Planet Magazine Recommends These Books:
Wayne Douglas Barlowe's Barlowe's Inferno: "Through 40 chilling and beautiful color paintings, best-selling science fiction and fantasy artist Wayne Barlowe details an amazing visual journey into the strange, frightening, and bizarre world of hell." (Amazon.com) Planet's Art Director, Romeo Esparrago, says: Beautifully frightening and effective! Being a fan of Mr.Barlowe's fantastic work in the past, especially his 1990 book "Expedition: Being an Account in Words and Artwork of the A.D. 2358 Voyage to Darwin IV", this one is a stunner! He has broken his own mold by departing the worlds of dinosaurs and science fiction and entering the dark realms of terror. His narrative and artwork were so effective that I felt I was there beside him, to the point of being nauseated and frightened by the images he evoked within my psyche. I recommend it highly, although it's best read when all the lights are turned on inside the house. My only wish is that the book was bigger so I could more closely scrutinize the horror!
Wayne Douglas Barlowe's Expedition: Being an Account in Words and Artwork of the 2358 A.D. Voyage to Darwin IV: Visit the link for reader reviews. "Synopsis: In 2358 Wayne Douglas Barlowe joined the first manned flight to Darwin IV, a newly discovered world beyond our solar system. Here he provides naturalistic paintings that vividly capture the alien creatures he encountered. Illustrations, full-color paintings, and maps.." (Amazon.com) Planet says: Yummacious eye candy for sci-fi art gourmands.
Greg Bear's Eon: Visit the link for reader reviews. Synopsis: "When an enormous asteroid enters the Earth's orbit, the remains of a vanished human civilization are discovered within that reveal the asteroid's futuristic origins and predict a catastrophic immient Earth war." (LJ. PW.) This book would be one of my top-five SF rave faves, if I had such a list. The sequel, Eternity, isn't as good. Other books by Greg Bear that I like are The Forge of God (the sequel, Anvil of Stars, is almost as good), Blood Music (creepy SF), and Moving Mars -- collect 'em all!
* Tony Chandler's "Mothership": "In the midst of Galactic War a new life-form is born -- an AI starship. But with all its weapons and sophisticated programming, the sentient starship is not equipped for its greatest challenge -- that of becoming the mother to the last three children of humanity. The deadly T'kaan soon begin the hunt again after they discover that the human race is not quite extinct. As Mother faces these impossible odds, she discovers that deep inside her massive memory systems she holds another treasure - a knowledgebase that contains all the science, lore, wisdom and art of the human race since the beginning of time. Now Mother must fight not only to save humanity from extinction, but also from being forgotten by the rest of the universe..."
Glen Cook's The Black Company: "Adrift in a world torn by sorcery gone wild, the Company is the last remnant of a once-great mercenary army. Led by Croaker, former physician and primary chronicler, they must search the world for the last ray of hope--the White Rose." (Amazon.com) Planet says: An enjoyable sword-and-sorcery epic. Sure, you'll spot the influences of J.R.R. Tolkien and Robert E. Howard, and maybe even Patrick O'Brian, but Cook avoids being derivative like so many other authors and makes it all his own. This book is the first in the inevitable series, which is also fun reading.
Philip Jose Farmer's Image of the Beast: Visit the link for reader reviews. "Philip Jose Farmer has written one of the most bizarre novels of all time.... Although Image is mind-blowingly explicit, it is much more than an excuse to write sex scenes. It is truly one of Farmer's best novels and deserves a place on your bookshelf." (Factsheet Five) Be warned: This book is explicit, horrific, nasty!
Frank Herbert's Dune: Visit the link for reader reviews. This is a classic SF tale of galactic politics, intrigue, and murder, mixed in with some mysticism and a bit of Lawrence of Arabia (you'll see where George Lucas got a lot of his ideas for Star Wars). Personally, I'd stay away from the Dune sequels and movie, as you'll only be disappointed.
Robert Holdstock's Mythago Wood: Visit the link for reader reviews. This is a truly great, classic fantasy story that is unfortunately out of print, but Amazon.com will try to obtain it for you. Otherwise, check out your local used-book stores; finding this book is worth the effort.
Walter Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz: Visit the link for reader reviews. Synopsis: A masterful achievement that ranks with Brave New World and 1984, this mesmerizing tale of the terrible aftermath of nuclear war has captivated generations of readers since its first publication in 1959. "Prodigiously imaginative, richly comic, terrifyingly grim."--Chicago Tribune.
Larry Niven's The Legacy of Heorot: Visit the link for reader reviews. This is a great example of an SF/Horror book.
Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates: "The Anibus Gate is the classic time travel novel that took the fantasy world by storm a decade ago. Only the dazzling imagination of Tim Powers could have created such as adventure." (Amazon.com) Planet says: Fun mix of high-tech, magic, and time travel.
* William Alan Rieser's "Nadir": "Forget everything you know about life on Earth and in the universe. Put it away in a locker and hide the key. Nadir will give you a new set of rules and a fresh application. Grab the sides of your chair and prepare your mind to engage a primal force, new fantasy on the other side of the galaxy, the Beld, where humans are unknown and unconceived. Accustomed to the newness are you? Are they unique or do they parallel a common thread? Do they respond to stimuli the way we do? Is their art more expressive? Are they satisfied to suspect the truth about their origins or motivated to find real answers? Now ask yourself if you would like to be there and Nadir will make arrangements.
Vernor Vinge's Across Realtime: Visit the link for reader reviews. The publisher is out of stock, but Amazon.com will try to obtain it for you. Synopsis: Previously published in three parts, The Peace War, Marooned in Realtime, and The Ungoverned, this is "a marvelous extrapolative tale, to which no summary can do justice, with a gripping blend of high-tech razzle-dazzle and good old-fashioned murder mystery--all spiced with . . . the time-travel theme".--Kirkus Review.
Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep: Visit the link for reader reviews. Synopsis: "A unique blend of hard science, high drama, and superb storytelling" (Library Journal). "A rescue mission races against time to save a pair of children being held captive by a medieval lupine race, and recover the weapon that will keep the universe from being changed forever" (HC: Tor). Although this book doesn't quite work, it has some great ideas in it and is a good read.
Lawrence Watt-Evans' Crosstime Traffic: This is perhaps the best collection I've ever read of short stories on time travel and alternate universes -- all by the same author. In my opinion, some of the tales are as good as anything written by Ray Bradbury. The book is unfortunately out of print, but Amazon.com will try to obtain it for you.
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