NESFA Members' Reviews


by Lisa Mason

Bantam Spectra, ISBN 0-553-09503-X, 1995, 384pp, US$12.95

A book review by Evelyn C. Leeper

Copyright 1995 Evelyn C. Leeper

Well, if she had titled it THE GAY NINETIES, it would have been very misleading--especially with its San Francisco setting. More proof, I suppose, that the English language is ever-changing. But I must admit I keep thinking of it by that name, a much more common epithet for the decade that "The Golden Nineties."

In any case, we have here a sequel to Mason's SUMMER OF LOVE. Now since SUMMER OF LOVE took place in 1967, and this takes place in the late 1890s, it might seem strange that this is a sequel, but that's because these books are about time travel and the part of THE GOLDEN NINETIES that takes place in the future takes place after the part of SUMMER OF LOVE that takes place there. Got that?

When I read SUMMER OF LOVE I thought it was basically a non- science fiction novel with a little science fiction thrown in to make it more marketable. I suppose that whether or not this was true, THE GOLDEN NINETIES was written as a science fiction novel, but in spite of that it also reads like a work of historical fiction with just a thin veneer of science fiction. A time traveler is sent back to make surea certain piece of jewelry ends up with a certain person. (Could the fact that Mason's husband is a jeweler have anything to do with this?) But this is like Hitchcock's "McGuffin"--it's not really important except to give an excuse for the rest of the plot.

As with SUMMER OF LOVE, I like what Mason has done with the historical period, but I don't like the science fiction aspect, and ultimately it distracts from the rest. Does science fiction really sell that much better than historical fiction that it makes sense to do this?

%T      The Golden Nineties
%A      Lisa Mason
%C      New York
%D      October 1995
%I      Bantam Spectra
%O      trade paperback, US$12.95
%G      ISBN 0-553-09503-X
%P      384pp
%S      Chiron Cat's Eye in Draco
%V      2

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