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Note that ratings of excerpted reviews are not the original reviewers’ ratings, but rather this editor’s estimates of their ratings based on a careful reading of the entirety of the reviews. All excerpts are protected by orignal copyright notices (see Copyright page).
DNEPROV, Anatoly (1919-1975) Working name
of Ukrainian author ANATOLY PETROVICH MITSKEVICH, whose science fiction stories
appeared in the
DOLINSKY, Mike (1923-1984) Working name of
Mind One (1972) *** A new drug designed to control schizophrenia turns out to dramatically enhance telepathic ability but at the cost of exposing with absolute candor the thoughts of those who take it. Particularly effective is the depiction of the shame of a priest whose moral doubt is unavoidably revealed to his mind-reading colleagues. While the novel’s sexual frankness borders, at times, on the pornographic, the social extrapolation is both startling and original.
DOMATILLA, John (-) US (?) author, whose sole SF novel is The Last Crime (1980).
Last Crime, The
Malcontents attempt to sabotage a vast government computer complex whose extensive
database enables a totalitarian regime to maintain an iron grip over the
“A very effective
portrait of a totalitarian, polluted
DONALDSON, Stephen R. (1947-) Working name of US author STEPHEN REEDER DONALDSON, whose SF and fantasy works include the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (1977-2010) series, The Mirror of Her Dreams (1986), and The Gap series (1990-1996). Donaldson has also written four novels in the Mick Axbrewder series, the first three as by Reed Stephens, in which the main protagonist is an alcoholic private investigator. Alternate names used: Reed Stephens.
Lord Foul’s Bane (1977) A man recovering from leprosy is hit by a car and awakens in a fantasy world where he becomes a pivotal figure in a struggle between Lord Foul the Despiser and the Lords of the Land. The first book of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever.
· “A daydream of Byronic suffering and self-importance . . . energetic, crude, lurid . . . totally devoid of economics and work . . . stone dead” (Joanna Russ, F&SF, February 1979). *
· Winner of the 1977 British Fantasy Society award for best novel.
· Finalist for the 1978 World Fantasy award for best novel.
Mirror of Her Dreams, The (1986) A young woman living in a modern New York City condo passes through a mirror into a medieval world, and gets caught up in an effort to save the kingdom of Mordant from the intrigue of its neighbors. The first book in the Mordant’s Need series.
· “One of those novels where no one ever bothers to try and work out anything with anyone . . . though all the characters talk endlessly . . . and after five hundred pages of misunderstood motives you want to shake the entire cast . . . not very clear . . . Mordant's world seems to have no geography whatsoever . . . ends with a cliffhanger . . . one reader, at least, will let it hang” (Baird Searles, Asimov’s, March 1987). **
Real Story: The Gap into Conflist, The (1990) A space pirate, arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, vies for the affections of an undercover cop. The first book in the five-volume Gap Cycle series.
· “Space opera derived from the hoariest days of yore . . . [but] evocative enough to carry the reader along” (Tom Easton, Analog, August 1991). **
· “Mostly a history of unpleasant people doing unpleasant things to other unpleasant people” (Baird Searles, Asimov’s, July 1991). *
Runes of the Earth, The (2004) Linden Avery and Roger Covenant return to The Land, only to discover that the ancient lore of “Earthpower” has been all but forgotten in the aftermath of a mysterious blight. The seventh book in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever.
· Finalist for the 2005 World Fantasy award for best novel.
DONLEAVY, J. P. (1926-) Working name of US author JAMES PATRICK DONLEAVY, who served in the U.S. Navy during WWII, and whose book, The Ginger Man (1955), was selected by Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of the 20th century.
Meet My Maker the Mad Molecule (1964) A collection of stories and sketches, including A Dish of Desire (1959), Meet My Maker (1960), and The Romantic Life of Alphonse A (1963).
· “Wild, funny, sad, effective and individual . . . he does so much more with [the language than] Burroughs and Heinlein . . . a book that should be read” (Ron Goulart, F&SF, January 1965). ***
· “Swift, imaginative, beautiful and funny . . . Donleavy at his best” (New Yorker, book jacket).
DONNELLY, Ignatius L. (1831-1901) Working name of US lawyer, amateur scientist, populist writer, former lieutenant governor of Minnesota, and author IGNATIUS LOYOLA DONNELLY, whose books of speculative interest include Caesar’s Column (1890), Doctor Huguet (1891-as by Edmund Boisgilbert), The Golden Bottle (1892), and Atlantis: The Antediluvian World (1882), the latter a nonfiction treatise elucidating the author’s theories about a legendary island near the Pillars of Hercules. Alternate names used: Edmund Boisgilbert, M.D.
Caesar’s Column (1890-as by Edmund Boisgilbert) A young Swiss sheepherder travels to a “futuristic” New York City where he’s drawn into a rebellion against a brutal oligarchy.
· “Something quite different . . . a lively plot . . . has scenes that roll well off the tongue when read aloud . . . of course the book is dated by its Victorian ancestry . . . [and a bit of] axe-grinding . . . for all this, Donnelly reveals himself as a shrewd and realistic student of humanity . . . pioneered in the kind of science fiction that is maturing in our own day, with ideas as heroes” (P. Schuyler Miller, Analog, October 1960). **1/2
DORMAN, Sonya (1924-2005) Working name of US author and poet SONYA HESS DORMAN, whose sole SF novel is Planet Patrol (1978).
Go, Go, Go, Said the Bird (1967) **1/2 A woman struggles to survive in the brutal aftermath of nuclear war. Brief, but well written. (Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison)
· “Gutsy” (Judith Merril, F&SF, December 1967). ***
When I Saw Miss Dow (1966) * An unpleasant tale about a shape-changing alien who disguises himself as a human colonist. (Galaxy, 1966)
· “Very good . . . well worth reading” (Algis Budrys, Galaxy/F&SF, October 1966 – November 1975). ***
· “Moving” (P. Schuyler Miller, Analog, March 1968). ***
DORSEY, Candas Jane (1952-) Canadian author, poet, anthologist, critic, and journalist, whose books include Hardwired Angel (1985-with Nora Abercrombie) and A Paradigm of Earth (2001).
Novels and Collections
Black Wine (1997) A homeless child, whose dreams offer clues to her past, is purchased by the prince of the “Dark Isles” to serve as his slave-concubine.
· Winner of the 1997 James Tiptree, Jr. award.
Machine Sex and Other Stories (1988) A collection of thirteen stories, including Johnny Appleseed on the New World (1988) and Machine Sex (1988)
· On Machine Sex: “A great story” (John Kessel, F&SF, April 1994). ***1/2
DOUGLAS, Carole Nelson (1944-) US author, editor, and reporter, whose science fiction and fantasy books include The Sword and Circlet series (1982-1989), Counterprobe (1988), Crystal Days (1990), Dancing With Werewolves (2007), and the Delilah Street series (2007-2011).
Probe (1985) An amnesiac woman is discovered wandering naked in a small Minnesota town. Befriended by a young psychiatrist, she turns out to be the clone of a lost child whose parents claimed to have been contacted by extraterrestrials. The first book in the Probe series.
· “Insistently and tritely cute, full of clichés and catch-phrases, overwritten, and predictable” (Tom Easton, Analog, February 1986). **
DOWNER, Ann (1960-) US author and poet, whose fantasy novels include The Spellkey Trilogy (1987-1993), Hatching Magic (2004), and The Dragon of Never-Was (2006).
Spellkey Trilogy, The (1987-1993; rev 1995) A stable boy raised by monks is tasked with delivering a young suspected witch to a nunnery. The trilogy includes The Spellkey (1987), The Glass Salamander (1989), and The Books of the Keepers (1993).
· “Downer's prose and characters are enchanting . . . one never knows what to expect . . . the only weakness . . . is the evil sorcerer Myrrhlock who's cut from rather standard villain cloth . . . [a] gift of language and characterization . . . it's been a long time since I've been this taken by a secondary world series . . . one of the freshest and most assured voices I've come across . . . for some time” (Charles de Lint, F&SF, August 1995). ***1/2
DOWNING, Paula E. (1951-) Pseudonym of US author, personal injury lawyer, and former municipal judge PAULA ELAIN DOWNING KING, whose SF novels include Mad Roy’s Light (1990-as by Paula King), Rinn’s Star (1990), Flare Star (1992), A Whisper of Time (1994), and Orion’s Dagger (1996-as by P. K. McAllister). Alternate names used: Paula King and P. K. McAllister.
Whisper of Time, A (1994) Archeologists discover an alien child in the Mayan-like ruins of an ancient star-faring race, then, years later, return to to the same site in hopes of contacting her people.
· “Comes close to achieving some of the same impact that Andre Norton’s juveniles had when they were new, before the horde of Norton imitators . . . [but has some] flaws” (Tom Easton, Analog, Mid-December 1994). **1/2
DOYLE, [Sir] Arthur Conan (1859-1930) Scottish poet, ship’s doctor, and famed author of the Sherlock Holmes detective series, whose books of speculative interest include The Mystery of Cloomber (1889), The Captain of the Polestar and Other Tales (1890), The Lost World (1912), The Poison Belt (1913), Tales of Terror and Mystery (1922), The Land of Mist (1926), and The Maracot Deep (1929). Toward the end of his life, Doyle became increasingly interested in spiritualism and psychic phenomena, to the point of involving himself in the controversy surrounding the Cottingley Fairies photographs. Acclaimed short fiction: The Adventure of the Dancing Men (1903), The Brazilian Cat (1898), The Los Amigos Fiasco (1892), The Lost Special (1898), The Man with the Watches (1898), and The Terror of Blue John Gap (1910).
On choosing a potential mate: “My instincts are all against a woman being too frank and at her ease with me. It is no compliment to a man. The bent head, the averted eye, the faltering voice . . . these . . . are the true signals of passion” (The Lost World).
On life’s aftermath: “As to the body, we do not mourn over the parings of our nails nor the cut locks of our hair, though they were once part of ourselves . . . the physical body has rather been a source of pain and fatigue to us . . . why then should we worry about its detachment from our psychical selves?” (The Poison Belt).
On death in the midst of war: “When you are making history, the life of a man is too small a thing to worry over” (The Poison Belt).
Land of Mist (1926) The journalist-hero of The Lost World (1912) and the daughter of Professor Challenger team up to investigate the “scientifically-verifiable” phenomenon of life after death.
· “Nearly plotless . . . almost a treatise” (P. Schuyler Miller, Astounding, December 1956). **
Lost World, The (1912) *** Four adventurers set off for the remote Amazon rainforest in order to verify an eccentric professor’s claim of the existence of an isolated plateau populated by prehistoric monsters. A classic adventure tale which is nearly as suspenseful and readable now as it was fifty years ago.
· “One of the s-f classics of all time . . . oddly undated . . . a good yarn all the way through” (P. Schuyler Miller, Analog, November 1960). ***1/2
· “Unhesitatingly recommend . . . outstanding candidates for anyone's All-Time-Best list . . . first and best of the Professor Challenger stories” (Anthony Boucher & J. Francis McComas, F&SF, June 1954). ***1/2
· “Wonderful . . . enormously effective” (Groff Conklin, Galaxy, July 1954). ***
Poison Belt, The (1913) ** Lord John Roxton, Professor Summerlee, and Edward Malone converge on Professor Challenger’s country estate in order to bear witness, as the Earth passes into a contaminated region of space, to the last hours of humanity. The author delivers some moments of modest wonder, but the static setting, cardboard characters, and mannered Victorian prose make for a disappointingly lackluster tale.
· “A very minor member of the Professor Challenger series . . . climax collapses in anticlimax” (P. Schuyler Miller, Analog, May 1965). *
· “A very thin story . . . even in England it would probably be impossible to gather five such dull people together today” (Ron Goulart, F&SF, January 1965). *
Tales for a Winter’s Night (1989) *** A collection of eight entertaining stories selected from Round the Fire Stories (1908). Includes The Man with the Watches (1898), The Brazilian Cat (1998), and The Lost Special (1898).
When the World Screamed (1928) ** Professor Challenger proposes making contact with a sentient being inhabiting the Earth’s interior, then begins drilling a 14,000 foot hole into the crust to prove his point. Though scientifically out-of-date, the tale offers an amusing glimpse of the state of geophysical knowledge and drilling technology at the beginning of the 20th century. (THE POISON BELT)
Adventure of the Dancing Men, The (1903) *** Holmes attempts to solve the riddle of a series of childish markings left for the owners of a quiet Norfolk estate. A classic tale of detection. (THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES)
B.24 (1899-not SF) **1/2 A burglar takes the fall for the murder of a wealthy gentleman. Beautifully executed, but grim. (ROUND THE FIRE STORIES) (TALES FOR A WINTER’S NIGHT)
Beetle-Hunter, The (1908) **1/2 An out-of-work doctor answers a help wanted ad seeking the services of a stouthearted entymologist. The tale begins promisingly, but the resolution is a bit of a letdown. (TALES OF TERROR AND MYSTERY)
Black Doctor, The (1898-not SF) **1/2 A young doctor breaks his engagement to a squire’s daughter. An entertaining murder mystery with engaging characters. (ROUND THE FIRE STORIES) (TALES FOR A WINTER’S NIGHT)
Brazilian Cat, The (1898) *** A vividly told tale about a destitute young Englishman who turns to his cousin, a collector of rare animals, for help. Out-does Poe for horror and perfection of prose. (ROUND THE FIRE STORIES) (TALES FOR A WINTER’S NIGHT)
Club-Footed Grocer, The (1898-not SF) **1/2 A grocer and his nephew are set upon by the former’s aggrieved business associates. An action-filled tale, reminiscent of Sax Rohmer’s colorful adventures. (ROUND THE FIRE STORIES) (TALES FOR A WINTER’S NIGHT)
Disintegration Machine, The (1929) ** Professor Challenger interviews a brilliant but unstable scientist who invents a method for disassembling matter into its constituent atoms. Old-fashioned and predictable. (THE POISON BELT)
Horror of the Heights, The (1913) **1/2 An eerie tale about a British aviator who explores the upper regions of the troposphere and discovers an ethereal world inhabited by weird and menacing life forms. (THE BLACK DOCTOR AND OTHER TALES OF TERROR AND MYSTERY)
Jew’s Breastplate, The (1899-not SF) ** A museum curator vandalizes a priceless ancient artifact. Improbable, far-fetched, and ultimately unremarkable. (ROUND THE FIRE STORIES) (TALES FOR A WINTER’S NIGHT)
Lost Special, The (1898-not SF) *** A South American courier and his assistant are waylaid on a train to Paris by members of a powerful syndicate. Superbly conceived, mesmerizing, brutal, and shot through with evil. (ROUND THE FIRE STORIES) (TALES FOR A WINTER’S NIGHT)
Man with the Watches, The (1898-not SF) *** A young man is found shot dead on an express train to Manchester. A marvelous tale of detection, murder, and the consequences of prejudice. (ROUND THE FIRE STORIES) (TALES FOR A WINTER’S NIGHT)
Sealed Room, The (1898-not SF) ** A grim tale about a young man who waits seven years to open a room sealed by his disgraced father. (ROUND THE FIRE STORIES) (TALES FOR A WINTER’S NIGHT)
Terror of Blue John Gap, The (1910) *** A country doctor traces the cause of recent depredations of the local sheep population to an old Roman mine. Superior adventure writing. (TALES OF TERROR AND MYSTERY)
DOZOIS, Gardner (1947-) Working name of US author, editor, and anthologist GARDNER RAYMOND DOZOIS, whose SF books include Nightmare Blue (1975-with George Alec Effinger), Morning Child and Other Stories (2004), and Hunter’s Run (2008-with George R. R. Martin and Daniel Abraham). Acclaimed Anthologies: Aliens! (1980), Best Science Fiction Stories of the Year (1981), Modern Classic Short Novels of Science Fiction (1994), Modern Classics of Science Fiction (1992), and The Year’s Best Science Fiction series (1984-2007). Acclaimed short fiction: Chains of the Sea (1973-finalist for the 1973 Nebula and 1974 Hugo awards for best novella), Disciples (1981-finalist for the 1981 Nebula award for best short story), A Dream at Noonday (1970-finalist for the 1970 Nebula award for best short story), The Gods of Mars (1985-with Jack Dann and Michael Swanwick-finalist for the 1985 Nebula award for best short story), Horse of Air (1971-finalist for the 1971 Nebula award for best short story), A Kingdom By the Sea (1972-finalist for the 1972 Nebula and 1973 Hugo awards for best novelette), A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows (1999-finalist for the 2000 Nebula award for best novelette), Morning Child (1984-winner of the 1984 Nebula award for best short story), The Peacemaker (1983-winner of the 1983 Nebula award for best short story, finalist for the 1984 Hugo award for best short story), A Special Kind of Morning (1971-finalist for the 1972 Hugo award for best novella), and Strangers (1974-finalist for the 1975 Hugo award for best novella).
Strangers (1978) The story of a tragic love affair between an Earthman and an alien woman.
· “[Not] a world-beater, [but] better-than-average . . . handled a lot better in background, character, and detail . . . a little light on plotting, though . . . still, the level of writing is so high it has to be considered a successful book” (Charles N. Brown, Asimov’s, March 1978 – August 1979). **1/2
· “The best thing Dozois has done . . . too much show-and-tell . . . starkness would have improved this novel” (Anthony R. Lewis, Analog, October 1979). **1/2
· “Dense, detailed” (John Clute, F&SF, January 1979). **1/2
· “The book has problems . . . so damned tragic . . . good writing about pain . . . for a time when you don’t mind being depressed . . . characters so achingly almost human as to break your heart” (Spider Robinson, Analog, June 1978). **1/2
· Finalist for the 1974 Nebula award for best novel.
· Finalist for the 1975 Hugo award for best novella.
Visible Man, The (1977) A collection of twelve stories, including A Dream at Noonday (1970), Horse of Air (1971), A Special Kind of Morning (1971), A Kingdom By the Sea (1972), and The Visible Man (1975).
· “I couldn’t finish it . . . the most benign emotion I picked up was suicidal boredom . . . a whole book of downers” (P. Schuyler Miller, Analog, August 1966). **
Gods of Mars, The (1985-with Jack Dann and Michael Swanwick) *** A rigorously-constructed planetary romance about the first manned mission to Mars. The characters, technical details, and prose are excellent. (OMNI, 1985)
Year’s Best Science Fiction, The: First Annual Collection (1984) A collection of twenty-five speculative pieces, including Bruce Sterling’s Cicada Queen (1983), Greg Bear’s Hardfought (1983), and Kim Stanley Robinson’s Black Air (1983).
· “Very complimentary” (Tom Easton, Analog, November 1985). ***
Year’s Best Science Fiction, The: Second Annual Collection (1985) ** A massive collection of wearyingly literary speculative fiction. Standouts include Jack McDevitt’s Promises to Keep (1984), Richard Cowper’s A Message to the King of Bobdingnag (1984), John Varley’s Press Enter  (1984), and Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Lucky Strike (1984).
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