Locus Online
2004 Archive

New Books 29 May
Neal Asher
Adam Connell
Jeanne DuPrau
Brian Jacques
Dean Koontz
Kenneth Oppel
Terry Pratchett
Thomas Wheeler
Tony Wolk

New Books 22 May
4 manga
Trudi Canavan
Tracy & Laura Hickman
Mathew Lyons
Sarah Micklem
Jeff VanderMeer


This page lists selected newly published SFFH books seen by Locus Online (independently from the listings compiled by Locus Magazine).

Review copies received will be listed (though reprints and reissues are on other pages), but not galleys or advance reading copies. Selections, some based only on bookstore sightings, are at the discretion of Locus Online.

* = first edition
+ = first US edition
Date with publisher info is official publication month;
Date in parentheses at paragraph end is date seen or received.

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Notable new SF, Fantasy, and Horror books seen : Posted 6 June 2004

+ Bear, Greg : Dead Lines
(Ballantine Del Rey 0-345-44873-5, $24.95, 246pp, hardcover, June 2004) (First edition: HarperCollins UK, May 2004)

SF/ghost story novel concerning a porn film producer and a telecommuncations device that accesses the spirit world of the dead.
• The Amazon page (click on title or cover image) has reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist -- "Bear's ability to incorporate scientific concepts into tightly woven, fast-paced story lines reaches menacing new proportions here, because it draws on that nagging suspicion that the ubiquitous, innocent-appearing cell phone may really be killing off its users" and "Bear's masterful prose, effectively chilling and reminiscent of Koontz at his best, makes this a good pick for sf and horror fans" respectively -- and a couple readers.
• Gary K. Wolfe's review appears in the May '04 issue of Locus, concluding that the book is "a performance piece which gains in narrative energy as it grows more conventional in the telling..."
• Bear's website,, has no details about this book, but has launched this message board/web log.
(Tue 1 Jun 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Birmingham, John : Weapons of Choice
(Del Rey 0-345-45712-9, $15.95, 434pp, trade paperback, June 2004)

Alternate history/time travel novel concerning a United Nations battle group in 2021 somehow sent back to Midway in 1942.
• The Australian author's official website indicates several earlier books, though this one appears to be his first novel.
• The publisher's site has this description and excerpt.
Publishers Weekly's starred review, from the May 24th issue, and reproduced on the Amazon page, concludes "Unlike many alternate histories, the novel avoids the wish-fulfillment aspect inherent in the genre. This is the first of what should be a hugely (and deservedly) successful series."
(Tue 1 Jun 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Cherryh, C. J. : Forge of Heaven
(HarperCollins/Eos 0-380-97903-9, $24.95, 405pp, hardcover, June 2004, jacket illustration Bob Eggleton)

SF novel, sequel to Hammerfall (2001), concerning a world embargoed for its use of nanotechnology.
• The Amazon page has reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and readers.
• Cherry's website is
Locus reviews editor Jonathan Strahan comments personally on the book here.
(Tue 1 Jun 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Gingrich, Newt, & William R. Forstchen : Grant Comes East
(St. Martin's/Thomas Dunne 0-312-30937-6, $24.95, 404pp, hardcover, June 2004)

Alternate history novel, subtitled "A novel of the Civil War", by the authors of last year's Gettysburg, which briefly appeared on bestseller lists. has this description, and a list of signings. Forstchen's website, not as up to date, is
• Uchronia has this profile of the series.
Publishers Weekly's starred review, from the May 17th issue and reproduced on the Amazon page, says "Building on their strong first volume, Gingrich and Forstchen craft an original, dramatic and historically plausible "what if?" story. Character depictions-of Lincoln, Grant and Lee; of the soldiers who fight and die; and of the civilians who plot and panic-are vivid, detailed and insightful. This is one of the best novels of the Civil War to appear in recent years."
(Tue 1 Jun 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Hartwell, David G., & Kathryn Cramer, eds. : Year's Best SF 9
(Eos 0-06-057559-x, $7.99, 12+500pp, mass market paperback, June 2004)

Anthology of 20 science fiction stories first published in 2003. Authors include Octavia E. Butler, Geoff Ryman, Gregory Benford, John Varley, Cory Doctorow, Gene Wolfe, and Rick Moody, whose 70-page "The Albertine Notes" is called in the editors' introduction "perhaps the best SF story of the year". The editors provide introductions to each story, and to the volume as a whole.
• Cramer's weblog has posted the complete table of contents (as well as that of the editors' forthcoming fantasy anthology). The publisher's site has this description.
• Gary K. Wolfe's review of this volume, along with best-of-the-year anthologies from Gardner Dozois and Karen Haber & Jonathan Strahan, will appear in the July issue of Locus.
(Tue 1 Jun 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* McKiernan, Dennis L. : Red Slippers
(Penguin/Roc 0-451-45976-8, $23.95, 16+377pp, hardcover, May 2004)

Collection of 12 stories in the author's Mithgar series; the title is McKiernan's term for "loose ends", according to the book's foreword available on the author's website.
• Amazon has reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist.
• Among fan sites on the web is Encyclopedia Mithgar.
(Tue 1 Jun 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


+ Reynolds, Alastair : Absolution Gap
(Ace 0-441-01158-6, $24.95, 9+565pp, hardcover, June 2004, jacket art Chris Moore) (First edition: Gollancz, November 2003)

SF novel, third in the trilogy of very long far-future space operas that began with Revelation Space (2000) and Redemption Ark (2002) (with 2001's British SF Association award-winner Chasm City being set in the same future history, but not part of the trilogy).
• The author's site,, has news about this and future projects.
• The Amazon UK page for this book has a review by David Langford, which concludes "Alastair Reynolds makes his huge story compellingly readable, with characters we care about, and gives impressive descriptions of beauty and cataclysm. This is very superior space opera."
• In the US, Publishers Weekly gave the book a starred review in its May 31st issue; reproduced on the Amazon page (click title or cover image), it says the book "fulfills all the staggering promise of the earlier books, and then some. ... A landmark in hard SF space opera."
• Nick Gevers review in the February Locus called it "one of the most impressive serial space operas of recent times."
(Tue 1 Jun 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Ringo, John, & Michael Z. Williamson : The Hero
(Baen 0-7434-8827-X, $24, 312pp, hardcover, June 2004, cover art Kurt Miller)

Military SF novel in the Posleen War Universe.
• Baen's site has a description and several excerpts.
• Ringo's website is; Williamson's is; a related site is
(Tue 1 Jun 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


+ Robinson, Kim Stanley : Forty Signs of Rain
(Bantam 0-553-80311-5, $25, 358pp, hardcover, June 2004) (First edition: HarperCollins Australia, December 2003; also HarperCollins UK, January 2004)

Near-future SF novel about global warming, politics, and scientific research. It's first of a planned trilogy called "The Capital Code". In a sense, the book is a more realistic, less-sensationalist and melodramatic version of The Day After Tomorrow, the global freeze reduced to a huge rainstorm that floods Washington DC.
• The UK edition appeared in January, while the Australian edition actually appeard in late December '03; HarperCollins Australia's site has this description. SF Weekly ran an interview with Robinson (conducted by Nick Gevers) that goes into detail about the book.
• Both Gary K. Wolfe and Nick Gevers reviewed it in the January '04 Locus.
• The cover art (artist unidentified) of the UK/Australia and US editions is very similar, but the former has a nondescript urban skyline, while the US edition cover has recognizable Washington DC landmarks.
• Amazon has the Publishers Weekly and Booklist reviews.
(Mon 31 May 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Sarrantonio, Al, ed. : Flights: Extreme Visions of Fantasy
(Penguin/Roc 0-451-45977-6, $24.95, 12+578pp, hardcover, June 2004, jacket art Steve Stone)

Anthology of 30 original fantasy stories, a follow-up to the editor's earlier 999 (horror) and Redshift (SF). Contributors include Joyce Carol Oates, Orson Scott Card, Larry Niven, Gene Wolfe, Neil Gaiman, Charles de Lint.
Publishers Weekly gave the book a starred review in its May 17th issue; reproduced on the Amazon page, the review cites stories by Robert Silverberg, Kit Reed, Elizabeth Hand, Thomas M. Disch, and others, concluding the book is "as strong as any year's best-of anthology".
• Gary K. Wolfe reviews the book in the June issue of Locus; Nick Gevers' review will appear in the July issue. (Gevers' review cites stories by Tim Powers, Jeffrey Ford, Terry Bisson, Gene Wolfe, and Elizabeth Hand.)
(Tue 1 Jun 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Siratori, Kenji : Headcode
(iUniverse 0-595-31825-8, $17.95, 258pp, trade paperback, April 2004)

"Post-cyberpunk" novel by the Japanese author of Blood Electric (noted by Locus Online here).
• Warren Ellis' die puny humans (among other website), reproduces an excerpt
• The author's website is
(Sat 29 May 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


Opening lines:
The Calihate spy, a Javanese carpenter known simply as Adil, resettled himself against a comfortable groove in the sandalwood tree. The small, shaded clearing in the hills overlooking Dili had been his home for three days. He shared it with an aged feral cat, which remained hidden throughout the day, and an irritable monkey, which occasionally tried to shit on his head. He had considered shooting the filthy animal, but his orders were explicit. He was to remain unnoticed as long as the crusaders were anchored off East Timor, observing their fleet and sending reports via microburst laser link, but only in the event of a "significant development."
Opening lines:
The assembly room of the Deep Reconnaissance Team was as utilitarian and sere as the team itself. The walls, floor and ceiling were a matte-gray unmarked plasteel, blank of lockers, tables or any other appurtenances of human existence. There were two doors on opposite walls, both made of heavy plasteel like a bank vault. The materials were as much a matter of safety as security; power packs and ammunition bins did get damaged, and accidents happen. And when accidents happen with the power packs, catastrophic was the mildest word possible.

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