinating metafiction, a sequel to lost boy lost girl full of murders, ghosts, psychological horrors, and shifting points of view that ultimately explores what authors go through to try and capture their visions.

Charles Vess, The Book of Ballads (Tor Nov 2004)

A charming graphic collection of old ballads, retold by major authors including Neil Gaiman, Charles de Lint, and Emma Bull, beautifully illustrated by Vess’s dynamically delicate b&w line art, significantly expanded from the small-press Ballads (1997) with new stories and an introduction by Terri Windling.

Gene Wolfe, The Wizard (Tor Nov 2004)

The second half of Wolfe’s major new novel The Wizard Knight is a seemingly straightforward adventure about an American teenager in faerie lands who becomes knight and wizard. Of course, since it’s Wolfe, nothing is as simple as it first appears. ‘‘An authentic masterpiece… a grand tale gloriously told.’’ [Nick Gevers]


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