Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Wed Sep 05 18:48:07 EDT 1990

Raymond's Reviews #81

More catch-up...August releases

%T 20/20 Vision
%A Pamela West
%I Ballantine/DelRey
%D August 1990
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 228
%G 0-345-36736-7

This novel is an original, haunting time-travel/thriller/romance story. In 2020, detective Max Caine is obsessed by hia failure to solve the murder of a young woman, a beautiful musical prodigy who had died literally in his arms in 1995. Twenty years in the future, a police archivist is investigating the case via a device which can read and sometime change the thoughts of people in past times. Suspecting Max of being the murderer himself, she arranges a meeting between the detective and her younger self. Those two, in turn, use an earlier version of the machine to probe the case in a way which reverberates down the lives of all three. If you liked James Hogan's Thrice Upon A Time, you'll love this book, and it marks Pamela West as a writer to watch.

%T The Graveyard Heart/Elegy for Angels and Dogs
%A Roger Zelazny/Walter Jon Williams
%D August 1990
%O paperback, US$3.50
%P 187
%G 0-812-50275-2

Another jewel-like early work (1964) of Zelazny's is paired with an original sequel. Both are set in a future in which the upper crust of the upper crust (the Party Set) spends most of its time in cryogenic suspension, emerging for only a few festive days a year. Their attenuated lives spin down decades of real-time, falling ever further out of step with the `real world' that worshipfully follows their adventures. These novellas use adventure-and-conflict themes to explore the hedonistic isolation of the Set, and its ultimate fate in a world evolved beyond what it can understand. Ignore the dated touches in Heart and enjoy.

%T Future Crime
%A Ben Bova
%D August 1990
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 374
%G 0-812-53241-4

Ostensibly an anthology of stories loosely themed around crime in the future, this is actually a grab-bag of Bova's old work (including one collaboration with Harlan Ellison). None of it's very good, though the spoof Vince's Dragon and Brillo (the collaboration) have some good moments. For Bova completists only.

%T Kent Montana and the Really Ugly Thing From Mars
%A Lionel Fenn
%I Berkeley/Ace
%D August 1990
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 195
%G 0-441-43535-1

The "Book One in the Outrageous New Series" is a blatant attempt to do a Craig-Shaw-Gardneresque take on the conventions of cheesy 1950s sci-fi movies. Like Gardner's stuff, one tends to laugh even as one notices how strained and desperate the reach for cheap laughs gets in spots. Fans of the Ebenezum and Cineverse books will, in fact, certainly enjoy this one. The rest of you may find it a bit ... thick.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Wed Sep 05 18:48:07 EDT 1990

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