James Nicoll Reviews

Home > Reviews > By Project

Reviews in Project: Big Hair, Big Guns! (50)

Perfect Harmony

The Gate of Ivory  (Gate of Ivory, volume 1)

By Doris Egan  

20 Sep, 2022

Big Hair, Big Guns!

3 comments

1989’s The Gate of Ivory is the first volume in Doris Egan’s cozy science fantasy, the Gate of Ivory trilogy. Rather unexpectedly, the trilogy consists of exactly three books. 

The human inhabitants of the planet Ivory are famous for their amusing delusion that magic works on Ivory. The chance to visit exotic Ivory was too enticing for cultural anthropologist Theodora (Theo) to pass up … although Theo might have been better off if she had turned it down.

Having been rolled by a cunning Ivoran, Theo missed her ship off Ivory. The Athenan ambassador declined to help an ID-less Theo. Having no other option, Theo has spent the two years since her failed flight making a meagre living reading Tarot cards. She is saving her pennies in the hope that one day she will be able to afford the small fortune required to return to Athena and her academic life. 

Ivory aristocrat Ran Cormallon has a use for a woman without friends, family, or wealth.

Read more ➤

Breathe Deep The Gathering Gloom

X‑Men: Days of Future Past

By Chris Claremont & John Byrne  

18 Aug, 2022

Big Hair, Big Guns!

2 comments

1981’s X‑Men: Days of Future Past was a two-part story that first appeared in the comics X‑Men 141 and X‑Men 142. Chris Claremont was credited as writer, John Byrne as artist; the pair shared plotting credit. 

In the unimaginably distant year of 2013, New York’s Park Avenue is a vast slum, as is New York itself. Indeed, New York’s condition reflects the dismal state of America as a whole: an economically declining dictatorship whose population is regimented by the giant robot Sentinels along eugenic lines. Put simply, it’s mutant versus human!

Read more ➤

When You’re Strange

Bimbos of the Death Sun

By Sharyn McCrumb  

26 Jul, 2022

Big Hair, Big Guns!

15 comments

1987’s Bimbos of the Death Sun is the first of two Jay Omega mysteries by Sharyn McCrumb.

Engineering professor Dr. James Jay Omega” Mega turned his research into a novel. Fellow academic Dr. Marion Farley transformed Jay’s novel into a readable novel and Jay himself into a boyfriend. Jay’s publisher renamed the hard SF novel Bimbos of the Death Sun, slapped a lurid cover on it, and sent it out to bookstores. Now comes the most grueling part of writing SF: publicity. Specifically, interacting with fans at Rubicon, a science fiction convention. 

Read more ➤

A World of Fools

Eldrie the Healer  (Bastard Princess, volume 1)

By Claudia J. Edwards  

19 Jul, 2022

Big Hair, Big Guns!

6 comments

1989’s Eldrie the Healer is the first and only volume in Claudia J. Edwards’ Bastard Princess secondary-world fantasy series. 

Eldrie left her native Maritiene, where she was an unhappy, bullied bastard (but of royal stock, so would have been a princess if legitimate), to become a wandering healer. Eager to find work, Eldrie journeyed to the strife-torn Republic. She soon discovered two flaws in her plan. First, a decade of civil war meant nobody could afford to pay her. Second, rather than being seen as a neutral in the conflict between Theocrat and Monarchist, Eldrie was seen by both sides as the ally of the other side and therefore a legitimate target.

Searching for a way past clashing Theocrat/Monarchist forces, Eldrie finds herself face to face with a rampaging barbarian.

Read more ➤

Dare to Know

The Curse of Sagamore  (Sagamore, volume 1)

By Kara Dalkey  

31 May, 2022

Big Hair, Big Guns!

2 comments

1986’s The Curse of Sagamore is the first volume in Kara Dalkey’s Sagamore duology.

Several generations ago, King Thalion decided that none of the heirs of his body were worthy of the throne of Euthymia1. His fool, Sagamore, was promoted to king. Unfortunately, this was a role for which neither the fool nor his descendants were suited. 

Prince Abderian is a minor son of Euthymia’s troubled royal family. He has no ambition to sit on the throne. Too bad for him that fate is no respecter of personal preference. 


Read more ➤

Make You Real

A Mask for the General

By Lisa Goldstein  

19 May, 2022

Big Hair, Big Guns!

2 comments

Lisa Goldstein’s 1987 A Mask for the General is a stand-alone near-future SF novel. 

By 2012 America’s banks were computerized and networked. One ambitious thief’s malicious software could and as it happens, did, bring the United States’ entire cybernetic and financial edifice down overnight. In the days after the Collapse, General Otis Gleason had no choice but to take control, first of America’s nuclear weapons and then of the nation as a whole. Or at least that’s what he claimed.

Nine years after the Collapse, the American economy is a pale shadow of what it once was. Gleason is convinced that the problem cannot be his obsessive micromanagement; the problem must be the American people. Each day brings new regulations aimed at guiding easily misled Americans back towards wholesome conformity. Despite laws and harsh punishments, America is still plagued by non-conformists, particularly in the Bay Area town of Berkeley. 

Seventeen-year-old runaway Mary is determined to be one of those non-conformists.

Read more ➤

More Than Just a Number

The Silicon Mage  (Windrose Chronicles, volume 2)

By Barbara Hambly  

5 May, 2022

Big Hair, Big Guns!

3 comments

1988’s The Silicon Mage is the second volume in Barbara Hambly’s Windrose Chronicles.

In the belief that the malevolent mage Suraklin was possessing Antryg, Joanna Sheraton left the dread revenant and its host in the gentle care of the authorities in Suraklin’s native dimension. She returns home, across the dimensions, to California. 

It is then that Joanna realizes that she has made a terrible mistake. Suraklin is not possessing Antryg; he’s ensconced himself in Joanna’s nasty boyfriend Gary. Antryg’s arrest did not neutralize Suraklin’s threat. It neutralized the only person able to stop Suraklin.

Read more ➤

All Around Black Ink Darkness

The Silent Tower  (The Windrose Trilogy, volume 1)

By Barbara Hambly  

28 Apr, 2022

Big Hair, Big Guns!

2 comments

1986’s The Silent Tower is the first volume in Barbara Hambly’s Windrose trilogy.

Although his grandfather is the Archmage Salteris Solaris, Stonne Caris’ own magical gifts are quite limited. Thus the young man has embraced the Way of the Sasenna. Better to be a superlative warrior than a third-rate magician. 

Of late his meagre magical powers have disappeared, much to the swordsman’s alarm. He would investigate this but … other problems intervene. 

Read more ➤

In the Middle of Fifth Avenue

X‑Men: God Loves, Man Kills

By Chris Claremont & Brent Eric Anderson  

29 Mar, 2022

Big Hair, Big Guns!

5 comments

1982’s X‑Men: God Loves, Man Kills is a graphic novel (sort of an American tankōbon) by Chris Claremont, with illustrations by Brent Eric Anderson. God Loves, Man Kills was in its day considered something of a classic.

Two African-American children flee — but not quickly enough. Their pursuers corner and murder both of them. The pursuers leave the bodies on display and add signs explaining their motivation for the lynching: both were mutants.


Read more ➤