Rock On: The Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy Hits

Edited by Paula Guran. Prime (www.prime-books.com), $15.95 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-607013-15-0
This collection of 24 stories, ranging from new works to decades-old Hugo nominees, unevenly evokes rock music’s legacy of pushing boundaries and railing against the establishment ethos. In Lawrence C. Connolly’s evocative “Mercenary,” sniper and musician Lorcan uncovers a dangerous truth about the mysterious, charismatic singer Bobbie Quicksilver and his guerrilla shows. The other original work, Del James’s “Mourningstar,” in which the sociopathic lead singer of a death metal band seeks revenge on his brilliant guitarist, is hampered by stilted dialogue, a dubious plot, and one-dimensional characterizations. Most of the reprints retain their poignancy and impact; Michael Swanwick’s bleak and disturbing “The Feast of Saint Janis” (1980) evokes a post-crisis destitute America where a desperate performer is remade into the image of Janis Joplin, and in Poppy Z. Brite’s deliciously creepy “Arise” (1998), a rocker bequeaths his very peculiar home—among other things—to a washed-up bandmate. Despite the sometimes inconsistent quality and nature of the stories, this diverse collection will appeal to most rock-and-roll and genre fans. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/27/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
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