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Four Great SF/F Gifts

If you're still looking for holiday gifts for your friends and family who love good SF and Fantasy, I've got a few great suggestions for you--books either released late this year and thus might've slipped under your radar, or books that got lost in amongst the thousands of books released earlier in the year.

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The SFWA European Hall of Fame: Sixteen Contemporary Masterpieces of Science Fiction from the Continent edited by James Morrow and Kathryn Morrow - Featuring meticulously translated short stories from 16 different writers, this anthology showcases a kind of "alternate history" of genre fiction. Included herein are classic stories from France, Spain, Germany, Greece, and many other European countries. From the funny to the profound, time travel to space exploration, you'll get a uniquely different perspective with these tales. Some of these writers have never even been translated into English before. Definitely worth your full attention.

Amberlight by Sylvia Keslo - Australian Kelso has created an iconic fantasy city with the fiercely matriarchal Amberlight. A battered stranger enters the city, setting off a series of events steeped in suspense and warfare. This one's original and gritty, with some amazing writing. From new imprint Juno Books, Amberlight has had a little trouble getting the review attention it deserves--a unique gift for the fantasy fan in your family.

Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook - Classics don't come any more hardboiled than Cook's Black Company novels. This new omnibus from Tor collects the first three novels, which I'd describe as heroic fantasy by way of Vietnam. The Black Company adventures read like a combination of fantasy and war fiction. Seeking the prophecy of the White Rose, the Black Company goes from one harrowing adventure to another. These books have been praised by just about everyone under the sun, and I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

The Metatemporal Detective by Michael Moorcock - Put out in a gorgeous hardcover edition from Pyr, featuring the art of World Fantasy Award winner John Picacio, this collection of short fictions will entertain anyone who loves wild imagination wedded to impeccable storytelling, along with liberal doses of humor and suspense. Detailing the exploits of Seaton Begg and his companion Dr. "Taffy Sinclair" as they solve mysteries in alternate universes, The Metatemporal Detective ranges far and wide, from 1960s Chicago to the wild west to Paris and points unknown. Another example of the range and depth of Moorcock's prodigious talent.

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I'll give another nod to Amberlight. It is a really great read. Poetic, powerfully political, and yeah, it has a romance which serves the story. I have no doubt that next year it will be nominated for an Aurealis, as Ms Kelso's "The Moving Water" was nominated this year for best fantasy. It's strange that Juno books are considered primarily romance because they're first and foremost fantasy. Unique, different, unusual kinds of fantasy. Nor are their romances, such as Amberlight, Wind Follower, Blood Magic, the typical happily-ever-after kind of stories. It's a very unique press.

Amberlight may have a hard time getting reviewed because of the Juno imprint which is usually associated with SF/Fantasy books with a romance background.When I'm browsing at a bookstore and I see the Juno imprint I automatically skip over it.

The first Black Company books were good, but he'd sort of beaten the idea to death by the sixth one.

I never got into the "Black Company" books but loved Cook's "Garrett Files" fantasy series, which had smart plots, humor and likeable characters.

You are a great great man for pointing out the 'Black Company'. Glen Cook deserves lots more praise.

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