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DEC 2000


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Reviews and Articles in General Publications
Monday 30 April 2001

§ New York Times Book Review April 29, 2001
Gerald Jonas's SF column covers a new edition of Octavia E. Butler's 1980 novel Wild Seed (Warner Aspect):

''Wild Seed'' immerses the reader in uncommon settings and situations presented with such conviction that they never come across as merely exotic. Although it forms part of a series of books known as the Patternmaster series, the novel stands alone as an important work of modern science fiction -- as well as a memorable introduction to the consistently rewarding oeuvre of Octavia E. Butler.
-- Steve Alten's Domain (Forge): "a breathless thriller with delusions of grandeur" -- and Karl Schroeder's Ventus (Tor): ambitious novel that examines the wonders and hazards of nanotechnology and terraforming ... The plotting is appropriately multifaceted, the characters surprisingly complex, the denouement -- which may be termed post-Aristotelian -- deeply satisfying.

§ Denver Post April 29, 2001
Connie Willis is interviewed by Dorman T. Schindler about her new novel Passage (Bantam).

"This friend of mine forced me to read "Embraced By the Light,' saying, "You'll love it!' I loathed it. I thought it was a wicked, wicked book. It preys on peoples' wishes and fears. It panders to them in the most shameless way, saying, "Don't worry: Not only will you not die, but you'll still be you, and your loved ones will be there.' It's all sort of reduced to Hallmark card level. To me, whatever death brings it's huge, it's major, it's terrifying. It's awesome, in the old-fashioned sense of the word," Willis said.

§ Lingua Franca May/June 2001
An article by Jeet Heer tells how Philip K. Dick informed on everyone, even his academic admirers, to the FBI.

§ New York Times Magazine April 29, 2001
A profile of Lemony Snicket, author of the children's books "A Series of Unfortunate Events", whose work "shows influences most noticeably of Oscar Wilde and Roald Dahl, with some hints of Lewis Carroll's nonsensical logic and a dash of Monty Python."

§ January Magazine April 2001
Claude Lalumière reviews Brian Aldiss's collection Supertoys Last All Summer Long (Orbit).

In this era of rapid technological change, it doesn't take long for SF stories set in the future to seem quaint or outdated. And so it is with the future depicted in "Supertoys." Nevertheless, it's a good story and it's impressive how, decades later, in the sequels, Aldiss was able to seamlessly recapture the tone and atmosphere of its dépassé future. Together, the three stories have something of the nostalgic air of early Bradbury, a sentimentality that escapes, oh so closely, the pitfalls of mawkishness.

Monday 23 April 2001

§ Louise Erdrich
Here are reviews from the majors of Louise Erdrich's The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse (HarperCollins) which, though not a genre fantasy novel, is a follow-up of sorts to her 1998 The Antelope Wife, winner of the World Fantasy Award.

  • New York Times review by Verlyn Klinkenborg
  • San Francisco Chronicle paragraph-length review
  • Washington Post's review is by Ursula K. Le Guin, who gets complaints out of the way before saying:
The miracle of this novel about miracles is that finally, after piling overkill on overkill, it does win through. It comes to a hard-won, beautiful, serene conclusion. And that is, indeed, its heart. That hardest of all things to write -- a true and happy ending. ... This is a deep, sweet novel, to be praised and cherished for its rare picture of a human being who has managed "to live in the service of the spirit of goodness."

§ New York Times Book Review April 22, 2001
A Judith Shulevitz essay wonders what J.R.R. Tolkien would have thought his current cult status, and discusses T.A. Shippey's thesis that the root of Tolkien's success is...philological.

Tolkien wasn't just a scholar of dead languages; he appears to have been possessed by them. When he was a student at Oxford, his hobby was creating new ones out of Gothic and Finnish grammar and roots (some of these authentic-sounding languages later appeared in his books). He did the same thing with the names of his characters, basing them on actual ancient English and Norse words. He viewed storytelling as a form of textual archaeology.
The April 15 Book Review has a long review by Colin Harrison of Stephen King's Dreamcatcher.

§ CNN April 11, 2001
George R.R. Martin and his "A Song of Ice and Fire" series are profiled.

§ January Magazine April 2001
David Dalgleish reviews Jonathan Carroll's The Wooden Sea (Tor).

At times there is a sense that the author is repeating himself in The Wooden Sea. It is full of the things he loves, things which recur throughout his novels. These include the city of Vienna, literary quotations, foreign proverbs, odd names and dogs, to name only a few. ... But the old dog is still capable of new tricks -- even the reader familiar with Carroll's entire oeuvre will be caught off-guard now and then. The Wooden Sea is, so to speak, predictable only in its unpredictability.

§ The Seattle Times April 19, 2001
Tyrone Beason profiles and chats with Tananarive Due about her new book The Living Blood (Pocket Books).

Monday 9 April 2001

§ Guardian Unlimited April 1, 2001
William Gibson addresses the question, 'Why Japan?' "Because Japan is the global imagination's default setting for the future."

§ Register-Guard (Eugene OR) April 1, 2001
An interview/profile with Leslie What.

§ Voice Literary Supplement April 2001
Elizabeth Hand reviews [scroll down] Daniel Quinn's After Dachau (Context Books). Quinn won a big prize for his first book, Ishmael, ten years ago, and has written several books since, none much noticed in the SF field; but Hand calls this book "a rare moral thriller in the tradition of Fahrenheit 451".

§ January Magazine March 2001
Claude Lalumière reviews China Mieville's Perdido Street Station (Del Rey) -- "perverse, beautiful and menacing" -- though he has reservations about the very end. Also: Linda Richards reviews J.K. Rowling's two new Harry Potter books.

§ Rain Taxi Review of Books March 2001
Kris Lawson reviews S.T. Joshi's Sixty Years of Arkham House (Arkham House). The print issue, not online, has a feature on Stanislaw Lem.

§ Dreamcatcher
More reviews of Stephen King's Dreamcatcher:

§ Profiles

  • This New York Times profile of Brian Jacques includes photos showing how Jacques changes his voice for his audio books.
  • Also from NYT, a profile of Madeleine L'Engle, still writing at age 82.
  • And here's one about Chris Ware and his amazing graphic novels.

previous Field Inspections

© 2001 by Locus Publications. All rights reserved.