Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Tue Jul 02 14:22:10 EDT 1991

Raymond's Reviews #119

Some March 1991 leftovers and more April...

%T Robot Visions
%A Isaac Asimov
%D March 1991
%O paperback, US$4.99
%P 482
%G 0-451-45064-7

This book collects most of Asimov's positronic-robot short stories ("Catch That Rabbit!" and "Escape!", both anthologized in I Robot, are missing). No further recommendation ought to be necessary; these are classics of the field. If you've never read them, you have a treat in store. If you have, buy this to have them collected in one place. As a bonus, it includes a number of interesting nonfiction essays by Asimov on robotics and his robot stories.

%T The Fall of Hyperion
%A Dan Simmons
%I Bantam
%D March 1991
%O paperback, US$6.95
%P 517
%G 0-553-28820-2

This isn't exactly a sequel to last year's terrific Hyperion; they are parts one and two of a meganovel which is unquestionably one of the best large-screen SF epics of the last decade. There's so much good stuff in these novels that I'm not even going to try to synopsize them -- just urge you to buy them and prepare to be delighted, provoked, thrilled, stimulated, challenged, and entertained. Incredible stuff, up there with the best work being done in hard SF today.

%T Forsake the Sky
%A Tim Powers
%D April 1991
%O paperback, US$2.95
%P 217
%G 0-812-54973-2

This revised edition of a 1976 Laser Book is a fluffy bit of Sabatini pastiche that one can enjoy as pure fun. But there's something else of interest here; this was the first novel of the man who's since become the best historical fantasist writing today, author of The Drawing Of The Dark, The Anubis Gates, and On Stranger Tides. This look at Powers's style in embryo should especially intrigue fans of his later books.

%T Down the Bright Way
%A Robert Reed
%I Bantam
%D April 1991
%O paperback, US$4.50
%P 312
%G 0-553-28923-3

The plot centered on human attempts to make sense of a universe studded with the artifacts of godlike Makers is a venerable SF trope, providing an equivalent of creation myths for the post-religious world. In this novel the author finds a new change to ring on the theme; Earth itself is an artifact, with a million counterparts along a hyperspatial highway called the Bright Way. Myriad variants of humanity have been touched by the quest for the Makers; now the initiator of that quest has come to Earth --- and encounters the first serious threat to her mission in the two million years of her extended lifespan. For, at the other end of the explored Way, a terrible threat has arisen, bringing with it a fundamental challenge to the ethic of the quest. You may disagree with the conclusion of the book (I did) but you will find Reed's vision compelling and thought-provoking.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Tue Jul 02 14:22:10 EDT 1991

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