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JAN 1999











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SF Reviews and Articles in General Publications

London Times, February 21, 1999
Jeremy Lewis reviews Brian Aldiss's autobiography The Twinkling of an Eye: My Life as an Englishman (Little, Brown): ''Aldiss's foray down 'the rabbit hole of time' is vivid, touching and entertaining, and admirably evocative of 'the complexity and wholeness of human life'.''

Denver Post, February 14, 1999
Dorman T. Shindler reviews The Crook Factory (Avon) by ''local author and literary chameleon'' Dan Simmons, calling the book ''a remarkable blend of fact and fiction ... filled with just the right amount of action, humor, suspense and compassion''.

No genre SF reviews this weekend (Feb 21st) but several of associational items: Canada's Globe and Mail reviews Heavy Water; San Francisco Chronicle covers Colson Whitehead's The Intuitionist and Andrei Codrescu's Messiah; The New York Times's George Johnson looks at Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe (W.W. Norton), an anticipated new book about the success of superstring theory that Johnson says ''explor[es] the ideas and recent developments with a depth and clarity I wouldn't have thought possible.'' Also recently: Mark Dery's The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink (Grove Press) is reviewed by David Hudson in Salon and by Elaine Showalter in the February Voice Literary Supplement.

(Mon 22 Feb 99)

Heavy Water
Martin Amis's short story collection, which includes several stories that might be taken as SF or fantasy, including ''The Janitor on Mars'', is being widely reviewed:

  • New York Times Jan. 31st, review by A.O. Scott: ''Some of the most interesting stories seem to have been written on a dare, or as entries in a contest to see who could get the best results from the worst ideas.'';
  • Boston Globe Feb. 10th, review by Robert Taylor, who says ''Janitor'' ''deals with apocalyptic sci-fi material that Stanislaw Lem has done better - and H. G. Wells even better, in his 'scientific romances.' '';
  • Salon, Feb. 11th, review by Laura Miller, who characterizes ''Janitor'' as ''a hilarious riff on the technofetishistic jargon of 'hard' science fiction'';
  • Washington Post, Feb. 14th, review by Michael Dirda, who appreciates Amis's prose but finds many of the story ideas sophomoric: ''Suppose mankind traveled to Mars and discovered an ancient robot there, the last relict of Martian civilization, and what if this robot then proceeded to lecture the expeditionary force on the fates of various races in the cosmos? Please. We've read our Olaf Stapledon, we remember Sirens of Titan.'';
  • Los Angeles Times, Feb. 14th, review by Susan Salter Reynolds who, appropriately as the West Coast reviewer, is especially tickled by the story that spoofs the Hollywood machinery.

    CNN, February 9, 1999
    L.D. Meagher reviews Poul Anderson's Starfarers (Tor): ''Anderson--among the most literate and literary of science fiction's 'old guard'--offers an elegant story that combines the adventure of exploration with the intelligence of extrapolation.''

    New York Times Book Review, February 14, 1999
    Michael Winerip's Children's Books column reviews J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, ''a wonderful first novel from England that won major literary awards and has been at the top of the adult best-seller lists there''.

    Washington Post Book World, February 14, 1999
    The recently revamped Book World now has a ''Web Sightings'' column that focuses on a particular genre each week. This week's, by Mike Musgrove, is on comic books.

    San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, Sunday, February 14, 1999
    Theodore Roszak ridicules virtually everything Richard Dawkins has to say in Unweaving the Rainbow, including his distinction between science fiction and fantasy: ''Dawkins' displeasure reaches to various literary genres beyond science, for example science fiction that weakens toward 'Tolkienian faked-up myth.' In his view, 'good science fiction has no dealings with fairy-tale magic-spells, but is premised on the world as an orderly place.' ''

    New York Times Book Review, February 7, 1999
    A short review by David Walton of Dean Koontz's Seize the Night; Gary Krist reviews Colson Whitehead's The Intuitionist -- ''one can sense Whitehead's ambition straining against the seams of the pulp fiction story he's chosen to contain it.'' -- and Brooke Allen reviews Sven Birkerts's Readings, which proposes ''that the technological innovations of the last few decades, and especially the computer revolution, have subtly altered not only our way of life but our perception of the world.''

    Los Angeles Times, February 7, 1999
    Jim Holt reviews Martin Gardner's Visitors from Oz: ''Gardner's update of the Oz saga is a must for all true believers. It is a maybe for the rest of us.''

    (Wed 17 Feb 99)

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