Announcing: A New Book Sense 76 Top Ten for Science Fiction/Fantasy

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Thanks to a great outpouring of bookseller recommendations, we were able to compile another fantastic Science Fiction/Fantasy Top Ten. This is our second list, the previous one coming late last year. No particular timing involved -- just a critical mass of recommendations, which came together very nicely.

The flier will go on press this week, the pad of fliers will go into the March white box (at the same time as the Poetry 76 Top Ten pad).

USA Today will preview this SF/F 76 Top Ten next week in their Wednesday Life section as a "USA Today Snapshot." Yes, it's well before the pad is out, but they are hungry for our book recommendations; they will wait until late March for the Poetry 76 Top Ten snapshot.

We are also talking to Locus magazine about running this SF/F 76 Top Ten; stay tuned.

Here's the list now, so you can check stock, along with the one bookseller quote chosen to represent each top vote-getter:

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  1. FOOL’S ERRAND: The Tawny Man, Book 1, by Robin Hobb (Bantam Spectra, $24.95, 0553801481; January 2002) "Hobb’s imagination soared in her last two series, and this book is even better. She returns to the story of FitzChivalry, a tormented assassin with powers he doesn’t quite understand. Hobb draws together the threads of her previous fantasies into one grand epic."—Chris Aylott, The Space-Crime Continuum, Northampton, MA
  2. KILN PEOPLE, by David Brin (Tor, $25.95, 0765303558; January 2002) "Here is a chance to sink your teeth into a great SF novel by one of the genre’s best authors! The story combines the archetypical detective story with classic SF themes. What is individuality in a world where people can make clay copies of themselves to serve their every need? I love the way that Brin combines a wonderful story with science, philosophy, and humor."—Rachel King, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY
  3. KUSHIEL’S DART, by Jacqueline Carey (Tor, $7.99 paper, 0765342987; March 2002) "Here is a heroine in the grand style: intelligent, inventive, intrepid, loyal and desirable. The book follows her apprenticeship, exile, and secret return to her homeland. Middle Age medieval myths, intrigue, politics, warfare, religious zeal, desire and adventure are skillfully intertwined to create the first in a series. I can’t wait for the sequel!"—Nicola Rooney, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI
  4. VITALS, by Greg Bear (Del Rey, $24.95, 0345435281; January 2002) "Bear is a master of the SF genre, and with this book, he has made a leap into Kafka’s territory. Vitals is an extraordinary tale, as well as a scientific mystery that evolves into one filled with paranoia and madness."—Judith Chandler, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA Also a Random House Audio (0553714953)
  5. FALLEN DRAGON, by Peter F. Hamilton (Warner Aspect, $25.95, 0446527084; March 2002) "This is Hamilton at his page-turning best. Take the scope of the Odyssey, add a splash of Starship Troopers, a dash of Neverending Story, place the lot on steroids with a twist of romance, genetically ‘dwrite’ what remains, and then, finally, imbed some real cool software in the fruits of all of this labor. The work of one of the best SF writers out there today."—Patrick Heffernan, Mysterious Galaxy Books, San Diego, CA
  6. LAW OF SURVIVAL, by Kristine Smith (Eos, $6.99 paper, 0380807858; Oct. 2001) "The 3rd in a series featuring Captain Jani Kilian, in which the options have become limited to ‘kill or be killed.’ Kilian provides the fascinating twist to a complex plot involving hard-edged action, political mystery, and vivid characters both human and alien."—Maria Perry, Flights of Fantasy Books, Games & Accessories, Loudonville, NY
  7. NARCISSUS IN CHAINS, by Laurell K. Hamilton (Berkley, $22.95, 0425181685; Oct. 2001) "The eagerly awaited 10th installment featuring Anita Blake, vampire slayer, has Anita moving about dispensing law and order among vampires, werewolves, and other ‘monsters’; this book is full of unforgettable characters."—Sue Petersen, Brain Snacks, Chicago, IL Hamilton’s new book, this time featuring faeires, is out in paperback: Kiss of Shadows (Ballantine, $6.99 paper, 0345423402
  8. DARK MATTER: A Century Of Speculative Fiction From The African Diaspora, edited by Sheree R. Thomas (Warner, $12.95 paper, 0446677248; July 2001) "A brilliant (yes, brilliant) collection, covering a century of futuristic writing from early pioneers, such as W.E.B. Du Bois, to famous SF writers such as Samuel Delany and Octavia Butler, and onto some acclaimed new writers."—John Kessel, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC
  9. WETWARE, by Craig Nova (Crown, $22, 060960595X) "In a world where self-aware beings are produced and programmed for specific tasks, Hal Briggs programs more than the specs call for into his company’s latest creations, a man and woman destined for violence. The plot takes off when these creations escape, but it is Nova’s deft use of the mundane detail of these characters’ lives and inner musings that brings into focus and calls into question their humanity."—Natalie Barnes, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC
  10. FANTASY OF THE 20th CENTURY: An Illustrated History, by Randy Broecker (Collectors Press, $60, 1888054522: Oct. 2001) "A beautiful book with cover illustrations from both well-known and lesser-known works of fantasy. The book is collectible in and of itself, in addition to providing a wealth of knowledge."—Kim Taylor, Kat’s Books, Brighton, CO

Independent booksellers love the fantasy work of Charles De Lint: Michael Harris of The Little Professor in Fort Wayne loves THE ONION GIRL (Tor, $27.95, 0312873972), published in October of 2001. He’s happy that Jilly, a character in De Lint’s Newford stories, finally gets center stage. Don Gardner of The Bookshop Santa Cruz is a big fan of his 1999 book, MOONLIGHT AND VINES (Tor, $6.99 paper, 0812565495). He says that De Lint’s stories provoke, intrigue and entertain.

For fans of MISTS OF AVALON:
The Sevenwaters Trilogy by Juliet Marrillier is a favorite, and the 3rd and final book, CHILD OF THE PROPHECY, is just in stores. (Tor, $27.95, 0312848811) Bob Spear of The Book Barn in Leavenworth says: "Fianne is used by her wicked sorceress grandmother in her attempt to destroy the Old Ones and create chaos for mankind. Her powers increase and she realizes she must defeat the sorceress to save all. An exciting fantasy which incorporates ancient Irish sagas and myths." (Book One, Daughter of the Forest, is out in paperback, and Book Two, Son of the Shadows, is due in paper this summer.)