Nova Express v5, #1

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

Nova Express v5 #1 is the latest installment in this top-notch review fanzine. It opens with an interview with Gene Wolfe, author of the New Sun and Long Sun novels. In this review, Wolfe talks frankly about the influence of his strong Christian faith on these novels. This is followed by Nick Gevers' lengthy critical article on the Long Sun cycle, which also comments upon the Christian philosophical underpinnings of this work, even in a world where Christianity is not explicitly mentioned.

Justina Robson returns to review the first two books of Peter F. Hamilton's Night Dawn Trilogy. These books are so large that each was divided into two books for the US paperback market. On the surface they appear to be a modern space opera, complete with a rather sword&sorcery-ish world known as Norfolk (One odd comment I might take exception to -- I never saw Fletcher Chistian as being evil in the sense of Al Capone, but rather a decent man put in an impossible situation under a man given absolute power but lacking in the leadership skills to wield that power successfully, rather like the protagonists in Wouk's Caine Mutiny facing Queeg's petty tyranny based upon incompetence).

The next article is Bill Sheehan's extensive review of Dan Simmons' complete Hyperion Cantos, four books which delve into philosophical issues of time, existance and identity though a future world. Simmons originally created this universe when he was teaching, and the stories he told his students already had a number of the important elements that would appear in the finished novels. Sheehan also comments upon the influence of the poet John Keats upon these novels.

John Clute then gives a brief and definitely disappointed review of the MUP Encyclopaedia of Australian SF&F. He notes numerous failures to adequately cover and cross-reference various subjects, as well as serious problms of scope.

Howard V. Hendrix reviews Greg Egan's Diaspora and recommends it in spite of its flaws. Nick Gevers reviews David Zindell's A Requiem for Homo Sapiens trilogy, another heavily philosophical set of novels that reject virtual reality as a pale substitute for the real thing. Justina Robson reviews two recent novels by Philip Pullman. The issue is rounded out by the editorial, the letter column, and a number of brief signed reviews.

Review posted January 1, 1999

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