Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Tue Jun 11 09:26:58 EDT 1991

Raymond's Reviews #110

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 February releases #1.

%T The Eye of the World
%A Robert Jordan
%D February 1990
%O paperback, US$3.95
%P 814
%G 0-812-51181-6

Yes, it's time for Yet Another Epic Quest Fantasy. Jordan's oeuvre before this consisted mainly of Conan pastiches; clearly this is his best shot at the big time, and TOR has packaged and promoted it as such. And, to be fair, it's not a bad read; more originality here than the comparable Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn (RR#41), though the writing's not as good. If you like quest fantasies to begin with, you'll enjoy this. Volume II is already out, and III presumably in the pipeline.

%T The General
%A S.M. Stirling & David Drake
%I Baen Books
%D February 1991
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 324
%G 0-671-72037-6

So here we have one of the best writers in military SF (Stirling) paired with one of the worst (Drake) and what do we get? Something in the middle...a strictly-according-to-formula plot detailing the trials of a conquering hero (Drake) set in an unusually interesting world (Stirling). Points to the duo for having coming up with an unusually clever SFnal way to rationalize the ancient motif of the warrior chosen by a higher power which, alas, can only advise, not intervene. The rest is pretty much what you'd expect; battle, battle, intrigue, battle, battle, sex scene, battle, battle, and more battle.

%T Judson's Eden
%A Keith Laumer
%I Baen Books
%D February 1991
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 379
%G 0-671-72038-4

If anyone needs evidence that Keith Laumer has degenerated into a hack with his one or two good ideas thoroughly ridden into the ground, this book would provide it. This is wretched garbage reminiscent of the worst pulpfic of the 1930s -- you won't believe either the characters, the science, the plot or the writing, and Laumer's attempt to cram the wish-fulfillment fantasies down your throat is just too obvious. Handle with insulated tongs only.

%T Krispos Rising
%A Harry Turtledove
%I DelRey
%D February 1991
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 353
%G 0-345-36118-0

This book, set in the world of Turtledove's Videssos Cycle, is well-crafted and enjoyable. And if you find the peasant-rises-to- Emperor plot implausible, consider that Videssos is a fairly close take on historical Byzantium in which such things happened more than once! Never mind that this is packaged as book one of a trilogy; buy it and have fun.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Tue Jun 11 09:26:58 EDT 1991

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