is a dark fantasy set in around the
Mediterranean of the late Roman Empire as seen by the Middle
Ages, with Vergil Magus the main character. It is very
well-written, with excellent setting and story and fine
[longer review on weblog, 2002-2-4]
I haven't read anything else by Ward Moore, but Avram Davidson is been one of my favorite writers for a couple of years. This is one of his best novels -- the collaboration was good for him.
The front cover painting is nice, but totally irrelevant. The back cover blurb is exaggerative, but doesn't give away too much of the plot. Indeed, there isn't much plot to give away. A female Republican representative and a male Democrat representative discover the file of a veteran of an unspecified war who has been receiving a pension of eleven dollars a month as far back as the current records show. The Hon. Lucinda Rose Habersham (R., Tenn.) decides it is a fraud to be exposed, someone using a long-dead veteran's name to leech off the pension fund. The Hon. Tully Weathercox (D., Tenn.) declares it is an insult to throw a measly eleven dollars a month to someone who has fought and bled to defend his country's freedom. They independently decide to leave during recess and search out Isachar Joyleg. They find him. The second half of the book is devoted to what happens when Joyleg's actual age is made public.
The novel's excellence comes mainly from its dialogue and
characterization. If you're looking for a fast-moving
adventure story, look elsewhere. If you like hilarious
satire and Old Men of the Wandering Jew/"The Gnarly
Man"/Lazarus Long type, make a diligent search for
First published in April, 1962, in Fantastic. Berkley edition October 1973, SBN 425-02442-3.
Good, maybe his best sf novel (though some of his fantasies and short stories are better). The Maze is a sort of network of holes in space and time, allowing one who knows how to navigate it to travel between planets and between different times. A number of Guardians are stationed around the Earth and throughout its history at various entrances to the Maze, preventing invasion. The story concerns a particular invasion attempt by some interesting hive aliens, the recruitment of a new Guardian, and how he foils the invasion attempt. The writing is very good, as usual for Davidson, the plotting fine, the characterization fair to excellent, the worldbuilding pretty good. (4/95)
The gods of the Aztecs and of the Olmecs were aliens who have been gone awhile and have just returned. The descendants of the Aztecs and Olmecs are at odds with one another and with the Mexican government over something in which both groups of aliens are interested, and a couple of American writers living in the small town of Los Remedios get mixed up in the business as well.
The plot wasn't new when the book was written and it
seems even more cliched now, but the writing is, as usual
with Davidson, excellent, and the characterizations both of
the Mexicans and Americans are good. I would recommend it to
anybody who enjoys Davidson's style; it's good, though not
%A Davidson, Avram %T Clash of Star-Kings %C New York %I Ace %D 1966 %G 0-441-11050-9 %K SF aliens mythology Mexico %O Probably out of print. %P 150
An OK collection, with one excellent story I hadn't seen before
("The Lord of Central Park"). But most of the stories had
been collected before in other collections, and the other new story
(the title story) was long, disjointed and apparently pointless. Still
excellent writing, but not at all what I had come to expect from
Davidson, especially his short stories.
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