Sunday 30 April 2000
§ New York Times Book Review, April 30, 2000
Gerald Jonas's SF column covers Nalo Hopkinson's Midnight Robber (Warner Aspect), Ben Bova's Venus (Tor), and Arthur C. Clarke & Stephen Baxter's The Light of Other Days (Tor). Recalling Hopkinson's first novel, Jonas says this one ''succeeds on an even grander scale'':
Best of all is the language. I urge readers not to be put off by the vocabulary, syntax and cadence of the opening sentences. ... Long after putting the book down, I would catch myself phrasing thoughts in what I came to call Tan-Tan talk. As the narrator herself puts it, ''One look in she eyes, and you fall for she already.''
§ Washington Post Book World, April 30, 2000
A Paul Di Filippo column looks at hard SF: Gregory Benford's Eater (Avon Eos), George Zebrowski's Cave of Stars (HarperPrism), and Arthur C. Clarke's Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds! (St. Martin's). On Benford's tale of a sentient intruder into the solar sytem:
Rich in dialogue, Benford spins poetry from textbook phenomena. ... Conveying the unique mixture of helpless awe and defiant pride that science engenders in its practitioners, Benford's novel proves that scientific wisdom involves the heart and soul as well as the mind.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, April 16, 2000
The special ''L.A. Lit 2000'' issue featuring excerpts from forthcoming works by a host of southern California, mentioned below, is online, here.
Saturday 22 April 2000
§ NOVA Online, April 2000
Gary Westfahl contributes an article about the treatment of space stations in SF, with illustrations.
§ Salon, April 21, 2000
Polly Shulman's SF column looks at the feminist work of Suzy McKee Charnas: Walk to the End of the World, Motherlines, The Furies, and the Tiptree-winning The Conqueror's Child.
§ CNN, April 21, 2000
An AP article on what to read while waiting for the next Harry Potter book.
Monday 17 April 2000
§ Washington Post Book World, April 16, 2000
Michael Dirda wonders why some books and authors become popular or attain critical attention, while others equally good don't. He considers several of his favorite writers in particular, including John Sladek and Russell Hoban.
§ San Francisco Chronicle, April 16, 2000
Mark Luce reviews Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves --
[T]he most remarkable debut novel in years. This 10-years-in-the-making funhouse of a novel jumps and skips and plays with genre-wrecking abandon, postmodern panache and an obsessively imaginative scope that absolutely shames most books on the market today.
§ January Magazine, March 2000
And Claude Lalumière reviews James Flint's Habitus (St. Martin's), a first novel he compares to Heller, Pynchon, Brunner, and Sturgeon. [It was first published in 1998 by Fourth Estate in Britain.]
Los Angeles Times Book Review, April 16, 2000
A special ''L.A. Lit 2000'' issue features excerpts (most only a few paragraphs long) from forthcoming works by a host of southern California writers, including Ray Bradbury (Let's All Kill Constance!), Clive Barker (Coldheart Canyon), Dean Koontz (From the Corner of His Eye), Harlan Ellison (The Man Who Searched for Sweetness), and Gregory Benford (Eater). Unfortunately this portion of the Book Review isn't online.
Mon 10 April 2000
§ Washington Post Book World, April 9, 2000
Steven Moore reviews Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves (Pantheon) -- ''the first major experimental novel of the new millennium'':
Ten years in the making, more than 700 pages long, sporting a half-dozen typefaces, 450 footnotes, two colors of ink, lengthy lists, a bibliography, three appendices, illustrations, an index and e.e. cummings-like typographical layouts, this is not your typical first novel. It's more like David Foster Wallace channeling H.P. Lovecraft for a literary counterpart to "The Blair Witch Project."
The reviewer concludes:
Danielewski's achievement lies in taking some staples of horror fiction -- the haunted house, the mysterious manuscript that casts a spell on its hapless reader -- and using his impressive erudition to recover the mythological and psychological origins of horror, and then enlisting the full array of avant-garde literary techniques to reinvigorate a genre long abandoned to hacks. The novel may look like Frankenstein's monster in its patchwork assembly, but it's alive! It's alive!
Also this week: Katherine Weber reviews Thomas Mallon's Two Moons (Pantheon), a novel about a 'human calculator' in 1877 working at the Naval Observatory in Washington, DC.
§ CNN, April 6, 2000
James Argendeli reviews Ben Bova's Venus (Tor):
''Venus'' is as fun to read as those childhood adventure novels that kept you up past your bedtime. So sit back and relax in a comfy chair and let Ben Bova transport you to the second planet from the sun.
Mon 3 April 2000
§ Washington Post, April 2, 2000
Barbara Mertz alternates between raving about Terry Pratchett's Discworld series and reviewing the latest volume, The Fifth Elephant (HarperCollins).
Oh, the hell with it. Trying to summarize the plot of a Pratchett novel is like describing ''Hamlet'' as a play about a troubled guy with an Oedipus complex and a murderous uncle. Pratchett isn't Shakespeare -- for one thing, he's funnier -- but his books are richly textured, as the pundits say, and far more complex than they appear at first. You don't have to be familiar with folklore, Leonardo da Vinci and Capability Brown, the history of religion, ''Macbeth'' and Laurel and Hardy to appreciate them, but if you aren't, you will miss some of the in-jokes. Just consider yourself grabbed by the collar, with me shouting, ''You've got to read this book!''
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