USF Libraries
USF Digital Collections

SFRA review


Material Information

SFRA review
Alternate Title:
Science Fiction Research Association review
Physical Description:
Science Fiction Research Association
Science Fiction Research Association
Place of Publication:
Eugene, Ore
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
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 )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
serial   ( sobekcm )


General Note:
Place of publication varies.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
usfldc doi - S67-00013-n248-2000-09_10
usfldc handle - s67.13
System ID:

This item is only available as the following downloads:

Full Text


(oetfitorJ. Haren Hellekson Craia Jacobsen Honfiction lerieWI Emtor: lIeil Barron ficbon lerieWI Etltior: Craia Jacobsen The SFRAReview (ISSN 1068-395X) is published six times a year by the Science Fiction ResearchAssociation (SFRA) and distributed to SFRA members.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 submissions or queries to both coeditors. If you would like to review nonfiction or fiction. please contact the respective 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 Us At: www.sfraorg


CAILFOR B\PERS Who: Sdence Fiction Research Assodation. What: Sdence Fiction in the Next Millennium: Looking Forward while Remembering the Past When: May 24 to 27,2001 (Memorial Day weekend). Where: Schenectady, N. Y, Schenectady Ramada Inn and Convention Center. Guests of Honor: c.). Cherryh, DavidWeber,Jane Yolen, and Vincent Di Fate. Topics: Any aspect of sdence pction, particularly prospects for sdence fiction in the coming millennium and its historical roots (induding space opera, Tolkien, storytelling, the media, literary criticism, teaching SF from an international perspective, and globalization). Topics that demonstrate SF's connection to, and relevance for, other disciplinary studies are particularly welcome, as are papers on the guests of honor. Send: Popers, paper proposals, and panel proposals. For both paper and panel proposals, send a 250word abstract (maximum 20minute reading time for the finished poperY. Indude presentation or panel title, name, mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address of each presenter. Receipt of proposals will be confirmed by e-mail. Contact: Barbara Chepaitis, Programming Chairman, SFRA 200/, /9 HillsideAvenue, Schenectady, NY /2308; e-mail: d1epaitis@ao/.com Deadline: Thursday, March 15, 200/. Website: O\I.LFORPAPERS What: Biotechnological and Medical Themes in Science Fiction. Who: International Sdence Fiction Conference. Where: Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece. When: October 2001. PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE ., ____ ",. Alan Elms As far as I can recall, there's no tradition forthe outgoing SFRA president to make any grand pronouncements about our common field of endeavor. So I won't. Science fiction scholarship, and science fiction, will go their diverse and merry ways regardless. But I do want to say a few things about changes in SFRA itself over the past two years. I'm not responsible for most of them (nor totally responsible for any of them), but I'm pleased that they happened on my watch. I'll be pleased to see the changes continue, and to see SFRA work even better, during Mike Levy's watch. (As the official Immediate Past President, I won't be going away altogether. A short list of things I'd like to see happen under Mike Levy's watch appear at the end of this message.) Most of the changes in SFRA since 1998 have occurred as a function of our moving more fully into the Electronic or Information Age, or Internet Age, or whatever you want to call it. They include the following: (1) Establishment of SFRA's Web presence. This has included three nearly simultaneous developments: (a) creation of a Website, <> though the work of several people, especially Peter Sands and Adam Frisch; (b) creation of the SFRAReuiew' s Website, <> mostly through the efforts of Craig] acobsen and Karen Hellekson; and (c) establishment of the SFRA member listserv and the Executive Board listserv, with Len Hatfield continuing as the usually silent facilitator while many members trade ideas, information, proposals, emergency alerts, etc. All these Webbased communications channels enable our members to keep in better touch than they ever have before and to conduct SFRA business more quickly and (usually) on a more well-informed basis. (2) Reestablishment of the SFRAReview as a regular and content-strong publication. In the past, the SFRAReuiew intermittently worked well at being a newsletter and a site for reviews, especially of scholarly books. Problems arose when the Reuiew proved to be too much work for a particular editor, or when the division of responsibilities between coeditors foundered for lack of communica tion. In the past two years, Karen and Craig have consistently been hard-working coeditors, with Neil Barron playing an important role as essentially a third coeditor. Significantly, Karen and Craig were able to work closely together without having ever even met each other (their frrst face-to-face meeting finally happened near the end of their editorial term, a few months ago in Cleveland). They not only got the Re-view out on time, but expanded its scope in important ways, partly in the harckopy edition and partly on the Web. Again, the ability to transmit not only short messages but large chunks of editorial content via the Net has made their time-demanding tasks as editors considerably more efficient. I have hopes that the SFRARmew's next editors, Shelley Rodrigo Blanchard and Barbara Lucas, will be able to maintain its quality, stability, and regularity by the same means. (3) Effective scheduling and conduct of strong annual conferences. Every SFRA conference I've participated in, scattered over a couple of decades, has had its redeeming qualities. But some have needed more redemption than othersand it was often hard to tell, in advance, which conferences were more promising. Our 1999 and 2000 conferences both worked quite well, partly from good choices of conference organizers and locations, and partly again through plenty of advance communication over the Web. Our next two conferences lookvery solid as well-and the 2002 one, in Scotland, might never have gotten off the ground if Farah Mendlesohn hadn't been able to exchange e-mails and site information easily with the Executive Board and other interested members. What remains to be done? I'll leave that mostly to Mike and our other new officers, and to the suggestions and efforts of other members. But I'd like to highlight three areas where we need to exploit electronic opportunities: (A) Our book publishiogprogram. It's clear that we don't have the


resources necessary to take over the defunct Borgo Press publishing program in its entirety. But e-publishing is getting easier, and it may be getting more academically respectable. We've already gotten into it in a tentative way. We need to explore the possibilities further, with regard to the sorts of small-pressrun books that Borgo used to publish, and maybe with regard to developing a bank of short story e-reprint permissions that will enable our members to assemble their own classroom anthologies from course to course. I've been impressed with how beautifully Adobe Acrobat pdf files come out looking like real old-fashioned book or journal pages, presentable to promotion committees, etc. Other possibilities are in the (electronic) air. (B) Further expansion of the SFRAReview. This has already begun, both with the well-established" Approaching" series and with Joan Gordon and Rodrigo Shelley Blanchard's new "Theory and Beyond" series. It may be too expensive to increase the page count of the hard-copy SFRAReview much beyond the present size. But as scholarly journals in many disciplines shift: into electronic formats (published simultaneously with or instead of hard-copy versions), we'll need to consider how far and how quickly we should move the SFRAReview in that direction. Given the U.S. Post Office's poor record in gettingthird-class mailings of the SFRAReviewto many of our members in a reasonable time, I recommend going to simultaneous electronic and hard-copy editions in the near future, with a move to total e-publication not long thereafter. (C) Finally, I hope to see continued strengthening of our two Websites. Since I'm not at all adept at Web publication, this and my other recommenda tions above mean I'm volunteering somebody else's time-lots of somebodies, and lots of time and hard work. (Maybe too, I need to learn enough about Web publication to start volunteering my own time and effort, somewhere down the road.) But it shouldn't be too hard to add more archives from our earlier SFRAReviews, more original contributions (short or long) by our members, and more links to our members' own Websites, which will gradually contain more and more of their own work (new or previously published elsewhere). Our strengthened Websites will in the long run mean a larger and stronger SFRA and a higher level of SF scholarship available to all Web users. For the early years of the twenty-fIrSt century, these are the rather modest organizational goals to which I now look forward. SFRA BUSINESS SFRA rREASVRER IlElwRr Hichaellevy Greetings from beautiful Dalkeith, Scotland, where 1'm currently teaching as part of the University of Wisconsin in Scotland program. In honor of our location, southeast of Edinburgh, I've included Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll andMr. Hyde, Ken MacLeod's Cassini Division, a bunch of border ballads, and, of course, J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone to the reading lists in my science fiction and children's literature courses. Yesterday I went to hear Stephen Baxter give a talk on science fiction at W aterstone's bookstore in downtown Edinburgh. Financially, the organization seems to be doing quite well although we're still worried by a drop in membership-we're down about 20 members from last year. If you haven't gotten around to renewing yet, there's still time to do so. You can still send your membership form to me at my permanent address: Michael Levy, Department of English, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, WI 54751. My student assistant Lisa is waiting to process your renewals. Guest Speakers: Greg Bear,joan L Slonczewski, Susan MSquier. Topics: Conference theme. Contact Domna Pastourmatzi, School of English,Aristotle University, Thessaloniki 54006, Greece; email Send:Abstracts and proposals. Deadline: March 31, 2001. Website: www.enl.auth.grlsf CAILFDRPAPERS What: 22nd International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. Who: InternationalAssodation for the Fantastic in the Arts. Where: Fort LauderdaleAirport Hilton, Dania, Ra. When: March 21-25, 2001. Guests of Honor:john Crowley, Brooks Landon, Brian AJdiss, joshua Kane, and Patrida Mckillip. Topics: Fantastic film; intersections between fantastic film and other media, especially literature; presentations that highlight the connections between the fantastic past and present, as well as those that focus on fantastic (and imaginary) voyages; texts by john Crowley and the other guests of honor. Send: Proposals to (I) read a paper, (2) recruit and chair a paper session, or (3) organize and chair a panel discussion. Only one paper may be presented. Deadline: Date stamp of October I, 2000; electronic correspondence welcome. Website: Other Information: To present, participants must join the IAFA by December 15, 2000, and preregister for the conference by February 15, 200 I. Reservation deadline for spedal hotel rates is February I, 200 I. Hotel registration information is available at the IAFA Website. Areas Accepting Submissions: Praposals must in dude a 500word abstract and appropriate bibliography indicating the


projea's scholarly or theoretical context FANTASTIC UTERATURE IN ENGUSH [Papers on the fantastic in British,American and Commonwealth literature]. Division Head: Charles W Nelson, Humanities Department, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI49931 (e-mail: THE FANTASTIC IN FILM & MEDIA [Papers on all aspects of the fantastic in media other than literature, induding live performance, television, music, video, and film]. Division Head:). Robert Craig, Central Michigan University, 306 Moore Hall, Mt Pleasant, MI48859 (e-mail: jIobertaaig@arxMnav.anidtedu). HORROR UTERATURE [Papers on all aspects of horror in mainstream and papular literature, induding its literary traditions, aesthetics, psychological constructs, and comparative inffuences]. Division Head: Bernadette Bosky, 206 Valentine St, Yonkers, NY 10704 (e-mail: THE FANTASTIC IN POPULAR CULTURE AND VISUAL ARTS [Papers on all aspects of the fantastic in popular culture: comics/graphic novels, visual arts, architecture, photography, and computer-based art). Division Head: Joseph Sanders, 6354 Brooks Blvd., Mentor; OH 44060 (e-mail: joesanders@ao/.com). INTERNATIONAL FANTASTIC UTERATURE [Papers on all aspects of the fantastic in international and comparative literature]. Division Head:Andrea 8eJ1, Hamline University, 1536 Hewitt Ave. #251, St Paul MN 55104 (e-mail: SQENCE FICTION UTERATURE & THEORY [Papers on all aspects of sdence fiction literature, history. and theory]. Division Head: Rob Latham, English Department, 308 EPB, University of Iowa, Iowa Oty, IA 52242 (email: EDITORIAL Karen Hellekson Alert readers may have noted that my address has changed: I'm now in Maine, home of snowshoes, skis, and moose (though I have yet to see any of these in action). My husband got one ofthose tenure-track job things at the University of Maine at Farmington, and I was happy to leave Kansas and join him. Luckily, cyberspace has made it easy to continue SFRAReviewing, and Craig and I transitioned my move without a hitch. I've expanded my freelance editing business and have been able to keep busy. U nfonunately, the libraries around my neck ofthe woods leave a lot to be desired (apparently Stephen King funds the big university library in Orono/Bangor, and it's the only decent one), so I can see already that interlibrary loan will be my friend if I want to continue in the scholarly biz. U nfonunately, we don't have an Approaching column for you this issue, because we didn't get any submissions for lain M. Banks's Feersum Endjinn. Maybe I'll try to make up for it by proposing an Banks panel at SFRA 2002, to be held in Scotland Our last Approaching text for 2000 is Octavia Butler' sParable of the Sower. Don't delay-send stuff to us now! There's a lot of interest in Butler's work, and I know many of you teach Butler, so please send along essay questions, rough study guides, assessments of student response to the text, and the like. For this issue, in addition to my usual heartfelt thanks to Craig, I extend thanks to Dina Kiernan for her help in preparing the copy, Joan Gordon and Shelley Rodrigo Blanchard for their fabulous work on the Theory and Beyond column, and to Neil Barron for providing the bulk of the content, right on deadline as usual-as well as to the reviewers and other contributors whose work is featured in these pages. We couldn't do it without you, and I know that you'll be there when new editors Barbara Lucas and Shelley Rodrigo Blanchard take over with the January 2001 issue. Next issue-and the last one Craig and I will prepare: an interview with Campbell Award winner Vernor Vmge. THEORY & BEYOND fdited by Joan Gordon and Shelley Rodrigo Blanchard FEI'IINISI'I A .ECA6E __ ___ .scr ___ Fl.-..;-.. #/hT, ____ F_"lIIIsr.scr-..-G"ALAxr Alcena H. D. Rogan Here's a short and selective, informal guide to some of the decade's most interesting and provoking work in the field of feminist criticism and science fiction. This survey is by no means an exhaustive account of the work produced in this field over the past decade, although my selections are, I believe, represen tative of the most important directions that this area of study is now taking. My specific focus is on book-length studies in English that feature academic feminist literary critical to science fiction (as opposed to science, fantasy, or utopian literature). I focus on books, rather than edited collections of essays or journal articles, because I'm interested in theorists who make some sort of sustainable, broad framework -oriented argument for a privileged relationship between science fiction and feminist theory. These book-length studies are the coin of the academic realm, and as such they tend to make more of an impact on the literary critical world in general. "Feminist" describes a branch of literary and cultural criticism, but it also describes a plurality of politically engaged subject positions. Coming to a text with a commitment to reading as feminists, however we (re) define what reading as feminists entails, is an act that implicates both the critic and the text as


political strategists: our object is to determine how the text can be read as a creative manifestation of feminist praxis and how our reading itself constitutes a form of feminist praxis. Of course, all textual analysis operates out of a set of political assumptions, including those literary critical approaches that defy the existence of their own ideological strictures. Forthefeminist critic, however, exploring the political, institutional, and experiential positionality of oneself and the text under consideration is a necessary precondition of critical textual analysis, and has been since contempo rary u.s. feminist literary criticism's inception in 1970 with Kate Millett's Sexual Politics. In this way, feminist criticism of SF, more than any other branch of SF studies, initiated SF criticism's engagement with contemporary critical theory, thus opening the field up to cultural studies, race theory, postcolonial theory, queer theory, and other theoretical approaches that interrogate the textual politics of representation. In short, feminist critics of SF such as Joanna Russ, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Marleen Barr introduced the field of SF criticism to a consideration of the problem of representation as an issue with very high political stakes: this approach now forms the basis of most academic literary critical inquiry. Feminist criticism of SF remains in the vanguard of SF criticism and continues to contribute substantially to the effort to put SF studies on the academic map. You might use this guide as a ready-made beginner's bibliography for college-and graduate-level students working on the intersections of feminist theory and SF, as a thumbnail annotated bibliography-style sketch of the latest general trends this field is developing, or as a supplement to your own research in this area. Marleen Writes Back to the Empire Marleen Barr' s 1992 FeministFabulation: SpacelPostmodemFiction posits "feminist fabulation as a generic category that expands the more narrow category "feminist science fiction, an appellation that, she argues, fails to articulate feminist speculative fiction's origins in the modernist and postmodernist literary traditions. Barr demonstrates the influence of such modernist authors as Virginia W ooIf and Zora Neale Hurston on contemporary feminist SF writers, thus recontextualizing feminist SF's trajectory as part of the story of modernism's development into postmodern literary forms, rather than conceptualizing feminist SF as a subgenre or response to traditional or masculinist science fiction. In so doing, she redefines feminist SF as part of a tradition that includes feminist postmodem or broadly "speculative" fiction, such as the novels of Erica J ong. This alternative analysis attempts to carve out a space for feminist speculative fiction in feminist literary canons; it also makes a strong case for feminist fabulation's inclusion in postmodem literary canons. Jenny on Jameson JennyWolmark's1994AliensandOthers:ScienceFiaion,Feminism,and Postmodemism makes a similar bid for SF's inclusion within the tradition of postmodernity. But whereas Barr is more interested in tracing feminist fabulation's lines of literary influence from modernity to postmodernity, W olmark approaches feminist SF as a genre that articulates some of the theoretical concerns specific to the so-called postmodern tradition, such as the problematization of the self/other binary, the representation of the (fragmented) subject, and those discourses of postcolonial, feminist, and cultural theory that address the problem of the" alien" subject or culture. W olmark's intelligent readings of feminist SF articulate the intersections of the genre with a variety of contemporary theoretical concerns. This study also includes an excellent introductory essay on the postmodern critical tradition. Jane on Genre Jane Donawerth's 1997 Frankenstein'sDaughters: Women WritingScience Fiction takes a sort of amalgamated feminist literary critical approach, one SYDNEY]ONES llBRARYRECORDS NC7WONl..lNE The records of books held by the Sdence Fiction Foundation collection in spedal Collections and Archives, Sydney Jones Ubrary, are now available online. The catalogue is QJrrently in two ports, and to get a full picture of the holdings it is necessary to search both. Port I consists of over 19,000 records of fiction books catalogued 1995-1997 on a stand-alone ProCite databose under a project funded by the Higher Education Funding Coundl ofEngiand. They are now available via the Cheshire IIWWWSearch Interface. This is still in prototype form. The records are being transferred to Port 2, which consists of all nonfiction records and fiction added to the Sdence Fiction Foundation Collection sinc;e 1997. 50 for, 4000 records are now accessible through the University Ubrory's online public access catalogue. Further details are on the Website at catalog.html. For more information about the Sdence Fiction Foundation Collection and other SF holdings in the university library, please go to http:// sffchome.html. REX:ENI'AND R>RII-KXJMING NONFICDONBCX)KS *Denotes books to be renewed. You may request such books by writing meilborron@hotmaiLcom) *Wheat, Leonard F. Kubrick's 200 I : A Triple Allegory. Scareaow Press, June 2000. *Cumbow, Robert C. Order in the Universe:The Films of John Carpenter. 2nd ed. 5coreaow Press, September 2000. Updates 1990 ed. Olsen, Koren. Understanding Lord of the Flies:A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents. Greenwood, summer 2000.


Todd,janet Mary WolistonecraftA Revolutionary Life. Columbia University Press, September 2000. *Buckricn,judith Raphael. George Turner:A Life. Melbourne University Press, 1999. Distributed in the United States by Paul & Co., summer 2000. *Butler, Andrew M., Edward james, and Farah Mendlesohn, eds. Terry Pratchett: GUilty of Literature. SF Foundation, UK, May 2000. Schwartz,julius, and Brian M. Thomsen. Man ofTwo Worlds: My Life in Science Fiction and Comics. HarperCollins,july 2000. Klein, Carole. Doris Lessing:A Biography. Carroll and Graf, October 2000. Wachowski, Larry and Andy. The Art of the Matrix. Newmarket Press, Odober 2000. *Schael, Roland. Utopia: The Search for the Ideal Society in the Western World. Oxford University Press, November 2000. Wood, Christopher. Fairies in Victorian Painting. Antique Collectors' Qub, Odober 2000. Geissman, Grant and Fred von Bernewitz. Tales ofTerror!The EC Companion. Fantagraphics, September 2000. History of publication of MAD and Tales of the Crypt. Swartz, Mark Evan. Oz before the Rainbow: L Frank Baum's "The Wizard of Oz" on Stage and Screen to I 939.john Hopkins University Press, Odober 2000. Brooker, Will. Batman Unmasked: Analyzing a Cultural Icon. Continuum, November 2000. Martin, Thomas L, ed. Reading the Classics with C. S. Lewis. Baker Books, October 2000. that focuses on recuperative {re}readings of woman-authored texts. Its broad thesis is that woman-authored science fiction from Frankenstein to the present both responds to and articulates women's marginal! marginalized position vis-a-vis various dominant male discourses, specifically the discourses of science and literature. Thus the title is meant to refer not only to a line of literary influence in womanauthored SF from the early nineteenth century to the present but also to the inflection of woman-authored SF as a coherent text that addresses their" monstrous" position within Western culture. A solid (if not very original) work, Donawerth's study includes valuable and thoughtful recuperative readings of many lesser-known works of feminist science fiction. Feminist Theory on Science Fiction, Inc. As you can see from the above survey, not too many book-length studies on the intersections of science fiction and feminist literary/critical theory came out of the last decade. The title of this heading refers to the decade's book length studies in feminist literary/critical theory that incorporate a substantial consideration of feminist SF, a category that includes the useful books. Anne Cranny.Francis's 1990 FeministFiction: Feminist Uses oJ Generic Fiction explores the relationship between feminist fiction and generic forms. Cranny-Francis demonstrates how so-called genre fiction can undergo feminist revision in ways that either reinforce or challenge its mascu1inist presuppositions. Robin Roberts's 1993 New Species: Gender and Science in Science Fiction focuses, as the title suggests, on the discursive construction of science as gendered. Roberts contextua1izes women's fraught relationship to the discourses of science since the nineteenth century. Anne Balsamo's 1996 Technolagjes 0/ the GemleiedBody: Reading Cyborg Women draws out some of the implications of Donna Haraway's influential 1985 "Cyborg Manifesto. This study seeks to situate the figure of the cyborg in technology, culture, and fiction as a trope that challenges the relationship between sex! and subjectivity. Allucqere Rosanne Stone's 1996 War o/Desire and T eclmokJg;y at the Clase 0/ the Mechanical Age is an uneven but nonetheless interesting discussion of the relationship between technology and desire. Stone, a former student of Donna Haraway, situates technology and desire as overlapping, contradictory discourses in a dense, autobiographical narrative form that seeks to challenge the conven tions of academic writing. I admire this project on principle, although the end result is overly confessional and often confusing. Donna Haraway's 1997 Modest Oncomouse is a rambling, often utterly incoherent examination of the discourses of technology in a variety of cultural contexts. The overall thesis of this book appears to be "technoscience is neat." Scientific experiments, (often mediocre) artwork, various mass media texts, personal experience, and literature are the subjects of Haraway's vague musings. Katherine Hayles's 1999 How WeBecamePosthuman: VtrtualBodiesin Cybernetics relates the history of cybernetics in a clear, intelligent manner. Hayles demonstrates how cybernetics has both formed and informed mass cultural perception of the nature of subjectivity. This study also serves as a history of the gendering of the cyborg figure. Hayles is a gifted scientist, historian, and literary critic with a wonderful.l.y clear and accessible writing style. Marleen Barr's 20CJJ Genre Fission:A New Discozme Practice/or Otltural Studies demonstrates how texts that engage in genre border-crossing have created a new genre all their own. Genre fission is represented as a discursive practice with important implications for feminist theory, as it involves a self-conscious violation of generic boundaries. Includes an excellent discussion of feminist science fiction and Hispanic American fiction. As a long-time practitioner of genre fission, Barr is in her dement here: the result is a fun, sophisticated, and very readable study. Most of these texts enjoy influence outside the field of SF studies and thus serve to expand and further problematize the categories of feminist literary theory and feminist fiction. Write on, Sisters!


NONFICTION REVIEW W'a. SHAPE. FI#:FI.II? Neil Barron Sabella, Robert. Who Shaped Science Fiction? Kroshka Books, 227 Main Street, Suite 100, Huntington, NY 11743,June 2000, xvii + 282 p. $23.95. 1-56072-520-6. Orders to (631) 424-6682. Before you read the next sentence, write the names of the ten authors or editors who you judge to have most shaped SF. Now compare your list to this one: Campbell, Wells, Heinlein, Burroughs, Gernsback, E. E. Smith, Verne, Stapledon, Wollheim, and Clarke. As a game, this won't quite challenge Mo nopoly, but it's a good example of the propensity fans have for making lists and assigning merit to figures largely or wholly ignored by nonfans. Sabella teaches high school math and edits a fanzine, in which some of this book appeared. His introduction explains the methodology he used to select the 100 most important figures in SF history: he defmed SF somewhat narrowly, excluding fantasy and horror fiction and alternative histories; partly because he reads English and some French, he was forced to limit the SF to English-language SF. His choice of only 100 figures is entirely arbitrary. What will perhaps be challenged most is his listing of authors and editors in rank order of influence, starting with the ten listed above. Sabella doesn't explain the details of his literary calculus. Each entry is about 2'h pages long, typically a 2-page biocritical sketch followed by a half-page chronology of the subject's life and major works. Each sketch is keyed to the notes, which repeatedly cite a few standard works, such as Oute and Nicholls' sEncyclopedia a/Science Fiction, the first (1982) edition of Bleiler's Science Fiction Writm (the 1999 edition appeared too late), and the second (1986) edition of what is now titled the St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers, whose 4th edition was published in 1996, in plenty of time for Sabella to consult its 640 entries. I no longer own copies of Mike Ashley's Illustrated Book a/Science Fiction Lists (1982) or the SF Book o/Lists compiled by Maxim J akubowsky and Malcolm Edwards (1983), but I don't recall any oftheir lists assigning a rank order based on influence. The most recent list, measuring popularity rather than influence, was the all-time best author list in the August 1999 Locus, which lists forty-nine names, some included in all three polls (1973, 1988, and 1999), others in only one poll (notably the younger authors such as Bruce Sterling or Connie Willis). But the Locus poll omits important figures like Ballard, Aldiss, Disch, and the late van VOg! (so much for popularity polls). Sabella recognizes that the importance of editors, and not only as gatekeepers: Robert Davis of the Munsey pulps to Camp bell, Boucher and McComas, Ian Ballantine, even Ray Palmer, whose influence was mostly awful. He makes a case for Kubrick and Roddenderry but not a very strong one, because their influence has largely been limited to their chosen media. For a writer/editor to have influence, they have to have been around for some years. The youngest writer Sabella lists is Bruce Sterling, born in 1954. I expected to see Octavia Butler, born 1947, another important black writer (Delany is number 13, but neither his blackness nor sexual orientation is mentioned). Sabella is generally accurate, based on a large sampling of the entries. Judith Merril probably resigned herself long ago to having an extra "1" added to her name, a mistake Sabella makes. Final quiz: list your choices for numbers 91-100. Sabella's are Pangborn, G. A. England, Palmer, Spinrad, AnUs, Card, Bloch, Dickson, Haldeman, and Kim Stanley Robinson. Go figure. Relative influence is impossible to establish with any reliability. Most heavy readers will have to establish their own rankings, and for that pwpose, and for libraries, the revised paperback version of the Wiater, Stanley, and Christopher Golden. The Stephen King Universe:A Tale byTale Examination of the Interconnected Elements in His Work Renaissance Media, November 2000. Silver,Alain, and James Ursini. Horror Film Reader. UmeJight Editions. Sims,Alan et al. "Star Trek":Aliens and Artifacts, Pocket Books, October 2000. Simpson, Philip L Psycho Paths: Tracing the Serial Killer through Contemporary American Film and Rction. South em Illinois University Press, October 2000. Din;, Paul. Batman Beyond: The Retum of the Joker:The Official Screenplay. Watson Guptill, September 2000. Stanley,John. Creature Features:The Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Movie Guide. 6th ed. Berkley Boulevard Books, 2000. Updates 1997 edition. *Moore, Chris. Joumeyman:The Art of Chris Moore. Paper Tigerl Sterling Publications, November 2000. *Frank Kelly Freas:As He Sees It. Paper Tiger/Sterling Publications, November 2000. *Merrill, Rowena. The Art of Rowena. Text by Doris Vallejo. Paper Tiger! Sterling Publications, September 2000. Wells, Paul. The Horror Genre: From Beezlebub to BlairWitch. Wallflower, UK, 2000. Short Cuts series. King, Geoff, and Tanya Krzywinska. Science Fiction Cinema: From Outerspace to Cyberspace. Wallflower, UK, 2000. Short Cuts series.


Bryce,Allen, ed. Amicus: The Studio That Dripped Blood. Stray Cat, UK, 2000 Hunter,Jack. House of Hammer:The Complete Hammer Films Story. Creation, UK, 2000. Updates 1996 ed. Snyed, Steve, and David Jones. Gnawing Medusa's Flesh: The Science Fiction Poetry of Robert Calvert. Hilltop, UK, 2000. 431Jage chapbook. Bloom, Harold, ed. Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse-Five." Chelsea House, October 2000. Modem Critical Interpretations series. *Schoene, Berthold, ed. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein. Columbia University Press, November 2000. Columbia Critical Guides. Honda, Mineko. The Imaginative World of C. S. Lewis: A Way to Participate in Reality, University Press of America, 2000. Hayes, Kevin). Poe and the Printed World. Combridge University Press, 2000. Cambridge Studies in American Art and Culture. Nardo, Don, ed. Readings on Frankenstein. Greenhaven Press, 2000. *Freeland, Cynthia A The Naked and the Undead: Evil and the Appeal of Horror.Westview Press, 2000. Thinking through Onemo series. *Moylan, Tom. Scraps of the Untainted Sky: Science Fiction, Utopia, Dystopia. Westview Press, October 2000. COll.ECIEDWORK.'SOF JACKVANCE .ANNCJUNCED Neil Barron writes: Sabella assigned Jack Vance to the 70th position, perhaps because he's written more fantasy than SF. In the August ClutelNicholls encyclopedia is better, cheaper and far more compre hensive. NONFICTION REVIEW Sc'IEN#:E LI'ERArVRE,AItII' Hichael Levy Westfahl, Gary. Science FictiCJn, Children's Literature, and Popular Culture: Coming of Age in Fantasyland. Greenwood Press, Box 5007, Westport, Cf06881, May 2000. xiv + 157p. $59.95.0-313-30847o. Gary Westfahl is a polemicist. He loves to make statements that will stir things up and set other critics' teeth on edge: consider, for example, his recent claim that Hugo Gernsback was a major literary critic. He's also a fairly ruthless reviewer. If Westfahl doesn't like your book, he says so in no uncertain terms, and he doesn't suffer gladly people whom he considers fools. The effect of all this is that when other people review his work, they tend to be equally ruthless; witness the shellacking several reviewers gave Mechanics ofW onder, his recent book on Gernsback. He states here that he has no wish to be controversial and says this is "the least polemical book I have ever written." His purpose is "to convey the experience of growing up in contemporary culture by examining, in the order they are usually encountered and cherished, representative works of science fiction, children's literature, and! or popular culture." Beginning with children's books, Westfahl discusses an early childhood favorite of his, Hill and Maxwell's OJarlie andHis Kitten Topsy. The book, which Westfahl still finds engaging, is a fantasy, though later volumes in the series are more realistic, not to mention, he tells us, didactic and boring. This is followed by perceptive essays on Superman, the Hardy Boys, and contemporary series fiction of the Choose Your Own Adventure andR. L. Stine varieties. One ofthe things that's consistently gotten westfahl into hot water with his colleagues is his tendency to deconstruct, often with a disturbing lack of tact, work by others that doesn't measure up to his standards. We see some of this in his essay on the Hardy Boys, where he has harsh words for Carol Billman's well-regarded book, The Secret of the Stratmeyer Syndicate. This tendency is taken to an even greater extreme in his discussion of the book and mm versions of Ibis Island Earth, where he repeatedly accuses critic Cyndy Hendershot of "lying" about the work. She mayor may not be a competent critic of Ibis Island Earth, and Westfahl's recounting of the facts of the novel and film may be more accurate than hers, but I have to admit that I fInd his tone rather nasty. Other critics are violently pummeled in the chapters that follow. R Bruce Franklin, for example, receives a number of evidently deserved shots in an effective essay on pacifIsm in Star Trek. Revealing a different side of his critical interests, Westfahl also includes two perceptive chapters on advertising, MfV, and rock videos. He argues persuasively that we must see advertising as a major source for postmodem literature, and he does a fine job of deconstructing rock documentaries. I know very little about the critical literature in this field, so I have nothing to compare Westfahl's essay with, but I found his analysis of the way in which documen tary writers attempt to give an artificially heroic structure to the lives of figures such as Billy Joel and Madonna fascinating. Less cohesive, though not without interest, is a chapter originally intended as a series of entries for a proposed David Pringle book titled Hollywood: The Best 100 NO'1Jeis. Among the books Westfahl considers are Stuart Kaminsky'sMurderon the Yellow Brick Road, Thomas Tryon's Cnrwneti Heads, and Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls. The volume ends with a return to SF as westfahl considers the generally conservative ways in which various SF writers have used communication


technologies in their work and praises them for their conservatism. In a fmal essay, he demonstrates the many ways in which various editors, bowdlerizers, screenwriters, and critics have misinterpreted The T zmeMachine. Ultimately Westfahl's book is more successful than not. In his essays on children's literature, serial fiction, Star Trek, MTV, and Wells, he clearly demon strates the analytical abilities that have made him, at his best, one of our more perceptive critics. A number of chapters, however, are marred to various degrees (for me at least) by his trademark tactlessness, and a couple of pieces, most notably the chapters on Hollywood novels and communication technology, feel like they were included to pad the book to a publishable length. [Ibis is volume 88 ofGrrenwood's monographic series, Contrihutions to the Study of Science Fiction andFantasy, whose jirstvolume 'lmS The Mechanical God: Machines in Science Fiction, 1982, ediu:d by Thorn DunnandRich Erlich. Theprice of these books has alwzys been relatively highandhasroughlydoubled overthepast eighteen yem. My guess is thatfewtitlessell more than 500capies, mostly to large university and some publiclibraries.Att:oday'sprices,andwithbudgetsofmarrylibrariesstatic,it'sahard sell.-Ed] NONFICTION REVIEW c.s"LHqs Rebecca Ankeny Cording, Ruth James. C. S. Lewis: A Celebration of His Early Life. Broadman and Holman, 127 9th Avenue, North Nashville, TN 37234, April 2000. 144 p. $14.99. 0-8054-2200-5. Cordingpays her debt to the man "who made righteousness readable"; she also asserts the significant contribution of his mother, who died when Lewis was ten years old. As the subtitle suggests, Cording's interest is in assembling materials that contribute to a sentimental celebration of early influences on Lewis and childhood evidences of his character. Lewis's fans will enjoy this lovingly assembled collage, which includes many photographs and which resembles nothing so much as a reverent family scrapbook. The primary materials, derived from the Lewis papers assembled by Albert Lewis, may be new to some. Cording's commentary remains unanalytical throughout. Although it's interesting to hear that when the adult Lewis read The Water Babies, he remem bered hearing his mother read it aloud, but Cording draws no critical inferences from the event, though she does obliquely contradict George Sayer's comment in his 1994 biography,Jack, that Flora "does not seem to have read to her children" (p. 43). Cording also contradicts evaluation of Flora as rather detached, citing use of "Bear" as an endearment and her loving commentary on the children's holiday pursuits in her letters to Albert. From Cording's description, one would never guess that Lewis ever did anything proper, even those things he admits to. Her characterization of Lewis's childhood as "Puritan" contradicts his own evaluation of it in Surprised By Jay (1955): "Some people have got the impression ... that I was brought up in strict and vivid Puritanism, but this is quite untrue." Lewis's life interests those who value his writing because of what we do know about him and what remains hidden. Cording does not uncover any of that hiddenness. I recommend this for Lewis fans, who will enjoy the familiar story enhanced by photos and quotations. A marginal choice for libraries. 1999 Locus poll, he placed II th, and 16th in 1988, but wasn't on the 1973 poll. He's had a (ew books devoted to him, most recently the collection of appreciations reviewed elsewhere in this issue. An ambitious project to reprint all of Vance's fiction in a uniform edition of about 60 volumes has been announced (all this information is taken from http://massmedia.comlmikeblviel ). The volumes in the Vance Integral Edition will be issued in the order written (shorter fiction will be naturally grouped in seven volumes), with a complete list shown on the Website. Vance, his wife, and his son will editorially supervise the project and will restore the Original texts when he judged the original editorial changes were misguided. The size of the edition will be roughly 600 sets; no individual volumes will be sold. All editorial work. is donated to this nonprofit project. The cost of the set will be set to recover only printing and mailing costs and will be approximately $1000, or a very reasonable $17 per volume, plus shipping. Some sets will be donated to academic libraries to enhance Vance's reputation. Publication is tentatively set (or 2002.AlI sets must be prepaid in full, with a down payment required. There were 451 subsaibers as of 19 July 2000 when I checked the site.l( youre "seriously" interested, write, and you71 receive a monthly newsletter about the project. Neil Barron writes: For more than two decades Andy Porter has almost single-handedly edited and produced (rom his Brooklyn base the Science Fiction Chronicle, a successor to his Algol/Starship. For some years it was a monthly, but in the past few years, partly because of family problems and responsibilities, its frequency was reduced. It's been bimonthly most recently. It was recently purchased by DNA Publications, which publishes several other magazines, such


as Aboriginal SF and Weird Tales. This will permit Porter to concentrate on the editorial end o( the magazine, which will resume monthly publication in January 200 I. Although it's a news magazine, its editorial mix is quite different (rom that o( Locus, with more emphasis on (an activities and media. I( you receive only one such magazine, I recommend Locus as more use(ul to the scholar, but SFC has its own merits and costs $45 (or a dozen issues, $80 (or 24, payable to DNA Publications, Box 2988, Radford, VA 241430-2988; more details from Langley Searles reports that one o( the magazines, Ghosts and Scholars, will cease publication with issue 33, thus eliminating it as a market The Heinlein Joumal is a new market; see the editorial note (ollowing the review o( Gifford's Heinlein bibliography in this issue. The Scholarly and Re(erence Division o(StMartin's Press and Macmillan Press UK will merge into a new imprint called Palgrave, with the first books with this imprint reaching the market in early 200 I. Reprinted backJist titles will be rebranded as Pal grave. Michael Flamini remains the person to whom proposals should be sent SMP will continue to distribute other British imprints, such as Manchester University Press, which aren't affeaed by this merger. .AREYOU I.lSIENING? Neil Barron writes:Audiobooks are inueasingly popular in libraries and the general marketplace, as the June 5, 2000, Publishers Weekly, pp. 54, 56, clearly indicates. When PVV listed the all-time best-selling audiobooks in 1996, only 54 titles had sold more than 100,000 copies. The list in this issue in dudes precisely twice that number, with Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective NONFICTION REVIEW AIutrIuJN's I'IAsrEIIS.F II.RR_R A. langley Ruber, Peter, eel. Arkham 's Masters of Horror: A 60th Anniversary Anthology Retrospective of the First 30 Years of Arkham House. Arkham House, Box 546, Sauk City, WI 53583,July 2000. xi + 444 p. $32.95. 087054-177-3. This volume presents twenty stores by authors whose work was pub lished by the firm during 1941-69. Almost all of them are obscure, only one (Bradbury's "The Small Assassin") coming from an Arkham collection. Six (by Ramsey Campbell, August Derleth, CarolJ acobi, DavidH. Keller, H. Russell Wakefield, and Howard Wandrei) are new to print; the others, appearing in book form fort he fU'St time, are chiefly from pulps of the 1930s and 194Os. The quality varies, but some are quite good, and all have points of interests that will appeal to readers. But Ruber (born 1940, andArkahm House's editor since 1997) has done more than assemble a few collector's tidbits. All stories are prefaced by essays telling about their authors and these, with the editor's foreword and preface, take up fully 40% of the book and comprise a wealth of valuable and fascinating historical material. Wherever possible, their information is conveyed by extensive quotations from the authors' correspondence. This is a welcome plan, for it provides important details about their lives and opinions, and it illuminates relationships not only between them and Arkham House but among themselves, for many were mutually acquainted. Lovec:raft, for instance, is represented by excerpts from two dozen of his 1926-29 letters, none previously published. Such letters also tell us much about the abilities, personalities, and habits of Derleth, who founded Arkham House and directed it until his death in 1971. He comes across as a workaholic, tirelessly dedicated in his efforts to make the frrm a going concern, routindy plowing funds from his own literary sales into the corporate kitty to keep it financially afloat. He was a friendly man, honest and ethical in his dealings-indeed, more so than some of his writers; Ray Bradbury, Frank Belknap Long, H. Russell Wakefield and S. Fowler Wright are portrayed here as causing him constant trouble. Derleth also had the habit of speaking plainly and considered himself an authority on literary matters and writing, a stance his vocation certainly supported. This offended a number ofless experienced people, who took his remarks personally rather than professionally. Over the years, this resulted in accusatory rumors, baseless underground legends, and after his death, when he could no longer defend himself, much bad press. Ruber successfully demonstrates the falsity of these canards and titles his preface "The Un-Demonizing of August Derleth." Readers will wonder, of course, if he's biased in the opposite direction. As one who corresponded with Derleth for several years, and contributed to a number of his books, I can state that my own experience fully supports the point of view set forth here. I always found him helpful, generous, appreciative and understanding-besides being a knowledgeable and lively correspondent There are three faults of note. The biographical details cited for Henry S. Whitehead (p. 155) are inaccurate and don't reflect what has been known for several years; recent research has even questioned his cited date of birth. Second, the book has not been very carefully proofread and has numerous typographical and granunatical errors, even, distressingly, on the jacket. Third, I fmd it inconsistent that Ruber should inveigh against unsupported rumor at the same time he perpetuates it himself; see his remarks about Gernsback (p. 185). Aside from these matters, which can be dealt with in a future printing, my praise for this anthology is undiluted. Arkham 's Masters a/Horror is at once entertaining and historically important, and I recommend it highly.


NONFICTION REVIEW II_BERrA. HEINLEIN Joe landers Gifford, James. Robert A. Heinlein: A Readers Companion. Nitrosyncretic Press, Box 4313, Citrus Heights, CA 95611, May 2000. xxi + 281 p. #32,0-1-5; $24, trade paper, ..!J-7. Add $3.50/copyfor u.s. orders. See his Website, below, for additional infonnation. According to a poll in the August 1999 Locus, Heinlein is the favorite SF writer of all time, as he was in the 1988 and 1973 polls. You may be startled or dismayed by this fact -considering all the writers who placed below Heinlein or the ones who didn't even make the list-but it's true. A couple of years ago, just after we'd ftnished The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress in my SF novel class, I passed one ofthe students in the hall. "One Heinlein's not enough," he shouted after me; "we want more!" For readers and critics, Heinlein's fiction is the place to begin figuring out what modem American SF is all about. Before we can start doing that, however, we need more infonnation about when and how Heinlein produced his writing. Gifford's book fills that need extremely well. He has examined Heinlein's papers in the Special Archives of the University of Santa Cruz; he has absorbed data from the host of people who venerate Heinlein; and he obviously has spent years of devout attention on Heinlein's works. He has, for example, produced a chronological "Opus List" of every scrap of Heinlein's public writing to show when it was created and when and where published. This information is fleshed out in the heart of the book, an alphabetical tour of "Major Works" that discusses different versions of texts, cross-references between stories, "Curiosities and Anomalies," etc. There probably are minor glitches; that's inevitable in a book like this. I didn't find any. [I sent Gifford a few minor corrections and additions, but found no substantive errors. -Ed.] It would be quibbling, for instance, to worry about the fact that Heinlein's introduction to the 1951 anthology Tomorrow, the Stars is called a "foreward" here. This is a book that does exactly what it sets out to do: guide readers through the career of a major writer while noting interesting sidelights along the way. For people who want to study Heinlein, Gifford's book replaces Mark Owing's 1973 booklet, RobertA Heinlein: A Bibliography. Since I caught a glimpse during the SFRA conference in Reno in 1993, I've waited for Marie Onnes's RobertAHeinlein:ABihliographicalResearr:hGuidetoHeinleinsCompleteWmk (ph.D. thesis, University of Kentucky, 1992) to be published, which seems unlikely. What Gifford doesn't do (nor does he try to do) is contribute directly to critical analysis of Heinlein's work or of the man himself. Gifford omits Panshin's and Franklin's studies entirely; after all, they explored Heinlein's weaknesses as well as strengths, so they are cast into the outer darkness of "negativist criticism. While compiling this book, Gifford considered Leon Stover's RobertA. Heinlein "a landmark ... refreshingly warm and thoughtful exploration of Heinlein's work and themes." Gifford includes a letter to reviewers in which he calls Stover's book "so riddled with basic errors and faulty logic to be nearly useless," a brief judgment he documented in a 14-page paper from a decade ago. No matter. This is the kind of contradiction that happens when we s tart analyzing Heinlein seriously. He makes people crazy, trying to figure out exactly what he really did believe and how his talk-laden stories somehow work. Because they do work. I say this as the person who's taken the responsibility of ftnishing Tom Clareson's book about Heinlein. I expect to use Gifford's book frequently in that project. His work will make the next stage of serious criticism a lot more secure if no easier. fA Note from the NonfictionReviews Editor: People first with 1.5 mil/ion copies. There's the usual mix of self-helplsuccess topes (and increasingly CDs), along with pop fiction brand names like Ganey, Grisham, etc. Fantastic fiction includes Crichton's Lost World, Rowling's first three Harry Potter books (200,000300,000 COPies), Thomas Harris's Hannibal and Silence of the Lambs, Stephen King's Blood and Smoke and Mist in 3D Sound, Marc Okrand's Star Trek: Conversational Klingon (1) (all 100,000-200,000 COPies). Kama Sutra by Oprah, anyone? Neil Barron writes:As those who attended the Geveland conference know, Hal Hall was recognized with the Pilgrim for his extensive bibliographie work in fantastic literature. For the past few months he has asked seleaed individuals to beta test his reference index, http://accessc02.tamu.edulhhalll. He's now opening this up to anyone interested and hopes user.; will suggest improvements, prOvide citations not listed, etc., by e-mailing him at The electronic index rumulates the contents of the two-volume Science Fiction and FantaSy Research Index, 1978-1985 and the two supplements covering 1985-1991 and 1992-1995. Roughly 50,000 items-books, magazines, newspapers, etc.--ore included in the present electronic databose, with another 8 to 10 thousand entries trom the 1996-2000 period to be added. Particularly valuable is his indexing of the hundreds of fanzines published since the I 940s, which are rarely indexed by any other source. About 10% of the citations are to non-English-language work published before 1980. Large as this database is, Hal guesstimates that the total represents perhaps 50%-60% of "the directly applicable material published to date." If only a third of the member.;hip each contributed only 25 entries, that would add 2500 entries, so why not lend him a hand?


Hal is also considering cumulating his book review indexes in a similar electronic (ormat The printed indexes contain about 68,000 citations to reviews o( more than 30,000 SF/F books published through 1990, induded in SF magazines since 1923 and in general magazines since 1970. The conversion is undedded whether it would be worth it If you think it would be, write and tell him exactly how you'd use such an index. The print indexes are arranged alphabetically by author/editor, with citations showing abbreviations of source magazine, volume/issue number, date, pagination, and reviewers name in parentheses. The normal access is by author/editor of book reviewed, but it might be POSSible to search by reviewer. Send him your suggestions now. l.ANDS'ENDMEEIS CORDINWAINERSI.\1IIH Karen Hellekson writes: Imagine my surprise while flipping through the Spedal Fall Preview 2000 Lands' End catalog (Lands' End sells basic dothing) when I came aaoss an essay entitled "e-browsing" by Alan Cheuse. Cheuse writes of A1ibris, a used-book Website good for finding bits o( lost youth as represented by old books. He writes, with (ervor that just leaps off the page, 'There! There it is! A copy of an anthology titled The Best of Cordwainer Smith. I paint I dick. I own it" But he must not have read it, because he mentions elsewhere "searching (or work by the late U.S. diplomat tumed sdence-fiction writer Philip Unebarger," Smiths alter ego. 0( course, he means Paul Unebarger. If only he had read the book before writing! ).). Pierce's introduction would have revealed all. And alas, this error was compounded by being reproduced in a large pull quote in the middle of the page. But it's exdting to see a dassic SF writer mentioned in such a venue, even if misnamed. Heinlein buffs should also investigate the Heinlein Journal, published semiannually since July 1997 by editor Bill Patterson, 602 WBennett Avenue, Glendora, CA 91741; $7.50/issue, $1S/year in the United States, $101 $20 outside the United States. He sent me issues 1, 5, 6, and 7. The journal is printed in a two-column fonnat, attractive if utilitarian. The contents so far have included notes ("short, informal papers reporting research reports about matters of fact ... opinion ... or interpretation"), papers (essays), and in later issues, letters (some by Virginia Heinlein). Occasional abstracts and criticism of Heinlein material published elsewhere are included, often with responses. The first five issues included ruminations of a five-member panel that examined nineteen predictions Heinlein first made in 1950. Issue 6 discussed his "negative" predictions, things not likely everto be realized, such as time travel, faster-thanlight travel, etc. Issue 7, July 2000, assembles comments from an AOL forum on the fIlm of Starship Troopers, provides a comparison of Starman Jones with Twain's Life on the Mississippi, and Patterson offers a detailed study ofthe 1940 story. "If This Goes On-." Patterson supplied the sort of information included in my survey in issue 24S, which I include here: Specs: 21year; 48 pp/issue, x 11 inches; circulation: 300. Audience: academic, fan, popular. Reuiew: if appropriate. Contact: as above; e-mail Style:MLA. Decision: 1 week. Submit: e-mail, WordPerfect {up to 9.0) or Word 6, 7. Sample: $7.50. To contributor: 1 copy. Copyright: in contributor's name on request. Length: 500-50,000 words. Comments: Research notes particularly welcomed. Wide range of interpreta tions acceptable but facts strictly checked. Moderated, in-print panels, symposia and forums also possible. Scholarly or popular audience, though no concessions to "fan" mentality are wanted. "The Journal is 'building the record' with the goal of seeing Heinlein treated by Americanists in literature, not as an SF writer." Patterson's paper exploring the influence ofJ ames Branch Cabell on RAH won the Cabell Society award, is posed on its Website: www.library.vcu.eduljbcl speccolll exhibitl cabell! prize3/htm and discussed in issue 7 of the Heinlein Journal. -Ed. I sent Gifford this review for comment. He replied: I have an "Errata and Addenda" document in .pdfformon the Website [ www.nitrosyncretic.comlrahlindex.htm]. It presently [28 July 2000] has about twenty-five items listed, and I update it as new material is forwarded by readers. I hope to fix many of the minor errors in the second printing, although most fixes and addenda will have to wait for the second edition .... I cited every work from which I quoted or used material, directly or indirectly. Franklin and Panshin are not cited because, quite simply, I did not use any of their material. It was not my intention, nor would it have been scholastically proper, to include a list of all Heinlein-related works. Noone was "cast into the darkness" because I disliked or disagreed with their opinions. In the cases cited, I simply found no use for thirty-five-year-old material that bridged many gaps-since filled by access to Heinlein's papers-with supposition, or a Marxist primer disguising itself as SF criticism. There are many Heinlein works on my shelf, encompassing the spectrum of opinion, which I did not use and are not cited."


NONFICTION REVIEW c:. S. LHqs C. West Duriez, Colin. The C. S. Lewis Encyclopedia: A Complete Guide to His Life, Thought, and Writings. Crossway Books, 1300 Crescent Street, Wheaton,n.. 60187,May2000. 240 p. $17.99, trade paper. 1-58134-136-9. Orders to (900) 323-3890. This is a revised and expanded edition of the author's similarly titled 1990 book and was simultaneously published in the author's country, the UK. The entries are arranged alphabetically by key word, with extensive and many entries cite other books or articles for further reading. An appendix includes a quite good bibliography of secondary works. There's also a handy checklist of Lewis's prolific writings in order of publication of all categories (SF, children's literature, Christian and philosophical works, literary criticism), and a "reference guide" serves as an index. There are many new entries (e.g., "Cosmic War" and "Mappa Mundi") as well as expanded ones, such as those on Hugo Dyson and R. E. Havard, close friends of Lewis's. Anyone who enjoyed the earlier book will probably want this new edition. The perspective remains that of one who shares the subject's Christian faith and is very knowledgeable. Those who come to Lewis via the 1994 flim, Shadowlands, directed by Richard Attenborough, will find a good, brief characterization of it in the preface. But there is no entry for it, nodor the earlier (somewhat different) TV and stage play versions of the same title by the same writer (William Nicholson). However, there are few such omissions, and this movie, which in my view is powerful drama but quite untrustworthy as biography, is really an ancillary part of Lewisiana. Duriezinvites comparison with Walter Hooper's C S. Lewis:A Companion and Guide (1996) and with the C S. Lewis Readers' Encyclopedia, edited by Jeffrey D. Schultz and John G. West (1998; reviewed in SFRAREVIEW, April 1999), which are both much longer and more detailed. Hence this is not an essential purchase for those who have these other books. But Duriez aims at a more general audience, for which his guide should be satisfactory. It can be dipped into or read straight through, it is engagingly written, and it provides sufficient, accurate information for most. Clearly a good deal of love has gone into this revised edition. (One of Lewis's more engaging books is The Screwtape Letters (1943), letters 7.RlxJ!hows Wormuxxx1l.xJweasilyeu!l'Z themostmorttllyupstandingpersancanbetempted.Published!dstsummerwasaJour-hour unabridgedreadingonAudioLiterature,$21.95. ThereaderisMontyPythonalumnus, John 0.eese,and West recommends ithighly. -Ed] NONFICTION REVIEW #!rYSEIU'VNN AN. #!rYIIERI:VLrvRE Douglas Barbour Cavallaro, Dani. Cyberpunk and Cyberculture: Science Fiction and the Work of William Gibson. Athlone Press, 1 Park Drive, London NW11 75Q; Transaction Publishers, 35 Berrue Circle, Rutgers University, Livingston Campus, Piscataway, NJ 08854, May 2000. .50/$95, 0.99 /$24.95, trade paper. The fIrst thing to say is that Cavallaro clearly does not believe that cyberpunk is dead. Changed, yes, altered in so many ways, absolutely, but not dead. But then, she does quote Gibson's work on the inevitability of change in life, as in subgenre. A major aspect of her larger argument is that cyberpunk, like the bodies found in it, does not die but continually supplements, even replaces, itself. The second thing is that it provides a fine overview of a lot VIDEOAV.AII..ABI.E "Sdence Fiction and FantasyToday. A Discussion with the Author-Guests: Karen Fowfer, Geoffrey Landis, Richard Lupoff, Maureen McHugh, joan Sionaewski, and Mary A Turzillo. Taped at the 31 st Annual Conference of the Sdence Fiction Research Assodation, Oeveland State University, Oeveland, Ohio,june 29, 2000. VHS, color, 91 minutes. Videotape produced by Instructional Media Services, Oeveland State University: AI Nozek, cameraman and editor. Sdence Fiction Research Assodation, 2000. Challenged by Joe Sanders (Lakeland Community College, Mentor, Ohio) to answer the question "What is the condition and direction of sdencefiction and fantasy today!: the authorpanelists cover in fact a wide range of topics: the "mainstream" status of sdence fiction today, the differences (and similarities) between sdence fiction and fantasy as genres, the impact of television and films on the genres (and vice versa), their purposes as writers and those of their reading and viewing audiences. Often stimulated by audience questions and comments, the panelists discuss Star Wars, Star Trek, and The Matrix; Asimov, Tolkien, and Michael Crichton. Moving from sdence fiction as subversion, propaganda, and revelation, they condude with an argument about the extent and nature of literacy and cultural experience in today's audiences. Copies of this videotape are available: $12.00 for SFRA members, $15 for non-members and libraries, plus $2.50 for shipping and handling. To order copies, contact Prof. Bruce A Beatie Department of Modem Languages Oeveland State University Oeveland, OH 44115 Email:


of the writing on cyberculture in the '90s, up to 1998, and for readers like me, who have not managed to read more than one or two of the many volumes discussing it, the use of and reference to these volumes is very helpful, as is the "Guide to Further Reading." Cyberpunk and Cyberculture is not exactly an introductory work, but it is a thorough overview of the background and context of both fields covered in its title. And it's aimed at students, as the very helpful outline in the preface demonstrates. Cavallaro refers to other writers and filmmakers, but Gibson's work is defInitive in this study, and his second trilogy plays almost an important a role as does the first, which is another way this study demonstrates the changes cyberpunk has undergone in its mutational maturation. There's a history of SF in the first chapter that seems a little thin but covers the ground. After that the text turns to cyberpunk and a) virtual technologies, b) technology and mythology, c) the body, d) gender and sexuality, e) the city, and the gothic. This is an interesting list, especially for its order. Cavallaro is a social materialist in cultural studies, so her concern to see how the body is constructed in cyberpunk's narratives, as well as in cyberculture's attempts to build a cyberspace and a virtual reality that will come close to the imagined ones, is central to the book's critical narrative. Cavallaro has done the necessary homework in theory and practice, and throughout, she makes good use of the many other cultural critics, cybernetic theorists, etc., whose work has proliferated in the past two decades. Perhaps the intense focus upon Gibson's work and that of other cyberpunks such as Pat Cadigan has meant that a number of other writers have been missed. I think the chapter on the body, for example, could have been extended in interesting ways had Greg Bear's Slant or aspects of Tad Williams's ongoing tetralogy been brought to bear upon the topic. But this is a minor criticism. Cavallaro argues that mythology is inextricably entwined with technology and then shows how mythologies have influenced the construction of cyberbodies and our response to them. She looks at the use made of bodies in cyberculture, as cyberpunk describes it, which necessarily leads to a discussion of gender and sexuality. Not so expected is the way she connects the constructs of the body with the constructs of the city in what the text consistently sees as narratives more dystopian than utopian. Cavallaro also makes a strong argument for the political power of cyberpunk, certainly that of Gibson. Finally, utilizing some very recent criticism ofthe gothic, Cyberpunk and Cyberculture makes a very strong case for cyberpunk (and, again, especially Gibson's two trilogies) as deeply gothic in its ability to represent both horror and terror, to destabilize given senses of culture and society. This is an interesting mixed bag of a book as it slips and slides from literary criticism to cultural critique, but after a while, the sudden asides that seem to go way off topic began to cohere into a roundabout reading of Gibson's works that provides a pertinent sense of what his narratives do. It certainly got me all fired up to read them all again. [A Website devoted to Gibson is gibson! gibson.htlm. -Eel] NONFICTION REVIEW IllUrlSII A. George Hunter, I. Q., ed.British Science Fiction Cinema. Routledge, 29 W. 35th Street, New York, NY 10001-2299,June 1999, x + 217p. $75, 0-415-16867-8, $24.99, tradepaper,-16868-6. Orders to (800) 797-3803. Hunter promises that these essays will examine one of the most neglected locations of the "loss continent" of British cinema, science fiction films. The introduction nicely sets up the issues and concerns of the book, which includes how British SF fllms represent national identity, cultural anxieties, and gender. The book doesn't attempt to present an overview of British SF cinema's history or development. Instead it looks at how selected filins and TV shows such as Things to Come, 1be Day the Earth Caught Fire, Doctor Who, and the "invasion stories" featuring professor Bernard Quatermass, represent and work through British political and social issues and anxieties. Hunter's stated purpose is to expose the" rich heritage of [British] sf genre films, [as] more diverse, more responsive to the cultural moment, and much stranger by far than critics have ever allowed." The essays not only read the fIlms closely but place them in their historical context and make connections between the works and the political and social events of the time. Most essays were effective as they made interesting connections between historical events such as the blitz and the politics and policies of Thatcherism, noting that these events are as significant and deeply connected to the concerns of British SF fum as the development ofthe atomic bomb and the bombing of Japan are to U.S. SF fums. The essays also address the often low-budgeted, cheesy nature of the fums and the difficulties of claiming as "British" international coproductions such as Alien. The essays, then, work to reinvigorate and legitimize British SF films, as other scholars have done with U.S. fllms. The essays also work to establish the fums as more than just poor imitations of U.S. films but as a distinct and important category. I found the essays on the representation of women such as Steve Chibnall's Alien Women: The Politics if Sexual Difference in British SF Pulp Cinema, Peter Wright's "The British Post-Alien Intrusion Film," and Sue Shon' s 'No Flesh Shall Be Spared,' Richard Stanley's Hardware, particularly interesting as


they examine the "eroticised horror" that women represent in most British SF films. a selective yet filmography pages, about 185 films, plus black-and-white reproductions of twenty-rune stills) and clearly explams why some films were mcluded or excluded. I found the index useful as well. Although the book establishes only a partial topography or history of the British SF film, the individual essays would certainly be useful as a starting point for research or in a course that included the various fUms on its syllabus. [Kim Newman mJiewed this book atgreaterlength in Foundation 77, autumn 1999,pp.l06-Z -Ed} NONFICTION REVIEW 'HE PHIL.S.PHY.F H.R ltefan Dziemianowicz Airaksinen, Timo. The Philosophy ofH. P. Lovecraft: The Route to Horror. Peter Lang, 275 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 1999. vii + 251 p. $49.95. 0-8204-4022-1. A philosophy professor at the University of Helsinki rounds out a decade of poststructuralist criticism of Lovecraft begun with Donald Burleson's Lovemifi": Disturbing the Universe (1990). Alas, this study offers little new in the way of understanding Lovecraft or his works and is further handicapped by its author's unsure English, apparently a second language, in a highly speculative critical approach. The foundation for Airaksinen's study are the many contradictions in Lovecrait's life and work. In his letters, he espoused love of the old-fashioned and traditional, yet wrote iconoclastic stories that blended and blurred horror and science fiction in provocatively modern ways. Lovecraft professed to be a philosophical materialist, yet wrote of entities deemed gods by the characters in his fictions. These seeming contradictions are well known to Lovecraft scholars, but Airaksinen sees something more pathological in them than the usual booby traps of self-subversion that deconstruction labors to explode. His aim is "to show that Lovecraft is a nihilist in the sense that nothing is beyond the tension between private and public, the letters and fiction." To do so he spins a diffuse philosophical skein that enmeshes Lovecraft the writer of horror stores, Lovecraft "the secondary author" who serves as "the first person narrator of his own life story" in the letters, and the substance of the stories themselves. He struggles valiantly to make sense of the complicated dialectic that emerges, but not all readers will see Lovecraft as self-contradictory as he does. It's true that Lovecraft often preached opinions in his letters and essays that seemed at odds with what he practiced personally, but he was no different from other writers who argue a point solely for the sake of debate. Airaksinen notes the seeming discrepancy between the racist viewpoints Lovecraft espoused in his nonfiction and his intimacy with people from a variety of backgrounds. If anything, these seeming oppositions are reconciled in Lovecrah's faction, where alien beings and their foreign emissaries embody cosmic forces of entropy and decline that threaten the entire human species. Similarly, one doubts the contradiction Airaksinen sees between the scientific underpinnings of Lovecrah' s fiction and the quasireligious mythology his characters subscribe to. Lovecraft was fascinated by the limits of human understanding, and in more than a few of his stories, he suggested that who people find too difficult or repellent to understand they convert into superstition. En route to establishing his unified field theory ofLovecraftian nihilism, Airaksinen makes several observations on the basis of close readings of stories that reveal his sensitivity to his aesthetic for horror. Noting the archetypal pattern of the Lovecraftian protagonist awakened to the hideous truths underlying reality, he writes" all his fiction is about lost innocence in a world that becomes ever more incomprehensible." His readings of "The Festival, "The Dunwich Horror," and "The Colour Out of Space" as subtle satires in which Lovecraft gleefully appropriates biblical imagery to undermine it and the soothing assurances it is supposed to provide are perceptive interpretations. Would that he had pursued those ideas further instead of persisting in trying to show how Lovecrah's "cosmic views, together with their strange philosophical implications are an undeserved handicap," and that "without knowledge of this background philosophy, to discover what he is writing about is difficult." Lovecraft is one of the few horror writers of the twentieth century whose work invites a variety of critical approaches, and this book shows-not in the best way-that there is still room for illuminating appraisals of his writing. NONFICTION REVIEW 6'.APHNE 1#' #IA'RlER Haureen Auerbach, Nina. Daphne duMaurier: Haunted Heiress. University of Pennsylvania Press, 4200 Pine Street, Phila delphia, PA 19104, January 2000. 180 p. $24.95.0-8133-4. Orders to (800) 445-9880.


Nina Auerbach, professor of both literature and history at the University of Pennsylvania, discovered the novels of Daphne du Maurier as a twelve-year-old during a dull summer camp. Entranced by the ineptitude of the heroes in Hungry Hill, the young Auerbach read on and found du Maurier's narrators were usually men. Yet, as she notes, du Maurier is today remembered only for the female-centered novels, Rebecca,JamaicaInn, and Frenchman 5 Creek, where men exist to characterize the women. Auerbach attempts to redress the critical balance and to introduce a "complex, powerful, unique writer, so unorthodox that no critical tradition, from formalism to feminism, can digest her." The life of "this strange writer and unlikable woman" was powerfully shaped by the romanticized family myth of talented artists, her grandfather George, author of Trilby, and her actor father, Gerald. Although her grandfather believed himself to be a dispossessed aristocrat, her father was always his son, a perpetual child (his nephews were the Llewellyn Davies children, who provided the composite model for Peter Pan). The strange hints of the occult and the supernatural in du Maurier fiction can be traced to her grandfather's work, not only in Trilby but in The Martian, with its Martian guardian angel watching over the fictionalized George, and Peter Ibbotson, in which the narrator learns to share dreams with his childhood love. Gerald, as an actor, specialized in gentleman criminals such as Raffles and was "the consummate double man" in his art as well as in his life. du Maurier's work touched frequently on dual-natured characters, if not on actual physical doubles, as well as using other unsenling fantastical motifs such as ghosts, time travel, and future speculation. The du Maurier women were mostly content to fuss over their men, and du Maurier was aware that within the family, talent passed through the male line, but she was the heir apparent. Throughout her life she nurtured the male aspects of herself and ignored the female: her lesbianism she saw not as a relationship between two women but between her male aspect, "the boy in the box," and the women she fell for. Seen through Auerbach's eyes, the literary world of du Maurier and her family is more complex and more fascinating than we might familiar as most of us are with only a handful of romantic novels and a few sentimentalized films. {The university is releasi.ngwith this study reprints o/two 1'ZO'Vels, The Scapegoat and The House on the Stand, a poweifuI. dark fantasy. Released anduMaurier'seightieth birthday in 1987, two years beforeshedied, wasthebe>t collectiono/her 'Jantastic"fiction, Oassics of the Macabre (Doubleday), iDustrated by MichaelForeman. Included are "Don 'tLook Now, ""TheApple T rre, ""The Blue Lenses, ""The Birds,""The Alibi, "and "NotAfier Midnight. "-Ed} NONFICTION REVIEW 45. Arthur O. lewis de Koster, Katie, eel. Readings an "Fahrenheit 451. Greenhaven Press, Box 289009, San Diego, CA 92190-9009, 2000. 175 p. $27.45, 1-56510-857-4; $17.45, trade paper, -856-6. Orders to (800)231-5163. This volume in the Literary Companion to American Literature series has the double duty of demonstrating that the work involved is worthy of study and that the critical pieces are useful in understanding it. It is successful on both counts. The book is logically arranged: a brief foreword and introduction are followed by a 16-page biography of Bradbury and a 13-page summary of characters and plot. To help the young adults for whom the series intended, the table of contents is annotated., and headnotes to each essay sum up the themes and ideas presented. The original sources are cited on each first page. The thirteen essays, arranged in three sections, "Myth and Symbol," "Dystopia and Utopia," and" A Reflection of the Real World," are drawn from a variety of sources, dating from Kingsly Amis's seminal New Maps a/Hell (1960) to Richard Widmann's recent Website article. In five cases, one-or two-paragraph pieces are inserted as a kind of sidebar lagniappe. The volume concludes with achronology of Bradbury' s life, a bibliography, "For Further Research," and comprehensive index. The third section is the most useful, given the comparatively shallow knowledge of even the recent past of most young people. Jack Zipes places the novel in the context of the time; Kevin Hoskinson shows how it reflects the Cold War nuclear fears of the 1950s; Richard Widmann reminds us that some of the nasty things that threatened Montag's world threaten ours as well. The excerpts are generally well edited. One might question the reduction of the 16-page article by Zipes to its first 8 pages, leaving the impression that he believes the book ends in a utopian vision, when the full article nearly negates this view by accusing Bradbury of being "blind to the intricacies of control in his own society" (No Place Else, p. 197). One might equall y praise this decision because it relieves the young readers of a fair number of critical nuances that might well cluner up understanding of the novel. Amis's comments, which are reduced by only a few words, are of historical importance as among the earliest to take the book seriously, and they hold up well as an introduction to the often more sophisticated commentaries by other, later critics. A central passage of the novel, referred to by a majority of the essayists, is Captain Beany's explanation to Montag about how books became obsolete. In a sense, a collection like this is a step along that same road. Helpful as these interpre tations may be, and as far removed from some of the currently available 1-page explanations as they are, it's nevertheless worth considering why students can't be trusted to read the originals, and teachers to teach them, without critical crutches.


Such carping aside, this is a good job of selection, editing and assistance for readers of Fahrenheit 451. For those of us who were there when Nazi book bumingwas still fresh in our minds and McCarthyism was attacking American freedom of speech and thought, Fahrenheit 451 sounded an alarm that is still worth remembering and teaching, as this book attempts to do. [A Note from the Nonfiction ReviewsEditor: Greenhaven Press specializes in books for fourth grade through high school and has particular strength in social studies (see www.greenhaven.comfordetails). Most relevant for members is the Literary Companion series, which includes Poe, T olkien, Fahrenheit 451, AnimalFarm, Brave Nf?W W0ri4. Frankenstein and Gulliver's Travels, each uniformly priced as shown above. "What makes books-and with them writers-so dangerous that church and state, politburos and the mass media feel the need to oppose them? Silencing and worse are seldom the result of direct attacks on the reigning ideology. Often all it takes is a literary allusion to the idea that truth exists only in the plural-that there is no such thing as a single truth but only a multitude of truths-to make the defenders of one or another truth sense danger, mortal danger. Then there is the problem that writers are by defInition unable to leave the past in peace. They are quick to open closed wounds, peer behind closed doors, fInd skeletons in the cupboard, consume sacred cows or, as in the case of Jonathan Swift, offer up Irish children, "stewed, roasted, baked or boiled," to the kitchens of the English nobility. In other words, nothing is sacred to them .... "The future will have something to say about all this. Our common novel must be continued And even if one day people stop or are forced to stop writing and publishing, if books are no longer available, there will still be storytellers giving us mouth-to-ear artificial respiration, spinning old stores in new ways: loud and soft, heckling and halting, now close to laughter, now on the brink oftears." -From Gunter Grass's Nobel Prize acceptance speech, December 7, 1999] NONFICTION REVIEW ScrIENCE Neil Barron L'Officier, Jean-Marc and Randy. French Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Pulp Fiction: A Guide to Cinema, Television, Radio, Animation, Comic Books and Literature from the Middle Ages to the Present. McFarland & Co., Box 611,Jefferson, NC 28640, July 2000. xi + 787p. $95, trade paper. 0-7864-0596-1. The amount of English-language secondary writing about non-English-language fantastic literature and fUm has always been sparse except for a handful of widely translated writers such as Verne. Even Verne has suffered unjustly because of bowdlerized or inaccurate translations and is typically still regarded as a writer of boys' adventure stories. Science Fiction Studies is almost the only English-language magazine that's made a consistent effort to investigate non-English-language SF. In the second (1981) and third (1987) editions of my Anatomy of Wonder, there were chapters providing some historical and critical coverage of untranslated SF, from thirteen languages in the third edition. The chapters were an attempt to offset the parochialism that has long weakened monolingual scholarship. Probably the most comprehensive reference work devoted to French-language SF and its antecedents was the massive 1972 encyclopedia of Pierre Versins, which of course devoted many entries to work in other languages. The 1979 (first) and 1993 (second) editions of the ClutelNicholls SF encyclopedia provided many entries, as did the 1997 fantasy encyclopedia companion. Now we have an 8!h x l1-inch paperback by a husband/wife couple active in comics and fantastic film (they coedited a 1995 Mcfarland collection of interviews with SF fUm figures). As the title indicates, their scope is deliberately wide, with only noncomic fantastic illustration! art not discussed (however, more than 500 black-anel-white reproductions of fIlm stills and book covers are included). The guide is divided into two "books." Book 1, 300 pages, discusses fIlm, TV, radio, animation, comic books and graphic novels, concluding with brief biographical sketches of fIlmmakers and comic book writers and artists. Book 2 surveys books and magazines chronologically and concludes with a chapter on French Canadian work, a directory of publishers and magazines, about 270 pages listing authors and their books, with 3 pages devoted to the few awards given French SF. A 2-page bibliography and a 31-page four-column index conclude the book. Coverage focuses on France, of course, but there is coverage of French work from Belgium and Canada as well. The table of contents is relatively detailed, showing how much each chapter is divided. Post-19S0 SF, for example, is divided into the 1950s/1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, with each chapter subdivided into lettered sections treating publishers, major authors, other notable writers, mainstream writers, and juveniles. The narrative sections are mostly descriptive but include some evaluation. The surnames of all authors mentioned in the narrative sections who are included in


the lengthy biographical section are in boldface. These sections are a blizzard of names and titles, and the hundreds of titles mentioned in them are repeated in the biographical chapter. Although the guide can be read (as distinguished from consulted), its division into so many sections results in a choppy, fragmented text that makes it difficult even for a devoted reader to gain much perspective. OK., I thought, I can use the index to locate information about specific authors, say Huysmans, author of La-Bas. He, like many other authors I checked, wasn't in the index, which I evenrually realized almost entirely excluded all the authors, ftlm, and comics figures who are "indexed" in the biographical sections. These entries refer the user only to the chapter, not the section within the chapter (in Huysmans's case, a 22-page chapter). I referred to the table of contents and guessed he might be in Fantastique Realiste. Wrong! He was in Fantastique Symboliste. The general index provides access to authors, editors, actors, book, TV and fum titles, comics, and illustrators, often to the less important ftgures. A note preceding the index should have explained this. Although there are many more entries for full-length ft1ms than in, say, Phil Hardy's Aurum Film Encyclopedia volume devoted to SF, the Hardy entries are lengthier and far superior in evaluation and historical placement. The amount of space devoted to individual authors has no relationship to even a rough measure of quality. A French Canadian adventure series, whose translated title is The Strange Adventures of Agent X-13, theAce of Canadian Spies, by a hack named Pierre Saurel, is given 9 pages to list its 970 books. If you love listings, you 'iliove this feature. If you want more balance in which discussions are selective and focus on the better work, look elsewhere. In summary, this expensive paperback is a very marginal choice for libraries, which rarely have any non-Englishlanguage SF. Its small audience is largely limited to readers ofF rench SF or a handful of bibliographers or scholars willing to try to overcome its severe organizational problems. [GaryWolfe'slengthierrr?ViewintheAugust2000Locus,whichgoestoabouttwenty-seventimesthememl:JershipoftheSFRA, ra:ognizes thearganiztttional problems but is much morefowrable 1heauthorwasunhappywith mygenerallyunfcrvorablereuiew. Hesaida forthcamingCD-ROMversionwilJ'7xJpimprm:eacr:esstothemateriaJ,aswellasprovidingrrumymoreillustrations,incolar."-Ed.} NONFICTION REVIEW I-'B4 Russell Blackford Delany, Samuel R. 1984: Selected Letters. Voyant, Box 500, Rutherford, NJ 07070-0500, June 2000. xxx + 351 p. $17.95, trade paper. 0-9665998-1-0. Orders to (201) 804-9008. Since 1979, when he published Heavenly Breakfast, his autobiographical memoir of the late 1967/ early 1968 "winter of love," Delany has continued to write candidly about his own life, building a massive multivolume autobiography. Most prominent is his Hugo winner, The Motion of Light in Water (1988, with later extensions and revisions), which describes his life in the early 1960s. The focus there was on his open marriage to Marilyn Hacker and their intellectual and sexual adventures. Delany continues to publish autobiographical material in essays and interviews, even in comic book format. 1984 is remarkable for its extended presentation of a relatively short yet crucial period in his life, using material written at that time. This is no ordinary collection ofletters. Covering about eighteen months to January 1985, it contains long, candid reflections on Delany's activities and concerns. One emotionally intense letter, to San Francisco writer and editor Camilla Decamin, occupies 35 pages of the large-page, small-print format. Many others are long enough to include substantial fragments of autobiography. Astonishingly, they have the same energy, texture, color, and syntactical craft as his more formal writings while showing the freshness of composition soon after the events they describe. Delany's main correspondents are Decarnin; Robert S. Bravard, a librarian and poet and one of Delany's bibliographers; and J ohn P. Mueller, aNew York street person who was serving a jail term in Florida. Others include Joanna Russ and Michael W. Peplow, Bravard's bibliographical collaborator. During 1984 Delany was steering Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand into print while working on the long stories that comprise Flight from Neveryon. Much of the correspondence to Bravard and Decarnin recounts frustrations associated with these books: never-endingproblems with contracts, prooftng and editing, cover art, packaging, and promotion. Delany includes the text of a promotional flyer he then used to explain his approach to guest lectures and ftction readings. Referring to audience attitudes to SF, it states: "if there is a general interest, honest curiosity and enthusiasm, I can add to them a working science ftction writer's insight as well as the excitement that comes from a sophisticated and specific knowledge of writing." 1984 gives all this in spades, which will be its main interest for scholars of the genre. As a bonus, we see him spending pages trying to convince Bravard of his actual concerns, pressures, and priorities at that point in his career. The mid-1980s were an intensely creative period for Delany, but 1984 was one of the most grinding years of his life, dominated by income tax problems. He provides details of his interactions with the tax man; of his literary relationships, particularly with his publisher, Lou Aronica, and with Umberto Eco; his ongoing sex life; and his complicated domestic situation, including the upbringing of his daughter, Iva, and disputes with ex-wife Hacker. At the end, it became clear


that Del:my's relationship with his partner, Frank Romero, had been unraveling throughout, but this is scarcely a: the January 1985 letters, which show how experience is selected and reconstructed even in highly confesSlonal wnttng. obvious respect and affection for his correspondents is warming, though his assessments of others can be harsh. IS fond of Joanna Russ but gives hilarious and almost cruel descriptions of her food requirements and other eccentnoues. I found this book riveting, sometimes in a voyeuristic way. Its frankness and freshness, its polish and verve, make it fascinating in its own right, as well as illuminating the thought and work of a major science fiction author. [See also the review of Delany's Shorter Vzews in this issue. Published about the same time as 1984 was Blood & Wine: An Erotic TaleofNew York Guno, 180VarickSt., 13th Fl,NewYork,NY 10014, 80p., $14.99 trade paper, 1-890451-02-9, orders to 212-604-9074). Delany recounts his association with a homeless NYC street person, also gay. PW s review speaks of it as "a delightful and eccentric urban love story." -Ed] NONFICTION REVIEW lfilARy SHELLEY David Ketterer Smith, Joanne M., ed. Mary Shelley: Frankenstein; complete, authoritative text with biographical, historical, and cultural contexts, critical history, and essays from contemporary critical perspectives. 2nd ed. Bedford/St. Martin's, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010, May 2000. x + 470 p. $39.95, 0-312-22762-0; $13.95 hardcover school edition, -24948-9; $11.95 trade paper, -19126-X. London: Macmillan. 0-333-91438-4. When I gave a 1993 graduate seminar, "Contemporary Critical Approaches, Textual Scholarship, and Frankenstein, "I was delighted to assign the 1992 first edition of Smith, part of the publisher's Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism, which includes the 1831 text and James Rieger's edition of the 1818 original. The second edition is enlarged from 358 to 470 pages. If I were to offer my seminar again, 1'd assign her new edition, but my appreciation of its appropriateness would be significantly muted. A milestone in scholarship, what Smith describes as "Charles Robinson's magisterial edition of the Frankenstein notebooks (1996) (p. v), appeared between her two editions. But nothing that can be learned from Robinson's facsimiles and transcriptions of Shelley's 1816-17 surviving draft and fair copy is reflected in Smith's 1831 text or (with a one-sentence exception [po 317]) in the six critical essays and other apparatus she has selected. As in 1992, Smith corrects" only glaring errors and misprints," and "where appropriate, I have made these corrections in accordance with the 1818 text as edited by James Rieger" (p. v). In her next sentence in the new edition, Smith points out that Robinson's publication" now makes it possible for interested teachers and students to compare the published texts with the manuscript versions" (p. v). She fails to mention that this comparison also mandates twenty-five or so substantive corrections in all three (or four?) of the editions of Frankenstein that appeared within Shelley's lifetime. I had anticipated some of the corrections that Robinson points to in my 1995 English Language Notes article, "The CorrectedFrankei1Stein: Twelve Preferred Readings in the Last Draft." Smith had the golden opportunity to publish the first edition of the 1831 text with those substantive (and perhaps also the accidental) corrections, or at least the most important of them. Nora Crook's 1996 edition of the 1818 edition includes six of these substantive corrections. Why did Smith not follow suit? In part two, the case study portion, Smith follows her useful "Critical History of Frankenstein" with representative examples of six interpretive approaches. David Colling has revised his earlier essay, an example of "psychological criticism"; Smith revised her "feminist criticism"; F rann Michael exemplifies a new category, "gender criticism," replacing the 1992 example of "reader response criticism"; Warren Montag's essay is a slight revision of his "Marxist criticism"; Bouriana Zakharieva's reading ofthe 1994 Branagh film replaces Lee Heller's piece as an example of" cultural criticism"; and Fred Botting's piece is labeled" combining perspectives." I don't have space to critique these essays except to say that all are provocative and all would have benefitted from some engagement with the manuscript evidence of Robinson. Some traces of hard textual scholarship would have offset the unfortunate impression that contemporary critical modes as represented here (aPooh Perplex without the humor) are largely a matter of fashionability and spin. A new section, "Contextual Documents," follows the novel's text. It includes excerpts from William Godwin's CaJeb WtlJiams, Mary Wollstonecraft'sMaria, Faracelsus, Humphry Davy, and others; and thirteen illustrations. It's perhaps symptomatic of the hurry with which this edition was apparently assembled that five page references to five film images are a page off (p. 192). Unhappily, another careless mistake appears in the fIrst paragraph of the introduction: the reader is misinformed that Shelley "began" Frankenstein "in mid-June of 1815" (p. 3) instead of 1816; Smith had this right in her 1992 edition. In short, still valuable, but a missed opportunity.


[The reviewer retired in June from Concordia University, Montreal, and rejoined his wife in his native land He may be reached at 28 South Hill Park, London NW3 25B .-Ed] NONFICTION REVIEW SH .,ER WlEJIII'S Douglas Barbour Delany, Samuel R. Shorter Views: Queer Thoughts and the Politics of the Paraliterary. Wesleyan University Press, distributed by University Press of New England, 23 S Main Street, Hanover, NH 03755, August 2000. xi + 464 p. $55. 0-8195-6368-4; $22, trade paper, -6369-2. Orders to (800) 421-1561. Where to begin? The simplest thing to say is that like all his other criticism, Shorter Vte'l is superbly intelligent, a joy to read, and necessary. Anyone seriously interested in paraliteratures, the politics of theory, or the theorizing of sexual and gender politics will find much to contend and agree with here. It's hard to think of anyone who wouldn't leave this book intellectually richer than when they came to it. Delany is one of those artists and critics, like many of those he admiringly mentions here, who makes the process of his thinking exciting. To follow the movements of his mind, as he explores "The Rhetoric of Sex/The Discourse of Desire," offers"N either the First Word nor the Last on Deconstruction, Structuralism, Poststructuralism, and Semiotics for SF Readers," or comments on the brilliant comic writing of Neil Gaiman, to cite just three of the twenty-five essays, seven previously published 1987-98, is to learn once more something about how we all thing through questions of behavior and thinking, of theory as it might apply to SF criticism, or of what a celebratory review might actually do to bring others to your favorite artists. There are the interviews as well, in which, pushed by a variety of questions, Delany wanders far afield yet always provokes a reader's responsive intellection as he considers possibilities with the kind of care and thoughtful concern we shall all wish to achieve. The first ofthe mentioned essays brilliantly displays while analyzing exactly what "discourse" is and does. The second manages to both provide a clear and concise description (he tells us many times why he uses the term "functional descrip tion" rather than "definition") of the various theories he holds up to his readers' views, and to remind us throughout that everything he (or anyone) can say about them is always highly provisional. It is still one of the best introductions to its subjects I have read. In the third, actually three separate articles, he manages to provide some personal biographical facts about Gaiman, a useful recent history of the comics, and a careful and exciting reading of Gaiman'sA Game ofYou. Comics, like SF and fantasy, mysteries, and pornography, are a paraliterary form, and Delany has long argued for both, recognizing the importance of paraliterature and for discovering useful ways to criticize its various modes. His own approaches are precisely that: they are of use to other readers. One of the most intriguing essays is his lengthy exegesis of Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics, a work he finds immensely valuable but also rife with errors of critical thinking, with regard to the history of art and culture. As he sees it, McCloud is superb when he shows us how comics work, but keeps falling into critical traps when he tries to discuss origins (as do many critics of SF). Delany's own exploration of what does and doesn't work in McCloud's text is a stunning example ofthinking problems through, of not taking accepted ideas (here, critical ones) for granted Each section is valuable in different ways. "Queer Thoughts" asks both large and SPecWc questions about the ways in which society and culture force a nonquestioning thinkingthat can be as dangerous as any form of state sanctioned violence. His exploration of the politics of AIDS is searing, not lease because it is rooted in personal experience. Indeed, one of the most intriguing aspeCts of Shorter Vzews is the way Delany grounds all his thinking in his own experiences: he never forgets them, even in what might appear to be his most abstract flights. "The Politics of the Paraliterary" explores theory with fmesse and subtlety. "Some Writers/Some Writing" contains reviews and introductions, all of which demonstrate his capacity to offer thoughtful insights into the work that excites him. This is a book to own, and reread. [This book is one of eleven by Delany, plus six by others, all dealing with fantastic fiction, including the Freedman book reviewed in the last issue, that W esleyan University Press has on sale at 30'% off their trade paperback list prices, plus postage (and 7% GST for Canadian orders). Call (800) 421-1561 or check for details. Orders must be placed by October 30, 2000. -Ed.]


NONFICTION REVIEW I'I##N-SrERS FR##I'I rHE I. Philip Kmny Jones, E. Michael. Monsters from the Id: The Rise of Horror in Fiction and Film. Spence Publishers, 111 Cole Street, Dallas, TX 75207, May 2000. xii + 298 p. $27.95. 1-890626-06-5. Orders to (888) 773-6782. This book pwpons to be a study of the emergence of horror literature in the nineteenth century, and its transforma tion into horror film in the twentieth. As I sent through the introduction, nine chapters, and epilogue, I found a book on the horror genre unlike anything I've ever read. Jones alternatives between an articulate and well-<::onstructed discussion about modernity and a howling tirade against the Enlightenment and its bastard child, the French revolution, which have led to all the evils of modernity. He writes in an incessantly didactic tone to argue that the monster in horror fiction or film, whatever its incarnation over the last two hundred years, appears of necessity because the most conventional Judeo-Christian sexual mores have been violated by political and cultural revolution. It matters not what form the monster takes, nor what medium it is presented in, for it is always the same monster. It may be Frankenstein, Dracula, the id monster in Forbidden Planet, or the repellent creature in Alien. It always appears as a result of conventional sexual morality being unrepentantly transgressed as a logically necessary result of revolution. His paradigmatic revolution is the French, which he argues occurred as a direct result of the Enlightenment's exchange of faith for reason, only to fmd that reason was no match for the monstrous passions it released. With some knowledge of both the Enlightenment and the French revolution, I enjoyed this book, even as I re mained a resisting and contentious reader. Jones addresses the horror genre from the perspective of the cultural work it performs. (He is the founding editor of Culture Wars magazine.) He writes from the that Bruce Franklin adopted in his War Stars or J ane Tomkins developed in Fantastic Designs. Jones's account is not a balanced study because its conclusions are embodied in his grounding assumption that the Enlightenment was a disease, and the horrific monster genre its symptom. But he never adequately explains the Enlighten ment and seems to view it through the filter of the literary works attributed to the Marquis de Sade, who is cited more than fifty times in the index and is the poster child of the Enlightenment. Jones echoes some of the early critics of SF, who tended to judge the field by its worst examples. Jones's opportunistic and selective use of historical and biographical sources is suspect, as is the paltry index, incom plete notes, and lack of a bibliography. In a sense I agree with Jones's contention that the central problem of modernity is that it seeks material solutions to spiritual problems of the last two centuries, but I don't think those problems are centered around sexual mores. Spence is a conservative Christian publisher (see} and this book's argument is likely to appeal mostly to those already sympathetic to its basic theses. Libraries may want it for its minority viewpoint, but their money would be better spent on more balanced works such as DavidJ. Skal's 1heMonster Show:A CulturalHistory a/Horror (1993) andJamesB. Twitchell's DreadfulPleasures:AnAnatomy o/ModernHorror (1985). NONFICTION REVIEW JULES VERNE Robert Smyth, Edmund J., eel. Jules Verne: Narratives a/Modernity. Liverpool University Press, 4 Cambridge Street, Liverpool L7, UK, May 2000. viii + 160 p. .50.0-85323-694-1; .95, trade paper, -704-2. Distributed in the United States by ISDS, 900-944-6190, $47.95, $23.95. This book assembles ten essays on Verne, with an introductol}' essay by Smyth. I am by no means a Verne scholar, nor do I speak or read French, which saves me from having to read the many quotations peppering the hook. But you don't have to be either a linguist or a Verne scholar to get pleasure and enlightenment from the book. Verne is a fIgure of interest to those involved in SF, one of the fathers of SF and science fantasy, right up there with Wells. He's familiar to most people from the many film adaptations of his work. A lucky few might have seen illustrated editions of Verne's greatest ruts on their parents' shelves. Although the essays have many untranslated quotations, that didn't deter me. The essay by Terty Hale and Andrew Hugill, "The Science is Fiction: Jules Verne, Raymond Roussel and Surrealism, translates its quotations. With or without translations, the pieces give rewarding glimpses of Verne's work, its reception by modem French critics, and its influence on surrealism. You also get an interescingview of Paris during and after Verne's time. I enjoyed this book; it made me want to reread Verne and to revisit Paris. I expect to do the latter before I


get around to the former. NONFICTION REVIEW Janice M. Bogstad Winnington, Peter. Vast Alchemies: The Work of Mervyn Peake. Peter Owen, 73 Kenway Rd., London SW5 ORE, October 1999. 263 p. + 9 p. unpaginated photos. .95. 0-7206-1079-6. Distributed in the United States by Dufour Editions, $39.95. Orders to (800) 869-5677. This new critical biography of the multifaceted writer and illustrator is by a man with at least twenty articles or edited works to his name and who's made a life work of Peake. His Website for his journal, Peake Studies (www.unil.chlangll docs! peake-st) includes, among other things, a complete primary and secondary Peake bibliography. Winnington repeatedly refers to Peake's early years, from birth to age eleven, throughout his study, suggesting parallels with Paul Linebarger! Cordwainer Smith, who was also raised in China and heavily influenced by the experience. Both seem to have used their twice-born quality, the unreality of existing in two such different cultures, to flesh out unreal worlds (Gormenghast and Norstrilia), and both were involved in World War II. Peake's artistic bent drew him to pursue creativity over any other career path. Perhaps because Winnington is so intimately acquainted with everything written by and about Peake, his own writing is not rigorously controlled. He tends to jump from observation to observation, some about Peake's life, others about his writing or illustration stylistics. The book is charming for this quality because it preserves an flavor that improves its status as a casual reading project. But it's correspondingly disappointing for the lack of rigor of its critical perspectives. Very much a story about Peake's accomplishments within the context of a somewhat romanticized life, its critical perspective is not systematic and simultaneously not predictable. 1'd recommend this book for any collection purporting to deal with English language fantasy, for both public and academic libraries. For scholars of Peake, it should be read with John Watney's 1976 Mervyn Peake, which is stylistically a much more standard critical biography. It should be cherished for its periodization of Peake's life, its extensive primary and secondary bibliography focusing solely on the author-as writer, illustrator, dramatist, and family man-and its accessibility. [Lord Sepulchrave, Lady Fuschia, Steerpike, Flay, and Swelter. A nineteenth-century British legal firm? No, memorable characters from the Gormenghast trilogy, dramatized on the BBC as four one-hour segments last summer, and scheduled for the PBS network in late 2000. The dramatization will be released on videotape and DVD in early 2001, according to Peter Winnington. -Ed.] NONFICTION REVIEW Allr-II_RR_S AlII. rilE Michael Betancourt Hawkins,Joan. Art-Horror and the Honific Avant-Garde. University of Minnesota Press, 111 Third Avenue, Suite 390,Minneapolis, MN 55401-2520,June 1990. xii + 326 p. $49.95. 0-8166-3413-0;$19.95 trade paper,-3414-9. Orders to (800) 621-2736. For those unfamiliar with the realm ofB-movie horror and exploitation, much of Cutting Edge will be a new experience. Directed mainly at fUm scholars and academic fUm study departments, it is simultaneously an overview of existing research into "gaze" theory and an application of that research to specific fIlms that have not previously been examined in quite this fashion. Although not as comprehensive as earlier studies of this type of fUm, Cutting Edge does offer some new insights that earlier examinations have lacked: an attempt to address the issue of contextual audience response without faIling back on the cliche of voyeurism. This is the fIrst book of the author, an assistant professor in the department of communication and culture at Indiana University. It's a solid study that provides a good overview of existing scholarship and applies it to these fIlms: Franju'sEyes without a Face, Y oko Ono's Rage, the films of J ess Franco, Paul Morrissey, and Michael and Roberta Findley. Also considered at length is Tod Browning's Freaks. The influence these ftlms have had not only on one another but on the avant-garde culture of the 1960s and '70s is the focus of this examination, which is illustrated with 39 black-and-white photos. Special consideration is given to the role the "underground" cinemas played in preserving these B-movies and "trash" cinema through an alternative, active viewing mode. Hawkins argues that this mode is equivalent to the kind of


viewership the historical avant-garde called for, and suggests that the ways we watch TV may be related to the avant-garde viewing mode privileged by gaze theory. [The reviewer is a doctoral student at the University of Miami, -Ed.] NONFICTION REVIEW I'IAx"FlELD PARRISH AN. 'HE 'HE Walter Albert Wagner, Margaret E. Maxfield Parrish and the lllustrators of the Golden Age. Pomegranate, Box 6099, Rohnert Park, CA 94927-6099, 2000. vi + 120 p. $30. 0-7649-1257-7. In his forward Lawrence S. Cutler, coauthor ofMaxjield Parrish:ARetrospective (pomegranate, 1995), complains that "little has been written about the ,&ants of children's book illustration" and rejoices that "Margaret Wagner has gracefully ended along silence." Yet the trtty-five notes appended to Wagner's text, listing major published references for the work of Howard Pyle, Jessie Willcox Smith, N. C. Wyeth, and Frank Schoonover, all artists included in this book, are not a record of a lengthy "silence." And the statement certainly does not apply to Maxfield Parrish, about whom at least four substantial works have appeared in decade. The most recent, Maxfield Parrish, 1870-1966 (Abrams, 1999, in association with the Pennsylvania A my of the Fine Arts), commemorates a major tour of an exhibition that concluded last August. Cutler refers to aN ormal Rockwell retrospective at the Guggenheim but makes no mention of the Parrish exhibition. As Wagner shows in her introductory essay (pp. 11-48), the American Golden Age of illustration was largely "staffed" by students of Howard Pyle, who is certainly the earliest major figure in the field and both mentor to and teacher of most of the artists whose work is profiled here. Although she keeps returning to Parrish in her essay, Wagner sketches attractive portraits of Parrish's major contemporaries (Smith, Wyeth, Schoonover) as well as of such talented artists as Elizabeth Shippen Green and Alice Barber Stephens. Her essay is illustrated with small but sharply reproduced examples of the work of many of the illustrators she discusses, although, one again, Parrish dominates. The essay is followed by a gallery of illustrations, accompanied by appropriate texts from the books from which the illustrations are taken. In addition to Green, Schoonover, Smith, and Wyeth, examples are displayed of the work of sisters Anna Whelan and Ethel Franklin Betts, and Mead Schaeffer. Once again, however, Parrish is most generously represented with some 30 pages of illustrations as compared with 1 to 7 pages for each of the other illustrators. (Each of the Betts sisters is represented by 1 page, Smith by 7, and Pyle and Wyeth by 6 each.) Biographical information is provided in the notes, and there is an index of illustrations and works. This is certainly a useful introduction to an important period in American book and magazine illustration, and the inclusion of the Betts sisters, Green, Barber, and Schaeffer compensates to some extent for the emphasis on Parrish, who was not only a talented artist but an inspired merchandiser. It is ironic that other illustrators of the Golden Age-some of them equally or more talented-are here subordinated to modem merchandising that attempts to capitalize on Parrish's popularity. NONFICTION REVIEW .... AN. 'HE Robin Robem Annitt, Lucy. Contemporary Women's Fiction and the Fantastic. St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010, April 2000. x + 257 p. $49.95. 0-312-22666-7. London: Macmillan, 0-333-69452-X, $42.50, -69453-8, .99 trade paper. Orders to (800) 221-7945. Lucy Armitt's latest book adds to the valuable contributions she made to the study of women and the fantastic in Thearizing the Fantastic (1996) and WhereNo Man Has GoneBe/ore: Women and ScienceFiction (1990). The strength in this wide ranging and provocative survey of thematic tradition lies in her original readings of high art and genre texts. So much as been written about Toni Morrison's Beloved, for example, that it's a pleasure to find the novel recontextualized in terms of the ghost story. Armitt also explores works that have received far less critical attention, such as Jeannette Winterson's Sexing the Cherry and Fay Weldon's The Ooning ofJoannaMdy. Through striking and persuasive pairings, Armitt makes a strong case for the centrality of the fantastic as a feminist strategy in contemporary women's fiction. Taking the figures ofF reud' s Dora and Scheherazade as models, the book explores the particular forms feminist resis-


tanee takes-the grotesque utopia, chronotype5 and cyborgs, vampires, ghosts, fairies, magic realism and the gothic, and mannequins. She draws on a psychoanalytic approach to analyze these bizarre and fascinatingpanems as they appear in twenty-three novels, grouped into seven semithematic categories, published over the past thirty-five years. Lucidly wrinen, the book is a pleasure to read. SFRA members will, however, be disturbed by Armin's claim that" carving up fantasy and the fantastic and jamming its literature into a series of discrete, neatly labeled boxes kills literature dead ... critics of fantasy have been futilely squabbling over whether a text is marvelous or fabulous, or how to subdivide scienee fiction into space opera or sword and sorcery" (p. 13). From my perspective, Armin's determined neglect of genre weakens her book. Although we can learn from discussingJoanna Russ and Toni Morrison in the same critical context, acknowledging where their works fit in both genre and criticism is important. Not only critics but readers and writers also care how and where books belong categorically and critically (and in the bookstore). The book's comprehensiveness is both its strength and its weakness. Analyzing twenty-three novels in about 200 pages (plus notes, bibliography, and an index) does not leave enough space to explore any particular text or theme in detail. Armin's readings are so provocative that I was left wishing she had developed them more fully. The chapters on fairies and ghosts could each be easily expanded into a book-the paradigms are well worth further exploration. Armin's conclusion is brief and reduces the texts' complexities to a longing for the maternal; the chapters themselves demonstrate a more compli cated set of conflicting desires. Nevertheless, the journey Armin describes is well worth taking. Highly recommended for anyone interested in its subject. NONFICTION REVIEW rANGE' Dave Head Cunningham, A. E., ed. Jack Vance: Critical Appreciations and a Bibliography. British Library, Boston Spa, Weatherby, West Yorkshire 1.523 7BQ, England, Apri12000. 232 p. + 16 unpaginated pages of photos. 07123-1102-5. Signed, limited edition with more photos, Order from Turpin Distribution, Blackhorse Rd., Letchworth, Herts, SG6 1HN; With this publication, there are now four secondary texts that are essential reading for students, admirers, and critics of the fiction ofJ ack Vanee. The other three, all out of print, are Jack Vance (1980) edited by Tim Underwood and Chuck Miller,DemonPrince:TheDissonant Worldsofiack Vance (1986) byJackRawlins, and The Workofiack Vance'AnAnnotated Bibliography and Guide (1994) by J erry Hewett andDarylF. Mallett. Terry Dowling says in his introduction the book offers itself as "a selection of heartfelt and informed appreciations" of the work of "that rare and precious thing-a writer's writer or, more correctly, an artist's artist, amaker's maker, someone who has become a seminal influenee on what so many others have gone on to accomplish." That is a fair assessment of what one finds: a rollicking foreword by Harlan Ellison, Dowling's introduction, four mildly analytical essays, substantial appreciations by fellow authors Dan Simmons and Gene Wolfe, a short autobiographical note by Vance, the editor's bibliography, and a note by Vanee publisher Chuck Miller. Paul Rhoads, who is the founder and editor-in-cruef of the Vance Integral Edition project [see news note elsewhere in this issue 1 contributes two important pieces, a lengthy critical appreciation and the exceptionally apt cover painting of a mellow Vancean idyll. He sees Vance as "one of the rare great artists of the day and one of the greatest American artists of all time." For Rhoads, the reasons for Vance's irritating and unjust lack of fame are twofold: the prejudiee of the literary elite against the popular genres and the modernist literary establishment's "war against form and reason. He argues that Vanee is miscast as a write of SF because the philosophic materialism at the heart of SF is antithetical to Vanee's fundamental humanism. His essay offers a number of wonderful insights into the stories and sees Vanee's greatness in his explorations "of the nature of things essentially eternal and unchanging," of "difficult, subtle and permanent human problems." The polemical tone of his introduction may put some readers off, but his understanding of V anee's writing is profound Indeed, his critique suggests V anee' s fiction defies or transcends the ability of our critical methods to assess it. One would think that postmodern critics-who profess to distrust traditional literary categories, abhor privilege, and celebrate the marginal, the ironic, and the popular-would be able to find a new critical frame for V anee' s works; that they do not hint that privileged literary elites and genre bias still rule, even among avant-garde critics of fantasy and SF. Tom Shippey's excellent essay examines V anee' s preoccupation with issues of cultural anthropology and cultural relativism, seeing Vance's fiction in the context of twentieth-century anthropology. V anee' s explorations of multiple cultures are seen as a critique of the Boas-Mead-Benedict school of American anthropology, which espouses the notion that all cultures are relative and of equal value. Shippey sees Vanee testing these assumptions by exploring their "plasticity," their ability to tolerate change, and the needs of the humans who make and are made by them.


" Dave Langford explores one of the basic plots in V anee' s work, the young hero who, oppressed or injured In his youth, grows up to take revenge. His observations are right on target, although I think there is more to be made of Vanee's connection ofbildungsroman to the revenge plot. Gene Wolf's contribution gives the lie to anyone who things great authors can't be fine critics. Wolfe, whose Book of the New Sun series was clearly influenced by V anee' s The Dying Earth, analyzes each ofthe six stories in V anee' s first great book from the point of view" of a writer of similar fictions. He says "we not only watch V anee learning his craft, but actually see him wrestling, in story form, with some of the difficulties that beset every new writer of fiction. Dan Simmons joins Wolfe in praising V anee and reminds us that a profound part of V anee's appeal is the magic and depth of his language, and he suggests that it is the demand of reading such language that prevents many contemporary readers, used to wading in the shallows of fIlm and TV spinoffs, from appreciating his writing. Vance has always been retieent about his life, so it is nice to have biographical material that lets us see the life that writes as well as the life that's wriuen. The editor's bibliography is a handy referenee for the citations given in the various essays and contains all the information most readers will need. Jack Vance: CriticalApprecUttions doesn't pretend to explicate Vanee's work but to honor it. It does that successfully and should be ordered by anyone or any library which also honors Vanee. Jack Vanee has published fiction since 1945. That means fifty-five years to most of us, but perhaps immortality for Vanee. He has been lucky in the quality of his friends and critics, if not in their numbers. Perhaps the Vanee Integral Edition project to republish all of his work in accurate texts in a uniform edition will not only make Vance's fiction, most of which is now difficult if not impossible to find, readily available, but also help bring the critical attention J ack Vanee so richly deserves. NONFICTION REVIEW 18IS-I.#.#8 Neil Barron Fischer, Dennis. Science FictWn Film Directors, 1895-1998. McFarland, Box 611, Jefferson, NC 28640, July 2000. viii + 759 p. $175. 0-7864-0740-9. Orders to (800) 253-2187. Fischer, says Mcfarland, has been writing on fIlms for twenty years and lives in the Los Angeles area. In 1991 Mcfarland published his companion volume, Horror Film Directors, 1931-1999 (900 pp., $95); some of those subjects are listed at the end ofthe introduction to this large book x 11 inches, about 4Ib.), which costs almost twiee as much as its predecessor. The eighty-three profIles are alphabetical, ranging from 1 to 36 pages (Spielberg). A 47-page appendix discusses fllms of fIfty additional directors who made one or two SF filins. A second appendix lists the top one hundred SF filins based on an Internet Movie Data Base poll, badly skewed to commercial fare of the past thirty years. A necessarily superfIcial (1S-page) history of SF fllms provides a useful perspective. The S-page bibliography includes both academic and popular works but omits one book I was certain would be there, the SF volume of the Aurum Film Encyclopedia series, edited by Phil Hardy (2nd ed., 1991). As you'd expect, many Mcfarland books are included, especially the interview volumes by Tom Weaver. Thirty-seven periodicals are listed as sources, and there are many (uncited) quotes from them in the profIles. The 2S-page index by name and fIlm title is thorough. I didn't count them, but the publisher says that are 257 black-anel-white reproduc tions of fIlm stills, production shots, hlm posters, etc. Each profIle includes the director's birth! death years, a chronological fIlmography, plus TV credits for many, such as John Frankenheimer. Both these lists include all fUms/programs, not only the SF work. The narrative text weaves biographical and career details. The book's length results largely from its detailed discussions and plot summaries of hundreds of rums (some ofthem non-SF), mixing production details with anecdotes and evaluation. I estimate that about 1700 films and TV programs, not all SF, are discussed, some in great detail, others, blessedly, only in passing. The length of the profiles corresponds only roughly to the number of SF fllms directed. The twenty fllms of Greydon Clark justifIably receive a dismissive 2 pages, but the twenty-eight fIlms of Bert 1. Gordon, marginally beuer, get 10 pages. I read them all and have to give Fischer credit: his account, even (or especially) of these awful fIlms is engaging. He loves this stuff and is extremely knowledgeable, and his enthusiasm is contagious. For directors whose work interests me, such as Terry Gilliam, I couldn't get enough details. Still, I found myself sampling a lot of the often lengthy plot summaries, which is why I turn to critical fllmographiessuchasHardy'sforthebasics,ortoJohnBrosnan's 1991 history, ThePrimalScreen. The few hundred copies of this book printed will be sold almost exclusively to larger libraries, given its hefty priee. But such libraries will have to think carefully about how much interest there would be in a work emphasizing mostly minor directors of filins only SF fanatics care much about. They will already have monographs about the well-known directors, such as Lucas or Spielberg. Will the entries in a standard work like Katz's The Film Encydopedia be sufficient for the 40% or so of the directors Fischer profIles? Or can you skip print and relay on sites like the enonnous Internet Movie Database ( or the almost as large All Media Guide sites (, plus companion sites devoted


to music and to video games)? Fisher has a lot of material of interest to me, and more that's not, but 1'm far from a typical library user. 1'd judge this a marginal choice even for libraries with strong film audiences. For anyone else, it'll be a tough sell. NONFICTION REVIEW FAN'ASY #!;IRLS Joe Hilicia Helford, Elyce Rae, ed. Fantasy Girls: Gender in the New Universe of Science Fiction and Fantasy Television. Roman & Littlefield, 4720 Boston Way, Lanham, MD 20706, June 2000. vii + 273 p. $65. 0-8476-9834-3;$22.95, trade paper, -9835-1. Orders to (800) The fantasy girls discussed here include Buffy, Sabrina, Xena, Lois, Agent Scully, and the officers of Star Trek: Voyager and Babylon 5: quite a cast of heroic women compared with any earlier decade of TV history. Each of the eleven essays focuses upon a particular series or "special," though not necessarily on action heroes: Nichole Matthews and Farah Mendlesohn analyze the performance of gender on Third Rock from the Sun; Jessica Royer finds sexism not only in the trashy movies hooted at by the irreverent trio of Mystery Science Theater 3000 but in the jokes themselves; and Hanley Kanar looks at an episode of Deep Space 9 in light of recent studies of portrayals of people with disabilities. Although most of these shows have been celebrated by fans and some scholars for their representations of powerful, take-charge women, the majority of articles in Helford's book fmd them less feminist or friendly to alternative sexualities than they may first appear. Just as I Love Lucy may have unknowingly! subversively represented the 1950s housewife striving for personal empowerment, yet all the same ridiculed Lucy and reduced her to her original status by the end of each episode, so even the progressive stances of shows like Xena may be co-opted by dominant white (even if not always male nowadays) ideology. As Helford points out in her introduction, "Though we now have female warriors, ship's captains, witches, aliens, and superheroes, they remain overwhelmingly white (or at least portrayed by white actresses), heterosexual, and silent on such issues as class disenfranchisement." only the essay on Voyager by Robin Roberts has a predominantly positive view of the portrayals of three protagonists, the ship's officers J aneway, Torres, and Seven, in regard not only to gender but to mixed race (in the case of the latter two, with Seven's Borg markings taken as symbolic of "mulatta" reality in our own quadrant). There is a risk of sameness when several essays take basically the same approach: in this case, beginning with a list of reasons why feminist and sometimes LGBT fans may validly rejoice over a particular series, and then showing how TV (an industry for whom the scornful remark" same-old, same-old" is actually the highest praise, or anyhow their modus oper andi) gives the illusion of taking a progressive stance while promoting precisely the opposite. This is not to say that a detailed analysis of how co-optation takes place in each of several series is not highly worthwhile. Kent N egano, for ex amples, argues that in Buffy, "the valorization and heroification of a white femafe protagonist is constructed through an associated villainization and demonization of people of color," and the editor, in her detailed, thoughtful essay onXena, examines how the show calculatedly invites queer readings, particularly in light of 1990s acceptance ofbutchlfemme relations, but is all too sanguine in its portrayals of Xena's "battering" of Gabrielle in certain episodes. Perhaps the most thorough and complex of all these essays is Linda Bradley's "Scully Hits the Glass Ceiling": she exhaustively covers the literature on The X-Files in regard to Dana Scully as a role model, and notes the writers' frequent acknowledgments of (or knowingly winks at) feminist issues; but her main concern is the myriad way in which Scully's body is manipulated by the show's patriarchal forces, although the narrative perspective remains more Agent Muldar's than Scully's. Each essay examines a series, with the exception of Maureen Barr's look at the 1997 Disney production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Cinderella and its "color-blind" casting (black queen, white king, Filipino prince, black Cinderella, white stepmother, etc.). Barr's essay makes important observations along the way-for example, noting how this Cinderella slights black men while featuring powerful and glamorous black women-but it also contains a number of unsubstantiated assertions and assumptions. Some are incidental: "perhaps" Princess Diana was murdered because she "wanted to marry an Arab, a man of color," or that Cinderella's white bedroom slippers with pink and blue trim "symbolize racial whiteness and stereotypical female and male gender roles." More problematic is an overall approach that seems to assume only whites watched the show or were addressed by it ("Because viewers are so comfortable with Goldberg's presence, having her play the queen further downplays white discomfort with racial differences;" "Viewers initially do not see the Other protagonists as 'normal' "-but why take the stance that these viewers were all white? And even if the show's creators were entirely white and cynical, wouldn't they have designed their product to speak at least party to viewers! consumers of color in 1997?). Worth exploring too is the claim that the three black leads "cannot justifiably articulate the marginalized Other's complaint" because they are media stars. rw ould a cast of unknowns have better spoken to-or for?-the marginalized, or can only the critic?) It might be interesting to compare this Cinderella to other cases of color-blind casting, common in American repertory theater and universal in opera, though it would be difficult to generalize about audience reception.


With more than enough issues and positions to debate, and particular shows to study, Fantasy Girls could serve as an excellent accompaniment to any coW'Se in SF /faotasy TV or in racd gender/sexuality in 1990s media. fiCTION REVIEW L4N#K". Karen Helleksnn Banks, lain M. Look w Windward. London: Orbit/Little, Brown and Company, Brettenham House, Lancaster Place, London WC2E 7EN, UK, 2000. 357 p. .99. 1-85723-969-5. Available from In Look to Windward, Banks revisits the Culture milieu explored in many of his other texts. Though his last book, had the Culture working in mysterious ways deep in the background, Look to Windward returns to the Culture we expect to see: dizzyingly complex, infinitely amusing, and ultimately cruel. The book's title is taken from the same poem that gave Banks the title for his first Culture novel, Consider Phlebas, T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land. I haven't read Consider Phlebas recently, but it deals with the ldiran war, which is revisited, years later, in Look to Windward, and although the two texts don't overtly mesh, a hint here and a charaaerthere link the two. Banks has been slowly exploring the people and sentient machines that make up the Culture, and in Look to Windward, he covers new ground: nonhuman characters are the focus here, just as Ship Minds were the focus of Excession and human characters were the focus of a few of his othertexts. The plot focuses on two nonhuman characters, both Chelgrians. One, a famed composer named Ziller, has left his home planet and lives in exile on an orbital hub called Massaq'. He's hard at work on a new piece, and its debut will occur when the light of two suns destroyed during the ldiran war reach Massaq'. And the other is Quilan, a Chelgrian who lost his beloved wife in a civil war that the Chelgrians learned was engineered, and botched, by the Culture. Quilan is dispatched to Massaq', ostensibly to convince Ziller to return home, but his true mission is so secret that even he does not know what it is. It is revealed to him in bits and pieces, and as his past is revealed, we learn about the terrible cost of war. And war is indeed the focus of the book. (fhe book is dedicated to the Gulf war veterans.) The long-ago ldiran war and the recent Chelgrian civil war have both scarred those who were engaged in them and remember them. Quilan's deep sadness and despair over the loss of his wife do not abate, and his inability to move on informs his decisions and actions. Quilan is paralleled by the character of the Massaq' hub Mind, a veteran of the ldiran war who is also unable to cope with a loss it experienced during combat. The hub Mind, a machine, is able to literally relive moments of the war by pulling them from its memory. Likewise, Quilan's story is told through memory via flashbacks. Banks slowly lays out the revenge plot that the Chelgrians have concocted, inextricably binding Quilan to a fate he grows to welcome. And although initially Quilan appears to be a sympathetic figure-a sad man mourning the loss of his wife-Banks builds up the layers that make up Quilan, and our view of him changes from sympathetic to horrified. The layers build toward a climax: the debut of Ziller's musical piece and the fulfillment of the Chelgrian plan, implemented by Quilan. This book, which is about sadness and despair, also has its lighter moments. Banks's take on fun to be had at the Massaq' orbital is amusing, and fans of his work will enjoy the dialogues he creates between unnamed characters: one of the conversations is about ridiculous ship names. Banks's themes of war, games, and memory are in evidence here; his work remains thematically consistent. The text is dense and sometimes too self-conscious, but it has an undeniable emotional heft and a deftly worked-out plot. But fans of Banks will welcome the return of the Culture. FICTION REVIEW Bruce A. Beatie Peter Ackroyd. The Plato Papers. A Novel. London: Chatto & Windus, 1999. xii + 139 pages. This little book is one of the strangest and most fascinating works of fiction I have read in many a year, one whose generic identity is difficult to determine. First published in England subtitled as "a novel," its 151 small pages (5.5" x r with wide margins, and many of the pages are almost blank) make its U. S. subtitle, "A Prophesy," perhaps more appropriate. Yet even so brief a book is divided into four separately-titled sections. The title of the first and longest part, "The Lectures and Remarks of Plato on the Condition of Past Ages" suggests most directly its peninence to the genre of science fiction (or, perhaps more likely, science fantasy). For the "lectures" take place "c. AD 3700," in a London reconstituted of eternal light after what seems to have been the destruction of the sun and stars, and Plato is "the great orator" (xi) of


this London. The "past ages" are identified (vii) as: c. 3500 BC-c. 300 BC: The Age of Orpheus c. 300 BC-c. AD 1500: The Age of the Apostles c. AD 1500-c, AD 2300: The Age of Mouldwarp c. AD 2300-c. AD 3400: The Age ofWitspell c. AD 3700: The Present Ackroyd only hints, in a series of purported quotations that preface the main text (ix-xi), at the events of the 1700 years that lie between our own present and that of the novel. The Age of Mouldwarp seems to have ended with universal darkness: "All fallen dark and quiet, all gone down. Collapsophe. Joseph P., Diaries, 2299," but another quote states: "The holy city, restored. Ourselves, revived. Proclamation, 2350." This "glorious restoration of human light" seems to derive not from physics but from "the divine consciousness of humanity" and relates to an assumption of consciousness in the physical world: "This city, for example, is not indifferent to the joys or sufferings of its inhabitants. The London Intelligencer, 2998." The skeletal "plot" of the novel is laid out in the last and longest of these preliminary quotations, a kind of preface by "Anon., The Plato Ptrpers, 3705:" I intend to conjure up alikeness of Plato, the great orator of London .... I will practice the art of selection; like the displays of our actors continually before us, some events will be presented on a grand scale and others diminished .... By these means we may see his unhappily brief life as a continual search after truth. But it will also be my duty faithfully to record Plato's ftnal days in the city and to ascertain how a cruel superstition exercised boundless dominion over the most elevated and benevolent mind. The first part, "The Lectures and Remarks of Plato on the Condition of Past Ages" (1-84), consists of32 short chapters, of which ten represent the actual orations, numbers two through eleven-the first oration takes place before the book begins, and we hear about it only in a dialogue; the twelfth oration is presented as a flashbaCk during Plato's trial. Eight chapters consist of dialogues of the characters (literally "dialogues," presented as if they were the script of a play), mostly commenting on Plato and his orations. Seven chapters are dialogues of Plato with his Soul, three are "glossaries" of Mouldwarp terms, two are 'flashback" scenes from Plato's earlier life, one (a single paragraph) is a report to Plato of an archeological ftnd, and the other (crucial to the plot) follows the eleventh oration and represents a vision that comes to Plato. There is no obvious plot or movement during the 84 pages of the ftrst part. Plato's orations are mostly satirical, often quite comic, misinterpretations of relics from the Age of Mould warp. In the second, for example, he discusses On the Origin o/Species by Means o/Natural Selection "by Charles D-. The rest of the name has out .... (5), which he treats as a work of ftction by Charles Dickens. In the third, he treats the surviving works of.t:dgar Allan Poe as "the unique record of a lost race" (29), the American people. In the eighth, he talks of "a comic handbook enticledJokes and their Relation to the Unconscrous .... The work of a clown or buffoon who was billed as Sigmund Freud-no doubt pronounced 'Fraud' to add piquancy to his stage character." (59) The three sections of the Mouldwarp glossary are equally satirocomic. "Daylight saving, for example, is deftned as "a technique by which light was stored in great containers and then taken through underground pipes to the residences of Mould warp. "(13) A "town crier," says Plato, was "an official who took on the woes of a town or district, and engaged in ritual weeping to ensure the maintenance of harmony." (25) The definition that most intrigued me, a sometime language teacher, was for "language laboratory" (19): A sterile area where language was created under strict experimental conditions. New complex words or phrases were bred from existing phonetic and semantic systems before being tested on a group of volunteers. There was of course always a danger of contamination or leakage; we believe that there were occasions when rogue words were accidentally released into the community, sometimes causing hysteria or fever. In Plato's conversations with his soul as the ftrst part progresses, however, he has increasingly questioned the validity of his orations, and just before his fragmentary eleventh oration, his Soul says: "You need to reach the limits of your knowledge and your belief. Am I correct?" When Plato agrees, his Soul says: "Then I will no longer protect you." (76) And in the penultimate chapter of the ftrst part, he begins to have a vision that sets him off on a journey about which, as his friend Ornatus reports to Plato's childhood playmate Sidonia, Plato has said: "Perhaps it is possible to embark on a journey while remaining in the same place." (84) The second part, the longest single chapter (8 pages), consists of Plato 's narrative of his journey down a circular path into the underground, a narrative with (probably deliberate) reminiscences ofB. G. Wells' The Time Machine (it is also the 33rd chapter, and it was inJ esus' 33rd year that, according to the Apostles' Creed, "he descended into hell"). As Plato's journey ends, "there, stretching below me, was London!" -the London of Mould warp, of our own time. After observing aspects of the city through the distorting lenses of his own preconceptions, he is fmally able to converse, not with the people themselves, but with their souls, who complain to him "that they were imprisoned within beings who had lime concept of divinity or truth, but who instead worshipped order and control." (93) Plato himself had observed that "There was even a band of time strapped to their wrists, like a manacle binding them to life in the cave. They lived in small


divisions of time or fragments oftime, continually anticipating the conclusion of each fragment as if the whole point of activity lay in its end." (91) When he fInally looks up at the disc of Mould warp London's sun and fmds he "could see through it to the other side and to the roof of the cave," he "decided to return and to tell you of my discover ies." (94) At the beginning of the third part, "The Trial of Plato Charged with Corrupting the Young by Spinning Lies and Fables" (95-127), we hear only fragments of his report, told by Omatus to Sidonia. And then he is put on trial by "the guardians" because, like the master of his classical namesake, he has "corrupted the youth of this city" by his words and speeches. (100) In his defense he repeats his oration to the children, in which he shows them one of a pair of dice, and asks them to consider the power of differences. As the trial continues (reported in part as direct dialogue with the guardians, in part in conversations among Sidonia, Madrigal, and Omatus and his daughter M yander), the guardians' accusations change: it becomes clear that Plato has been condemned because he is different, and because he dares to question the reality of the world in which he lives. At the trial's end the guardians state: "Ours is a great and ancient city, with its own sacred rites. The citizens will assemble at the several gates, according to their parish, where the charges against you will once more be recited. Then they will sleep and, immediately on waking, they will know whether you are in a state of innocence or guilt." (127) In the fmal part, "The Judgment upon Plato" (129-139), the citizens decide that Plato is "innocent of any attempt to corrupt the young .... that you have not lied or prevaricated in your testimony. They believe that you suffered some dream or hallucination while you lay among your papers." His "mask of oratory," they say, will be returned to him. But Plato condemns himself: "I cannot exist in a world which will ignore me or deride me-or worse, pity me. I condemn myself to perpetual exile. I wish to be taken under escort beyond the walls of the city, never to return. "(134) And in the penultimate chapter of the book, Sparkler and Madrigal watch as Sidonia escorts him on a "barge ... down the Fleet." (138). The fInal brief chapter (the only segment of 3nl.person narration since the passage by "Anon. in the preface, and probably meant to be taken as the end ofthat author's Plato Papers) I quote in its entirety: (139) So Plato left the city and was never seen again. There are many who say that he traveled to other cities, where he continued his orations. Some are convinced that there was indeed a cave beneath the earth and that Plato returned there unknown and unseen by the people of Mouldwarp. Sidonia and Omatus believe that he simply entered another dream. Because almost all of the text consists either of first -person narrative or dialogue, there is almost no detailed description, and one of the fascinations of this small text is piecing together the occasional allusions that allow us to imagine the London of3700 AD. Familiar places are mentioned in passing: Essex street (83), the Fleet (1, 138), Golden Lane (81, 118), Gravesend (22), Lambeth (107, 124), "the comer of Lime street and Leadenhall" (62), Lombard Street and the Mansion House (68), LudHill (138), Newgate (115), Penton hill (69), and St. Giles (115). But they are all strangely transformed. When Plato lectures to the children, he stands on top of a hill where once stood "a great domed church on this summit, dedicated to the god Paul" (102), and there are "lambs on the green of Lambeth" (107, 124). But Plato's London is stranger still. There is a wall around the city (1, 84), and when children grow up, "they must paint their features upon the Wall" with "sticks of coloured light" (57). Indeed, it seems to be a city made of light. Plato says "we had an old house, built of light" (11). Sidonia and Omatus watch images oflight arising from the sea (21), and they speak of children going through "the maze of glass" to "find the light" as children; the glass "is made from the tears of angels." (22) And the light seems not physical in nature; Omatus says that "the light around us is the light of human care" (106). Angels, never defmed or described, seem to by a constant presence in the city. They listen to Plato's oration (9), Omatus suggests to Sidonia that they "take a skiff down the Fleet and search for angels' feathers" (84), and Sidonia tells Plato: "when I am alone, I float in a dream of my own and, sometimes, the angels join me .... Sometimes I hear them in music." (115). And during the fmal of Plato's trial, Sparkler notes that "Even the angels are interested. The tips of their wings have changed colour." (125) The city has a "museum of noise" (68) and a "museum of silence" (54,68), and "there is a grief box in every parish where we can express our anxiety without being observed." (132) There is a "the house of birth, just outside the walls" (108), a "House of the Dead" (36-37), and "In the distant village of the hammer and the smith .... dwell those who believe themselves to be already dead. They neither eat nor drink, but they survive their allotted span." (126) These are only a few of the hinted-at characteristics of Plato's London. It also seems to exist in a multitude of dimensions; Madrigal notes that, by contrast, Mouldwarp "only existed in 3 or 4 dimensions" (113). In our own (that is, Mouldwarp) London, Plato believed, the stars disappeared because no one was observing them (49). In his "journey," he saw that the people of Mouldwarp were "short, little more than half your height" (89-the height of the "people" of Plato's London), and the souls be with told him that they knew of giants in the past, but thought they were "proph ecies of you and your race" (93, 136). But Plato comes eventually to believe in a more complex relationship between the two Londons. He fIrst argues for two simultaneous realities (100), comes to suggest that "our world and their world are intermingled" (121), and fmally asks the guardians: "Have you ever considered that our lives are a form of dream / and that it is time to awake? What if we are being dreamed by the people of Mouldwarp? And what if we were dreaming them? What if the divine human had never woken and all the ages were part of the fabric of his sleep?" (123) There is no possibility, in a short review, of exhausting the fascinations and implications of this little text. In its


utter strangeness, it reminds me of Peake' s Gormenghast trilogy, which by comparison is E!Y wordy. In terms of richness of allusion within so brief a space, I can only compare it to Orwell's AnimalFann, which is cruder and more direct in its satire and its implications. The Plato Papers, by contrast, are endlessly suggestive, and I look forward to returning to them over many years. FICTION REVIEW Hichaellevy Thomas, Jeffrey. Punktown. Tallahassee, FL: Ministry of Whimsy Press, 2000. 128 p. $11.99 tp. ISBN: I-890464-04-X. Orders to Jeff VanderMeer, Ministry of Whirnsy Press, P.O. Box 4248, Tallahassey, FL32315. (850) 385. The Ministry of Whimsy Press made news a couple of years ago when one of their books, Stepan Chapman's The Troika, became the fIrst small-press novel to win a major SF prize, the Philip K. Dick Award. Their original anthology, Leviathan, was also nominated for both a World Fantasy Award and a British Fantasy Award. I mention this because, based on their track record (they've also published superb short fIction by Bruce Taylor, Chapman and others), anythingJeff VanderMeer's press puts out is likely to be worth looking at. Jeffrey Thomas's Punktown continues this tradition of excellence. The nine short stories published herein are all set in the dark and dirty city of Paxton, aka Punktown, an aging metropolis built upon the ruins of an even more ancient alien city on the planet Oasis. Although the majority ofPunktown's inhabitants are human, more or less, a variety of exotic and often rather dangerous alien species lurk in the darker quarters of the city. Among Thomas's influences, other than noir fiction generally, are H.P. Lovecraft and, perhaps, Thomas Hardy. Although Thomas is a bit more traditional than Steve Aylett, Punktown would not be out of place on the same shelf as that writer's Slaughtennatic. In "The Reflections of Ghosts" a man creates works of art out of grotesquely deformed clones of his own genetic material. In "Wakizashi" a policeman must deal with an alien who, protected by diplomatic immunity, has gruesomely murdered several human beings as part of a religious rite. In "Immolation," Magnesium Jones, a member of a clone group grown exclusively for heavy industrial work and owned by thefactory in which they labor, stages a revolt, only to fmd himself betrayed by a crooked union leader. Thomas's imagination is both very disturbing and very powerful. Any reader who appreciates dark, urban fantasy at its very best will want to read this book. Additional stories in the Punktown saga can be found at the author's well-done Punktown City Limits website: snhomepages.talkcity.comlTimesSquarei necropolitan!index.html. FICTION REVIEW Donald Gilzinger, Jr. Hendrix, Howard. V. Better Angels. New York: Ace, 1999.373 pages, cloth, $22.95. ISBN 0-441-00652-3. In Better Angels, Howard V. Hendrix borrows a few devices from his earlier, well-received novels: a military nanotech infection that kills over 100 million people from Light Paths (1997) and a major shift in humanity's understanding of the space-time continuum from Standing Wa-re (1998). But his ideas evolve instead of being merely recycled. The narrative is divided into seven sections that trace the intersecting lives of fIve point-of-view characters during the fIrst three decades of the twenty-fIrst century: Jacinta Larkin, an ethnobotonist who has ingested an alien mycospore whose symbiosis enables her to travel in space-time; her brother, Paul Larkin, a mycologist who cuts a deal with a global corporation to exploit the alien fungus; Jiro Yamaguchi, a schizophrenic who will become infected by both the fungus and the nanotech with strange and terrifying results; Mike Dalke who will become the fIrst person to bridge the human! machine boundary in the "infosphere;" and Lydia F abro, a paleontologist who discovers what appears to be an angel's skull and scapula in the La Brea tar pits. What fascinates about Better Angels is that Hendrix succeeds in tying together all the disparate plot strands these characters experience while also presenting them against a near future setting of revolution and social chaos. However, Hendrix has also set quite a challenge for himself by employing fIve POV s. As a result, his use of the third person omniscient is a necessity, but at times, this leads to his relying too much on exposition and not enough on dialogue. The narrative voice often intrudes for three, four, five or more pages of sheer exposition in order to explain what characters are doing or what they are thinking, and too often the information dumping in dialogue becomes more like information confusion (for example, when an AI's construct tries to explain both systems theory and quantum mechanics to Jacinta on 141-42).


Yet Better Angels is fun to read. Its narrative, based on the convention of human emlution through outside manipulators, hurtles along quickly as the true nature and impact of the alien spore and of the nanotech (extracted from the angel's scapula) is discovered. Some of the novel's many pleasures include Hendrix's sense of humor (he describes college teaching as "ritual humiliation for money") and the literary references scattered throughout, from Shakespeare to Whitman and Yeats. In fact, the climax of Better Angels is a wonderful parody of Beoum}! conducted in cyberspace. Hendrix has stuffed his third novel full of interesting characters, ideas, and accion. Because of its structure, Better Angels can be difficult to follow, but like all fine madness, it has a breathtaking method to it. FEMSPEC an interdisciplinary feminist journal dedicated to critical and creative works in the realms of SF, fantasy, surrealism, magical realism, and the supernatural . questioning gender across the boundaries of what is real and what is not real in a variety of feminist approaches, inclusive of ethnic and cultural diversity in an internation alist, multicultural perspective ... Upcoming themes, articles and authors: Native American specula tive writing; real and imagined blackness; women in surrealism; Latino-Latina writings; Jewish women's magical realism; sffilm; horror; girls anime;Chinese fantastic women; Veronica Hollinger on utopianldystopian works;Robin Murray on Terri Windling's Magical Realist Ecofeminism; Theresa Crater on the Triple God dess. Batya Weinbaum, Editor Ritch Calvin, Associate Editor Paula Gunn Allen, Darko Suvin, Marleen Barr, Gloria Orenstein, Samuel R. Delany, Contributing Editors Octavia Butler, Joanna Russ, Marge Piercy, Suzy Charnas, Florence Howe, Pamela Sargeant, Advisory Board Subscribe: FEMSP Ee, Department of English, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OR 44115


Science Fiction Research Association www.s'ra.ora The SFRA is the oldest professional organization for the study of science fiction and fantasy literature and filin. 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 ftlm, teaching methods and materials, and allied media performances. Among the membership are people from many countries-students, teachers, professors, librarians, futurologists, readers, authors, booksellers, editors, publishers, archivists, and scholars in many disciplines. Academic affiliation 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 reviews, letters, occasional special topic issues, and an annual index. Scimce-Fiction Studies. Three issues per year. This scholarly journal includes critical, historical. and bibliographical articles. review articles, reviews. notes, letters, intemational 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 lerrers. 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, historical, 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 features. 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 Psychology Department U of California-Davis Davis, CA 95616-8686 SFRA Executiye Committee Vice President Secretary Carolyn Wendell English Department Monroe Community College Rochester, NY 14623 Adam Frisch 2308 Summit Street Sioux City, IA 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 PRESORTED STANDARD U.S. POSTAGE PAID TEMPE, ARIZONA PERMIT NO. 45 SFRARerier Craig] acobsen 208 East Baseline #311 Tempe, A2 85283 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED

xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 standalone no
record xmlns http:www.loc.govMARC21slim xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.loc.govstandardsmarcxmlschemaMARC21slim.xsd
leader nam a22 u 4500
controlfield tag 008 c19929999oru 000 0 eng d
datafield ind1 8 ind2 024
subfield code a S67-00013-n248-2000-09_10
0 245
SFRA review.
n No. 248 (September/October, 2000)
1 3 246
Science Fiction Research Association review
Eugene, Ore. :
b Science Fiction Research Association
c September/October, 2000
Place of publication varies.
Science fiction
x History and criticism
v Periodicals.
Fantasy fiction
History and criticism.
Science fiction
Book reviews
Fantasy fiction
Book reviews
2 710
Science Fiction Research Association.
t SFRA Review
4 856

xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 standalone no
mods:mods xmlns:mods http:www.loc.govmodsv3 xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.loc.govmodsv3mods-3-1.xsd
mods:relatedItem type host
mods:identifier issn 1068-395Xmods:part
mods:detail issue mods:number 248series Year mods:caption 20002000Month October10Day 11mods:originInfo mods:dateIssued iso8601 2000-10-01