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Raymond's Reviews #118

%T Smart Dragons, Foolish Elves
%A Alan Dean Foster and Martin Greenberg (eds)
%I Ace
%D April 1991
%O paperback, US$4.95,
%P 339
%G 0-441-18481-2

This anthology of humorous fantasy offers a lot more substance and variety than most of its type. One story --- Harvey Jacobs's rumbustious The Egg Of The Glak from 1960 --- is worth the price of admission all by itself. Esther Friesner's Up The Wall is also particularly notable. The rest of the contents divides between oft-reanthologized minor classics like Avram Davidson's Or The Grasses Grow and weaker material like George Alec Effinger's Unferno. There isn't a complete turkey in the bunch, thank goodness. Fun stuff; enjoy.

%T The Harriers
%A Gordon Dickson
%I Baen
%D April 1991
%O paperback, US$4.50
%P 258
%G 0-671-72048-1

Grind, grind, grind, crank, crank, crank -- here comes another neatly packaged slug of military SF to fill out Baen's monthly quota of the stuff. Three novellas: one by Dickson with (of all people) Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, one by Steve Perry, one by S. N. Lewitt. The standout for me was Perry's, an atmospheric down-and-dirty piece that makes the most of Perry's gift for vividly described action and his fascination with Oriental martial arts. If military SF is your thing, buy the book for that one.

%T Random Factor
%A Joel Henry Sherman
%I DelRey
%D April 1991
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 329
%G 0-345-36226-8

If you're anything like me, the kind of book that begins with a description of a long-dormant alien battle-fleet awakening in a distant star-cluster to its role in a sinister Grand Design is the kind that sends a happy thrill of anticipation through you as you settle deeper into your chair in preparation for a good read. Yes, space-operatic splendor is not dead. Joel Sherman ain't Doc Smith or David Brin, but he delivers competent entertainment and the required mix of action, gadgetry, and bizarre alien biologies on a big screen.

%T Facets
%A Walter John Williams
%D April 1991
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 370
%G 0-812-50181-0

This showcase anthology proves that the author of the excellent Hardwired and Angel Station (RR#53) can write short fiction just as effectively. These stories have the feral energy and imaginative vividness of the best cyberpunk, but reveal as well a more introspective strain reminiscent of Samuel Delany's better work. They are disturbing and challenging, posing uncomfortable questions and sometimes answering them with ruthless clarity. Highly recommended.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Tue Jun 25 17:14:20 EDT 1991

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