Locus Online

New Books Dec. #3
Douglas Clegg
David Gerrold
Diana Hignutt
Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
Michael Shermer
Allen Steele

New Books Dec. #2
Ackerman & Linaweaver
Lou Anders
Catherine Asaro
Dean Koontz
Denise Little
Diana L. Paxson
Mike Shepherd
Susan Shwartz
Eric S. Trautmann
Alan F. Troop
Stephan Zielinksi

2004 Archive


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 : January 2005 Week #1

* Bear, Elizabeth : Hammered
(Bantam Spectra 0-553-58750-1, $6.99, 324pp, mass market paperback, January 2005, cover illustration Paul Youll)

SF novel, the author's first novel, about a former Canadian special forces warrior, now part machine, who becomes involved in a virtual reality project.
• The author's website has a description; the author also has a journal.
• The publisher's site has a description and excerpt. The sequel, Scardown, is due in June.
• Amazon has the Publishers Weekly review, which calls it an "ambitious debut novel" and comments "Bear's often jagged prose ("We disembark in Brazil, which has the distinction of being one of several countries I've been shot at in. Shot down over, even") suits the frequent, at times confusing narrative jumps between the virtual and real worlds."
• The book is Russell Letson's lead review in the February issue of Locus Magazine; describing the book's many elements and motifs, he says "It sounds ungainly-busy, but Bear manages to keep it all under control, logistically because she is a skillful writer and emotionally because she remains close to the hardboiled/film-noir roots of cyberpunk, which depends as much on a cast of damaged and appealingly colorful characters as on science-fictional ingenuity."
(Fri 31 Dec 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Bova, Ben : Powersat
(Tor 0-765-30923-8, $24.95, 400pp, hardcover, January 2005)

SF novel, a high-tech thriller exploring the early life of entrepeneur Dan Rudolph as his attempts to establish geosynchronous power satellites are threatened by sabotage. The book is a prequel to the 'Asteroid Wars' series that included 2004's The Silent War.
• Amazon has the PW review, which concludes "While the straightforward motivations of both heroes and villains verge on the simplistic and the plot holds no surprises as it builds to a climactic confrontation over Washington, D.C., the author supplies a suspenseful ride and plenty of high-tech hardware."
(Fri 31 Dec 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


+ Douglass, Sara : The Wounded Hawk
(Tor 0-765-30363-9, $27.95, 494pp, hardcover, January 2005, jacket art Donato)
First US edition (Australia: HarperCollins Australia, 2000).

Historical fantasy novel, second in the "Crucible" trilogy, set in 14th century Europe, following The Nameless Day (2004). Includes a glossary.
• The author's website,, has this page about the trilogy, with numerous links to additional pages of background, character descriptions, and excerpts.
• This book won the 2002 Aurealis Award for best Australian fantasy novel.
• Amazon has the Publishers Weekly review: "Douglass seamlessly fuses the period's class struggle for freedom against tyranny with a disturbingly vivid look at the ambiguous battle between good and evil. Those who know their medieval history may carp that she takes too many liberties with such figures as John of Gaunt and Joan of Arc, but all will applaud the way she avoids the dull middle-book syndrome that commonly afflicts such series."
(Fri 31 Dec 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


(DAW 0-7564-0254-9, $23.95, 543pp, hardcover, January 2005, jacket illustration Steve Stone)

Fantasy novel, third in the series by the pseudonymous Stephen Leigh, following Holder of Lightning (2003) and Mage of Clouds (2004).
• The author's website has this page with excerpts from reviews and a timeline of the book's development, and this excerpt.
• The PW review is reproduced on the Amazon page: "The author does such a good job of depicting Doyle, who illustrates the psychological costs of the classic Celtic feud mentality, that he almost takes over the novel. But there are plenty of other memorable characters, and readers will be grateful for the extensive appendixes, which include a cast list, a glossary and a brief history. While the pace can be leisurely at times, Farrell continues to shine as one of the strongest voices in the Celtic fantasy subgenre."
(Tue 4 Jan 2005) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Goodkind, Terry : Chainfire
(Tor 0-765-30523-2, $29.95, 667pp, hardcover, January 2005, jacket art Keith Parkinson)

Fantasy novel, ninth book in the "Sword of Truth" series that began with Wizard's First Rule (1994); the previous book was Naked Empire (2003). This volume is first a trilogy that will conclude the entire series.
• Tor's site has this page about the author, with a press release about the book.
• Amazon has numerous mostly-positive reader reviews.
(Tue 4 Jan 2005) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Metzger, Robert A. : CUSP
(Ace 0-441-01241-8, $24.95, 517pp, hardcover, January 2005, jacket art Chris Moore)

SF novel, a "hard space opera" novel concerning energy jets from the Sun that create rings around the Earth in 2031, and subsequent efforts to save the Earth via a supercomputer called CUSP (Controllable Universal Sentient Plasma) to transform humans into posthuman superbeings.
• The author has a website, but there's nothing there yet about this book.
• Amazon has the PW review: "Metzger tosses theories around like tennis balls and does the same with planets and solar systems, leading to a literal star-smashing climax. Readers who appreciate the outer edges of science, and regular trips past it, may not mind the sudden shifts of viewpoint and the tendency of supersmart characters not to pick up on the obvious."
(Fri 31 Dec 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Modesitt, L. E. Jr. : Ordermaster
(Tor 0-765-31213-1, $27.95, 494pp, hardcover, January 2005, jacket art Darrell K. Sweet)

Fantasy novel, 13th book in the Saga of Recluce, sequel to last year's Wellspring of Chaos (2004).
• Amazon has the book description. The author's website has background on the previous books in the series.
(Tue 4 Jan 2005) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


(Eos 0-06-073889-8, $14.95, 410pp, trade paperback, January 2005)
First US edition (UK: HarperCollins Voyager, August 2003).

Fantasy novel, first of a trilogy, involving a mad ruler haunted by Death and brooding swordsman under a curse. The book and series titles have been changed from their original UK publication, where this was Quicksilver Rising, first of the Quicksilver trilogy.
• Amazon's page for this edition has the Publishers Weekly review: "Weak characterization undercuts British author Nicholls's otherwise alluring fantasy, the first in a new sword-and-sorcery series with a well-conceived setting."
• Amazon UK's page for the first edition has a review by David Langford: "This is all good fun, though, and the pages turn fast."
• The second volume, Quicksilver Zenith, is already out in Britain, with Quicksilver Twilight due later in 2005.
(Tue 4 Jan 2005) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


+ Reynolds, Alastair : Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days
(Ace 0-441-01238-8, $22.95, 331pp, hardcover, January 2005, jacket illustration Chris Moore)
First US edition (UK: Gollancz, February 2003).

Collection of two previously published novellas, "Diamond Dogs" (PS Publishing, 2001), and "Turquoise Days" (Golden Gryphon, 2002), both set in the Revelation Space universe.
• Amazon has the starred Publishers Weekly review, from its Nov. 29th issue: "Reynolds's allegory: if humans embrace science and technology so fervently that body and soul sacrifice themselves to overweening greed, humans will eventually perish in bitter suicide; instead, abandon selfish individuality, immerse the soul in the warm sea of homecoming where minds meet and meld into oneness, and survive, changed forever."
(Tue 4 Jan 2005) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


+ Robson, Justina : Natural History
(Bantam Spectra 0-553-58741-2, $13, 325pp, trade paperback, January 2005, cover art Steve Stone)
First US edition (UK: Macmillan, April 2003).

Near-future SF novel in which human explorers encounter alien technology.
• The author's website has a description, and links to reviews. The publisher's site has a description and excerpt.
• This is Robson's third novel (after Silver Screen (1999) and Mappa Mundi (2001)), but first to be published in the US. The original UK edition was shortlisted for the 2004 British Science Fiction Association Award, and placed 2nd for the 2004 John W. Campbell Memorial Award.
• Amazon has the Publishers Weekly review: "Fans of the sweeping, politically and psychologically aware space opera of Iain M. Banks and Ken MacLeod will be intrigued by Robson's setting and the new slant she takes on universal questions."
• Gary K. Wolfe cited this as one of the "best examples of New Space Opera" in his review in the August 2003 issue of Locus Magazine, who continued "not [because] it reinvents the essentials of the form, but that it infuses those tropes with a political resonance and moral complexity, introduces major characters who can at once be deeply flawed and touching, and draws on genuinely provocative physics theory in place of the old hyperspace and FTL jargon..." Also reviewed in Locus by Farah Mendlesohn and Damien Broderick.
(Fri 31 Dec 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Sarrantonio, Al : Haydn of Mars
(Ace 0-441-01236-1, $6.5, 262pp, mass market paperback, January 2005, cover art Matt Stawicki)

SF novel set on a far future Mars populated by sentient felines; first of a trilogy.
• The publisher has a brief description.
(Fri 31 Dec 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Scalzi, John : Old Man's War
(Tor 0-765-30940-8, $23.95, 316pp, hardcover, January 2005, jacket art Donato)

SF novel about a future military service in which 75-year-olds are given new bodies and one-way-tickets to interstellar combat.
• The author has a preview page for the book, with Q&As, a Chapter Nine excerpt, and an essay on writing. Scalzi also writes online journal Whatever.
• Amazon has the starred Publishers Weekly review, from its Dec. 6th issue: "Though a lot of SF writers are more or less efficiently continuing the tradition of Robert A. Heinlein, Scalzi's astonishingly proficient first novel reads like an original work by the late grand master." And: "This virtuoso debut pays tribute to SF's past while showing that well-worn tropes still can have real zip when they're approached with ingenuity."
(Fri 7 Jan 2005) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


* Turtledove, Harry : Homeward Bound
(Ballantine Del Rey 0-345-45846-X, $26.95, 597pp, hardcover, January 2005, jacket illustration Jim Burns)

Alternate history novel, conclusion of the "Worldwar" and "Colonization" series about lizard-like aliens who invaded Earth during World War II.
• The publisher's site has this description and an excerpt.
• Amazon has the PW review: "The author dramatizes the old "nature versus nurture" argument through the moving stories of a human woman raised from birth by the lizards and of two aliens raised as humans. Fans will be pleased that room remains for a sequel."
• Steven H Silver has posted this review
(Fri 31 Dec 2004) • Purchase this book from Amazon | BookSense


Opening lines:
I never sleep if I can help it.
Opening lines:
The pines around Torin Mallaghan sighed in the wind as if weary of holding up their branches.
Opening lines:
Day’s end: 5433.

Base beacon delay: 3 years, 351 days.

Speed: approaches 0.265 lights.

Fixed Stars Estimate Navigational Error: 0.0134.

Direction: Barnard’s Star, holding.
Opening lines:
I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife's grave. Then I joined the army.
Opening lines:
1 Fleetlord Atvar pressed his fingerclaw into the opening for a control. There is a last time for everything, he thought with dignity as a holographic image sprang into being above his desk. He’d studied the image of that armed and armored Big Ugly a great many times indeed in the sixty years—thirty of this planet’s slow revolutions around its star—since coming to Tosev 3.

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