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Raymond's Reviews #182

%T Black Steel
%A Steve Perry
%I Ace
%D February 1991
%O paperback, US$4.50
%P 244
%G ISBN 0-441-06698-4

In this additional followup to the Matador books (see RR#5) Sleel, ace matador and hero of the Revolution, finally grows up. After losing a client, he becomes entangled in a centuries-old vendetta between rival families of swordmasters. This is a much better book than the author's listless last novel The Albino Knife (RR#131), and proves once again that Perry at the top of his form is better than anyone else at blending SF with martial-arts mysticism. If you must read carno, at least this is the best stuff going.

%T Phule's Paradise
%A Robert Lynn Asprin
%I Ace
%D February 1992
%O paperback, US$4.99
%P 252
%G ISBN 0-441-66253-6

This sequel to Phule's Company (RR#076) is more of the same --- light, fluffy, mindless, fun for Asprin's fans from the Skeeve books and probably a stone bore for anyone else. You Have Been Warned.

%T The Emperor of Everything
%S The Emanicipator
%V Book II
%A Ray Aldridge
%I Bantam
%D February 1992
%O paperback, US$4.50
%P 278
%G ISBN 0-553-29491-1

I said of volume 1: "This is glitter-trash formula SF reminiscent of Christopher Rowley --- the hero is an assassin working for (but secretly against) the galactic slavers' guild. Lots of sex, violence, perversion, decadence, grotesquerie, and picturesque villains. Inventive, though, and better written than such stuff usually is. You might enjoy it." All the above still applies.

%T The Difference Engine
%A William Gibson
%A Bruce Sterling
%I Bantam
%D February 1992
%O paperback, US$5.99
%P 429
%G ISBN 0-553-29461-X

In this bizarre and marvelous book, Gibson & Stirling give us a Victorian techno-thriller, an alternate-history speculation worked out in a depth that recalls Heinlein's future history. What if Charles Babbage had succeeded in building his mechanical computer in the 1830s? What would have been the consequences of an Information Revolution before electronics, a first Computer Age a century early? Never mind the technical and engineering bobbles in this book; the audacity of the premise and the cleverness with which the authors weave historical characters and events into a tapestry of might-have-been more than saves it. Highly recommended.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Mon Feb 10 17:16:09 EST 1992

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