December 02, 1994 at 05:00 AM EST

Pictures at 11

Current Status
In Season
Norman Spinrad
Fiction, Mystery and Thriller, Sci-fi and Fantasy
We gave it a C-

In this big science-fiction novel, armed ecoterrorists, on a misbegotten mission to save the earth, seize an L.A. TV station. The hostages negotiate with their publicity-hungry captors over casting, programming, and ratings. Concessions include a terrorist TV program, and the ultimate outside negotiator is — who else? — a Hollywood agent. The idea is brilliant, but Spinrad’s writing is clichéd (”Blackmail is such an unpleasant word”). The terrorists could easily put a stop to a rescue attempt but inexplicably turn stupid long enough for the story to go forward. Spinrad writes with an outsider’s notion of police procedure, the news media, and hostage behavior. His unbelievably interesting idea for his 17th novel just isn’t believably written. C-

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