Reviewed on 2/4/2005 A Game of Thrones/A Clash of Kings [A Song of Ice and Fire, Books 1 and 2]
by George R. R. Martin One of the two greatest living writers of high fantasy:
Only two other high-fantasy writers that I'm aware of can really hold company with George Martin: Jack Vance and that dead Oxford scholar you've heard of. I've been a fan of George's short work for years, but I was still skeptical of the all the praise his Song of Ice and Fire series got. A Game of Thrones
opened dramatically but not too convincingly, and at first seemed to lack the wonder that his short work can conjure within only a few paragraphs, but soon the world and its characters opened up, and I realized he'd accomplished something unique. The world he's created is a real place, with real people in it, every character firmly at the center of his or her own reality. His prose is clean and unadorned, in itself not particularly compelling, but it doesn't falter, either, and it does the job of conveying a fiendishly addictive story.
Reviewed on 1/16/2005 A Dry, Quiet War
by Tony Daniel Damn near perfect:
'A Dry, Quiet War' is an archetypal story often explored in Westerns: a war veteran returns to the pastoral frontier from which he came and tries to put his violent, painful past behind him and settle down. He begins to build the life he always hoped for, with the woman he'd always wanted...and then the bad guys come to town and he must choose whether to take up the gun again even though the only possible outcomes are bad. You've no doubt heard or seen some variation before. So how does it manage to be so fresh? Because the stakes are as high as only science fiction can make them: the hero, Henry Bone, has been through the ultimate war at the end of time and been radically transformed body and soul. His powers are godlike, but to exercise them, he will unmake everything for which he and millions of others have paid an unspeakable price. Any student of good genre writing would do well to study this piece closely.
Reviewed on 1/16/2005 The Night of White Bhairab
by Lucius Shepard One cool idea:
This is the first piece I ever read by Lucius Shepard, and it made me an instant fan. I mean, what a cool idea: a collector brings the central structure of a European haunted house to his home in Katmandu, and along with it an evil ghost that fights it out with native spirits on the night of an exotic Hindu festival, all told with prose that's economical yet lavish. A gee-whiz genre story you can respect yourself for liking.
Reviewed on 10/29/2004 Fevre Dream
by George R. R. Martin One of the Best Vampire Novels:
Typical of George Martin's work, this book is lushly evocative, yet moves at a good clip. One of the best books ever written in the vampire genre.