Friday, May 15, 2009

Reviews by Harriet

Errand running day. Here are some reviews by Harriet to get you by.

Terribly Twisted Tales
Edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg
DAW, Jun 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780756405540

These eighteen entries will remind readers of Rocky and Bullwinkle’s Fractured Fairy Tales as the authors take an irrelevant spin on famous stories. Almost all the contributions are excellent with a couple, though well written, disappointingly changing the personalities of the key players without explanation. Fans will enjoy what happens to Snow White after she owns the Prince and the Mirror in Chris Pierson’s superb “Once They Were Seven”, the witch chasing after violent Hansel and Gretel in “Waifs” by Dennis L. McKiernan and the scary science fiction twister “Jack and the Genetic Beanstalk by Robert E. Vardeman. Overall this is a great collection that pays homage to the brilliant zany minds of Jay Ward and Bill Scott.

The Edge of the World
Kevin J. Anderson
Orbit, Jun 2009, $14.99
ISBN 9780316004183

The war between the followers of the two Gods, Aiden and Urec, the sons of the creator, has been going on forever. Both nations have suffered from the constant battles and need for vigil. An inferno devastates the city of Ishalem that sits on the isthmus separating the two kingdoms. Each side blames the other for the disaster and back and forth reprisals heats up the hostilities over the next thirteen years.

Hope to end the conflict seems unlikely as massacres especially of civilians are the acceptable norm. Yet each nation decides victory is theirs if they are the first to find a legendary land on THE EDGE OF THE WORLD that hints of divine truths, which also means a dangerous sea race venturing into the treacherous sea beyond the isthmus.

The first Terra Incognita tale showcases Kevin J. Anderson’s skills as he leaves outer space (see the Saga of Seven Suns) for an apparent fantasy saga. However, although there are hints of otherworldly elements, none surface so that the hostilities make the story line seem more like a historical military novel. Still the tale is engaging as Mr. Anderson begins to explore the causes of the conflict; hopefully in future entries he will go core deep into how the constant war impacts societies; as the fight rules these two nations.

The Revolution Business
Charles Stross
Tor, Apr 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 9780765316721

The Clan Corporate believes they are invincible in spite of growing evidence that rebel activity from within their feudal system is growing rapidly. They base their logic on their magical ability to cross into parallel worlds like that of an advanced earth; as with the internal threat, the Clan fails to understand that the scientific based world knows of their cross dimensional ventures and have labeled the Clan a terrorist group by the USA.

At the same time the Clan fails to read the facts, Boston reporter Miriam Beckstein has been freed from jail, but is pregnant and remains at the crosshairs of political rivals on two worlds who either want her dead or incarcerated. She becomes front and center on the American terrorist list when apparently world crossers steal nuclear weapons from the United States at the same time American engineering and science is close to finding a way to cross over to the Clan dominated world.

Exciting and action-packed as political intrigue on two worlds makes for an interesting read filled with twists and betrayals. Miriam is terrific as she goes from the frying pan to the nuclear fire while somewhat serving as the closest character to a lead protagonist; with people moving in and people moving out, the temptation is to assume no star exists with the story line to some extent overwhelmed by the masses. Still this is an entertaining entry that sets the table for what appears to be coming: when worlds collide.

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