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This is Raymond's Reviews #198 (short takes)

(These were never posted to USENET.)

%T Wild Cards X:  Double Solitaire
%A Melinda M. Snodgrass
%I Bantam
%D April 1992
%O paperback, 437 pp, US$5.50
%G ISBN 0-553-29493-8

In the first full-length Wild Cards novel in a while, Melinda Snodgrass gives us the story of how Dr. Tachyon recovers his body from his conniving psychotic grandson. Snodgrass mercifully refrains from hammering the reader over the head with the book's politically correct theme (Tachyon, now inhabiting a woman's body, is forced to come to grips with his chauvinistic attitudes while experiencing first hand the most difficult aspects of being female), and delivers a satisfyingly brisk adventure without the grossly excessive violence that has marred some of the Wild Cards books. A fun read. [CCO]

%T Sword and Sorceress IX
%A Marian Zimmer Bradley, ed.
%D April 1992
%O paperback, 299 pp, US$4.50
%G ISBN 0-886770509-4

This is yet another Bradley collection of sword-and-sorcery style fantasy stories, written primarily by young or new authors. (Contributions from Josepha Sherman, Diana Paxson, and Mercedes Lackey also appear in this volume.) As usual, the quality of the stories varies from good to indifferent and Marian's introductions to each of them are, in this reviwer's opinion, intrusive and obnoxious. Some of the stories, however, are based on concepts that are sufficiently intriguing to be worth reading despite their flaws. [CCO]

%T Liar's Oath
%A Elizabeth Moon
%I Baen
%D May 1992
%O paperback, US$5.99
%P 472
%G ISBN 0-671-72117

This sequel to _Surrender_None_ (RR#061) unfortunately lacks most of its virtues. It's told primarily from the point of view of Luap, the bastard magelord who became Gird's right-hand man. The war against the mageborn has been won; the peace proves more difficult as the prospect of reconciliation between the peasants of Finaarenis and their former oppressors recedes. Luap decides to take the mageborn into exile in the far West; but an ancient evil waits there which finds all too fertile ground in his own psychological flaws. And perhaps that's part of what is wrong with this novel; Moon never allows Luap to be more than a victim and a failure. You can't *like* him; it's hard to identify with him, because he's unerringly weak and stupid at all the points where it matters. The quasi-redemptive ending is thus rendered weak and implausible --- and by that point you've stopped caring anyhow. Shades of Stephen Donaldson. I hope her next one is better.


_Serpent's_Gift_ (Star Bridge #4) by A. C. Crispin
_Omega_Sub_#6:_Raven_Rising_ by J. D. Cameron. I hurl at the very thought.

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Mon Apr 25 22:45:53 EDT 1994

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