Bewildering Stories

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Book Reviews

by Jerry Wright

Author: James Curtis
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Trade Paper: 4/29/04
Length: 629pp
ISBN: 1418447684
Price: $17.00

Cataclysm is not a book I would normally read. It is a thriller/adventure/end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it book. And it is published by AuthorHouse an outfit, which in earlier days would have been referred to as a "vanity press". Author James Curtis has put a lot of work into this book, and it shows. His occasional italicized infodumps are well-written and fascinating. His story moves along at a rapid-fire pace, with several interesting and engaging characters.

That having been said, his work cries out for the gentle touch of a decent editor, or at the very least, a competent proof-reader. There are many typos in the book as well as some egregious errors like "Great Briton" repeated frequently. The language is harsh, and many of the characters are brutal and stupid. Oh. Sounds a lot like some of the construction crews I've worked with.

The science seems to be well-worked out, but I would have found the story more interesting to tell what happens after the cataclysm, although we do see a little vignette of life after Ka-Boom.

My rating: Pretty well done for this kind of a book.

And now for something completely different:

Red Wing: Dragon from Venus by Dave Kuzminski
Coming soon from Double Dragon Publishing.

This is a silly book. It is told from the viewpoint of a dragon detective from the planet Venus here to stop bad dragons (also from Venus) and carry them back to their home-world. Only, it seems that dragons emigrated from Earth originally and are now hiding under the cloud-shrouded atmosphere of their adopted world.

The story is a pastiche of every bad cop novel you've ever read, and Red Wing just isn't particularly smart. The story is cute in a somewhat hair-raising way, and fits quite well in DDP's collection of off-the-wall novels and novelettes.

In a sense it was a bit of a disappointment, because I thoroughly enjoyed Kuzminski's earlier Knight Spirits but if you are interested in a bit of cop-oriented fantasy with a humorous touch, you might give this a try.

Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver

There are people that LOVE this book. After reading 300 of the 900 or so pages I gave up. The research is impeccable. The historical characters are no doubt true-to-life. But after making my way through a third of the book, I found I just didn't care.

By the way, I can't read Robin Hobb either. So, whatever.


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