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Hugo Awards
2017
The Obelisk Gate
Book Jacket   N. K. Jemisin
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316229265 In this compelling, challenging, and utterly gripping work that combines elements of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, Jemisin draws readers deeper into the extraordinary setting and characters she introduced in The Fifth Season. In the world called the Stillness-which the first book hints may actually be our world, thousands of years in the future-orogenes are hated and feared for their ability to control the geological forces that shape the land. Powerful orogene Essun desperately searches for her eight-year-old daughter, Nassun, who was stolen away by her father. He hopes to find someone to "fix" the girl and excise her burgeoning orogene talent. But Essun's search is interrupted by her old mentor, Alabaster. Alabaster is dying, and he hopes to use Essun's powers to end the current "season," a disastrous change in global climate that could destroy all life, by recapturing the planet's long-lost moon, whose absence is the cause of the ironically named Stillness's geological instability. While Essun and Alabaster struggle to save the world, an ancient entity with very different goals begins gathering its own crew of young orogenes-and it has Nassun, who in this volume becomes a character as troubled, complex, and fascinating as her mother. The Stillness and those who dwell there are vividly drawn, and the threats they face are both timely and tangible. Once again Jemisin immerses readers in a complex and intricate world of warring powers, tangled morals, and twisting motivations. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316229265 Jemisin's follow-up to The Fifth Season (2015) explores the connections between orogenes (individuals able to manipulate kinetic and seismic energy), the mysterious obelisks floating all over the Stillness, and the secretive race of subterranean beings known as the stone eaters. This time the novel follows Essun, former imperial orogene as well as her daughter, Nassun, abducted at the start of the previous novel by Essun's panicked, orogene-hating husband. Both characters begin to explore their own connections to plans to recover the moon, the loss of which precipitated a war between the sentient Father Earth himself and ancient orogenes, as well as the involvement of divergent factions within the stone eaters. Jemisin builds off of the strong foundation laid in the previous novel, further exploring the cosmology and history of her engaging setting, all the while maintaining the strong characterization and plotting that grounds the at times expansive scope of the series' action. This novel should be of interest to general fantasy readers looking for an interesting new series as well as already avid Jemisin fans.--Keep, Alan Copyright 2016 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316229265 The Fifth Season has begun, and a cold darkness signals the end of the world. Orogene Essun, formerly known as Damaya, formerly Syenite, has found relative safety in Castrima, but her daughter, Nassun, remains lost. Instead, Essun has met Alabaster, destroyer of the world, now being slowly devoured-both figuratively and literally-by his incredible power and his stone eater Antinomy. Alabaster tries to teach Essun how to tap the obelisks and possibly deliver civilization, with drastic consequences. Meanwhile, far away, Nassun travels with her father. Her love for him battles her desire to acknowledge her skills as an orogene, despite knowing that same power is what cost her baby brother his life. As Essun and Nassun deal with both their strengths and weaknesses, the non-orogene people and the stone eaters make a play for Castrima, and Nassun learns that her choices may alter the fate of the universe and tip the scales of authority. While time and location shift with the different points of view, the dual chain of events is masterly crafted. The epic journeys of mother and daughter through this dying realm are dynamic and emotional. Verdict Jemisin's follow-up to The Fifth Season is exceptional. Those who anxiously awaited this sequel will find the only problem is that the wait must begin again once the last page is turned.-KC © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2016
The Fifth Season
Book Jacket   N. K. Jemisin
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316229296 In a world plagued by cataclysmic tectonic activity, the only way to survive is to constantly prepare for the next fifth season. But no one is ready for the scope of the disaster that strikes when the capital city of a continent-wide empire is subsumed in a massive rift that spreads hundreds of miles. Using alternating points of view, Jemisen explores the lives of several characters in the years leading up to the cataclysmic disaster. -VERDICT Multiaward winner Jemisen breaks uncharted ground with this long-awaited title that introduces a fresh world and trilogy, creating a completely realized society inhabited by three varieties of humans and a nonhuman species that lives inside the earth. With Jemisen's record of prestigious literary honors, plus her strong following, this is a must-buy for all speculative fiction collections and an excellent recommendation for fans of Brandon Sanderson's "Mistborn" trilogy.-JM © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316229296 Humans struggle to survive on a ruined world in this elegiac, complex, and intriguing story, the first in the Broken Earth series from acclaimed author Jemisin (the Inheritance Trilogy). The Stillness is a quiet and bitter land, sparsely populated by subsistence communities called comms. Essun lived quietly in a comm with her husband and children until her secret got out: she-and her children-are orogenes, those who have the ability to control Earth forces. They can quell or start earthquakes, open veins of magma, and generally cause or rein in geological chaos. Authorities keep a brutal hold on orogenes, controlling everything about their lives, including whom they breed with. Those who escape servitude and seek safety in the comms face expulsion and execution at the hands of the fearful. Soon after Essun's secret is revealed, her husband kills their son, and her daughter goes missing. Essun sets off to find the girl, undertaking a journey that will force her to face unfinished business from her own secret past. Jemisin's graceful prose and gritty setting provide the perfect backdrop for this fascinating tale of determined characters fighting to save a doomed world. Readers hungry for the next installment will also find ample satisfaction in rereading this one. Agent: Lucienne Diver, Knight Agency. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2015
Three-body problem.
 by Cixin Liu and Ken Liu
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780765377067 This novel is a rare treat in several ways. First, it is translated from Chinese, a language from which the West doesn't often get provocative science fiction. Beyond that, this highly deserving blockbuster in China serves as a crash course in both the historically important Cultural Revolution of the mid-twentieth century and the basics of astrophysics. The title itself refers to the complications of calculating gravity's effects on multiple planetary objects, but in this case, the bodies are actually the Communist ideology of controlling humanity's corruption, the individual's will to kill for autonomy, and an approaching alien race seeking to make earth into a new home 40 years after the People's Republic begins broadcasting signals to deep space at the height of the Cultural Revolution. The narrative will grab readers' attention with its passionate and fascinating critique of early Communist China, augmented by translator Liu's lean but informative footnotes for the likely uninformed English readers. But the high-minded premise is really just a vessel for a collection of surreal and hauntingly beautiful scenes that will hook you deep and drag you relentlessly across every page. This is a must-read in any language.--Francis, Chris Copyright 2014 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Strange and fascinating alien-contact yarn, the first of a trilogy from China's most celebrated science-fiction author.In 1967, at the height of the Cultural Revolution, young physicist Ye Wenjie helplessly watches as fanatical Red Guards beat her father to death. She ends up in a remote re-education (i.e. forced labor) camp not far from an imposing, top secret military installation called Red Coast Base. Eventually, Ye comes to work at Red Coast as a lowly technician, but what really goes on there? Weapons research, certainly, but is it also listening for signals from spacemaybe even signaling in return? Another thread picks up the story 40 years later, when nanomaterials researcher Wang Miao and thuggish but perceptive policeman Shi Qiang, summoned by a top-secret international (!) military commission, learn of a war so secret and mysterious that the military officers will give no details. Of more immediate concern is a series of inexplicable deaths, all prominent scientists, including the suicide of Yang Dong, the physicist daughter of Ye Wenjie; the scientists were involved with the shadowy group Frontiers of Science. Wang agrees to join the group and investigate and soon must confront events that seem to defy the laws of physics. He also logs on to a highly sophisticated virtual reality game called "Three Body," set on a planet whose unpredictable and often deadly environment alternates between Stable times and Chaotic times. And he meets Ye Wenjie, rehabilitated and now a retired professor. Ye begins to tell Wang what happened more than 40 years ago. Jaw-dropping revelations build to a stunning conclusion. In concept and development, it resembles top-notch Arthur C. Clarke or Larry Niven but with a perspectiveplots, mysteries, conspiracies, murders, revelations and allembedded in a culture and politic dramatically unfamiliar to most readers in the West, conveniently illuminated with footnotes courtesy of translator Liu. Remarkable, revelatory and not to be missed. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780765377067 Fans of hard SF will revel in this intricate and imaginative novel by one of China's most celebrated genre writers. In 1967, physics professor Ye Zhetai is killed after he refuses to denounce the theory of relativity. His daughter, Ye Wenjie, witnesses his gruesome death. Shortly after, she's falsely charged with sedition for promoting the works of environmentalist Rachel Carson, and told she can avoid punishment by working at a defense research facility involved with the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. More than 40 years later, Ye's work becomes linked to a string of physicist suicides and a complex role-playing game involving the classic physics problem of the title. Liu impressively succeeds in integrating complex topics-such as the field of frontier science, which attempts to define the limits of science's ability to know nature-without slowing down the action or sacrificing characterization. His smooth handling of the disparate plot elements cleverly sets up the second volume of the trilogy. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780765377067 During China's cultural revolution of the 1960s, a woman who is a political undesirable finds purpose at a secret military base that is sending signals into space to communicate with an alien culture. Years later, a video game called Three Body may hold the key to what those aliens want from Earth, and a physicist gets pulled into a worldwide effort to prepare for their arrival. VERDICT This 2006 Chinese best seller finally gets an English translation from Nebula and Hugo Award winner and author Ken Liu. Along with the unusual setting, the novel includes a lot of discussions of high-level physics (sometimes helpfully couched within the video game), as the aliens come from a world with three suns and the unpredictable motions of the trisolaran system threaten their continued existence. It's not an easy sell to Western readers, but the translator provides helpful footnotes explaining the unfamiliar historical and cultural references. Fans of hard sf likened to the work of Arthur C. Clarke will look forward to the rest of the series. [See Eric Norton's sf/fantasy feature, "A Multiplicity of Realms," LJ 8/14.] (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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  Book Jacket
2014
Ancillary Justice
 Ann Leckie
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. In which a zombie imperialist space cop gets caught up in a complex plot to--well, this enjoyable sci-fi outing gets even more complicated than all that. Those who have seen the film Event Horizon will remember that a starship that got caught up in a time-space-continuum eddy got all, well, weird--or, as its creator puts it, "[w]hen she crossed over, she was just a ship. But when she came back--she was alive!" Debut novelist Leckie's premise dips into the same well, only her spaceship has become, over thousands of years, a sort-of human that is also a sort-of borg made up of interchangeable-parts-bearing dead people. Breq, aka One Esk, aka Justice of Toren, has his/her/its work cut out for him/her/it: There's a strange plot afoot in the far-flung Radch, and it's about to make Breq violate the prime directive, or whatever the Radchaai call the rule that says that multisegmented, ancillary humanoids are not supposed to shoot their masters, no matter how bad their masters might be. Leckie does a very good job of setting this complex equation up in not many pages, letting detail build on detail, as when Breq finds--well, let's say "herself" for the moment--in an increasingly tangled conspiracy that involves the baddest guy of all, the even more multifaceted head honcho of the Radch. As the action picks up, one just knows there's going to be some battering and bruising out on the shoulder of Orion. Leckie's novel cast of characters serves her well-plotted story nicely. This is an altogether promising debut.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316246620 An ill-fated encounter has forced Breq, the AI commanding the Radchaai troop carrier Justice of Toren, to take up residence in a single commandeered human body, impressive but mortal and no more powerful than any other person. Now this sorry wanderer searches the galaxy for a legendary weapon that may be able to do the impossible: grant Breq revenge on Anaander Mianaai, the many-bodied, immortal ruler of the brutal Radch. A double-threaded narrative proves seductive, drawing the reader into the naive but determined protagonist's efforts to transform an unjust universe. Leckie uses familiar set pieces-an expansionist galaxy-spanning empire, a protagonist on a single-minded quest for justice-to transcend space-opera conventions in innovative ways. This impressive debut succeeds in making Breq a protagonist readers will invest in, and establishes Leckie as a talent to watch closely. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2013
Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas
Book Jacket   John Scalzi
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780765316998 Scalzi is best known for his military sf (Old Man's War), but he's also written some lighter sf (Android's Dream; Fuzzy Nation). His new book is an entertaining look at a universe that will be familiar to fans of a certain 1960s television show. Ensign Andrew Dahl is excited to begin his tour of duty aboard the Universal Union flagship Intrepid. But he and other new crew members soon notice certain odd practices: old hands tend to disappear whenever the bridge crew comes looking for members of an away team. Someone on each of these teams always dies, but it's never one of the senior officers. As Dahl and his friends investigate, they encounter a crew member who's been hiding in the service tunnels and has a bizarre theory: their universe is being affected by an old television show! VERDICT Dealing with issues of time travel, identity, love, and loss, this humorous and thought-provoking novel should appeal to fans of sf (especially Star Trek devotees) who like a good laugh along with their big ideas and space action. [See Prepub Alert, 12/19/11.]-Dan Forrest, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780765316998 In a world where junior starship officers inevitably and dramatically die on planetside missions-a problem any Star Trek fan will be familiar with-ensign Andrew Dahl joins the crew of the Universal Union ship Intrepid, the pride of the fleet, and quickly realizes his life is at risk. As Dahl's fellow officers drop like flies and backstab each other to escape away duty, he decides to figure out exactly what's going on. The first third of the book is a darkly comic romp, skewering common plot holes and lazy genre conventions while making the reader eager for the ingenious reason for the "coincidental" deaths. Sadly, Scalzi reveals all too soon that they're just characters in a story, an explanation that neither surprises nor satisfies. The rest of the book is increasingly strange and unfunny as Dahl breaks the fourth wall to demand answers. Scalzi explores life among the doomed redshirts with ingeniously morbid glee, but that's not enough to save the story from collapsing in on itself. Agent: Ethan Ellenberg, Ethan Ellenberg Agency. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780765316998 Scalzi is best known for his military sf (Old Man's War), but he's also written some lighter sf (Android's Dream; Fuzzy Nation). His new book is an entertaining look at a universe that will be familiar to fans of a certain 1960s television show. Ensign Andrew Dahl is excited to begin his tour of duty aboard the Universal Union flagship Intrepid. But he and other new crew members soon notice certain odd practices: old hands tend to disappear whenever the bridge crew comes looking for members of an away team. Someone on each of these teams always dies, but it's never one of the senior officers. As Dahl and his friends investigate, they encounter a crew member who's been hiding in the service tunnels and has a bizarre theory: their universe is being affected by an old television show! VERDICT Dealing with issues of time travel, identity, love, and loss, this humorous and thought-provoking novel should appeal to fans of sf (especially Star Trek devotees) who like a good laugh along with their big ideas and space action. [See Prepub Alert, 12/19/11.]-Dan Forrest, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781469298573 When he's posted to the starship Intrepid, Ensign Andrew Dahl discovers that invariably, whenever senior officers lead an away team mission, one of the anonymous low-ranking crewmen-like Dahl and his friends-accompanying them dies in a horrible way. The more deeply he investigates the mystery, the more bizarre twists the situation takes, until Dahl and his expendable "redshirt" comrades end up on an unexpected mission of their own to try to escape their fate. Wil Wheaton provides an enthusiastic narration (as well as another Trek connection). The comic novel ends on an unexpectedly touching note. -VERDICT Recommended for fans of Star Trek and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as well as those who enjoy Scalzi's more serious novels. ["Dealing with issues of time travel, identity, love, and loss, this humorous and thought-provoking novel should appeal to fans of sf (especially Star Trek devotees) who like a good laugh along with their big ideas and space action," read the review of the New York Times best-selling Tor hc, LJ 5/15/12.-Ed.]-Jason Puckett, Georgia State Univ., Atlanta (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780765316998 In a world where junior starship officers inevitably and dramatically die on planetside missions-a problem any Star Trek fan will be familiar with-ensign Andrew Dahl joins the crew of the Universal Union ship Intrepid, the pride of the fleet, and quickly realizes his life is at risk. As Dahl's fellow officers drop like flies and backstab each other to escape away duty, he decides to figure out exactly what's going on. The first third of the book is a darkly comic romp, skewering common plot holes and lazy genre conventions while making the reader eager for the ingenious reason for the "coincidental" deaths. Sadly, Scalzi reveals all too soon that they're just characters in a story, an explanation that neither surprises nor satisfies. The rest of the book is increasingly strange and unfunny as Dahl breaks the fourth wall to demand answers. Scalzi explores life among the doomed redshirts with ingeniously morbid glee, but that's not enough to save the story from collapsing in on itself. Agent: Ethan Ellenberg, Ethan Ellenberg Agency. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Scalzi (Fuzzy Nation, 2011, etc.) takes a stab at metafiction--and misses. In 2456, when Ensign Andrew Dahl is assigned to the xenobiology laboratory of the Universal Union starship Intrepid, he looks forward to participating in Away Missions. Peculiarly, however, experienced crew members invariably vanish just before the officers arrive with the mission assignments. Capt. Abernathy, science officer Q'eeng and astrogator Kerensky always go along, whether their skills are required or not, along with a handful of anonymous juniors. Worse, each mission always entails a usually unnecessary confrontation with improbable and hostile entities (ice sharks, killer robots with harpoons, Borgovian land worms) during which one or more of the hapless juniors get killed in dramatically horrible fashion. Abernathy and Q'eeng always emerge unperturbed and unscathed, while Kerensky consistently gets mangled but miraculously survives. If all this sounds like they're trapped in a bad episode of Star Trek, you're not wrong: They are. Somehow, and Scalzi declines to discuss the details, the actions taking place are being dictated by the half-baked scripts of a Star Trek clone series back in 2012. This, and its entirely predictable resolution, occupies 200 pages or so. The remainder comprises three codas set in 2012 that attempt to ground the aftermath in some sort of reality. Fittingly, the starship characters, those who aren't ciphers, sound and behave like teenagers. The plot you know about. Intriguing developments, fresh ideas, dashes of originality? Forget it. It's all vaguely amusing in a sophomoric sort of way, which is fine if you're an easily diverted sophomore with a couple of hours to kill. Check the date. If it isn't April 1st, you've been had.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2012
Among Others
Book Jacket   Jo Walton
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780765321534 World Fantasy Award winner Walton (Tooth and Claw) spins an enchanting tale filled with libraries and magic through the pages of a young woman's diary. Morwenna and her twin, Morganna, spent their childhood sur-rounded by Welsh ruins and fairies. Torn from her sister and hiding from her crazy mother, Morwenna finds herself in the care of her estranged father and his eerily controlling sisters. Surrounded by things strange and unfamiliar, she struggles to find safety and balance through protective magic, enigmatic fairies, and the pages of sf and fantasy novels. Interlibrary loan privileges, a book club at the public library, and the handsome and disreputable Wim help Morwenna manage the cruelty of classmates and evade her mother's sorcerous clutches. But even protective magic leaves a trail, and Morwenna ends up fighting for her life and everything she's come to believe. Verdict A delightful reminder of the wonder and power of books and the libraries that keep them.-Jennifer Anderson, Texas A&M Univ.-Corpus Christi (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780765321534 World Fantasy Award-winner Walton (Tooth and Claw) turns the magical boarding school story inside out in this compelling coming-of-age tale. Welsh teen Morwenna was badly hurt, and her twin sister killed, when the two foiled their abusive mother's spell work. Seeking refuge with a father she barely knows in England, Mori is shunted off to a grim boarding school. Mori works a spell to find kindred souls and soon meets a welcoming group of science fiction readers, but she can feel her mother looking for her, and this time Mori won't be able to escape. Walton beautifully captures the outsider's yearning in Mori's earthy and thoughtful journal entries: "It doesn't matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books." Never deigning to transcend the genre to which it is clearly a love letter, this outstanding (and entirely teen-appropriate) tale draws its strength from a solid foundation of sense-of-wonder and what-if. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780765321534 With a deft hand and a blazing imagination, fantasy writer Walton mixes genres to great effect. Elements of fantasy, science fiction, and coming-of-age novels combine into one superlative literary package that will appeal to a variety of readers across age levels. After engaging in a classic good-magic-versus-bad-magic battle with her mother that fatally wounds her twin sister, 15-year-old Morwenna leaves Wales and attempts to reconnect with her estranged father. She was sent to boarding school in England, and her riveting backstory unfolds gradually as she records her thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a series of journal entries. An ominous sense of disquiet permeates the nonlinear plot as Morwenna attempts to avoid a final clash with her mother. In addition to casting an irresistible narrative spell, Walton also pays tribute to a host of science-fiction masters as she peppers Morwenna's journal with the titles of the novels she devours in her book-fueled quest for self-discovery.--Flanagan, Margaret Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780765321534 As she recovers from the confrontation with her mother that killed her twin sister, Mori keeps a journal permeated by a love of reading in this mesmerizing fantasy novel. Sent to a boarding school where she is desperately lonely and abandoned by the fairies who once kept her safe, Mori finds refuge in books, which are her instruction manuals and her joy. (Jan.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2011
Blackout/All Clear
 Connie Willis
  Book Jacket
2010
The City and The City
 China Mieville
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780345497512 Adult/High School-A blend of near-future science fiction and police procedural, this novel is a successful example of the hybrid genre so popular of late. In a contemporary time period, two fantastical cities somewhere between Europe and Asia exist, not adjacent to one another, but by literally occupying the same area. Forbidden to acknowledge the existence of one another-a discipline imposed by the shadowy and terrifying entity known as Breach-residents in both cities have honed the ability to "unsee" people, places, and events existing in the other realm. This ticklish balance ruptures when Inspector Tyador Borl of the Extreme Crime Squad must investigate the murder of a foreign archaeological student. Long after the book's satisfying conclusion, astute readers will have much to ponder, such as the facility with which Authority can manipulate and repress a population and the attendant ills that life in such a society inevitably generate. Add in the novel's highly effective cover art and the result is a book that may appeal as much to a young, new-to-Mieville audience as it will to his loyal fans.-Dori DeSpain, formerly at Fairfax County Public Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780345497512 *Starred Review* Fantasy author Mieville†(Looking for Jake, 2005) puts his own unique spin on the detective story. Inspector Tyador Borlu, a lonely police detective, is†assigned to the murder of a young woman found dumped in a park on the edge of Beszel, an old city, decaying and mostly forgotten,†situated in an unspecified area on the southeastern fringes of Europe. But Beszel does not exist alone; it shares much of the same physical space with Ul Qoma. Each city retains a distinct culture and style, and the citizenry of both places has elaborate rules and rituals to avoid the dreaded Breach, which separates the two across space and time. This unique setting becomes one of the most important and well-developed characters in the novel, playing a pivotal role in the mystery when Tyador discovers that his murder case is much more complex than a dumped body, requiring international cooperation with the Ul Qoman authorities. Eschewing the preliminary world-building techniques of many fantasy books, Mieville dumps the reader straight into Tyador's world of crosshatching and unseeing, only gradually developing and explaining his one-of-a kind setting. Suggest to readers who enjoyed Michael Chabon's alternate-history mystery, The Yiddish Policemen's Union (2007), or to†fans of the futuristic urban setting in A. L. Martinez's Automatic Detective (2008). An excellent police procedural and a fascinating urban fantasy, this is essential reading for all mystery and fantasy fans.--Moyer, Jessica Copyright 2009 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780345497512 Mieville (Un Lun Dun; Perdido Street Station) tells vivid stories in the borderlands of literary fantasy, science fiction, and horror, and here he adds noir crime to the mix. Fittingly, his tale is set in the borderlands, creating a mysterious pair of cities somewhere on Europe's eastern edge. Beszel and Ul Qoma share the same ground, but their citizens are not allowed to react to one another, learning to "unsee" the other city and its inhabitants from a young age. Enforcing this division is a mysterious power called Breach. When an archaeology student is found dead, Inspector Tyador Borl gets caught up in a case that forces him to navigate precariously between the cities, perhaps into the sinister worlds that straddle them. It's a fascinating premise. Unfortunately, the cities, protagonist, and case remain stubbornly in the haze. For all genre fiction collections because Mieville is a trailblazer with a dedicated following, but this work is more an existential thought piece than a reading pleasure. [Library marketing.]-Neil Hollands, Williamsburg Regional Lib., VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780345497512 Better known for New Weird fantasies (Perdido Street Station, etc.), bestseller Mieville offers an outstanding take on police procedurals with this barely speculative novel. Twin southern European cities Beszel and Ul Qoma coexist in the same physical location, separated by their citizens' determination to see only one city at a time. Inspector Tyador Borl of the Extreme Crime Squad roams through the intertwined but separate cultures as he investigates the murder of Mahalia Geary, who believed that a third city, Orciny, hides in the blind spots between Beszel and Ul Qoma. As Mahalia's friends disappear and revolution brews, Tyador is forced to consider the idea that someone in unseen Orciny is manipulating the other cities. Through this exaggerated metaphor of segregation, Mieville skillfully examines the illusions people embrace to preserve their preferred social realities. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Fantasy veteran Miville (Iron Council, 2004, etc.) adds a murder mystery to the mix in his tale of two fiercely independent East European cities coexisting in the same physical location, the denizens of one willfully imperceptible to the other. The idea's not newJack Vance sketched something similar 60 years agobut Miville stretches it until it twangs. Citizens of Beszel are trained from birth to ignore, or "unsee," the city and inhabitants of Ul Qoma (and vice versa), even when trains from both cities run along the same set of tracks, and houses of different cities stand alongside one another. To step from one city to the other, or even to attempt to perceive the counterpart city, is a criminal act that immediately invokes Breach, the terrifying, implacable, ever-watching forces that patrol the shadowy borders. Summoned to a patch of waste ground where a murdered female has been dumped from a van, Beszel's Detective Inspector Tyador Borl learns the victim was a resident of Ul Qoma. Clearly, the Oversight Committee must invoke Breach, thus relieving Borl of all further responsibility. Except that a videotape shows the van arriving legally in Beszel from Ul Qoma via the official border crossing point. Therefore, no breach, so Borl must venture personally into Ul Qoma to pursue an investigation that grows steadily more difficult and alarming. Grimy, gritty reality occasionally spills over into unintelligible hypercomplexity, but this spectacularly, intricately paranoid yarn is worth the effort. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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  Book Jacket
 
2010
The Windup Girl
Book Jacket   Paolo Bacigalupi
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781597801577 Adult/High School-In a future Thailand, calories are the greatest commodity. Anderson is a calorie-man whose true objective is to discover new food sources that his company can exploit. His secretary, Hock Seng, is a refugee from China seeking to ensure his future. Jaidee is an officer of the Environmental Ministry known for upholding regulations rather than accepting bribes. His partner, Kanya, is torn between respect for Jaidee and hatred for the agency that destroyed her childhood home. Emiko is a windup, an engineered and despised creation, discarded by her master and now subject to brutality by her patron. The actions of these characters set in motion events that could destroy the country. Bacigalupi has created a compelling, if bleak, society in which corruption, betrayal, and despair are commonplace, and more positive behavior and emotions such as hope and love are regarded with great suspicion. The complex plot and equally complex characters require a great deal of commitment from readers. Even the most sympathetic people have darker sides, and it is difficult to determine which character or faction should triumph. This highly nuanced, violent, and grim novel is not for every teen. However, mature readers with an interest in political or environmental science fiction or those for whom dystopias are particularly appealing will be intrigued. If they are able to immerse themselves completely into the calorie-mad world of a future Bangkok, they will not be disappointed.-Karen E. Brooks-Reese, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781597801577 Noted short story writer Bacigalupi (Pump Six and Other Stories) proves equally adept at novel length in this grim but beautifully written tale of Bangkok struggling for survival in a post-oil era of rising sea levels and out-of-control mutation. Capt. Jaidee Rojjanasukchai of the Thai Environment Ministry fights desperately to protect his beloved nation from foreign influences. Factory manager Anderson Lake covertly searches for new and useful mutations for a hated Western agribusiness. Aging Chinese immigrant Tan Hock Seng lives by his wits while looking for one last score. Emiko, the titular despised but impossibly seductive product of Japanese genetic engineering, works in a brothel until she accidentally triggers a civil war. This complex, literate and intensely felt tale, which recalls both William Gibson and Ian McDonald at their very best, will garner Bacigalupi significant critical attention and is clearly one of the finest science fiction novels of the year. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781597801577 In a future of rising water levels, bioengineered plagues, widespread food shortages, and retrotechnology, calories have become currency and the rediscovery of foods thought to be extinct leads to commercial success or spectacular failure. An encounter between Anderson Lake, AgriGen's "calorie man" in Bangkok, and Emiko, a genetically engineered member of the New People, sets off a cataclysmic chain of events. Verdict This first novel by the Locus Award-winning author of Pump Six and Other Stories provides a captivating look at a dystopic future that seems all too possible. East meets West in a clash of cultures brilliantly portrayed in razor-sharp images, tension-building pacing, and sharply etched characters. Fans of the sf techno-fiction of China Mieville and Neal Stephenson should flock to this cautionary thriller. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781597801577 In the calorie economy, a new fruit, especially one of an old species reborn resistant to the plagues that have ravaged the world, is of great interest to the corporations that control most of the world's seed stock. Anderson Lake, Agri-Gen's calorie man in Thailand, buys a bag of ngaw and starts a cascade of events that will end in revolution. Emiko, the windup girl, is a New Person genetically engineered to be first the perfect servitor and then abandoned in Bangkok, where she is illegal and essentially without rights. Lake meets and uses her as a bargaining chip but becomes fond of her. The Thai kingdom is one of the last holdouts against the giant calorie-controlling corporations, but ngaw is all Lake needs to start negotiations for access to the Thai seed bank in exchange for military backup. Bacigalupi's near future is terrifying, astonishing, and brilliantly brought to vibrant life through the machinations and concerns of a few key inhabitants.--Schroeder, Regina Copyright 2009 Booklist
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2009
The Graveyard Book
Book Jacket   Neil Gaiman
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780060530921 A baby survives the killing of his family by a mysterious assassin. He crawls to a nearby graveyard and is adopted by the assortment of spooks who occupy the place, soon to include his own recently murdered parents. There he is christened with a new name: Nobody, or Bod for short. Under the watchful tutelage of the dead, Bod learns reading, writing, history, and a few other useful skills-haunting and "disapparating" [disappearing from a location and reappearing in another]. Why It Is a Best: An elegant combination of Gaiman's masterly storytelling and McKean's lovely drawings, this book also works as a series of independent but connected short stories set two years apart, following Bod from age two to 16. Why It Is for Us: In interviews, Gaiman has said that this book took him years to write, and it was worth the wait. Imagine Kipling's The Jungle Book set among a forest of graves. A complete recording of Gaiman reading the book is available on his web site; see also LJ's video with the author from BEA 2008.-Angelina Benedetti, King Cty. Lib. Syst., WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780060530938 *Starred Review* While a highly motivated killer murders his family, a baby, ignorant of the horrific goings-on but bent on independence, pulls himself out of his crib and toddles out of the house and into the night. This is most unfortunate for the killer, since the baby was his prime target. Finding his way through the barred fence of an ancient graveyard, the baby is discovered by Mr. and Mrs. Owens, a stable and caring couple with no children of their own and who just happen to be dead. After much debate with the graveyard's rather opinionated denizens, it is decided that the Owenses will take in the child. Under their care and the sponsorship of the mysterious Silas, the baby is named Nobody and raised among the dead to protect him from the killer, who relentlessly pursues him. This is an utterly captivating tale that is cleverly told through an entertaining cast of ghostly characters. There is plenty of darkness, but the novel's ultimate message is strong and life affirming. Although marketed to the younger YA set, this is a rich story with broad appeal and is highly recommended for teens of all ages.--Koelling, Holly Copyright 2008 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780060530921 A lavish middle-grade novel, Gaiman's first since Coraline, this gothic fantasy almost lives up to its extravagant advance billing. The opening is enthralling: "There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife." Evading the murderer who kills the rest of his family, a child roughly 18 months old climbs out of his crib, bumps his bottom down a steep stairway, walks out the open door and crosses the street into the cemetery opposite, where ghosts take him in. What mystery/horror/suspense reader could stop here, especially with Gaiman's talent for storytelling? The author riffs on the Jungle Book, folklore, nursery rhymes and history; he tosses in werewolves and hints at vampires--and he makes these figures seem like metaphors for transitions in childhood and youth. As the boy, called Nobody or Bod, grows up, the killer still stalking him, there are slack moments and some repetition--not enough to spoil a reader's pleasure, but noticeable all the same. When the chilling moments do come, they are as genuinely frightening as only Gaiman can make them, and redeem any shortcomings. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Wistful, witty, wise—and creepy. Gaiman's riff on Kipling's Mowgli stories never falters, from the truly spine-tingling opening, in which a toddler accidentally escapes his family's murderer, to the melancholy, life-affirming ending. Bod (short for Nobody) finds solace and safety with the inhabitants of the local graveyard, who grant him some of the privileges and powers of the dead—he can Fade and Dreamwalk, for instance, but still needs to eat and breathe. Episodic chapters tell miniature gems of stories (one has been nominated for a Locus Award) tracing Bod's growth from a spoiled boy who runs away with the ghouls to a young man for whom the metaphor of setting out into the world becomes achingly real. Childhood fears take solid shape in the nursery-rhyme–inspired villains, while heroism is its own, often bitter, reward. Closer in tone to American Gods than to Coraline, but permeated with Bod's innocence, this needs to be read by anyone who is or has ever been a child. (Illustrations not seen.) (Fantasy. 10 & up) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781436158848 Gr 5-8-"There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife." So begins the tale of Nobody Owens, a child raised in a graveyard by ghosts. The man Jack, a member of an elite and despicable organization, is sent to slit the throats of an entire family. As he prepares to finish off the last and most important family member, he is enraged to discover that the baby boy has eluded him by climbing from his crib and going out the door. The youngster toddles to a nearby graveyard, where the ghostly inhabitants take him in. Little Nobody (Bod) flourishes in the graveyard, a place alive with adventure and mystery. But he longs to enter the world of the living, a place where danger, and the man Jack, await. What a wicked delight to hear this inventive, sinister story (HarperCollins, 2008) read by multi-talented author Neil Gaiman. His voice ranges from silky to gravelly and gruff to sharp-edged. Those who enjoyed Gaiman's Coraline (HarperCollins, 2002) will be eager to hear his inspired reading of this novel. Winner of the 2009 Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Produciton, This captivating production makes the story accessible to younger students as well as reluctant readers.-Lisa Hubler, Memorial Junior High School, South Euclid, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780060530938 Gr 5-8-Somewhere in contemporary Britain, "the man Jack" uses his razor-sharp knife to murder a family, but the youngest, a toddler, slips away. The boy ends up in a graveyard, where the ghostly inhabitants adopt him to keep him safe. Nobody Owens, so named because he "looks like nobody but himself," grows up among a multigenerational cast of characters from different historical periods that includes matronly Mistress Owens; ancient Roman Caius Pompeius; an opinionated young witch; a melodramatic hack poet; and Bod's beloved mentor and guardian, Silas, who is neither living nor dead and has secrets of his own. As he grows up, Bod has a series of adventures, both in and out of the graveyard, and the threat of the man Jack who continues to hunt for him is ever present. Bod's love for his graveyard family and vice versa provide the emotional center, amid suspense, spot-on humor, and delightful scene-setting. The child Bod's behavior is occasionally too precocious to be believed, and a series of puns on the name Jack render the villain a bit less frightening than he should be, though only momentarily. Aside from these small flaws, however, Gaiman has created a rich, surprising, and sometimes disturbing tale of dreams, ghouls, murderers, trickery, and family.-Megan Honig, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2008
The Yiddish Policemens Union
 Michael Chabon
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780007149827 It's post-World War II, and Alaska has become the homeland for the Jews (as Franklin D. Roosevelt actually proposed). There, the murder of a former chess prodigy sends Det. Meyer Landsman on a hunt that leads back to the formidable Rebbe Gold. Chabon's first full-length adult novel since The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay; with a ten-city tour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780007149827 Already announced (see Prepub Alert, LJ 12/05), Chabon's tale of murder and mayhem in an Alaskan homeland for the Jews post-World War II gets a one-day laydown. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Starred Review. Chabon's storytelling, in this alternate history of a world where Jews were settled in Alaska after World War II, is vivid enough, with inventive metaphors packed in like tapestry threads, but Peter Riegert's versatile voice makes the invented society even more tangible. Told through the eyes of Meyer Landsman, a police detective investigating a murder, the novel occurs in a strange time to be a Jew, as several characters ruefully put it: the special Jewish district will soon be controlled by Alaska again. In a bonus interview on the last disc, Chabon relates his desire to write about a place where Yiddish was an official language. The book is shot through with Yiddish phrases and names, which melodically roll off Riegert's tongue. He gives Landsman and his tough but warmhearted partner Berko similar yet distinct gruff voices that contrast well with the effeminate-sounding sect leader and the Southern-accented Americans who come to start the land reversion process. Riegert's pacing increases the enjoyment of this expertly spun mystery. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780007149827 Like Haruki Murakami in Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (1991), Chabon plays with the conventions of the Chandlerian private-eye novel, but that's only one ingredient in an epic-scale alternate-history saga of Jewish life since World War II. The premise draws on an obscure historical fact: FDR once proposed that Alaska, not Israel, become the homeland for Jews after the war. In Chabon's telling, that's exactly what happened, except, inevitably, it hasn't gone as planned: the U.S. government now has enacted a policy that will evict all Jews without proper papers from Sitka, the center of Jewish Alaska. In the midst of this nightmare, browbeaten police detective Meyer Landsman investigates the murder of a heroin-addicted chess prodigy who happens to be the disgraced son of Sitka's most powerful rabbi. No one wants this case solved, from Landsman's boss (his ex-wife, Bina) to the FBI, but our Yiddish Marlowe keeps digging, uncovering apocalypse in the making. Chabon manipulates his bulging plot masterfully, but what makes the novel soar is its humor and humanity. Even without grasping all the Yiddish wordplay that seasons the delectable prose, readers will fall headlong into the alternate universe of Chabon's Sitka, where black humor is a kind of antifreeze necessary to support life. And when Meyer, in the end, must weigh the fates of the Jews, of the Arabs, of the whole unblessed and homeless planet against a promise made to a grieving mother, it's clear that this parallel world smells a lot like home. Chabon's Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay ran the book-award table in 2000, and this one just may be its equal. --Bill Ott Copyright 2007 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780007149827 What's washed-up cop Meyer Landsman to do when a heroin-addicted, chess-crazed denizen of the dump where he lives gets plugged in the head? He's going to find the killer, and to that end he calls in his partner (and cousin) Berko Shemets, a bear of a man who's also half-Tlingit because, you see, this is...Alaska? In this wildly inventive blackest of black comedies, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay) imagines that after World War II Roosevelt decreed the yet-to-be-50th state the homeland of the Jews. Years have passed, and the Jews have settled in very nicely, thank you, re-creating the aura of the Mitteleuropa they've lost-though the black-hatted, ultra-orthodox Bobovers turn out to be real thugs. The meddling of our two boys leads them straight to powerful and dangerous Bobover leader Rebbe Gold and eventually to a plot aimed at the reclamation of Israel. It also leads them into plenty of hot water with the top brass, including their new boss-Meyer's ex-wife, Bina. Raucous, acidulous, decidedly impolite, yet stylistically arresting, this book is bloody brilliant-and if it's way over the top, that's what makes Chabon such a great writer. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/07.]-Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780007149827 They are the "frozen Chosen," two million people living, dying and kvetching in Sitka, Alaska, the temporary homeland established for displaced World War II Jews in Chabon's ambitious and entertaining new novel. It is-deep breath now-a murder-mystery speculative-history Jewish-identity noir chess thriller, so perhaps it's no surprise that, in the back half of the book, the moving parts become unwieldy; Chabon is juggling narrative chainsaws here. The novel begins-the same way that Philip Roth launched The Plot Against America-with a fascinating historical footnote: what if, as Franklin Roosevelt proposed on the eve of World War II, a temporary Jewish settlement had been established on the Alaska panhandle? Roosevelt's plan went nowhere, but Chabon runs the idea into the present, back-loading his tale with a haunting history. Israel failed to get a foothold in the Middle East, and since the Sitka solution was only temporary, Alaskan Jews are about to lose their cold homeland. The book's timeless refrain: "It's a strange time to be a Jew." Into this world arrives Chabon's Chandler-ready hero, Meyer Landsman, a drunken rogue cop who wakes in a flophouse to find that one of his neighbors has been murdered. With his half-Tlingit, half-Jewish partner and his sexy-tough boss, who happens also to be his ex-wife, Landsman investigates a fascinating underworld of Orthodox black-hat gangs and crime-lord rabbis. Chabon's "Alyeska" is an act of fearless imagination, more evidence of the soaring talent of his previous genre-blender, the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Eventually, however, Chabon's homage to noir feels heavy-handed, with too many scenes of snappy tough-guy banter and too much of the kind of elaborate thriller plotting that requires long explanations and offscreen conspiracies. Chabon can certainly write noir-or whatever else he wants; his recent Sherlock Holmes novel, The Final Solution, was lovely, even if the New York Times Book Review sniffed its surprise that the mystery novel would "appeal to the real writer." Should any other snobs mistake Chabon for anything less than a real writer, this book offers new evidence of his peerless storytelling and style. Characters have skin "as pale as a page of commentary" and rough voices "like an onion rolling in a bucket." It's a solid performance that would have been even better with a little more Yiddish and a little less police. (May) Jess Walter was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award for The Zero and the winner of the 2006 Edgar Award for best novel for Citizen Vince. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Imagine a mutant strain of Dashiell Hammett crossed with Isaac Bashevis Singer, as one of the most imaginative contemporary novelists extends his fascination with classic pulp. The Pulitzer Prize–winning author (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, 2000, etc.) returns with an alternate-history novel that succeeds as both a hardboiled detective story and a softhearted romance. In the aftermath of World War II, a Jewish homeland has been established in Alaska rather than Israel. Amid the mean streets of Sitka, the major city, Detective Meyer Landsman lives in a seedy flophouse, where alcohol has dulled his investigative instincts. His marriage to his beloved Bina couldn't survive an aborted pregnancy, after tests showed the possibility of birth defects. He also hasn't gotten over the death of his younger sister, a pilot whose plane crashed. He finds his sense of mission renewed when there's a murder in the hotel where he lives. The deceased was a heroin-addicted chess player, his slaying seemingly without motive. There's an urgency to Landsman's investigation, because the Promised Land established by the Alaskan Settlement Act is only a 50-year rental, with Jews expected to go elsewhere when the "Reversion" takes place two months hence. Thus, Landsman must solve the case before he loses his job and his home, a challenge complicated by the reappearance of his ex-wife, appointed chief of police during this transition before the Reversion. In her attempts to leave a clean slate, will she help her former husband or thwart him? Adding to the intrigue are a cult of extremists led by a gangster rabbi, a possibility that the death of Landsman's sister wasn't an accident and a conspiracy led by the U.S. government. "These are strange times to be a Jew," say various characters, like a Greek chorus, though the novel suggests that all times are strange times to be a Jew. A page-turning noir, with a twist of Yiddish, that satisfies on many levels. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2007
Rainbows End
 Vernor Vinge
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780312856847 Set in San Diego, Calif., this hard SF novel from Hugo-winner Vinge (A Deepness in the Sky) offers dazzling computer technology but lacks dramatic tension. Circa 2025, people use high-tech contact lenses to interface with computers in their clothes. "Silent messaging" is so automatic that it feels like telepathy. Robert Gu, a talented Chinese-American poet, has missed much of this revolution due to Alzheimer's, but now the wonders of modern medicine have rehabilitated his mind. Installed in remedial classes at the local high school, he tries to adjust to this brave new world, but soon finds himself enmeshed in a somewhat quixotic plot by elderly former University of California-San Diego faculty members to protest the destruction of the university library, now rendered superfluous by the ubiquitous online databanks. Unbeknownst to Robert, he's also a pawn in a dark international conspiracy to perfect a deadly biological weapon. The true nature of the superweapon is never made entirely clear, and too much of the book feels like a textbook introduction to Vinge's near-future world. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780312856847 In the near future, the European Center for Defense against Disease discovers a diabolical pseudomimivirus. Rather than set off a panic, secret agents of the EU, Japan, and India work clandestinely to uncover a conspiracy seemingly based in a San Diego lab. Former poet Robert Gu, a recovering Alzheimer's patient (one of the lucky few who took to all the treatments), returns to school just as agents Braun, Vaz, and Mitsuri put their wheels in motion. Immensely frustrated by simultaneously living with his son's family and completely reeducating himself, Gu becomes a perfect dupe for the hacker hired by the gang of spooks. Under cover of a library protest, Gu and some old friends get into the lab, trailed by one of Gu's adolescent classmates and his granddaughter. The conspiracy runs deep and has some terrifying implications on account of YGBM (you gotta believe me) technology, regardless of the conspirators' intentions. The near future is less alien here than in some of Vinge's other work, but no less fascinating and well constructed. --Regina Schroeder Copyright 2006 Booklist
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2006
Spin
Book Jacket   Robert Charles Wilson
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780765309389 When Tyler was ten years old, he and his best friends, Jason and Diane Lawton, witnessed the night the stars "disappeared," leaving a protective barrier separating Earth from the rest of the universe and slowing the passage of time within the barrier. Jason becomes a scientist devoted to finding a way to break through Earth's artificial shell before the acceleration of time outside the barrier brings about the death of the sun within the world's foreseeable future. Diane joins an apocalyptic cult, and Tyler dedicates his life to preserving the sanity of the people he loves best-even when he discovers Jason's hidden agenda. The author of Darwinia and Blind Lake crafts a tale of apocalyptic proportions, blending the best of hard science and speculative fiction with a poignant tale of childhood's end. Recommended for most libraries. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780765309389 One night the stars go out. From that breathtaking "what if," Wilson (Blind Lake, etc.) builds an astonishingly successful m?lange of SF thriller, growing-up saga, tender love story, father-son conflict, ecological parable and apocalyptic fable in prose that sings the music of the spheres. The narrative time oscillates effortlessly between Tyler Dupree's early adolescence and his near-future young manhood haunted by the impending death of the sun and the earth. Tyler's best friends, twins Diane and Jason Lawton, take two divergent paths: Diane into a troubling religious cult of the end, Jason into impassioned scientific research to discover the nature of the galactic Hypotheticals whose "Spin" suddenly sealed Earth in a "cosmic baggie," making one of its days equal to a hundred million years in the universe beyond. As convincing as Wilson's scientific hypothesizing is-biological, astrophysical, medical-he excels even more dramatically with the infinitely intricate, minutely nuanced relationships among Jason, Diane and Tyler, whose older self tries to save them both with medicines from Mars, terraformed through Jason's genius into an incubator for new humanity. This brilliant excursion into the deepest inner and farthest outer spaces offers doorways into new worlds-if only humankind strives and seeks and finds and will not yield compassion for our fellow beings. Agent, Shawna McCarthy. (Apr. 14) FYI: Wilson's novel The Chronoliths won the John W. Campbell Award; three of his novels have been Hugo finalists. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Another character-oriented, surpassingly strange SF yarn from the ever-reliable author of , most recently, Blind Lake (2003). As ten-year-old Tyler Dupree sits with his friends Jason and Diane Lawton in the back yard of their Big House near Washington, DC, the stars go out. The "sun" that rises the next day is but an image: a barrier now encloses the Earth, generated by huge artifacts hovering over the poles. Weirder yet, time passes one hundred million times more swiftly outside the barrier, so that the sun itself may last only another 40 subjective years. Tyler becomes a doctor; Diane, with whom Tyler is never quite able to develop a satisfactory relationship, marries apocalyptic cultist Simon Townsend; Jason, a brilliant scientist, founds the Perihelion Center in Florida to research the effects of the Spin, as it becomes known. Later, Jason develops an incurable form of multiple sclerosis and asks Tyler, now his personal physician, to conceal the illness from the public and his staff. The staggering time differential turns out to have certain advantages: the terraforming of Mars, for instance, takes only a subjective year or two, and a handful of intrepid colonists rapidly develop an advanced civilization—before another barrier appears around Mars. A visitor from Mars, Wun Ngo Wen, brings advanced knowledge and medical techniques—they may save Jason's life—together with a plan to seed the distant, iceball-filled Kuiper Belt with slow-growing, living machines capable of investigating the activities of the so-called Hypotheticals. Others, however, suspect Wun has a hidden agenda. A far-fetched yet fascinating time-odyssey that pushes the envelope in every direction. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2005
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
Book Jacket   Susanna Clarke
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781582344164 Adult/High School-This delightful first novel exerts a strong and seductive pull on readers who might otherwise balk at its length. Like Philip Pullman's work, it is dark, deep, and challenging. It compares dead-on with Jane Austen's novels, and YAs who have underappreciated her wit may find it delicious when applied to magicians. Clarke even tosses in a bit of Dickens and Hardy-with great characterization, subplots, and a sense of fate bearing down hard on us. At stake is the future of English magic, which has nearly dwindled to all theory by the early 1800s, after centuries of prominence. When the book opens, only the reclusive and jealous Gilbert Norrell is practicing. Enter Jonathan Strange, a natural who has never studied magic formally. Norrell resents, then adopts Strange as a pupil whose growth he insists on controlling until the two come to the impasse that nearly leads them to destroy one another. Strange champions the 12th century's "Raven King" as the greatest magician in English history and hopes to summon him from Faerie, an alternate world. Norrell is determined to erase both from English memory-to hide the fact that he himself made a bargain with a fairy that has cost three people their lives, though their hearts go on dismally beating. Expertly written and imagined, the book is a feast for fans of fantasy, historical novels, or simply fabulously engrossing reads.-Emily Lloyd, formerly at Rehoboth Beach Public Library, DE (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Rival magicians square off to display and match their powers in an extravagant historical fantasy being published simultaneously in several countries, to be marketed as Harry Potter for adults. But English author Clarke's spectacular debut is something far richer than Potter: an absorbing tale of vaulting ambition and mortal conflict steeped in folklore and legend, enlivened by subtle characterizations and a wittily congenial omniscient authorial presence. The agreeably convoluted plot takes off with a meeting in of "gentleman-magicians" in Yorkshire in 1806, the time of the Napoleonic Wars. The participants' scholarly interests are encouraged by a prophecy "that one day magic would be restored to England by two magicians" and would subsequently be stimulated by the coming to national prominence of Gilbert Norrell, a fussy pedant inclined to burrow among his countless books of quaint and curious lore, and by dashing, moody Jonathan Strange, successfully employed by Lord Wellington to defeat French forces by magical means. Much happens. A nobleman's dead wife is revived but languishes in a half-unreal realm called "Lost-hope"—as does Stephen Black, the same nobleman's black butler, enigmatically assured by a nameless "gentleman with thistle-down hair" that he (Stephen) is a monarch in exile. Clarke sprinkles her radiantly readable text with faux-scholarly (and often hilarious) footnotes while building an elaborate plot that takes Strange through military glory, unsuccessful attempts to cure England's mad king, travel to Venice and a meeting with Lord Byron, and on a perilous pursuit of the fabled Raven King, former ruler of England, into the world of Faerie, and Hell ("The only magician to defeat Death !"). There's nothing in Tolkien, Mervyn Peake, or any of their peers that surpasses the power with which Clarke evokes this fabulous figure's tangled "history." The climax, in which Strange and Norrell conspire to summon the King, arrives—for all the book's enormous length—all too soon. An instant classic, one of the finest fantasies ever written. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. This book's rather lackluster title does a grave disservice to a story of tremendous imagination and exquisite style. First novelist Clarke recounts the struggle of two English magicians to return their craft to the level of professional respect it commanded during the medieval golden age. It is 1806, and with the Napoleonic Wars raging, England calls upon Mr. Norrell, a prudent, practiced magician-scholar, to fend off the little general once and for all. Then along comes Jonathan Strange, a handsome and reckless aristocrat who tries his hand at magic and quickly excels. Admirers of Austen will find much to entertain them as they read of the magicians' travails (Norrell takes on Strange as a pupil), English economic ills, and the much darker, more dangerous forces of the Faerie world. This tour de force is sure to appeal to fans of Charles Palliser and Diana Gabaldon and anyone who appreciates a distinctive voice. Highly recommended for all public libraries.—Cynthia Johnson, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved There may be no better marriage of talents than that of Clarke and Prebble. The former spins an enchanting, epic tale of English magic in the age of Napoleon, and the latter brings it to life-footnotes and all-with a full-bodied voice, skill and aplomb that rivals that of noted narrator Jim Dale. Set in a world where the study of theoretical magic is common, but the practice of it is unheard of, this sweeping narrative follows the exploits of England's only two practical magicians, the bookish Mr. Norrell and the affable Jonathan Strange, as they struggle to revive the country's magic in very different ways. Mr. Norrell is content to publish opaque, opinionated pieces on magic's uses and misuses, but Strange is fascinated by the legend and lore of the Raven King, the so-called father of English magic. The voices Prebble lends these two disparate characters nicely reflects their personalities-Norrell's voice is brittle and sometimes shrill, but Strange's is pleasant and ironic. As the two magicians labor together to defeat Napoleon and then separately to pursue their own ends, an elusive faerie known only as the "gentleman with the Thistledown hair" watches and schemes. Clarke's novel likely contains close to 100, if not more, characters, and Prebble juggles them all with ease. Although the heavy price of this audiobook may deter some listeners, there's no better way to experience the material than to hear it performed by such a consummate actor. Based on the Bloomsbury hardcover (Forecasts, July 12, 2004). (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781582344164 It's surprising that this first novel works at all. Readers have to accept an especially fanciful premise but, as it quickly becomes obvious, acceptance presents no difficulty. This novel took 10 years to research and write, according to publicity material; for readers at least, the author's arduous task results in a smashing success--it's an exceptionally compelling, brilliantly creative, and historically fine-tuned piece of work. The brilliance of the novel lies in how Clarke so completely and believably creates a world within a world: the outside world being early-nineteenth-century England, as Napoleon the eagle looms over all of Europe; the inner world being the community of English magicians. At the story's outset, magic in the land is moribund; magicians, who convene in various convocations, did not want to see magic done; they only wished to read about it in books. But circumstances arise that cause magic again to become manifest, not simply discussed as an academic subject; this resurrection has extensive consequences for the heretofore stately state of magic in the English realm. History and fantasy form a beautiful partnership in this detailed, authentic, and heartfelt novel, which is part fairy tale and part epic. The inner world it creates is completely furnished and credible; the outside world is exact in its accuracy. Written in a style correlative to the writing and speaking of the time, which the reader will come to find quite mellifluous, this novel is, in a word, charming. Comparisons to Harry Potter are inevitable but not distracting, for this novel stands on its own. --Brad Hooper Copyright 2004 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781582344164 The drawing room social comedies of early 19th-century Britain are infused with the powerful forces of English folklore and fantasy in this extraordinary novel of two magicians who attempt to restore English magic in the age of Napoleon. In Clarke's world, gentlemen scholars pore over the magical history of England, which is dominated by the Raven King, a human who mastered magic from the lands of faerie. The study is purely theoretical until Mr. Norrell, a reclusive, mistrustful bookworm, reveals that he is capable of producing magic and becomes the toast of London society, while an impetuous young aristocrat named Jonathan Strange tumbles into the practice, too, and finds himself quickly mastering it. Though irritated by the reticent Norrell, Strange becomes the magician's first pupil, and the British government is soon using their skills. Mr. Strange serves under Wellington in the Napoleonic Wars (in a series of wonderful historical scenes), but afterward the younger magician finds himself unable to accept Norrell's restrictive views of magic's proper place and sets out to create a new age of magic by himself. Clarke manages to portray magic as both a believably complex and tedious labor, and an eerie world of signs and wonders where every object may have secret meaning. London politics and talking stones are portrayed with equal realism and seem indisputably part of the same England, as signs indicate that the Raven King may return. The chock-full, old-fashioned narrative (supplemented with deft footnotes to fill in the ignorant reader on incidents in magical history) may seem a bit stiff and mannered at first, but immersion in the mesmerizing story reveals its intimacy, humor and insight, and will enchant readers of fantasy and literary fiction alike. Agent, Jonny Geller. (Oct.) Forecast: A massive push by Bloomsbury has made this one of the most anticipated novels of the season. It's convenient to pigeonhole it as Harry Potter for grownups-and grown-up readers of J.K. Rowling will enjoy it-but its deep grounding in history gives it gravitas as well as readability. 200,000 first printing; rights sold in 14 countries. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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2004
Paladin of Souls
 Lois McMaster Bujold
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved In this sequel to The Curse of Chalion (2001), rich in sumptuous detail and speculative theology, dowager royina Ista Dy Baocia undertakes a pilgrimage to ease her soul-and finds instead that in Chalion, Bujold's handsomely crafted fantasy world ruled by Five Gods "just around some strange corner of perception," a more dangerous fate awaits than she could ever have imagined. Swordplay and sorcery sweep sensitive, sensible 40-year-old Ista into Chalion's border stronghold of Porifors, where enemy Roknari incursions and demons from the Fifth God's hell threaten Ista's realm, held precariously at bay by the charismatic Arhys dy Lutez. Ista's romantic quest to save Arhys and his magnetic half-brother, Illvin, teems with equal parts of unearthly magic and down-to-earth quasi-medieval lore. Despite an occasional lapse into adolescent angst and spurts of superficial dialogue, high fantasy fans should thrill at Ista's spiritual perils, while horse admirers of all ages should savor even Ista's saddle sores. This engaging installment of Chalion's mythical history whets the appetite for new marvels yet to come. FYI: Bujold has won both Hugo and Nebula awards.(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved All rights reserved.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780380979028 Dowager Royina commences a journey of atonement, but this sequel shows that The Curse of Chalion is still with us. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780380979028 Cured of the madness that made her a prisoner in the castle of her family, the Lady Ista dy Baocia, Dowager Royina of Chalion, finds herself at loose ends. Bereft of husband, son, and parents, she decides to undertake a pilgrimage of atonement, accompanied by a young courier and a small retinue of companions. What begins as a peaceful journey becomes a dangerous quest to stop a supernatural threat from shattering the peace of Chalion. Bujold's sequel to The Curse of Chalion introduces a middle-aged heroine of great courage and hidden resources. The author of the popular Miles Vorkosigan sf saga demonstrates her storytelling skill and artful humor in an engaging fantasy that belongs in most libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/03.] (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780380979028 The eagerly awaited sequel to The Curse of Chalion (2001) continues the story of the world of Chalion, though not strictly of Chalion, after Iselle and Bergon have defeated one lot of enemies and celebrated their wedding. Paladin of Souls focuses, however, on Iselle's mother, Ista. Three years free of the madness that kept her imprisoned in her family's castle, Ista is finally released from her last remaining duties by the death of her mother. She undertakes a pilgrimage, but doesn't get far before she is overtaken by trouble, sorrow, need, and a host of other adversities. Chalion is in trouble again, thanks to the plots, counterplots, machinations, and follies of men and of gods, and Ista is perforce on the front lines. Bujold couldn't characterize badly if threatened with a firing squad, and what really keeps one turning the pages is the fascinating cast of characters--not that the plot is anything to sneeze at. Only dedicated addicts of Bujold's Vorkosigan saga will be miffed that she has given us this book rather than that sf series' next installment, for Bujold is also head and shoulders above the ruck of current fantasists as well as science-fictionists. --Roland Green Copyright 2003 Booklist
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. The eagerly awaited sequel to The Curse of Chalion (2001) continues the story of the world of Chalion, though not strictly of Chalion, after Iselle and Bergon have defeated one lot of enemies and celebrated their wedding. Paladin of Souls focuses, however, on Iselle's mother, Ista. Three years free of the madness that kept her imprisoned in her family's castle, Ista is finally released from her last remaining duties by the death of her mother. She undertakes a pilgrimage, but doesn't get far before she is overtaken by trouble, sorrow, need, and a host of other adversities. Chalion is in trouble again, thanks to the plots, counterplots, machinations, and follies of men and of gods, and Ista is perforce on the front lines. Bujold couldn't characterize badly if threatened with a firing squad, and what really keeps one turning the pages is the fascinating cast of characters--not that the plot is anything to sneeze at. Only dedicated addicts of Bujold's Vorkosigan saga will be miffed that she has given us this book rather than that sf series' next installment, for Bujold is also head and shoulders above the ruck of current fantasists as well as science-fictionists. RolandGreen.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved In this sequel to The Curse of Chalion (2001), rich in sumptuous detail and speculative theology, dowager royina Ista Dy Baocia undertakes a pilgrimage to ease her soul-and finds instead that in Chalion, Bujold's handsomely crafted fantasy world ruled by Five Gods "just around some strange corner of perception," a more dangerous fate awaits than she could ever have imagined. Swordplay and sorcery sweep sensitive, sensible 40-year-old Ista into Chalion's border stronghold of Porifors, where enemy Roknari incursions and demons from the Fifth God's hell threaten Ista's realm, held precariously at bay by the charismatic Arhys dy Lutez. Ista's romantic quest to save Arhys and his magnetic half-brother, Illvin, teems with equal parts of unearthly magic and down-to-earth quasi-medieval lore. Despite an occasional lapse into adolescent angst and spurts of superficial dialogue, high fantasy fans should thrill at Ista's spiritual perils, while horse admirers of all ages should savor even Ista's saddle sores. This engaging installment of Chalion's mythical history whets the appetite for new marvels yet to come. FYI: Bujold has won both Hugo and Nebula awards.(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. The eagerly awaited sequel to The Curse of Chalion (2001) continues the story of the world of Chalion, though not strictly of Chalion, after Iselle and Bergon have defeated one lot of enemies and celebrated their wedding. Paladin of Souls focuses, however, on Iselle's mother, Ista. Three years free of the madness that kept her imprisoned in her family's castle, Ista is finally released from her last remaining duties by the death of her mother. She undertakes a pilgrimage, but doesn't get far before she is overtaken by trouble, sorrow, need, and a host of other adversities. Chalion is in trouble again, thanks to the plots, counterplots, machinations, and follies of men and of gods, and Ista is perforce on the front lines. Bujold couldn't characterize badly if threatened with a firing squad, and what really keeps one turning the pages is the fascinating cast of characters--not that the plot is anything to sneeze at. Only dedicated addicts of Bujold's Vorkosigan saga will be miffed that she has given us this book rather than that sf series' next installment, for Bujold is also head and shoulders above the ruck of current fantasists as well as science-fictionists. RolandGreen.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780786181391 Bujold here returns to the rich and theologically complex fantasy world of Chalion. In the first volume, The Curse of Chalion, Cazaril, tutor to Iselle, the royesse of Chalion, and her lady-in-waiting, Bertriz, navigate court intrigue and work to break a curse that had been placed on Iselle's family. In Paladin, the focus shifts to the dowager royina Ista Dy Baocia, Iselle's mother-a minor but important character in Curse-as she undertakes a pilgrimage to ease her soul. During her pilgrimage, Ista finds that not all is right in the world of Chalion, with a large number of demons roaming freely. A well-paced and exciting book, Paladin is a perfect blend of might, magic, and character development. Veteran narrator Kate Reading gives an excellent performance. Recommended for all audio collections.-Tim Daniels, Georgia State Univ. Lib., Atlanta (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780380979028 In this sequel to The Curse of Chalion (2001), rich in sumptuous detail and speculative theology, dowager royina Ista Dy Baocia undertakes a pilgrimage to ease her soul-and finds instead that in Chalion, Bujold's handsomely crafted fantasy world ruled by Five Gods "just around some strange corner of perception," a more dangerous fate awaits than she could ever have imagined. Swordplay and sorcery sweep sensitive, sensible 40-year-old Ista into Chalion's border stronghold of Porifors, where enemy Roknari incursions and demons from the Fifth God's hell threaten Ista's realm, held precariously at bay by the charismatic Arhys dy Lutez. Ista's romantic quest to save Arhys and his magnetic half-brother, Illvin, teems with equal parts of unearthly magic and down-to-earth quasi-medieval lore. Despite an occasional lapse into adolescent angst and spurts of superficial dialogue, high fantasy fans should thrill at Ista's spiritual perils, while horse admirers of all ages should savor even Ista's saddle sores. This engaging installment of Chalion's mythical history whets the appetite for new marvels yet to come. Author tour. (Sept. 23) FYI: Bujold has won both Hugo and Nebula awards. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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  Book Jacket
2003
American Gods
 Neil Gaiman
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780380973651 Shadow, a strong, silent, Steven Seagal type, has kept his head down while doing time for creaming the guys who ran off with his share of a heist. He is about to be released, ticket home in hand, thanks to his lovely wife; then his departure is pushed up a few days--unhappily, so that he can attend her funeral. Weather forces his flight down in St. Louis, and he winds up on a short hop seated next to a mysterious Mr. Wednesday, who informs him that his once and, he had hoped, future boss is also dead. Would he like to work for Wednesday, instead? The guy is too creepy by half but, as it happens, hard to refuse. And after Shadow meets some of Wednesday's equally creepy friends, becomes an accomplice to a clever bank robbery, and gets coldcocked and kidnapped by black-clad heavies, he acquires a certain job loyalty, if only to find out what he has signed on for--an upcoming battle between the old gods of America's many immigrants' original cultures and the new gods of global, homogenizing consumerism. The old gods are trying to live peaceably enough in retirement, which is the predicament Wednesday (i.e., Wotan, or Odin) must overcome to rally them. After two sterling fantasies, the dark Neverwhere (1997) and the lighter, utterly charming Stardust (1999), Gaiman comes a cropper in a tale that is just too busy and, oddly for him, unengaging. His large fandom may make it a success, but many of them, even, will find it a chore to get through. --Ray Olson
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780694525492 An ex-convict is the wandering knight-errant who traverses the wasteland of Middle America, in this ambitious, gloriously funny, and oddly heartwarming latest from the popular fantasist (Stardust, 1999, etc.). Released from prison after serving a three-year term, Shadow is immediately rocked by the news that his beloved wife Laura has been killed in an automobile accident. While en route to Indiana for her funeral, Shadow meets an eccentric businessman who calls himself Wednesday (a dead giveaway if you're up to speed on your Norse mythology), and passively accepts the latter's offer of an imprecisely defined job. The story skillfully glides onto and off the plane of reality, as a series of mysterious encounters suggest to Shadow that he may not be in Indiana anymore-or indeed anywhere on Earth he recognizes. In dreams, he's visited by a grotesque figure with the head of a buffalo and the voice of a prophet-as well as by Laura's rather alarmingly corporeal ghost. Gaiman layers in a horde of other stories whose relationships to Shadow's adventures are only gradually made clear, while putting his sturdy protagonist through a succession of tests that echo those of Arthurian hero Sir Gawain bound by honor to surrender his life to the malevolent Green Knight, Orpheus braving the terrors of Hades to find and rescue the woman he loves, and numerous other archetypal figures out of folklore and legend. Only an ogre would reveal much more about this big novel's agreeably intricate plot. Suffice it to say that this is the book that answers the question: When people emigrate to America, what happens to the gods they leave behind? A magical mystery tour through the mythologies of all cultures, a unique and moving love story-and another winner for the phenomenally gifted, consummately reader-friendly Gaiman. Author tour
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780380973651 In his latest novel, Gaiman (Neverwhere) explores the vast and bloody landscape of myths and legends where the gods of yore and the neoteric gods of now conflict in modern-day America. The antihero, a man of unusually acute intellect through whose eyes we witness the behind-the-scenes dynamics of human religion and faith, is a convict called Shadow. He is flung into the midst of a supernatural fray of gods such as Odin, Anansi, Loki One-Eye, Thor, and a multitude of other ancient divinities as they struggle for survival in an America beset by trends, fads, and constant upheaval an environment not good for gods. They are joined in this struggle by such contemporary deities as the geek-boy god Internet and the goddess Media. There's a nice plot twist in the end, and the fascinating subject matter and impressive mythic scope are handled creatively and expertly. Gaiman is an exemplary short story writer, but his ventures into novels are also compellingly imaginative. Highly recommended for all libraries. Ann Kim, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780380973651 Titans clash, but with more fuss than fury in this fantasy demi-epic from the author of Neverwhere. The intriguing premise of Gaiman's tale is that the gods of European yore, who came to North America with their immigrant believers, are squaring off for a rumble with new indigenous deities: "gods of credit card and freeway, of Internet and telephone, of radio and hospital and television, gods of plastic and of beeper and of neon." They all walk around in mufti, disguised as ordinary people, which causes no end of trouble for 32-year-old protagonist Shadow Moon, who can't turn around without bumping into a minor divinity. Released from prison the day after his beloved wife dies in a car accident, Shadow takes a job as emissary for Mr. Wednesday, avatar of the Norse god Grimnir, unaware that his boss's recruiting trip across the American heartland will subject him to repeat visits from the reanimated corpse of his dead wife and brutal roughing up by the goons of Wednesday's adversary, Mr. World. At last Shadow must reevaluate his own deeply held beliefs in order to determine his crucial role in the final showdown. Gaiman tries to keep the magical and the mundane evenly balanced, but he is clearly more interested in the activities of his human protagonists: Shadow's poignant personal moments and the tale's affectionate slices of smalltown life are much better developed than the aimless plot, which bounces Shadow from one episodic encounter to another in a design only the gods seem to know. Mere mortal readers will enjoy the tale's wit, but puzzle over its strained mythopoeia. (One-day laydown, June 19) Forecast: Even when he isn't in top form, Gaiman, creator of the acclaimed Sandman comics series, trumps many storytellers. Momentously titled, and allotted a dramatic one-day laydown with a 12-city author tour, his latest will appeal to fans and attract mainstream review coverage for better or for worse because of the rich possibilities of its premise. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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  Book Jacket
 
2002
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Book Jacket   J.K. Rowling
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780439139595 Gr 4 Up-Harry is now 14 years old and in his fourth year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where big changes are afoot. This year, instead of the usual Inter-House Quidditch Cup, a Triwizard Tournament will be held, during which three champions, one from each of three schools of wizardry (Hogwarts, Durmstrang, and Beaux-batons), must complete three challenging magical tasks. The competitors must be at least 17 years old, but the Goblet of Fire that determines the champions mysteriously produces Harry's name, so he becomes an unwilling fourth contestant. Meanwhile, it is obvious to the boy's allies that the evil Voldemort will use the Tournament to get at Harry. This hefty volume is brimming with all of the imagination, humor, and suspense that characterized the first books. So many characters, both new and familiar, are so busily scheming, spying, studying, worrying, fulminating, and suffering from unrequited first love that it is a wonder that Rowling can keep track, much less control, of all the plot lines. She does, though, balancing humor, malevolence, school-day tedium, and shocking revelations with the aplomb of a circus performer. The Triwizard Tournament itself is a bit of a letdown, since Harry is able, with a little help from his friends and even enemies, to perform the tasks easily. This fourth installment, with its deaths, a sinister ending, and an older and more shaken protagonist, surely marks the beginning of a very exciting and serious battle between the forces of light and dark, and Harry's fans will be right there with him.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780439139595 HEven without the unprecedented media attention and popularity her magical series has attracted, it would seem too much to hope that Rowling could sustain the brilliance and wit of her first three novels. Astonishingly, Rowling seems to have the spell-casting powers she assigns her characters: this fourth volume might be her most thrilling yet. The novel opens as a confused Muggle overhears Lord Voldemort and his henchman, Wormtail (the escapee from book three, Azkaban) discussing a murder and plotting more deaths (and invoking Harry Potter's name); clues suggest that Voldemort and Wormtail's location will prove highly significant. From here it takes a while (perhaps slightly too long a while) for Harry and his friends to get back to the Hogwarts school, where Rowling is on surest footing. Headmaster Dumbledore appalls everyone by declaring that Quidditch competition has been canceled for the year; then he makes the exciting announcement that the Triwizard Tournament is to be held after a cessation of many hundred years (it was discontinued, he explains, because the death toll mounted so high). One representative from each of the three largest wizardry schools of Europe (sinister Durmstrang, luxurious Beauxbatons and Hogwarts) are to be chosen by the Goblet of Fire; because of the mortal dangers, Dumbledore casts a spell that allows only students who are at least 17 to drop their names into the Goblet. Thus no one foresees that the Goblet will announce a fourth candidate: Harry. Who has put his name into the Goblet, and how is his participation in the tournament linked, as it surely must be, to Voldemort's newest plot? The details are as ingenious and original as ever, and somehow (for catching readers off-guard must certainly get more difficult with each successive volume) Rowling plants the red herrings, the artful clues and tricky surprises that disarm the most attentive audience. A climax even more spectacular than that of Azkaban will leave readers breathless. The muscle-building heft of this volume notwithstanding, the clamor for book five will begin as soon as readers finish installment four. All ages. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780439139601 In our Best Books citation, PW wrote, "The fourth Harry Potter adventure, centering on an inter-school competition, boasts details that are as ingenious and original as ever. A spectacular climax will leave readers breathless." Ages 8-12. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780439139595 Gr. 4 and up. Was it worth the long, agonizing wait and all the hype and hoopla? You bet! Harry's fourth challenging experience will more than live up to his myriad fans' expectations--though the 734 pages divided into 37 chapters may be a bit daunting to younger readers. The very length, however, allows an even richer tapestry of magical events and humorous escapades, even as the tale takes the long-predicted darker turn. The first chilling chapter introduces Voldemort's plans to regain the power lost in his ill-fated attempt to kill Harry: "Come, Wormtail, one more death and our path to Harry Potter is clear." Harry, now 14, has a crush on a classmate at Hogwarts, but his interactions with his friends Ron and Hermione take up far more of the story. The theme of prejudice is raised--Hermoines tries to raise awareness that the house elves are virtual slaves. But the big excitement comes from the news that the intramural quidditch matches are to give way to the first Triwizard Tournament in years, a series of three ordeals undertaken by students from three rival schools of magic, who are to be selected by a goblet of fire. Although not old enough to be a candidate, Harry is named a participant by the goblet. Someone must have entered his name--but who? The first ordeal involves dragons, the second water, and the third a maze, which is rigged to send Harry into the hands of his sworn enemy, Voldemort. Any inclination towards disbelief on the part of readers is swept away by the very brilliance of the writing. The carefully created world of magic becomes more embellished and layered, while the amazing plotting ties up loose ends, even as it sets in motion more entanglements. The long climax races relentlessly to a stunning denouement that leaves the way open for the next episode. Let the anticipation begin. --Sally Estes
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780807282588 Gr 4 Up-Harry Potter is back in J.K. Rowling's fourth installment of his adventures (Scholastic, 2000). He is 14 years old and in his fourth year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where the traditional Inter-House Quidditch Cup has been temporarily suspended so that the Triwizard Tournament can be held. Only three students, one from each of the biggest schools of wizardry, may compete, but the Goblet of Fire that chooses the champions from each school mysteriously produces a fourth nameDHarry Potter. As the school readies for the tournament, it becomes obvious to Harry's allies that Voldemort is plotting something dastardlyDbut only at the very end does he show his hand, springing a trap that Harry only narrowly escapes. Jim Dale, who has narrated the previous Harry Potter audiobooks, succeeds marvelously at the Herculean effort of voicing about 125 characters. By now, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Hagrid are so well known to him that his renditions of their voices are practiced and flawless. He also invests new characters such as Mad-Eye Moody and Winky with voices that enhance their already vivid personalities. Dale intones magical commands with such great authority that one would almost think he was a wizard himself. Twenty hours is a long time to listen to a book, but the combination of Rowling's enthralling adventure and Dale's limber narration will easily see kids through to the very last sentence.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780439139595 As the bells and whistles of the greatest prepublication hoopla in children?s book history fade, what?s left in the clearing smoke is unsurprisingly, considering Rowling?s track record another grand tale of magic and mystery, of wheels within wheels oiled in equal measure by terror and comedy, featuring an engaging young hero-in-training who?s not above the occasional snit, and clicking along so smoothly that it seems shorter than it is. Good thing, too, with this page count. That?s not to say that the pace doesn?t lag occasionally particularly near the end when not one but two bad guys halt the action for extended accounts of their misdeeds and motives or that the story lacks troubling aspects. As Harry wends his way through a fourth year of pranks, schemes, intrigue, danger and triumph at Hogwarts, the racial and class prejudice of many wizards moves to the forefront, with hooded wizards gathering to terrorize an isolated Muggle family in one scene while authorities do little more than wring their hands. There?s also the later introduction of Hogwarts? house elves as a clan of happy slaves speaking nonstandard English. These issues may be resolved in sequels, but in the meantime, they are likely to leave many readers, particularly American ones, uncomfortable. Still, opening with a thrilling quidditch match, and closing with another wizardly competition that is also exciting, for very different reasons, this sits at the center of Rowling?s projected seven volume saga and makes a sturdy, heartstopping (doorstopping) fulcrum for it. (Fiction. All ages)
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780439139595 Year Four at Hogwarts finds Harry enjoined as the surprising fourth contestant in the Triwizard Tournament during which he finds his way through a maze that leads to the dark wizard Voldemort and to the death of one of the other contestants. The emotional impact is disappointingly slight, and the characterization seems to be getting thinner. As a transitional book, however, Goblet of Fire does its job--thoroughly if facilely--and raises some tantalizing questions. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
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2001
A Deepness in the Sky
Book Jacket   Vernor Vinge
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780312856830 A war between two rival civilizations over trading rights to the planet Arachna results in the virtual enslavement of the Qeng Ho by the victorious Emergent culture. As the Spider-folk of Arachna evolve in their customary cyclical pattern, unaware of the threat that lies in their near future, a few Qeng Ho rebels work desperately to free themselves and save Arachna from conquest. This prequel to A Fire Upon the Deep (Tor, 1992) demonstrates Vinge's capacity for meticulously detailed culture-building and grand-scale sf drama. Recommended for most sf collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780312856830 A distant prequel to Vinge's 1992 masterpiece, A Fire Upon the Deep, with a single character in common. Some 8,000 years hence, the Qeng Ho interstellar trading fleet investigates the enigmatic OnOff'a star that shines for 35 years, then extinguishes for 250; once understood, its weird physics may yield an improved star drive. Meantime, its single planet harbors intelligent aliens, the Spiders, divided into warring factions, but thought to be descendants of an advanced starfaring civilization. During the Dark, they survive frozen solid in pools of ice. Also arriving at OnOff are the acquisitive, ambitious Emergents. Cooperating at first, the Emergents later mount a treacherous sneak attack, defeating the traders and enslaving the survivors. The Emergents' overwhelming advantage is Focus, the result of a brain-infecting virus that can be induced to secrete mind-controlling chemicals. Those Focused are instilled with unswerving loyalty. The Emergents are led by a smiling deceiver, Tomas Nau, his sadistic assistant, Ritser Brughel, and personnel genius Anne Reynolt, once Nau's greatest adversary, now enslaved and Focused. The Qeng Ho resistance is thin, consisting of legendary genius and onetime leader Pham Nuwen, whose failed dream of a Qeng Ho galactic empire forced him into exile; young trader Ezh Vinh; and, secretly, Ezh's love, linguist Trixia Bonsol, now Focused and translating the Spiders' language. Both the Emergent and Qeng Ho fleets lost interstellar capability during the battle, so the humans must wait until the Spiders develop technology advanced enough to help them. As the OnOff star reignites, the Spiders emerge from their ``deepnesses'' and, galvanized by genius Sherkaner Underhill, burst into a frenzy of technological development. Nau plans to trick the Spiders into destroying themselves in a nuclear war. Pham, meanwhile, schemes to defeat Nau but sees in Focus the key to realizing his old dreams of empire. Huge, intricate, and ingenious, with superbly realized aliens: a chilling, spellbinding dramatization of the horrors of slavery and mind control.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780312856830 In this prequel to his Hugo Award-winning space opera, A Fire upon the Deep (1992), Vinge takes us to an era some thousands of years in our future, when humanity has just begun its exploration of intergalactic space and has as yet no inkling of the complex physics that rules the galaxy. Although human beings have settled on dozens of worlds and created societies ancient enough to have achieved greatness and collapse several times over, only the most limited traces have been found of alien cultures. Now, however, the Qeng Ho, a band of human interstellar traders, have discovered the Spiders, an alien race poised to enter its own space age. Unfortunately, the Qeng Ho must compete with another, less beneficent spacefaring human culture, the Emergents, who are bent on conquest rather than trade. The Spiders have just come out of a two-century-long suspended animation made necessary by the fluctuations of their erratic sun. Their culture is entering a period of explosive growth that could end in tragedy, due in part to a dangerous nuclear arms race and in part to the Emergents' desire to enslave them. Vinge, a professor of mathematics and computer science (at San Diego State), is among the very best of the current crop of hard SF writers, producing work that is not only fast-paced and intellectually challenging, but also stylishly written and centered on carefully drawn characters. This long, action-packed novel should fully engage any SF reader's sense of wonder, and likely will win the author his sixth Hugo nomination. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780312856830 An authentic master of the hard-sf epic returns with a prequel to the Hugo-winning Fire upon the Deep (1992). Set a mere 30 millennia before Fire begins, Deepness goes far toward explaining how Fire's Pham Nuwen acquired shrewdness and reluctant heroism. Traveling with one band of traders, the Qeng Ho, Pham is ready to help them profit by development of the planet Arachna until a gang of near-pirates, the Emergents, attack the Qeng Ho, enslave survivors, and seem ready to do the same to the planet. Pham's shiftings and expedients to prevent that catastrophe are too complicated to summarize. Suffice it to say that he succeeds and, in the process, fills all 600 pages tightly, allowing few gaps in the action. Indeed, said action and the grand sweep of the setting sometimes shove the characters into the wings, rather as we have come to expect of David Brin. Like Brin's best books, Vinge's new one is a treat, especially for fans of the intelligent space epic. --Roland Green
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2000
To Say Nothing of the Dog
 Connie Willis
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780553099959 FYI: Willis's "The Soul Selects Her Own Society..." has won the 1997 Hugo Award for Best Short Story. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780553099959 When wealthy dowager Lady Schrapnell endows Oxford's mid-twenty-first-century time-travel project, she also dragoons it into an epochal treasure hunt among earlier eras, especially Victorian England, where lurks the hideous great gewgaw referred to in the subtitle.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780553099959 Comic yarn set in the same time-traveling universe as the splendid Doomsday Book (1992), with some of the minor characters in common. In 2057, the fearsome, slave-driving Lady Schrapnell has lent her authority and her money to developing time travel so that she can rebuild Old Coventry Cathedral, destroyed by Nazi bombs in 1940. After too many recent missions, operative Ned Henry is timelagged and in need of a complete rest. But Lady Schrapnell has another vital task for poor Ned: to locate a grotesque Victorian artifact known as the bishop's bird stump. A chronological complication that Ned is only dimly aware of, though, has arisen and must be fixed before history is changed. So a bewildered Ned finds himself in Oxford in 1889, wearing boating clothes, accompanied by a mountain of luggage, a regal cat in a box, and no idea what he's supposed to do next. Finally, after drifting along the river in an unintentional parody of Three Men in a Boat, he locates his contact, Verity Kindle (she caused the problem in the first place). There's a downside to all this slapstick, of course: Unless Ned and Verity resolve the problem, the Nazis will win WW II. Gleeful fun with a serious edge, set forth in an almost impeccable English accent.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780553099959 What a stitch! Willis' delectable romp through time from 2057 back to Victorian England, with a few side excursions into World War II and medieval Britain, will have readers happily glued to the pages. Rich dowager Lady Schrapnell has invaded Oxford University's time travel research project in 2057, promising to endow it if they help her rebuild Coventry Cathedral, destroyed by a Nazi air raid in 1940. In effect, she dragoons almost everyone in the program to make trips back in time to locate items--in particular, the bishop's bird stump, an especially ghastly example of Victorian decorative excess. Time traveler Ned Henry is suffering from advanced time lag and has been sent, he thinks, for rest and relaxation to 1888, where he connects with fellow time traveler Verity Kindle and discovers that he is actually there to correct an incongruity created when Verity inadvertently brought something forward from the past. Take an excursion through time, add chaos theory, romance, plenty of humor, a dollop of mystery, and a spoof of the Victorian novel, and you end up with what seems like a comedy of errors but is actually a grand scheme "involving the entire course of history and all of time and space that, for some unfathomable reason, chose to work out its designs with cats and croquet mallets and penwipers, to say nothing of the dog. And a hideous piece of Victorian artwork." --Sally Estes
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  Book Jacket
1999
Forever Peace
 Joe Haldeman
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780441004065 Not a sequel to Haldeman's 1974 masterpiece, The Forever War, though the concepts and issues inevitably are similar. In 2043, the US-led Alliance is fighting a prolonged and dirty war against the third-world force of Ngumi, or ``rebels.'' ``Mechanic'' sergeant Julian Class, a black soldier fighting for a predominantly white establishment, cyberlinks via a jack implanted in his skull to a robot ``soldierboy'' body--and to the other members of his platoon. The result is full, instant telepathy, in which secrets are impossible. Meanwhile, Julian's white lover, professor Amelia Harding, discovers that a particle accelerator experiment being assembled near Jupiter could destroy the entire universe. Then a colleague of Julian's, the military researcher Marty Larrin, reveals that prolonged cyberlinking ``humanizes'' people, that is, renders them incapable of killing. Julian, a near-pacifist, agrees to help Marty humanize all the military's bigwigs while he and Amelia attempt to halt the accelerator project. Trouble is, the Alliance armies are riddled with ruthless religious-fanatic Hammer of God moles, who think that the end of the universe would be a splendid idea. Hardworking, often absorbing, and agreeably narrated, but the hard-to-fathom plot rubs uneasily against the chaotic and not altogether convincing backdrop.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780441004065 The author of the sf classic Forever War (1972) offers a companion, not a sequel, in this similarly titled novel in which the measures taken to sustain seemingly endless conflict wind up being the prospective source of possibly endless resolution.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780441004065 Veteran sf writer Haldeman views this novel not as a continuation of but as a follow-up to the problems raised in his highly acclaimed 1975 novel, Forever War. In the Universal Welfare State in 2043, draftees and volunteers link their brains to "soldierboy" war machines that do the actual fighting hundreds of miles away. Black physics professor and linked draftee Julian Class; his white mentor and lover, Dr. Amelia Harding; and her colleague Peter discover that the high-profile Jupiter Project is about to re-create the Big Bang that will destroy the solar system. The original 20 survivors of an experiment to link brains via implanted jacks discover they can turn people into pacifists by linking them for two weeks. Together with Julian and Amelia, the group stays one jump ahead of assassins as they try to stop the project and pacify key figures. At once a hard science, military, and political thriller, this book presents a thoughtful and hopeful solution to ending war in the 21st century. Essential for sf collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780441004065 Haldeman's latest is more a companion than a sequel to his ingenious Forever War (1972), a passionate antiwar homage to and rebuttal of Heinlein's gung ho Starship Troopers (1959). It is 2043, and the U.S. and its allies are waging a seemingly endless war against a loose federation of Third World countries called Ngumi. Julian Class is a draftee, an infantryman, and part of a "soldierboy" --a mechanized, armor-plated, highly lethal unit run by a squad of men and women all of whom have been "jacked" or linked together by surgical implantation. Add to the plot mix a plan to build a mammoth particle accelerator on Jupiter's moon, Io, and the rise of a fundamentalist, secretive religious sect, the Hammer of God, to the very highest military ranks. Just before the particle accelerator is implemented, Julian's physicist girlfriend proves that it will throw the galaxy into a diaspora--a big bang--and end the world. That would be fine with the Hammer of God, who initiate a war within the army to ensure that the accelerator does its job. Julian and his cohorts manage to defeat them, even as it is discovered that prolonged linking with other minds results in "humanization," or the inability to kill except in self-defense, and peace breaks out, presumably to last forever. Haldeman had the misfortune to write a classic early in his career, and nothing he has written since is as good. But this one, particularly in its combat scenes, comes close. --John Mort
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780441004065 It isn't the sequel to The Forever War (1975) that it was rumored to be?except, perhaps, on a thematic level?but Haldeman's latest novel holds its own with that SF classic. In the year 2043, an American-led Alliance has been at war with Ngumi, a third-world confederation, for eight years, due largely to the Alliance's refusal to share new technology. Aside from a few thermonuclear strikes, most of the fighting, at least on the Alliance's side, has been carried out by "soldierboys," killing machines run under remote control by brain-jacked "mechanics," many of them draftees like physicist Julian Class. Meanwhile, in orbit around Jupiter, humanity's most ambitious scientific experiment ever, the Jupiter Project, is coming to fruition. But Julian's lover and former adviser, Amelia Harding, discovers that potentially the Project could destroy not just our solar system but the entire universe, in a reprise of the Big Bang. When Amelia and Julian try to stop the Project, their way is blocked by the Hammer of God, an influential Christian cult dedicated to bringing about the Endtime. As always, Haldeman, a Vietnam vet, writes with intelligence and power about the horrors of war, and about humanity's seeming inability to overcome its violent tendencies. Julian Class, like so many of Haldeman's protagonists, is an essentially good man who, forced by the military to become a killer, has been driven nearly to suicide by guilt. His story packs an enormous emotional punch, and this novel should be a strong awards contender. Author appearances. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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1998
Blue Mars
Book Jacket   Kim Stanley Robinson
Publishers Weekly Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. 9780553101447 Red Mars, the kickoff to Robinson's epic Mars trilogy, won the Nebula for best SF novel of 1992; its follow-up, Green Mars, won the parallel Hugo for 1994. The conclusion to the saga is not unlike the terrain of Robinson's Red Planet: fertile and fully developed in some spots, vast and arid in others¬?but, ultimately, it's an impressive achievement. Using the last 200 years of American history as his template for Martian history, Robinson projects his tale of Mars's colonization from the 21st century, in which settlers successfully revolt against Earth, into the next century, when various interests on Mars work out their differences on issues ranging from government to the terraforming of the planet and immigration. Sax Russell, Maya Toitovna and others reprise their roles from the first two novels, but the dominant "personality" is the planet itself, which Robinson describes in exhaustive naturalistic detail. Characters look repeatedly for sermons in its stones and are nearly overwhelmed by textbook abstracts on the biological and geological minutiae of their environment. Not until the closing chapters, when they begin confronting their mortality, does the human dimension of the story balance out its awesome ecological extrapolations. Robinson's achievement here is on a par with Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles and Herbert's Dune, even if his clinical detachment may leave some readers wondering whether there really is life on Mars. Author tour. (June)
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780553101447 Third in Robinson's hitherto stunning Martian trilogy (Red Mars, 1993; Green Mars, 1994). The terraforming of Mars proceeds, though, at the insistence of angry, isolationist Reds, more slowly; oceans, plants, and animals proliferate, while modified humans are able to live unprotected on the surface. As an amazingly diverse set of social systems evolves, the Martians buckle down to inventing a new and appropriate form of government. With the available longevity treatments, the population of Earth is soaring, raising the pressure to allow greater and more rapid immigration to Mars. Meanwhile, the invention of new propulsion units has opened up the outer solar system to development and colonization; even starships are now feasible. Those of the original Martian First Hundred that survive--a score or so--are all well over two hundred years old, experiencing memory problems and facing sudden, symptomless death. Many of the characters who were once bitter enemies--Red fanatic Ann, scientist Sax with his rebuilt brain, political manipulator Jackie--eventually become reconciled to one another. And the immigration crisis is resolved, this time without bloodshed, in a spirit of peace and cooperation. Mars, and perhaps the human species, has come of age. Robinson's brilliant extrapolations and fascinating speculations are the product of hard and deep thought, in disciplines ranging from politics and economics through physics to microbiology. But with only a handful of well-realized characters, no plot, and hardly any incidents, what he's written is more textbook than novel: a disappointment for readers anticipating a more resounding conclusion. (Author tour)
Library Journal Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. 9780553101447 This third book in Robinson's hard-science Mars trilogy follows 1992 Nebula winner Red Mars (LJ 11/15/92) and 1994 Hugo winner Green Mars (LJ 3/15/94). In the 21st century, colonists almost succeed in terraforming Mars. While they fight for independence from Earth and attempt to avert a civil war, they find their new civilization threatened by an ice age. A well-written, thoughtful conclusion to the trilogy. Highly recommended for sf collections.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780553101447 Red Mars, the kickoff to Robinson's epic Mars trilogy, won the Nebula for best SF novel of 1992; its follow-up, Green Mars, won the parallel Hugo for 1994. The conclusion to the saga is not unlike the terrain of Robinson's Red Planet: fertile and fully developed in some spots, vast and arid in others?but, ultimately, it's an impressive achievement. Using the last 200 years of American history as his template for Martian history, Robinson projects his tale of Mars's colonization from the 21st century, in which settlers successfully revolt against Earth, into the next century, when various interests on Mars work out their differences on issues ranging from government to the terraforming of the planet and immigration. Sax Russell, Maya Toitovna and others reprise their roles from the first two novels, but the dominant "personality" is the planet itself, which Robinson describes in exhaustive naturalistic detail. Characters look repeatedly for sermons in its stones and are nearly overwhelmed by textbook abstracts on the biological and geological minutiae of their environment. Not until the closing chapters, when they begin confronting their mortality, does the human dimension of the story balance out its awesome ecological extrapolations. Robinson's achievement here is on a par with Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles and Herbert's Dune, even if his clinical detachment may leave some readers wondering whether there really is life on Mars. Author tour. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780553101447 Third in Robinson's hitherto stunning Martian trilogy (Red Mars, 1993; Green Mars, 1994). The terraforming of Mars proceeds, though, at the insistence of angry, isolationist Reds, more slowly; oceans, plants, and animals proliferate, while modified humans are able to live unprotected on the surface. As an amazingly diverse set of social systems evolves, the Martians buckle down to inventing a new and appropriate form of government. With the available longevity treatments, the population of Earth is soaring, raising the pressure to allow greater and more rapid immigration to Mars. Meanwhile, the invention of new propulsion units has opened up the outer solar system to development and colonization; even starships are now feasible. Those of the original Martian First Hundred that survive--a score or so--are all well over two hundred years old, experiencing memory problems and facing sudden, symptomless death. Many of the characters who were once bitter enemies--Red fanatic Ann, scientist Sax with his rebuilt brain, political manipulator Jackie--eventually become reconciled to one another. And the immigration crisis is resolved, this time without bloodshed, in a spirit of peace and cooperation. Mars, and perhaps the human species, has come of age. Robinson's brilliant extrapolations and fascinating speculations are the product of hard and deep thought, in disciplines ranging from politics and economics through physics to microbiology. But with only a handful of well-realized characters, no plot, and hardly any incidents, what he's written is more textbook than novel: a disappointment for readers anticipating a more resounding conclusion. (Author tour)
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. The title of the conclusion to Robinson's splendid Mars trilogy refers to the fact that the planet now has oceans. Seen from space, Mars has taken on the bluish hue of a water-rich world, except for the places where balloon-domes preserve the last Martian wilderness. The red-gone-blue planet is still, however, vitally linked to Earth, on which civilization is crumbling in the face of rising oceans, and resources are being diverted to projects in the Jovian and Saturnian systems. Further confounding Earth's confusion (not to mention Mars'), Mars now finds itself facing an ice age that could freeze all the hard-won water. The survivors of the First Hundred (Mars settlers, that is) and their Mars-born children face and largely win a last, desperate battle to save their new home and become true Martians. The virtues of Blue Mars, amounting to a catalog of those of superior sf, hardly need to be repeated from reviews of its Red and Green predecessors, both of which have been award winners. Even if no more honors come its way, the trilogy here concluded indisputably stands in the forefront of two sf subgenres, Martian futurist visions and grand sagas of human evolution. (Reviewed May 1, 1996)0553101447Roland Green
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780553101447 This third book in Robinson's hard-science Mars trilogy follows 1992 Nebula winner Red Mars (LJ 11/15/92) and 1994 Hugo winner Green Mars (LJ 3/15/94). In the 21st century, colonists almost succeed in terraforming Mars. While they fight for independence from Earth and attempt to avert a civil war, they find their new civilization threatened by an ice age. A well-written, thoughtful conclusion to the trilogy. Highly recommended for sf collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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1997
The Diamond Age
Book Jacket   Neal Stephenson
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780553096095 Stephenson's dazzling cyberspace adventure, Snow Crash (1992), drew accolades as one of the most innovative, thought-provoking first sf novels since William Gibson's Neuromancer. Unlike Gibson, who followed with lesser sequels, Stephenson breaks new ground in a grand-scale forecast of the coming nanotechnological revolution. John Percival Hackworth is a cultured nanotech engineer who risks the censure of his neo-Victorian social class, or tribe, when he forges a copy of an interactive, computer-driven book called A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer. With the unprecedented power to single-handedly educate its reader, the primer is designed to shape the values and maintain the superiority of the dominant tribe. During a mugging, however, Hackworth loses the copy to a lower-class thug, who in turn gives it to his sister Nell. As Nell learns secrets from the magic book, her understanding of herself and her world grows in ways the primer's designers never intended, and the entire destiny of society changes irrevocably. Stephenson's command of character and stylistic nuance has grown captivatingly stronger, and he now offers startling new ideas in virtually every paragraph. With breathtaking vision and insight, Stephenson establishes himself as not only a major voice in contemporary sf but also a prophet of technology's future. ~--Carl HaysNON-BOXED REVIEWS
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780553096095 Stephenson (Snow Crash, 1992) imagines a 21st century in which molecular machines (nanotechnology) can create any desired object or structure. National governments have vanished, leaving society divided into enclaves along ethnic, cultural, and ideological lines, the most dynamic of which are the new-Victorian Atlanteans of coastal China. Talented nano-engineer John Hackworth designs an interactive book, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer, intended to function as both parent and teacher. An illicit copy of the book falls into the hands of an abused little girl, Nell. In the book, she becomes Princess Nell, the focus of marvelous tales and experiences that, seemingly incidentally, educate and train her. Meanwhile, a mysterious Chinese techno-whiz, Dr. X, busy rescuing doomed, unwanted Chinese girl babies, duplicates the stolen copy of the Primer so as to raise and educate the infants. Hackworth is ordered to join the Dreamers, a weird collective intelligence among which, through his subconscious, he designs a nanotech control method for the Celestial Kingdom represented by Dr. X. And when Dr. X's Fanatical Fists invade the coastal enclaves of China, Nell is trapped--until her army of Chinese girls, raised by the interactive Primer and devoted to Princess Nell, pull off a dramatic rescue. All of this is staggeringly inventive and meticulously detailed, but, lacking a coherent plot and set forth in an irritatingly vainglorious style, it's ultimately soulless and uncompelling. (Author tour)
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781586211134 Diamond Age, a Hugo Award-winning romp into a future nanotechnological revolution, doesn't lend itself to concise description. For what it's worth, it explores what happens when an incredibly powerful interactive device falls into the hands of a street urchin, who uses it to reprogram the future of humanity. Got that? Stephenson's books rank among the most popular sf novels of recent years but require such close attention that they pose special challenges for audiobook fans. Jennifer Wiltsie's narration here is uniformly strong and well fitted to the material, but this may not be the right kind of book for the average person. Recommended for libraries that count many young and hardcore sf readers among their audiobook patrons. Originally published in 1992, Snow Crash is a popular sf novel in a genre that some wags have dubbed "cyberpunk." Listening to it is like taking an out-of-control roller coaster ride on a double helix, weaving in and out of Stephenson's fully imagined computer-generated "Metaverse" and a near-future real world comprised of bizarre microstates and a vast Mafia-controlled pizza delivery system. The central character, aptly named Hiro Protagonist, is at once a computer hacker, pizza "deliverator," and samurai swordsman. The story moves at such breakneck speed that many listeners may need to replay the first reel simply to figure out what is going on; however, the highly charged reading by actor Jonathan Davis another Frank Muller in the making helps hold everything together. Recommended for libraries catering to forward-looking sf readers. Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780553573312 Cyber-fiction from Stephenson, in which an engineer living in a neo-Victorian future is commissioned to write a subversive primer for girls. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780553096095 Stephenson's fourth solo novel, set primarily in a far-future Shanghai at a time when nations have been superseded by enclaves of common cultures (``claves''), abundantly justifies the hype that surrounded Snow Crash, his first foray into science fiction. Here, the author avoids the major structural problem of that book-a long lump of philosophical digression-by melding myriad perspectives and cogitations into his tale, which is simultaneously SF, fantasy and a masterful political thriller. Treating nanotechnology as he did virtual reality in Snow Crash-as a jumping-off point-Stephenson presents several engaging characters. John Percival Hackworth is an engineer living in a neo-Victorian clave, who is commissioned by one of the world's most powerful men to create a Primer that might enable the man's granddaughter to be educated in ways superior to the ``straight and narrow.'' When Hackworth is mugged, an illegal copy of the Primer falls into the hands of a working-class girl named Nell, and a most deadly game's afoot. Stephenson weaves several plot threads at once, as the paths of Nell, Hackworth and other significant characters-notably Nell's brother Harv, Hackworth's daughter Fiona and an actress named Miranda-converge and diverge across continents and complications, most brought about by Hackworth's actions and Nell's development. Building steadily to a wholly earned and intriguing climax, this long novel, which presents its sometimes difficult technical concepts in accessible ways, should appeal to readers other than habitual SF users. Author tour. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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1996
Mirror Dance
 Lois McMaster Bujold
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780671722104 Bujold, winner of five major sf awards, may well garner a sixth with this, her first hardcover original. It features the deformed and undersized heir to the strongman of Barrayar, Miles Vorkosigan, who doubles as Admiral Naismith, leader of the Dendarii Mercenaries--and is secretly on the payroll of Barrayaran Imperial Intelligence. The tale begins with Miles' cloned sibling Mark masquerading as Miles in order to take a Dendarii ship to that free enterprise plague spot, Jackson's Whole, on an unauthorized mission to clean out the clone creches where he was raised. The mission goes awry, Miles comes to Mark's rescue, the rescue goes even more wrong, and by page 100, Miles' body, in cryogenic suspension after receiving mortal wounds, has been shoved into the equivalent of a Federal Express drop and completely lost! The remaining pages complete as good a story as ever was offered as science fiction, with Bujold's carefully crafted prose, logical working out of even minor plot points, and inimitable wit all very much in evidence. Deserves the highest recommendation and a hoard of eager readers. ~--Roland GreenNonboxed reviews
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780671876463 The cloned brother of deformed, charismatic ruler Miles Vorkosigan searches for self-acceptance in a wonderful mixture of court intrigue and galactic warfare. One of a number of memorable tales about Miles Vorkosigan; other recent titles include Cetaganda and Memory.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780671722104 The first hardcover appearance of Bujold's well-known series about the Vorkosigan clan, hereditary rulers of planet Barrayar (Borders of Infinity, Brothers in Arms, etc.). Dwarfish, multitalented Miles Vorkosigan has a secret identity as Admiral Naismith, leader of the fearless Dendarii mercenaries; his clone-brother Mark was grown from stolen cells and trained by a ruthless dissident to assassinate Miles and replace him, an ambition Mark no longer holds. In this adventure, Mark masquerades as Admiral Naismith in order to lead a raid on the evil cloning facilities of planet Jackson's Whole. Miles discovers the deception and comes in pursuit, just in time to get himself killed; his body, hopefully preserved in cryonic suspension, vanishes. Mark returns to Barrayar to become acquainted with his biological parents, then figures out where Miles's body has vanished to, and rushes off to recover it. By this time Miles has been revivified, though his memories remain scattered and incomplete (he doesn't know whether he's Miles or Mark). Mark arrives, only to be captured by the sadistic monster and longtime Vorkosigan foe, Baron Ryoval. A well-conceived series, solidly plotted and organized, though heavy going in places and, finally, lacking that spark of genuine originality that would blazon it as truly special.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780671722104 Honor and his sense of self place the fetally damaged, dwarf-like and brilliant Miles Vorkosigan in grave danger as he attempts to save his disturbed, younger clone Mark from the consequences of folly in this intricate and rousing new installment of the Vorkosigan adventures (after Barrayar ), the series' first appearance in trade hardcover. Passing himself off as Admiral Miles Naismith, Miles's secret identity, Mark commandeers one of the Dendarii Free Mercenary vessels to liberate clones being raised as brain-transplant hosts on the outlaw planet Jackson's Whole. When the plan goes awry, Miles is killed. He is preserved for resuscitation, however, in a cryo-chamber, which disappears in the confusion of evacuation. As the Dendarii search feverishly for their leader, the terrified Mark is sent to Barrayar to Miles's parents, Count Aral and Countess Cordelia Vorkosigan. The couple welcome him as a son and begin his training as their heir in case Miles is never found. The competitive and confused Mark, who had been created as a tool to assassinate his father and was brutalized by a madman in his youth, begins to find himself. His (and Miles's) penetrating intelligence flowers, and he plans a return to Jackson's Whole to find Miles and redeem himself. Hugo award-winner Bujold creates a tapestry of variegated human societies dispersed throughout a colorful galaxy. She peoples it with introspective but genuine heroes who seize the reader's imagination and intellect. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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  Book Jacket
1995
Green Mars
 Kim Stanley Robinson
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. The second volume of Robinson's projected Mars trilogy is well up to the standards Red Mars set. Some generations after the end of that book, the terraforming of Mars into a world habitable for humanity is well under way. Factions on Earth and on Mars advocate every possible position, from gutting the planet's resources to leaving it virginal. The colonists are also divided along a number of other lines, including religious ones. A good many of the First Hundred from Red Mars are still around in the capacity of mythic mentors. Add double handfuls of exotic but well-rationalized technologies, customs, and institutions, and the resulting book can hardly be other than impressive, as impressive as Robinson's rare gift for dealing in archetypes without failing at characterization. This may well be Robinson's best book and possibly the best of the many and various our-future-on-Mars novels to date. (Reviewed Feb. 1, 1994)0553096400Roland Green
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. The second volume of Robinson's projected Mars trilogy is well up to the standards Red Mars set. Some generations after the end of that book, the terraforming of Mars into a world habitable for humanity is well under way. Factions on Earth and on Mars advocate every possible position, from gutting the planet's resources to leaving it virginal. The colonists are also divided along a number of other lines, including religious ones. A good many of the First Hundred from Red Mars are still around in the capacity of mythic mentors. Add double handfuls of exotic but well-rationalized technologies, customs, and institutions, and the resulting book can hardly be other than impressive, as impressive as Robinson's rare gift for dealing in archetypes without failing at characterization. This may well be Robinson's best book and possibly the best of the many and various our-future-on-Mars novels to date. (Reviewed Feb. 1, 1994)0553096400Roland Green
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780553096408 The sequel to Red Mars details an early 22nd-century Mars controlled by Earth's metanationals, gigantic corporations intent on exploiting Mars. Debate among the settlers--some native-born, some the surviving members of the First Hundred--is divided between the minimalist areoformists, who have come to love Mars in all its harshness, and the terraformists, who want to replicate Earth. As the surface of Mars warms and is seeded with genetically altered plants, the settlers await Earth's self-destruction, which they hope will give them a chance to claim their independence. They travel endlessly over every inch of Mars--no mean feat, since most of the First Hundred are criminals wanted for their roles in the failed revolt of 2061--with each kilometer and each group of settlers they meet described in laborious detail. When they're not traveling, these colonists contemplate the history of which they have been a part and which they can only partially recall as a result of their longevity treatments. With the collapse of Earth society and internecine battles among the metanationals, the Martian settlers liberate their cities and declare their planet free. This wide-ranging novel is loaded with all manner of scientific and historical detail, but the story bogs down under its very breadth and seems almost like a Martian year--twice as long as it needs to be. The next and final volume in the trilogy will be Blue Mars . (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780553096408 As the ``greening'' of Mars becomes an inevitability, the struggle between those who want independence for the planet and those who see Mars as Earth's salvation escalates. Continuing the story begun in Red Mars ( LJ 11/15/92), this new addition to Robinson's Martian trilogy confronts basic issues of planetary responsibility and human conscience as a new generation of ``native'' Martians arises to search for new solutions to old problems. Grounded in current and projected technology, yet relying on human drama to propel the story forward, Robinson's latest novel is solidly written and powerfully explicated. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780553096408 Second part of Robinson's Martian trilogy, following the stunning Red Mars (1993). Now, at the beginning of the 22nd century, Mars is again being exploited by the metanationals (what the transnational corporations, now fewer and larger and often running entire countries on Earth, have become), acting under the guise of the United Nations Transitional Authority. Meanwhile on Earth--overpopulated, polluted, and short of resources--wars have become commonplace. Only William Fort of Praxis metanational has the foresight to want to help both planets, and so he sends negotiator Art Randolph as his ambassador to the Martian underground. The Martians, a quarrelsome complex of groups ranging from radical Reds to bewildered recent emigrants, agree on only one thing: Mars must gain its independence--but this time the revolution must avoid violence and occur, as far as possible, by consensus. Throughout the human struggle, the face of Mars continues to change as the atmosphere thickens, the temperature rises, seas form, and plants spread along the chasms and craters. Robinson introduces new characters, like Jackie and the tall, charismatic, Mars-born Nirgal, to join Red fanatic Ann, battler Maya, scientist Sax, the treacherous Phyllis, and organizer Nadia. Green doesn't quiet reach the sublime heights of Red, but the same virtues--deep thought, fascinating detail, life-sized characters, an engrossing narrative--are present. Robinson's achievement is impressive, and Blue Mars is still to come.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780553096408 YA?The second offering in the ``Mars Trilogy,'' an epic SF account of the colonization of Mars. Although it can be read independently, it continues and expands upon the themes introduced in the first volume, and is notable for its examination of issues related to ecology and the humans' relationship with the planet. The story is told from a variety of viewpoints, the first of which is that of a Martian-born boy. A well-written title, rich in contemporary concerns, that belongs in all science fiction collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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  Book Jacket
 
1994
A Fire Upon the Deep
Book Jacket   Vernor Vinge
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780312851828 Vast, riveting far-future saga involving evil gods, interstellar war, and manipulative aliens, from the author of The Peace War and the splendid Marooned in Realtime. An unknown being or force has partitioned the universe into ``zones of thought'': at the bottom is the Slow Zone, where intelligence is modest and the speed of light a limiting factor; in the Beyond, where multi-light-speed ultradrive travel is possible, thousands of smart races flourish; and the Transcend is inhabited by godlike Powers, to which state many races of the Beyond aspire. A human colony of the High Beyond, the Straumli Realm, experiments with an ancient database, thereby unwittingly unleashing an unstoppable, enslaving predator, the Blight. The civilizations of the High Beyond realize their peril when even transcendent Powers prove no match for the Blight. One ship alone survives the Straumli disaster; fleeing into the Low Beyond, the ship crash-lands on a planet inhabited by Tines, multi-bodied, pack-minded aliens with a warlike medieval culture. Two human children, Johanna and Jefri, survive--only to become pawns in a Tine power struggle. Up in the Middle Beyond, meanwhile, the realization grows that the escaped Straumli ship may contain something that will help defeat the Blight. So a multi-species rescue mission is launched, led by human researcher Ravni and by Pham, a construct once part of a Power now eaten by the Blight; close behind the rescuers come the forces of the Blight. No summary can do justice to the depth and conviction of Vinge's ideas. The overall concept astonishes; the aliens are developed with memorable skill and insight; the plot twists and turns with unputdownable tension. A masterpiece of universe- building.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780312851828 Vinge follows in the footsteps of Carver, Benford, Brin, and Bear in combining hard science and the science fiction epic in this, his most ambitious novel. In a far future interstellar society, intelligence is limited by a mind's location in the universe. A scientific experiment gone awry disrupts this situation, causing widespread destruction and chaos. Refugees who may have the secret to saving civilization fall into the hands of a medieval race of aliens, and the quest is on for an oddly assorted band of rescuers to save the refugees and their knowledge. Its epic aspects are stronger than the science, but overall, the book is as successful as it is ambitious and should have wide appeal. ~--Roland Green
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780312851828 It has been six years since Vinge's last book ( Marooned in Realtime ), but the wait proves worthwhile in this stimulating tale filled with ideas, action and likable, believable characters, both alien and human. Vinge presents a galaxy divided into Zones--regions where different physical constraints allow very different technological and mental possibilities. Earth remains in the ``Slowness'' zone, where nothing can travel faster than light and minds are fairly limited. The action of the book is in the ``Beyond,'' where translight travel and other marvels exist, and humans are one of many intelligent species. One human colony has been experimenting with ancient technology in order to find a path to the ``Transcend,'' where intelligence and power are so great as to seem godlike. Instead they release the Blight, an evil power, from a billion-year captivity. As the Blight begins to spread, a few humans flee with a secret that might destroy it, but they are stranded in a primitive low-tech world barely in the Beyond. While the Blight destroys whole races and star systems, a team of two humans and two aliens races to rescue the others, pursued by the Blight's agents and other enemies. With uninterrupted pacing, suspense without contrivance, and deftly drawn aliens who can be pleasantly comical without becoming cute, Vinge offers heart-pounding, mind-expanding science fiction at its best. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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1993
Barrayar
Book Jacket   Lois McMaster Bujold
 
1992
The Vor Game
 Lois McMaster Bujold
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780671720148 Miles Vorkosigan returns in Bujold's latest novel, recently graduated from the Imperial Academy on Barrayar. He must rapidly meet and beat a criminal commanding officer, find a missing emperor, outthink mercenaries and Cetagandans, and preserve life, limb (fragile as his may be), honor, and sanity at the same time. While not quite at the level of Brothers in Arms [BKL D 1 88], this is still an extraordinary book, deserving of the highest recommendation and a place in any collection. --Roland Green
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  Book Jacket
1991
Hyperion
 Dan Simmons
  Book Jacket
 
1990
Cyteen
Book Jacket   C. J. Cherryh
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780446514286 A brilliant young scientist rises to power on Cyteen, haunted by the knowledge that her predecessorand genetic duplicatedied at the hands of one of her trusted advisors. Murder, politics, and genetic manipulation provide the framework for the latest Union-Alliance novel by the author of Downbelow Station. Cherryh's talent for intense, literate storytelling maintains interest throughout this long, complex novel. Highly recommended. JC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Not a sequel to, but a story taking place in the same far-future universe as, Cherryh's well-known Downbelow Station, churning with political intrigue and heavyweight powerbroking, thick with knotty conspiracies and plots. Cherryh's backdrop is a complex and thoughtful one. In 2300 A.D., Earth's farflung colonies and space habitats have won their independence after a long struggle. Genetically-engineered humans--programmed by computer for any desired orientation, loyalty, and function--are commonplace. At the top of the human ant-heap are the Specials, supergeniuses subject only to self-imposed restraints. Hostile alien planet Cyteen is slowly being terraformed; its labs and industries are at the heart of Ariane Emory's political-military-industrial empire. Ari, a Special, appears to be at the height of her power--yet various almost-as-powerful factions oppose her plans to launch another wave of human expansion across the galaxy. Then Ari turns up murdered. Whodunit? Well, Special and psychogenesis (""mind-cloning"") expert Jordan Warrick confesses--even though he's not guilty--as part of a convoluted power-play. Meanwhile, Ari's people start to grow a clone of Ari, which, thanks to Ari's own brilliant research, will grow into an exact duplicate of the dead Ari--as a prelude to an even more ferocious struggle. There are drawbacks: not enough action, spindly characters, sheer density and length (a whopping 680 pages). Still, aficionados of futuristic imaginary power-politics, and those intrigued by the possibilities of human-biological manipulation, will find much to ponder here. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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