Sunday, July 27, 1997

Review: "The Immortals" by Tracy Hickman

I've been reading Tracy Hickman's work for a long time now, and this is quite possibly the best thing he's ever written.

In the near future, a cure is found for AIDS, but the cure causes a worse and more lethal disease known as V-CIDS. By 2010 the United States has fallen under martial law, and the disease has run rampant. The government has taken the drastic steps of herding those infected into prison camps to die.

When millionaire Michael Barris sneaks into one of the camps to find his infected son, he finds a much darker side to the camps that he helped create.

This is likely Hickman's best writing and his most meaningful work. It's a very dark novel, and it's even a little scary to think about. Even if you've never liked anything he's done before, you might want to give this one a read.

Saturday, July 12, 1997

Review: "The Book of the New Sun" by Gene Wolfe

Many consider this work one of the classic science fiction tales, but I have mixed feelings about it.

In a far-flung, post-apocalyptic future, a world that blends elements of our world and ancient worlds exists. Severian was given over to the Order of the Seekers for Truth and Penitence - the torturers - as a young child. After he's captivated by a prisoner and shows mercy, he's exiled from the Order. Armed with the sword Terminus Est, he's sent to an outer region of the kingdom to practice his art. But on the way he gets pulled into adventure.

After hearing several stories about how good it was, and finding the subject matter intriguing I bought the two-volume, four-book set. Overall, I was unimpressed. While the story is quite good, it get's bogged down in a slow writing style. Often the author goes off on these philosophical asides that take the reader completely out of the story. So far, I've only read the first two books, "The Shadow of the Torturer" and "The Claw of the Conciliator", but I put the other two on the backburner.

It's an interesting idea, and an interesting story if you can wade through it. It's not for me, but others may like it.