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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993
Novellas, Chapbooks, Misc.


Theatre of Curious Acts by Cate Gardner

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“Theatre of Curious Acts” by Cate Gardner

Hadley Rille Books, Fall 2011

Reviewed by Caroline E Willis

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Anthopology 101 by Bud Webster

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Anthopology 101:

Reflections, Inspections and Dissections of SF Anthologies

by Bud Webster

Introduction by Mike Ashley

(The Merry Blacksmith Press, 2010, 328 pp.)

Reviewed by Indrapramit Das

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The Business of Science Fiction by Mike Resnick & Barry N. Malzberg

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The Business of Science Fiction

by

Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg

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Fantastic TV (50 Years of Cult Fantasy and Science Fiction)

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Fantastic TV (50 Years of Cult Fantasy and Science Fiction) 

by Steven Savile

Plexus, London (March 2010)

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Cloud Permutations -- Lavie Tidhar

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Cloud Permutations

by Lavie Tidhar


PS Publishing
May 2010


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Tomb of the Fathers by Eleanor Arnason

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Tomb of the Fathers by Eleanor Arnason
-- A Lydia Duluth Adventure --

(Aqueduct Press, June 2010)

Reviewed by Bob Blough

Eleanor Arnason is a brilliant science fiction writer.  She writes fluidly and movingly.  Her novel, Woman of the Iron People from 1991 is a must read for any SF aficionado who enjoys truly interesting alien societies.

Ms. Arnason has concentrated on three series in recent years and post-1993 they have been furthered as several short fiction tales.  She is, unfortunately, not prolific, but that only means that her fans (among whom I count myself) look forward to reading each new offering with anticipation.

Of these three sets of linked stories “Tomb of the Fathers” is part of the Lydia Duluth series.  The series protagonist is an “interstellar adventurer.”  Lydia is a former location scout for Stellar Harvest, a holoshow production company.  She has an AI embedded in her brain that not only comments on real-time events, but interjects wry observations of human behavior as well.  The AI’s have found the home planet of a race known as the Atch.  The Atch left their home many long years ago and now have no history or memory of where it was or why they left.  The AI’s study intelligent life to try and understand evolving cultures.  Creatures that evolve from millennia of genetic accidents fascinate them.  Thus they set up an expedition to the newly discovered Atch home world in order to discover more about these evolved beings.

Lydia’s team is a colorful assortment of human, alien, and augmented humanity and AI construct.  This is one of Arnason’s greatest gifts – the creation of alien societies that think differently than we do, from a human perspective. It is the interaction between these various beings and how they each respond to what they discover on the Atch home world that make this adventure so colorful.

And remember it is an adventure tale; even the subtitle proclaims “A Lydia Duluth Adventure.”  Things move quickly in this slim volume.  There isn’t a lot of interior monologue or deep character study.  There are hair-breadth escapes and genetically modified animals. As well, and to be expected in an Eleanor Arnason story, there is a great deal about gender issues. The Atch fathers are the “mothering” part of the sexual system while the females are the hunter/aggressive side.  These gender issues create a deeper sense of importance than this type of story usually engenders.  This is not, however, a “message” story; it is well and truly an adventure involving slavery, sacrifices to alien gods and murder. A lot of humor is involved as well.  The aforementioned turnaround of classical male/female values and a Marx-quoting alien make for some well-placed humorous moments.

I’ll admit this is pretty much fluff, but fluff with more serious thought embedded unobtrusively within, and fun all the way through.  Keep writing Ms. Arnason; I, for one, want to see those other series’ short story collections soon. And another novel… please?  

Tomb of the Fathers by Eleanor Arnason can be ordered at the Aqueduct Press website here.

 

The Harm -- Gary McMahon

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The Harm by Gary McMahon

TTA Press  March 2010


Reviewed by Steve Fahnestalk

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Seven Cities of Gold -- David Moles

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Seven Cities of Gold by David Moles

PS Publishing, (novella) July 2010

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The Heart of Faerie Oracle -- Brian & Wendy Froud

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The Heart of Faerie Oracle  by Brian & Wendy Froud

Reviewed by Dave Truesdale

Fans of Brian Froud will be pleased to see The Heart of Faerie Oracle, a 160 page hardcover book, and its 68 companion oracle card deck, each card featuring one of Froud's beautiful color illustrations. This is the companion volume to both his 2000 "The Faeries' Oracle" card deck and (in part) his 2007 book World of Faerie. Along with interior (two-tone) reproductions of each card, Wendy provides the accompanying text, explaining the meaning and import of each of the cards. The book is divided into nine chapters with titles such as:  How to Use the Cards, About the Cards, The Faerie Queens, The Archetypes, Sprites, and The Ladies.

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Cast a Cold Eye -- Derryl Murphy & William Shunn

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Cast a Cold Eye by Derryl Murphy & William Shunn

(PS Publishing, December 2009)

Reviewed by Steve Fahnestalk

Reviewing stuff by people you know can be hard, because you don’t want to hurt or offend your friends even unintentionally. But part of being a writer is learning how to take criticism; if your friends object to your honest opinion about their work, then it’s their problem, not yours. That said, I had no qualms about reviewing Derryl Murphy and William Shunn’s Cast a Cold Eye because although I don’t know William Shunn, I used to know Derryl Murphy quite well, and he’s a professional. He was a professional photographer at one time; and he’s striving to be a professional writer—and part of being a professional writer is growing a thick skin. Because, face it—even criticism from friends and relatives can get under your skin.

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