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30 December 2004




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New and Notable Books January 2005


Kage Baker, The Life of the World to Come (Tor Dec 2004)

The chronicles of the Company and its time-traveling meddlers continue in this fascinating and frequently funny tale of a man - the latest version of Mendoza’s doomed love - of the 24th century, the Company manipulators who made him what he is, and new hints as to what causes the dreaded Silence of 2355.

Iain M. Banks, The Algebraist (Time Warner UK/Orbit Oct 2004)

Banks’s new non-Culture SF novel is an exuberant space opera, set in an isolated human colony in orbit around a gas giant inhabited by the Dwellers - ancient, eccentric aliens with hidden information that could change the galactic balance of power.

Stephen Baxter, Exultant (Ballantine Del Rey Dec 2004)

The far-future war against the Xeelee takes a turn for the better in this military SF-style sequel to Coalescent in the ‘‘Destiny’s Children’’ series.

Mark Budz, Crache (Bantam Spectra Dec 2004)

Word play, ecological ideas, and human nature combine in this complex SF novel set in the same intriguing world as Clade. An asteroid colony is threatened by the collapse of its ecotecture.

Edward Carmien, The Cherryh Odyssey (Borgo Press Nov 2004)

C.J. Cherryh’s work receives justified praise plus some critical attention in this gathering of 12 essays by authors including Jane Fancher, Betsy Wollheim, and John Clute.

Gemma Files, The Worm in Every Heart (Prime Books Nov 2004)

A collection of 15 horror stories by one of the ‘‘new wave of wordsmiths that add class to darker fiction...’’ [Nancy Kilpatrick, introduction].

Gary Gibson, Angel Stations (Tor UK Oct 2004)

This dense space opera centers on artifacts from a lost alien civilization, including Stations in space, which have helped humanity spread to the stars - but also lead to a new threat to both humans and the single, primitive, alien race they’ve discovered. A first novel.

James A. Hetley, The Winter Oak (Ace Nov 2004)

Two sisters react differently to their magical heritage in this gritty contemporary/Celtic fantasy, sequel to The Summer Country. Jo returns to face her problems in the real world, while Maureen stays in the magical Summer Country to deal with her new castle, slaves, an angry dragon, and the vengeful witch she thought they’d defeated.

Jay Lake, Dogs in the Moonlight (Prime Books Nov 2004)

The latest collection from the most recent winner of the John W. Campbell Award presents 16 stories of Texas, drawing on legends old and new, from ghosts to flying saucers.

Jonathan Lethem, Men and Cartoons (Doubleday Dec 2004)

Superheroes, surrealism, absurdity, and everyday life can be found in this collection of nine stories - one new - by a groundbreaking master of slipstream fiction.

Jack McDevitt, Polaris (Ace Nov 2004)

Antiquities dealers Alex Benedict and Chase Kolpath investigate the 60-year-old mystery of the spaceship Polaris and its missing crew when artifacts from the ship start disappearing. A lively far-future SF mystery, sequel to A Talent for War.

David Moles & Jay Lake, eds., All Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories (Wheatland Press Nov 2004)

Pulp fans for years have traded tales about the elusive Spicy Zeppelin Stories; now zeppelin buffs at least have an anthology, packed with 20 stories - all but one new - by authors including David Brin, Leslie What, and Richard A. Lupoff.

Adam Roberts, The Snow (Orion/Gollancz Aug 2004)

An unending snowfall causes civilization to collapse in this chilling novel of ecological disaster, survival, and the many meanings of whiteness.

Lucius Shepard, Viator (Night Shade Books Nov 2004)

Men investigating a wrecked ship seemingly go insane in this dark short novel. ‘‘This is Shepard at his most magnificently baroque, a triumph of style.’’ [Nick Gevers]

Brian Stableford, Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction Literature (Scarecrow Press May 2004)

A compact new guide to SF with authors, titles, and themes, neatly presented in easy-to-look-up alphabetical format.

Charles Stross, The Family Trade (Tor Dec 2004)

This involving adventure, book one of ‘‘The Merchant Princes’’, comes billed as fantasy, but feels more like SF in its exploration of a parallel world and its cultures, as a journalist finds herself transported to an alternate universe where her family form a powerful elite.

Jonathan Stroud, The Golem's Eye (Hyperion/Miramax Sep 2004)

The delightfully sharp-tongued genie Bartimaeus returns in the second book of “The Bartimaeus Trilogy”, only to find his young master is once again in over his head, facing elusive revolutionaries and a golem in a magical alternate London where magicians rule.

Tad Williams, Shadowmarch (DAW Nov 2004)

Royal twins struggle to keep the kingdom together in the face of human intrigues and inhuman invasions in this first volume in a new epic series.


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