Previous: Scintillations | Picofarad #4 contents | Next: Movie reviews
The Fall of the Towers by Samuel Delaney: The author.s preferred edition of Out of the Dead City, The Towers of Toron, and City of a Thousand Suns. I liked it a great deal. For those of you like eerie coincidences, here is a note from the afterword, written in the author.s home city of New York: "Oh, yes, the title of all three books together, .The Fall of the Towers., was lifted from a group of drawings a friend of mine once did depicting different groups of people reacting to some catastrophic incident never shown."
The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukov: An excellent starter guide when it sticks to quantum physics, but the reader with a good grasp of more general science should be prepared to wince whenever it strays off the subject. Gross stereotyping of both "Eastern" and "Western" religious philosophy does not help at all.
A Whisper of Time by Paula E. Downing: Alien child, raised by humans, struggles with identity and ultimately is reunited with her people. Interesting use of Mayan mythology, but you've probably read a better version of this plot already.
A Bait of Dreams by Jo Clayton: Another entertaining careen through a series of well-realized alien societies.
Swords Against Death by Fritz Leiber: The first of the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser collections I've read. Planning to read more.
The Affirmation by Christopher Priest: I like a book that you really have to think about afterward to figure out what's going on.
The Leaky Establishment by David Langford: Very funny and well worth the wait for, by which I mean I really wish I hadn't waited.
The Einstein Intersection by Samuel Delaney: Not that bad, but not as good as the first couple Delaney books I read. Maybe it's time to just skip to Dhalgren.
The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams: Less well-known than Watership Down, but even better, albeit even less appropriate for small children. Despite some slow going early on, it's good enough to retain its dignity even after a total collapse of the fourth wall near the end.
Judgement on Janus and Victory on Janus by Andre Norton: Released as an omnibus edition titled Janus to emphasize that they are two halves of one long story, with a good beginning and a solid ending but way too much repetitive running around and shooting and falling into rivers in the middle.
Diadem From the Stars, Lamarchos, and Irsud by Jo Clayton: Her earliest books (I think), pretty good but I think some of the ideas were implemented better when she revisited them later on.
People of the Sky by Clare Bell: An interesting spin on the theme of humans paired with magical, intelligent animals, in which it turns out to not be all it's cracked up to be, and more.
The Silent Stars Go By by James White: A good solid old- school story of interstellar colonization, set in an alternate history where Ireland commands a technologically advanced empire.
The Pride of Chanur, Chanur's Venture, and The Kif Strike Back by C. J. Cherryh: I tried reading the first book nigh on 20 years ago but never quite got into it. I read Chanur's Legacy when it came out and loved it, though, and always meant to go back to the other books and try again. They turn out to be great and I can finally truly appreciate the pun in the first title.