Fantasy/SF Book Reviews

by Editor

Parallelities by Daniel Wallace, Illustrations by Brandon McKinney and Alan Dean Foster

Del Rey, September 1998.
Paperback, 314 pages.
ISBN: 0345424611.
Ordering information:

Cover of Parallelities
by Alan Dean Foster Max Parker is just your usual tabloid journalist from Southern California. His typical day consists of helping a bogus medium scam a mother into thinking she is contacting her dead son and thinking up new stories to sell to the public. When he heads off to Malibu to interview a crazy rich inventor, he has no inkling of what fate has in store for him. After observing an experiment of the inventor's new machine, he somehow acquires a field around him that affects the multiple parallel worlds which surround us. Max finds himself in a series of Earths with different realities -- some good, some terrifying. Somewhat flaky before the mishap, he must reach within himself to find the strength and courage to make his way back home.

Alan Dean Foster has crafted an interesting story in which the certainty in the continuity of the present environment totally disappears. Foster shows Los Angeles in several different incarnations -- one wishes he had spent a bit more time in the Utopian vision of L.A. where the skies are clear and the people are friendly and helpful, even to disheveled inter-dimensional travelers. Foster afficionados and fans of the television show Sliders will love this book.

Scent of Magic by Andre Norton

Eos, October 1998.
Hardcover, 361 pages.
ISBN: 0380976870.
Ordering information:

Cover of Scent of Magic
Andre Norton In a fantasy Dukedom, the young woman Willadene possesses a highly prized gift in her world -- a highly developed sense of smell and sensitivity to the magical odors and breezes that populate this world. Aromas can bring evil, good, love, magic or death, and a gift like Willadene's has not been seen in that world for a very long time. Orphaned by a terrible plague, she has lived a hard life as a virtual servant until she is rescued by her mentor, the local herbalist, Dame Halwice. Soon Willadene's skills will carry her into the Ducal Court and into the midst of political intrigue, danger and romance as an evil presence long thought dead returns and seems to be inhabiting the royal enclosure. Willadene must use all of her skills and courage to help the Duke and his kind and lovely daughter defeat the evil that threatens to destroy their way of life.

Master storyteller Andre Norton yet again weaves her magical spell, casting a web of enchantment with her latest novel. Her prose is as vivid and lyrical as ever and the storyline about the young girl Willadene and her counterpart, the Lady Mahart, is skillfully drawn. The magical elements are fresh and intriguing and the overall atmosphere is moody, at times dark, at other times uplifting. Another masterpiece from Grandmaster Norton.

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