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Raymond's Reviews #181

%S Chung Kuo
%T The White Mountain
%A David Wingrove
%I Delacorte Press
%D January 1992
%O hc, 460 pp, US$22.50
%G ISBN 0-385-29875-7

"The White Mountain" continues Wingrove's high-toned soap opera of the political and personal intrigue of the near- future Earth empire Chung Kuo. This volume focuses primarily on violence and terrorist activity against the imperial overlords; otherwise, what I have said in this column about the previous two volumes applies to it as well. (See RR#114 and RR#160). [CCO]

%T Nothing Sacred
%A Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
%I Bantam
%D January 1992
%O paperback, 334 pp, US$4.99
%G ISBN 0-553-29511-X

As the author herself aptly characterizes "Nothing Sacred," "There's good news and bad news about this book. The bad news is, I end the world. The good news is, there's a sequel." Despite its novel setting (a prison camp high in the Tibetan Himalayans) and focus (the evolution of that prison camp into a healthy, peaceful community), Scarborough's themes are the standard apocalypse-novel motifs of "let's stop killing each other" and "let's stop poisoning the environment before its too late." Only her powerful command of language and her unusually sensitive -- and believeable -- depiction of the interactions among the camp's denizens raise "Nothing Sacred" above the self-righteous moralizing characteristic of this sub-genre.[CCO]

%T Gifts of Blood
%A Susan Petrey
%I Baen
%D February 1992
%O paperback, 192 pp, US$4.50
%G ISBN 0-671-72107-0

This slender volume contains a handful of charming, novel stories, most of which are about an Asian steppes tribe/subspecies called the Varkela, who use their uncanny abilities of smell, taste and energy field sensing to heal others, in exchange for the "gift of blood" which they need to live. It is unfortunate that the author, who had a degree in microbiology, did not live long enough to meld these science-fictional "vampire" stories into a developed, coherent whole.[CCO]

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