|Otter Creek Press, 783 pages|
|A review by Georges T. Dodds
Brin is an amnesic warrior hero with a living telepathic sword and a similarly telepathic miniature dragon sidekick. In a world straight out of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign led by an inexperienced, not to say inept dungeon-master, the heroes go from encounter to encounter, seemingly invincible if perhaps temporarily delayed, conveniently healing themselves over and over again, while trying to save the last dimension dancer from being cloned into an army of super-soldiers by the evil Dark Lord (who incidentally is actually called the Dark Lord). Brin, has occasional flashbacks to his prosaic life as a graduate student in an Earth university, but he is of course the Chosen One (my, how original) and the fate of the universe is in his hands.
Let's see, virtually every line of conversation ending in an exclamation mark, a creator-God whose name is a homonym for Maker, names of people and places from every possible ethnic origin seemingly without any logic, plot bogged down in an infinitude of characters which appear for no apparent reason and disappear, never to return, including, of course, the always necessary character with an apostrophe in its name, different fonts (some difficult to read) to distinguish the speech of different types of characters, technology from cloning to a Walkman mish-mashed with spell casting and teleporting, flashbacks to late 60s-early 70s rock lyrics... I could go on. After 20 pages, I was discouraged, after 100 disgusted... and there were still 660 pages to go. A spot check here and there, every 100 or so pages revealed similar drivel.
Do yourself a favour, if you do want to support Mr. Hill's writing career, hire him a professional editor. If that is beyond your means, invite him to a D&D campaign with a top-notch, experienced dungeon master. For the environment's sake one only hopes that Wizard Sword, which includes previews to Mr. Hill's upcoming works, and weighs in at a over 1.3 kg (3 lbs) is printed on recycled paper.
Georges Dodds is a research scientist in vegetable crop physiology, who for close to 25 years has read and collected close to 2000 titles of predominantly pre-1950 science-fiction and fantasy, both in English and French. He writes columns on early imaginative literature for WARP, the newsletter/fanzine of the Montreal Science Fiction and Fantasy Association and maintains a site reflecting his tastes in imaginative literature.
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