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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Stork Naked by Piers Anthony

Stork Naked by Piers Anthony. New York: Tor, 2006. ISBN: 978-0-765-30409-4

Every time I see a new Piers Anthony Xanth novel on the shelf at my local library, I have to suppress a groan. Why? Because this is the 29th Xanth novel, that's why! I don't know of any other successful fantasy series that has run this long.

And because the books are more than just a bit on the hokey side, that's why. Filled with bad puns sent in by faithful readers who crave that bit of recognition they get in the author's note at the rear of the book, where Anthony spends almost three solid pages just listing the puns and the names of the lucky sods who sent them in.

Nevertheless, every time, out of some sense of duty or misplaced loyalty, I bring the book home from the library anyhow. And after it sits around on a pile of other library books for a few weeks, I give in, and start reading it. And every time, I'm pleasantly surprised once again, at just how entertaining a story writer Piers is. Even plowing over this extremely over tilled ground, he still manages to craft a story that makes you want to find out what happens next, and creates a new batch of characters that engage your interest and sympathy.

Not to mention that by now, he's brought in just about every trick in the book to provide him with new grounds to till. He's created entire alternate worlds to visit (the planets that orbit around Princess Ida's head, or the dream world found inside any handy hypno-gourd, for instance), but now he resorts to another tired old trick, alternate realities. As if Xanth itself weren't enough of an alternate reality all on its own! But now we have the infinite alternate realities that theoretically are created every time there is the slightest possibility of any divergence of events.

Honestly, Piers, Xanth seems a sufficiently magical place all on its own that you didn't need to resort to split realities too! Oh well. So far, I've gone along for the ride on all 29 Xanth novels, and I imagine I'll go along on the next one, too. Half-heartedly recommended for the general fantasy reader, and semi-enthusiastically recommended for all Xanth fans.

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