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JAN 1999











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SF Reviews and Articles in General Publications

Washington Post Book World, Sunday, January 24, 1999
Martin Morse Wooster's science fiction column covers Jeff Greenwald's Future Perfect: How Star Trek Conquered Planet Earth (Viking): ''highly entertaining and far more sophisticated than most books about 'Star Trek' ''. Also, Poul Anderson's Starfarers (Tor) -- ''..for the past 20 years, beginning with The Avatar (1978), Anderson has been striving, and largely failing, to write the definitive science fiction epic'' -- Brian Stableford's Inherit the Earth (Tor), and Sarah Zettel's Playing God (Warner Aspect).

In the same Book World, Sheree R. Thomas reviews Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Talents (Seven Stories): ''This book leaves little doubt that Octavia E. Butler is one of the finest voices in fiction -- period.''

San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, Sunday, January 24, 1999
Michael Berry reviews short story collections: Paul Di Filippo's Lost Pages (Four Walls Eight Windows), F. Paul Wilson's The Barrens and Others (Forge), Elizabeth Hand's Last Summer at Mars Hill (HarperPrism), Paul J. McAuley's The Invisible Country (Avon Eos), and Stephen R. Donaldson's Reave the Just and Other Tales (Bantam Spectra).

Washington Post, Friday, January 22, 1999
Carolyn See has no patience for Andrew Crumey's ''postmodern triptych'' D'Alembert's Principle (Picador) or for the book's introduction (by John Clute).

Booksonline, Monday, January 18, 1999
Tony Bradman reviews fantasy fiction for the young: Diana Hendry's Minders (Walker), Mary Hooper's The Peculiar Power of Tabitha Brown (Walker), Mark Leyland's Slate Mountain (Hodder), and more.

(Mon 25 Jan 99)

Los Angeles Times, January 19, 1999
Lead LAT book critic Richard Eder opens his review of Doris Lessing's Mara And Dann: An Adventure with these thoughts about science fiction:

Dogs can sniff the humanity that was there: carnal essences, clothes, sweat and other bodily emanations, and the emotions that tincture them. They cannot sniff the humanity that will be there.

The absence of a sniff factor tends to dilute the artistic energies of all but the best science fiction. Realism transposed into the future is not enough. A dream-knack of near-genius is required, the kind of impalpable infusion that gives nighttime visions the power to haunt weeks or years of our daytime reality, and even deflect its course. Think of Stanislaw Lem, Philip Dick, Walter M. Miller and, at their best, Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke.

Lacking such a knack, prophecy will serve in its place at a thinner though sometimes memorable level, and only if it is furious, ingenious or preferably both. Think of ''Brave New World'' and ''1984.'' (Funny would work too, I imagine, though I can't think of an example, unless it is Mark Twain's ''A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court''--the present as the science fiction of the past.)

Eder isn't moved by Lessing's novel; ''Despite the picaresque detail, too much of this long book is a repetitious chronicle of ordeal and ordeal survived.''

(Tue 19 Jan 99)

Los Angeles Times Book Review, January 17, 1999
Several tributes to the late Brian Moore are published, by Nan A. Talese, Joan Didion, John Gregory Dunne, Fintan O'Toole, Calvin Trillin, John Banville, and Thomas Flanagan.

Also of interest: reviews by Valentine Cunningham of several books about books and reading, including Anne Fadiman's Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader and Anna Quindlen's How Reading Changed My Life. (The heading on this page lists only the first title.)

CNN, January 12, 1999
L.D. Meagher reviews Nancy Kress's Stinger (Forge), a medically-themed techno-thriller that Meagher compares favorably to the work of Robin Cook.

(Mon 18 Jan 99)

USA Today, January 7 1999
Doris Lessing's new novel Mara And Dann: An Adventure, set in a future African ice age, is reviewed by Michael Keller, who says the book is burdened with a ''lumbering pace and leaden prose''. Keller likes Joyce Carol Oates' The Collector of Hearts better; it's ''less ambitious but more pleasing''.

In the same day's USAT, William F. Nicholson reviews Dean Koontz's Seize the Night: ''Creepy is what I feel after reading the latest book from Koontz. But good creepy, entertained creepy.''

New York Times Book Review, January 10, 1999
Lessing is also reviewed by Michael Upchurch in Sunday's NYTBR. He finds the novel ''inflated, repetitious and strangely devoid of surprise.''

Also in the NYTBR this week: Timothy Ferris reviews Richard Dawkins' Unweaving the Rainbow, and Paul Raeburn reviews John Maddox's What Remains to Be Discovered.

CNN, January 8, 1999
L.D. Meagher reviews Fred Saberhagen's Shiva in Steel.

(Mon 11 Jan 99)

New York Times Book Review, January 3, 1999
Gerald Jonas's science fiction column covers new books by Octavia E. Butler, Sarah Zettel, Paul J. McAuley, and Lois H. Gresh & Robert Weinberg. Though ''religion has always been a problem for science fiction writers'' Butler's Parable of the Talents (Seven Stories) is a ''memorable exception'' in taking the challenge of depicting a future religion seriously. Zettel's Playing God (Warner Aspect) is disappointing, giving way by the end ''to all-too-predictable melodrama''. And McAuley's collection The Invisible Country (Avon Eos) is a ''useful introduction to this engaging writer''.

Also in this week's NYTBR: reviews of three books about computers and AI by Ray Kurzweil, Hans Moravec, and Neil Gershenfeld; plus a review of Neal Gabler's Life the Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality (Knopf).

Washington Post Book World, January 3, 1999
Douglas E. Winter reviews the latest Joyce Carol Oates collection The Collector of Hearts (Dutton) plus an Oates biography, Invisible Writer by Greg Johnson (Dutton), while Michele Slung reviews Martin Gardner's Visitors from Oz (St. Martin's).

Los Angeles Times, January 3, 1999
The cover feature by Adam Bresnick looks at the history of the Star Wars phenomenon by way of reviewing seven tie-in books, including Robin Davis's The Star Wars Cookbook and Stephen J. Sansweet's Star Wars Encyclopedia. And Todd Gitlin reviews Neal Gabler's Life the Movie.

(Mon 4 Jan 99)

Entertainment Weekly, January 8, 1999
A brief review of Philip Kerr's The Second Angel (Holt) describes it as 2001 crossed with And the Band Played On -- a ''dystopian sci-fi thriller'' set in 2069 when ''clean blood is the most valuable currency on earth''. The reviewer, Vanessa V. Friedman, says ''Kerr's vision of the future is detailed, depressingly dark, and utterly absorbing'' and gives the book an A-.

(Fri 1 Jan 99)

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