THE FADED SUN: An epic tale of clashing civilizations

THE FADED SUN by C.J. Cherryh

C.J. Cherryh’s FADED SUN trilogy (1978) consists of three books: Kesrith, Shon’jir, and Kutath. They’ve been bundled into an omnibus edition and Tantor Media sent me a review copy of their recently released audiobook version.

The three novels make up a continuous story of clashing civilizations that takes place in the far future with a few alien species on several distant planets. One of these species is the Mri, a race of excellent fighters who hire themselves out as mercenaries to other races. For two thousand years they have been acting as the military arm of a more technologically-advanced and power-hungry race called the Regul. The Regul are not suited to combat because they become heavy and immobile as they age, so they... Read More

Journey to the Underground World: Everyone should read a lost world novel

Journey to the Underground World by Lin Carter

I believe I’ve come to the point in my life where I need never pick up another lost world pulp fantasy novel. Seriously, they’re all running together in my mind.

In Journey to the Underground World, Lin Carter is (as usual) channeling Edgar Rice Burroughs. In Carter’s version of an underground world, an adventurer named Eric Carstairs meets up with a paleontologist named Dr. Potter who thinks he knows how to find a legendary land under the earth. They fly a helicopter down a volcano and discover Zanthodon, a world where dinosaurs, wooly mammoths and saber-toothed tigers threaten the Neanderthals and Cro-magnons who also live there. There are creatures to fight, “savages” to outwit, and (of course) a beautiful maiden with a “lithe young body,” “perfect breasts,” “smooth thighs” and “... Read More

Night’s Master: A gothic fairytale

Night's Master by Tanith Lee

Night’s Master is the sort of book that not everyone will like, but for what it is, it’s brilliant. The styling is exquisite, the characterization direct and to-the-point in a way I’ve rarely seen before, getting right to a character’s essence without any muddying around. The plot concerned me at times while reading, but eventually proved itself beyond my expectations. I rarely say this, but this is a novel that stays with you.

As I said above, I did have my doubts coming into it. I had no prior knowledge of Tanith Lee or her Tales from the Flat Earth series. The opening moments of the text are concerned with a figure named Azhrarn, who is essentially presented as the devil, the literal Lord of Darkness. Any red-blooded fantasy fan will at this point be forgiven for assuming that the scene must be the moment at which the evil prince lays the seeds for ... Read More

MythAdventures: Light fantasy for teenage boys

MythAdventures by Robert Asprin

Robert Asprin’s series of Myth books follows the buddy adventures of Skeeve, a young apprentice magician whose teacher is killed in the first few pages of book one (Another Fine Myth) and Aahz, a demon (anyone from a non-native dimension) who takes Skeeve under his wing. The two get in and out of one scrape after another over the course of many books as their relationship deepens and grows more equal, and they pick up a crew of friends along the way, with Skeeve eventually becoming The Great Skeeve — terror of multiple dimensions and protector of the Great Bazaar.

The books were a favorite of mine when I was in my younger teens and I remember them fondly. So the question, as always, on a reread is “how do they hold up?”. Well, I can see w... Read More