Rock On: The Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy Hits

Pat Cadigan, Author, Elizabeth Hand, Author, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Author, Marc Laidlaw, Author, David J. Schow, Author, John Shirley, Author, F. Paul Wilson, Author, Paula R Guran, Author, Paula R Guran, Editor
Edited by Paula Guran. Prime (www.prime-books.com), $15.95 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-607013-15-0
Reviewed on: 08/27/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
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This collection of 24 stories, ranging from new works to decades-old Hugo nominees, unevenly evokes rock music’s legacy of pushing boundaries and railing against the establishment ethos. In Lawrence C. Connolly’s evocative “Mercenary,” sniper and musician Lorcan uncovers a dangerous truth about the mysterious, charismatic singer Bobbie Quicksilver and his guerrilla shows. The other original work, Del James’s “Mourningstar,” in which the sociopathic lead singer of a death metal band seeks revenge on his brilliant guitarist, is hampered by stilted dialogue, a dubious plot, and one-dimensional characterizations. Most of the reprints retain their poignancy and impact; Michael Swanwick’s bleak and disturbing “The Feast of Saint Janis” (1980) evokes a post-crisis destitute America where a desperate performer is remade into the image of Janis Joplin, and in Poppy Z. Brite’s deliciously creepy “Arise” (1998), a rocker bequeaths his very peculiar home—among other things—to a washed-up bandmate. Despite the sometimes inconsistent quality and nature of the stories, this diverse collection will appeal to most rock-and-roll and genre fans. (Oct.)
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