Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Tue Jun 12 17:39:26 EDT 1990

Raymond's Reviews #70

%T An Abyss of Light
%A Kathleen M. O'Neill
%D June 1990
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 463
%G 0-88677-418-7

This huge, galumphing, unreadable mess combines hokey space opera with a muddled take-off on Judaic mysticism. It seems the Galactic Magistrates wish to force the persecuted Gamants to relinquish their millenia-old traditions -- including the "mea shearim", the interdimensional link through which the Gamants speak with the being they believe is God. Meanwhile, on the Gamant world of Horeb, a man has risen who claims to be the long-awaited Mashiah...or maybe he's the anti-Mashiah. I dunno, I couldn't force myself to read the whole thing and find out. And there's gonna be a sequel, too. Avoid this baby unless you need kindling or a good doorstop.

%T Thieves' Carnival/The Jewel of Bas
%A Karen Haber/Leigh Brackett
%D June 1990
%O paperback, US$3.50
%P 187
%G 0-812-50272-8

Another old-and-new pair from TOR couples a minor classic by Leigh Brackett with an original prequel to it by Karen Haber. Brackett's lush, vivid writing has aged reasonably well even though the props of her stories now seem cliched and the plots a tad on the melodramatic side. The prequel, which lends more depth to the characters even though it misses the dreamlike and haunting quality of Brackett's work, makes an interesting contrast. Nice light reading, pick it up used.

%T The Zork Chronicles
%A George Alec Effinger
%I Avon
%D July 1990
%O paperback, US$4.50
%P 290
%G 0-380-75388-X

You've played the game, now read the book! Actually, don't bother. This pastiche of the famous computer game manages to be frantically silly without being very funny, like an endless Monty Python routine that never quite comes off (come to think of it, I've never quite gotten the point of his serious work, either). Effinger attempts to introduce some narrative coherence by spoofing the Hero Myth, but Craig Shaw Gardner and Terry Pratchett have already done a better job of that one.

%T The Great SF Stories 21 (1959)
%E Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg
%D July 1990
%O paperback, US$5.95
%P 347
%G 0-88677-428-4

This is a sort of retrospective Best SF anthology for 1959; it collects 14 stories the authors feel have best stood the test of time since. Worth owning for Phillip Jose Farmer's The Alley Man, or Cordwainer Smith's bizarre No No, Not Rogov!, or for Alfred Bester's brilliant The Pi Man. Longtime SF readers will have encountered some of these stories before in other anthologies.


Arthur, Stephen Lawhead.

The Dragon's Carbuncle, Elizabeth Boyer

The Scroll Of Lucifer, LLoyd Arthur Eschbach.

Shadow's Realm, Mickey Zucker Reichert. Life's too short for all these interminable fantaseries.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Tue Jun 12 17:39:26 EDT 1990

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