1999.05


The Voice from the Edge Volume 5: Shatterday & Other Stories

Shatterday & Other Stories: The Voice From the Edge Vol. 5 by Harlan Ellison

Shatterday & Other Stories: The Voice From the Edge Vol. 5 is the final installment in Harlan Ellison’s 5-volume THE VOICE FROM THE EDGE series. It’s been quite a ride, and it’s hard to dispute that Ellison is a superb storyteller who can take an idea and run with it in the most original and twisted way, frequently delving into the dark and cruel side of human nature, but also celebrating moments of nobility and pathos along the way. His voice is powerful, unique, and very charismatic, so hearing him narrate his own work is a treat.

Like Vol. 4, not all the stories in Vol. 5 are narrated by Ellison himself. Fortunately the supporting cast are very skilled, and the stories really lend themselves to narration, so I didn’t have... Read More

Trials of Death: Make sure you’ve got the next book

Trials of Death by Darren Shan

In Vampire Mountain, the previous book of Darren Shan’s CIRQUE DU FREAK series, Darren was asked to prove himself worthy of being a vampire by surviving a series of trials. If he fails, he dies. These trials will remind many readers of the tests Harry Potter endured in The Goblet of Fire. For example, for the first trial he must escape from a maze that’s filling with water. As the tasks go on, Darren becomes increasingly injured and fatigued and it seems likely that he’ll fail and be killed.

In my review of Vampire Mountain, I complained about the premise of this novel. I think most thoughtful readers will agree that making Darren undergo the trials is a little silly, not to mention ethically unsound, which is surprising since the vampire princes seem to be concerned with ethica... Read More

Persistence of Memory: Overly-byzantine supernatural bicker-fest

Persistence of Memory by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

I can't deny that Persistence of Memory has an interesting premise. The protagonist, Erin, is a teenage girl who has been institutionalized most of her life due to multiple personalities and hallucinations. As the novel begins, Erin's alternate personality, Shevaun, has been suppressed by drugs for about a year, and Erin is taking the first steps toward going to a regular high school and having a "normal" life. Right at this inopportune time, Shevaun reasserts herself and once again threatens to destroy Erin's sanity, and perhaps her life.

The jacket copy suggests that the central plot of the story involves Erin trying to discover whether Shevaun is an alternate personality or whether she is actually a separate person who is psychically linked to Erin. I really liked this idea, and really felt for Erin in the early scenes as she struggled with her visions. Ho... Read More