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From: "Jeremy W. Crampton" <jcrampto@gmu.edu>
Subject: (urth) 3 reviews of Strange Travelers from BIP
Date: Fri, 04 Feb 2000 13:55:43 

Following are 3 reviews of ST from Books in Print. They relate to some of
the discussions on this list esp. the Ziggurat.


Library Journal
 (January 1, 2000; 0-312-87227-5)

 Two tales featuring a pair of musicians wandering down an endless highway
filled with stalled cars
 ("Bluesberry Jam"; "Ain't You Most Done?") frame this collection of 15
short stories by the
 award-winning author of the "Book of the New Sun" series. Wolfe's eclectic
talent runs the gamut from
 Russian folk tales to modern horror as he explores a landscape filled with
ghouls, aliens, and
 chess-playing deities. Representing a decade of groundbreaking speculative
fiction by a master of the
 genre, this volume belongs in most libraries. Copyright 2000 Cahners
Business Information.|


 (January 1, 2000; 0-312-87227-5)

 Wolfe's latest collection holds 16 pieces that have appeared in an amazing
variety of publications
 during the last decade. Their inspirations range from music in "Bluesberry
Jam" to comic books in
 "Ain't You Most Done?," a tie-in to Neil Gaiman's famous Sandman series of
graphic novels, which are
 about as far removed from caped-crusader stuff as one can imagine. But
then, Wolfe occupies a
 distinguished position on the frontiers of both sf and fantasy by virtue
of originality of subject, capable
 handling of detail, and command of language. Plot summaries don't do his
work justice, but the only
 caveat to make is that some of the protagonists are initially repulsive,
and at short length, there isn't
 much time to assimilate their complexities. --Roland Green|


 Publishers Weekly
 (December 20, 1999; 0-312-87227-5)

 Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, this collection of Wolfe's
stories published in the 1990s
 contains death by overdose, suicide, Armageddon, cruelty to animals, abuse
of children, children
 willing to falsely accuse fathers of sexual abuse and a plethora of
vampiric female figures eager to suck
 the life out of men. Opening with "Bluesberry Jam," Wolfe (The Book of the
Long Sun series, etc.)
 creates an intriguing speculative future in which an entire culture arises
from people who have been
 stuck in a traffic jam for decades. This conceit is ultimately negated,
however, by the most tired of
 clichs in the closing story, "Ain't You 'Most Done," which is set in the
same world. Also included are
 two Christmas stories: "No Planets Strike," a relatively sweet tale in
which genetically modified animals
 aid the next Christ child, and "And When They Appear," which is less
sweet, involving wonderful,
 mythic figures who visit, but cannot save, a small boy from a world gone
mad. While Wolfe's prose is
 exceptional and there are a few gems here, such as "Useful Phrases," which
delights in how words
 lead us to and reveal mysteries, there are also several tasteless and
misogynistic entries. Chief among
 them is "The Ziggurat," in which a mother coaches her daughters in the art
of false accusation and the
 father--whose wife leaves him broke-eventually regains all by finding a
woman he can dominate and a
 technology he can steal. All too frequently in this volume, even when
women show men "the pleasures
 of Hell," biting them till they bleed, men emerge loutish and triumphant.
(Jan.) FYI: Wolfe is a
 recipient of the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement. Copyright
1999 Cahners Business
Jeremy W. Crampton		http://geog.gmu.edu/gess/people/jwc.html
Geography and Earth Science [MS1E2]
George Mason University
Fairfax Va. 22030-4444
(703) 993-1210

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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