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Raymond's Reviews #96

%T Delta Pavonis
%A Eric Kotani & John Maddox Roberts
%I Baen
%D October 1990
%O paperback, US$3.50
%P 250
%G 0-671-72020-1

This sequel to the pair's Island Worlds books is a formula young-explorer- makes-good novel (plucky female protagonist sub-variety). Nicely executed, though; amusing in spots and with the right levels of escapist adventure, romance and background-building to make a fun light read.

%T The Fortress of the Pearl
%A Michael Moorcock
%I Ace Fantasy
%D December 1990
%O paperback, US$4.50
%P 212pp
%G 0-441-24866-7

"The Fortress of the Pearl", Moorcock's eighth novel about Elric of Melnibone, is a startling departure from what we've come to expect from the Eternal Champion novels. No, Elric still has Stormbringer, the black soul-drinking sword, and he still uses it when pressed. But in this tale, he sets forth on a quest to free a girl who is held in bondage by her own dreams -- instead of merely attempting to pass by without wreaking harm. This Moorcockian take on "Sleeping Beauty" weds mythographic depth to some of the best background building he's ever done. Probably the best Elric novel to date, unless you take offense at having that particular Eternal Champion avatar acting like a traditional good guy. [Contributed by guest reviwer Cathy Olanich]

%T Sunder, Eclipse & Seed
%A Elyse Guttenberg
%I Roc Fantasy
%D December 1990
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 351
%G 0-451-45046-9

The plot "Sunder, Eclipse, & Seed", the beginning of yet another fantasy trilogy, unfolds slowly, and rings only modest changes on familiar fantasy themes: the (apparent) fading of the good gods' magics, and the machinations of the priesthood to obscure this fact; the heroine's quest to learn how to use ancient magical relics to defeat the archetypal evil god. What sets this otherwise ordinary novel apart is Elyse Guttenberg's talent for drawing believeable and compelling characters. All of her female characters are strong and clearly drawn, and her pragmatic and thoughtful heroine, Calyx, is an especially appealing figure. If Guttenberg ever decides to turn as much care to plot development, she may well produce a masterpiece. [Contributed by guest reviwer Cathy Olanich]

%T In honor of Isaac Asimov: Foundation's Friends
%A Martin H. Greenberg
%D October 1990
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 464
%G 0-812-50980-3

There's been a fad recently for "tribute" anthologies in which a bunch of authors or fans who are connected in some way to an SF `big name' write stories in that author's best-known universe. It its worst this produces tired pastiches of the honoree's style; at its best, excellent writing and fascinating new angles on worlds we've come to take for granted. Happily, this anthology is one of the better ones. Orson Scott Catd's concluding novella `The Originist' is worth the price of admission by itself. Enjoy.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Tue Dec 04 14:11:19 EST 1990

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