Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Thu May 31 18:22:27 EDT 1990

Raymond's Reviews #62

%T Robot Dreams
%A Isaac Asimov
%I Berkeley/Ace
%D June 1990
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 384
%G 0-441-73154-6

Despite the title, this is not yet another anthology of robot stories. Rather, it's a large and tasty sampler of Isaac Asimov's short fiction from 1941 to 1982. Asimov is one of the surviving masters of the Campbellian era of SF, and perhaps did more than anyone except his friend Robert Heinlein to set the standards of rigor by which the best modern hard SF is still judged. Buy and enjoy!

%T Tales From Planet Earth
%A Arthur C. Clarke
%I Bantam Spectra
%D May 1990
%O trade paperback, US$9.95
%P 307
%G 0-553-34883-3

Here's another retrospective anthology of short fiction by one of the giants of the Golden Age, the man who invented the comsat and supplied the now-common name for the geosynchronous "Clarke Orbit" The b&w interior illos by Michael Whelan are disappointing, though the content certainly isn't. I'd suggest waiting for the mass-market pb.

%T The Compleat Bolo
%A Keith Laumer
%I Baen Books
%D June 1990
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 314
%G 0-671-69879-6

Every once in a while Baen's fondness for repackaging the tried and true produces a pleasure for the collector. This is one of those; a collection of all of Keith Laumer's stories about his "Bolo" cybernetic supertanks. Some of these (most notably The Last Command) are minor classics, but they've been scattered through reprintings in half-a-dozen anthologies. Even if you have a few of them, buy this one for your shelf and to enjoy them all together.

%T The Fantastic World War II
%E Frank McSherry Jr.
%I Baen Books
%D June 1990
%O paperback, US$3.50
%P 281
%G 0-671-69881-8

Well, it was a passable idea -- an anthology of alternate-history short stories centered on World War II. The stories aren't too bad; they include several curios of historical interest, Cyril Kornbluth's minor classic Two Dooms, and one of the better stories from the Kaleidoscope anthology I reviewed in RR#31. The biggest problem is that they remind one irresistably of much better stories that should have been here but weren't, from Phillip K. Dick's The Man In The High Castle to David Brin's Thor Meets Captain America.


Countdown, Jack D. Hunter (TOR, June 1990); and Tailspin, David Hagberg (TOR, July 1990). Two alleged `technothrillers' without enough odor of SF content to interest me in reading them.

Dayworld Breakup, Phillip Jose Farmer. It's a sequel, and I don't review sequels unless I can get the earlier books, and TOR can't send me those because it doesn't own them, and the premise is an obvious take on Lafferty's Slow Tuesday Night anyhow.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Thu May 31 18:22:27 EDT 1990

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