Twilight Times

Reviews

 
Bones of the Earth by Michael Swanwick
Dark Hunger by Mayra Calvani Eyuboglu
Eyes of Truth by Linda Suzane
Gone Awry: A Virtual Tour Through High Tech Hell by James Ignizio
Jerome and the Seraph by Robina Williams
Prophecy: The Awakening by Ardy M. Scott
The Casebook of Doakes and Haig by Patrick Welch
The Dreamthief's Daughter by Michael Moorcock
The Moon and the Sun by Vonda McIntyre
Unwelcome Legacy by K. G. McAbee
WolfPointe by Rick Buda

 

 

New! SF/F

Title: Bones of the Earth
Author: Michael Swanwick
Publisher: Eos
Release Date: Feb. 2002 (Trade)
ISBN: 0-38097-836-9

"Imagine that you've been imprisoned," an Old Man in Michael Swanwick's new novel says, "either justly or unjustly, it makes no difference, for the rest of your life." Now, this is a real horror for anyone and how you deal with your inprisonment says everything about who and what you are. Michael Swanwick was inprisoned. We the readers are imprisoned. This is fact. Let me explain.

The relating of an old dilemma through an equally old tale is a great way to explain Bones of the Earth. This is an old tale we've all heard before, imprisoned by the weight of generations of such tales, lying like a fossil beneath the various geological strata lines of all the SF tales that have gone before. Bones of the Earth is a tale about: 1) Humans meeting Dinosaurs; 2) hence, Paleontogists working; 3) via Time Travel. Sound familiar? Yeah, I thought so too. We're all in this prison. Better to just rewatch the ultimate screenplay-masquerading-as-novel-cum-special effects-fest on DVD than plow through another bad collection of petrified Jurassic prose. In this way, I suppose, you could say this novel is what it discusses-- a petrified fossil locked in million-year-old stone. But, (I would not be writing this now if there were not a big solid but) like any good paleontologist, Michael Swanwick knows just how to excavate said fossil and bring the past back to life in a whole new glorious way.

You see, the Old Man mentioned above, continued his story, "But one day a bird comes to the window with a bit of straw in its beak. The next thing you know, it and its mate have built a nest right there in your window." Things really tend to blossom from that moment on, if you study such things. Endless possibilities. The outside world reopened, hope, new life, etc.

What bird-man (read the book for an entirely new future tense meaning to that label) Michael Swanwick brings us with Bones of the Earth is a refreshing bit of straw for a nest at the window of our literary prison. The book changes things because it does what Swanwick does best: take convention and cliche and boredom and set fire to them.

It took me a while, unfortunately, to figure this out. I apologize for being dense, but Swanwick does a good job as an illusionist and fooled me (momentarily, I defend). This is one of the reasons I am writing this review. To spread the word. Do not be fooled like I was initially. This is a novel worth reading because it treads very old ground (that is, SF as old as the Cretaceous) yet discovers an entirely new world. Leave your last century H.G. Wells baggage at the door before entering this new fangled time machine. Much like Michael Moorcock, John Updike, and the late Donald Barthelme, Swanwick is fusing genres and writing styles in new and exciting ways. I have to admit, for a bleak moment or too, I thought this book was headed like a runaway train directly into a dead-end mountain of Been There.

However, Swanwick's deft literary manipulations overcame my initial fears and misconceptions and I began to get very excited, reading the novel on entirely different levels for different reasons. Sure, there's a regular thrilling story with a character clash fight, the snarling T-rex, and some anger-management sex going on, but look behind that curtain at the sparks flying off the craftwork machine. I mean the literary layers were unravelling as fast as his crisscrossed timelines and reality for me began to melt; I remembered some dinosaur cocktail parties "During the Jurassic" with Updike and realized with a smile just how wonderful Oz could be before a Swanwick extinction event. I was at first fooled? So what. I wasn't expecting the unexpected and was lulled by my own complacency. Which is perfect for Swanwick, because a great magician knows how to misdirect his audience, now doesn't he?

This is not to say that the regular "on the page" story isn't exciting. It is and it works (though to be brutally honest there are some dead zones in this book and some skimmed or dropped threads I would have love to have explored, but I guess that would mean a 1,000 page epic). For me the literary thrill came from the revelations behind the scenes. But in the "real" world of the novel, the best parts are when Swanwick is truly engaged in exploring his characters or in expounding his theories and high-fiving the dinosaur-digging community. It is fun to witness all the little tips of the hat he makes to various masters and monsters of the field over the last century (I'm still sailing down that Eden river aboard the John Ostrom raft myself), and refreshing to see his theoretical discussions arcing off the page like electricity. You can really tell when Swanwick is excited-- the words themselves joyously pop. I think in many ways this book is an "insiders" book, though, as the allusions and details may be lost on a new reader unfamiliar with paleontology or on-going dinosaur theory debates (though he does a good job of not bogging down or becoming too arcane).

Also, his hilarious representations of conventions, teaching, government bureacracy, and the typical backstabbing approach of many professionals was enriched if you have ever been a member of such groups before. An average "outsider" reader may not have had the same cackle-response I did when I read lines such as "Obediantly, they shuffled after her, so many celebredons following in the wake of a lithe young nobodysaurus that the least of them could buy and sell by the job lot." Also, he delivered some witty descriptions (of characters and winking on the book as a whole) with sharp observations like, "There was a kind of disconnect between what Griffin said and the way he said it. He sounded like an actor in a dying play. He held himself like a man who had heard it all before. He was, Leyster realized with a shock that was almost physical, bored." I bet a lot of people in the field will find themselves parodied or represented within these pages.

If I have any complaints, it is this: well, actually, much like the mysterious nature of Swanwick's time travel and its rules, I can't tell you.

Dear Michael, if you are curious, drop me a line. I'll tell you in private.

Seriously, there are only some minor tweaks necessary. For instance, I would love to have the Deep Creationists explored more fully and hit a little harder. They are a frightening reality (see recent education battles with fundamentalists or relax and read Matthew Chapman's recent Trials of the Monkey) that he did not have to "SF" too much, and a true threat to science I wish he would have addressed slightly differently (though in the overall story they were as irrelevant as most of the other sublimations). Also, he could have been a little more original or in-depth with his time travel device and the alien bird-race that inherits the future. I felt he skimped on those fronts. But there is one thing I have learned from Bones of the Earth: all rules are absolute, except for the exceptions, and no questions will be answered unless you are told by a stranger.

So there. Go study the infinity birds and their nests outside your own prison window and thank Swanwick for the intelligence loop.

Reviewed by Thomas Fortenberry

- - - - - - - - -
Reviewer info:
Thomas Fortenberry is an American author, editor, and publisher. Owner of Mind Fire Press, he has has judged many literary contests, including The Georgia Author of the Year Awards and The Robert Penn Warren Prize for Fiction. His work has appeared internationally in all media.

 

 


  Paranormal

Stars:   4
Title: Dark Hunger
Author: Mayra Calvani Eyuboglu
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Release Date: 2000
ISBN: 1-59279-955-8

Fresh from college, Alana lands a cushy job as manager of a popular restaurant and nightclub in Puerto Rico. La Cueva del Vampiro fills her days and erotic dreams fill her nights. Dreams of a magnificent, wise and powerful man whom she has known since childhood.

Then her phantom lover appears in the nightclub one evening. The mysterious Sadash is the embodiment of male sensuality and Alana is immediately drawn to him. With reluctance, Alana permits Sadash to initiate her into an ancient way of life. Only thus can she embark upon the destiny he has claimed for her -- his companion for eternity.

I found a wonderful sense of place in Dark Hunger. Turkey and Puerto Rico came alive for me through the author's descriptive language. And the main characters are so compelling, they walk off the pages with a life of their own. Valeria, inseparable childhood friend and twin soul to Alana. Sadash, who has a quirky code of honor and has also loved Alana since her childhood. He is an incredible lover, protector, mentor and more.

The reader struggles along with Alana as she learns more about her new abilities and comes to terms with a most potent and immortal man. We immediately become involved with the fully developed relationships amongst these dynamic characters and wish we could, somehow, also be a part of their lives. Powerful characters, indeed. The best vampire romance novel I've read in years. Highly erotic. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Lida E. Quillen

 

 


 

New! Fantasy

Stars:   Highly recommended
Title:
Eyes of Truth
Author: Linda Suzane
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Release Date: March 2002
ISBN: 1-931201-36-6

"In the exotic Kingdom of Naj, the dynastic rulers of divine descent, the Insu-has, have the gift of metaphysical insight, a gift the power of which is attested to by the number of eyes tattooed across their foreheads. In the city of Suterama, Dyamu Insu-ha Coiji rules because he has won in the Trials of Truth, a competition that his older brother, Insu-ha Dar, should have won but purposely lost.

Dar is the unorthodox member of his family. A subject of much gossip because he is blamed for the death of a man he trounced for having beaten, raped, and disfigured Dar's favorite so-ree at the local water house, he is also known as a champion of the poor and the disadvantaged. He is a well-traveled exile of many trades and much experience, so when trouble arises in Dak-moon in the border province of Fanara, administered by Magistrate Insu-ha Shoki, an old antagonist to Dar, Dyuma Coiji chooses Dar as his Hand to investigate.

Dar accepts the mission but takes with him a retired member of the Assassins Guild, a tough and canny older woman named Waulo, who has the singular ability to lie successfully even to an Insu-ha. In Dak-moon, they discover gruesome murders; numerous mysterious deaths from an undiagnosable ghost sickness; a negligent and reclusive magistrate who sleeps by day and walks by night; cryptic seers and gorgeous femme fatales; town talk of dangerous night creatures, the Wo-nurs, and the inexplicable Dolzi, supposedly long dead but now seemingly alive and looking for new recruits or new victims; numerous myths and superstitions; and bugling watch dragons who are sensitive to impending dangers, both bodily and spiritual.

Ms. Suzane has woven a richly complex tale, teeming with intrigue and danger, peopled by distinctive characters with unusual motives, strange appetites, and a thirst for deadly pleasures...."

Reviewed by Pat H. Fredeman, author of Paradise Regained.

 

 


  SF/F

Stars:   4 1/2
Title:
Gone Awry: A Virtual Tour Through High Tech Hell
Author: James Ignizio
Publisher: 1st Books.com
Release Date: March 2000
ISBN: 1-58500-645-9

Tour Guide Marvin deviates from the normal tour of Hell when Les Smart arrives for his indoctrination. Dogged by Security Guard Harold and delayed by a tryst with Delilah, the two men hit the "high spots" of High Tech Hell. Gradually we learn Marvin has a plan and it does not include spending eternity in the 25th Circle of Hell.

Reference to circles and individual cantos echo Dante’s Inferno in a literary sense. Plus, the story subtly weaves in spiritual and moral lessons, also reminiscent of Dante. Set at the turn of the millennium, Gone Awry is humorous and exceedingly well written. Techno-geeks as well as those folk who feel overwhelmed by today's technology will greatly enjoy this book.

I found the punishment set aside for telemarketers, lawyers and such particularly heart-warming. The undiscovered "Book of Mortimer" gives the reader a new perspective on the events of the Old Testament. Of special interest are the new Rules to live by sprinkled throughout. Reminds me, I need to go back and take notes. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Lida E. Quillen

 

 


 

New! Literary Fantasy

Stars:   Highly recommended
Title:
Jerome and the Seraph
Author: Robina Williams
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Release Date: March 2002
ISBN: 1-931201-53-6

A modest and kindly friar dies and goes - somewhere. Where he is not sure, because no one else is there. It isn't "easy being dead," he discovers. No one to ask. No one to talk to. Except a cat, who comes and goes and who looks exactly like the ginger tom who silently patrolled the friary that Brother Jerome used to call home. But in the new place, erstwhile Leo sports a new name: Quantum. Now he can talk and he knows things - things backwards and forwards and up and down - and he manages all past and present time zones simultaneously.

...There are mysteries at the friary, and Brother Jerome does his bit to solve them. The devil is in the details, but Jerome has one "hellava cat" to assist him. Most everyone gets in on the act, from Pagan Pan to Pre-Raphaelite William Holman Hunt. The brothers, including the "beyond-the-grave branch," help thread the tapestry: Bernie, Iggy, Semper Fidelis, Angus Dei, Valentine, Eggy, Peter, Olly, and Al. Golden-eyed Quantum knows them all and knows how to target, select, and weave continuously. Is he autonomous or not? For a cat, he also seems to get along respectfully well with The Hound of Heaven.

Amid a plethora of reading material that shows man brutally subjugating matter, churning titanic waves in the environment, solving absurdly clever puzzles, and moving mountains to make love ring true, who would have thought such a seraphically smug cat could represent such basic, intelligent change in the interests of spiritual consummation? Robina Williams has tackled the oldest and most troubling question known to thinking and spiritually concerned humans. JEROME AND THE SERAPH is a charming and deceptively simple story, filled with delightful puns and serenely sly humor. It is a book to cherish.

Reviewed by Pat H. Fredeman, author of Paradise Regained.

 

 


  New Age

Stars:   Highly recommended
Title:
Prophecy: The Awakening
Author: Ardy M. Scott
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Release Date: November 2001
ISBN:

Exhilarating -- Highly recommended

In the battle to balance light and dark, ancient gods awaken their warriors and guardians calling them to battle. Spanning the astral planes between the gods and mortals, a connection is formed allowing gods walk again among men when the dark begins to overbalance the light. The gods create a mystical force that can fight the ultimate battle between life in all of its forms. To that end, the gods grant immortality and magical powers to eight souls, naming them warriors and keepers of the spiritual planes. The Nameless One also awakens, and while he cannot yet move about, to push him back would give him what he desires, knowledge. The Nameless One especially wants the keeper of the Gate.

As the Nameless One threatens the light, the gods awaken Kryla, She who is Protector of the Spiritual Planes, Gate to eternity. Kryla joins with an adult mortal host, Andrea. Separate beings sharing the same moral existence, they join in an effort to locate the other choosen mortals who will aid in their fight. Andrea's latent gifts begin to blossom under Kryla's tutelage as she ventures into the astral to receive further teachings. Even as she grows spiritually, however, Andrea must maintain her ordinary existence, coping with a straying husband, foster children, and the challenges of bringing together other morals that are beginning to awaken. As the chosen mortals awaken they become more than simple beings. Called by the gods, forgotten memories of godhood lie in the deepest recesses of their minds. These mortals are now blessed with psychic abilities of varying natures, making them manipulators of magic. Yet walking in mortal bodies, they are also limited by mortal fears even as memory of their godly existence awakens.

With paranormal elements richly woven with varying spiritual beliefs, A. M. Scott creates a fantasy novel with ties to wicca, magic, and even the Celestine Prophecies. Bringing these varied concepts and insights into this powerful work of fiction, creates a novel rich in nuance. Vividly wrought visualizations accompany a fascinating journey of self-discovery, resulting fascinating characterizations. Creating such a tightly woven mythology and characterization limits the speed at which the plot moves, putting off the promised battle to the sequel. Nevertheless, with its rich textures, vivid descriptions, and fierce spirituality, PROPHECY: THE AWAKENING comes highly recommended.

Reviewed by Cindy Penn, Senior Editor, WordWeaving

 

 


  Fantasy

Stars:   4
Title:
The Casebook of Doakes and Haig
Author: Patrick Welch
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Release Date: 2001
ISBN: 1-931201-12-9

This is one of Pat Welch's more ambitious series in that he has created an alternate reality wherein Britain has maintained its colonies up to the modern era, but airplanes and motorcars have yet to make the scene. It's still a bit Victorian, but that works out fine because our two "Criminal Consultants" are a shop owner and his helper, a leprechaun.

Doakes begins as a shop owner selling a recipe sweetener made by his leprechaun partner until he becomes involved in solving a murder of a favorite customer in "A Small Matter of Murder". In "Savage Customs", they get involved with an Indian from the American colonies and a murder by tomahawk that is more complicated than it looks. In "Murderous Obligations", they are hired to solve a man's murder by the victim before it happens. "Fatal Impressions" tells of a murder and a plan to cause problems in the Colonies. "Cat's Moon Rising" is a story of catnapping and an Egyptian Queen.

The longest tale finishes out the volume with a story of Doakes and Haig traveling to the Colonies and a search for the Lost City of Gold in "Golden Talons".

Welch has his tongue planted firmly in cheek while writing these. He also has his story telling and settings down pat. These are very interesting stories and we learn more about leprechauns and their many secrets and powers than from anywhere else. The characters are well drawn and before the end of the book, become old friends to the reader. I sat down and read this straight through on the day I received it. It's a fun read and one that should add a lot of new readers to the ranks of those who want more from Pat Welch. Recommended highly.

Reviewed by Barry Hunter of Baryon

 

 


 

New! Fantasy

Title: The Dreamthief's Daughter
Author: Michael Swanwick
Publisher: Warner Aspect
Release Date: 2001
ISBN: 0-44661-120-4

The subtitle of this volume is "A Tale of the Albino," which is an honest admission since it has no less than three albino protagonists: Elric, our favorite Prince of Ruins, a latter-day von Bek, and Oona, the heroine who gives title to the book. However, this is a bit of a strange book, since it blends several styles, themes, and series of Moorcock's work. Now, blends are fairly common, one might say the norm, in Moorcock's work, but I found Dreamthief's Daughter to be a unique novel for Moorcock.

It seemed to bring together two disparate aspects of his writing: the historico-artistic volumes (such as The Brothel in Rosenstrasse and Mother London) and his multiversal writings for which he is much more well known. Specifically, this book is directly linked to The City in the Autumn Stars (von Bek) and The Revenge of the Rose (Elric) as a sequel, and of course has the obligatory host of multiversal sightings such as Tanelorn, Moonglum, Arioch, Gaynor the Damned, the Runestaff, etc. Since all his works touch on his multiverse and concepts therein, you might say that this isn't original at all and in part I agree; so be it, I found this work distinct enough to point out.

Here's an example of what I mean: This is a book which clearly features Elric-- when he arrives he dominates everyone and every thing, as he always does by sheer will power alone. The title itself is from Oona, the daughter of Elric, and she plays a vital role throughout. But, this is not an Elric book. It is a von Bek book. The setting and storyline center around von Bek and the entire book is from von Bek's first person point of view (though Moorcock pulls off the neat trick of transferring a first person narrative to another character, then sharing it, and then back again-- in a plausible manner. That is no small feat for any work of fiction, Faulkner be damned.). Furthermore, continuing the trend of his Mother Londonesque artistic works, Moorcock brings this tale of the Albino into the modern world: it takes place during World War II in Bek, Germany.

Why this shift in locale and emphasis? I wonder. Perhaps it is a natural progression as Moorcock matured as a writer to become more detailed and artistic, yet in seeming opposition, to leave the fantastic and become more realistic and grounded in reality. Perhaps that offers more of a challenge. Or perhaps it is boredom and he is just shaking things up a bit. My getting inside his head for psychoanalytical literary criticism is pointless. I enjoy the works no matter the reason behind them. I think it works so well exactly because he is fusing genres and elements together in bold, new ways. That creates an excitement and newness often missing in other similar works. In another way, it also makes the works more universal.

What I mean is this: J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a famous lecture on the nature of faerie tales. He pointed out they have staying power, have been with us forever, because they are not simple funny stories about faeries, but rather in complete contrast they are deep and often dark tales of the world(s) of faerie, including the right here, right now. In this sense faerie is defined as the entire concept or body of magic and its means and minions; the world of faerie underlies our own and everything else. Tolkien of course is very famous today for his later application of this principle in his masterpiece The Lord of the Rings. These two authors have a lot in common, because just like Tolkien, Moorcock is a master at blending ancient tales and mythology in new and dramatic ways to create highly original works that have a deep, recognizable resonance, even if we the readers do not realize right off the bat what we are reading.

Moorcock is writing nothing less than an interpretation of the eternal mythic cycle. If you think that Moorcock's eternal champion cycle is just cool SF and fantasy at its sword-swinging best, you'd better go back and reread. This is an ancient myth cycle of heroes ever on quest in search for the unobtainable grail and eternal Tanelorn (itself a brilliant fusion of ancient Celtic and old English words meaning "the tale forsaken," "the story lost," or maybe "the desolated book," which I see as meaning an end of all stories or the finality of all tales).

Oona and Klosterheim derive from Spenser and de Quincy respectively, from what I have been able to discover. But everything else is even more ancient. The swords as cruciforms and the chalice/grail as womb are as ancient as prehistoric cave paintings and center the symbolism of most religions. The entire hero quest and grail mythos doesn't originate solely in medieval Europe, but actually can be traced through incarnations through all cultures and back through Christendom to Proto-Indo-European (PIE) origins and Sumerian roots in Gilgamesh. They all represent man's quest of the immortal and perfection. That is to say, it is an eternal mythic cycle, as defined by Joseph Cambell.

What Moorcock brings to the ancient myths are new interpretations and, oddly enough for someone so obsessed with the ancient, modernism. This is because his view of the multiverse is very modern and straight out of the theories of quantum physics. They jive nicely with my own and most modern thinkers views of reality. Reality isn't just a mobius strip of continuum, it's an infinity of mobius strips around a tanelornic center. An infinite kaleidoscope of infinite variations. That's immortality in itself. It's rather nice to ponder infinity. The alternative, as they say, is not so pleasant, but that skull sure grins.

I don't want to give away the book for any potential future readers.

Let's just sum up and say of one scene: Elric hacking Nazis. What more could you ever want? This book is a joy to read and like any good Eternal Champion saga, it does cover the multiverse stem to stern in its wanderings. However, before I close, I must fairly level a criticism. Moorcock dropped the ball in one way with this book. His main character, the latest von Bek who is an albino echo of Elric, is sadly lacking in his own book. He is, unfortunately, as I mentioned merely an echo of Elric. He did not act much as the protagonist, especially as a holder of one incarnation of the great sentient Black Sword. He functioned more as a passive camera so we could watch all the action that did occur, from Gaynor to Elric. I was very disappointed that the prime protagonist did not lead his own book; he only became active (and then limitedly) in the very late portions of the book.

That is a tragic flaw, I believe. I had a hard time making excuses for the passivity of his character, though his lack of bold action fit his "character" as defined in the book by Moorcock. I understand he was a "philosopher" at heart and thus an observer. I don't care. I did not see it as fitting the character of any aspect of the Eternal Champion or holder of the Black Sword. Just doesn't fly in my book. I will note for the record that the only semi-viable excuse I came up with was that von Bek was actually a guardian of the Grail and not the sword, perhaps having the sword by accident, hence his character was supposed to be the opposite of Elric. It is obvious that von Bek fights not to destroy law and uphold chaos (like Elric) but to create a balance. So maybe as grail guardian he could not and should not act as Elric did; but this is belied by the fact that in a few instances he did act directly as Elric did (though again is this dismissed as his being conjoined with Elric? I cannot say).

But then we are faced with a notion that Elric and von Bek, clearly aspects of the Eternal Champion as albino, are in fact separated utterly by their natures and in no way alike-- unless they are supposed to represent the two divided natures of one being, that is Elric and von Bek (and naturally Gaynor must be their fallen side) are parts that make a whole. Then we have an odd and ruinous trinity indeed.

Or, one step further, the trinity is the albino alone (and Gaynor is truly damned and forever apart from it) and thus represented by Elric, the wrath and the father, Oona, the daughter and redemption, and von Bek as the spirit and salvation. If this is so, then I apologize for the nag; Moorcock did right and knows exactly what he was doing. If this wasn't the case, then I suppose this must be one of those inevitable occurrences in a writer's life where he fumbles a character and doesn't quite follow through as he should.

That is bound to happen, especially with an author who has written over fifty volumes. I just hate to see it ever happen to in an Eternal Champion book.

Final analysis: The Dreamthief's Daughter is another gemstone in the multiversal masterpiece that Michael Moorcock has been crafting for decades. The fusions of history and myth, of reality and fantasy, are riveting, and I hope they continue.

Reviewed by Thomas Fortenberry

- - - - - - - - -
Reviewer info:
Thomas Fortenberry is an American author, editor, and publisher. Owner of Mind Fire Press, he has also judged many literary contests, including The Georgia Author of the Year Awards and the Robert Penn Warren Prize for Fiction.

His work has appeared internationally, in publications such as Amelia, Uno, Lower Than the Angels, Contemporary Southern Poets of 1997, Poetry Magazine, Ariga, Storytellers, The Fiction Network, Ectopia, Lumi Virtuale, Biblioteka di Babele, etc.

 

 


  SF/F

Stars:   5
Title:
The Moon and the Sun
Author: Vonda N. McIntyre
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: 1998
ISBN: 0-671-56766-7

Through the eyes of the heroine, Marie-Josephe de la Croix, we see the splendor and intrigue of the court of Louis XIV. We follow Marie as she shifts between her duties as lady-in-waiting and assistant to her brother, Yves, priest and natural philosopher. Yves arrives on the scene with a fabled sea beast the Church declares is an animal and Marie ultimately discovers is human.

Marie develops a strong rapport with the beast and receives psychic impressions such that she is able to describe the history of an alien culture. The fact the beast is reputed to carry an immortality organ the king is determined to acquire, complicates Marie's attempts to free the sea beast and places her own life in jeopardy.

McIntyre masterfully weaves a story of alternate history and legend with a slice of fantasy. She depicts Marie as an intelligent woman in a society that represses women by gradually revealing the heroine's talents as Marie skillfully sketches a design for a commemorative medallion, composes a cantata for the king and ably assists her brother in his experiments - while fulfilling her duties as a lady-in-waiting.

Subtle sub-themes encompass larger issues - slavery, absolute power, policies of Church and State during the times, sociological studies, honor and what defines a human. History, music composition and natural philosophy are all presented in an entirely believable manner. Throw in vivid characters and imaginative story-telling and the reader will understand the reason The Moon and the Sun won the Nebula award for Best Novel.

Reviewed by Lida E. Quillen

 

 


  SF/F

Stars:   4 1/2
Title:
Unwelcome Legacy
Author: K. G. McAbee
Publisher: SWP
Release Date: February 2000
ISBN: 1-929034-94-6

Lord Erek is born to the nobility, but has the potential to become a Master Adept -- two disparate occupations in the realm of his birth. If he can survive the cruel machinations of his aunt, Duchess of Tarageen, a covert plot against the throne, a deranged former mage and pirates, then he might, just might be able to reach the Academy of Malmillard -- and learn to control his abilities.

In this coming of age story in a fantasy setting, trouble brings Erek new friends in the form of Commander Dialara, her two captains and his tutor, Andru. They have unusual adventures and meet strange creatures along the way to the academy. Erek has never had friends before, has not had so much "fun" in his life and hopes the adventures never stop. The crux of the matter is he has to make a hard choice -- give up his fledgling powers or give up his friends.

A most entertaining read. Highly recommended. I hope the author is working on a sequel.

Reviewed by Lida E. Quillen

 

 


  Suspense

Stars:   Highly recommended
Title:
WolfPointe
Author: Rick Buda
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Release Date: 2001
ISBN: 1-931201-06-4

Something deadly lurks in the swamps -- Highly recommended

Deep in Midwestern swamps, time and mutation gives birth to the Windigo. The Ojibwa warriors feared and respected the legends surrounding the Windigo, a fantastic being that appears as a man-wolf, with glowing red eyes and a heart of ice. Over time, the Windigo has acquired a hatred of man for his desecration to its life force and food source. As toxic dumping effects the Windigo, its changes become increasingly strange and dangerous.

As unexplainable violent deaths among pets and people accrue in Timber Park, Officer MacKurghdy and veterinarian Ellaine Johnson soon realize that something supernatural is at work, as well as a conspiracy among the town's leading citizens to keep a toxic dump secret. Unfortunately, the unexplained violence seems to center around the town's newest development, where 108 homes will eventually be completed and sell for upwards of half a million dollars each. It seems to be in the town's best interests to solve the suspicious occurrences quickly, and to allow development to continue unimpeded -- no matter what it takes.

If you like Dean Koonz's blend of the mundane and the macabre, you'll enjoy Rick Buda's WOLFPOINTE. With a colorful cast of characters sweeping across the spectrum to include politicians, law enforcement officials, millionaires and common criminals, WOLFPONTE dynamically confronts the deadly results of toxins in our environment. The overweight professor who lends his research skills and unexpected survival abilities to the quest for the truth is an especially memorable secondary character. Further, with a pointed social message that never interferes with the intrigue and suspense, Ruba crafts a memorable novel that blends the fascinating and the fantastic in equal measure. WOLFPOINTE is a must read that comes very highly recommended.

Reviewed by Cindy Penn, Senior Editor, WordWeaving

 


 

 

Archive | Art Gallery | Contents | Featured Artist | Featured Poet 1 | Featured Poet 2 | Featured Story | Highlights | Links | Overview | Site Map | Submissions |

 

 

A special note to TT readers. All contents of this issue are copyright by the writers and artists. If you discover any artwork or writing published here elsewhere on the internet, or in print magazines, please let us know immediately. The staff of Twilight Times feels very strongly about protecting the copyrighted work of contributors.

 

 

Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 & 2002. Lida E. Quillen. All rights reserved.

This website designed and maintained by Lida E. Quillen.

Twilight Times logo design by Joni.

This page last updated 05-24-02.

sword graphic by Max

border by Windy