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About the Author

Sheri S. Tepper (1929-2016) is the award-winning author of A Plague of Angels, Sideshow, Beauty, Raising the Stones, Grass, The Gate to Women's Country, After Long Silence, and Shadow's End. Grass was a New York Times Notable Book and Hugo Award nominee, and Beauty was voted Best Fantasy Novel by the readers of Locus magazine.

Reviews

The world of Tolerance, where each province governs itself without interference from its neighbors, suffers from a sickness at its core, and only a small group of misfits and alien travelers can find the key to the world's survival. This final volume in the triptych that includes Grass ( LJ 9/15/89) and Raising the Stones ( LJ 8/90) begins slowly, as the author painstakingly introduces her characters to the complexity of the plot, but ultimately Tepper's imaginative vision holds forth and delivers one of her most challenging works to date. Libraries interested in acquiring significant sf should consider this rewarding but difficult title.

Loosely related to her earlier books Grass and Raising the Stones, Tepper's newest big novel questions the desirability of further evolution. A sentient fungus has infested most of the galaxy, reworking the life forms it inhabits to enhance their physical and spiritual comfort. The people of the planet Elsewhere, however, see the fungus's contented hosts as slaves; to preserve free will on Elsewhere, the rulers have imposed absolute cultural relativity within which pleasant and unsavory societies coexist, their integrity rigidly maintained by Enforcers. But powers have arisen to challenge the status quo: creatures resembling dragons are reported in unexplored regions, and evil entities in the computer network are manifesting themselves in a deadly way. The planetary provost, Boarmus, sends a crew of three Enforcers with an assortment of misfits to investigate the dragons, while he tries to thwart the net-beings. The pointlessly complicated plot veers off into long digressions that add only pages to the main story, and though Tepper tries to raise the stakes with debates over current issues such as isolationism and sexism, she fails to grapple with the complex implications of these concerns. After her last book, Beauty , this one is a disappointment. (Apr.)

"An impressive performance-it combines adventure and satire, draws engaging characters, creates a world of wonders, and grapples with important questions about freedom, responsibility, identify, and destiny."--Locus

"Tepper's imaginative vision holds forth and delivers one of her most challenging works to date."--Library Journal.

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