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Raymond's Reviews #179

%T Unicorn U.
%A Esther Friesner
%I Ace
%D January 1992
%O paperback, US$4.50
%P 265
%G ISBN 0-441-37844-7

Move over, Craig Shaw Gardner. Terry Pratchett, look behind you. This book, third of a trilogy or not, is Esther Friesner's funniest yet and the sharpest-eyed fantasy farce to come down the pike since Pratchett's early Discworld novels. From the opening sequence (the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as a failing garage-rock band) onward, this tale of hapless college freshman Tim Desmond and the magical entities that complicate his life is fast-paced, hilarious, and wickedly intelligent. The demolition of cutesy kiddie fantasy during the Underworld sequences is worth the price of admission by itself. Highly recommended.

%T Two-bit heroes
%A Doris Egan
%D January 1992
%O paperback, US$4.99
%P 319
%G ISBN 0-88677-500-0

Here's an unusual book -- a sequel set on a Darkover-oid world that's good enough to make me want to find the prequel, Gate Of Ivory. What would otherwise be fairly humdrum adventure and intrigue is lifted a bit out of the ruck by the directness, humor, and occasional wry wisdom of the first-person narrative voice. A fun read-once.

%T Bright Angel
%A John Blair
%I DelRey
%D January 1992
%O paperback, US$4.99
%P 290
%G ISBN 0-345-37058-9

In my review of John Blair's first novel, A Landscape of Darkness (RR#77), I expressed the hope that he'd find something more original to write about. Unfortunately, he seems preoccupied with inscrutable godlike aliens. Bright Angel seems to want to be a psychological study of human reactions to the Totally Other, but it stumbles over the same problem most such stories do --- where there's no contact, there's no story, just an unfocused series of vignettes in which the human characters can only react rather than acting. The results here are disappointing.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Fri Mar 13 10:09:56 EST 1992

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