Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Mon Sep 24 12:45:31 EDT 1990

Raymond's Reviews #89

%T Down the Stream of Stars
%A Jeffrey A. Carver
%I Bantam Spectra
%D September 1990
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 355
%G 0-553-28302-2

This sequel to From A Changeling Star has less imaginative reach but, unfortunately, the same pulpy overwritten feel. This is a shame, as some of Carver's speculations about the impact of very advanced "virtual reality" computer interfaces and nanotechnology were quite interesting. But those aren't followed up; instead we get yet another cute-little-girl-and-her- fuzzy-animal-friend-save-the-starship novel. This might succeed as a juvenile, but doesn't seem to be aimed that way.

%T Polar City Blues
%A Katherine Kerr
%I Bantam Spectra
%D September 1990
%O paperback, US$4.50
%P 262
%G 0-553-28504-1

This first SF novel by the author of Darkspell, Daggerspell, and The Bristling Wood (see RR#74) is a treat. The viewpoint characters are a cop and his smuggler friend investigating a murder on the streets of Polar City, capitol of a human republic sandwiched precariously between two rather nasty alien-dominated empires. The victim, it begins to seem, was out spying for one, and quite possibly killed by a psionic assassin from the other; the incident could start a shooting war that could grind the republic into dust. But there are other, wierder things going on, too; someone's found the body of one of an unknown species of alien buried with a mysterious artifact in a shantytown, and is spreading a weird plague in the city. Somehow, this ties in with the murder -- and, perhaps, the only hope of avoiding utter destruction. There's a fine knotty puzzle here, set up in classic thriller/mystery style and lent extra flavor by the SF setting. Also, feminists will enjoy the neat reversal of expected roles in the book's romantic subplot. Recommended.

%T Shadowspeer
%A Jo Clayton
%D September 1990
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 342
%G 0-88677-441-1

This sequel to Shadowplay (RR#48) shares its virtues (evocative worldbuilding, sensuous and energetic prose) and its faults (a fairly predictable plot). Shadith and her friends, tracking Ginbiryol Seyirshi, land on the world of Chissoku Bogmak with a plan to kidnap one of the clients for his genocidal "Special Editions" and use their depraved victim to backtrack to the master himself. Needless to say, not all goes according to plan -- because their victim has been warned. Fun stuff, lots of derring-do and twisty plotting. Recommended, but with the caveat that it ends on a cliffhanger for book 3.


Once again, a glut of fantasy followups -- this time including Dare To Go A Hunting, the sequel to Flight In Yiktor by Andre Norton, and Mossflower, the prequel to Redwall by Brian Jacques. The latter looks on a casual flip-through as though it might have some redeeming social value, especially for kids; but so much stuff came in that I don't have time to read it and do a review.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Mon Sep 24 12:45:31 EDT 1990

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