Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Diana Wynne Jones Creates New Genre: The Comic Witch Drama! -- Review of her Earwig and the Witch

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Patterson Writes Silly SF -- Review of his "Humans, Bow Down)

NEW SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY REVIEWS
Reviews Of Recently Published Science Fiction And Fantasy Books
Reviewer: Forrest Schultz schultz_forrest@yahoo.com 770-583-3258

June 8, 2017

Patterson  Writes  Silly  SF

A Review of
James Patterson and Emily Raymond Humans, Bow Down (Little, Brown, & Co., 2017)
                               373 pp   $12.99   ISBN: 978-0-316-34696-2

Reviewer:  Forrest W. Schultz


     James Patterson is not only one of our nation’s most prolific authors, he also writes in many different genres.  I believe that the book under review here is the first silly science fiction he has written.  Unlike hard science fiction, it is permissible for silly sf and sf opera to be lacking in verisimilitude.  In this particular story the supposed robots, unlike real robots, are depicted as though they possessed human desires, in particular the desire to be despotic rulers.  In hard sf, such as those in the books in Isaac Asimov’s Galactic-Empire/Foundation-Universe series, there is no such danger; rather, the danger is for man to become overly dependent upon robots, i.e. to become robot-addicts!  Patterson’s story is great for fun reading, but Asimov’s stories show us what we really need to worry about in regard to robots!   Realistically, therefore, there is no need to worry about a robot-run dystopia; the dystopia we DO need to worry about is one about over-dependency upon robots!  But if you want some humor, read Patterson’s book!

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Ambiguous Magic Box -- Review of Stephen King's "Gwendy's Magic Box"

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Reviews Of Recently Published Science Fiction And Fantasy Books
Reviewer: Forrest Schultz schultz_forrest@yahoo.com 770-583-3258
 
June 6, 2017

The  Ambiguous  Magic  Box

A Review of Stephen King & Richard Chizmar Gwendy's Button Box (Cemetery Dance Pubs., 2017
                                           171 pp   $16.48   ISBN: 978-1-58767-610-9

Reviewer:  Forrest W. Schultz

     Gwendy became aware of the ambiguous nature of her magic box when she began to realize the harmful effects which its apparent blessings were having upon her life, after which she ceased pressing the magic buttons which had summoned them.  It appears that in so doing she has passed some kind of test when the mysterious man who had given her the box comes to reclaim it in order to give it to someone else.  An interesting and thought-provoking tale.  Read it and see what you think.  

     Let me conclude my review of this novella by expressing my great thanks to Stephen King for his books and novellas, which have been thought-provoking as well as exciting.      
-- 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Aaron Jagt Fantasy Heavy in Story, Motif, And Philosophy -- Review of his "The Sleeping Princess of Nulland"

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Reviews Of Recently Published Science Fiction And Fantasy Books
Reviewer: Forrest Schultz schultz_forrest@yahoo.com 770-583-3258

March 31, 2017

Aaron Jagt Fantasy Heavy In Story, Motif, And Philososphy

A Review of

Aaron Jagt The Sleeping Princess of Nulland (Robinson Books, 2016)
                    393 pp   $17.95   ISBN: 1-59087-275-4

Reviewer:  Forrest W. Schultz

     This is one of the heaviest books for its size I have ever come across, which is appropriate because its story and motif and underlying philosophy are all heavy.  As the Acknowledgments section states, the philosophy is provided by such heavyweights as C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Cornelius Van Til, and R. J. Rushdoony.  This philosophy is the basis for the solid rock Biblical Creation & Salvation Motif expressed in the strong story in this heavy book.  Since "motif" means dominant theme, it is a more appropriate term to use for what is usually called "the moral of the story", a discussion of which is found in the Epilogue (on page 388).  

     The story itself consists of classical fantasy elements reconstructed to fulfill the motif.  For instance, the "sleeping" Princess Priscilla is awakened not by a Prince (as per Sleeping Beauty), but by a Steward in Nulland.  And, unlike the classical magic pen whose writings always come to pass, Priscilla's pen ceases to function in this way after a while.  And the dragons in Nulland are atypical, but fit well into its story.

     And the book has one of the most beautiful front covers I have ever seen, and the back cover consists solely of Augustine's most beautiful and poignant saying:  "Our hearts are restless untll they rest in Thee".

     I commend this story and am pleased to announce that, using my fantasy vision, I saw its tale welcomed into the Mythosphere.
  



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

THE GRAIL: Stolen And Recovered -- Review of "Greenwitch by Susan Cooper

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Reviewer: Forrest Schultz schultz_forrest@yahoo.com 770-583-3258
 
February 9, 2017
 
THE  GRAIL:  Stolen  And  Recovered 
A Review of

Susan Cooper Greenwitch (Margaret K. Elderry Books, 2002
                          $8.99   147 pp   ISBN: 978-1-4169-4966-4

Reviewer:  Forrest W. Schultz

     Book Three of Susan Cooper’s wild-and-crazy quintology begins with a newspaper article reporting the theft of The Grail from the museum to which it had been donated by the Drew siblings (Jane, Simon, and Barney) whose dramatic Quest of The Grail was told in Book One, Over Sea, Under Stone.   Soooo, now the Drew teens need to go on another Quest for The Grail [should we call it the Re- Quest??], this time in partnership with eleven year old Will Stanton, who has recently been inducted into the ranks of The Old Ones, the leaders of The Light [as told by Cooper in Book Two, The Dark Is Rising].

     This Quest (or Re-Quest) is very different from the original Quest, and it includes obtaining a secret manuscript, which task involves The Greenwitch referred to in the title of Book Three, which is one of the oddest beings I have ever come across in fantasy literature!

     I highly recommend this book, as I have the first two, and I am now in the process of reading Book Four.  Information on the author is available on her website www.thelostland.com
 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Victory Through King Arthur's Sword !! -- Review of Susan Cooper's "Silver On The Tree"

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Reviewer: Forrest Schultz schultz_forrest@yahoo.com 770-583-3258

February 13, 2017

Victory  Through  King  Arthur’s  Sword  !!
A Review of

Susan Cooper Silver On The Tree (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2005
                        $8.99   275 pp   ISBN: 978-0-689-50088-6

Reviewer:  Forrest W. Schultz

     This story, like those in the previous four books of this quintology, involves a multitude of characters, scenes, actions, and conceptions which carry the reader along in this remarkable tale, where you never know what is going to happen.  For me, the most significant factors were the Arthuriana:  not only King Arthur himself but also his sword (which is this story is surprisingly not called Excalibur), and Merlin (who was also present in the other four stories). Also deserving of special note is the strange place called “The Lost Land”, which appears to be a satire on and/or warning about existentialism which is expressed sarcastically by one of the characters there in this way:  “we are all actors in a play which nobody wrote and nobody will see” (p. 139) – a sharp contrast with the world-view of Tolkien’s Hobbit character Sam who expresses delight at “being inside a poem”.

     The story (and therefore the series as a whole) concludes with the defeat of the Dark followed by an ending which bears some similarity to the conclusion of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.  But the most powerful expressions of finality for me were the ones where characters refer to looking forward to the future blessedness “At the Back of the North Wind” (pp. 244 & 268), a poignancy also evoked by George McDonald in his book by that title. 


     For information on the author, you can visit her website www.thelostland.com

Friday, February 10, 2017

Surprises Galore In These Tales From Wales !! -- Review of Susan Cooper's "The Grey King"

NEW SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY REVIEWS
Reviews Of Recently Published Science Fiction And Fantasy Books
Reviewer: Forrest Schultz schultz_forrest@yahoo.com 770-583-3258

February 10, 2017

Surprises  Galore  In  These  Tales  From  Wales !!

A Review of

Susan Cooper The Grey King (Margaret K. Elderry Books, 2003)
                          $8.99   165 pp   ISBN: 978-1-4169-4967-1

Reviewer:  Forrest W. Schultz

     As with the first three books in her The Dark Is Rising quintology, this fourth book is so chock full of events (almost all of them surprises) that there is no way I can do justice to it in a short review like this.  I shall, therefore, restrict my comments here to perhaps the most important scene, the one pertaining to the magic harp shown on the front cover of the book.  By playing this harp at the close of this great story, Will Stanton, the newest of The Old Ones, fulfills the prophecy on page 151:

     “Fire on the mountain shall find the harp of gold
       Played to wake the Sleepers, oldest of the old. “
   
  It is these awakened Sleepers who defeat The Grey King.  As I read about this I was reminded of a similar scene in Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings, where Strider/Aragon walks The Paths Of The Dead, whom he awakens and then sends forth into the battle then raging on Middle Earth.

     I highly recommend this book as I have the previous three.

     Information on the author is available on her website www.thelostland.com.