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Raymond's Reviews #7

This Raymond's Review changes the usual format slightly; it consists of five capsule reviews of recent releases that don't need a lot of comment.

%T The Thirteenth Majestral
%A Hayford Pierce
%I Tor Books
%D May 1989
%O paperback, $3.95
%P 315
%G 0-812-54892-2

This book is a screamingly funny sendup of Jack Vance's writing style by the author of Napoleon Disentimed and the Chap Foey Rider stories in Analog magazine. If you are a Vance fan, do not miss it!

%T The Founder
%A Christopher Rowley
%I Del Rey
%D Dec 1989
%O paperback, $3.95
%P 251
%G 0-345-33175-3

A basically forgettable prequel set in the world of The War For Eternity and The Black Ship. It doesn't tell us anything about Fenrille we didn't already know from the other books and is too slight to stand on its own. Unless you are a completist about series, forget it.

%T A Fearful Symmetry
%A James Luceno
%I Del Rey
%D Dec 1989
%O paperback, $3.95
%P 265

Nazi magicians menace the Earth! Can our heroes figure out what's going on in time to Save The Day? Can the reader figure out what's going on through Luceno's lumpenprose and spaghetti plotting? Who knows? Who cares? Avoid this one, it reads like a bad parody of Stuart Gordon's Smile On The Void.

%T Ace In The Hole (Wild Cards #6)
%A George R. R. Martin and others
Publisher  Bantam/Spectra (Feb 1990)
%G 0-553-28253-0

The Wild Cards books probably share top honors with the Liavek stories and the first few of the original Thieves' World anthologies as the best writing to come out of the shared-worlds fad. Ace In The Hole doesn't quite reach the heights of intensity of the earlier books, but this may be a good thing; there had been a bit too much slasher-movie psychopathic nastiness in the mix for my taste. This one leaves me looking forward to #7.

%T Gryphon
%A Crawford Killian
%I Del Rey/Ballantine
%D Aug 1989
%G 0-345-35730-2

Tasty hard-SF by the author of the remarkably original novel Eyas. I find Killian's premise that humans have altered themselves into asocial animals just as implausible as Asimov's rather similar Spacers, but his picture of an anarchic abundance culture based on nanotechnology is believable and fascinating. Then, collectivist aliens invade. Boy, are they in for a surprise!

Back to a full-length review in the next RR...

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Mon Feb 12 11:13:28 EST 1990

Eric S. Raymond <esr@snark.thyrsus.com>