Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Wed Oct 31 18:01:33 EST 1990

Raymond's Reviews #92

Finishing off the September catchup...

%T Knight of Shadows
%A Roger Zelazny
%I Avon
%D September 1990
%O paperback, US$3.95
%G 0-380-75501-7

And it's grind, clank, grind as Zelazny churns out another volume in a series that should have been left to expire peacefully five years ago. Not that the first four Amber books weren't a lot of fun in their way; I liked them. The trouble is Zelazny keeps changing the rules, or maybe can't decide what they are. The effect is a lot like one of the old Doc Smith space operas, where you get pseudo-resolutions followed by some character wheeling in a whole new set of physical laws and restarting the same old fireworks at a higher level. After three or four rounds of this one's sense of wonder starts to flag, unavoidably. So with Zelazny. Out of plot twists? Fine -- introduce another unexplained super-artifact or level of pseudo- metaphysical complication to your fantasy and have at it. Internal consistency? Economy of concept? What's that you say? Confirmed Amber fans will enjoy; anyone who hasn't read the previous books will be bewildered; I was bored.

%T Revenge of the Fluffy Bunnies
%A Craig Shaw Gardner
%I Ace
%D September 1990
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 216
%G 0-441-71833-7

This, following "Slaves of the Volcano God" and "Bride of the Slime Monster", finishes off "The Cineverse Cycle". It's more of the sort of camp humor and gleefully cliche-ridden slapstick readers of the earlier books will expect, sort of a fantasy equivalent of the immortal "50 Worst Movies Of All Time". Can Roger Gordon, in his new identity as Captain Crusader, defeat the minions of the infamous Doctor Dread and reverse the Change that has villains winning and entertainment losing all over the Cineverse? Will he ever extricate his beloved Delores from the nauseating clutches of Edward the Slime Monster? And what about Dwight the Wonder Dog? Read this to find out. I enjoyed it, but the prose was definitely heavy-handed and the ending kind of flat. Others less willing to forgive poor writing in the service of high camp might find it irredeemably lame.

%T Lord Conrad's Lady
%A Leo Frankowski
%I Ballantine/Del Rey
%D September 1990
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 296
%G 0-345-36849-5

With this book Frankowski's Crosstime Engineer series finally lurches to a close. Most of the author's effort in this one seems to have gone to rescuing himself from the charge of unbelievably regressive sexism justified by the other four books. He doesn't succeed, and the series as a whole is going to offend the crap out of anyone who dislikes seeing women treated as disposable sexual conveniences. But the engineering bits are so interesting, dammit! I'm glad I get these free and don't have to reward him for them, though...


"The Boy From The Burren" by Sheila Gilluly; "Night-Threads" by Ru Emerson, "Ther Fire's Stone" by Tanya Huff. Two first-of-series fantasies and one of the all-too-rare standalones. All three look formulaic and boring.

"Tarzan of The Apes", by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Another reissue. That's OK.

"Singularities" by W.T. Quick. SF, but...too many sequels, too little time.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Wed Oct 31 18:01:33 EST 1990

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