The Reaver Road – Dave Duncan

Omar #1 Omar and his chance companion Thorian are caught up in an intrigue of war, gods, treachery, and lust. Standard Dave Duncan in that this is a fun, very readable fantasy with agreeable, intelligent characters. The Reaver Road is one of two books featuring Omar the Storyteller (also see The Hunter’s Haunt). The players act (sort of) as real people might, and are characteristically upbeat and optimistic. All in all, a lighthearted bit of…

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God of Clocks – Alan Campbell

Deepgate Codex #3 The conclusion of Campbell’s Deepgate Codex introduces complications with time travel. God of Clocks picks up soon after Iron Angel leaves off. It doesn’t really add much that’s new, though the battle continues, and some of the mysteries are revealed. I’m sorry to say that it’s only some. Campbell wove in a number of intriguing threads in books 1 and 2. He leaves quite a lot of them loose in this third…

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The Mammoth Book of Extreme Fantasy – Mike Ashley

A collection of fantasy stories. Many themed anthologies have difficulty sticking to their nominal theme. The more ethereal the theme, the more the stories tend to wander. Most often, they seem in fact to be mere compendia of the stories the editor could dig up, with little in the way of connective tissue. This anthology is no different. “Extreme” means different things to different people, I suppose, and certainly I could construct a case for…

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The Bards of Bone Plain – Patricia A. McKillip

The intersection of two times at a school for bards, the search of various characters for truth about ancient runes and an ancient riddle. Patricia McKillip almost always tells the same story – a talented, bemused character is mystified by something that may or may not be magic, and tries to understand its heart. Even the fabulous Riddle-Master of Hed is a variant on this. When she strays a bit (Moon-Flash duology, Cygnet duology), she’s…

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Rainbow Man – M. J. Engh

A woman gives up her home on a starship to spend some time groundside, on a planet with unusual traditions. Rainbow Man, M.J. Engh’s third and latest (but not-very-recent) novel, is just as interesting as her prior efforts. Arslan was about a harsh dictator in a troubled world. Wheel of Winds told the story of a woman circling her planet, twice. While the two were substantially different, both offered credible, down-to-earth characters dealing with life…

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All Flesh is Grass – Clifford D. Simak

An invisible alien barrier suddenly encloses a small town. In re-reading this, I discovered what I’d forgotten – what a consummate literary writer Simak could be. This story, while it’s about an invisible barrier and the aliens that create it, is a classic exploration of small-town America. Extremely readable, with likeable characters that consider problems the way you and I might. The language and story aren’t zippy action sequences, but flowing prose about real people.…

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