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The New Dead: Christopher Golden, Editor

The New Dead, edited by Christopher Golden, is an example of the “big tent” theory of zombie fiction. Instead of restricting the content to the classic Romero-esque shamblers, Golden threw the gates wide open and the result is a wildly diverse, inventive batch of stories that will please both hardcore zombie fanatics and more casual dabblers in the subgenre…a look at zombies that reaffirms the elements that allow them to maintain their grip on our imagination while showing how broad the possibilities for them are.


Book Review: Extraordinary Engines: The Definitive Steampunk Anthology, edited by Nick Gevers

It’s tough to compile a definitive anthology, especially when the volume contains only original fiction and lacks most of the genre’s iconic writers, but editor Nick Gevers tackles the challenge in Extraordinary Engines: The Definitive Steampunk Anthology. Overall, it is neither as definitive nor as strong as might be hoped, nor does it achieve “definitive” status. The anthology should, however, please many steampunk devotees, and win it some new fans.


Dollhouse: The End and the End

Dollhouse always had at least as much of an identity crisis as its main characters, so I suppose it’s only fitting that it should close on two completely different notes.


Unplugged: The Web’s Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy: 2008 Download, edited by Rich Horton

Editor Horton packages fourteen stories originally published online during 2008 into an anthology that confirms the obvious: good short sf/f can be found on the Web. It is, perhaps, more bounteous than in the days when OMNI magazine went online in late 1996 (“Get a Grip” by Paul Park, published by OMNI in March 1997, became the first fiction originally published on the Internet to be nominated for a World Fantasy Award), but the amount of less-than-good fiction is even more abundant. Unplugged serves two purposes: to point out examples of outstanding fiction and to direct the reader to the online sources that publish it.
It also provides proof of the variety of speculative fiction available. Most importantly Unplugged does what any good “best of” anthology does:
showcase highly readable, enjoyable fiction.


Soulless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel: The Parasol Protectorate: Book the First by Gail Carriger

If you’ve been looking for a steampunk-tinged urban fantasy novel of manners, Gail Carriger makes your dream come true with her delightful debut novel, Soulless. An intelligent and amusing alternate historySoulless should provide capital entertainment for anyone who enjoys urban fantasy or alternate history. And, for readers who’ve been avoiding all those post-Laurellian paranormal novels, Soulless is the exception that proves the rule…


Eureka: “Insane in the P-Brain”

Welcome to the weekly glimpse into the weirdness that is a town called Eureka. This week Allison Blake asks Carter to talk to one of her scientists who is obsessed with his new discovery: almost-proof of the spirit realm.


Watching Beyond Angels and Demons

Let’s face it: with most fantasy movies, conspiracies are thin on the ground. We have a clearly delineated battle between good and evil; the good guys brandish righteous weapons, the bad guys chew scenery. Sci-fi, of course, is crawling with conspiracies, but not everybody wants to sit through three hours of Tom Cruise playing with […]


Reading Beyond Angels and Demons

In Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, the hero Robert Langdon uncovers a vast and secret conspiracy involving the Catholic Church and the Illuminati. It’s hardly a new theme – so here’s some additional titles for speculative fiction readers who want a dash more conspiracy in their reading.


Bayou by Jeremy Love & Patrick Morgan

The comic Bayou follows a time honored fantasy tradition of young girls exploring other worlds — think Alice and her journey into Wonderland, Wendy traveling to the stars with Peter Pan, Dorothy being swept to Oz in a tornado, and more modern incarnations such as of Helena from Mirrormask and Ofelia from Pan’s Labyrinth. Lee is another young girl in that tradition, swept into another world to compete with supernatural forces she knows little or nothing about, but Bayou carries an additional socio-political layer.

Lee is a little black girl in American South in 1933. Her life is complicated by the huge social and political problems of her time. Her world is one of pain and prejudice, of being unfairly accused because by virtue of her skin color she’s considered less than human, a world where black boys are hung while grown white men gather to watch him swing, a world where a little girl is the only hope is saving her father from that same fate. The ongoing webcomic is hosted and free to view, along with many others, at Zuda Comics, the online branch of DC. Bayou has gotten so much commercial and critical praise that DC is releasing it in print form — the first trade paperback is due in June.