Fear of Blue Skies

Richard Burgin, Author Johns Hopkins University Press $28 (200p) ISBN 978-0-8018-5745-4
Myst, the spectacularly successful computer game devised by brothers Rand and Robyn Miller in 1993, has spawned two clumsy print prequels, Myst: The Book of Ti'ana and Myst: The Book of Atrus. Similarly bereft of the game's dazzling graphic wizardry and its hypnotic interactive dimension, this new spinoff plods through events that follow those of Myst's long-awaited CD-ROM successor, Riven. The entire Myst-ical universe hinges upon the concept of Linking Books created by the ancient vanished D'ni civilization to allow instantaneous leaps through time and space to other Ages. D'ni was destroyed when Gehn, a writer of Linking Books, came to believe himself a world-creating god. Here, devotees may continue to identify with Atrus, Gehn's son, who also writes Linking Books, and with his wife, Catherine. As detailed in Styrofoam-dry prose, the two muster a bland gang of followers to return D'ni survivors from exotic Ages to rebuild D'ni and to battle the glittery temptation of Terahnee, a seemingly perfect Age sustained in actuality by slave labor. Whatever treasures of technological magic await in Riven, which will be released momentarily, the literary realm that Miller and Wingrove offer here pans out as fool's gold. Foreign rights sold in the U.K. and Germany. (Nov.) FYI: Also due out in November from Hyperion is From Myst to Riven: The Creations and Inspirations, by Richard Kadrey with a foreword by Rand and Robyn Miller, a lushly illustrated (full-color) exploration of the Island of Myst. ($45 128p ISBN 0-7868-6365-X)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1997
Release date: 11/01/1997
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