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Raymond's Reviews #109

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 January releases #4.

%T Beyond the Gate of Worlds
%A Robert Silverberg, John Brunner, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
%I Tor
%D January 1991
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 280
%G 0-812-55444-2

"Beyond the Gate of Worlds" is a collection of three novellas set in an alternate universe in which more than half, instead of one-quarter, of Europe's population died of the Black Plague. In the twentieth century of this world, European colonization of the New World never occurred, the Industrial Revolution never took place, and the centuries-old Turkish empire is only just beginning to crumble (Shakespeare's plays, in fact, were written in Turkish). Although the novellas fail to live up to the promise implicit in this premise, they are worth reading for the glimpses they afford into a fascinating world we were fortunate to escape. [Guest reviewer: Cathy Olanich]

%T Gnome Man's Land
%A Esther Friesner
%I Ace
%D January 1991
%O paperback, US$4.50
%P 235
%G 0-441-08122-3

"Gnome Man's Land," like most of Friesner's books, is crammed to bursting with sly puns and slapstick antics by exotic "fairy" creatures. Often the juxtaposition of such antics with the daily activities of real-world humans results in side- splitting humor. This time it doesn't, possibly because Friesner chronicles for us too many of the mundane woes of her likeable adolescent hero, Tim Desmond, before moving on to the meat of the story. Still, even flawed Friesner is a better read than the efforts of many of the less skilled writers who attempt comic fantasy. (N.B. The back-cover blurb is wrong -- Tim's mother does NOT fall in love with a medieval magician in this story!) [Guest reviewer: Cathy Olanich]

%T The Tenth Class
%A Karen Ripley
%I DelRey
%D January 1991
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 300
%G 0-345-37033-3

This book reads like a sequel (possibly to the only previous novel by the author listed in the front, Prisoner Of Dreams), but it makes me want to read the prequel. Ripley's protagonist has discovered that a group of renegades is manipulating her society's genetic classification system for nefarious ends. Her lover is one of the victims, so she intends to do something about it. One welcome touch of realism is that she doesn't have to take on most of her society single-handed...

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Tue Jun 11 08:52:49 EDT 1991

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