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Raymond's Reviews #148

%T Red Genesis
%A S. C. Sykes
%I Bantam Spectra
%D August 1991
%O paperback, US$4.99
%P 360
%G ISBN 0-553-28874-1

This novel starts off slow, but builds up to a pretty tasty simmer once it gets going. Graham Kuan Sinclair, multibillionaire child of privilege, is framed for ecocide and mass murder and exiled to the struggling colonies on the planet Mars. As he tours the multiple cultures that have sprung up around different roles in the work of taming the Red Planet, he begins to have a catalytic role beyond anything his jailers have foreseen. Or is it? Because Mars, it develops, is the ultimate sociological test-tube. And someone is watching...

%T The Great Work of Time
%A John Crowley
%I Bantam Spectra
%D August 1991
%O paperback, US$3.99
%P 136
%G ISBN 0-553-29319-2

Why this little book won the 1990 World Fantasy Award I cannot fathom. It's beautifully written, but incoherent, precious, and self-consciously artsy to the point of nausea. I guess what offends me most about it is that Crowley's "orthogonal logic" of time-travel doesn't seem to work, and he either doesn't know or doesn't care that it doesn't work. This is the kind of novel that makes me want to yell "Keep SF in the gutter where it belongs!" Highly dis-recommended.

%T Nightfall
%A Isaac Asimov
%A Robert Silverberg
%I Bantam
%D September 1991
%O paperback, US$4.99
%P 338
%G ISBN 0-553-29099-1

Asimov's classic short story Nightfall is not improved by being spun out to novel length. Unless you're a true completist, pass on this disappointing piece of poorly-written puffery.

%T Red Orc's Rage
%A Phillip Jose Farmer
%D September
%O clothbound, US$18.95
%P 282
%G ISBN 0-312-85036-0

This novel is an odd appendix to Farmer's unfinished Tiers books. Jim Grimson, troubled child of an abusive father in a fictional version of our world, enters a form of therapy modelled on actual therapeutic experiments in our world in which he imagines (or astrally projects?) his way into Farmer's world. Confused enough yet? Actually, it all seems to function largely as an excuse for Farmer to give us some early history of the series villain, Red Orc. Along the way, Farmer cuts enough cute meta-fictional capers to make any member of the Modern Language Association swoon with delight. What the heck, if you're a Tiers fan buy it anyhow. In paperback.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Fri Jan 17 18:17:01 EST 1992

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