Date read: April 2011
Book from: Personal collection
This is a mostly-rant entry.
From the Magazine of F & SF, April 1987:
- “Olida,” Bob Leman: Lovecraftian romp with undercurrents of class conflict. A representative of the local (Southern?) gentry faces off against ancient, sluggish Evil in the ancestral home of an unsavory backwoods clan. Both surprisingly creepy and surprisingly funny; the closing note of horror is amusingly prim.
- “The Thunderer,” Alan Dean Foster: Variation #1098018 on “sneering (or wide-eyed and lib’rul, but still condescending) white people with guns and SCIENCE encounter terrifying supernatural force while venturing into uncharted territory” – in this case the Louisiana bayou – “against the advice of superstitious Native Folk.” Yawn. Useless except as an introduction to the eponymous folkoric figure, which I hadn’t heard of before. There’s probably a TVtrope for this kind of thing, but I’m too lazy to go digging for an exact match.
- “Agents,” Paul di Filippo: If this is at all representative of di Filippo’s work I can’t say I’m much interested in following up. Characters are hastily erected scaffolds on which he hangs his wannabe-cyber-thriller plot; I found his depiction of a disabled character particularly odious. The speculative elements are consequently the only ones of interest: di Filippo posits an Internet only navigable by means of expensive virtual “agents;” this limit on access to information and computing erects an almost insurmountable barrier between rich and poor, which works well enough nowadays as an allegory for the social effects of il/literacy and access to resources, technological or otherwise. And then a hacked agent is accidentally set loose and ohnoes rogue AI on the run and the story ends with an ellipsis…!