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SF Reviews and Articles in General Publications

§ American Heritage May/June 1999
The second annual Overrated/Underrated Issue has selections from a variety of experts, including Thomas M. Disch on Science Fiction Writers. Overrated: Isaac Asimov. Underrated: Gene Wolfe...

...whose first, serpent-wise novel, The Fifth Head of Cerberus, came out in 1972. Between 1980 and 1982 he published The Book of the New Sun, a tetralogy of couth, intelligence, and suavity that is also written in VistaVision with Dolby sound. Imagine a Star Wars–style space opera penned by G. K. Chesterton in the throes of a religious conversion. Wolfe has continued in full diapason ever since, and a crossover success is long overdue.

Other interesting categories, all on this page: Stephen King on Rock Bands (The Beatles and Creedence Clearwater Revival, respectively); Phil Patton on Inventions (atomic power; the telegraph); John Lukacs on Ideas (progress; the British origins of American liberties).

§ Village Voice July 7 - 13
Carol Cooper reviews two new [non-SF] books by Samuel R. Delany, who ''never ceases to surprise his readers, mainly because he writes astonishingly well about almost anything'': Times Square Red, Times Square Blue (New York University Press), a collection of sociological musings about public sex; and Bread and Wine (Juno), a pornographic graphic novel, illustrated by Mia Wolff, about how Delany found and courted his live-in lover Dennis.

§ New York Times Book Review July 4th
Gerald Jonas' science fiction column covers Dennis Danvers' End of Days (Avon Eos): ''The story Danvers tells is complex beyond the possibility of synopsis, but he never loses control of his material. ... [a] thoughtful and consistently entertaining book''; Lisa Goldstein's Dark Cities Underground (Tor), which ''brims with good ideas that never quite add up to a compelling story''; and R.J. Pineiro's 01-01-00: A Novel of the Millennium (Forge), which ''isn't really about anything except the desire to plug into as many turn-of-the-millennium phenomena as possible. On those terms, it is a fast and diverting read...''

§ Washington Post Book World July 4th
Michael Dirda reviews J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Scholastic): ''Children who loved Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone -- and that means almost all those who read it -- will enjoy this new adventure, though the sequel seems slightly less magical than the original, if only because we've been here before.''

Another Dirda article gives advice on summer reading for kids: science fiction, Agatha Christie, classic romances, even novelizations!

§ New York Times July 1st
Bruce Headlam reviews Paul Levinson's nonfiction Digital McLuhan (Routledge).

For readers unfamiliar with McLuhan, Levinson performs a useful service. ... Levinson, who shares McLuhan's weaknesses for bad puns and hyperbole, does have a few disagreements with the master, particularly over what he calls media determinism -- McLuhan's belief that technology shapes people and not the other way around. But for the most part, Levinson eagerly applies McLuhanism to almost every facet of modern communications.
§ CNN June 30th
L.D. Meagher reviews Far Horizons (Avon Eos).

(Wed 7 July 1999)

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