THE COMING OF VERTUMNUS by Ian Watson

THE COMING OF VERTUMNUS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Another agreeably eclectic collection of 11 stories from Watson (Stalin's Teardrops, 1991, etc.). The two longest entries are among the best: the title piece, a whimsical commentary on sex, art, and eco-terrorism that twists darkly into frightening speculation on brainwashing via designer drugs; and ``Nanoware Time,'' in which familiar Watson concerns--life after death, psi powers, aliens, governmental paranoia--meld into an intriguing jaunt through hyperreality. Also outstanding: a virtuoso surrealist nightmare involving lucid dreaming, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and aliens to the rescue (``Virtually Lucid Lucy''); a what-is-reality puzzle set by a composite alien, with advanced technology as the prize (``The Odour of Cocktail Cigarettes''); a protracted seduction leading to eyebrow-raising thoughts on fish farming and interspecies hybrids (``Swimming with the Salmon''); and another of Watson's unsettling English villages where nothing is quite what it seems (``The Tale of Peg and the Brain''). In a more eccentric and less convincing vein, Watson imagines a lamia and a people-eating extractor fan (``Happy Hour''); an invisible being in search of...something (``Looking Down on You''); and the universe as a jukebox (``Life in the Groove''). A stimulating array of fervid imaginings and weird perspectives from one of England's leading purveyors of the art.

Pub Date: Dec. 15th, 1994
ISBN: 0-575-05766-1
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Gollancz/Trafalgar
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1994




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