Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Wen Spencer
Baen, 448 pages

Wen Spencer
Wen Spencer grew up on the family farm in Evans City, Pennsylvania, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Information Science, and has worked various jobs from Aluminum Expediting to Medical Research and Museum Renovation. Spencer is also the author of Alien Taste, first in the Ukiah Oregon series.

Wen Spencer Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Dog Warrior
SF Site Review: Bitter Waters
SF Site Review: Tainted Trail
Review: Tinker
On writing Tinker
On the sequel to Tinker

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Peter D. Tillman


"The wargs chased the elf over Pittsburgh Scrap and Salvage's tall chain-link fence shortly after the hyperphase gate powered down."
So opens Tinker, which is a very fast-paced book. Amazingly fast-paced. Astoundingly.... well, you get the idea. Boredom will not be a problem if you read Tinker.

Circa 2050, Pittsburgh has been transported (mostly) to Elfhome, as a side-effect of the startup of a new Chinese orbital interdimensional gate. Tinker, just turned 18, owns the junkyard, and is a full-fledged Grrl Genius to boot, with a mouth (and steel-toe boots) to match. Oh, and Tink's Dad, the gate's inventor, died 10 years before she was born...

Did I mention Tink's being romanced by the rich, powerful, gorgeous, sexy Elvish Viceroy? Can we say "female wish-fulfillment wet dream?" Wet dreams do play a part, actually, and this is not a criticism.

Oh, man, this book is so good. A light, clever, sexy SF-fantasy-romance that's just a whole lot of fun to read. Right up there with the best of the "scientific magic" books, and a clear "A" rating -- but you should know that it's the first of a seemingly open-ended series1. So the ending is just the end of an episode. Regardless, I liked it a lot2, and I'm ready for #2!

Read the first chapter -- if you like that, you'll love the book. Trust me.

Influences she mentions:
John M. Ford's The Last Hot Time
Terri Windling's Borderland project
C.J. Cherryh's atevi (Foreigner and Invader series)
Page Bailey, girl genius in the Star Frontiers RPG game, her model for Tinker
Other influences I saw:
Robet A. Heinlein, Waldo & Magic, Inc
L. Sprague De Camp & Fletcher Pratt, Harold Shea stories (The Incompleat Enchanter, etc.)
Larry Niven, The Magic Goes Away, etc...
Your favorite kickass, smart-mouth female fantasy heroine -- like Anita Blake, but with a LOT less gore and kinky sex.
This was my first Wen Spencer book, but for sure won't be the last. Always a pleasure to find a good new author to feed my habit....

1 a fact unmentioned by the publisher anywhere in the book. Bad Baen!

2 Note that there are various loose ends in Tinker, which may well be resolved as the series continues. Anyway, this is not, repeat, NOT a book to be read in analytical mode. Recommended solely for frivolous relaxation.

Copyright © 2005 Peter D. Tillman

Pete Tillman has been reading SF for better than 40 years now. He reviews SF -- and other books -- for Amazon, Infinity-Plus, SF Site, and others. He's a mineral exploration geologist based in Arizona. Google "Peter D. Tillman" +review for many more of Pete's reviews.

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or other stuff worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide