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SIDESHOW Hardcover – Apr 1 1992


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Spectra (April 1 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553081306
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553081305
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15 x 4.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 862 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #936,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

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.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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By A Customer on June 1 1998
Format: Paperback
The book was just a teensy bit slow to start. Many characters, destined to meet later on, were introduced, but you also got to know them pretty well and, most importantly, care about them. Some of the premises, like the abilities of the core personalities, didn't seem quite plausible, but it didn't detract too much from the story, at least for me.
Many interesting viewpoints concerning the concept of diversity and religious practices were explored through the characters: How far should we go in respecting another's diversity? At what point should someone step in, if indeed they should step in at all, to put a stop to what others might see as barbaric practices? Are we really free or just products of our individual cultures and upbringing? Are the choices we make really our own? Do our supposedly objective views and moral codes change when events wear a more personal face?
All in all, most of the characters were pretty likable, though Danivon was a little too stiff and seemingly perfect for my liking. His olfactory abilities were rather interesting though. The different cultures visited in the book were also quite, uh, interesting--actually they were a bit frightening. A few events towards the end of the book even managed to surprise me, but just a bit. :-)
I would definitely recommend this book as a good read. It gave me food for thought, made me rethink some of my own ideals. Really, once the characters were introduced, and the action picked up, I couldn't put it down. =RTK=
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By A Customer on June 17 1997
Format: Paperback
"Sideshow" is one of the best speculative fiction books I have read in a long time. Not only does the author present difficult ethical questions for the reader to consider, but she provides a thrilling story which through the whole book never ceases to get better and better. Though I could never have predicted most of the plot twists, everything made perfect sense in the end and I never felt 'manipulated' as with so many lesser works which seem to provide cliffhanger situations just to play on your emotions and keep you guessing.

Ms. Tepper demonstrates herself to be among the most competent world-builders in the genre with the world of Elsewhere. It has more of a fast-paced, cyberpunk environment than most of her other works, but she demonstrates that she is equally at home in this style as with her more low-tech fantasies.

I was glad to have read "Grass" first which provided a bit of helpful background on some of the situations in "Sideshow", though reading it first is not essential. I regret that I have been unable to locate a copy of "Raising the Stones."

"Sideshow" is a provocative and well-constructed work which, like all of Ms. Tepper's fiction, raises the difficult choices societies must make in order to survive.
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Format: Paperback
I do not often write reviews here but this time I simply had to share. I had never heard of Sheri S. Tepper before reading this book so I started reading it without any pre-conceived notions of what to expect but already from the first page I was convinced that it was a great book - and all the rest of the book, every page of it, was just as good as the first one!
The book has just the right mix of mystery, a good action-laden plot and loads of interesting philosophical questsions all mixed together into a convincing and enjoyable package.
The plot of the book has already been described by others on this page. I'll just say that I think that the Great Question (what is the ultimate destiny of man?) is something that we DO need to answer.
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Format: Paperback
This was my introduction to Sheri Tepper and, while I didn't understand all the references to the previous happenings in this trilogy, I couldn't tear myself away. I liked the characters a lot, I loved the world (altho it is a little similar to one of Jack Chalker's series), and I thought the overall plot was good. If you like plot-driven books (as most SF books are), you probably will enjoy this one. Plus, the sheer variety in this world is fascinating. I would probably recommend that you start off with Grass, tho it didn't hurt me to do it backwards. This book will always have a place in my heart since it introduced me to a great SF writer.
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By A Customer on May 30 2000
Format: Paperback
I am Tepper's most avid fan, and, as such, I guess there must be one book that is my least favorite. This one is it. It is very dark and violent and it is the only one of her books that I could not read more than once. This is a great author. If you want to read her work, please do not start with this book. I highly recommend her "Beauty," "Grass," "Raising the Stones," "Family Tree," "Gibbons Decline and Fall," and the entire True Game series.
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By A Customer on Oct. 18 2000
Format: Paperback
I am a great fan of Tepper, I own and have read all of her books. Unfortunately this book struck me as repetitive in the resolution of the characters, especially Owldark. I read for pleasure as well as to learn, this book was so dark and uncomfortable that I did neither.
While the story was well crafted, I didn't like any of the characters and could not make an investment in their stories. The creativity and ingenuity of the plot may however be enough for other readers.
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