FULL SPECTRUM 2 by Lou Aronica


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A large collection of 27 stories ranging, as the title implies, from science fiction through fantasy and magic realism to mainstream religious, and from famous names to unknowns making debuts. Blame the distinctly uneven quality here on the overabundance of editors (they are various sf magazine and publishing luminaries). Still, good things may be found, such as: Elizabeth Hand's intense and memorable tale about autistic children "cured" by drug therapy, then used brutally as dream-psychologists and mind-breakers; Karen Haber's accurate, chilling depiction of a plague that alters personality and induces alienation--in a similar vein, David Brin's plague promotes philanthropy in its victims; a most unusual visitation by angels (Robert Sampson); and a ghostly Navajo woman with a powerful lesson to impart (Lori Ann White). Also, less felicitously: an orchestral miracle (religion, straight up, from Kim Stanley Robinson); a world that ends at a vertiginous, unending cliff (magic realism from Michael Swanwick); a boy and a whore in a weird, magical city (a disappointingly first-draftish effort from Greg Bear); monsters; ghosts; dinosaurs; the dead; visiting aliens; cyberpunk; art; chaos; Christ and Judas reincarnated; a telepathic novitiate; hyperspace; and space madness. Often weighty and serious, but little here is genuinely innovative, and the whole impressively eclectic enterprise feels as though designed for the teen-age audience. Overall: a solid--stolid--B minus.

Pub Date: April 20th, 1989
ISBN: 385-26019-9
Publisher: Doubleday
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