Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Fri Sep 27 22:54:24 EDT 1991

Raymond's Reviews #142

%T Black Sun
%A Robert Leininger
%I Avon
%D September 1991
%O paperback, US$
%P 309
%G ISBN 0-380-76012-6

This is a better-than-average end-of-the-world novel. Yes, we get the usual Hobbesian cliches of desperate mass violence, the breakdown of society and the pyrotechnic deaths of great cities. But the science is unusually good (the author clearly knows and loves solar physics). And the focus is really on the two rather Heinleinian lead characters; one could almost call this a romance. The growing sexual tension between them carries more energy than the whole rest of the action put together. Good one for the beach; read it when the heat seems a bit oppressive...

%T Riverrun
%A S. P. Somtow
%I Avon
%D September 1991
%O paperback, US$3.99
%P 259
%G ISBN 0-380-75925-X

Having the kind of florid, mythic, over-the-top imagination and prose style this author does tends to make writing something of a crapshoot. Yoked to the right premise and disciplined with a sense of proportion, it can produce heart-stunning masterpieces of beauty. When the writer is careless or sloppy, the result is a turgid and cloying mess. Somtow gave us the positive extreme in the Inquestor novels and elsewhere; in this one, sadly, we see the negative. The careful world-building that usually underpins his gorgeous fancies is entirely absent in this bathetic, self-indulgent fantasy of wizards dreaming the universe into existence and a troubled human boy who holds the balance of power brtween them. I couldn't make myself finish it.

%T Holocaust Horror
%S Multants Amok
%V Volume 4
%A Mark Grant 
%I Avon
%D September 1991
%O paperback, US$2.99
%P 196
%G ISBN 0-380-76192-0 

"Holocaust Horror" demonstrates that Mark Grant, whose leaden pen spouted the hilariously purple phrases that kept us laughing through Mutants Amok Numbers 1, 2, and 3 is finally learning how to use the English language. Unfortunately, his sudden improvement in writing style actually detracts from the reader's enjoyment. Without the ridiculously bad language to add needed humor, his hackneyed plot line, sexist assumptions, and gore-splattered descriptions of carnage merely result in a trite and revolting account of how a handful of heroes save the world from nuclear holocaust. Do yourself a favor and give this one a miss. [CCO]

RECEIVED BUT NOT REVIEWED: Stronghold (Melanie Rawn); Elven Star volume 2, Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman; The Mutant Season (Karen Haber); The Prime Directive (Judith and Garfield Reese-Stevens). All clearly bloody awful followups to stuff that had no redeeming value the first time around.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Fri Sep 27 22:54:24 EDT 1991

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