My Say - Reviews in Brief

Karen Johnson, from Out of the Kaje #4, June/July 1999

Captains Outrageous or For Doom the Bell Tolls
Roy V Young TSR Books 1994

I picked this up in Slowglass Books when I was looking for a little light entertainment. It’s the author’s first book, and it shows, especially in the opening section, which I found rather over-written and laboured. For the first 50 pages I wondered whether I’d wasted my money (again) but after that the story settled into a good rhythm with plenty of action and plenty of smiles, if not belly-laughs.
The thing about this novel I found most interesting was Young’s ideas about Dragons, which were highly original, but alas only peripheral to the plot.

The MasterHarper of Pern: The story of Pern’s greatest Harper
Anne McCaffery  Corgi 1999

This is McCaffery’s 14th novel about Pern and its dragon-riders, and I found it her best for some time, perhaps because it focuses on one of my favourite characters - Master Robinton. This is his story, from before his birth up until the end of Dragonflight. I enjoyed reading it, and only found one aspect of it a little disappointing - for a book about a musician, music seems to play remarkably little part in the story. I would have liked to have seen more of the Pernese songs and verses McCaffery used in her early dragon books.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Return to Chaos
Craig Shaw Gardener Pocket Books 1998

A remarkably successful cult TV series, Buffy has now spawned a set of books. Most of these are simple episode novelisations intended for the teenage market, but there are also a few ‘real’ novels. This is one of the latter, but I found it very simplistic and much more suitable for kids than adults. It also plays fast and loose with the events and characters of the show, making assumptions that aren’t backed up by the show itself. As for characterisation, what characterisation? Don’t bother.

Deep Secret
Diana Wynne Jones Vista 1998

I’ve read a lot of DWJ’s books, and by now I think it’s fairly safe to say that everything she writes is worth reading. She has a very light touch, and her novels are generally an excellent blend of fantasy, humour, and action, with occasional science fiction elements.
Deep Secret is no exception, and I recommend it, or any of her other books except Hexwood (sorry, I just didn’t like that one) highly. Oh, and it’s partly set at a SF convention which should be delightfully familiar to anyone whose ever been to one...

Quotable Star Trek
Jill Sherwin Pocket Books 1999

Ever wondered Quark said to Chancellor Gorkon in the DS9 episode ‘Flowers for Algernon’? Absolutely nothing, because I just made it up. If it HAD been said, though, you’d probably find it somewhere in the 350 pages of Trek quotes, sorted into categories eg.Duty & Honor for easy reference. Potentially very useful.