Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Reviews (page 284)

FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1996

Alternate-world yarns exert an endless fascination: for one, because other worlds are scientifically respectable (modern particle theory admits the possibility); for another, the godlike power offered by historical what-ifs (for instance, what-if the Nazis had won WW II? Read full book review >
A MAN BETRAYED by J.V. Jones
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: April 1, 1996

"Better than volume one, with some feminist teeth showing; but what a pity that Jones didn't make the effort to render each entry independently intelligible."
Second part of Jones's sprawling, hardworking fantasy (The Baker's Boy, 1995). Read full book review >

CRADLE OF SPLENDOR by Patricia Anthony
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: April 1, 1996

"Mesmerizing, full of terrible insights, deeply disturbing, and quite unforgettable, confirming Anthony as the powerhouse of 1990s science fiction."
Anthony's new venture (Happy Policeman, 1994, etc.) is set in a near-future Brazil whose president, Ana Maria Bonfim, has engineered a social and economic miracle. Read full book review >
ONE FOR THE MORNING GLORY by John Barnes
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: April 1, 1996

"Not as compelling as Barnes's superior sf, but his fans shouldn't be too disappointed."
Following a streak of science fiction successes (Kaleidoscope Century, 1995, etc.), Barnes takes a stab at light fantasy. Read full book review >
BLEAK SEASONS by Glen Cook
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: April 1, 1996

"Some good ideas, and intriguingly structured, but theatrical and with far too little action to attract readers unfamiliar with the series."
From the author of Tower of Fear (1989), the first hardcover appearance for an established paperback military fantasy series about the Black Company, a sort of extended family of mercenary warriors. Read full book review >

SHARDS OF EMPIRE by Susan Shwartz
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: April 1, 1996

"Too bad Shwartz didn't simply continue, since the remainder—werewolves, magic, lost cities and all—works hard but carries less conviction."
Historical fantasy set in the Byzantine Empire of the 11th century, from the author of Empire of the Eagle (1993, with Andre Norton). Read full book review >
WHITEOUT by Sage Walker
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: April 1, 1996

"A strikingly assured, mature drama, engrossing and beautifully constructed, with only the ending a tad soggy: an estimable and highly auspicious debut."
It's 30 years from now, a time when pollution, collapsing ecosystems, and climatic change mean chronic ill-health, near starvation, and insecurity are normal for most people. Read full book review >
BELLWETHER by Connie Willis
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: April 1, 1996

"Willis's intriguing notion comes across with the authority of a genuine insight—and probably merits a more dramatic and thoroughgoing workout than the agreeable but bland treatment it receives here."
Here-and-now speculative yarn involving chaos theory and statistical prediction, from the author of the fine Doomsday Book (1992), etc. Employed by the HiTek company, Sandra Foster is trying to develop a theory that can predict how and why fads and trends begin. Read full book review >
RIBOFUNK by Paul Di Filippo
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1996

"Clever, brash, hardworking, lightweight: There's much to admire here, even if the tales don't always engage the emotions."
Thirteen tales, 1989-95, including two previously unpublished, from the author of The Steampunk Trilogy (1995). Read full book review >
ARCADY by Michael Williams
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: April 1, 1996

"A shame, though, about the long-winded narrative, unevocative prose, and whimsical plotting."
In a futuristic fantasy from paperback author Williams, set millennia after some disaster has destroyed a technological civilization, a huge poetic jumble (drawn principally from William Blake's prophetic books), known as the Text, is accepted as holy writ and considered to possess magical properties. Read full book review >
BROTHERS by Ben Bova
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: April 1, 1996

"An effective mix of science, politics, and family struggle in a novel that should reach a wide audience."
A biotechnical breakthrough throws two brothers into conflict in this high-tech thriller set in a "science court" in the nation's capital. Read full book review >
FIRST KING OF SHANNARA by Terry Brooks
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: April 1, 1996

"For those who care."
Brooks wasn't the first writer, and won't be the last, to make a career out of a single idea that captured the fantasy audiences's attention (his Magic Kingdom yarns notwithstanding). Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >