- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Carolyn CushmanDespite being packaged as fantasy, this adventure has a plot more familiar from virtual-reality gaming novels usually packaged as SF. Caine, a legendary hero/entertainer, has to re-enter the fantasy world that made him famous in order to rescue his estranged wife, whose own adventure entertainment has gone awry. The real enemy (no surprise) is the studio that's willing to endanger Actors' lives for ratings. But here the "fantasy" world is actually another dimension where magic works, and the human Actors are considered demons that cause chaos and death purely for entertainment's sake. The ambiguity of the Actors' roles as "good" guys gives the adventure a depth beyond the now-routine VR-ish plot; it also gives Stover a chance to look at different sides of the sort of swords-&-sorcery plot he handled more straightforwardly in his first two novels. Some nice twists result in this otherwise hard-hitting adventure with its inventively sadistic villains, some Heinlein-inspired libertarian touches, and even a touching conclusion.
---Carolyn Cushman, LOCUS, July 1998