Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Tue Sep 11 14:15:29 EDT 1990

Raymond's Reviews #84

September catchup starts here...

%T The Fleet #5: Total War
%A David Drake & Bill Fawcett (editors)
%I Berkeley/Ace
%D September 1990
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 278
%G 0-441-24093-3

Bletch. This is low-end generic military fiction -- just the kind of tepid mess you'd expect from a series that'd outlived its time and wasn't very interesting or original to begin with (I checked; I went out and bought "The Fleet #1" and forced myself through it). Makes a funny contrast with...

%T The Vor Game
%A Lois McMaster Bujold
%I Baen
%D September 1990
%O paperback, US$4.50
%P 345
%G 0-671-72014-7

Ms. Bujold just copped the novella Hugo award for The Mountains Of Mourning (see RR#12), and with The Vor Game demonstrates yet again why she's been the focus of such popular and critical acclaim. The first part of this novel appeared in Analog as The Weatherman, chronicling Miles Vorkosigan's first assignment out of the Academy. After the confrontation with mad General Metzov triggers a career-wrecking scandal, Miles is assigned to Intelligence under Simon Illyan. During a routine evaluation mission at Hegen Hub he encounters a runaway Emperor and is forced (yes, forced) back into command of the Dendarii Mercenaries. And then there's the little matter of a Cetagandan invasion fleet...this is seriously fun stuff, abetted by Bujold's usual ironic humor and intelligence. It even includes a timeline of Miles's career to date and a (sadly, not well executed) map of the wormhole net near Barrayar. Don't miss.

%T New Destinies IX
%E Jim Baen
%I Baen
%D September 1990
%O paperback, US$3.50
%P 286
%G 0-671-72016-3

Jim Baen's pet bookazine continues to serve up a thought-provoking mix of hard SF and science fact. I think it's in bad taste for him to hype himself on the back cover as the new John W. Campbell, but it is surely the case that the material is squarely in the hard-sf tradition of the old Astounding/Analog. Highlights in this issue include Michael Flynn's Werehouse, a revival of Pournelle's old A Step Farther Out column from Galaxy, and a very stimulating piece on energy budgets and history from S. M. Stirling.

%T The Ice Beast
%A Frank A. Javor
%D September 1990
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 224
%G 0-88677-443-8

This sequel to Scor-Sting (see RR#40) isn't quite as likeable; maybe Javor ought to quit while he's ahead. This time Eli Pike lands on a very cold desolate rockball, seeking the racing beasts his dead buddy Harry Judd had passed him rumors of. He finds it -- and, of course, a whole load of trouble. Because the people who keep the beasts definitely don't want to be found. More competently executed first-person-gritty, with lots of cartoony violence among the high snowfields of Thul. A read-once for adventure-SF fans.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Tue Sep 11 14:15:29 EDT 1990

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