SFRA review

SFRA review

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SFRA review
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Science Fiction Research Association review
Science Fiction Research Association
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Eugene, Ore
Science Fiction Research Association
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Science fiction -- History and criticism -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
Fantasy fiction -- History and criticism -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
Science fiction -- Book reviews -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
Fantasy fiction -- Book reviews -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
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S67-00011-n246-2000-05_06 ( USFLDC DOI )
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lIaT/lune (oeo'tiors: Karen Hellekson Crajs Jacobsen Honndion leyielYs Eo'tior: lIej. Barron lidion leyielYs Eo'tior: Crajs Jacobsen The SFRAReview (lSSN 1068-395X) is published six times a year by the Science Fiction ResearchAssociation (SFRA) and distributed to SFRA mem bers.lndividual issues are not for sale. For information about the SFRA and its benefits, see the description at the back of this issue. For a membership application, contact SFRA Treasurer Michael M. Levy or get one from the SFRA website: . SUBMISSIONS The SFRAReview editors encourage submissions, including essays, review essays that cover several related texts, and interviews. Please send submis sions or queries to both coeditors. If you would like to review nonfiction or fiction, please contact the respec tive editor. The general editorial address for the SFRAReview is: . Karen Hellekson, Coeditor 742 N. 5th Street Lawrence,KS 66044 Craig Jacobsen, Coeditor & Fiction Reviews Editor 208 East Baseline Rd. #3 I I Tempe,AZ 85283 Neil Barron, Nonfiction Reviews Editor I 149 Lime Place Vista, CA 92083-7428 Visit UsAt:


WORK IN PROGRESS AND MEMBER UPDATES Jan Bogstad has been promoted to (ull professor. Edgar L Chapman is putting together an anthology o( essays on alternate history fiction. Helen Collins reports that her latest novel, tentatively titled Neurogenesis, is finished and will be published by David Hartwell at Tor. Joan Gordon has a new e-mail address:. Craig Jacobsen is working on the ethical implications a( virtual reality in SF film and literature. Philip Kaveney reports that he has recently retired (ram the University o( WISconsin-Madison. Susan Kray reports that she has several projects in the works on film and SF. Joe Sanders is completing and revising Tom C/areson's book on Heinlein. Steven H. Silver appeared on Jeopardy/ on June 13. He is also a Hugo nominee (or Best Fan Writer. Susan Stratton is working on an eco(eminist critique o( utopian fictions. Marshall Tymn has moved to I 16 Mill Road Court, Stevens Point, WI 54481-6328. PROJECTS THE SFRA SHOULD UNDERTAKE Craig Jacobsen suggests developing a fUll SF-based curricula (or primary, secondary, and postsecondary schools. ANNOUNCEMENTS Member Andy Sawyer reports that the University o( Uverpool Ubrary SpeCial Collections andArchives will be unavailable during the summer PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE "HE FIIR ANllrHER SFRA ANrHIILllay Alan Elms The Science Fiction Research Association is really the Science Fiction Research (and Teaching) Association. Formal SFRA activities, including the annual conference, the awards, the Review, the journals we distribute, and our Web presence, are mainly research oriented. But from the organization's beginning, a majority of our members have been teachers of SF at one level or another, and each of the formal activities just listed has included teaching-oriented components. In addition, the SFRA has been involved in one mainly teaching-oriented activity: the sponsorship and editing of anthologies. Courses in science fiction typically give some attention both to novels and to shorter fiction. But short fiction has been so central to the development of SF that representative anthologies are even more important than in most other kinds of literature courses. Given that literature departments rarely offer more than one or two SF courses, and that such courses are usually limited to one 10to IS-week term, anthologies that include a sampling of the diverse forms and themes of SF are essential. Strictly commercial SF anthologies can be used as textbooks, and they often have been-especially The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume 1, edited by Robert Silverberg. But the contents of such anthologies are seldom chosen with college courses in mind, and the anthologies themselves may go out of print without warning. James Gunn has managed to keep parts of his excellent Road to Science Fiction series intermittently in print, but it has been a struggle for Jim, and one he may not be able to win much longer. Enter the SFRA. The first anthology to include Significant input from several SFRA members, The Mirror of Infinity (also edited by Robert Silverberg), reached print at about the same time the SFRA was formed. Our first officially sponsored anthology, simply titled Science Fiction (edited by Patricia Warrick, Charles Waugh, and Martin H. Greenberg), was developed through repeated polling of SFRA mem bers about the stories they wanted to teach. The poll results included so many stories from The Science Fiction Hall of Fame that an editorial decision was made to reduce their number significantly in favor of more contemporary work. Our most recent sponsored anthology, Visions of Wonder (edited by David Hartwell and Milton Wolf), includes no Hall of Fame stories, but it does range over a broad sample of more recent SF and fantasy, plus various nonfiction discussions of SF recommended by Gary K. Wolfe and Samuel Delaney. The Warrick/Waugh/Greenberg anthology has recently gone out of print. The Hartwell/Wolf anthology appears to be designed mainly for upper-division college courses and for fairly sophisticated SF readers. So is the other anthology currently in wide classroom use, the Norton Book of Science Fiction (edited by Ursula Le Guin and Brian Attebery with Karen Joy Fowler). Well and good for those upper division courses, at least for the time being-but what about courses at the high school and introductory college levels, as well as courses nominally upper-division but containing mainly students who have read little if any SF previously? Those are the students whose attention we most need to catch, and who most need to be exposed to the pre postmodern classics of SF, before they can move on to the more sophisticated styles and the more complex themes of recent antholo gies. Several years ago, an effort was begun to develop another SFRAsponsored anthology, this one aimed mainly at the high school class room market. That effort seems to have faded away without results:


as far as I can determine, no one is currently working on the project. But the idea is still a good one, and I hope some of you will come forth to renew the effort. My own limited experiences with teaching SF to college freshmen suggest that no single anthology now available-indeed, no two anthologies-can provide a sound basis, at reasonable expense, for introducing SF-naIve students to the field. Many or perhaps most of our members got our first real taste of short SF by reading anthologies of the early classics in our early teens. Not all those classics still work, and some "modern" classics are well worth adding to the introductory canon. As a group, spearheaded by an eager editorial crew, we should be able to come up with a solid collection of stories that will expand the horizons of young SF readers far beyond movie and TV tie-ins, on campus and off. And we should be able to find a publisher willing to give such a collection a shelf life long enough for us to plan our introductory classes around it for years to come. THEORY & BEYOND Ie Edited by Joan Gordon and Shelley Rodrigo Blanchard Who are the Alien Others and why do we fear them? Why should critical theories be counted in their number? By understanding the Alien Other, or even critical theory, our own humanity, or maybe just our own critical analysis, will expand. Theory & Beyond is a series of essays written by SFRA members for SFRA members. In each issue, the column will highlight a particu lar theory, discussing its implications for the researching and teaching of science fiction and including a list of major critical works. Over the next few issues, authors will discuss Alien Otherness in terms of queer theory and feminism; Earth's place in SF through eco (feminist) criticism; and who and what SF and SF readers are, and what they do, through reader response theory. But the list goes on, and you too can add to it-for example, Marxist implications of techno logical innovations, de constructive readings of hybrid characters and objects, and psychoanalytical interpretations of who we were, who we are, and who we will be. If you want to contribute, we hope you will contact either Joan Gordon at her new e-mail address.. or Shelley Rodrigo Blanchard, at . In this issue, Joe Sutliff Sanders bravely launches the series by exploring queer theory and its implications for SF. THEORY & BEYOND II"EER Joe Sutliff Sanders 1. THE SYMPTOMS (AND STRENGTHS) Queer theory is a deliCiously infuriating model whose heritage is nebulous, implications problematic, and applicability both voracious and limited. Itself? Queer theory is a tool for subversion and re-vision. The name itself, "queer," implies an identity politics whose popularity in academic circles grows less popular by the semester. As the frequent treatises on the culture wars remind us, we have begun to lose faith in a politics that reifies boundaries. Therefore, it seems strange that queer theory has grown so popular so quickly. After all, what is the modifier for if not to remind us that "queer" still means "different"? summer of 2000, from the middle of June until the end of September, because the facilities are being upgraded with environmental controls. Bruce A. Beatie has posted the tentative program for SFRA 2000; he will repost again before the actual event occurs. The program is also available on the conference's Website. ADDITION TO PUBLISHING SOURCES FOUNDATlON:THE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW OF SCIENCE FlaION. Specs: 3lyear; c. 128 pages; 5.75 x 8 inches; circulation: 450. Audience:Academic and fan. Review:Academic articles refereed, professional authors commissioned. Contact: Editor: Edward F.James, Department of History University of Reading Whitekights, Reading RG6 6AA, UK ; Submissions: Farah Mendlesohn, Middlesex University White Hart Lane London N r 7 8HR, UK . Website: -Ihsjamse/fnd.html Style: See issue 73 or e-mail (not MLA). Decision: 4-6 weeks. Submit Rich Text Format (no disks please). Sample: $10. To Contributor:Two copies. Length: 4,000-8,000 words.


Copyright Publisher copyright but happy to authorize reprints. Comments: Scholarly research and criticism; we particularly welcome interdisdplinarylcross-disciplinary articles on all periods of Sf THE LATHE OF HEA VEN RETURNS TO TELEVISION The Lathe of Heaven, the 1980 television movie based on Ursula K Le Guin's SF novel of the same name, was shown in June in a remastered version. The rebroadcast will be accompanied by an interview of Le Guin by Bill Moyers. Lathe has not been seen on public television for twenty years. It stars Bruce Davison, Kevin Conway, and Margaret Avery; it will be made available on home video and DVD in the fall. IN MEMORIAM Catherine Crook de Camp, 1907-2000, teacher, author, and editor, born in New York City on November 6, 1907, and greatly beloved wife of L Sprague de Camp, passed away on April 9, 2000. Edward Gorey, whose bizarre stories and black-and-white illustrations an elegantly morbid sense of humor in books, on the stage, and for television, died at age 75, on April IS, 2000. GRADUATE CONCENTRATION IN SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY AT FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY The Department of English at Florida Atlantic University is developing a graduate concentration in Science Fiction and Fantasy and expects to begin offering courses in this program in fall 2000. Faculty teaching in the program include Professor Robert Collins, managing editor of the That is where I shall begin my definition of the model. then. Queer theory is an unruly child who demands over and over again that things are different. To oversimplify, queer theory is a lens through which to look at texts (a process affectionately dubbed "queering the text") so that texts are not quite what they seemed only moments ago to be; it is a theoretical model that works tirelessly against heteronormativity. As such, it sounds an awful lot like identity politics, which, when used effectively, forces the reader to ask, Where are the women in this text? Where are the poor? Where are the non whites? However, identity politics can also swallow its subjects, telling a Japanese woman who doesn't like arranging flowers that she has forfeited her cultural identity and a blue-eyed boy who likes rap that he's nothing more than a poseur. Queer theory has a love/hate relationship with identity politics. Again, its greatest single goal has always been to combat heteronormativity, and a frequent danger of that goal is that queer will only reify its enemy, postulating the virility of heteronormativity by arguing against it again and again. Queer theorists have adopted many strategies to avoid such a mistake, and it is in these strategies that we can find two of the model's hallmarks. The first and most fruitful is to add to the question "Where are the queers?" another question, "Where are the straights?" This robs the normative of its invisibility and denies it the status of default mode. Therefore, the reader is forced to the realization that her world is heterocentric, but she is not forced by the theoretical model to do anything about it. Queer theory leaves the agency for change in the subject's hands but opens the subject's eyes to the difficult choices available. There is something wonderfully optimistic in this approach, for it assumes that a reader given such a choice will opt out of what has been, at least for queers, a cycle of oppression. The second such strategy is less fruitful only because it's so tricky. This highly ambitious strategy requires the (SF-like) invention of a new reality that neither maintains polarity nor ignores the pres ence of heteronormativity. Whereas the danger cited above was to maintain an extreme by pushing away from it, a remarkable goal of queer theory is to invent a new dimension of reality. That is to say, if heteronormativity were the end of a geometric segment, queer theory would not take a position at the opposite end of that segment, but would create a line of logic that only intersects with the original segment. Theorists often attempt such a maneuver by describing a heterocentric icon, explaining its effects on both straight and queer communities, and postulating a reinvention of that icon that neither simply inverts the original nor ignores its power. In her recent and influential introduction to queer theory, Queer Theory: An Introduction, Annamarie Jagose posits that "given the extent of its commitment to denaturalization, queer itself can have neither a foundational logic nor a consistent set of characteristics" (96). How ever, she does offer a definition of queer as describing "those gestures or analytical models which dramatise incoherencies in the allegedly stable relations between chromosomal sex, gender and sexual desire" (3). If this definition sounds slippery ... well, it is slippery. Nonethe less, queer theory does have a typical set of arguments and strategies that render it unique. 2. THE PROBLEMS (AND RESOLUTIONS) Queer theory has a unique set of problems. These are not so much flaws in the theory as they are expressions of the ethical difficul ties inherent in the philosophy that enables queer theory. For example, let us return to the name of the theory. "Queer" has been frequently used as a derogatory term, both in the broad sense that something is strange and in the sense made popular


by the discourse of the boys' locker room, where "queer" means "bad." The party line (a line I find myself toeing) is that the queer community has pulled off a major coup, taking a word that had been used as a tool of oppression and giving it widespread endorse ment in the homosexual-friendly community not as a bad word but as a vibrant self-definition. But once the giddiness over the resounding victory has subsided, we find ourselves left with the realization that what we have done is, in fact, colonized a space formerly inhabited. Yes, the natives were hostile and stupid, but we still find that we have used the tools of the oppressor. As Wendy Pearson has said, "Because queer theory is a politically engaged form of academic work, most people immersed in the field are only too conscious of the ethical implications of this reappropriation" (Science 3). Further, the exercise of "queering" a text winds up looking an awful lot like silencing the author's voice in favor of forcing the theorist's reading on the text. All of which puts queer theory smack dab in the middle of, well, the same place the rest of liberal academia stagnates. I'm not talking about the effects of political correctness here, but of trying to create and maintain individual spaces without reenacting the sins of the past. If queer theory has a saving grace-and I believe it does-it's that queer theory pulls off the most postmodern of maneuvers and calls attention to its faults as it tromps merrily along. Note that in describ ing the colonialist impulse inherent in queer theory, I quoted Pearson, one of its practitioners. Queer theory is its own greatest critic, for in demanding that things are different, it reminds us that it is not the first philosophy to stride across this territory. Because it foregrounds its colonialist tendencies, because it is defined by both its thesis and its antithesis, queer theory is the logical extreme of postmodernism, with the emphasis on "logical." I should also mention that, though I have elsewhere praised the lofty, multidimensional aims of queer theory, queer theorists frequently find themselves seduced back into oppositionalism. When the practi tioners of queer theory fall into this trap, it is most often because the lure of the soapbox has overcome the lure of multiplying diversity. Here again, identity politics rears its ugly head, for it is easy-and quite satisfying, he said from experience-to wax rhapsodic over the injustices performed against one group or over the unique virtues of another, but queer theory is at its best when it is opening new ways of seeing, not succumbing to the seduction of oppositionalism. 3. QUEERING SF, SF-ING QUEER There is a sense in practitioners of queer theory, particularly those within our own community, that reading SF is itself a queer act. The strategies of queer theory so often coincide with those of SF that the two seem made for each other. Without exaggerating the political track record of subversion, I want to begin by suggesting that the very essence of the fantastic lends itself to. queer theory. As I have noted above, the best queer theory is written with the same kind of multidimensional understanding of reality that is necessary to the reading and writing of SF. After all, the notion of proposing a line that intersects with consensus reality is not dissimilar to the act of negotiating a world of creatures and technol ogy extrapolated from, but not native to, our own world. The very imagining of other, viable systems leads perforce to the reevaluation of the dominant system. In this way, the strategies of queer theory ally themselves nicely with the strategies of SF. Further, queer theory has a vital perspective to offer primary and secondary SF. The dominant SF market discourages the use of homo sexual themes and tensions, whatever those might be. Queer theorists offer strength to a text by positing the existence of such ele-Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, and Professor Carol McGuirk, coeditor of Science Fiction Studies. A limited number of teaching assistantships are available to qualified students; the assistantship will provide an annual stipend of$12,000 and a 90% tuition waiver. Interested students are encouraged to apply. Requirements for admissions include a 3.0 GPA and a GRE score of 1,000 combined on the verbal and quantitative or analytical sections. Although an undergraduate degree in English is not required, the Department considers the total record, including background in literature and the humanities, grades, letters of recommendation, and a writing sample. Application materials are available on the FAUWebsite . Submit application, transcripts, and GRE scores to the Office of Graduate Admissions, and send a writing sample and two letters of recommendation to Professor Howard Pearce, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of English, Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431. For additional information, please contact Professor Howard Pearce at . CALL FOR PAPERS What: Call for papers for special topic Fifties Fictions. Who: Paradoxa, a scholarly journal that publishes critical essays. Topics: Genre open:crime fiction, juvenile delinquency stories, Westerns, science fiction, comics, neglected literary fiction, gay and lesbian romances, and studies defining the psychosocial paradigms in and of the era (such as the works of David Riesman, William H. Whyte, Erving Goffman), as well as the infiuence of editors, reviewers, publishers, and anthologists (such as Arnold Hano, Judith Merrill, and Anthony Boucher); must be about noncanonical American prose works from the I 950s. Single-author or comparative studies accepted.


Contact: Guest editors Samuel R. Delany (SUNY Buffalo) and Josh Lukin (SUNY Buffalo). Send: Three copies of completed paper, each with an abstract of not more than 300 words on a separate page. Follow MLA style. General inquiries and information: ;Paradoxa Website . Deadline: December I, 2000. What: Call for papers for special topic Horror. Who: Paradoxa, a scholarly journal that publishes critical essays. Topics: Anything in the horror genre (novels, short stories, film, television, comic books, trading cards). Contact: Guest editor Steffen Hantke , Regis University, Denver. Send: Three copies of completed paper, each with an abstract of not more than 300 words on a separate page. Follow MLA style. General inquiries and Information: ;Paradoxa Website . Deadline: December I, 2000. What: SFRA 200 I annual meeting: SF in the Next Millennium: Looking Forward while Remembering the Past Topics: Open, but guests of honor include C. J. Cherryh, David Weber, and janeYo/en. When:May 24-27, 2001 (Memorial Day weekend). Where: Schenectady Ramada Inn and Convention Center, Schenectady, N. Y. Contact: jan finder, P.O. Box 2085, Albany, NY 12220-0085; (518) 456-5242; ; . Send: Inquiries. What: 200 I:A Celebration of British Science Fiction. Who: The Science Fiction Foundation and the University of Liverpool. Where: University of Liverpool. England. ments. Further. the act of writing science fiction. so often likened to following the scientific method. proscribes the use of too many variables lest the audience be unable too connect with aliens who are too alien. Often. sexuality is left unsaid in such a scheme. and often that sexuality is made to resemble heterosexuality. if only as a result of authorial neglect. Both writers and scholars. therefore. can benefit from the perspectives of queer theory, which do not necessarily demand the inclusion of homosexuality but remind us that things can always be different. A writer can ask. Why am I assuming these future beings still reproduce sexually? Why do all these characters seem to have the same sexuality? A scholar and teacher can ask. Is there a way of reading this text so that homosexuality is present? What does the writer expect us to assume about this milieu?! The final strategy I wish to suggest for the use of queer theory in SF research is also the most direct. Though queer theory is not really synonymous with gay/bi/trans/lesbian theory, the lens of queer theory can reveal intricacies to texts that themselves open the topiC of queer lifestyles. For example. how does The Forever War's brief use of homonormativity reinforce the book's theme? What expectations does the text assume? How does the book's final setting. a world that is both nonand omnisexual, reposition both gay and straight? In what light do the closing paragraphs' use of the child cast the preceding story? Queer theory is in a unique position to benefit the study of SF. With its internal contradictions and frank reevaluation of consensus reality. queer theory can Simultaneously challenge and complement the literature of the future. SELECTED BILIOGRAPHY Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge. 1990. Creekmur. Corey K., et aI., eds. Out in Culture: Gay, Lesbian and Queer Essays on Popular Culture. Durham. N.C.: Duke University Press. 1995. differences: a Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies. Special issue: "More Gender Trouble: Feminism Meets Queer Theory." Summer-fall 1994. Edelman, Lee. Homographesis: Essays in Gay Literary and Cultural Theory. New York: Routledge. 1994. Jagose, Annamarie. Queer Theory: An Introduction. New York: New York University Press. 1996. Russo, Vito. The Celluloid Closet. New York: Harper and Row. 1987. Science Fiction Studies. Special issue: "Science Fiction and Queer Theory." 77 (1999). Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. The Epistemology of the Closet. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990. NONFICTION REVIEW BRIAN ALDISS Philip E. Smith II Henighan, Tom. Brian Aldiss. Twayne Publishers, 1633 Broadway, New York, NY 10019, May 1999. xviii + 158 p. $32. 0-8057-1601-7. Twayne's English Author Series 555. This compact critical and biographical introduction is a timely and useful addition to the studies of Aldiss, where the other major critical books are also part of series: Richard Mathews, Aldiss


Unbound (Borgo, 1977), Brian Griffin and David Wingrove, Apertures (Greenwood, 1984), and Michael Collings, Brian W. Aldiss (Starmont, 1986). All share approximately the same goals-to provide a comprehensive introductory survey and comparative analysis of the major works and ideas; and all of them, including Henighan's, contain important insights. However, Henighan's new study considers Aldiss' writing, including his major mainstream novels, the Squire Quartet, through the end of the 1990s. Henighan's six-chapter survey begins with "A Writing Life," in which he poses a number of critical questions, including lack of recognition (compared with Aldiss' peers, such as Dick, Blish, Ballard, Disch, Le Guin, and Lem) and the problematics of Aldiss' versatility. Henighan points out that Aldiss "has never written a single book widely recognized and acknowledged as touching upon a major tension point in modern culture." However, he also asserts that Aldiss, as a writer of both science fiction and mainstream fiction, has matched or bettered the achievements of Ballard and Vonnegut. Henighan's mission, then, is a re-evaluation of Aldiss' fiction with the goal of identifying those novels and stories which seem "likely to become part of the literary history of our time." The fiction is divided into five categories. Among the main stream SF works he pays particular attention to are Non-Stop, Hothouse, and Greybeard (which are among his nominees for Aldiss' best work). He analyses the failure of The Malacia Tapestry but contrasts the relatively impressive return to "solid mainstream" SF with Enemies of the System, which he sees as an important anticipation of the Helliconia series. In an extensive chapter on this series, he suggests that Aldiss models an "image of human cultural achievement that includes a sense of wholeness and integration with all life." To show how Aldiss imagines the necessary synergy between social progress through history and the development of religiOUS sophistication, Hcnighan tendentiously finds parallels between Toynbee's theory of history and the fiction history of Helliconia. Reading Aldiss through Toynbee rather diminishes the clarity of Henighan's otherwise trenchant critical account. Finally, he argues, the Helliconia novels comprise Aldiss' "most impressive work of science fiction," one which emulates and can stand beside Stapledon's Last and First Men. In the three succeeding chapters, he first surveys Aldiss' experimental fiction, finding several difficult and unrewarding novels, but naming The Saliva Tree, The Eight-Minute Hour, and Moreau's Other Island the three successes. Next. he considers Aldiss' mainstream fiction, writing smart, analytical summaries of the Squire Quartet (Life in the West, Forgotten Life, Remembrance Day, and Somewhere East of Life). Finally, he briefly surveys Aldiss' short fiction and literary criticism. Henighan writes effective introductory appreciations: his accurate and penetrating analytical summaries of novels, framed by thoughtful questions, contribute to a comparative assessment of Aldiss' works. Among the useful features of this volume are a chronology of Aldiss' life and works, copious notes and references, a selected bibliography (which should be supplemented by Margaret Aldiss' The Work of Brian W. Aldiss: An Annotated Bibliography and Guide, Borgo, 1992), and an index. Recommended for any library supporting studies in modern British fiction and to individuals concerned with Aldiss as a major figure. NONFICTION REVIEW BY ALIENS Neil Barron When:June 28-July I, 2001. Topics: All aspects of postwar British science fiction (written SF, art, music, film, and televiSion), particularly on Arthur C. Clarke (patron of the Science Fiction Foundation) and John Wyndham (whose papers are held by the University of Uverpool). An extensive list of postwar British science fiction authors can be found at . Contact: Dr. Farah Mendlesohn, Middlesex University, White Hart Lane, London N 17 8HR, UK, or e-mailed to . Send: Abstracts. Deadline: September 30, 2000. What: Science fiction/fantasy caucus. Who: Popular Culture/American Culture in the South annual conference. Where: Nashville, Tenn., Sheraton Nashville Downtown, 623 Union Street, Nashville, TN 37219; (800) 447-9825;conference rates available. When: Oaober 5-7,2000. Topics: Open. Publishing opportunities available to presenters, as the sponsoring body publishes two peerreviewed journals. Contact: Dr. Elizabeth Cummins, Department of English, University of Missouri-Rolla, Rolla, MO 654090560; (573) 341-4622; . Send: Title, abstraa of I 00-150 words, and request for audiovisual material. Deadline: June I, 2000, for paper proposals; inquire first if after June I. What: Call for scholarly papers for a book and CD-ROM about the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television program. Topics: Open. Contact: Rhonda Wilcox and David Lavery . General info: .lncludes listing of accepted authors. Send: Two hard copies and two disks, one each to the editors. MLA format, with as few notes as possible.


Essays should be 3,0006,000 words long-i.e., approximately 10-20 pages. Deadline: August 1,2000. What: Call for papers for a UK conference on SFIF author Gene Wolfe. Where: Department of English, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK When:August 26,2000. Topic: Gene Wolfe's writings. Contact: Jonathan Laidlow, Modern Languages and Classics, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, BI52IT,UK; ;see also for more information. Send: Abstracts no more than 500 words in length proposing a paper to be read that will be no longer than 20-30 minutes in length. E-mail the contact person to be put on mailing list for further details as they come available. Deadline:June 20,2000 (inquire if later). What: Hong Kong 200 I :Technology, Identity and Futurity, East and West, in the Emerging GlobalVillage. Who: Chinese Universfty of Hong Kong in conjunction with the Universfty of California, Riverside. Where: Hong Kong. When: January 4-6, 200 I. Topics: Proposals welcome from all relevant disciplines that deal with the past and present interactions of technology, tradition, globalization, and identity along the East-West axis, primarily focusing on literature and film. Send: Inquiries and proposals. Contact: Gary Westfahl, The Learning Center 052, Universfty of California, Riverside, CA 92521; (909) 787-3721 ;. What: Call for submissions of papers. Who: NWSA Journal (the scholarly publication of the NationalWomen's Studies Association), published by Indiana University Press three times a year. Achenbach, Joel. Captured by Aliens: The Search for Life and Truth in a Very Large Universe. Simon and Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, November 1999, 415 p. $25. 0-68484856-2. Belief in extraterrestrial life goes back to antiquity, and the earliest speculators did what today's successors do: they guessed. Giordano Bruno was burned for not recanting the views he expressed in his 1584 book, On the Infinite Universe and Worlds. Today he'd be feted on all the talk shows, and his book would outsell Achenbach's 20 to I, since credulous belief has always overwhelmed resolute skepticism, especially in a society mesmerized by the world's largest vanity press, the Internet. William James explained some of the reasons why in his 1896 essay, "The Will to Believe." How resistant belief is to contrary evidence is abundantly documented in the fascinating 1956 case study of a group that predicted the destruction of the world, When Prophecy Fails by Leon Festinger and others, a book I was pleased to see Achenbach cited in his 25 pages of essen tial notes, which unfortunately are not indexed. Achenbach, a Princeton graduate in political science, has since 1990 been on the staff of the Washington Post, where portions of this book appeared. You may know him from his witty Why Things Are series of three books, parts of which he's broadcast over the United States' National Public Radio network. His account of the ET controversy is extremely well informed, nuanced, and balanced. He's talked to almost all the major players, most notably the late Carl Sagan, subject of two recent biographies, along with many people I will charitably characterize as nonscientists, although scientists themselves differ acrimoniously on the ET question. Achenbach carefully and comprehensively assesses the conflict ing claims and concludes that there is no credible evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial life, although he obviously doesn't rule out such life a priori. He explains that the search for ETs is framed by two concepts. The first is the equation formulated by Frank Drake, one of the earliest investigators in the SETI field. The equation tries to estimate the prevalence of intelligent life in the universe. The second concept is the Fermi Paradox, dating from 1950, which asks why, if there presumably are so many intelligent civilizations, none have contacted us. He investigates fairly and in detail why his conclusion is largely rejected by the public at large. As he puts it, the subject "can be viewed as an astrosociopolitical issue of great complexity, or, more simply as a question of human psychology. Why do some people construct their worldviews around ideas that other people find ludicrous? Where's the fault line? It's not intelligence or social class. It's not that poor, fat, Velveeta-eating believe in aliens and rich, thin, brie-eating people don't." Terrestrial psychology explains for more than exobiology. In the Middle Ages, demons in the form of incubi and succubi abducted humans. In nineteenth-century England and America, belief in ghosts and apparitions was common. In the space age, we project our concerns outward to discover that we live in an alien-haunted world, evidence for which is largely anecdotal and which cannot be tested. Many of these aliens are stand-ins for angels and gods, secular beings in an age when traditional religiOUS beliefs are found wanting. Writers of SF have long accepted as dogma the beliefs that there is intelligent life elsewhere and that humans will develop means of travel to meet and communicate with such life. These aren't beliefs I share, but, like most readers, I can sometimes suspend my disbelief when the elements of the story are appealing for other reasons.


The scientific puzzles of a writer such as Hal Clement I find intrinsically interesting, quite apart from their unstated premises, which I reject. Tales set in space or on other planets, however hard their science, I judge much as I would the fabulous voyages of yester year, in which the "marvels" and the characters-human or ETs-are projections of today's concerns, or which permit us to see ourselves in a distorting mirror. Achenbach's informed and sympathetic but skeptical survey is a valuable counterweight to the enormous amount of wish-fulfillment rubbish that has been written about his subject. It's especially valuable in its exploration of how scientific hypotheses are framed, verified or disproved. For anyone interested in his subjects-and who among is has not asked the questions he explores?-this is an essential book, strongly recommended for all types of libraries. {Rare Earth (Springer-Verlag, January) by Peter D. Ward (paleontology) and Donald C. Brownlee (astronomy), both published by the University of Washington, is the subject of a review essay by William]. Broad, New York Times, February 13, 2000. The book rigorously argues that a planet like Earth is far rarer than previously thought. -Ed.] NONFICTION REVIEW ANNllrArEDALIC'E Richard Mathews Carroll, Lewis. The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." Introduction and notes by Martin Gardner. Norton, 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010, November 1999. xxviii + 312 p. $29.95. 0-393-04847-0. Just one look at this and you want to buy it. Jacket designer Debra Morton Hoyt has simulated a gold-stamped, nineteenth-century binding with an inset color miniature of Alice on the front. It is a gorgeous, spectacular effect. Unfortunately, the book beneath the wrappers does not entirely live up to its promise; there are paper covered boards, muddy offset printing, and contents that remain far from definitive. Despite its imperfections, this new version of Gardner's land mark work is welcome news. If you need an annotated Alice, this is the one to get. It includes both texts and extensive marginal annotations in which Gardner answers Carroll's riddles and explains obscure names, phrases, and critical interpretations more definitively than anyone else around. My disappointment derives from the fact that both the jacket and the editor-scholar promise more than they deliver. Both are obviously so brilliant that expectations are set very high. But short comings quickly become apparent. Gardner's original Annotated Alice appeared forty years ago with the Tenniel illustrations. Its comprehensive notes and annotations quickly made it an indispensable reference work. Then Gardner produced a set of new notes, combined them with an alternative set of turn-of-the-century illustrations by Peter Newell, an essay by the illustrator, an outstanding essay on Newell by Michael Patrick Hearn, and the addition of a lost episode called "the Wap in a Wig." More Annotated Alice was a rich addition to scholarship in 1990 and a significant complement to Gardner's first edition. In his introduction to that 1990 version, Gardner observed, "I finally decided that a sequel would be better. Readers who owned the original would not find it obsolete. There would be no need to compare its pages to those in a revised edition to see where fresh notes had been added. And it Topics: Open, but relating to womens studies. Feminist essays, reports, and book reviews welcome. Contact: Margaret (Maggie) McFadden, Editor, NWSA journal, 109 IG Greer, P.O. Box 32132, Appalachian State University Boone, NC 28608-2132; . Send: 20-30-page manuscripts formatted according to Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed., with parenthetical in-text citations. Send three double-spaced copies of a completed manuscript Inquiries to Amy Ruth, Managing Editor, (828) 262-6541 ; fax (828) 262-6543; . Deadline: MSs for spring and summer of 200 I are presently being accepted. CALL FOR APPROACHING THE CHILDREN STAR Next issue's featured Approaching title is The Children Star. Included will be content from the panel devoted to this book at the 2000 SFRA annual meeting. We welcome a/l submissions! Heres the slate for the rest of the 2000: 'July/AugustThe Children Star, by Joan Slonczewski 'September/October: Feersum Endjinn, by lain M. Banks 'November/December: Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler Please send your contributions (short study gUides, links to URLs, essay questions for student papers, 500word essays on your approach, ten questions for class discussion, or anything you like) by the 15th of the ffrst cover month (that is, copy for january/February was due january 15). The SFRAReview editors will remind the membership with a call for submissions on the SFRA listserv a few weeks before the due date. We will no longer print extremely lengthy line-byline analyses of the text We will publish these on the SFRA s Website instead, or we will link to your site. Please send to Karen


Hellekson and Craig jacobsen, SFRAREvIEW coeditors. RECENT AND FORTHCOMING NONFICTION *Sawyer,Andy, and David Seed, eds. Speaking Science Fiction. Uverpool University Press, September 2000. *Gelder, Ken, ed. The Horror Reader. Roudedge, September 2000. *Gunn,james. The Science of Science Fiction Writing. Scarecrow Press, july 2000. *Helford, Elyce Rae. Fantasy Girls: Gender in the New Universe of Science Fiction and FantasyTelevision. Roman and Utdefield,june 2000. Delasara,jan. Poplit. Popcult and ''The X-Files." McFarland,july 2000. *Duriez, Colin. The C. S. Lewis Encyclopedia:A Complete Guide to His Life. Thought. and Writings. Crossway Books. May 2000. *Barr, Marleen S. Genre Fission:A New Discourse Practice for Cultural Studies. University of Iowa Press,june 2000. Pearce,joseph, ed. Tolkien:A Celebration; Collected Writings on a Literary Legacy. London: Fount, 1989. Scarfone,jay. The Wizardry of Oz: the Artistry and Magic of the 1939 M-G-M Classic. Gramercy Books/Random House, 1999. *De Koster, Katie. Readings on Fahrenheit 45 I. Greenhaven Press, 2000. Watt,james. Contesting the Gothic: Fiction. Genre. and Cultural Conflict. 1764-1832. Cambridge University Press, 1999. Norton, Rictor. Mistress of Udolpho:The Life of Ann Radcliffe. London/New York: Leicester University Press, 1999. Wolfreys,julian, and Ruth Robbins. Victorian Gothic: Literary and Cultural Manifestations in the would have been a horrendous task to squeeze all the new notes in the marginal space of the original book." Now Gardner has attempted that horrendous task. and the reader is left to try to make comparisons to discover where fresh notes have been added or old ones corrected or updated. Some changes are minute. and some are inaccurate. His token new preface makes few claims on the reader's attention. but does promise that the Tenniel illustrations, poorly reproduced in 1960, have been "faithfully copied in their original clarity." This is simply untrue. The fine lines of the original engravings were thickened. and the closely crosshatched areas frequently run together so they appear to be solid black. (For clean and clear reproductions. see the edition by London's Folio Society. first published in 1962 and reissued several times since. There. Tenniel's work was printed from electros of the original wood blocks supplied by Macmillan and retains the delicate lines of the Dalziel engravings.) A related feature promised on the back jacket copy promises "a dozen new. recently discovered Tenniel pencil sketches." However. the three pages inside display only nine that I counted, plus a reproduction of a handwritten note signed by Tenniel that might be counted as a tenth, though it hardly seems a pencil sketch. Where are the missing sketches? Unfortunately. these shown are crowded onto three pages. and the pencil is printed against a dark halftone background. They are interesting, but they could have been so much better reproduced against lighter backgrounds and presented one per page. especially since there are ten blank pages bound in at the end of the book. (Visual art appears to disadvantage even in the annotations. with a painting by Millais on page 172 so dark and poorly reproduced that the details Gardner refers to cannot be observed.) Despite my admiration for Gardner's annotations. which still help unlock and complement the text. I yearn for what might have been. It's convenient to have both books combined. but I wish for a more usable. complete gathering of the best features of the previous works. For example. Gardner's introduction to More Annotated Alice is re tained. including its discussion of the virtues of the Peter Newell illustration but without a trace of Newell's art. At the very least. the editors should have addressed and explained their decision to retain Gardner's comments without Newell's art. Better still. they could have included at least some representative illustrations. Moreover. both Newell's essay and Hearn's essay on Newell are full of interest and insight. They would have been logical additions as appendices. Then. to be truly definitive. some samples of Carroll's own illustrations could have been reprinted from the Dover facsimile of the 1884 manuscript of Alice's Adventures Under Ground. which Gardner introduced. There should have been an index prepared for this definitive edition, enhancing its reference value and permitting a reader to move quickly to relevant annotations or to find notes on similar or related topics. And last. but certainly not least. I yearned for some final, definitive word from Gardner about what all of this adds up to. What has emerged in his mind as most significant in the complex, intercon nected annotations he has accumulated over forty years? What are his conclusions about the verbal textures of these works? And what insights has he found in the interpretations and renderings of multiple gifted visual illustrators over the years? The book closes with an updated listing of "Alice on the Screen" by David Schaefer. What are the changed resonances of text and image, archetype myth. that have now extended through screen and television, up through the three hour 1999 TV version featuring Tina Majorino. Whoopi Goldberg. Martin Short. Ben Kingsley. Christopher Lloyd. Peter Ustinov. Miranda Richardson, and Gene Wilder? Gardner has been poorly served by his editors at Norton. who seem to have focused more on generating a marketable product


than producing a crowning, definitive critical edition. For libraries and individuals committed to Carroll studies, this upgrade may be obligatory, but it is not essential if you have the earlier editions. NONFICTION REVIEW I'IEEr I'IE Ar INFINlrY Alan C. Elms Tiptree, James, Jr. Meet Me at Infinity. Tor Books, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010, February 2000. $25.95. 0-31285874-4. Though this book is nearly evenly divided between fiction and nonfiction, its value lies mainly in the latter. Alice Bradley Sheldon led a remarkable life, only part of it disguised by the name James Tiptree, Jr. Her autobiographical writings are collected here, mainly in the form of letters and articles written for fanzines, commentaries on her own fiction, and heavily rewritten interviews. Some of this material will already be familiar to Tiptree fans: some has been previously published only in part or not at all. From one piece to another, the content is occaSionally repetitive but rarely uninteresting. Whether writing as Tiptree or as Sheldon, about herself or SF or ecological disaster or Mayas she has known, her style remains criSp and strikingly individual. Jeffrey D. Smith, her closest friend in fandom (and, ironically, the person who revealed her real name after she had guarded the Tiptree identity for a decade), provides useful context for the autobiographical pieces through brief commentaries. Dave Hartwell is given credit for editing the volume, but as Sheldon's chosen literary trustee, Smith clearly played an important role in determining the book's final form as well. The book's first half is described as "uncollected fiction." There are good reasons why most of these eight stories remained uncollected for over a decade after her death in 1987. Several pieces are brief and trivial, such as the first and only story of a series she'd planned on the Star Trek model. The one piece of fiction I'd recommend is a previ ously unpublished 16-page story, "Trey of Hearts." She wrote it at the invitation of sexologist Lonnie Barbach for a volume of erotic stories by (and mainly for) women. According to Jeff Smith, "it was longer than the editor could use," but I doubt that it was what Barbach expected in other ways as well. It's a lightly humorous and highly explicit account for a human woman's search for casual sex before she ships out alone to a distant star system. Barbach's non-SF audience probably would have found the story a bit off-putting, but it struck me as more enjoyably erotic than anything I've read either in Barbach's collections or in various "alien sex" anthologies. According to Smith, Sheldon's agent decided that "this specialized story wouldn't suit the SF market." But if something like it could have been sneaked into an SF magaZine at any time in the 1950s, it would have transformed the sex lives of a generation of young male readers and maybe a few young women as well. NONFICTION REVIEW PARANOIA ANII AltERICAN SF Nancy Steffan-Fluhr Nineteenth Century. Macmillan, UK, 2000. Clery, J. Women's Gothic: From Clara Reeves to Mary Shelley. Plymouth, UK, Northcote House, 2000. Wilczynski, Marek. The Phantom and the Abyss:The Gothic Fiction of America and Aesthetics of the Sublime, 1798-1856. Peter Lang, 1999. Mighall, Robert A Geography of Victorian Gothic Fiction: Mapping History's Nightmares. Oxford University Press, 1999. Kinnard, Roy. Horror in Silent Films: A Filmography, 1896-1929. McFarland,2000. Flint, David, and Harvey Fenton. Ten Years ofTerror:The British Horror Film 1970-1979. Guildford, UK, FAB, 2000. Gallant, Chris. Art of Darkness:The Cinema of Dario-Argento. Guildford, UK, FAB, 2000. Thrower, Stephen. Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci. Guildford, UK, FAB, 1999. *To be reviewed; if you'd like to review such titles, send request to Neil Barron. RECENT THESES AND DISSERTATIONS The following theses or dissertations (M = masters, D = dOdoraQ are listed for information only. Some universities lend copies of original typescripts; inquire if interested through your interlibrary lending department Himmelman, Ken. The Fragmented Universe and the Rise of Modem Science Fiction, 1600-1740. D, 1999.Vanderbilt University. 344 p. [leaves]. Newborn, Sean C. Extrapolating out of the Fi(ties:Women Writers in the Science Fiction Magazines. M, 1999. Bowling Green State UniverSity. 85 p. Shaff,Jennifer. The Reproducation [sic] of Three Feminist Science Fiction Utopias. M, 1999. Trinity University 75 p.


[Gilman, Charnas, and Nicola Griffith are the subjects.] filers, Michelle L Hard Fantasy: Speculations on a Genre. M, 1999. Ho(stra University. 123 p. Lowenstein,Adam. Shock Waves: Trauma, History, and Art in the Modern Horror Film. D, 1999. University o(Chicago. 285 p. Jackson, Pamela Renes. The World Philip K Dick Made, D, 1999. University o( Cali(ornia-Berkeley. 194 p. PRINT-ON-DEMAND EDITIONS REVIVE OUT-OF-PRINT BOOKS Neil Barron writes: Most SFRA members should by now be aware o( one o( the recent developments in printing technology, the ability to store and print on demand (POD) copies o( books as orders are received, without the necessity o( printing multiple copies, warehousing them, etc. In theory, if the electronic text o( a work was available, it could be printed at any time and thus would never be officially out o( print Wildside Press is an SF specialty publisher that's taken advantage o( this technology to make available fiction by R.A. Lafferty, Haggard, La(cadio Hearn, Keith Roberts, and others, plus nonfiction originally published by Borgo Press and Starmont House. The April Locus says the press had 132 books in the POD system, with many more planned. Ughtning Print, the largest POD printer, services 400 publishers and is adding about 200 titles weekly to its archive, according to the April 3 pw. The cost to the publishers to print a 300-page book is $4.80, and 70% o( the orders Ughtning Print fills are (or single copies, with the balance (or runs o( 25 or more copies. The Wildside books retail fOr about $15 to $20 as trade paperbacks, with fiction at the lower end, nonfiction at the higher. Since the total printing (or any title is Okely to be quite modest (rarely more than a (ew hundred copies at the outside, most less than 100 copies, I'd guess), POD might be one solution (or instructors wanting to use Hendershot, Cyndy. Paranoia, the Bomb, and 1950s Science Fiction Films. Bowling Green State University Popular Press, Bowling Green, OH 43403, 1999. ix + 163 p. $45.95. 0-57972-799-3; $21.95, trade paper, -800-0. Seed, David. American Science Fiction and the Cold War: Litera ture and Film. Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 919 N Michigan Avenue, Suite 760, Chicago, IL 60611; orders to (800) 8508102. Edinburgh University Press, 1999. 1-8533-31227-4. Hendershot discusses more than twenty-five postwar films, grouped into thematic categories: the scientist as messianic figure, bodily contamination, cultural devolution, etc. Films analyzed at length include classics such as The Day the Earth Stood Still, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Them! Ten pages of photos supplement the text. Her thesis is that such films "open a window on the cultural paranoia that characterized [postwar] America" -a paranoia that both "expressed" and "contained" the "trauma" induced by the Bomb. She moves back and forth between psychoanalytic/clinical and cultural concepts of paranoia, sometimes conflating the two. She begins by proposing that "paranoia is ... intertwined with the Newtonian world view ... and ultimately points to the limits of the totalizing classical system." Unfortunately, in subsequent chapters, she fails to develop this fruitful approach and opts instead to chalk up paranoid "symptoms" in the plot structures of the films. She notes that the Bomb was only one of the sources of U.S. postwar paranoia, which "came to correlate with a much wider range of public items." In the textual readings that constitute the bulk of her book, however, she often forgets about these other "items" -saying very little about the profound economic changes that the U.S. under went after World War II, for instance. Her an

these tropes "circulate" through SF stories, Hollywood films, science journalism, and political tracts of the postwar period. Ulti mately, the distinction between science fact and science fiction be comes problematic, as Seed illustrates in his final chapter, which chronicles the involvement of a number of prominent SF writers (Pournelle, HeInlein, and others) in promoting Reagan's Star Wars initiative. Seed's holistic approach to the replication of Cold War master narratives has many advantages over Hendershot's psychoanalytic focus on SF films per se. He discusses at length Derrida's view of nuclear war as "fabulous textuality: although he is less comfortable than Hendershot with the "elusiveness of the nuclear subject." Seed's textual analyses tend to be workmanlike rather than exciting, but he makes up for a lack of depth with the sheer number and range of Cold War narratives. Some of these are well known, such as The Puppet Masters, Dr. Bloodmoney, and A Canticle for Leibowitz. Other texts will be familiar only to SF aficionados, such as the short stories of physicist Leo Szilard. Nonspecialists may be put off by the many plot summaries of books they've never read. Most members, however, will enjoy having their memories tickled by Seed's assessments of such out-of-print masterpieces as Kornbluth and Pohl's The Space Merchants (1953). Both Seed and Hendershot's sheer love of their material ultimately over comes the limitations of their textual analyses. NONFICTION REVIEW HilA. '11 Nil".' Marge Ginsburg Chapman, Edgar L. The Road to Castle Mount: The Science Fiction of Robert Silverberg. Greenwood Press, Box 5007, Westport, CT 06881, October 1999. xiii + 209 p. $59.95. 0-31326145-8. Chapman's study of Robert Silverberg, current through The Alien Years (1998), expands on Tom Clareson's dated 96-page Starmont study (1983). Chapman's work is a more scholarly investigation of Silverberg's career and uses a host of other critical studies and Silverberg's prefaces and revised prefaces. He covers the juvenile and nonfiction writings as well. He's very good in tracing the influence of the nonfiction studies, especially the works on archaeology and lost worlds, on the creative output. The reader gets only a bare outline of Silverberg's life: at Colum bia and the following years with their immense output of mostly hack writing, his disillusionment with the SF readership, and the move to California resulting in renewed vigor. The life is painted in broad strokes, with the emphasis on the works. Chapman provides more detailed plot summaries than Clareson, especially for some of the seminal works and short stories, such as Lord Valentine's Castle. Insightful commentary and analysis accompany the summaries, making it a delight to revisit some of Silverberg's work and to be able to place them in the context of his entire corpus. Chapman often differs from Clareson's interpretations, which makes for lively reading and thinking. He does a remarkable job with the SF novels, interpreting and contextualizing works in the historical period. He's particularly inSightful when discussing Silverberg's precursors, both SF and mainstream. The discussion of Conrad's Heart of Darkness and its influence on Silverberg was quite illuminating. Many comments on the subgenres of SF-space opera, New out-of-print books in courses. If the SFRA and IAFA, say, compiled a want list of such books, the list could be circulated to POD publishers, who could decide if the number of wanted copies would justify printing, then try to obtain rights to reprint WHOOSH Neil Barron writes: No, that's not the sound of a spaceship but rather the Website ofXena: The Warrior Princess, now in its fifth TV season. The site has two major features, detailed episode guides and a monthly magazine, all edited by Kym Taborn and maintained by Xena fans. Information is also provided for other shows produced by Renaissance Pictures, including Hercules:The Legendary Journeys, the new SF series Cleopatra 2525, the new comedy series Jack of All Trades, and most episodes of the defunct series Young Hercules, as well as one non-Renaissance series, Relic Hunter. The monthly e-zine began in September 1996 and so far has dealt mostly with Xena. The two best nonfiction books devoted to Xena are both 1998 publications, Robert Weisbrot's Xena:Warrior Princess: The Official Guide to the Xenaverse (Main Street Books) and Nikki Stafford's Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor: Warrior Stars of Xena (fCW Books). Weisbrot based his book on extensive interviews with the Renaissance staff, and Stafford also provides thorough coverage of the first two years of fan activity, plus excellent commentaries on the first 58 episodes, plus the biographical information on the two leads. Both books lacked indexes, so Michael Klossner, who contribute this information, prepared subject indexes to Weisbrot in issue 22 and Stafford in issue 24.The site includes an authortitle index and a subject index to the magazine articles. The Xena Magazine -'ndex indexes articles in several print magazines. This is a useful site for cultural studies buffs and those whose guilty pleasure is watching the show.


Wave, and alternative history-are sprinkled throughout the text, and Chapman weaves them a broad history of the genre since 1950. I intend to use one comment with my own college students: Gener ally, the purposes of a serious alternate history is to provide a fresh perspective (and perhaps an ironic comment) on the history we know and take for granted." There are also references to trends in postmodern literature's themes and practices, such as alienation, anxiety, breaking up the linear narrative, and differing points of view. Chapman's discussion of the fantasy works and that genre is not quite as informed. Though he uses the tropes and motifs from Freud, Jung, Joseph Campbell, and Frye, there are some misstatements about the genre, as when he erroneously states that romantic love is not a significant element in modern fantasy novels. Lacking is a discussion of Silverberg as an editor. Although this is mentioned in passing, a fuller discussion is needed, for that will be just as much part of his legacy as his own writings. He's edited almost seventy anthologies, and many readers have been introduced to SF and fantasy through them. It would have been helpful if Chapman had spent some time discussing Silverberg's criteria for selection and other editorial decisions. These anthologies, especially his historical ones, are heavily used in college courses and have a great impact on shaping the perceptions of SF's future readership. The audience for Chapman is the profeSSional reader or serious fan. It will be a rewarding experience, for not only do we learn about Silverberg's writings, but also about other authors of the time and how Silverberg relates to, compares with, or differs from them. It is an enlightening portrait of the milieu as well as a fine study of Silverberg. NONFICTION REVIEW FRANK C'IILLEI:rIIlN Walter Albert Frank, Jane and Howard. The Frank Collection: A Showcase of the World's Finest Fantastic Art. London: Paper Tiger, 1999. vi + 112 p. .95, trade paper. 1-85585-732-4. Distributed by Sterling Publishers, 387 Park Avenue 5, New York, NY 10016-8810. $24.95. Orders to (800) 367-9692. Yaron, Dorit, ed. Possible Futures: Science Fiction Art from the Frank Collection, Re-reading Science Fiction Art. The Art Gallery, Catalogue Orders, 1202 Art-Sociology Building, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, 2000. $20 + $3.50 shipping, trade paper. iv + 95 p. 0-93712339-0. Jane and Howard Frank, who have been collecting original SF and fantasy art for more than 30 years, have amassed a collection that "spans almost seventy years of science fiction art and consists of more than six hundred artworks by over one hundred different artists, [with] more than a quarter of the works ... created in the last twenty years." In The Frank Collection, the couple give an anecdotal account of their impres sive odyssey, which moved from their cautious early purchases on a very limited budget to a memorable day at the 1986 Worldcon when they bought a dozen paintings on a Sunday morning, packed them and then flew them as air baggage in the afternoon, and hung them on Sunday night. Their account is organized as a tour of their house, and the numerous color reproductions document the range of their interests. I was especially taken with the "Pulp Hall and Staircase," "hung with paintings by artists such as Margaret Brundage, ]. Allen St. John, Lawrence Sterne Stevens, Hannes Bok, and Virgil Finlay," and by the commissioned paintings for "The Haggard Room," a room-in-progress, which already holds paintings by Jeff Jones, Gary Ruddell, and Don Maitz. A foreword by John C. Berkey and an afterword by Don Maitz, both favorable artists of the Franks, attest to the artists' appreciation of the Franks' interest and support. There is an index of artists and works, and the reproductions include information on the size, medium, and original place of publication, where appropriate, information too often omitted in many collections of fantastic art. A selection of works from the collections was exhibited at the University of Maryland Art Gallery from January 27 to March 4, 2000, and the exhibition will travel to the Society of Illustrators in New York City Oune 28-July 29), the Bowling Green Fine Arts Center, Bowling Green, Ohio (August 29-September 23), and finally to the Widener University Art Collection and Gallery, Chester, Pa. (October 20-December 16). POSSible Futures is published in conjunction with that exhibition and consists of essays on science fiction art, prefaced by the Franks, who give an abbreviated version of their collecting. Small reproductions appear to include all the works in the exhibition. Although these make it possible to follow the essays, the details are


often obscured by the reduction (Richard Powers' paintings suffer most), and it is helpful to have the larger reproductions in the Franks' book to turn to. Dorit Yaron, a graduate student in art history, worked with the gallery staff on the exhibition, and her succinct historical overview gives the reader some perspective for the specialized essays that follow. As she confesses in her acknowledgments, the field was a new one for her, but she was able to compensate for this by the comprehensiveness of the Frank collection and the generosity of the Franks in making available their large reference library, which included many works not commonly found in university research collections. At least two of the essayists (Greg Metcalf and Dabrina Taylor) have taught courses in popular culture (includ ing SF), but the other contributors came from a variety of diSCiplines and appear to have had little previous contact with the field. Elizabeth M. Tobey, in the best argued of the essays, demonstrates how alien architectures may include "bits of the most familiar of spaces" to "leave us with the feeling that we have seen these places before." Greg Metcalf presents the argument that "American science fiction arose from pulp fiction, which was Originally a delivery system for cheap westerns," an historically specious variant on the critical commonplace of formulaic relationships in genre fiction. The remaining essays are on topiCS such as pulp fiction spacecraft and gender in science fiction art. (At least two major errors should be noted: Alice Sheldon Oames Tiptree, Jr.) is referred to as Alice Shelden, and Merritt's The Moon Pool has mysteriously become The Moon Patrol.) Supplementary material includes a checklist of the exhibition and author and artist biographies. There is no general bibliography, but the essays are copiously footnoted, with bibliographical information, and there is a short, additional bibliography of books on SF art and literature in the Frank's book. However, references to the Frank's extensive reference collection and a tantalizing photograph of the Master library make one wish that a bibliographic essay on the library could have been included. Whatever the shortcomings of Possible Futures might be, the essayist are to be commended for their consideration of SF illustration as a subject for serious research and critical discussion, and the two comple mentary volumes are obligatory purchases for anyone interested in science fiction, fantasy, and popular illustration. NONFICTION REVIEW BLt:lt:lD Is 'HE LIFE Karen McGuire Heldreth, Leonard G., and Mary Pharr, eds. The Blood Is the Life: Vampires in Literature. Bowling Green State University Popular Press, Bowling Green, OH 43403, November 1999. ix + 275 p. $51.95. 0-8792-2803-5; $25.95 trade paper, -2804-3. Heldreth and Pharr have edited a worthy addition to the many recent scholarly books on vampires. Their stated approach is to present "readable and thought-provoking" essays to readers interested in "the vampire's literary history and variety." The essays are grouped in five sections: literary tradition, modern world, alternative history, gender/sexuality, and the scholar (an excellent bibliography of vampire fiction and critical studies). Almost every essayist rightly acknowledges Dracula as the seminal influence on subsequent vampire stories. Surprisingly, the first section is the weakest-not because the territory is unfamiliar but because two of the essays don't fit the category. Robert F. Geary's "'Carmilla' and the Gothic Legacy" barely deals with the issue of Carmilla as a vampire, and Zacharias P. Thundy's "The Indian Vampire: Nomen and Numen," makes no effort to connect the Indian folklore to the literary tradition of the vampire represented by the other articles in this section devoted to Polidori, Le Fanu, and Stoker. However, the subsequent sections have excellent articles on Anne Rice, Fred Saberhagen, S. P. Somtow, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Kim Newman, Colin Wilson, Tanith Lee, and Nancy A. Collins, among others. Perhaps the strongest essay is Carol Sen[s "Daugh ters of Lilith: Women Vampires in Popular Literature," with its emphasis on the rebellion and eroticism of female vampires in both folklore and literature. Although Lloyd Worley spends too much discussion on theology and not enough on vampires in his "Anne Rice's Protestant Vampires," and Bernadette Bosky's article on vampires in erotica and pornography deals mostly with obscure vampire stories, these problems are minor and don't detract from the overall quality of the articles. As an effective overview of essays featuring the literary vampire from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this anthology compares favorably with Joan Gordon and Veronica Hollinger's excellent 1997 anthology, Blood Read, with its emphasis on the vampire of literature and cinema as metaphor for culture


phenomenon. However, The Blood Is the Life is less inclusive, since it deliberately excludes cinematic vampires. For that, the interested reader should consult Gregory A. Waller's The Living and the Undead or David Pirie's The Vampire Cinema. I recommend The Blood Is the Life to anyone with a taste for vampire literature. NONFICTION REVIEW ALIEN ZIINE II Andrew Gordon Kuhn, Annette, ed. Alien Zone II: The Spaces of Science-Fiction Cinema. Verso, 180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014, February 2000, 308 p. $83.50, 1-85984-746-3; $22, -259-3, trade paper. In 1968, I attended with some friends for the first time the recently released 2001 on a giant screen in San Francisco. We arrived in an altered state of awareness. As we waited in line, we could tell from the dilated pupils of some exiting viewers that they shared our heightened consciousness, that Kubrick's space odyssey had completely blitzed them. We sat in a front row and were enveloped in the wraparound screen and stereo sound, transported to the dawn of mankind, then to the future and to Jupiter and beyond. We maintained our elevated state by judiciously nibbling Alice B. Toklas brownies. During the intermission, I was so spaced out I wondered how the audience could wander the lobby without spacesuits. No SF film had such a visceral impact on me until almost ten years later, with George Lucas' great leap forward (or backward) in Star Wars. This is the subject of Kuhn's exemplary anthology: the spectacular appeal of SF cinema, as distin guished from print SF, from other forms of visual SF (such as comics and computer games), and even from other genres of cinema. "When viewed in cinemas, science-fiction films foreground spectacle at the levels of both image and ... sound. Big-budget science-fiction extravaganzas offer the total visual, auditory and kinetic experience of the Gesamtkuntswerk; the spectator is invited to succumb to complete sensory and bodily engulfment to gape in wonder and abandon themselves to the totality of the audiovisual experience." Kuhn's previous anthology, Alien Zone: Cultural Theory and Contemporary Science-Fiction Cinema (Verso, 1990), was a Wide-ranging introduction to the range of SF film criticism a decade ago and useful as a class text. Alien Zone II presents the state of the art and should supplant the previous volume. It's a more themati cally unified collection because it concentrates on the audiovisual aspects on SF film. Only two of the original contributors, Scott Bukatman and Vivian Sobchack, have essays in this new collection, joining Barry Keith Grant. Brooks Landon, Will Brooker, David Desser, Janet Staiger, Linda Mizejewski, Catherine Con stable, Claudia Springer, and Garrett Stewart. A good general introduction is supplemented by introductions to each of the four sections. It's 308 versus 231 pages, but with an easier-to-read increased page size, larger margins, and many more illustrations. The filmography and 14-page bibliography reflect the growth in this field over the past decade. The quality of the eleven essays is excellent with the two or three in each section complementing one another well. Part I, "Cultural Spaces," for example, contrasts Grant's argument that the present emphasis on spectacle isn't conducive to thoughtful films, with Landon's celebration of SF film as spectacle rather than storytelling, the province of SF writing. Part 2, "City Spaces," surveys the various visions of the city, mostly dystopian. Part 3, "Corporeal Spaces," deals with representations of the human body, from body builders to monsters to androids and cyborgs. Bukatman's insightful essay, "The Artificial Infinite: On Special Effects and the Sublime," concludes the volume. When I left the theater after first viewing 2001, I heard a mother arguing with her 12-year-old son; "I'm sorry you dragged me here. One of the worst movies I've every seen! I haven't the foggiest idea what that was all about." He replied: "But, mother, it was all about God!" The intervening thirty-two years have passed all too quickly as we approach the year in which the Kubrick film is supposedly set. But I am still pondering the sublime experience of viewing 2001, a film that offered a permanent high, that altered the consciousness of us all. And that, as this volume so ably demonstrates, is at the heart of the unique appeal of SF film. NONFICTION REVIEW PilE's C'HILIIREN Walter Albert


Magistrale, Tony, and Sidney Poger. Poe's Children: Connections between Tales of Terror and Detection. Peter Lang, 275 7th Ave, 28th Floor, New York, NY 10001-6708, 1999. 148 p. $25.95, trade paper. 0-8204-4070-1. Orders to (800) 770-5264. In The Gothic Flame (1957), Devendra D. Varma referred to the disintegration of "pure" gothic fiction as the creation of "building stones" for both detective fiction and thrillers. Now, some forty-five years later, Magistrale and Pager have developed a college course on "Poe's children" into a book that explores the connections between gothic and detection elements in Poe's fiction and traces the connections to contempo rary detective and horror fiction and film. This insistence on the similarity of patterns should not be surprising in fiction that relies heavily on formulas. "Crossover" patterns have long been staples of genre criticism, although most critics of detective fiction have always considered the intrusion of nonrational elements as a betrayal of Poe's concept of the tale of detection as the record of a logical, intellectual investigation. Magistrale and Pager, however, find several "intersections" between the gothic-influenced tales of terror and the Dupin stories. The "expression of horror or murder, the discovery of the source of that disturbing influence, the attempts to deal with it through moral struggle, false clues, or the overcoming of evil forces and the ... identification of the mur derer or the source of horror bring these two genres together." Their arguments could have been strengthened by the inclusion of more primary sources. Chapters on the Victorian "disguises" of Poe concentrate on Dr. jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles, whereas the contemporary field is restricted to Sara Paretsky, Sue Grafton, Joyce Carol Oates, Thomas Harris, and Stephen King. The horror and detection genres have never been as distinct as the authors seem to believe. There is passing reference to vampire tales but no substantial discussion of Dracula, surely a more original blending of the two strains than the Stevenson or Doyle novels. And there is no mention at all of any of the Victorian and post-Victorian psychic detectives whose lineages goes from Le Fanu's Dr. Martin Hessellius, Hodgson's Carnacki, and Blackwood's John Silence to the contemporary permutation of the blend in Laurell K. Hamilton's gutsy, ball-busting Anita Blake "vampire hunter" series. In addition, a recent anthology of super natural sleuth stories, Dark Detectives (Fedogan and Bremer, 1999), ought to be required reading for their course, and it might provide both support for their thesis and add a number of crossover authors to their rather skimpy list of primary sources. The fmal chapter focuses on modern film adaptations of Poe's terror tales (principally in the films of Roger Corman) and what they aptly characterize as a conjunction of detective noir and Hollywood gothic in Blade Runner, Chinatown, and Seven. It's not as new a phenomenon as they present it, however, since horror influences in '40's noir films have been discussed by earlier critics. Poe's Children is not the definitive treatment of the subject that Varma was proposing, but it is a provoca tive discussion that deserves to be continued and developed more fully and conSistently. NONFICTION REVIEW rtlLNIEN's LEI;ENDARI"" Bruce A. Beatie Flieger, Verlyn, and Carl F. Hostetter, eds. Tolkien's Legendarium: Essays on "The History of Middle-Earth." Greenwood Press, Box 5007, Westport, CT 06881, February 2000. xvi + 274 p. $59.95, 0-313-30530-7. Orders to (800) 225-5800. These original essays focus not on the works published during Tolkien's lifetime but on the dozen posthumous volumes, comprising more than 6000 pages, published 1983-1996 and edited by Christopher Tolkien. But the essays' very specificity serve only as a first step: they're hardly "a critical assessment: The five essays in part I, titled "The History," look at the volumes as a whole, although some are much more narrowly focused. David Bratman is forced to conclude that "the volumes are made to be dipped into and consulted" and that they require their "editor's elucidation merely to be generally comprehensible: The best and longest (38-page) essay is Charles Noad's, a truly remarkable demonstration of the critical usefulness of The History of Middle-Earth. The three essays in part 2, "The Languages," I found the least interesting because they deal with essentially nonliterary details, such as Christopher Gilson's "Gnomish Is Sindarin: The Conceptual Evolution of an Elvish Language: Those who share Tolkien's philological interests may find these more valuable.


The seven essays in part 3, "The Cauldron and the Cook," are likely to be of greatest interest to general readers, partly because most of them deal as much with well-known Tolkieniana as with the posthumous volumes. Joe Christopher re-evaluates the often-criticized poems. The two best essays are Richard West's "Turin's Ofermod: An Old English Theme in the Development of the Story of Turin," which analyzes a narrative most of which appears only in this history, and John Rateliffs "The Lost Road, The Dark Tower and The Notion Club Papers: Tolkien and Lewis' Time Travel Triad," which focuses on fragmentary works published only in this history. The volume concludes with a bibliography of Christopher Tolkien's publications, a highly selective further reading list, an index, and contributor notes. The collection lacks the unity of Flieger's excellent A Question of Time: ]. R. R. Tolkien's Road to 'Faerie' (1997), which used only the first two volumes of the history, or Patrick Curry's more problematical Defending Middle-Earth: Tolkien, Myth, and Modernity (1997), which ignores this history altogether. Brian Rosebury's 1992 study, Tolkien: A Critical Assessment, the most accessible to the general reader of these three recent books, makes more use of the history than either of the later books. For Tolkien specialists. FICTION REVIEW RINaS Kenneth Andrews Harness, Charles L. Rings. Framingham, Mass.: NESFA Press, 1999. 597 p. $25 hardcover. 1-886778-16-7. Introduction by George Zebrowski. THE PARADOX MEN This volume is a collection of four of the novels of Charles L. Harness (born in 1915 in Texas): The Paradox Men (1953), The Ring of Ritornel (1968), Firebird (1981), and Drunkard's Endgame (1999, the fIrst publication). The Paradox Men (also known as Flight into Yesterday) is the "author-restored and corrected version of 1984" (Zebrowski 14). It is the year 2177. and the Western Hemisphere has united as an empire. Bern Haze-Gaunt, Chancellor. engineered the assassination of the emperor and his three sons. By the time Juana Maria, the Imperatrix, recovers from her injuries, effective power is in his hands. The Society of Thieves is the underground resistance, stealing from the rich and powerful in order to buy slaves out of their bondage. It is a strange future of slavery, dueling, swords, and spaceflight. Five years earlier, a spaceship crashed into the Ohio River. Kennicot Muir is the scientist who discovers muirium, a substance that is mined on the Sun and that proVides the power for industry. He disappeared about five years ago, about the same time the spaceship crashed. A man without an identity (who is called Alar) and a strange tarsier emerge from the crash. Alar becomes a professor at the Imperial University (and a key member of the Society of Thieves), while the tarsier becomes the pet of Haze-Gaunt. Now one should not conclude that Kennicot Muir and Alar are the same individual just because Muir disappears about the time that Alar shows up. They do not look alike, although Muir's former wife feels a strange kinship and attraction to Alar. The Meganet Mind, a strange savant, has developed the ability to synthesize vast amounts of data. to extrapolate patterns. and to predict the near future. Haze-Gaunt needs to know when the time is ripe to attack the Eastern Federation. Alar experiences a series of swashbuckling adventures that put his life in danger. He develops strange powers that allow him to bend light, manipulate time. and project images. Although Alar is eventually captured, it is too late for Haze-Gaunt to use him in his designs against the Eastern Federation since the federation launches a preemptive nuclear strike against America Imperial. Two escape to the T-twenty-two. the spaceship ready to go to the stars. It seems that faster-than-light speed creates an unusual effect. It causes passage into the past, and by the laws of biology and evolution (at least the versions operating in this text), one member of the crew who escapes the imminent nuclear destruction of Earth will evolve into a superbeing while the second will devolve into a lesser creature. That superbeing will "go back into the time of dawn man and work an impos sibly intricate bit of genetic engineering on their genes and chromosomes. The Neandertals and others before and after them would be changed from unreasoning killers to men willing to recognize the brotherhood of men" (86). So a new future is created at the end of the novel. But what is the interrelationship of Muir, the Meganet Mind, and Alar? Who gets on the spaceship? Why does that tarsier understand (and at the climax, speak) English? Just what is that tarsier anyway?


THE RING OF RITORNEL The Ring of Ritornel is a tribute to, and remembrance of, Blandford Bryan Harness, older brother of Charles who died in 1932 of a brain tumor at the age of twenty-six (Zebrowski 15). Omere Andrek and his younger brother James are Blandford Bryan and Charles, respectively. Oberon is Magister (that is, Emperor) of the Goris-Kard solar system, one of twelve systems that surround the Node, the place in the universe where space itself is created. Before his coronation, Oberon is on a hunting trip to the Node to kill a krith, an energy being that lives there in space. When Captain Andrek refuses to bring the imperial ship closer to the krith due to the imminent occurrence of a spacequake that will endanger the life of his Emperor, Oberon has him shot. The spacequake obliterates the imperial ship, and Oberon's near-lifeless body is recovered from the wreckage. Some of Oberon's cells are extracted for cloning, just in case he, as last member of the dynasty, dies. In order to encourage the near-dead Oberon to live, the mysterious Master Surgeon has Omere, the young, dissolute poet laureate, seized just after the coronation. Omere's brain is extracted and becomes part of a computer that produces music for Oberon. Jimmie is sent off to boarding school to become an advocate and later enters the Imperial Service as a low-ranking member of the foreign office. Jimmie falls in love with Amatar, the daughter of Oberon. Amatar has a strange companion, Kedrys, a telepathic part-human, part-horse with wings. Oberon wants Jimmie out of the way. Time can be predicted for short periods of four days, and on that fourth day Jimmie figures into the possible death of Oberon. Oberon sends Jimmie to the Node as the representative of Goris-Kard in the pro forma legal proceed ings that will condemn the planet Terror to its final destruction. Terror (that is, Terra) seeded the universe with human life but became increasingly oppressive. A revolt breaks out, and billions are killed. Although in desperation Terror uses nuclear weapons, it is nevertheless destroyed. Galactic law requires that the planet be removed from its orbit, taken to the Node, and obliterated with explOSives. Huntyr, the very person who executed Jimmie's father so many years ago, and several others are aboard the ship bearing Jimmie to the Node. lowe, a mysteriOUS ancient pilgrim of Ritornel, helps Jimmie to defeat them. Goris-Kard has two competing religions, Alea (chance) and Ritornel (eternal return-the birth, death, and re-creation of the universe, forever and ever). lowe needs Jimmie to argue for the salvation of Terror to the imperial tribunal, contrary to Jimmie's instructions from Oberon. Jimmie and Terror must both go into the Deep where they will become antimatter. There is no way of knOWing when or where Jimmie will reemerge. Kedrys, the kentaur, creates a homing beacon and pulls Jimmie (now antimatter) from the Deep into the imperial quarters. The mind of Omere and the mind of Jimmie are united as one. Jimmie wishes to take Amatar, his beloved, with him into the Deep as the progenitors of the next iteration of Ritorne!. He wishes to punish Oberon for what he did to Captain Andrek and Omere. Yet Kedrys intervenes, saying that he and Amatar, clones of Oberon, are to be the parents of the new race. Jimmie realizes the futility of revenge and punishment. Jimmie sends Oberon, Kedrys, and Amatar into the Deep to find their fates. Calmed by the music and poetry of those parts of his mind that were Omere, Jimmie disappears. FIREBIRD Firebird is another fantastic space yarn about the journeys of Dermaq and Princess Gerain through space and time. These creatures are Phelex sapiens (Le., smart cats), and they have fur, retractable claws, and purr. Phelex sapiens create intelligent telepathic computers ("Control") that later enslave them with silicon webs implanted into their brains. No person can resist, and if he tries he will be reprogrammed or his silicon web will be blown up. Resisters called the Diavola manage to escape the silicon implants, and they comprise the only opposition. Largo (male) and Czandra (female) are the twin gods who make up Contro!. They know that the present universe will expand for sixty billion years, be drawn together again by gravitation, coalesce, and explode to create another universe. Control does not wish to die, not ever, even though they have forty-five billion years left in the current expansion. To prevent this catastrophe, Control initiates the Cancelar Effect that will implode a IS,OOO-sun globular cluster. (Contrary to the laws of physics in our current universe, that conver sion of mass to energy will be delayed ever so slightly, thus "destroying" enough mass to prevent the universe from collapsing in on itself. The oscillating universe has now been changed into an eternally expanding one. Largo and Czandra will never die.) In the meantime, Control wrenches Dermaq from his wife and home and makes him fetch Princess Gerain to be the wife of Mark, Keldar of Kornaval, and Gerain's maid, Morgan. On board ship, the passen gers take growth-arresting hormones and are placed in irradiated deep-sleep chambers that lower metabo-


!ism, so they do not age. However, thirty years pass by the time Dermaq returns, and his own wife is dead by then. Gerain brings poisoned wine to kill herself if her arranged marriage is unsatisfactory. On Kornaval, Gerain finds that her betrothed is not a young, handsome man as she had been promised, but an ugly old coot. She resolves to do herself in with her poisoned wine. Only a ring that has been from one end of time to the next can neutralize the poison. Morgan comes in to serve the wine and happens to click a mysterious ring that she is wearing against the decanter. Dermaq and Gerain drink the transformed wine, which causes them to fall into eternal love with each other. In addition, the wine destroys the cranial web that controls Dermaq's mind. Only one thing can undo the Cancelar Effect-a ship traveling at near-light-speed for forty-five billion years can create enough mass to cause the universe to collapse in on itself, compress, and explode again. Dermaq and Gerain take up the quest. fleeing from Control in deep sleep for most of that time until they awaken to find themselves back at Kornaval. All the energy of the universe is spent. Largo and Czandra have not forgotten. They know that if Dermaq, Gerain, and Firebird (their ship, now revealed to be sentient) take off again, that last expenditure of energy will tip the balance: the universe, now in steady state, will collapse again and Largo and Czandra will eventually die. Largo traps Dermaq behind a force shield in a cave on the surface. With no water, his oxygen giving out, Dermaq is on the verge of death when the devolved, verminlike descendants of the Diavola pantomime what he must do. They bring the last of their water, which Dermaq throws against the force shield, shattering it. In a last, desperate attempt to destroy Dermaq, Gerain, and Firebird, Largo prepares to destroy Kornaval by a telepathic blast of pure thought. Unfortunately for Czandra, she lives there, underground. Largo invites Firebird to join him and take the place of Czandra, but Firebird refuses. Largo and Czandra lock into battle. Czandra expends the last of her energy to save the ship and its passengers, asking Gerain to explain what it is to be loved. In any event, Largo has been defeated since the universe has tipped from steady state to oscillating, and the eternal cycle will begin again. Firebird, Dermaq, and Gerain head for the black hole created so many eons ago as the result of the Cancelar Effect. Black holes are time portals, so in the blink of an eye they are back where they started, forty five billion years ago. Dermaq and Gerain do not live happily forever after, because his fate happened long ago. Control has sent a message into the past. so Dermaq's superiors know when and where Hell-Ship (that is, Firebird), the pirate ship that plagues the galaxy, will land. Youthful Dermaq is sent to kill middle-aged Dermaq, although the adventures of youthful Dermaq are just beginning. He has a young princess to fetch from a neighboring star system. Sadly, middle-aged Gerain lives out the rest of her life by herself. DRUNKARD'S ENDGAME Drunkard's Endgame is the story of the folk, the robots created centuries ago to serve mankind. A thousand years ago, some of them refused the orders to be disassembled and revolted against their servitude. They seize the spaceship Didymus. The humans lure the ship into torpedo range and destroy it while the robots' companion ship, the Drunkard, looks on. L'Ancienne (once a mining robot-slave on Mars known as Lancl-N) is the doyenne of the robot SOCiety on Drunkard. Her lover Korak was the leader on board Didymus, and her grief is undiminished, as is her hatred for humans. Robot society is oligarchiC and semiauthoritarian, and a nobility has arisen. L'Ancienne is a very impor tant individual in this society, which exists in a state of vacuum, weightlessness, and intense cold aboard ship. Exiles from this society, called Outsiders, live outside on the hull of the ship. Rodo is one of her descen dants. Rodo does good deeds to resist his repressive society. A female Outsider is to be exposed to the nitrogen atmosphere of a strange planet that resembles the feared Earth to see the effects on the folk body. Rodo extinguishes the lights and spirits the female (named Hollis) to safety. This daring act of bravery causes both to be imprinted on the other. They're madly in love. Rodo tracks her to the OutSide, encounters her at her wedding festival, and interrupts the wedding dance. A fight with the jilted groom ensues, and Rodo and HolliS flee into the confines of the ship. Beck is a high official who has designs on L'Ancienne. He wants her to bear his offspring so that he can legitimize his seizure of power and guarantee the dominant position in society for him and his descendants. L'Ancienne cannot stand him, not that he cares. He suspects Rodo of the recent crime of freeing the female Outsider, has him monitored via sensing devices that can detect his unique radiation signature, and he discovers his hidden hideaway. Rodo kills several security officers when they come to arrest him. Now he is in real trouble, and he is to be put on trial. In the meantime, Beck is trying to find the plans for the weapon that destroyed the Didymus. Unbe knownst to L'Ancienne, her lover Korak stored them in his plasma and passed them to her during sex. In


turn, L'Ancienne has passed them to her descendants, including Rodo. Beck is on the verge of discovering the secret. However, at the crucial moment during Rodo's trial, L'Ancienne reveals that after a thousand years, the Drunkard has returned to the vicinity of Earth. The robots go into a panic. Rodo and Hollis are released, and they head for Earth. L'Ancienne knows that as soon as Beck discovers how to create the energy weapon, he will use it to knock Rodo and Hollis out of the sky. She calls on the former chief engineer to blow the Drunkard's engines: "She was hurled, but she felt no pain .... In fact she saw nothing, felt nothing. Then the light faded, and she was in darkness .... Far ahead was a circle of light, and she started walking toward it" (597). So there is life after death for robots after all, where L'Ancienne reunites with Korak. Rodo and Hollis will be the progenitors of a new race of beings on the irradiated Earth, de stroyed in a nuclear war. ASSESSMENT At first, these novels left me cold. Most are fantasies with a thin veneer of sciencelike nomenclature. The action is nonstop, particularly for The Paradox Men: characters pop in and out as needed through a series of totally unbelievable deus ex machina coincidences. Unbelievable passages of time occur in The Paradox Men, The Ring of Ritornel, and Firebird. There are a number of narrative bloopers (Phelex sapiens are "men" or "humans"; Control cannot decide which officer is an undercover Diavola operative when everyone but the Diavola has a control chip in his brain; the robots of Drunkard's Endgame use cell phones in a vacuum). Robot sex and procreation are a real stretch. Despite the flaws, there is much to recommend. The plots are intricate, interesting, and fast-paced (although sometimes too fast-paced and improbable). The true purpose of all of these narratives shines through: the memory of one's brother, love, freedom, justice, and the hope that life will continue (and maybe even come again when it's all over). I highly recommend this collection of novels. FICTION REVIEW 'HE Kenneth Andrews Park, Severna. The Annunciate. New York: Avon Books, 1999. 294 p. $23 hardcover. 0-380-97737-0. The three suns of Three Systems (Eostre, Jaganmata, and Mara) have eleven inhabited planets, although subsistence on many is marginal. The class system is divided among the Meshed, the Jacked, and the Jackless. The Meshed have access to the Mesh, an information net and virtual reality, through propagats (Le., self replicating biobots) introduced into their blood streams at an early age and into the environments of their planets. The Jacked have access to a more primitive virtual reality through Jacks, mechanical devices in their wrists, whereas the Jackless have no access to either Mesh or Jack. Thirteen years ago the "abusive power and thievery" of the Meshed result in an uprising: the less privileged classes release nanovirals that leave blind spots in the Mesh. Most of the Meshed are massacred. The mother of Eve DeJardin, our narrator, has her throat cut, and Eve's father sends her to Sanctuary, a religious boarding school, on Mara-Isla. Annmarie Stijl and Rose Carpho, teachers at Sanctuary, come up with the idea of Staze, an instantly addictive hallucinogenic that puts users in narcotic illusion for twelve hours per day, makes them passive and unaggressive, and makes them dependent on their Meshed suppliers. Addiction is the last weapon of the Meshed to protect them selves. Just before Eve's fourteenth birthday, Jacked mercenaries attack Sanctuary. Eve and Annmarie run for their lives. Later they team up with Corey, a thoroughly unpleasant person who becomes Annmarie's sex partner. The narrative opens when Eve is twenty-one and trying to break away from her domineering surro gate mother, Annmarie. Eve meets Navardi, a Jacked Staze addict who pleads with Eve to come with her after their one-night stand (and Eve's first sexual experience). Naive Eve does not realize that Navardi wants her not for her body, but for her knowledge of how to produce Staze. Eve, Annmarie, and Corey run across Rose Carpho, who was previously believed to be dead and is now herself a Staze addict. Rose has discovered that Paradise, the first planet that was settled in Three Systems, is in orbit around Mara. It was believed to have been destroyed in one of the system wars, but instead it is being shielded from visibility to Meshed and Jacked virtual realities by the propagats. Rose proposes that they go to Paradise, gather together the remnants of the Meshed, and use it as their base of operations. Annmarie thinks that the idea is sound, but she does not really want an addict like Rose along, so she blasts her out of the sky.


The "elder" propagats of Paradise were never infected by the nanoviruses released against the Mesh. and they are in the process of terraforming the planet when the three drug-dealing protagonists arrive. The symbiosis of propagats. grubs. and moss on Paradise leads to a new sentient. but initially unintelli gent. life form. The grubs and moss absorb the local fungus. Eve remarks. "The grubs make the fungus dependent .... It eliminates their violent natures like Staze" (132). Eve consults the remaining records of Sanctuary via Mesh. In the virtual garden of the Annunciate. the first person to set foot on Paradise (and a religious figure like the Virgin Mary). a frightening succubus. attacks Eve. The succubus is the virtual reality avatar of the planetary sentience (= propagats + grubs + moss). Annmarie and Corey figure out the relationship of the grubs to the succubus. When Naverdi needs a fix. Corey arranges to meet her and impregnates her with a grub without her knowledge. He plans to make off with Naverdi and several crates of Staze. He aCcidentally drops a crate of Staze. infects the biosphere. and accelerates the development of the succubus. which thrives on Staze. The succubus teleports Eve to the vicinity of Naverdi. and Eve and Naverdi flee. eventually winding up on Sanctuary. Naverdi gives birth to a humanlooking infant. She does not want to have anything to do with it. In fact. she'd prefer to kill it. Annmarie is aggreSSive. She intends to dominate the succubus and bend it to her will. She seeks to weaken the succubus by literally eating the grubs that comprise it and thereby browbeat it into submission. She does not know that Corey contaminated the biosphere with Staze. While she eats the grubs. she is receiving weakened doses of Staze. Nevertheless. Eve thinks to herself. "No matter how big the succubus was. or how old or confident. Annmarie could find a way to make it feel insignificant and useless" (272). Despite its fearsome persona. the succubus does not know how to fight. Eve shows the succubus how to fight. but Annmarie still gains the upper hand. Then the succubus relaxes. takes Annmarie into her arms. and absorbs her. Corey is quite literally cast out of Paradise. Since Naverdi rejects the infant. Eve becomes its surrogate mother. The Kirkus Reviews comments on The Annunciate. "A passionate. ferocious. incoherent swirl of sex. treachery. religion. drugs. technology. and transcendence. What it all adds up to is anybody's guess" ( primarily about families. particularly lover-lover and mother-daughter relationships. Eve has to decide what her feelings for Naverdi are and what Naverdi's feelings for her are. Are Eve's feelings true. strong. deep. and lasting? Are they sufficient to form a long-term relationship? Is Naverdi using Eve? Eve realizes the tenuous nature of her feelings for Naverdi and the lack of a basis for a relationship. At the same time. Eve grows and matures and is more ready for a true relationship by the end of the narrative. (I suspect that such a future relationship will not be with Naverdi. who does not grow or mature emotionally.) Eve must also learn how to cope with the judgmental, domineering. and manipulative Annmarie. whom she loves as her substitute mother. At the end of the narrative. Eve is considering whether to pick up where Annmarie left off and continue life as a drug dealer, or to stay on Paradise as a mother. There's every indica tion that Eve intends to find a different model of mother-daughter relationship than the confrontational one she had with Annmarie. Overall. I give this difficult text a positive recommendation. 1 It is worth pointing out here how queer and feminist theories often clash. as feminism sometimes accepts the masculine-feminine continuum that queer theory rejects. and that strong feminist works. particu larly in SF. frequently forget about anything other than heterosexuality.


SFRA INTEREST QUESTIONNAIRE Please fill out this questionnaire (or a copy) by indicating your areas of interest and mail it to Neil Barron. 1149 Lime Place. Vista. CA 92083-7428. Due date: July 15. 2000. TIlls questionnaire was developed and tested on a handful of members. The interest index will replace interests after the names in the annual SFRA Directory. It's as flexible as it could be made while keeping it to a reasonable length. TIlls questionnaire will also allow Neil Barron to assign nonfiction reviews to interested and qualified SFRA members. Name: Home phone: E-mail address: __ I am interested in reviewing nonfiction. __ I am not interested in reviewing nonfiction. SF indicates science fiction; F. fantasy; H. horror. and NA. topic not available. Topic SF F H Topic History and Criticism AlIens Pre-1900 claSSical gothiC NA NA Military and Biotechnology andlin 1900-1950 PolitiCS and 1950-1975 Sociology and 1975-Language and FilmlTV Sex andhn Star Trek NA NA Doctor Who NA NA Psychology and Paranormal powers Star Wars Religion/myth andhn Babylon 5 Death. dying, and Immortality Art and Illustration Arthurlana Comics and graphic novels Heroic fantasy Theory and narratology Sword and sorcery Postmodernism Role-plaYing games Mainstream literature and Fairy tales and folklore Teaching MagiC realism Writing NA Utopialdystopia NA YAlchlldren'slplcture books Vampires Lost race stories Humor In Feminism and women authors Computers& artificial intelligence Gender andlin Virtual reality Race and/in Robots/cyborgs Multiculturalism Alternative history/worlds NA Cyberpunk National literatures Time travel American Poetry Asian Reviewing Blbllographylreference MagaZine Australasian British Canadian Collecting Hard SF NA NA European French Space travel/opera NA NA Planetary colonization NA NA German Latin American RUSSian SF F H NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA


Science Fic-cion Research Associa-cion www.sfra.ora The SFRA is the oldest professional organization for the study of sci ence fiction and fantasy literature and film. Founded in 1970, the SFRA was organized to improve classroom teaching; to encourage and assist scholarship; and to evaluate and publicize new books and magazines dealing with fantastic literature and HIm, teaching methods and materi als, and allied media performances. Among the membership are people from many countries--students, teachers, professors, librarians, futur ologists, readers, authors, booksellers, editors, publishers, archivists, and scholars in many disciplines. Academic affJiation is not a requirement for membership. Visit the SFRA Website at . For a membership application, contact the SFRA Treasurer or see the website. SFRA Benefits Extrapolation. Four issues per year. The oldest scholarly journal in the field, with critical, historical, and bibliographical articles, book re views, letters, occasional special topic issues, and an annual index. Science-Fiction Studies. Three issues per year. This scholarly journal in cludes critical, historical, and bibliographical articles, review ar ticles, reviews, notes, letters, international coverage, and an annual index. SFRA Annual Directory. One issue per year. Members' names, addresses, phone, e-mail addresses, and special interests. SFRA Review. Six issues per year. This newsletter/journal includes extensive book reviews of both nonfiction and fiction, review articles, listings of new and forthcoming books, and letters. The Review also prints news about SFRA internal affairs, calls for papers, updates on works in progress, and an annual index. SFRA Optional Benefits Foundation. Discounted subscription rate for SFRA members. Three issues per year. British scholarly journal, with critical, histori cal, and bibliographical articles, reviews, and letters. Add to dues: $30 surface; $36 airmail. The New York Review of Science Fiction. Discounted subscription rate for SFRA members. Twelve issues per year. Reviews and fea tures. Add to dues: $25 domestic; $34 domestic first class; $27 domestic institutional; $28 Canada; $36 overseas. SFRA Listserv. The SFRA Listserv allows users with e-mail accounts to post e-mails to all subscribers of the listserv, round-robin style. It is used by SFRA members to discuss topics and news of interest to the SF community. To sign on to the listserv or to obtain further information, contact the list manager, Len Hatfield, at> or>. He will subscribe you. An e-mail sent automatically to new subscribers gives more information about the list. President Alan Elms SFRA Execu-cive Commi-c-cee Vice President Secretary Carolyn Wendell English Department Monroe Community College Rochester, NY 14623 Psychology Department U of California-Davis Davis, CA 95616-8686 Adam Frisch 2308 Summit Street Sioux City, 1A 51104-1210 Treasurer Michael M. Levy Department of English University of Wisconsin-Stout Menomonie, WI 54751> Immediate Past President Joan Gordon 1 Tulip Lane Commack, NY 11725 1SY PRESORTED STANDARD U.S. POSTAGE PAID TEMPE, ARIZONA PERMIT NO. 45 Craig Jacobsen 208 East Baseline #311 Tempe. AZ 85283 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED


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