Friday, May 23, 2014

FFB: The Vizier's Second Daughter -- Robert F. Young

A while back I liked to this article on The Vizier's Second Daughter by Robert F. Young.  I have fond memories of Murray Leinster's Gateway to Elsewhere, and the summary of this book reminded me a little of that one.  I like Arabian Nights adventures, so I thought I'd read Young's book.

In the future, time travel is simple enough.  Not everybody can visit the past, so Animanikins sends its agents into the past to kidnap famous people and bring them back to have animanikins made of them.  Then the people are returned to their own times with no memory of what's happened.  Mark Billings is sent back for Sheherazade, but he mistakenly grabs her younger sister, Dunyzad.  Then he messes up his time-traveling hovercraft (which Dunyzad naturally believes is a magic carpet) and winds up -- elsewhere.  Ali Baba shows up, as do the forty thieves, but the real complications are the other things, like rocs, afreets, and djinn.  It's all fast-moving and inconsequential fun, but I did have one major reservation.  It's the same one I had when I re-read The Door into Summer.  Dunyzad is fifteen, and it's clear from the start that she and Billings are falling for one another.  It's probably not a major SPOILER to say that things work out in the end, but it's still kind of uncomfortable to read, or it was for me.  Otherwise, though, entertaining.


Todd Mason said...

Well, yeah, along with leaning unsubtle, the late works of Robert F. Young did tend to unleash the libido a bit more, too (though in those previously-mentioned "giantess" stories by RFY, men were constantly scaling giant sculptures of women, etc.). Perhaps it was less notable to some in the wake of the much better, but still at times similarly problematic, John Varley fiction of similar vintage.

George said...

I'm a fan of Robert F. Young's short stories, too. Another excellent (but forgotten) writer.