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Raymond's Reviews #94

%T Surface Action
%A David Drake
%I Ace
%D October 1990
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 236
%G 0-441-36375-X

More perfunctorily-plotted carnography from the author of Cross The Stars (RR#66) and Killer (RR#76). Not helped at all by a sententious afterword that claims this book was erected on the `mythic foundation' of 1940s SF. Pass on this one.

%T Another Day, Another Dungeon
%A Greg Costikyan
%D October 1990
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 341
%G 0-812-50140-3

This debut is what you'd expect from one of the coauthors of the late lamented SPI's `Sword and Sorcery' game -- D&D-influenced humorous fantasy with a bunch of references to the infamous `Slobbovia' Diplomacy variant campaign thrown in. Yes, I know, that reference went right by most of you -- and so, sadly, will most of the in-jokes in this book. Ah well, it's fairly enjoyable even without them -- but don't mistake it for state of the art.

%T Matrix Man
%A William C. Dietz
%I Roc
%D October 1990
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 251
%G 0-451-45035-3

Few things frustrate the serious SF fan more than a good idea wasted in a ho-hum plot. Matrix Man has one good idea (the Video Matrix Generator, a computer-animation device that can fake video `news' sequences indistinguishable from reality). Dietz then proceeds to waste this wonderful McGuffin on a an utterly predictable shoot-em-up in which ace newshawk Rex Corvan saves the world from a very Bondian baddy. The results are strictly junk reading.

%T The Tower of Fear
%A Glen Cook
%D October 1988
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 375
%G 0-812-50929-3

Once again Glen Cook's film-noirish fantasy style delivers a solid, stimulating entertainment -- a tale of intrigue, treachery and dark magic within the conquered city of Qushmarrah. As usual for this author, a large element of the interest lies in the moral ambiguities the book explores. The guerillas of the Living (the Qushmarran resistence) have made a demon's bargain with those who wish to resurrect Nakar the Abomination, the undying warlock who once held the city in thrall. The Herodian conquerors loot Qushmarrah and ravage the timber groves that sustain its industries, but bring the lower classes more stability and prosperity than they'd ever known. The Dartar, their allies, were once betrayed by Qushmarrah. Who are the heroes? Who are the villains? Read this book, and decide for yourself.


"Davy" by Edgar Pangborn (reissue of a sentimental classic from 1964).

"The Blood of Ten Chiefs 4: Against The Wind" Richard Pini (ed).

"The Deathgate Cycle II: Eleven Star" by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman.

"Dragonstar I: Stronghold" by Melanie Rawn.

"The World at the End of Time" by Frederik Pohl. A good one, but I'll wait for the paperback to do the review.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Tue Nov 27 14:11:37 EST 1990

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