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Raymond's Reviews #168

%T Across Realtime
%A Vernor Vinge
%I Baen
%D December 1991
%O paperback, US$
%P 545
%G ISBN 0-671-72098-8

Another worthy reprint from Baen collects all of Vinge's terrific "bobble" stories in one volume. The Peace War, Marooned In Realtime, and the hard-to-find bridge novella The Ungoverned. These are the books that introduced Vinge's seminal prediction of "the Singularity" to SF, his notion of the speed of technological change and human intelligence increase accelerating into a regime incomprehensible to anything preceding it. If you haven't already read these, you owe it to yourself to do so; they're one of the great achievements of hard SF's last decade.

%T The Red Tape War
%A Jack L. Chalker
%A Mike Resnick
%A George Alec Effinger
%D December 1991
%O paperback, US$
%P 244
%G ISBN 0-812-51282-0

What happens when three accomplished SF authors sit down to write the genre equivalent of Naked Came The Stranger? Read this and find out. The three have no end of fun spoofing themselves, each other, and every SF cliche in sight. The result is riotous, extremely silly, and lots of fun.

%T Wild Magic
%A Jo Clayton
%D December 1991
%O paperback, US$4.99
%P 364
%G 0-88677-496-9

Jo Clayton's well-known skills with dialect shine through in "Wild Magic", a tale about a society caught in a battle between a powerful young goddess and a declining smith-god. As usual with Clayton's fiction, it is filled with dramatic imagery and vivid confrontations. Unfortunately, unlike her best work, it relies a little too strongly on the reader's ability to discern the nature of the society in which the story is set from context and poetic clues. Despite this flaw, the book is still a good read. [CCO]

%T Dragon Season
%A Michael Cassutt
%D December 1991
%O paperback, 247 pp, US$4.99
%G 0-182-50392-9

In "Dragon Season," Michael Cassutt gives us a clever, superficial, yet charming fantasy about an Air Force lieutenant who falls in love with a young woman from a nearby alternate universe where the Creator exists in flesh and blood and technology is indistinguishable from prayer. Cassutt writes well enough to suggest that he may produce more meaty works after he tires of playing with clever plot gimmicks such as those in this book. [CCO]

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