Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Wed Sep 05 18:49:01 EDT 1990

Raymond's Reviews #79

More catch-up...August releases start here

%T Annual World's Best SF
%A Donald A. Wollheim
%D August 1990
%O paperback, US$4.50
%P 341
%G 0-88677-424-1

This year, it's not. It leads off with a short-story length retread of Gregory Benford's Great Sky River and continues with far too many pretentious `message' stories -- some of which (like Lisa Tuttle's In Translation and Brian Aldiss's North Of The Abyss) completely collapse under their load of significance. The brightest spot is perhaps Orson Scott Card's Dogwalker, followed closely by Judith Moffett's Not Without Honor, Barrington J. Bailey's bizarre Death Ship and a couple of slick pieces by Robert Silverberg. There's enough here to make the book worth buying, but 'ware turkeys.

%T Silent Dances
%A A. C. Cripin and Kathleen O'Malley
%I Ace
%D July 1990
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 275
%G 0-441-78330-9

Book Two in the `Starbridge' series demonstrates once again that earnest novels with uplifting politically correct subtexts about special people from minorities tend to collapse under the weight of their own good intentions. The premise for the series -- that it's the chronicles of an academy for young first-contact specialists -- could have been made into some excellent and subtle young-adult novels. Instead, in this, we get affirmative-action preachiness (the protagonist is -- get this -- a deaf Amerind woman) unredeemed by much in the way of real ethical challenge or innovative world-building or even un-obvious plot twists. How special.

%T The Interior Life
%A Katherine Blake
%I Baen
%D Aug 1990
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 313
%G 0-671-72010-4

Another lone-woman-against-the-Dark fantasy -- but in this one the Dark has an ecology and a psychological dimension absent from most such. Housewife Sue finds she is living two lives which interpenetrate in odd ways, one of them in a magic-using fantasy world where she is the earthy handmaiden of a great sorceress. Remarkable characterization and an understated message about the possibilities of personal growth make this a far better novel than most of its ilk.

%T TekWar
%A William Shatner
%I Ace
%D Aug 1990
%O paperback, US$4.50
%P 307
%G 0-441-80208-7

The man who was Kirk gives us a competent but undistinguished SF thriller. Jake Cardigan, a cop in future California framed for dealing the addictive brain stimulant `Tek', is sprung early to take on a special case with a buddy who's gone private. It's his chance to nail the man who sent him to the slammer, if he lives. The best things about this novel are the unexpected touches of humor and odd detail in it; the scene where a Hollywood parasite's holo-projected house disappears behind him because he's failed to keep up the payments is particularly nice. Pick it up used.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Wed Sep 05 18:49:01 EDT 1990

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