Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Thu Sep 27 14:47:18 EDT 1990

Raymond's Reviews #91

%T In Between Dragons
%A Michael Kandel
%I Bantam Spectra
%D September 1990
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 181
%G 0-553-28814-8

This book is...weird. Not quite the fantasy spoof the cover suggests, nor the Dickian item of psychedelia the blurb reviews imply; it's mostly stream-of-consciousness from a bright, frustrated adolescent who finds a refuge in a magic library where he can step into the worlds of the adventure books. In an effort to learn how to deal with sex (and control the insidious Erection Demon) he slips a pornographic novel onto the shelves -- only to find that its characters, the insidious Lust Kittens, have escaped its pages and are screwing up not only the other adventure worlds but `home' reality itself! What's a boy to do? This book is saved from preciousness by Kandel's wry humor and unerring ear for what it's like to be an intelligent kid trapped in a body uncontrollably fizzing with pubertal hormones. Try it for a change.

%T Mad Roy's Light
%A Paula King
%I Baen
%D September 1990
%O paperback, US$3.50
%P 275
%G 0-671-72015-5

This book is not weird at all; it's a fairly conventional space adventure with romance touches, aimed straight at McCaffrey and Lichtenberg fans. Jennan Bartlett is one of only six human members of the trading Guild that dominates Sagittarius Sector. Her joy at finally getting her first assignment as chief of a trade team is shattered when she discovers that the briefing tapes contain secret instructions to do the unthinkable; sabotage a trade. Someone has set both Jennan and the Guild up for a hard fall -- but who? Is it the D'raussa, the organized-crime syndicate? Is it the sinister aliens rumored to be in contact with them? A human trading house? And how is the stolen artifact called `Mad Roy's Light' involved? Read and find out. No masterpiece this, but it has solid writing, competent worldbuilding and quietly believable characters.

%T Echoes of the Fourth Magic
%A R. A. Salvatore
%I Roc
%D September 1990
%O pb
%P 318
%G 0-451-45029-9

Any reviewer needs to develop a high tolerance for genre crud -- but after reading about 15 pages and flipping through the rest of this dreadful turkey I found myself simply unable to go on. Galumphing grade-school prose sketches a jejune, completely derivative plot peopled by thumpingly obvious characters; the total transcends the merely bad, entering the realm of teeth-grindingly awful. The silly damn' map and pretentious, laughable glossary don't help. Shame on Roc for not bouncing the ms higher than up.

%T Dawn Song
%A Sharon Green
%I Avon
%D September 1990
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 373
%G 0-380-75453-3

Yet another female-viewpoint fantasy-romance -- looking pretty good by contrast with `Echoes of the Fourth Magic', I must say, but not recommended unless you have a particular yen for Green's brand of poniard-packin'-mama fantasies (a lady friend of mine once characterized her, cattily but accurately, as the female equivalent of John Norman). 'Nuff said.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Thu Sep 27 14:47:18 EDT 1990

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