Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Mon Jul 22 17:16:07 EDT 1991

Raymond's Reviews #101

I've been busy with my own book for months now, but I'm finally out from under and Raymond's Reviews will start appearing regularly once again -- but mostly short takes until I catch up. This is December releases #3.

%T Pyramids
%A Terry Pratchett
%D December 1990
%O paperback, US$4.50
%P 247
%G 0-451-45044-2

Terry Pratchett is the funniest writer in fantasy, and the Discworld books (of which this is one) are what earned him that palm. When you buy this one, be sure to purchase an analgesic with it, because your sides are going to hurt before you've finished reading. Recommended enthusiastically.

%T Rama II
%A Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee
%I Bantam Spectra
%D December 1990
%O paperback, US$5.95
%P 466
%G 0-553-28658-7

Once again, Clarke does what Clarke does well...the hard-science epic on a big scale. This, of course, is a sequel to Rendezvous With Rama; the Ramans' second worldship has entered the Solar System, and this time humans are better prepared to investigate it. Lee's presence seems to inject a bit more color and characterization into the mix than we'd find in Clarke's (rather bloodless) solo work. If explanations for the marvels seem a bit thin on the ground...well, it's the middle volume of a trilogy. Enjoy, and look out for the sequel.

%T The Mask of Loki
%A Roger Zelazny & Thomas T. Thomas
%I Baen
%D December 1990
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 340
%G 0-671-72021-X

This is a bizarre, original and well-written fantasy novel with a serious structural flaw. The authors give us a gripping tale of a mystical battle spanning centuries and lives, a conflict that pits a line of near-immortal wizards against the agents of chaos unbound. Unfortunately, although the plot resolves, the universe never does. The revelation we've been set up to expect, the rules behind the logic of this deadly intrigue, are never revealed; thus, the denoument and everything that precedes it seems arbitrary, forced, unreal at the end. This is frustrating because this book was almost a masterpiece; as it is, it's got Amberitis (see RR#92). Too bad...

%T The Ring of Charon
%A Roger MacBride Allen
%D December 1990
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 500
%G 0-812-53014-4

If you like a healthy megadose of space-opera now and again, as I do, this book is for you. Astounding super-science, planet-wrecking cataclysms, an overwhelming alien menace -- this book has got it all. And there's more coming (this is just volume I). Enjoy!

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Mon Jul 22 17:16:07 EDT 1991

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