cover image Demons Don't Dream: Zanth #16

Demons Don't Dream: Zanth #16

Piers Anthony. Tor Books, $19.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85389-1

This latest and weakest Xanth fantasy (after The Color of Her Panties ) starts off in Mundania, the series's term for the world in which the readers live. Playing the new fantasy/adventure computer game Companions of Xanth, teenagers Dug and Kim select companions from among the characters of Xanth, Dug choosing a sultry half-woman/half serpent and Kim a young Elven girl. Soon Dug and Kim find they have entered the actual Land of Xanth. Unknown to them, the demons that provide Xanth's magic are in mystic competition, using Kim, Dug and their companions as pawns. Written in a simplistic style, the novel marks the continued decline of this once-diverting series. The teenage characters are all but lifeless, while the story line, remarkably similar to that of Anthony's recent novel Killobyte , lacks not just tension but consequence. However, the legions of Xanth readers can rest assured that the book contains plenty of the punningly named animals, vegetables, people and things (such as the Ice Queen Crone and the Censor-Ship) that have become the series' raison d'etre. (Feb.)