cover image Aspects


John M. Ford. Tor, $26.99 (496p) ISBN 978-1-250-26903-4

Fans and sci-fi devotees unfamiliar with Ford (1957–2006) alike will celebrate the publication of his final epic fantasy, unfinished at the time of his death but nevertheless a showcase for the lambent prose and imaginative worldbuilding that put him on par with much-better-known authors. The plot starts with a bang, before easing into the political conflicts driving the well-crafted characters: the reader is thrown into a duel in the capital of the Lescoray Republic, between politician Coron Varic and cavalry officer Chase. The physical combat serves as prologue to much more subtle conflict in the halls of parliament. There, following prosaic motions “to demolish historical structures,” Varic and his colleagues take up debate over subjecting sorcerers to damages, like any other provider of bargained-for services, if, for example, a spell to cause rain ends up drowning livestock or washing away crops. That sets up a clash between practitioners of magic and legislators, leading into a clever story line packed with action and intrigue. Neil Gaiman’s moving introduction remembering his friend and his oeuvre is an added treat. George R.R. Martin and Avram Davidson fans should rush to catch up on this gifted writer’s works. (Apr.)