Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Fri Jan 18 16:48:25 EST 1991

Raymond's Reviews #098

%T Phoenix
%A Steven Brust
%I Berkeley/Ace
%D November 1990
%O paperback, US$4.50
%P 245
%G 0-441-66225-0

Brust's life of Vlad Taltos, a human professional assassin in a society of elves, continues to twist and turn in unexpected ways. Vlad takes a commission from his patron deity with consequences that jeopardize all the fragile security he has built up within the underworld of the Draegaran Empire. There's some sign in this book that he's beginning to learn from his mistakes...and the ending is wide open. As usual, the characterization is interesting and new facets of an odd and fascinating universe are revealed. I'll read the next one.

%T The Fortress of Eternity
%A Andrew Whitmore
%I Avon
%D November 1990
%O paperback, US$3.50
%P 251
%G 0-380-75744-3

You can judge this book by its cover. Formulaic fantasy, not redeemed by pseudo-metaphysical maunderings in the last third. Whitmore's one touch of originality -- deliberately writing a depressing heroic fantasy -- makes matters worse.

%T Venus Prime #5: The Diamond Moon
%A Paul Preuss and Arthur C. Clarke
%I Avon
%D November 1990
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 278
%G 0-380-75349-9

More SF adventure and conspiratorial skulduggery as Preuss's version of the bionic superwoman investigates an alien artifact hidden within the fifth moon of Jupiter. The gimmick in this series is that each novel is built around a recycled Arthur C. Clarke short story. In this one the seams are pretty well hidden, but the series concept is definitely getting old. We do find out more about the Prophetae, though.

%T The Mutant Season
%A Robert Silverberg & Karen Haber
%I Bantam Spectra
%D November 1990
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 289
%G 0-553-28629-3

This ho-hum political potboiler (first of a series) is set in a near future in which a 400-year-old group of psionically-gifted mutants has publicly `come out' and is attempting to deal with increasing intolerance from the `normals'. Uninteresting as SF, it seems targeted at the `bestseller' market; it contains lots of sex, skulduggery, and political power games. Yawn...

%T Insurrection
%A David Weber & Steve Wite
%I Baen Book
%D November 1990
%O paperback, US$4.50
%P 408
%G 0-671-72024-4

This is yet another plucky-colony-worlds-against-decadent-oppressive-Terra space opera, unfortunately neither as well written nor as original as last month's Fire On The Border (RR#86). But if you like lots of gaudy space battle scenes you'll enjoy it anyhow. Enough said.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Fri Jan 18 16:48:25 EST 1991

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