Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Thu Sep 06 10:41:30 EDT 1990

Raymond's Reviews #82

More catch-up...finishing the August releases

%T Metrognome
%A Alan Dean Foster
%I Ballantine/DelRey
%D August 1990
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 243
%G 0-345-36356-6

A mixed bag of SF, horror and fantasy reprints by Alan Dean Foster from the magazines and various previous anthologies. I didn't find it as good as his earlier With Friends Like These and Who Needs Enemies. Too much horror, for one thing (but that could be just me) and too many slight pieces that read like finger exercises on fairly obvious gimmicks. For Foster completists only.

%T The Man-Kzin Wars III
%A Niven/Pournelle/Stirling/Anderson
%I Baen
%D August 1990
%O paperback, US$4.50
%P 310
%G 0-671-72008-2

More hard-SF writers romping in Niven's `Known Space' -- with (mirabile dictu) a new Known-Space lead story from Niven himself! The second story is a collaboration between Jerry Pournelle and rising star S. M. Stirling. It gives us our best look yet at Slaver psychology, presenting them as sinister clowns so specialized on their mental coercive powers that they're not even very bright. Anderson provides a satisfying finish with the further adventures of Hans Saxtorph against the Kzin. Fun stuff for Known-Space fans and anybody who likes traditional adventure & military hard SF. Recommended.

%T The Warlock Rock
%A Christopher Stasheff
%I Ace
%D August 1990
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 275
%G 0-441-87313-8

There are few ordeals more teeth-gritting for a reviewer than reading the nth volume of a series that has clearly outlasted its original magic and is transparently being milked for bucks by an author writing successively tireder self-parodies. Stasheff reached that point with the Warlock books some time back. The most this one has going for it is a raft of groaner puns about rock music, and even those are smothered under several tons of gooey cutesiness. If you liked the first couple Warlock books as much as I did, do yourself a favor and don't read this one.

%T The Stone Dogs
%A S. M. Stirling
%I Baen
%D August 1990
%O paperback, US$4.50
%P 522
%G 0-671-72009-0

As good and gripping as S. M. Stirling has been in the first two Draka novels (Marching Through Georgia and Under The Yoke) this one comes as a bit of a disappointment. The final confrontation between the slaveholding Draka and the Alliance for Democracy is weakly plotted and the ending is disappointing -- that is, we don't get to see the Draka nuked into a thin glaze as they so richly deserve. One gets the uncomfortable feeling Stirling is setting up for another sequel. Oh, well. The world-building is still top-notch and the book worth a read to find out how it all came out.


The Folk Of The Fringe (Orson Scott Card) Sorry, I couldn't face another dose of Card's confused religiosity and obsession with his Mormon origins.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Thu Sep 06 10:41:30 EDT 1990

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