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SF Reviews and Articles in General Publications

§ New York Times Book Review June 13th
Stephen King reviews Thomas Harris' Hannibal (Delacorte). ''The readers who have been waiting for 'Hannibal' only want to know if it is as good as 'Red Dragon' and 'The Silence of the Lambs' ... It is a pleasure to reply in the negative. No, not as good. This one is better. It is, in fact, one of the two most frightening popular novels of our time, the other being 'The Exorcist,' by William Peter Blatty.'' And:

''Hannibal'' is a novel full of rough bumps and little insights as sharp as one of the doctor's own needles; Harris observes America with a cultured civility and perfect grasp of Southern idiom that only Tom Wolfe can match. And Harris understands plot as well as language. The result is a book as insightful as ''A Man in Full,'' but rather more successful; there is never the feeling that the author is carrying his story on his back like a heavy piece of furniture, teeth gritted and cords popping out on his neck.
Earlier reviews were not so positive: Christopher Lehmann-Haupt's review in the June 10th New York Times; Jabari Asim's review in the same day's Washington Post.

(Mon 14 June 1999)


§ New York Times Book Review June 6th
The ''Summer Reading'' issue of recommended books of 1999 so far lists four SF titles, including three of those just reviewed last week in Gerald Jonas' SF column: books by Christopher Priest, James Alan Gardner, and Elizabeth Hand. The fourth book is Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Talents (Seven Stories).

Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon (Avon) is included on the Fiction & Poetry list, along with (among many others) John Updike and Katrina Kenison's anthology The Best American Short Stories of the Century, Julian Barnes' England, England, Salman Rushdie's The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Martin Amis' Heavy Water and other stories, Ann Arensberg's Incubus, Colson Whitehead's The Intuitionist, Christopher Buckley's Little Green Men, Steve Erickson's The Sea Came in at Midnight, and Kurt Andersen's Turn of the Century.

Among nonfiction titles: Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe, Susan Blackmore's The Meme Machine, Marina Warner's No Go the Bogeyman, Richard Dawkins' Unweaving the Rainbow, and David Fromkin's The Way of the World.

(Wed 9 June 1999)

§ New York Times June 2nd
An article about Neal Stephenson and the dangers of ''point-and-click reality'', the ''interface culture'', and his preference for Linux and Emacs.

Here's MSNBC's take on Stephenson and Cryptonomicon.

§ New York Times Book Review May 30th and June 6th
Gerald Jonas' science fiction column covers Christopher Priest's The Extremes (St. Martin's) -- ''a remarkable achievement'' -- JoŽl Champetier's The Dragon's Eye (Tor), James Alan Gardner's Vigilant (Avon Eos) -- ''wish-fulfillment fantasy of a high order'' -- and Elizabeth Hand's Black Light (HarperPrism).

§ Washington Post Book World May 30th
Richard Grant contributes a science fiction column covering Maureen F. McHugh's Mission Child (Avon), Sheri S. Tepper's Singer from the Sea (Avon Eos), Storm Constantine's collection The Oracle Lips (Stark House), and Robert Silverberg's anthology Far Horizons (Avon Eos). The McHugh

[E]arns a place of honor among the already distinguished titles in what might be termed the literature of the Third Sex. ... In prose as clean and precise as a surgical instrument, Mission Child tells a story both deeper and broader than that; but the problem of finding one's place in a vast and rapidly changing world, a place of terror and beauty, lies at the heart of this splendid book.
On Constantine: ''the reputation she really deserves is that of a fine, underappreciated writer.''

§ USA Today May 27th A first US look at J.K. Rowling's second ''Harry Potter'' book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Scholastic).

Rowling delivers plenty of ghoulish giggles, including a "deathday" party for a 500-year-old ghost, peevish poltergeists, exploding wands and magic potions aplenty. And in young Potter the prestidigitator, she has created a hero as resourceful, brave and loyal as Luke Skywalker himself.

§ New Scientist May 22nd A review essay by David Barrett [not online] fearlessly evaluates the nominees for the Clarke Award [this would have appeared the week before the winner was announced], and decides:

I have to say that I think the Barnes is a makeweight on the shortlist; the Sinclair and Sullivan are not bad, but not winners, and the Delacorte is too traditional. This year's winner must be either MacLeod or Priest, both devoted, in stunningly different ways, to exploring ''the nature of the universe, of man, or 'reality' ''.
In fact, Tricia Sullivan's Dreaming In Smoke won the award.

Here's David Langford's report on the nominees, the winner, and his take on other current awards nominees.

(Thu 3 June 1999)


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