Anderson, Kevin J. 1962- (Kevin James Anderson)
Anderson, Kevin J. 1962- (Kevin James Anderson)
Born March 27, 1962, in Racine, WI; son of Andrew James (a banker) and Dorothy Arloah (a homemaker) Anderson; married Mary Franco Nijhuis, November 17, 1983 (divorced June, 1987); married Rebecca Moesta (a technical editor and writer), September 14, 1991; children: Jonathan Macgregor Cowan (stepson). Education: University of Wisconsin—Madison, B.S. (with honors), 1982. Hobbies and other interests: Hiking, camping, reading, astronomy.
Writer. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA, technical writer/editor, 1983-95; Materials Research Society, Pittsburgh, PA, columnist, 1988—; International Society for Respiratory Protection, Salem, OR, copy editor, 1989-1995.
Science Fiction Writers of America, Horror Writers of America, International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.
Dale Donaldson Memorial Award for lifetime service to the small-press field, 1987; Bram Stoker Award nomination for best first novel, Horror Writers of America, 1988, for Resurrection, Inc.; Nebula award nomination for best science-fiction novel, 1993, for Assemblers of Infinity; Locus magazine award for best science-fiction paperback novel of 1995, for Climbing Olympus; readers' choice award, SFX, 1995, for Ground Zero; readers's choice award, Science Fiction Book Club, and notable book citation, New York Times, 2000, both for Dune: House Atreides.
NOVELS; WITH DOUG BEASON
Lifeline, Bantam (New York, NY), 1991.
The Trinity Paradox, Bantam (New York, NY), 1991.
Assemblers of Infinity, Bantam (New York, NY), 1993.
Ill Wind, Forge (New York, NY), 1995.
Virtual Destruction, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1996.
Ignition, Forge (New York, NY), 1997.
Fallout, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1997.
Lethal Exposure, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1998.
NOVELS; WITH KRISTINE KATHRYN RUSCH
Afterimage, Roc (New York, NY), 1992.
Afterimage/Aftershock, Meisha Merlin (Decatur, GA), 1998.
Also coauthor of Aftershock, Roc (New York, NY).
Ground Zero, HarperPrism (New York, NY), 1995.
Ruins, HarperPrism (New York, NY), 1996.
Antibodies, HarperPrism (New York, NY), 1997.
Resurrection, Inc., Signet (New York, NY), 1988, tenth anniversary limited edition, Overlook Connection Press (Woodstock, GA), 1998.
Climbing Olympus, Warner (New York, NY), 1994.
Blindfold, Warner (New York, NY), 1995.
Darksaber ("Star Wars" Series), Bantam (New York, NY), 1995.
(Editor) War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches (anthology), Bantam (New York, NY), 1996.
Dogged Persistence (short stories), Golden Gryphon Press (Urbana, IL), 2001.
Hopscotch, Bantam (New York, NY), 2002.
Artifact, Forge (New York, NY), 2003.
Landscapes (short stories), introduction by Neil Peart, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2006.
(With A.E. Van Vogt) Slan Hunter, Tor (New York, NY), 2007.
The Last Days of Krypton, HarperEntertainment (New York, NY), 2007.
"SAGA OF SEVEN SUNS" SERIES
Hidden Empire, Aspect (New York, NY), 2002.
Forest of Stars, Aspect (New York, NY), 2003.
Horizon Storms, Aspect (New York, NY), 2004.
Scattered Suns, Aspect (New York, NY), 2005.
Of Fire and Night, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Metal Swarm, Orbit (New York, NY), 2007.
Gamearth, Signet (New York, NY), 1989.
Gameplay, Signet (New York, NY), 1989.
Game's End, Roc (New York, NY), 1990.
Veiled Alliances, DC Comics, 2004.
(With wife, Rebecca Moesta) Grumpy Old Monsters, IDW Publishing, 2004.
Orc's Treasure, Ibooks, 2005.
FOR YOUNG ADULTS
(With John Gregory Betancourt) Born of Elven Blood, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1995.
(With Rebecca Moesta) Crystal Doors #1: Island Realm, Little, Brown Young Readers (New York, NY), 2007.
(With Rebecca Moesta) Crystal Doors #2: Ocean Realm, Little, Brown Young Readers (New York, NY), 2007.
"STAR WARS: JEDI ACADEMY" TRILOGY
Jedi Search, Bantam (New York, NY), 1994.
Dark Apprentice, Bantam (New York, NY), 1994.
Champions of the Force, Bantam (New York, NY), 1994.
Jedi Academy Trilogy (includes Jedi Search, Dark Apprentice, and Champions of the Force), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1994.
"STAR WARS: YOUNG JEDI KNIGHTS" SERIES; WITH REBECCA MOESTA
Heirs of the Force, Boulevard (New York, NY), 1995.
Shadow Academy, Boulevard (New York, NY), 1995.
The Lost Ones, Boulevard (New York, NY), 1995.
Lightsabers, Boulevard (New York, NY), 1996.
Darkest Knight, Boulevard (New York, NY), 1996.
Jedi Under Siege, Boulevard (New York, NY), 1996.
Shards of Alderaan, Boulevard (New York, NY), 1997.
Delusions of Grandeur, Boulevard (New York, NY), 1997.
Diversity Alliance, Boulevard (New York, NY), 1997.
Jedi Bounty, Boulevard (New York, NY), 1997.
Crisis at Crystal Reef, Boulevard (New York, NY), 1998.
Trouble on Cloud City, Boulevard (New York, NY), 1998.
Return to Ord Mantell, Boulevard (New York, NY), 1998.
The Emperor's Plague, Boulevard (New York, NY), 1998.
"STAR WARS" ANTHOLOGIES; EDITOR
Star Wars: Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina, Bantam (New York, NY), 1995.
Star Wars: Tales from Jabba's Palace, Bantam (New York, NY), 1995.
Star Wars: Tales of the Bounty Hunters, Bantam (New York, NY), 1995.
"STAR WARS: TALES OF THE JEDI" SERIES
Dark Lords of the Sith, Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1996.
The Sith War, Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1996.
Golden Age of Sith, Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1997.
Fall of the Sith Empire, Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1998.
Redemption, Titan Books, 2000.
"DUNE" SERIES; WITH BRIAN HERBERT
Dune: House Atreides, Bantam (New York, NY), 1999.
Dune: House Harkonnen, Bantam (New York, NY), 2000.
Dune: House Corrino, Bantam (New York, NY), 2001.
(With Frank Herbert) The Road to Dune, Tor (New York, NY), 2005.
Hunters of Dune, Tor (New York, NY), 2006.
Sandworms of Dune, Tor (New York, NY), 2007.
WITH BRIAN HERBERT
Butlerian Jihad, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Machine Crusade, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Battle of Corrin, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2004.
The Illustrated Star Wars Universe, illustrated by Ralph McQuarrie, with additional art by Michael Butkus and others, Bantam (New York, NY), 1995.
(With Rebecca Moesta) Star Wars: The Mos Eisley Cantina Pop-up Book, illustrated by Ralph McQuarrie, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1995.
(With Rebecca Moesta) Jabba's Palace Pop-up Book, illustrated by Ralph McQuarrie, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1996.
(With Harlan Ellison) The Outer Limits: Armageddon Dreams, Quadrillion Media (Scottsdale, AZ), 2000.
(With Gregory Benford and Marc Scott Zicree) Science Fiction Theater, edited by Brian Forbes, Quadrillion Media (Scottsdale, AZ), 2000.
(With Rebecca Moesta) Supernova, Quadrillion Media (Scottsdale, AZ), 2000.
(With Rebecca Moesta) Star Trek—The Next Generation: The Gorn Crisis (comic book), painted by Igor Kordey, WildStorm/D.C. Comics (La Jolla, CA), 2001.
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (adapted from film screenplay), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (adapted from film screenplay), Onyx Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Prodigal Son ("Dean Koontz's Frankenstein" series), Bantam (New York, NY), 2005.
Work represented in anthologies, including Full Spectrum, volumes I, III, and IV; The Ultimate Dracula; and The Ultimate Werewolf. Contributor of short stories, articles, and reviews to periodicals, including Analog, Amazing, and Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Also author of several comic book series. Over two dozen of Anderson's books have been translated for foreign publication.
The X-Files: Ground Zero was recorded as an audiocassette, read by Gillian Anderson, Harper Audio, 1995; The Road to Dune was adapted for audio, Books on Tape, 2005.
Kevin J. Anderson, the author of a daunting array of science-fiction books for young adults, has emerged as one of the most successful writers in the genre's history. Over ten million copies of books by Anderson were in print by the late 1990s, and in 1998 he set a world record for the largest single-author book signing while promoting his spoof-filled spy thriller Ai! Pedrito! When Intelligence Goes Wrong in Los Angeles. In addition to creating original novels with themes of space exploration and new frontiers, Anderson has written many books in the "Star Wars" series for teen readers under the auspices of Lucasfilm. For a 1999 prequel to the science-fiction classic Dune, Anderson set another record when he was signed to the most lucrative book publishing contract yet drawn up for a science-fiction author.
Anderson was born in 1962 and grew up in a small town in Wisconsin. He recalled in a biography published on his Web site that a television movie of the H.G. Wells classic War of the Worlds made a tremendous impression on his five-year-old mind. Originally a radio play, War of the Worlds caused a stir when first broadcast in the late 1930s, sending many Americans into a panic after convincing them that the Earth was being attacked by Martians. The television movie, based on the radio play, made such an impression on Anderson that, still too young to read or write well, he began drawing pictures of the movie scenes the next day.
Anderson wrote his first short story at the age of eight, and two years later he bought a typewriter with savings from his allowance. The year he entered high school, he began submitting short stories to science-fiction magazines, but received nothing but peremptory rejection letters. By the time he entered the University of Wisconsin, Madison, he had begun to enjoy minor success with his fiction. After he graduated from college with an honors degree in 1982, he began working for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories in Livermore, California. As a technical writer at the important defense-industry complex, Anderson was exposed to ideas and technologies that fired his imagination. He also met his future wife and coauthor, Rebecca Moesta, and another future collaborator, physicist Doug Beason.
Anderson's first published book was Resurrection, Inc., which appeared in 1988. Its protagonist is François Nathans, founder of a company that recycles human corpses. Nathans owns technology that can animate the cadavers with a microchip, and, since their human memory has been erased, these "Servants" are used to free the living from difficult, drudge-like, or dangerous labor. When some of the Servants begin to recover their memories, they rebel. One of them possesses inside knowledge about the company because his father, once the greedy Nathans's partner, had been ousted from the partnership. "Although familiar in outline, this first effort is well plotted and lively in the telling," wrote Barbara Bannon in Publishers Weekly. As testament to its appeal, Resurrection, Inc. was published in a tenth-anniversary edition in 1998.
Anderson's next project was a series of novels based on the fantasy role-playing games popular with teenagers and young adults in the late 1980s. Gamearth introduced Melanie, David, Tyrone, and Scott, a quartet of students deeply involved in a Dungeons-and-Dragons-style fantasy game. David begins to think that the others are taking the plotted movements and created characters too seriously, and he wants to quit. To extricate himself, he creates a monstrous character that will destroy the other players' characters. His strategy backfires, however, and the book's ending is a cliffhanger. A Locus contributor wrote that "the characters within the game are rather humorously limited by their dice-given powers."
In the sequel, Gameplay, the four teens and their two-year-long role-playing game continues. Baffled by some occurrences, they come to realize that some of the created characters have begun to make their own moves. The forces of good and evil meet in battle, aided by a new character who speaks only in advertising and pop culture platitudes. "Anderson adds a delightfully fresh sense of humor in his character of Journeyman, the clay golem Melanie sends to save the day," noted a contributor to Kliatt.
Beginning in the early 1990s, Anderson found success with several titles coauthored with his Livermore colleague, Doug Beason. The first of these books, 1991's Lifeline, posits a futuristic scenario of an American base on the Moon, a corporate satellite called Orbitech, and a Soviet counterpart that is viewed with some suspicion. At the beginning of the story, the U.S. government has agreed to a deal with the Philippines: in order to extend the leases for their military bases on the Pacific archipelago, the government has provided the Philippines with a space station, called Aguinaldo. There, scientist Luis Sandovaal and his team of 1,500 researchers are creating groundbreaking new scientific products, including wall-kelp, a quick-growing edible that provides all necessary nutrients for humans. Aguinaldo is also home to experimental prototypes of fantastic flying creatures that can be transformed into sails for the satellites.
Lifeline's action starts with the space settlers observing nuclear mushroom clouds on Earth. The United States and the Soviet Union have attacked one another, and all space stations are stranded. The Russians on Kibalchick put themselves into suspended animation, while the Americans on Orbitech attempt to find a more immediate solution. When Brahms, the director of Orbitech, turns tyrannical and ejects 150 "under-performing" personnel, Duncan McLaris flees to the moon base Claviius. Then the Soviets unexpectedly awaken, and tensions mount. "The posing and solving of apparently insuperable problems keeps the reader involved in that classic way," stated Tom Easton in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, who nonetheless faulted Anderson's pacing and his rapid introduction of technological innovations that come to the rescue. "At the same time, the characters are real enough to engage the reader's sympathy," Easton wrote, adding that "at the end there is a very real sense of resolution and satisfaction."
Anderson and Beason's second collaboration, The Trinity Paradox, "demonstrates their collaborative storytelling powers … effectively," wrote Dan Chow in Locus. This time the protagonist is Elizabeth Devane, a radical anti-nuclear activist. She and her boyfriend plan to disable a nuclear weapon sitting unguarded in the desert of the American Southwest, but a mishap occurs. Her boyfriend dies, and she is catapulted back in time to Los Alamos, New Mexico, during World War II, when that locale was the primary research site for U.S. nuclear weapons technology. Finding herself in the midst of a feverish race to master nuclear technology at the top-secret national laboratory, Devane realizes that through her actions she might be able to change history and sabotage the invention of the atomic bomb.
Instead of stopping the future Cold War, however, Devane's actions set in motion a new version of Cold War history: the outcome of World War II is affected, and nuclear technology heads in an entirely new direction. Realizing that she possesses the power to change the world, she becomes as dangerous as the scientists she considers traitors to humankind. "Hers is the most chilling of revolutionary beliefs, that with a constituency of one," noted Chow in Locus. The Trinity Paradox includes several real scientists in its plot, such as Robert Oppenheimer and Edward Teller, and the "Trinity" of the title takes its name from the site of the first successful test explosion.
Anderson and Beason continued their successful collaboration in Assemblers of Infinity. Set in the early decades of the twenty-first century, the plot centers around a group of scientists who believe an alien invasion is imminent. A team of investigators is sent to a suspicious site at the Earth's base on the moon, but they mysteriously die shortly after landing. Back on Earth, other researchers are positing that the relatively new field of nano-technology—machines run by microprocessors—may have something to do both the deaths and the threat of invasion. Erika Trace, one of the Earth's leading nano scientists, is enlisted to help.
Assemblers of Infinity won praise from reviewers. Kliatt contributor Bette D. Ammon noted: "The premise is riveting and the technology is fascinating." Ammon added that Anderson and Beason create a situation "utterly plausible and frightening—the stuff of which good SF is made." In a review for Voice of Youth Advocates, Rosie Peasley praised its "sophisticated science fiction concepts," declaring that "the plot hums along at high speed." In a Booklist critique, Roland Green compared it to "the techno-thriller, sort of a Tom-Clancy-meets-space-advocacy effort."
Ill Wind was Anderson's fourth collaboration with Beason, an eco-thriller involving a massive oil spill in San Francisco Bay. The large corporation responsible for this disaster, eager to clean up both the spill and its corporate image as quickly as possible, unleashes an untried new microbe to do the job. Soon the uncontrollable organism begins eating everything made from petroleum products, such as gasoline and plastic. When martial law is declared and the electricity fails, a scientist and two pilots try to save the world.
In Virtual Destruction, Anderson and Beason move the action closer to home: the story is set at the Livermore Labs and shows how large national defense labs were forced to refocus their missions after the end of Cold War tensions. After decades of relying heavily on federal funding to develop new weapons technology, Livermore and other facilities were challenged to find consumer and private-sector applications for their patents. The conflicts presented by this new era—specifically between profit-minded management and the more altruistic scientists—is the focus of Virtual Destruction. The plots revolves around a virtual reality chamber that produces devastatingly real effects; Livermore executive Hal Michaelson is discussing with the government possible uses for this chamber in the dangerous realm of nuclear-weapons surveillance. One of Michaelson's researchers, Gary Lesserec, who has been involved with the Virtual Reality Lab from its conception, knows that this is not feasible, that even sound recordings can trick entrants. Lesserec is about to be fired when Michaelson is found dead inside the chamber. FBI agent Craig Kreident investigates and uncovers nefarious industrial espionage links to the computer-gaming industry. The introduction of Kreident changes the novel's genre from sci-fi thriller to detective fiction, but as Tom Easton noted in Analog: "There's not much detecting going on here. The tale exists to give us a tour of Livermore, explicate some interesting technology, and discuss the problems the end of the Cold War has given the national labs."
For help with the details in his next book with Beason, Anderson was able to make an insider's visit to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Ignition chronicles the planning and sabotage of a joint U.S.-Soviet mission on the space shuttle Atlantis. The first commodore, Colonel Adam "Iceberg" Friese, suffers an accident that cancels his participation. He becomes vitally involved, nevertheless, when a band of terrorists, organized by a famous Wall Street criminal, takes the crew hostage. The pilot's former paramour, Nicole Hunter, an astronaut-turned-launch controller, is also held hostage, but manages to help Friese battle the gang, some of whom have unusual personal quirks. The realistic details pertaining to the launch pad and pre-launch tensions, somewhat altered for security reasons, make Ignition "a nail biter" of a book, according to Library Journal contributor Grant A. Frederickson.
Intrepid FBI agent Kreident reappears in Anderson and Beason's next thriller, Lethal Exposure. This work is set at another government-funded research facility, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois. Kreident arrives to investigate the mysterious radiation death of renowned physicist Georg Dumenco. A contributor to Publishers Weekly observed that the authors' familiarity with the subject matter and lab environment "gives their latest [book] plenty of scientific authenticity."
Anderson is also the author of several books in the "Star Wars" series. The plots, aimed at young-adult readers but popular with "Star Wars" fans of all ages, help provide panoramic details of the factions, clans, and worlds in this classic saga of good and evil. The first series is set at the Jedi Academy and begins with Jedi Search. Heroic Han Solo is married to Princess Leia, and they have three small children. Other characters from the original 1977 film make appearances, including Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca, and a new one is introduced, the teenager Kyp Durron. Spice mines and a space battle lead to a "rollicking SF adventure," reported Ingrid von Hausen in a review for Kliatt. Together with the Anderson-penned sequels Dark Apprentice and Champions of the Force, the books were published under the collective title Jedi Academy Trilogy.
Anderson has written several other "Star Wars" books that are not part of a definitive series. In Darksaber the Empire is again attempting to resurrect its former glory, aided by a new leader of the Hutt group named Durga. Luke Skywalker is in love with a Jedi named Callista, whose special powers have vanished. Many other successful science-fiction writers have authored titles for various "Star Wars" series, but "Anderson leads the pack in both overall popularity and sheer storytelling power," in the opinion of Carl Hays in Booklist. Hays further remarked that Anderson's well-developed characters add greatly to their appeal, giving readers a far more in-depth treatment than is possible in the film plots.
Anderson has coauthored most of the books for the "Young Jedi Knights" series with his wife, Rebecca Moesta. In this series, the heroes are teen twins Jacen and Jaina, the offspring of Han Solo and Princess Leia. Series debut Heirs of the Force finds the two at the fabled Jedi Academy founded by their uncle, Luke Skywalker. When the teens are captured by a fighter pilot from the evil Empire, they are threatened with being stranded on a jungle moon. In The Lost Ones, Anderson and Moesta again place Jacen and Jaina in danger. As expected, the fourteen-year-olds ably extricate from danger both themselves and a friend who has been lured astray by the malevolent Dark Jedi Master, Brakiss. The Dark Jedi Force is attempting to revive the empire, creating a Second Imperium that will rule the galaxy. Hugh M. Flick, reviewing The Lost Ones in Kliatt, called it, along with its two series predecessors, "well written and … interesting for Star Wars fans of all ages."
Lightsabers, another book in the series, features the maimed Tenel Ka, a friend of Jacen and Jaina. Tenel Ka's arm was destroyed when her lightsaber misfired, and out of shame she has exiled herself to the planet Hapes, where she is now the crown princess. Jacen and Jaina help her attempt to maintain political stability on her home planet, and convince her to return to the Jedi Academy despite her accident. In the fifth book in the "Young Jedi Knights" series, Darkest Knight, Jacen and Jaina travel to Kashyyk, home of Lowbacca and the Wookies. The Dark Jedis of the Shadow Academy steal vital computer technology to help build the Second Imperium, but Jacen and Jaina save the galaxy once again.
Anderson has authored several solo titles outside the young adult market that have garnered him definitive praise. Among these is the short-story collection Dogged Persistence, which includes eighteen stories which range from "Scientific Romance," a tale of H.G. Wells as an earnest young student, to "Final Performance," wherein lumber from the demolished Globe Theatre brings with it the ghosts of long-dead actors when it is used to construct a new stage. Praising the collection, a Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the collection "provide[s] solid entertainment, and reveal[s] depths not evident in Anderson's more commercial fiction," while Booklist reviewer Roland Green dubbed Dogged Persistence "pretty good reading."
Climbing Olympus is set on a planet Mars inhabited by three types of humans. Rachel Dycek, the United Nations commissioner there, is in charge of Lowell Base. She is the famous surgeon who created adins (Russian for "first"), surgically modified prisoners from Soviet labor camps whose physiology was altered to enable them to survive on Mars and construct a colony.
After the adins rebelled and fled to another part of the planet, Dycek created the dva (Russian for "two"), much less monstrously engineered and in possession of a higher degree of intelligence. The dvas were sent to Mars to prepare an infrastructure that would allow average, non-modified humans to survive there. As their work nears completion, both the dvas and Dycek are being phased out. When a landslide kills a large number of dvas, Dycek learns that, although adins and dvas were sterilized, the partner of an escaped adin named Boris is now expecting a child. On the mountain Pavonis Mons, Dycek finds the unbalanced Boris ruling over the remaining adins and she attempts to right her past wrongs and direct the planet toward a more harmonious future. Reviewers praised Anderson's vividly drawn portrayals, and Russell Letson in Locus called Dycek and Boris "characters as compelling as the technological widgetry of survival augmentation or the extremities of the Martian landscape and climate."
Anderson's rank as a leading American science-fiction writer was reinforced by his selection as coauthor in creating companion works to Frank Herbert's classic sci-fi novel, Dune, and its five sequels. Anderson first teamed with Herbert's son, Brian Herbert, to write Dune: House Atreides, and received for it the most lucrative contract ever signed by a science-fiction author. The novel has since been followed by several other "Dune" novels.
Dune: House Atreides and the subsequent Dune: House Harkonnen and Dune: House Corrino serve as a "prequel" trilogy to Dune. As such, the coauthors' first task was to explain some of the relationships and feuds behind the extremely intricate plot of the original book. Central to all characters and subplots is the vast wasteland of Dune, where nothing except "Spice" lives. Authors Anderson and Herbert won praise from a Publishers Weekly contributor for their creation of a complex groundwork for lovers of the original Dune. The critic wrote: "The attendant excitement and myriad revelations not only make this novel a terrific read in its own right but will inspire readers to turn, or return, to its great predecessor." New York Times Book Review contributor Gerald Jonas thought Anderson and Herbert "fall far short of their model when describing action," but allowed that "the new work captures the sense of seriousness that distinguished the earlier works." Jonas added that Dune enthusiasts "will rejoice in this chance to return to one of science fiction's most appealing futures."
Of Dune: House Harkonnen, a Publishers Weekly contributor stated: "Although myriad plot lines abound and plans are afoot in every Great House to bring down the Kwisatz's enemies, very little actually happens for much of the book." However, Jackie Cassada in Library Journal highly recommended the novel, stating that it offers "strong characterizations, consistent plotting, and rich detail" that allow for "the same evocative power of the original novels." Jonas remarked that Dune: House Harkonnen "succeeds admirably in setting the stage for the epic conflicts recounted" in Herbert's original "Dune" volumes.
In the concluding volume of the trilogy, Dune: House Corrino, a weak-willed emperor, head of the ruling House Corrino, is threatened by the devious Count Fenring, who learns of the location of a synthetic spice operation. In a Booklist review of the work, Roberta Johnson noted that the coauthors "draw emotional power from every character to fuel the complex political tale they tell."
In his 2006 collection of short stories titled Landscapes, Anderson presents twenty-two science fiction and fantasy stories, including some collaborative efforts with his wife and others. The book also includes two essays by Anderson. "A generous variety of themes and settings should please existing Anderson devotees while also providing a warm welcome for new fans," wrote Carl Hays in Booklist. Harriet Klausner, writing on Harriet Klausner's Book Review Web site, noted the author's "ability to paint seemingly realistic backgrounds regardless of genre."
Anderson has also continued to contribute to his "Saga of Seven Suns" series, which began with Hidden Empire. The fifth book in the series, Of Fire and Night, is a novel about the ruler of earth, Basil Wenceslas, slowly going insane and alienating both humans and non-humans throughout space as he continues to maintain a stranglehold on his power. Ultimately, nonhumans may decide to destroy Earth in order to get rid of the mad leader. Roland Green, writing in Booklist, noted that the book is part of "a large canvas being filled with notable skill, sure to please lovers of action." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that the author "combines glitzy space-opera flash with witty, character-driven action."
In the Crystal Doors #1: Island Realm, Anderson and coauthor Moesta tell the story of cousins Gwen and Vic, children of archaeologists and two strange women that the archaeologists met while on a dig. After Gwen's parents are killed and Vic's mother goes missing, they find Vic's father in a room full of crystals, leading them to be transported to the world of Elantya, a type of way station for travelers from different worlds. Although the many visitors offer to help the two teens get home, Gwen and Vic end up involved in a war with monsters called "merlons." Saleena L. Davidson, writing in the School Library Journal, noted that "the protagonists are realistically drawn and the adventures exciting." A Kirkus Reviews contributor referred to Crystal Doors as a "tension-filled work … with … likable teen characters and exciting plot."
Anderson also completed an unfinished draft of a book by the late A.E. Van Vogt to produce the novel Slan Hunter, a follow-up to Van Vogt's 1940 novel Slan. The novel features an invasion of earth by Martians. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "the fast pacing, melodramatic situations and snappy … dialogue all match the original seamlessly."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
St. James Guide to Science-Fiction Writers, 4th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Analog Science Fiction and Fact, May, 1991, Tom Easton, review of Lifeline, pp. 178-180; August, 1996, Tom Easton, review of Virtual Destruction, p. 146.
Booklist, February 15, 1993, Roland Green, review of Assemblers of Infinity, p. 1041; September 15, 1995, Carl Hays, review of Darksaber, p. 144; May 15, 2001, Roland Green, review of Dogged Persistence, p. 1738; August, 2001, Roberta Johnson, review of Dune: House Corrino, p. 2051; February 15, 2006, Carl Hays, review of Landscapes, p. 54; June 1, 2006, Roland Green, review of Of Fire and Night, p. 49.
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2006, review of Crystal Doors #1: Island Realm, p. 577.
Kliatt, January, 1990, review of Gameplay, p. 16; May, 1993, Bette D. Ammon, review of Assemblers of Infinity, p. 12; May, 1994, Ingrid Von Hausen, review of Jedi Search, p. 13; May, 1996, Hugh M. Flick, review of The Lost Ones, p. 12.
Library Journal, January, 1997, Grant A. Frederickson, review of Ignition, p. 141; October 15, 1999, Jackie Cassada, review of Dune: House Atreides, p. 109; June 1, 2000, p. 228; September 15, 2000, Jackie Cassada, review of Dune: House Harkonnen, p. 118; February 15, 2006, Jackie Cassada, review of Landscapes, p. 110.
Locus, February, 1989, review of Gamearth, p. 21; November, 1989, review of Gamearth, p. 53; December, 1991, Dan Chow, review of The Trinity Paradox, p. 31; August, 1994, Russell Letson, review of Climbing Olympus, p. 27.
New York Times Book Review, November 28, 1999, Gerald Jonas, review of Dune: House Atreides; October 1, 2000, review of Dune: House Harkonnen.
Publishers Weekly, June 3, 1988, Barbara Bannon, review of Resurrection, Inc., p. 83; June 15, 1998, review of Lethal Exposure, p. 57; January 11, 1999, p. 20; August 30, 1999, review of Dune: House Atreides, p. 57; October 2, 2000, review of Dune: House Harkonnen, p. 63; May 21, 2001, review of Dogged Persistence, p. 86; December 19, 2005, review of Landscapes, p. 46; May 22, 2006, review of Of Fire and Night, p. 34; April 9, 2007, review of Slan Hunter, p. 36.
School Library Journal, September, 2006, Saleena L. Davidson, review of Crystal Doors #1: Island Realm, p. 212.
Voice of Youth Advocates, August, 1993, Rosie Peasley, review of Assemblers of Infinity, p. 159.
Harriet Klausner's Book Review,http://harrietklausner.wwwi.com/ (July 30, 2007), review of Landscapes.
Kevin J. Anderson Web site,http://www.wordfire.com (July 30, 2007).