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Raymond's Reviews #172

%T A Troubling Along the Border 
%A Donald Aamodt
%I Avon
%D December 1991 
%O paperback, US$4.50 
%P 275
%G ISBN 0-380-75827-X 

Normally, I would expect a novel like "A Troubling Along the Border," which is inhabited by a wise old desert scout, an incompetent sorceror, an arrogant teenaged shaman growing into her powers, and a soldier recruited from our world by a lustful goddess, to be a boring mishmosh of the worst fantasy cliches. Yet instead it is a good read, because these hackeneyed roles are not carelessly reworked but are animated by believable, intesteting characters, who react to each other in surprising ways and are not quite what they seem to be. The holes in their backgrounds, however, reveal too clearly that this book is a sequel, so try to read the previous volume, "A Name to Conjure With," first. [CCO]

%T Yvgenie
%A C.J. Cherryh
%I Del Rey
%D November 1991
%O clothbound, US$19.00
%P 280
%G ISBN 0-345-36784-7

Yvegenie is the conclusion to the Russian fantasy series begun by Cherryh in Rusalka (see RR#158) and continued in Chernovog. Everything I've previously said about these books applies. [CCO]

%T Remaking History
%A Kim Stanley Robinson
%D December 1991
%O paperback, US$18.95
%P 274
%G ISBN 0-312-85126-X

Uh oh, Kim Stanley Robinson's trying to be an artiste again. I've commented before (RR#65) that this debilitating disease of young writers is one to which he seems particularly prone. The result is a collection of atmospheric, well-written meditations that may hit big with the literary-merit mafia but have almost nothing to do with SF and abandon its traditional virtues. To be fair, the one exception (Sensitive Dependence On Initial Conditions) is a spectacularly good SF story...original, gripping, and experimental in a way that succeeds brilliantly. But I found the rest pointless and/or boring, often intolerably so. Caveat emptor.


A Matter Of Taste, by Fred Saberhagen (TOR). Yet Another Vampire Novel.

The Sorceress And The Cygnet, by Patricia A. McKillip (Ace). Yet Another coming-of-age fantasy.

Omega Sub #5: Death Dive by J. D. Cameron (Avon). Utter bilge...

Hook by Terry Brooks (Ballantine). A movie tie-in by Terry "Shannara" Brooks? Goddess help us all... The Last Of The Renshai by Mickey Zucker Reichert (DAW). Yet another overweight warrior-hero-of-the-prophecy fantasy.

City by Clifford Simak (Collier). Reissue of a Golden Age classic I personally never liked very much. Of historical interest.

Virtual Mode by Piers Anthony (Ace). So bad that I gave up in disgust within a handful of pages. Yecch...

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Mon Feb 10 16:19:14 EST 1992

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