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Night Relics by James M. Blaylock, Ace
Brittle Innings by Michael Bishop, Bantam
From The Teeth of Angels by Jonathan Carroll, Doubleday
The Warrior's Tale by Allan Cole and Chris Bunch, Del Rey
Memory and Dream by Charles de Lint, Tor
Review Links
Queen City Jazz by Kathleen Ann Goonan, Tor
Insomnia by Stephen King, Viking and Ziesing
Dark Rivers of the Heart by Dean Koontz, Knopf and Charnel House
Engines of God by Jack McDevitt, Ace
Trouble And Her Friends by Melissa Scott, Tor
The Warrior's Tale
by Allan Cole and Chris Bunch, Del Rey

I dread sequels. Rarely do they inspire the awe I find in the earlier work. I get cranky with characters doing the same stuff but differently. But Cole and Bunch stunned me. Rali, introduced briefly in The Far Kingdoms, brings this story to life with a cautious tale of what can happen when you annoy those more powerful. Her quest, expected to end in death, becomes a rite of passage culminating in her recognition of what destiny holds for her. Ahhh, I love it when someone figures out who they are.

Queen City Jazz
by Kathleen Ann Goonan, Tor

[Cover] Do you like books that start up in the middle if something, give meagre background, have their own techno-argot and dither around leading nowhere for awhile? If I hadn't read the cover blurb, this book would have been flipped into the dreck pile within fifty pages. After awhile, I took it as a personal challenge to figure out what was up. Slowly, it began to fall into place. A tidbit here, a teaser there began to give me some perspective. Boy, was it frustrating. I kept pushing on through. But, you know, I found the book one of the most enjoyable reads of 1994. When it appears in paperback, I'm not sure how I'll sell it. Maybe, I'll use the classic you tell me what you think it's about approach. Yeah, maybe that's it. On the other hand...

Brittle Innings
by Michael Bishop, Bantam

1943 was a simpler, gentler time. Yeah, right. Isolation, prejudice, and WWII kept segments of North America pocketed and out of touch with one another. folk were scratching out a living under rationing and centralized government control. My parents' generation was too busy trying to feed the family and keep a roof over their head to worry about ground water pollution and concentration of corporate ownership. But there was baseball and radio. Bishop uses the flashback approach to bring us the story of a kid who might some day make it to the majors even though mute. His roomie, during these minor league days, was a seven foot, yellow-eyed giant who keeps a diary. In a moment of weakness, Danny reads a portion of Jumbo's diary. It changes his life forever. Bishop's deft touch with books in the past, my fascination with all things baseball and a certain inclination to favour fractured characters made this book a sure winner from the start for me. He didn't disappoint.

Dark Rivers of the Heart
by Dean Koontz, Knopf and Charnel House

[Cover] Dean Koontz is the best writer when it comes to characters. No ifs, no ands, no buts.

I know when I pick up one of his books I'm going to be thrilled, saddened, irked, cajoled, scared and enlivened. I'm gonna want to hang out with some of his folk, to bang some heads, to share their joys and miseries, to have half their integrity and to offer my help in solving their puzzles. While I find some of their civic perspectives bewildering (I think a lot of Canadians find American politics a little odd), they hold up a mirror showing us another facet of humanity. Bad guys in government, running rampant is not a new idea, but he takes fresh aim at what could happen should we fail to recognize the clues and be prepared to do something about it.

There were some slagging reviews of this book. Hey, were these folk reading another book with the same title? Each time I heft this little number, I smile and thank my lucky stars that Dean's writing.

Engines of God
by Jack McDevitt, Ace

I picked up this book since his first was one of the more enjoyable Ace SF Special titles from the mid-80s (others included Neuromancer and The Wild Shore). It took only moments before McDevitt swept me up in his plot and characters. Plus, I'm a sucker for alien artifact novels. Who left it? Where did they go? You know the type; archaeologists on space. The bit-by-bit detecting, the hypotheses, the scavenging for remnants, the rediscovery of another puzzle piece; all aspects come together in this thoroughly enjoyable book. By the end, it leaves a lot of questions unanswered (sequel time?). But I want to know why Richard had to end up as he did.

Night Relics
by James M. Blaylock, Ace

Do little mysteries intrigue you? What is the guy down the street doing with all that equipment in his basement? What is that neighbour lady really doing with that snorkel and a pile of engine parts? James Blaylock write about little mysteries, this time in the hills around LA. Peter Travers learns of the healing powers of love and trust, Bernard Pomeroy learns not to venture off main roads and Lance Klein learns he isn't such a fool after all. There are more mysteries, this novel doesn't explain them all but some things are best left alone.

by Stephen King, Viking and Ziesing

[Cover] Little bald guys in white lab coats running around with scissors? People with auras coloured with the state of their health? Where does Stephen King come up with this stuff? Well, for those who would like to know, I have one answer. My neighbourhood, that's where. I know because I see this stuff all the time. King takes a simple premise, a senior with insomnia and turns it into a heartwarming story. Ralph and his new friend, Lois, taught me many new things (I think this is why I read). As I age, each and every event and liaison are new scramblings to how I relate to the world. Most are confusing, some are sad. Here, King has clarified many I expect to encounter in the years to come. He does it so elegantly, so effortlessly for me through this book and his other titles. I wish him a good life and look forward to his continued guidance.

From The Teeth of Angels
by Jonathan Carroll, Doubleday

I remember picking up the paperback version of his book, Land of Laughs, the day it arrived. The cover was enchanting so I thought I'd try it. Bam! I was hooked. The main characters put into words the reason I love books. Then there was Nails. We decided to offer a money back guarantee (a rare event in our store's history) if a customer didn't like it. When we heard it was going out of print, we bought every box the distributor had. They lasted about two years. (Don't ask, they ran out about 5 years ago.)

Since then Carroll's done books filled with some wild imaginings (I'm kinda glad he doesn't live on my street). But, this one. Boy-o-boy. Three people find themselves staring death in the face, to coin a metaphor. Co-incidently (or maybe not) Death comes to town disguised as human. Given a choice, would you spend any time verbally sparring with them? Not me, I've got laundry to do. You know, sometimes life is grim (the book isn't). Carroll shows us the alternative. I'll stick with grim and life. And I'll keep this book around as a reminder. It changed my life.

Memory and Dream
by Charles de Lint, TorCanadian Author

[Cover] A Newford artist must come to terms with the power she creates with her work -- and make peace with a past that haunts her. Charles de Lint has created a memorable circus of characters set in his town of odd characters, interesting landscape and intriguing atmosphere. If you want to be swept away by adventure, buy this book and share a thrill with the leading contemporary fantasist writing today. 'Nuff said.

Trouble And Her Friends
by Melissa Scott, Tor

I don't know why books with green covers fascinate me. Maybe, it's the publishing myth that green-covered books don't sell as well. In any event, that's my reason for picking up this book (dumb, eh?). Soon Cerise and Trouble had me hooked. Their adventures in both the real and virtual worlds led to so many twists and turns that I was metaphorically breathless to learn what was going to happen next. The episode (chapters 7 and 8) leading up to and in the dingey motel at Seahaven was worth the price of the book alone.


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