Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Tue Sep 11 14:15:40 EDT 1990

Raymond's Reviews #85

More September catchup...

%T Conan The Indomitable
%A Steve Perry
%D September 1990
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 273
%G 0-812-50860-2

Yes, it's Yet Another Conan Pastiche. This one's better than most (and a lot better than the last one to come out, see RR#76) as it actually includes a few moments of humor and wit. Perry (author of The 97th Step, RR#5) demonstrates once again that he can turn out an unusually well executed brand of ultimate-warrior hackery.

%T Expecting Someone Taller
%A Tom Holt
%I Berkeley/Ace
%D September 1990
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 232
%G 0-441-2232-X

This wry, funny fantasy makes me want to go out and find a copy of the author's previous, Who's Afraid Of Beowulf. It tells us the story of what happens when sweet-souled, nebbishy Malcolm Fisher runs over a magic badger and finds himself possessor of the Ring of the Nibelungs and putative Master of the World. This is a big change for the world -- you see, the Ring has never been borne by anybody nice before. Very shortly he finds his quiet life intruded on by the Norse gods (a tedious, petulant lot, most of them) Alberich the Ring-Maker (now a rather bourgeois geologist with a really chronic case of indigestion) and the three beautiful Rhinedaughters (gorgeous, predatory cosmic beach-bunnies who've been scheming to get the Ring back for over a thousand years). The results are completely delightful and not a bit tragic -- check your Wagner at the door and enjoy.

%T Fugue State/The Death of Dr. Island
%A John M. Ford/Gene Wolfe
%D September 1990
%O paperback, US$3.50
%P 121pp/62pp
%G 0-812-50813-0

The Death Of Dr. Island is a gripping, eerie speculation on the nature of insanity that works as a dramatic construction; Fugue State is an equally compelling speculation on sanity that doesn't! The denoument depends on the assumption that Berkeley and the Hindus were right, that `reality' is an epiphenomenon of consciousness. Now, regardless of the philosophical status of this idea, using it as an `explanation' in fiction is a cop-out only a little more sophisticated than "and then he woke up." So I'd say pass on this mismatched pair; go find a copy of The Death Of Dr. Island And Other Stories And Other Stories and enjoy that.


Icehenge (Kim Stanley Robinson), and Skyfall (Harry Harrison). Reissues -- and I thought they were boring the first time around.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Tue Sep 11 14:15:40 EDT 1990

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