Tom Holt,
Snow White and
the Seven Samurai

(Orbit, 1999)

Once upon a time ... there was a humor writer who was having computer problems. At least that's how I envision the conception of Tom Holt's Snow White and the Seven Samurai, a dazzlingly silly romp through the dimension of fairy tales and a fine satire of the computer technology.

Everything was fine amongst the story folk. Snow White was contentedly plotting ... oops ... keeping cottage for seven smallish men. The Big Bad Wolf was huffing and puffing through the increasingly complex architectural masterpieces of three pigs. And then three kids from the "real" side hacked into the Wicked Queen's Mirrors 3.1 operating system, and before you can say bad file name, everything was askew.

Holt has used the fairy tale setting before in his novels -- even incorporating additional fairy tale characters in cameo roles -- but Snow White and the Seven Samurai includes just about every bedtime story character in an all-star ensemble. Without giving away too much, I must say that Fang the Wolf makes a dashing leading man, Rumplestiltskin is not a reliable sidekick, and the Brothers Grimm are whining wienies. I'm not entirely sure why those samurai were zipping about with their katanas, but they seemed to be having a good time with the poetry.

Holt juggles the storylines with amazing dexterity, weaving them toward an explosively funny conclusion. Snow White and the Seven Samurai is one of the best of the Holt collection, and it so perfectly captures that on-going love-hate relationship with computers.

[ by Julie Bowerman ]

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