Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Wed Sep 05 18:48:41 EDT 1990

Raymond's Reviews #80

More catch-up...August releases

%T Isle of the Dead
%A Roger Zelazny
%I Baen
%D August 1990
%O paperback, US$3.50
%P 201
%G 0-671-72011-2

Another classy reissue from Baen, this time of a 1969 novel by Zelazny that hasn't dated a bit. Francis Sandow is a world designer and one of the wealthiest humans in the galaxy. He is also, in some sense, the god Shimbo of Darktree in the elaborate pantheon of the alien Peian mystics. Now, a failed world-builder has forged an alliance with Shimbo's great enemy, the dread god Belion, and the man who has had everything must fight for his life. Zelazny fuses psionics with theology in a way satisfying on several levels. Enjoy.

%T Star Trek: The Lost Years
%A J. M. Dillard
%I Pocket Books
%D August 1990
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 440
%G 0-671-70795-7

Yawn. More Star Trek formula fiction -- same old characters, plot cut to fit a gap in the preexisting mythos, perfunctory plotting and lots of really familiar motions signifying nothing. Anyone who's seen Spock's World or The Wounded Sky or even How Much For Just The Planet knows that trekfic needn't be this boring and unoriginal. Pass on this one.

%T Alchemy Unlimited
%A Douglas W. Clark
%I Avon
%D August 1990
%O paperback, US$4.25
%P 310
%G 0-380-75726-5

This odd first novel is actually based on a cartoon strip that used to appear in a sewage-treatment newsletter. Yes, it's a fantasy that's preoccupied with waste-water reprocessing; the viewpoint character is the newly bound apprentice of the world's only hydro-alchemist. He finds himself involved in the effort to defeat a plague caused by toxic spillage of a demonic nature. The weird characters he encounters include the evil Sir Hydro Phobius (whose blazon is a dead fish), assorted tavern wenches, thugs and dotty monks, and a homosexual dragon with a thing for hot knights. Bizarre. But interesting.

%T Out of Sync
%A Isidore Haiblum
Publisher: Ballantine/Del Rey
%O paperback, US$3.95 %P 184 %G 0-345-35501-6

At his best (as in The Tzaddik Of The Seven Wonders and The Wilk Are Among Us!), Isidore Haiblum has displayed a weird inventiveness and a loopy, darkly original comic sense. This book, sadly, is not Haiblum at his best. The premise is incoherent, the plotting weak, and the denoument rushed and unconvincing. Skip this one.


Robots & Aliens #5: Maverick.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Wed Sep 05 18:48:41 EDT 1990

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