Thursday, August 5, 1993

Quest To Riverworld

various authors; edited by Philip Jose Farmer.

A collection of stories about Riverworld, ranging from so-so to quite thought-provoking:

"Up the Bright River" by Philip Jose Farmer. About his own quasi-famous ancestors, apparently. The best story, or would be, if it didn't end abruptly.

"If the King Like Not the Comedy" by Jody Lynn Nye. Richard III vs. Shakespeare. Clever and enjoyable.

"Because It's There", Jerry Oltion. Admunsen & Peary fly to the South Pole. Very good.

"A Place Of Miracles", Owl Goingback. Very short but moving piece on Sitting Bull.

"Diaghilev Plays Riverworld", Robert Sheckley. Nice story of the art critic and impresario forging new art in a new world; some irritating incongruities in the telling.

"Secret Crimes", Robert Sampson. Pinkerton, Cleopatra, Tiberius: suspense, well done in just a few pages.

"Hero's Coin", Brad Strickland. Short but thought-provoking. What makes a hero?

"Human Spirit, Beetle Spirit", John Gregory Betancourt. So-so. An interesting point of view, anyway.

"Nevermore", David Bischoff & Dean Wesley Smith. Poe vs. the hack writers. Fun.

"Old Soldiers", Lawrence Watt-Evans. Patton in gladiatorial games. Great build-up, but a disappointing ending.

"Legends", Esther Friesner. Medea vs. the mystery woman & her own sons. Great.

"Stephen Comes Into Courage", Rick Wilber. An okay story, but it could've been about anyone, really.

"Riverworld Roulette", Robert Weinberg. Enjoyable battle-type adventure story with Bowie & Crockett vs. the Nazis. Nice.

"Coda", by Farmer. Also thought-provoking. Probably the best story of the lot. The mystic/nutcase Alfred Jarry finds an Artifact and is tempted to leave the Sufi Rabi'a's teaching.

three stars

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