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Reviews from January 2000 (18)

Millennial Review XVII: The Whole Man by John Brunner (1964)

The Whole Man

By John Brunner  

30 Jan, 2000

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The Whole Man
John Brunner
Del Rey, 1964 [fix-up from 1958, 1959]
188 pages

Synopsis: During a period of civil unrest, Gerald Howson is born. He is terribly deformed and a bleeder, something his mother knew was possible, but she was more interested in using the pregnancy to blackmail Howson’s father into marrying her. The father is dead, and she is stuck with Gerald. Miss Howson briefly meets a UN Pacification Agency telepathist, Ilse Kronstadt, who is horrified at the mother’s priorities.

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Millennial Review XVI: Salvage and Destroy by Edward Llewellyn (1984)

Salvage and Destroy

By Edward Llewellyn  

29 Jan, 2000

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Salvage and Destroy
Edward Llewellyn
DAW, 1984
256 pages

Synopsis: In the 1680s, an exploratory mission crewed by Ara, a race whose strong regard for the well-being of others is slowly exterminating them, discovered and surveyed Earth. During the survey, they discovered a group of humans trapped on a sand spit, cut off by high tide and about to be drowned. Rather than let intelligent beings die, the Ara rescued the humans and took them back with them to the Cluster, their home civilization. 300 odd years later, Earth is on the brink of self destruction and the Cluster humans, who have come to dominate the space trades, want to send a second mission to salvage what they can.

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Millennial Review XV: Ballroom of the Skies by John D. MacDonald (1952)

Ballroom of the Skies

By John D. MacDonald  

27 Jan, 2000

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Ballroom of the Skies
John D. MacDonald
Nelson Doubleday 1979 (1951),
218 pages

Practically a short story. Unfortunately, near the end they give an actual date: 1979. Oops.

WWIII happened in the early 1970s, leaving the US as a second-rate power allied to Pak-India. PI is opposed by a coalition including Irania and North China and WW IV is looming on the horizon. One man, Darwin Branson, has been working to prevent war but on the eve of a critical meeting he is killed and reprogrammed [or replaced by a simulacrum] by a mysterious couple. The new Branson is openly arrogant and cynical, and war is not to be averted.

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Millennial Review XIV: Stardance by Spider and Jeanne Robinson (1979)

Stardance  (Stardance, book 1)

By Spider Robinson & Jeanne Robinson  

26 Jan, 2000

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Stardance
Spider and Jeanne Robinson
the Dial Press/James Wade, 1977,78,79
218 pages

Die-hard fans of S&JR might want to skip this one.

Synopsis: Charlie Armstead, video artist is introduced to Shara Drummond by her sister Norrey. Shara has talent but is physically unsuited to dance as it is done in the late 20th century. Charlie and Shara form an alliance to sell Shara's dance commercially but they fail to find a market niche. Charlie turns to drink and Shara disappears from his life.

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Millennial Review XIII: The Byworlder by Poul Anderson (1971)

The Byworlder

By Poul Anderson  

25 Jan, 2000

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The Byworlder
Poul Anderson
Signet, 1971,160 pages

Synopsis: it is somewhere between around 2002 and 2010. No significant wars have been fought in ages. Technology is advancing nicely and significant breakthroughs have occurred in the technology of teaching. The relative international calm was broken three years before the book opens by the arrival of a Bussard ramjet from Sigma Draconis. The ramjet is a hybrid ramjet/photon drive of extreme power, and the great powers are very interested in not letting the ship fall into any one nation’s hands, since the drive could be used to erase whole cities from existence casually. To everyone’s immense frustration, the Sigman”, as the ET is called, is apparently not very interested in communication with humans, spending far more time zipping around the solar system than trying to talk to humans.

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Millennial Review XI: Systemic Shock by Dean Ing (1981)

Systemic Shock  (Ted Quantrill, book 1)

By Dean Ing  

23 Jan, 2000

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Systemic Shock
Dean Ing
Ace, 1981,
298 pages

I was going to review the entire trilogy but Life Is Too Short plus I want to save up my bile for the Baxter HC that justcame in [1].

Synopsis: It’s 1996 and the entire world is about to go pear-shaped. Young Ted Quantrill is a teenage boy scout out with his officious and incompetent scout master when WW IV starts [WW III was General Sir John Hackett’s 1985 WW III]. The book follows several main points of view: Quantrill’s, Boren Mills’ [an intelligence officer], Sandy Grange’s [a 9 year old girl at the beginning of the story], Eve Simpson [teen holostar sex kitten], and an omniscient narrator writing from some point after WW IV. Don’t know much about that last except he’s an American and possibly a Mormon.

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Millennial Review X: The Persistence of Vision by John Varley (1978)

The Persistence of Vision

By John Varley  

22 Jan, 2000

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The Persistence of Vision
John Varley
The Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy, 1978

I’m cheating: after reading even a light bus-crusher like Eon I wanted something I could knock in an hour. This is a review of the short story The Persistence of Vision (tPoV), not the collection tPoV. The collection is very good and I recommend it but be warned it is out of print.

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