Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Sat Jul 20 22:25:50 EDT 1991

Raymond's Reviews #126

June 1991 catchup part 3

%T The Stress of Her Regard
%A Tim Powers
%I Ace
%D June 1991
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 470
%G 0-441-79097-6

Tim Powers proved, in The Drawing Of The Dark, The Anubis Gates, and On Stranger Tides, that no one can match his inventiveness, logic, and eye for the telling detail in historical dark fantasy. Until now, I could happily say that he just kept getting better as he went along. But I don't think this is as good as Tides; it's too dark, too long, and tends to bog down in details and subplots that don't really advance the grand design. Still, Powers on a bad day beats most other fantasists at their best. And his characterization of various historical figures such as Keats, Byron, and Shelley in conflict with the secret menace of the Nephelim, the silicon vampires who are their muses and their dooms, is unfailingly interesting.

%T Shivering World
%A Kathy Tyers
%I Bantam Spectra
%D June 1991
%O paperback, US$4.50
%P 421
%G 0-553-29051-7

It was clever of Bantam to put a plug from Lois McMaster Bujold on the cover of this book, if not quite as accurate as I'd like. Tyers aspires to Bujold's combination of hard-edged techno-verismilitude, action, and sympathetic and psychological nuance, but doesn't quite make it in the lattermost department. Not that this is a bad book; it's quite a bit better than average. The world-building is good, the plot is properly tense, and the whole turns on a most satisfactory microbiological McGuffin. It's just not as good as Bujold. But then, very little else is, either...

%T Lens of the World
%A R. A. MacAvoy
%I Avon
%D June
%O paperback, US$4.95
%P 286
%G 0-380-71016-1

Another fine fantasy from the author of Tea With A Black Dragon and The Third Eagle (RR#15) demonstrates once again MacAvoy's deft touch at characterization and her knack for subtly playing against genre expectations. Nazhuret the outcast leaves the harsh home of his boyhood to find Powl, the eccentric genius lens-grinder who educates him in a hundred fascinating, eccentric and deadly ways. Eventually, the fate of two kingdoms will hang on what he's learned. I hope we will hear more of Nazhuret's story; this feels like just the beginning.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Sat Jul 20 22:25:50 EDT 1991

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