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Reviews in Project: Big Hair, Big Guns! (67)

Melt Your Heart

The Crystal Palace  (Book of Elementals, volume 2)

By Phyllis Eisenstein  

2 Apr, 2024

Big Hair, Big Guns!


1988’s The Crystal Palace is the second volume in Phyllis Eisenstein’s secondary universe fantasy Book of Elementals series. I reviewed the first volume, Sorcerer’s Son, here.

Having vanquished Sorcerer Rezhyk, nothing remains for sorcerer Detivev Ormoru and her son Cray but to live happily ever after. Easy enough for Detivev, who has her doting demon lover Gildrum. Easy enough for all the demons liberated by the relentless Cray. But where is Cray’s happily ever after?

The answer begins with a magic mirror.

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Play Their Fantasy

The Cyborg and the Sorcerers  (War Surplus, volume 1)

By Lawrence Watt-Evans  

7 Mar, 2024

Big Hair, Big Guns!


1982’s The Cyborg and the Sorcerers, also published as The Cyborg and the Sorceress, is the first volume in Lawrence Watt-Evans’ War Surplus science-fantasy duology.

Six months after a cyborg, Slant, was dispatched to infiltrate and reconnoiter rebel planets, the rebel alliance’s ships pierced Solar defenses and obliterated Earth and Mars. Whether this means that the rebels won is unclear. What is clear is that Earth lost… decisively.

Slant is programmed to carry out his mission despite the fall of Earth.

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In My Dreams I Have a Plan

Nightside City  (Carlisle Hsing, volume 1)

By Lawrence Watt-Evans  

22 Feb, 2024

Big Hair, Big Guns!


1989’s Nightside City is the first of Lawrence Watt-Evan’s Carlisle Hsing hard-SF mystery novels, which are in turn a subset of Watt-Evan’s Shining Steel Universe.

Down-at-heel private detective Carlisle Hsing cannot be choosy about which cases to accept. Nevertheless, the case offered to her by Zarathustra Pickens is a new low. Not only is the pay laughably small, the case itself makes no sense. Why would someone be buying up doomed real estate?

But first! An infodump about the exoplanet on which the story is set.

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Forever and a Day

The Misenchanted Sword  (Legends of Ethshar, volume 1)

By Lawrence Watt-Evans  

15 Feb, 2024

Big Hair, Big Guns!


Lawrence Watt-Evans’s 1985 The Misenchanted Sword is the first in a series of secondary-universe fantasy novels set in Watt-Evans’ Ethshar.

Cut off from his fellow Ethsharite soldiers by an unexpected northern empire attack, Valder flees enemy soldiers determined to kill him. In his panic, Valder does something that will shape the rest of his quite possibly short life: he annoys a wizard.

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Freedom and Fame

Borderland  (Chronicles of the Borderlands, volume 1)

 Edited by Terri Windling & Mark Alan Arnold 

25 Jan, 2024

Big Hair, Big Guns!


Terri Windling and Mark Alan Arnold’s 1986 Borderland is the first volume in the Chronicles of the Borderlands modern fantasy shared universe.

The Borderland is the region between Faerie and the human world (1), a region where neither elf magic nor human technology is reliable. Governed by neither side, the Borderland becomes a refuge for society’s outcasts: artists, criminals, and teenagers.

Extensive ISFDB digression warning.

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Dear Old Dixie

Lincoln’s Dreams

By Connie Willis  

21 Dec, 2023

Big Hair, Big Guns!


Connie Willis’ 1987 Lincoln’s Dreams is a standalone contemporary speculative fiction novel.

Jeff Johnson works as a researcher for historical novelist Broun. His job is to run down answers to questions, some questions significant and some trivial. Broun is an enthusiastic over-thinker and compulsively tinkers with manuscripts already in galley form. Which means that the novelist keeps Jeff busy tracking down historical minutiae. It’s too bad that Jeff is really not all that informed about the history he is researching. This makes his job difficult and his hours long. He doesn’t need any distractions.

But he’s distracted by troubled Annie and her perplexing dreams.

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Fool’s Mate

Second Game

By Charles V. De Vet & Katherine MacLean  

24 Oct, 2023

Big Hair, Big Guns!


Charles V. De Vet and Katherine MacLean’s 1981 Second Game is a stand-alone interstellar espionage novel.

Having discovered to their astonishment that they share the galaxy with another starfaring race, the Ten Thousand World Federation1 attempted to open diplomatic relations with the Veldqans. Rebuffed by the aliens, the Federation dispatched a fleet to underline the benefits of friendly relations. That fleet having been annihilated through mysterious means, Master Spy Leonard Stromberg is dispatched to the alien home world to take a closer look.

Key to his efforts: a board game.

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Wanderin’ Worker

Being Alien  (Becoming Alien, volume 2)

By Rebecca Ore  

22 Aug, 2023

Big Hair, Big Guns!


1989’s Being Alien is the second volume in Rebecca Ore’s Becoming Alien trilogy. The first volume, Becoming Alien, was reviewed here.

Tom Gentry has been recruited to serve the galactic polity, the Federation. He has been given a new name, training, and employment in the Federation’s monitoring and first contact bureaucracy.

For the most part, Tom has adjusted well. 

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Spin On To Yesterday

Anubis Gates  (Anubis Gates, volume 1)

By Tim Powers  

17 Aug, 2023

Big Hair, Big Guns!

1 comment

1983’s The Anubis Gates is the first of Tim Powers’ Anubis Gates series1.

1801: Determined to make Egypt great again, magicians Doctor Romany and Amenophis Fikee travel to England to conduct a ceremony which, if successful, will sweep the British Empire and its loathsome peers from the face of the Earth, then restore the old Egyptian gods in their full glory. The result is a catastrophe whose effects are felt across time.

Having failed again to sabotage the British Empire, the surviving schemers turn to other plots.

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