Evil Water

Ian Watson, Author Trafalgar Square Publishing $19.95 (200p) ISBN 978-0-575-03953-7
This fourth collection of stories by a prolific sci-fi author resembles nothing so much as a crazy quilt. The influence of writers as diverse as Hawthorne and Barthelme is obvious; in addition, Watson takes delight in throwing the reader off-balance. Satire is basic to ""The Great Atlantic Swimming Race'' and ``On the Dream Channel Panel.'' ``When the Timegate Failed'' and ``When Idaho Dived'' are straight sci-fi, and ``Evil Water'' is vintage gothic. In the title story, Paul and his pregnant wife Alicia move to a small town that was once devastated by bubonic plague. Paul is sexually frustrated and ultimately seduced by a centuries-old witch who sees him as her meal ticket out of the village. In ``The Wire Around the World,'' a paean to peace, the narrator sacrifices himself to a beast-human who resembles a ``gross fat Buddha'' to prevent world war. The collection is inventive; veteran Watson is clearly in control of his material. (January)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1988
Release date: 02/01/1988
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