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Raymond's Reviews #175

%T The Ghost from the Grand Banks
%A Arthur C. Clarke
%I Bantam Spectra
%D January 1992
%O paperback, US$5.99
%P 274
%G ISBN 0-553-294387

Arthur C. Clarke's fiction has always tended to be flat and affectless, dominated by its ideas and tech-toys to such an extent that human emotion is squeezed out of the picture. In this novel the trend reaches such an extreme that one feels he sleepwalked through the writing. The main plot covers the effort to raise the wreck of the H.M.S. Titanic, with diversions into fractal mathematics and the psychology of obsession that are so clinical and studied as to seem utterly pointless. One reviewer has said this book is "filled with remarkable moments", and so it is --- but they never form a whole. Unless you're a Clarke completist, pass it by.

%T Crygender
%A Thomas T. Thomas
%I Baen
%D $4.99
%O paperback, US$5.99
%P 316
%G ISBN 0-671-72101-1

The title character of this odd and fascinating novel is a surgically-created hermaphrodite who runs Babylon, the world of 2020's most expensive brothel. It begins with an assortment of apparently random characters converging on Babylon, each with complex motives, most tied in some way to Crygender's obscured past. Everything Crygender touches will change...and that past is about to catch up with it. Recommended.

%T Take Back Plenty
%A Colin Greenland
%I Avon
%D January 1992
%O paperback, US$4.99
%P 484
%G ISBN 0-380-76395

This is one helluva space opera with a couple of unusual features. First, Greenland's protagonist is female and black, her behavior often a subtle and satirical comment on the Kimball Kinnisons of SF tradition. Secondly, the author packs as much variety, exotica and places-to-go into our one solar system as most do into whole galaxies. Third, the story has a droll sense of humor that's never lost even at moments of high drama. Recommended!

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Mon Feb 10 16:28:40 EST 1992

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