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SPRING PRESENTS a blooming garden of sf and fantasy titles with enough color and variety to please most genre fans. In quick succession, Mark Chadbourn releases the last two volumes of his Celtic mythology-based "Kingdom of the Serpent" trilogy. In Blue Magic, A.M. Dellamonica's sequel to Indigo Springs, a small town, rather than a big city, is at the center of some powerful magic. Urban fantasy with a strong dose of romance blossoms in a pair of first novels: Suzanne Johnson's Royal Street (the Debut of the Month, right) and Carol Wolf's Summoning. The Troubles in Northern Ireland are the background for more contemporary fantasy in Stina Leicht's And Blue Skies from Pain, while Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Rage of the Dragon represents traditional fantasy.
Sf takes the form of a trio of dystopian novels: Brian Evenson's bleak Immobility; Nancy Kress's masterly After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall; and Brian Francis Slattery's powerful Lost Everything. The conflict between the church and the state drives the plot of Ken MacLeod's sf mystery The Night Sessions.
Three anthologies also rate special attention. A posthumous collection, The Best of Kage Baker is a fitting tribute to a prominent contributor to both fantasy and sf The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy OF the Year continues editor Jonathan Strahan's string of excellent annual anthologies. Finally, totaling more than 1000 pages, The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, makes a case for a definitive subgenre of eerie stories that cross the boundaries of horror, dark fantasy, aim weird sf.
CHECK THESE OUT
Chadbourn, Mark. The Burning Man. (Kingdom of the Serpent, Bk. 2). Apr. 2012. c.404p. ISBN 9781616146115. Chadbourn, Mark. Destroyer of Worlds. (Kingdom of the Serpent, Bk. 3). May 2012. c.390p. ISBN 9781616146177. ea. vol: Pyr: Prometheus. pap. $17.95. FANTASY
After being stranded in the past in Jack of Ravens, Jack Churchill, a Champion of Existence, has finally returned to the present in the second volume of Chadbourn's Celtic-inspired urban fantasy trilogy. With the modern world locked in a Mundane Spell that has left the population in a haze of diminished hopes, Jack and his companions seek a pair of "keys," individuals whose powers of creation and destruction can bring the world back from despair. Their journey leads to Scandinavia, Egypt, and Greece, whose gods are wing for power in the new world order with the already awakened Celtic deities.
The third volume finds Jack and the other Champions of Existence in possession of the two keys, but their enemy, the Void, finds new ways to …