Locus Online

page 2
page 1

page 1

page 1

page 1

page 1

page 1

page 1

page 1

page 2
page 1

page 2
page 1


Linked titles can be browsed (or ordered) from Books.






Reviews and Articles in General Publications

Monday 23 October 2000

§ San Francisco Chronicle October 22, 2000
Michael Berry's SF column covers Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass (Knopf), Greg Costikyan's First Contact (Tor), James Stevens-Arce's Soulsaver (Harcourt), Peter Straub's Magic Terror (Random House), and comics writer Ed Brubaker's Deadenders (DC Comics/Vertigo). Pullman's book brings his trilogy "to a triumphant close":

"The Amber Spyglass" is full of the elements that draw readers to epic fantasy: magical devices, heroic talking animals, daunting quests and answers to Life's Big Questions. What distinguishes Pullman's trilogy is its toughness, its unwillingness to accept the easy answers or deliver the expected effects. No one, hero or villain, is guaranteed anything.

The language Pullman uses has unexpected poetry. He moves from viewpoint to viewpoint with masterful grace, telling the tale from a variety of perspectives. Best of all, his prose never condescends, but reveals the wonders he describes with remarkable clarity and power.

"The Amber Spyglass" may be marketed as a young-adult novel but, like the Harry Potter books, it will appeal to anyone who appreciates a thoughtful, meticulously crafted adventure story.

§ Rain Taxi Review of Books Fall 2000
Rain Taxi is a quarterly independent book review focussing on writing of literary merit. In its current online edition Alan DeNiro contributes a well-informed, sympathetic, and insightful review of Ursula K. Le Guin's The Telling (Harcourt).

The Telling is a permeable novel, loosely bound together in order to let the prose breathe. It is also, in of itself, a snippet of a conversation (and I think LeGuin is consciously positing the novel as such) without end. Ultimately, it is not a novel about radical dogmatism, or the frail chances of healing between wide cultural gulfs. The Telling is about the telling. "Tell all the Truth but tell it slant--/Success in Circuit Lies," Emily Dickinson wrote, and this koan-like sensibility envelops the book. Once again, by LeGuin's hands, the audience is in the story's thrall.

Wednesday 18 October 2000

§ Salon October 18, 2000
A long article, More Dark Materials by Polly Shulman, looks at Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Book III: The Amber Spyglass (Knopf), "the final book in the most ambitious allegory being published today". Shulman has minor quibbles but concludes the book is "one of the most resonant fantasies of our time".

Publishers Weekly October 16, 2000 [not online]
Starred reviews for George R.R. Martin's A Storm of Swords (Bantam Spectra) -- "one of the more rewarding examples of gigantism in contemporary fantasy" -- and of Sheri S. Tepper's "enchanting sly feminist tale" The Fresco (Eos), and of Richard Chizmar and Robert Morrish's anthology October Dreams: A Celebration of Halloween (Cemetery Dance): "the most enjoyable horror anthology of the year".

More starred reviews: Bentley Little's paperback horror novel The Walking (Signet)...

The overwhelming sense of doom with which Little imbues his newest novel is so palpable it seems to rise from the book like mist. ... If booksellers are on their toes, they'll tell readers that Stephen King, a big fan of Little's work, was reading another book by this author at the time of his infamous accident.
...and of Diana Wynne Jones's YA novel Year of the Griffin (HarperCollins/Greenwillow); and YA nonfiction Building Big by graphic artist David Macaulay (Houghton/Lorraine).

Publishers Weekly October 2, 2000 [not online]
The issue with L. Ron Hubbard on the cover. SF/Fantasy/Horror reviews are of books by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson, James P. Hogan, Peter S. Beagle, R.A. Salvatore, Kate Elliott, Piers Anthony, Robert Silverberg, Christopher Golden, Silver Ravenwolf, and Holly Lisle (plus others in the 'Notes' section). The one starred review is for Peter S. Beagle's novella-length A Dance for Emilia (Roc):

...a charming reflection on dreams and the afterlife set in modern-day Manhattan. ... This book is brief, but it presents a wealth of impressive ruminations on love, longing and the power of the bonds between people.
Also, in Children's: starred reviews of Vivian Vande Velde's The Rumpelstiltskin Problem (Houghton) and of Francesca Lia Block's The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold (HarperCollins/Cotler).

Monday 16 October 2000

§ The New York Times Book Review October 15, 2000
Robert Irwin reviews José Saramago's All the Names (Harcourt): "a fine, powerful parable".

Several children's book reviews include Gregory Maguire on the fifth volume in Lemony Snicket's ''Series of Unfortunate Events'', The Austere Academy (HarperCollins). "Had the gloom-haunted Edward Gorey found a way to have a love child with Dorothy Parker, their issue might well have been Lemony Snicket..." Maguire begins. Also, Emily-Greta Tabourin reviews Ray Bradbury's Switch on the Night (Knopf), illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon.

§ Salon October 16, 2000
Cyber-tech writer Andrew Leonard recommends George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones [scroll down]. "It's one of the most evocative fantasy sagas I've read, right up there with Stephen R. Donaldson and Tolkien. ... It's remarkably well-written."

§ January October 2000
Claude Lalumière reviews Joe R. Lansdale's collection High Cotton (Golden Gryphon). The book is "filled with Lansdale's peculiar brand of humor and horror. It's not always easy to tell one from the other. That ambiguity gives these stories a vibrant edge. ... Science fiction? Maybe. Maybe not. But definitely fantastic, imaginative and weird."

Monday 9 October 2000

§ The Register-Guard October 1, 2000
A long interview with Ursula K. Le Guin in this Eugene, Oregon newspaper.

Le Guin greets me at the door. She is about 5 feet 4 inches tall. Wrinkles on her face trace a lifetime of smiles and concentration, but no frowns. She is wearing a casual linen skirt and jacket, and bead earrings with tiny, dangling jade bears.

The bear, I know, is significant to Le Guin. Her name, Ursula, derives from the Latin word for bear; the name of the fantasy kingdom in several of her stories, Orsinia, comes from the Italian word for "bearish."

§ The New York Times Book Review October 8, 2000
Frederick Busch reviews Stephen King's On Writing (Scribner), and isn't terribly impressed. NYT has the first chapter of King's book here, and a special page on King, linking past reviews and features, here.

Also: Alberto Mobilio reviews T.C. Boyle’s A Friend of the Earth: a ''low point'' in Boyle's career. Earlier this week (Oct. 3), celebrity reviewer Michiko Kakutani looked at Boyle's book, and was more sympathetic:

Up till now T. Coraghessan Boyle has been the Jim Carrey of fiction: all broad gestures and mimicry, nervous hyperbole and dazzling razzmatazz. ... The social, not the personal, the extreme, not the mundane, have been the focus of his stories, and his heroes have tended to elicit contempt or pity, not sympathy or insight. All this has begun to change with "A Friend of the Earth," his latest novel, which manages to be funny and touching, antic and affecting, all at the same time.

Yet another associational NYT review this week (Oct. 4), Richard Eder looks at José Saramago's All the Names (Harcourt).

§ London Times October 8, 2000
John Sutherland reviews Stephen King's book. Also: a paperback pick this week is Joe R. Lansdale’s Freezer Burn.

§ Los Angeles Times Book Review October 8, 2000
Jonathan Levi reviews Michael Chabon's The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (Random House), writing as if in reaction to the praise from other reviewers so far:

And yet, for all the words in Chabon's 600-plus pages, there is remarkably little blood. Change the names Kavalier & Clay to Hardy & Hardy and there would be little difference in the level of derring-do.

§ CNN, October 3, 2000
James Argendeli's take on Stephen King. Also: an article about an even more associational book than others on this page, Chris Ware's graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth (Pantheon). Slate's Summary Judgment this week summarizes and quotes from the ''astoundingly good reviews'' for this book.

previous Field Inspections

© 2000 by Locus Publications. All rights reserved.