Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Sun Sep 02 19:36:28 EDT 1990

Raymond's Reviews #76

I'm going to be doing lots of short takes for a while to catch up with summer stuff that came out either during my August vacation or the deadline crunch before it...

%T The Essence of Evil: Angel's Luck #3
%A Joe Clifford Faust
%I Del Rey/Ballantine
%D April 1990
%O pb
%P 281
%G 0-345-36089-3

This is vol 3 of an SF trilogy including Precious Cargo and Desperate Measures. The books chronicle the misadventures of a tramp-starfreighter captain with more optimism than brains and more brains than luck. Unfortunately, the world is unoriginal, the prose is tepid and the attempts at humor and suspense are weak and listless. I think it's possible that the author might grow into doing better stuff, though. Better "luck" next time, Mr. Faust.

%T Conan the Invincible
%A Robert Jordan
%D July 1990
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 284
%G 0-812-50997-8

You really can judge this book by its cover -- an inferior knockoff of Frank Frazetta's art style, jacketing an inferior knockoff of Robert E. Howard's wonderful deathless hack prose, copyright 1982 by "Conan Properties", inc. Feh. That whirring noise you hear in the background is REH's remains spinning up to around 6000rpm. Anyone with respect for his memory or a modicum of taste should avoid this turkey like the plague.

%T Cross the Stars
%A David Drake
%D July 1990
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 342
%G 0-812-50999-4

This is a reprint of one of Drake's shoot 'em, burn 'em, gas 'em mini-epics of military carnography (from 1984), strictly for those who love the smell of napalm in the morning. I like good military SF myself but this olive-drab knockoff of the Odyssey ain't it -- it suffers from weak characters, implausible worldbuilding, and constantly audible grinding noises from the primitive plot machinery. Better you should reread Bujold or Starship Troopers.

%T Phule's Company
%A Robert Asprin
%I Ace
%D July 1990
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 232
%G 0-441-66251-X

This book, advertised as the first of a series, aims to spoof military SF in much the same way the author's Skeeve books made slapstick out of fantasy cliches. Unfortunately, the results are less inventive. Oh, well. at least it's entertaining fluff.


My review of Glen Cook's The Swordbearer in RR#66 should have noted that it was a reprint of an early (1982) Cook. Thanks to Robin Bailey for pointing this out.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Sun Sep 02 19:36:28 EDT 1990

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