cover image Landscapes


Kevin J. Anderson, . . Five Star, $25.95 (436pp) ISBN 978-1-59414-476-9

The 22 stories and two essays in this collection by bestseller Anderson (Star Wars: Jedi Search ) showcase his competence at shorter length. The idea of landscapes informs his SF tales in particular. In "Music Played on the Strings of Time," parallel timestream hoppers exploit slight differences in place as they seek new music by established artists or successful drug therapies. The artificial ecosystems of "Prisons" keeps the hell of a planet undergoing terraforming at bay. In the postapocalyptic world of "Rest in Peace," civilization has disappeared, along with humanity. In his fantasy stories, Anderson lets loose with humor and fun. In "Frog Kiss," a man kisses a lot of frogs while trying to find members of the enchanted royal family, while in "Special Makeup," a mysterious makeup artist goes to extremes to prepare an unwitting actor for his role as a werewolf. Marring the author's readable style and capable plots are one-dimensional characters and a lack of surprises, but his many fans will find much to enjoy. (Mar.)