cover image Ghost Writer in the Sky

Ghost Writer in the Sky

Piers Anthony. Open Road, $14.99 trade paper (292p) ISBN 978-1-5040-3877-5

Anthony’s 41st Xanth novel is aimless, juvenile, and degrading. A new villain has appeared in the magical land of Xanth, where puns abound. This “Ghost Writer in the Sky” is in fact a hack author from Mundania (aka our world) who is testing his ideas for perverse fairy tales on the unsuspecting denizens of Xanth. When they summon help from Mundania, they get Tartan and Tara, spirit persons who must inhabit hosts from Xanth in order to have any agency. Tartan, Tara, and their hosts meet up with others as the quest pinballs randomly from one fairly nonsensical location to another. What most interest all of the male characters are the physical attributes of all of the female characters. A major plot device is that, in Xanth, the sight of a woman’s panties can “freak out” a man, leaving him momentarily dazed. Sex abounds (offstage), and even the declared asexual and aromantic character is willing to let the spirit of Isis possess her occasionally so her male companion can have sex with her. Disappointing. Agent: Joel Gotler, IPG. (Apr.)