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Reviews in Project: Big Hair, Big Guns! (44)

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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.


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Fighting Dragons

Dragons of Autumn Twilight  (Dragonlance Chronicles, volume 1)

By Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman  

20 Jan, 2022

Big Hair, Big Guns!

4 comments

1984’s Dragons of Autumn Twilight is the first volume in Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s Dragonlance Chronicles. Curiously for a trilogy, the Chronicles comprise but three volumes. 

Tanis Half-Elven (bastard half-elf)1, Sturm Brightblade (a would-be knight), Caramon Majere (fighter), Raistlin Majere (magic user and Caramon’s sickly brother), Flint Fireforge (dwarf grognard), and Tasslehoff Burrfoot (kleptomaniac hobbit kender) reunite in the Inn of the Last Home to regale each other with tales of the adventures each has had in the five years since they last met. 

One Companion is missing. Kitiara Uth Matar, Caramon and Raistlin’s half-sister and future villain, sends a note saying that she will not attend. Flint proclaims this development bad luck. This pessimistic proclamation is too optimistic by half.


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Tonight Can We Just Get It Right

Replay

By Ken Grimwood  

4 Nov, 2021

Big Hair, Big Guns!

6 comments

Ken Grimwood’s World Fantasy Award-winning 1986 Replay is a stand-alone temporal recursion novel. 

October 18, 1988: Jeff Winston is stuck in a dead-end radio job and his marriage to Linda is disintegrating. Distraction might be welcome, but what happens is unwelcome. He and his wife are in the middle of a painful discussion of divorce when Jeff has a massive and painful heart attack. Jeff dies, ending the marriage in an unsatisfactory way (from Jeff’s POV). 

But … Jeff suddenly finds himself alive and well again. As a young Jeff, a college student in 1963.


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Where Webs of Snow Are Drifting

Helliconia Winter  (Helliconia, volume 3)

By Brian W. Aldiss  

26 Aug, 2021

Big Hair, Big Guns!

0 comments

1985’s Helliconia Winter is the third and final volume in Brian W. Aldiss’ Helliconia trilogy. 

General Luterin Shokerandit wins the battle of Isturiacha, crushing the forces of Campannlat. He returns to the capital to deliver news of his victory to the Oligarch of Sibornal, expecting a wondrous reward for his service.

His reward? Death.


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Welcome to the Jungle

The Legacy of Heorot  (Avalon, volume 1)

By Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle & Steven Barnes  

24 Jun, 2021

Big Hair, Big Guns!

2 comments

1987’s The Legacy of Heorot is the first volume in Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Steven Barnes’ Avalon series.

A century after being meticulously selected to establish Man’s first colony on an extrasolar planet, the settlers aboard the National Geographic Society’s starship Geographic establish a foothold on the Tau Ceti IV planet of Avalon. Prudently selecting an island for their settlement, they begin the task of transforming the island into an ecosystem in which humans can thrive.

Despite the unpleasant surprise that a century of hibernation has a cognitive cost apparently undetectable over shorter timespans, the settlers have thus far been successful in their bid to make Man’s Manifest Destiny IN SPAAACE a reality. Indeed, they’ve been so successful that ex-soldier turned security expert Cadmann Weyland seems superfluous to needs. 

The settlers are overconfident. Cadmann is crucial to the colony’s survival — or he will be if he survives the calamity bearing down on the naïve colony.


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A Shadow Hanging Over Me

The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Sixth Annual Collection  (The Year’s Best Science Fiction, volume 6)

By Gardner Dozois  

27 May, 2021

Big Hair, Big Guns!

3 comments

Gardner Dozois’ 1989 The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Sixth Annual Collectionis, rather unsurprisingly, the sixth volume in his series of annual anthologies collecting the best SF of the previous year. In the case of the Sixth, that year was 1988. Dozois, unlike some people I could mention, actually believed in letting years run to their end before deciding which works of that year were best.

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