Cover image for Sideshow
Tepper, Sheri S.
Personal Author:
Bantam paperback edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Bantam Books, [1993]

Physical Description:
482 pages ; 18 cm.
Format :


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X Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Closed Stacks

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On the planet of Elsewhere, the Council had  always enforced the governing of each province in  the manner the people had chosen, so long as each  respected its neighbors' local customs--and so long  as the people remained within their homelands.  Generations later, inhabitants have begun to question  this tradition. The Council has received  mysterious messages and reports of strange manifestations  across the planet. Now, Enforcer Fringe Owldark has  been sent with a small crew of seven, each  possessing an unusual talent, to investigate their worst  fear--the arrival of the Hobbs Land gods. Free will  and the reality of God are just too of the  timeless issues this courageous band of humans must  confront as they strive to decide if complete tolerance  and leaving others alone is evil. . .and what they  should do if it is. Vividly imagined and  exquisitely rendered, Sideshow is Sheri S. Tepper's most  controversial novel yet.

Author Notes

Sheri S. Tepper was born Shirley Stewart Douglas on July 16, 1929 near Littleton, Colorado. She held numerous jobs before becoming a full-time author including working at Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood from 1962 to 1986, eventually becoming the executive director.

In the early 1960s, she wrote poems and children's stories under the name Sheri S. Eberhart. In the 1980s, she became a feminist and science fiction/fantasy writer. Her books include The Revenants, After Long Silence, The Gate to Women's Country, Grass, Shadow's End, Gibbon's Decline and Fall, The Family Tree, Six Moon Dance, Singer from the Sea, The Fresco, The Visitor, The Companions, and The Margarets. She received the Locus Award for Beauty and a World Fantasy life achievement award in 2015. She also wrote horror under the name E. E. Horlak and mysteries under the names A. J. Orde and B. J. Oliphant. She died on October 22, 2016 at the age of 87.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The latest from an acclaimed sf hand begins promisingly, as if it were one of those books you'd give readers of tonier mainstream fiction in order to impress them with sf. Two plots are launched. One takes place on Earth, in the U.S., in the 1990s and concerns the birth and childhood of the world's first pair of opposite-gender Siamese twins. The other is set on Elsewhere, a planet in a remote arm of our galaxy that is the refuge humanity took millenia ago from a strange plague of conformity inflicted upon it by the Hobbs Land Gods. Are these two scenarios chronologically parallel? If so, how come Elsewhere hasn't heard of Earth? Unfortunately, before long it's dropped that, no, the two aren't simultaneous, and by that time the promising characters of the twins (the Elsewherean personae never achieve enough particularity to be called "promising") have bogged down. Tepper's a competent writer but here displays no gift for vital characterization and no gift for describing either settings or action. She does have some satiric flair, so that the book at first appears to be a critique of conformity beginning with the religious--especially Catholic--variety, but after a while, that seeming intent dissipates, too. Tepper's established fandom will probably persevere with the plodding tale, but others may not. (Reviewed Feb. 15, 1992)0553081306Ray Olson

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

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. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.