Book Reviews 2004 (10-12)

Not having that bus ride into Minneapolis stinks to high heaven. My reading rate is abysmal. If I can squeeze 20 pages into lunch, I am doing well.
Today, I will be talking about:
Doc Sidhe, by Aaron Allston
The Color of Magic, by Terry Pratchett (re-read)
Ripping Time, by Robert Asprin and Linda Evans


Doc Sidhe, by Aaron Allston
A professional kickboxer, Harris Greene, is having a very very bad day. His career is in shambles, his fiancee has dumped him. Things get worse when strange, inhuman creatures kidnap the girl that has dumped him but he is far from being over with.
Impetuousness leads him to follow the assailants–and into another world. An Art-Deco 30’s world of Elves and Men, high adventure, magic and two fisted action. And, most notably, a pulp hero by the name of Doc Sidhe.
Leader of a group of adventurers in the grand tradition of the time period on Earth, Doc Sidhe and his crew work with Harris to find his lost Fiancee–and most importantly, find out why she is so important.
Well-written fight sequences, an interesting alternate world and some very well drawn characters made this a breezy but fun read.
Recommended.
The Color of Magic, by Terry Pratchett
For Christmas, one of my friends gave me a “sampler set” of Terry Pratchett–eight books from the 30 book series. Now, of course, as is the wont of these things, its not the first eight books, but rather they skip in time and space in Discworld–The Color of Magic, The Light Fantastic, Equal Rites, The Fifth Elephant, The Truth, Thief of Time, Carpe Jugulum and Night Watch)
I have actually read Color of Magic before, but I decided on a re-read. The first few Discworld books are different than the rest, in being more pun and joke-filled rather than strong on plot, and I got that sense this time around. I better appreciated the numerous fantasy references and in-jokes since I knew they were coming.
Color of Magic, for its panache is not a typical Discworld book and describing the plot would be useless. Scott, a Pratchett fan on the level of being a Tolkien or Bujold fan, has told me that its not strictly necessary to read the first few Discworld books to enjoy the rest, but I am stubborn. But, then, you all knew that anyway. I intend to, over this year, read the rest of my Discworld set, time permitting.
But do read Color of Magic. The more fantasy you’ve read, the better you will appreciate the nods to Leiber, McCaffrey and a myriad others.
Recommended
Ripping Time, by Robert Asprin and Linda Evans
Third in the “Time Scout” books, I atypically read this without reading its predecessors mainly because it was a gift from the creatrix of Amber’s Amber.
Apparently, after some sort of disaster in the 21st Century, gates in space and time have opened, and of course have been commercialized and developed. People investigate the gates and the times and places they lead to,and after care and consideration, tourists are allowed to visit these times and places.
Ripping Time revolves around the imminent opening of a gate to London, in the fall of 1888. And if you know your history, you know what happened then, and why tourists from near and far would kill for a ticket to visit…
Jack the Ripper.
Amid the controversy and the preparations to send people back to the Ripper’s stalking ground are an assassination attempt on a down-timer brought up to the present and now apparently a religious cult figure, side plots involving the attempted murder of a powerful Senator’s daughter, and the continued story of a con man trying to start over again.
I enjoyed the book, but, frankly, would not recommend starting the series here. I felt somewhat adrift dealing with characters with clearly defined backstories and pasts that were only hinted at. And a little of the trouble was that some of these backstories were things that I do wish I had read about before tackling this one. Skeeter Jackson, particularly, seems to have a past that I think would have been better appreciated if I read before coming onto him at his nadir as a janitor.
I also get the feeling that some of the mechanisms and mechanics of how these gates work have already been explored in the previous books. I immediately thought of a couple of tricks that I wondered why were not used, and I wonder if it was merely the rules of time travel in this literary universe that have already been hashed.
The fact that this book ends abruptly, with apparently the sequel finishing the dangling threads is an annoyance all too common these days.
On the other hand…the depiction of London, 1888 is atmospheric. In a good way, it reminded me of the Doctor Who episode The Talons of Weng Chiang, which I saw recently at ACUS.
I recommend it, but I don’t think that newcomers should start here, unless, say, they have a strong interest in Ripperology.

One thought on “Book Reviews 2004 (10-12)”

  1. Re: Ripping Time
    It’s a good thing you have the previous two books to go back and read now then, isn’t it? I honestly did try to get all of the books for you at once, but Amazon wasn’t cooperating.

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