SFRA review

SFRA review

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SFRA review
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Science Fiction Research Association review
Science Fiction Research Association
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Eugene, Ore
Science Fiction Research Association
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Science fiction -- History and criticism -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
Fantasy fiction -- History and criticism -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
Science fiction -- Book reviews -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
Fantasy fiction -- Book reviews -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
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S67-00038-n277-2006-07_08_09 ( USFLDC DOI )
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July/Aug/Sept JIIII# Editor: Chrisiine Mains Hanaffinff Editor: Janice M. Bogsiad Nonfiction Reriews: Ed MeKnighi Fiction Reriews: Ed Carmien The SFRAReview (ISSN 1068-395X) is published four times a year by the Science Fiction Research As sociation (SFRA) and distributed to SFRA members. Individual issues are not for sale; however, starting with issue #256, all issues will be published to SFRA's website no less than I 0 weeks after paper publication. For information about the SFRA and its benefits, see the description at the back of this issue. For a membership application, contact SFRA Treasurer Donald M. Hassler or get one from the SFRA website: . SFRA would like to thank the Univer sity of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for its as sistance in producing the SFRAReview. SUBMISSIONS The SFRAReview encourages all submis sions, including essays, review essays that cover several related texts, and inter views. If you would like to review non fiction or fiction, please contact the respective editor. Christine Mains, Editor Box 66024 Calgary,AB TIN I N4 Janice M. Bogstad, Managing Editor 239 Broadway St. Eau Claire WI 54703-5553 Ed McKnight. Nonfiction Editor I 13 Cannon Lane Taylors SC 29687 Ed Carmien, Fiction Editor 29 Sterling Road Princeton NJ 08540 Science Fiction Research Association SFIIA. Re"ie", III ... HIS ISSUE: SFRA Business Editor's Message 2 President's Message 2 Non Fiction Reviews Alice's Adventures 3 Anatomy of Wonder 4 The Literary Animal 7 Space Opera Renaissance 8 Folktales Retold I I Science Fact and Science Fiction I 2 Our Space, Our Place I 3 Full Metal Apache 14 Fiction Reviews Horizons NewWyrd Blindsight Zanesville 16 17 17 10 Living Next Door Melusine and The Virtu 20 21


) News Items: The Canadian SunburstAward, for excellence in speculative fiction novel or collection, has been awarded to Holly Phillips for her collection In the Palace of Repose. The British Fantasy Awards were announced on September 24 at Fantasycon 30 in Nottingham. Novel: The August Derleth Award: Anansi Boys, by Gaiman; Novella: "The Mask Behind the Face," by Stuart Young;Anthology: The Elastic Book of Numbers, edited by Allan Ashley; Collection: 20th Century Ghosts, by Joe Hill; Short Fiction: "Best New Horror," by Joe Hill. The Hugo Awards were presented at LACon IV in August. Novel: Spin, by Robert Charles Wilson; Novella: "Inside Job," by Connie Willis; Novelette: "Two Hearts," by Peter S. Beagle; Short Story: "Tk'tk'tk," by Devid D. levine; Related Book: Sto ryteller:Writing Lessons and More from 27 Years of the Clarion Writers'Workshop, by Kate Wilhelm; Dramatic Pre sentation, long Form: Serenity; Dra matic Presentation, Short Form: Doctor Who "The Empty Child" & "The Doctor Dances"; Professional Editor: David G. Hartwell. The Sidewise Awards for Alternate History were also presented at LACon IV. long Form: The Summer Isles. by Ian Macleod; Short Form: Pericles the Tyrant, by lois Tilton. The Mythopoeic Society Awards were presented at the 37th Annual Mythopoeic Conference (Mythcon 37), held from August 4-7,2006, in Norman, Oklahoma. Adult literature: Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman; Children's Literature: The Bartimaeus Trilogy, by Jonathan Stroud; ScholarSFRA BUSINESS Editor's Messaae Christine Mains The big news in this issue is a change in personnel. Sadly, Phil Snyder decided it was time to hang up his hat as Fiction Reviews Editor; the Executive Board and the editorial staff of the SFR4 Ret'ieu) are very grateful for all the work that Phil has done over the years, and very sorry to see him go. But we're very happy to welcome his replacement, Ed Carmien, who's already got lots of ideas about how to use his newfound power. One project that Ed has in mind is to devote a portion of an upcoming issue to Heinlein, given that the 2007 SFRA conference will be held in conjunction with the Heinlein Centennial. Ed Carmien is lining up reprints of Heinlein's work, and if anyone knows of recently or soon-to-be published nonfiction studies of Heinlein or anything related, do contact Ed McKnight on that score. (I can see some potential confusion in having two Eds around ... not to mention two ed(itor)s). When Ed C. pitched his idea, I immediately thought of the ever-languishing Approaches to Teaching series; I'm sure some of you teach Heinlein in your classes, and we'd love to make some space for you to share your teaching tips and theories. (Sooper seekrit message to those of you who discussed the Approaches to Teaching series with me at the last conference in White Plains: the content you promised me, huh?) SFRA BUSINESS President's Messaae David G. Mead Well, I was wrong. My last Presidential Message wasn't my last message as President of SFRA. I am pretty sure this one is. The hot news of this day (Friday, October 13) is tile announcement of our new officers for 2007-2008: Adam Frisch, President; Lisa Yaszek, Vice President; Mack Hassler, Treasurer, and Shelley Rodrigo, Secretar)" \\lhat a wonderful Execu tive Committee! I have no doubt they will serve the Association well, and I look fOlward to working with them in my role as emil1eJ1ce g17'S (i.e. Immediate Past President). My deep thanks to those who ran but were not victorious. It is a require ment of our SFRA elections that we have two nominees for each office. Of course, what that means is that half of those who run will not win. SFRA could not have had this election without Bruce, Ed, Warren, and Stacie. I have no doubt that their time to serve as officers will come, and we will be grateful to them again. !vIy thanks also to my Executive Committee for tile past two years Peter Brigg, Bruce Rockwood, Mack Hassler, and Warren Rochelle. We'd have gotten nowhere these last two years witllOut their work. The 2007 "\nnual Meeting of the SFRA will be held in Kansas City, Mis souri, July 5-8, at the Crown Center. The conference theme is Celebrating the Golden .\ge of Science Fiction, and our guest authors will be Fred Pohl, Jim Gunn, and Allen Steele. The Conference Registration fee will be $150. We are meeting in conjunctIOn WIth the Robert A Heinlein Centennial, and our partici pants get full membership in the Heinlein Centennial (not including tile Gala DH1Ile.:r, f,,!' which there will be an additional fee) as a part of their SFRA Registratl'JIl. I,X'lth the.: e.:ve.:nts of the Heinlein Centennial, our 2007 should be an (';.;t r;l( ,rdlll ary meeting. I hope you will attend and present your scholarship. Paper Jrllp

Swigart are serving as the Program Committee. Send your money to me, Confer ence Chair once again! I t has been an honor to work with and for the SFRA as President. Thank you for letting me serve. NONFICTION REVIEW Alice's Adventures Lincoln Geraghty Brooker, \V'ill. Alice's Adul1tllres: Can-oil in Poplilar Cllltllre. New York, London: Continuum (2005). 41 illustrations, }"--viii + 380pp. Paperback, S19.95. ISBN 0-8264-1754-X. Brooker's Alice's Adl.entlfres is a mammoth work of detailed, in-depth research and critical, well-balanced analYSIS. The third ill Brooker's self-proclaimed "cultural icons" trilogy (the other two being Batman Ul1masked (2001) and Using tbe Force (2002), both Continuum) this book combines the author's passion for Lewis Carroll's original children's tale with his own now-familiar talent for producing essential scholarship in the field of popular culture. At over 380 pages long Brooker has clearly gone to great lengths to delve deep into the world of Carroll and }Jice, offering the reader an insight into the mind and imagination of one of Britain's most popular children's authors. As well as being a historical narrative, investigat ing the truths and half-truths surrounding the inspiration for Alice's Adrentllres ill Wonderland, Brooker's work looks at the influence Carroll and his fictional \'\'on derland has had on popular culture. Chapter topics include: illustrations of _-\lice; inspired further adventures; Disney's ,,11iee and other adaptations; computer games and the darker imagination; life long fans of the story; and finally, historic pilgrim ages to real life sites connected to Carroll, "-\lice and Victorian Britain. Brooker makes it clear in the introduction that he does not want to trawl through well-known lies and forgotten facts about Carroll; rather, he wants to trace the "discourses around Carroll and 'i\lice' the books and the Liddell girlone that evolved during Carroll's lifetime, and the other with its origins in the 1930s." .As Brooker maintains, these discourses are key to our understanding of who Carroll was and what "-\lice meant to him. Either "Carroll is a sainted inno cent, his books are joyous nonsense and Alice is his muse ... [or] Carroll is a paedophile, his books are dark allegories, and "-\lice is his obsession" (Xy). Split ting the myth from reality is Brooker's ultimate intent; he does not want to pro vide tile most accurate biographies of Charles L. Dodgson (Carrol!) and Mrs Reginald Hargreaves (the real "-\lice). As a work of cultural criticism, Alice's AdrCll tll1-esis "not really about Dodgson and "-\lice and ,vhat they meant to each other. It is about 'Carrol!' and 'Alice' and what they mean to us" (),.-yii). To someone who studies fandom and its various le,-els of deyotion, Brooker's aim to find out what AfieeJ-Admltllres in IFolldedalld means to those who read and adore it is a noble one. The impact that such popular fiction has on the daily Ii,-es of its fans is clearly something to which we as scholars of science fiction and fantasy must pay attention; not simply because we explore and under stand what draws people into the fictional worlds created by Carroll ,md others but, more importantly, because we too are fascinated and drawn in b:the "wonderlands" we inhabit eyery time we sit ,md read or watch science fiction. I think it is partly because Brooker is such a fan of Alice and the surrounding myths ,md fantasies that he is able to construct illl interesting illld compelling ,malysis. His knowledge of the subject area is akin to tllat of a Star Lm who knows e,-ery ( ( ship Award in Inklings Studies: The Lord o(the Rings:A Reader's Compan ion by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull; Scholarship Award in General Myth and Fantasy Stud ies: National Dreams: The Remaking o( Fairy Tales in Nineteenth-Century England, by Jennifer Schacker. The World FantasyAward Nominations have been announced.The winners will be announced at this year's World Fantasy Convention, to be held 2-5 November 2006 in Austin, Texas. Novel: Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakam i; The lim its o(Enchantment, by Graham Joyce; Lunar Park, by Bret Easton Ellis; Od Magic, by Patricia A. McKillip;A Prin cess o( Roumania, by Paul Park; Vel lum, by Hal Duncan. Novella: An other War, by Simon Morden "The Imago Sequence," by Laird Barron; "In the Machine," by Michael Cunningham;"Magic for Beginners," by Kelly Link; "UOUS," by Tanith Lee;Voluntary Committal, by Joe Hill. Short Fiction: "Best New Horror," by Joe Hill; "CommComm," by George Saunders; "The Other Grace," by Holly Phillips; "La Peau Verte," by Caitlin R. Kiernan; "Two Hearts," by Peter S. Beagle.Anthol ogy: Adventure Vol. I, ed. Chris Roberson; The Fair Folk, ed. Marvin Kaye; Nova Scotia: New Scottish Speculative Fiction, ed. Neil Williamson &Andrew J.Wilson;Po Iyphony 5, ed. Deborah Layne & Jay Lake; Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth, ed. Stephen Jones. Collection: 20th Century Ghosts, by Joe Hill; In the Pal ace o( Repose, by Holly Phillips; The Keyhole Opera, by Bruce Holland Rogers; Magic (or Beginners, by Kelly Link; To Charles Fort, with Love, by Caitlin R. Kiernan. )


) The 2008 Worldcon will be held in Denver, Colorado, Aug 6-10, 200B. The guests of honor will be Author: Lois McMaster Bujold, Fan: Tom Whitmore.WiI McCarthy will be the Toastmaster. Forthcoming Books: Fall 2006 Abbott, Jon. Irwin Allen Television Pro ductions, 1964-/970:A Critical History. McFarland. Broderick,James F. The Uterary Galaxy of Star Trek: An Analysis of Refer ences and Themes in the Television Series and Films. McFarland. Conley, Tim and Stephen Cain. Encyclopedia of Fictional and Fantastic Languages. Greenwood. Croft,Janet Brennan (ed). Tolkien and Shakespeare: Essays on Shared Themes and Language. McFarland. Debus,Allen A. Dinosaurs in Fantastic Fiction: A Thematic Survey. McFarland. Gunn, James. Inside Science Fiction (2nd Edition). Scarecrow Press. Hardy, Elizabeth Baird. Milton, Spenser and the Chronicles of Narnia: Uterary Sources for the C.S. Lewis Novels. McFarland. Hogan, David J. Science FictionAmerica: Essay on SF Cinema. McFarland. Kahan, Jeffrey and Stanley Stewart. Caped Crusaders 10 I: Composition through Comic Books. McFarland. Melzer, Patricia. Alien Constructions: Science Fiction and Feminist Thought. U of Texas Press. Monk, Patricia. Alien Theory:TheAlien as Archetype in the Science Fiction Short Story. Scarecrow Press. Muir,John Kenneth.A History and Criti cal Analysis of Blake's 7. the 1978-1981 British Television SpaceAdven ture. McFarland. Noonan, Bonnie. Women Scientists in Fifties Science Fiction Films. McFarland. ( episode, yet he is clearly able to stand at a critical distance in order to exan1ine and record the responses of fans he interviews. In one chapter Brooker describes how he attended a function of the Lewis Carroll Society (LCS) acutely aware of his role as "participant-observer", someone who felt "a part of the group but still apart" (266). In another chapter he retraces the steps that Carroll fans take as pilgrimage, from Disneyland Paris to Carroll's birthplace in Daresbury Parsonage and many places in between. The physical locations and stone monwnents to Alice and Carroll confirm to fans that in some way the fictional world of Won derland is real and their passion for the text is not a fallacy. As with fans of Star Trek and Star Wars, being able to make contact with tllOse who share their devotion to Alice through the LCS or visit the actual places that inspired Carroll offers fans a valuable extension to the world of U70nderland. Part of Carroll's legacy in popular culture is the adaptability of Alice for generations of people; as Brooker points out at the end of his work, that children and adults still love the book is testament to the powerful relationships we form with fictional characters such as }Jice. 'W'hat she means to us as individuals differs hugely across time, but at the root of it the original Alice remains unchanged. Alice's AdlJentures: Le/vis CaITo!! in Popular Culture is an invaluable text, not just for fans of Alice but also for scholars who endeavour to uncover the intricate mysteries of fandom. NONFICTION REVIEW Anai:omy 01 Wonder Justin Everett Barron, Neil, ed. Anatomy of Wonder: A CI7"tica! Guide to Science Fiction. 5th ed. Westport, CT and London: Libraries Unlimited, 2004. 1016 pages; $80 hardbound, ISBN 1591581710. A few works of science fiction criticism are so significant as tools for the researcher, student, and casual reader that they are on the short list of must-haves for any science fiction library. Barron's Anatomy of Wonderis one such book. From its opening poem, 'The End of Science Fiction," to its indices, this book is essential for its valuable and insightful essays, its very thorough annotated bibli ographies, and its extensive listings of books (fiction and nonfiction), awards, foreign language works, and organizations. I t so happened that upon receiving this book for review I was teaching an introductory course in science fiction literature. In addition to reacting the book and considering its value as a general resource, I spent the semester using the book as a teaching tool. Additionally, I put it on reserve in the university library during the last half of the semester to test out its usefulness to students in aiding their research. The results were impressive. Seven of my students reported using this book as a resource to help them plan their research, and they indicated to me that it helped them gain a perspective of the breadth of science fiction literature, as well as the depth of its history, which was the effect I was hoping to achieve. Students fowld the annotated bibliography particularly useful, because it helped them not only discover collections of essays and other information useful to them, but it reduced the time they had to spend looking at redundant infotmation in order to find what they needed to assist with their research projects. I was pleased by the results in their papers. The students who used the book as ,ill initial resource did not include the sorts of sources that indicated the writers were trpng to pad their bibliographies. One word of caution: I found that students frequently attempted to use Anato1ll)' as a primary source (which is not the way it should be used, except for citing some of the material in the introduc-)


tory essays fronting the annotated bibliographies). Students had to be trained to use this book as a means of finding other materials. The first section of the book consists of a series of essays covering the history of science fiction. I utilized each of these essays as I taught that portion of the class, and found that they helped me identify areas where the material in my course was particularly weak. The first essay, "The Emergence of Science Fiction, 1516-1914," I found particularly useful, since it is in science fiction's prehistory that I find my own background weakest. However, I would say that this essay, though excellent in its own right, does not go quite far enough. It moves fairly quickly toward the sub-genre of the "mysterious voyage," and does not discuss in enough depth the mythic origins of SF which James Gunn and others have covered else where. I think this prehistory is particularly important in order for students to understand the relationship between SF and its mythic predecessors, and would be especially valuable to assist students with understanding the backgrounds that have made science fiction possible. \Vhile some of the book's essays do a fine job of discussing various historical contexts, there are a few places where these back grounds could have been fleshed out a bit more, and the prehistory is one of those areas. However, this should not be viewed so much as a weakness of the book as a limitation imposed by the vastness of its scope. One of the greatest strengths of Anato,,!), is its coverage of the pulps. This material is discussed not in one place, but in several essays throughout the book. The second and third essays in the first section, "Science Fiction Between the Wars: 1915-1939," and "From the Golden .Age to the Atomic i\ge: 1940-1963" are par ticularly good for their discussions, respectively, of the Gernsback and Campbell eras. I would consider these "must reads" for my students, or anyone interested in gaining a good overview of the influence that the pulps had on situating science fiction within American, British, and Continental SF. In addition to helping me steer my course, these essays helped my students w1derstand SF's struggle to fInd a cultural place as it became manifest as high art at one moment and mass market popular culture in the next, eventually to emerge with the two-literary SF and much-maligned "sci-fi"--existing side-by-side. The last two introductory essays, "The New Wave and i\ter, 1964-1983" and "Cyberpunk and Beyond: 1984 2004," serve to introduce SF's stylistic experi ments as it branched out mto new areas, moving away from the more consen-ative orientation of the writers of the Campbell era and earlier. One lacuna in this part of the book, I believe, is its omission of a discussion of the effect that the consolida tion of the paperback industry under a few publishing giants had in the 80s and 90s and continues to have today. In particular, the reduced space in the market for new writers in the face of a plethora of media tie-ins (Star TI-ek, X-Plies, etc.) should be treated in some degree of depth. The second and third sections of d1e book are dedicated to annotated bibliographies of the primary and secondary literature. I have found these lists particularly useful. The first section helped one of my students, who had ne,-er been exposed to SF before, identify a book she might be interested in reading for her research assignment. It also helped me investigate what books I should con sider for future courses, as well as identify d10se works (I am embarrassed to say) d1at I have yet to read. The annotations are objective, identify dominant themes (very useful when planning courses), and provide references to other stories with similar treatments. The section treating the secondary literature is excellently orga nized for the researcher, whether a beginning student or more seasoned critic. \Taluable introductory essays discuss the resources, followed by selective annotated bibliographies of relevant sources. Various chapters in this section are de,'oted to ( ( 5) Resnick. Mike. History Revisited: Real Historians Debate the Best of Military Alternate History. Benbella. Richardson. J. Michael and J. Douglas Rabb. The Existential Joss Whedon: Evil and Human Freedom in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Angel, Firefly and Serenity. McFarland. Seabrook.Jack. Stealing Through Time: On the Writings of Jack Finney. McFarland. Weaver. Tom. Eye on Science Fiction: 20 Interviews with Classic SF and Horror Filmmakers. McFarland. Wetmore. Kevin J .. Jr. The Empire Triumphant Race, Religion and Rebellion in the Star Wars Films. McFarland. Yeffeth, Glenn. Webslinger: SF and Comic Writers on Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. Benbella. CfPs: WHAT:The British Society for literature and Science WHEN: March 29-31, 2007 WHERE: Birmingham and Midlands Institute TOPICS: Plenary speakers include Robert Crawford and Jenny Uglow. Papers may address topics in the interactions of literature and science in any period and any languages. Presenters need not be based in UK in stitutions. SUBMISSIONS: abstract of no more than 400 words and a I OO-word bio graphical note (or in the case of a panel. abstracts and notes for each speaker).Abstract in body. not as attachment. CONTACT: Dr. Stuart Robinson DEADLINE: November 30 2006. )


) WHAT: From the Brain to Human Culture: Intersections between the Humanities and Neuroscience WHO: Comparative Humanities. Bucknell University WHEN: April 20-21. 2007 WHERE: Bucknell University. Lewisburg. PA TOPICS: Papers and/or panels are solicited for an interdisciplinary con ference examining the intersections between recent work in the humani ties and neurosciences. Papers from across the whole range of both the humanities (art. religion. literature. philosophy. film studies. history. lan guages. etc.) and neuroscience and its related fields (psychology. cogni tive science. physiology. animal be havior. organismal and evolutionary biology. etc.) are welcome. SUBMISSIONS: SOO-word abstract and CV as an email attachment CONTACT: Prof. John Hunter DEADLINE: December 15th. 2006. WHAT: Literature. Ecocriticism. and the Environment WHO: SouthwestlTexas Popular and American Culture Associations WHEN: February 14-17.2007 WHERE:Albuquerque. New Mexico TOPICS: Panels now forming regarding Literature. Ecocriticism. and the Environment in such areas as: ecocritical approaches to literature; environmentally-focused artists and their art; representations of nature and the environment in popular and American culture; environmental dis course in the media; the environment in film; urban environmentalism; nature writing and its authors. SUBMISSIONS: by email CONTACT: Ken Hada. DEADLINE: December 1.2006 INFO: ( general reference works, online resources, history/criticism, author studies, SF in film and television, illustration, fan culture, and magazines. Chapter 9, "History and Criticism," is especially valuable for its discussion of the social place of SF in the academy and theories of the origins of SF. I found the attention to fan culture and media SF to be somewhat weak in this section. This is material that deserves to be expanded in future editions, though the scope of the book may prevent such expansion. The annotated bibliographies associated with each of the topics treated in this part of the book are informative and cross-referenced, a practice which I found very helpful when consulting this book. \X1hile it is difficult for me to find anything negative to say about the annotated bibliographies in this volume, I did find some of the (admittedly mild) critical remarks in the annotations off-putting. If critical remarks regarding the usefulness of particular works are to be included, to my mind they should be separated from the summary of the work in question. Though this may reflect my personal bias, I prefer annotations to be stricdy objective. I, as the researcher, should judge the usefulness of a particular resource. As a researcher with a particular interest in fan culture, I was pleased to see a chapter entided "Science Fiction Magazines and Fandom." This essay discusses the unique culture and mind-set of SF fans, and how certain individuals moved from fans to writers the Gems back and Campbell years. The essay goes on to consider the decline of the pulps and the rise of media-driven "sci-fi" as part of a community distinct from the SF core. Though, from an organizational perspec tive, it would be awkward to place this material with the historical surveys pre sented at the front of the book, this essay is too valuable to be tucked away at the back. The essay very nicely complements the second, third, and fourth chapters, which discuss the evolution of the pulps, as mentioned earlier in this review. Perhaps a cross-reference could be added in future editions. I have only one significant criticism of this book. Various essays in this volume, something also emphasized by the book's organization, demonstrate a bias in favor of '1iterary" SF as opposed to popular culture driven media "sci-fi." The implication is that one belongs to high culture and is worthy of study, and the other is of a lower, and less respectable order. \XIhile the difference in the quality of writing is evident to almost anyone when examples of writing from both of these groups are considered, it is also important to remember that SF has not always been defined as much by the artistry of its style as the quality of its ideas. Within fan communities, individuals are capable of reading Octavia Buder on one hand while enjoying Star Warson a completely different level. Both SF and "sci-fi" are important cultural products of the technological world, and both are worthy of study, though for different reasons. I would urge the editors of future editions to consider the merits of "sci-fi" on its own terms, for it is an indelible part of the equation, and will be as much a part of the history of SF in the future as Gemsback's BEMs are today. Overall, this is a powerful work that belongs on the bookshelf of anyone who engages in the world of science fiction, whether as a teacher, researcher, student, or casual reader. Bravo. )


NONFICTION REVIEW The Literary Animal Thomas J. Morrissey Gottschall,Jonathan and David Sloan Wilson. Tbe Literal)' Animal: Ewlu tion and the Nature of Narratil}e. Evanston. IL: Northwestern UP, 2005. Paperback. 304 pages, $29.95. 0-8101-2287-1. Joseph Carroll invented literary Darwinism a little over a decade ago. His premise, strongly influenced by the work of evolutionaty biologists and psycholo gists, is that the human mind is the product of adaptive evolution and that by understanding the evolutionary process we can "more adequately understand what literature is" (Literary Danvinism, vii). Literary scholar Gottschall and evolutionary biologist Wilson have put together and contributed to a collection of essays by writers who accept the concept of the "adaptive mind." The collection is not intended to be definitive but, rather, suggestive of the future implications and applications of this new, interdisciplinary critical theory. The book is one volume in the "Rethinking Theory" series edited by Gary Saul Morson. The Literal)l Animal, which boasts forewords by superstars E. 0. \Vilson and Frederick Crews, features an introduction, twelve articles spread over three major section divisions, and an afterword. There is a lengthy bibliography but no index. The book's scope is best illustrated by the section headings: "Evolution and Literary Theory," "The Evolutionary Riddle of Art," and "Darwinian Theory and Scientific Methods." In their engaging and disarming Introduction, the edi tors briefly recount their conversion experiences on the road to Darwinian Dam ascus. For those of us who have worked in marginalized literary fields or who have been frustrated by the persistence in literary criticism of theories borrowed from disciplines tllat have long since abandoned those tlleories, Gottschall's story is especially evocative. The seven articles in Part 1 seek to establish literary Darwinism as an antidote to scientifically ignorant social constructivist theories. Novelist Ian McEwan opens with a gracefully written juxtaposition of the Human Genome Project with the creation of fictional characters, finding both to be expressions of "our com mon nature." Coeditor Wilson follows with an attempted synthesis of social constructivist and evolutionary thinking. His metaphorical assertion of the "gene like" nature of stories will excite those of us non-scientists who love science. Dylan Evans recounts his liberation from Lacan. The remaining pieces apply some aspect of Darwinist thinking to specific works or genres. Founding FatherJoseph Carroll seeks to correct some common misconceptions about adaptive literary theory. His incisive and dense offering contains a page that will probably dismay many more conventional critics: a diagram entitled, "Hierarchical Motintional Structure of Human Nature." This figure illustrates how human emotions sen-e and derive from our genetic prime directi\-es: survive and reproduce. Interested in how Shakespearean Romance appropriates human mating strategies? If so, you will enjoy Marcus Nordlund's contribution. Finally, Robin Fox courts the ire of anti-essentialists by invoking evolution-based theories of sex-linked social behav ior to explain male bonding in epic literature. Readers who have come this far without rejecting out of hand as heresy against the humanities the ideas set forth in the first section of The Literal),Allimal will come face to face Witll the experimental nature of tIus collection in Part 2. Here the editors present two articles with different interpretations of tlle relationship between evolution and art. Is art a by-product of the e\-olution of the human ( WHAT: SF/Fantasy Area, Television WHO:American Culture Association WHEN: February 14-17, 2007 WHERE:Albuquerque, NM, TOPICS:The Area Co-Chairs of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Area would like to invite paper and panel proposals on any aspect of the Stargate, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica franchises. SUBMISSIONS: 250 word paper pro posals, 500 word panel proposals, including full contact info CONTACT: C. Jason Smith, DEADLINE: November 15,2006. WHAT: Stanley Kubrick Anthology TOPICS:We are soliciting contribu tions for a collection of essays to be published by McFarland and Company in 2007 which will address the work of Stanley Kubrick from a vari ety of new and fresh perspectives. Most of the essays are in place, but we are still seeking essays on such topics as: Eyes Wide Shut; 200 I: A Space Odyssey; Kubrick's Newsreels; Kubrick's Unfinished Projects. CONTACT: Gary Rhodes DEADLINE: December 31, 2006 WHAT: 4th Annual Tolkien Confer ence WHEN: April 13-15, 2007 WHERE: Burlington VT TOPICS: We are inviting submissions for papers relating to any aspect of the works of J. R. R.Tolkien.We are particularly interested in papers on The Silmari/lion (to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of its publica tion) and on Smith of Wootton Major (to honor Verlyn Flieger's recent annotated edition), though twenty minute papers on anyTolkien-related topic are certainly welcomeThe keynote speaker this year will be es-


(8 ) teemed Tolkien scholar Douglas Anderson, editor of The Annotated Hobbit and of Tales Before Tolkien:The Roots of Modern Fantasy. SUBMISSIONS: one-page abstracts CONTACT: Dr. Chris Vaccaro DEADLINE: January 15, 2007 WHAT: Octavia Butler panel WHO: SW/TX PCAfACA WHEN: February 14-17,2007 WHERE: Albuquerque, NM TOPICS: paper and panel propos als on the works of Octavia E. But ler. SUBMISSIONS: 250 word paper and 500 word panel proposals CONTACT: Ximena Gallardo C. DEADLINE: November 15,2006 INFO: WHAT: IstAnnualAward for Non English Language Scholarly Essay on the Fantastic WHAT: The International Associa tion for the Fantastic in the Arts TOPICS: Prize: $250 U.S. and one year free membership in the IAFA to be awarded at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in March 2007; Winning essay to be published online at the IAFA website. Essays may be unpublished scholarship submitted by the author, or already published work nomi nated either by the author or another scholar (in which case the author's permission should be obtained before submission). An abstract in English must accompany all submissions. CONTACT: Dale Knickerbocker, DEADLINE: Nov 30, 2006 INFO: IAFA.News/archivesl 2006_07 _09.html#aOOO 192 ( brain or is it, in fact, a seJ.,:ually selected adaptation? Brian Boyd and Michelle Scalise Sugiyama make strong cases, though I was more taken with the art-as-adaptation argument. I t is not hard for me to imagine some English faculty members writhing in agony should they be forced to read Part 3 of this book. This is where the lobsters hit the boiling water. Here in three separate essays, Gottschall, Daniel J. IVtiger, and Cadlerine Salmon employ quantitative methodology to help explain texts. Gottschall's quiet insistence on the need for humanists to learn from their colleagues in the natural and social sciences will strike terror in the hearts of those allergic to data analysis. His project is to test the dominant claims of feminist critics of traditional fairy tales via a study that uses experimental designs common in the social sciences. IVtiger and his collaborators do much the same in their enlightening study of "Dad and Cad" male protagonists in Romantic literature. Finally, Salmon employs social scientific investigatory protocols to examine por nography and romance as manifestations of the differing mating strategies of males and females. If I did not make this essay sound like fun, believe me, it is. This is a remarkable book, especially for someone like me who had begun thinking about evolution and literatUre before accidentally discovering Darwinian criticism. As a science fan and science fiction critic, I welcome with open arms the attempt to bring to the study ofliterature a body oflearning and a point of view for which many SF readers should have sympathy. Think about Octavia Butler's Oankali, the gene-trading species that saves humans from extinction but modifies our genes in order to eliminate the lethal combination of intelligence and a ten dency towards hierarchy. Surely Buder was imaginatively and consciously invoking Darwin. How many SF writers question whether we are too smart for our own good? What is this if not the fictional treatment of the limits of an adaptive capacity? Gottschall and Wilson have put together a fascinating collection. They write with conviction and humility. They are advocating an intellectual habit of rnind that transcends the interdisciplinary--perhaps "pandisciplinary" would best describe the ethos of this text. The editors describe the articles in the book as "early words on their subjects, not last words" but nonetheless assert their credo: "Evolution will eventually become part of the normal discourse in studies." I tend to agree. The collection is inclusive and provocative, a superb introduction to a promising path of enquiry that leads in a direction that should beckon to serious readers of SF. NONFICTION REVIEW Space Opera Renaissance Ed Carmien David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer, eds. The Space Opera Renaissance. New York: Tor, 2006. Hardcover, $39.95, ISBN 0765306174. It turns out I like space opera. Not very long ago I was starded to read the words "space opera" in the blurb for a book by one of my favorite authors. I shrugged it off as an anomaly, one of those things that happens when fuzzy minded publishers pretend they know what's up with Our Thing-science fic tion. Hartwell and Cramer's anthology demonstrates the term's recent use is any thing but an anomaly. Their introduction and lead-ins for the pieces that appear here tell an interes ting tale that highlights both their encyclopedic knowledge of science fic tion and me degree to which trends in science fiction can be deliberately influenced )


(if not always to an exact result). Most obvious is the historical basis of the term space opera. The editors take us back to a time when the term referred to pulp storytelling with a thin veneer of space ships and laser pistols. "Space Opera Is Tripe" is the section title that opens their arguments, a secl10n that mcludes a fascinating bit of sell copy for Ga!a>..yof 1950. They go on to observe there was a time when "Space Opera Is Dead," followed adroitly by "Everything You I(now Is Wrong." .. Turns out I like space opera---everything I thought I knew about it IS wrong. "The New Space Opera Waves" is littered with authors I have read and enjoyed for years without having thought "gosh, this space opera is good stuff!" Of the many authors Hartwell and Cramer discuss, the works of C. J. Cherryh, Larry Niven, Terry Pournelle, Orson Scott Card, David Brin, and lain Banks are familiar (am;ng others). They represent "no one thing that is the new space opera." In addition, the many authors listed don't necessarily abvqpwrite space opera. The Space Opera Renaissance runs to 941 pages and presents the works of 32 different authors. This comprehensive text includes six sections. After the pIthy introduction titled "How Shit Became Shinola: Definition and Redefinition of Space Opera," the editors present four Redefmed Writers: Edmund Hamilton, Jack Williamson, Leigh Brackett, and Clive Jackson. It is easy to agree WIth the editors when they observe about Hamilton's "The Star Stealers" that "One can see how comics and TV space opera (Star Trek in particular) ... were influenced by this strain of adventure SF." No reader familiar with the exploits of the Enterprise can fail to imagine what stuff Gene Roddenberry had been exposed to in the early decades of the 1900's. Following the best of the old pulps come the Draftees: Cordwainer Smith, Samuel R. Delaney, and Robert Sheckley. While few would express surpnse over Smith's inclusion, the editor's current definition includes "Empire Star" by Delaney, a work "not called space opera by the critics and reviewers of the day ... exceptwhen attacking" it. Sheckley is present owing to his satire of space opera, "Zirn Left Unguarded. The Jenghik Palace in Flames. Jon Westerley Dead." Having redefined and drafted seven writers, the editors go on to secl10n three Transitions/Redefiners (Late 1970s to Late 1980s). It is here readers are a taste of David Brin's Uplift series, "Temptation," David Drake's classic and much imitated tale of Roman soldiers in the employ of an interstellar corpo ration, "Ranks of Bronze," Lois l\1cMaster Bujold's unique .Miles Vorkosigan in "Weatherman," and lain M. Banks' Culture series in Gift From the Culture." "If there is such a thing as the new old space opera," the editors tell us as they introduce Bujold's story, "it is what Bujold began to write in the eighties and early nineties, the years in which all critical attention was focused on cyberpunk." Section IV, Volunteers: Revisionaries (Early 1990s) presents Dan Slffiffions, Colin Greenland, Peter F. Hamilton, David Weber, Catharine Asaro, R. GarCIa y Robertson, and Allen Steele. "Space operas by Card, Brin, Cherryh, Simmons, Bujold, and Vernor Vinge won best novel every year between 1986 and 1993, and this suggests the central importance of space opera to ambll10us US wnters (and to the reading audience) in those years." The pieces in this secl10n present a strong strain of strong female characters. Simmons' "Orphans of tlle Heli..," features a starship led by a woman, Greenland's "The \Vell \Vishers" focuses on tlle expen ences of a woman who is an independent cargo hauler, 'Weber's 1I1s. Mzdshtplvoman Harrington offers up the first interstellar cruise of that well-known captain of space warfare and while "'\.saro's in Four Voices" is told from the perspecl1ve of a male the female lead is conspIcuously more capable, being a pilot and an agent of the government's intelligence service. "Ring Rats" by Robertson has two oint of view characters, bOtll female, who collude to save tllemselves and others ( ( 9) WHAT: Representing Self and Other: Gender and Sexuality in the Fantastic WHO: International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts WHEN: March 14-18. 2007 WHERE: Fort Lauderdale. FL TOPICS:The focus of ICFA-28 is on issues of gender and sexuality. long a concern of the fantastic in litera ture, film, and other media. Given the oft-marginalized status of science fiction and fantasy in relation to mainstream literature and culture. it's not surprising to see fantastic works considered in the light of queer theory and feminist approaches.The hero doesn't have to be a guy, but it's just as rewarding to examine the construction of the masculine hero in space opera. sword-and-sorcery, and superhero comics. In graphic novels. book cover illustrations, and art, the gendered Other is the BEM, the elf, the alien, the vampire.Awards such as the Tiptree and the Lambda, and the success ofWisCon, speak to the importance of this theme to the communities of the fantastic. We look forward to papers on the work of Guest of Honor Geoff Ryman, author of the Tiptree Award-winning Air; Guest Scholar Jane Donawerth; and Special Guest Writer Melissa Scott, winner of the LambdaAward. As always, we also welcome propos als for individual papers and for aca demic sessions and panels on any aspect of the fantastic in any media. CONTACT: The appropriate Divi sion Head (addresses at the webSite) DEADLINE: Nov 30, 2006 (earlier submissions encouraged) INFO: )


(......--I_O ___ ) Directory Additions: Jeff Nicholas 125 St. Mary's Avenue Mt. Angel. OR 97362 j Dale Knickerbocker Dept. of Foreign Languages & Lit. East Carolina University Greenville NC 27858-4353 DerekJ.Thiess University of North Carolina CB # 3250 Greenlaw Hall Chapel Hill NC 27599 Justin Felix 280 River Road apt. 81 B Piscataway NJ 08854 Lincoln Geraghty School of Creative Arts. Film and Media University of Portsmouth 141 High Street Old Portsmouth PO I 2HY United Kingdom Rebecca Janicker 2 Braganza House High Street Old Portsmouth PO I 2HS United Kingdom Shelley Rodrigo English. Mesa Community College 1833 West Southern Avenue Mesa AZ 85202 Lyman Tower Sargent 55 Calabria Road London N5 I HZ United Kingdom from piratical slavers. Now past the anthology's midpoint, Section V lv1ixed Signals/lv1ixed Categories (fo the Late 1990s) slices the pie yet more finely, with nine more pieces by authors Gregory Benford, Donald Kingsbury, Sarah Zettel, Ursula K. Le Guin, Robert Reed, Paul J. McAuley, Stephen Baxter, Michael Moorcock, and Michael Kandel. As familiar as the previous ten authors have been to this re viewer, with a few exceptions here and in section VI the terrain becomes newer to the eye. Benford and Moorcock might not immediately make sense in this cat egory, as both authors are more known for works of previous decades. Our editors bring Benford into the mix not from his panoramic In the Ocean ojNight, however, but with '1\ Worm in the Well," a story they acknowledge is not typical. Reed's inclusion was a must, as his recent work at novel length helps define the term "space opera," and Kandel's "Space Opera" is a parody of, you guessed it, space opera. The final five authors are presented in VI Next Wave (fwenty-First Cen tury). Tony Daniel, Scott Westerfeld, Alastair Reynolds, Charles Stross, and John C. Wright reveal something about my reading habits if nothing else. Only Wright is familiar to my eye, from his galumphing Orphans oj Chaos of 2005. His "Guest Law" suggests he is a name to look for in future years. Of all the sections of The Space Opera Renaissance this is the thinnest-it is perhaps too soon after the millennium to collect enough meaningful samples to distill a forecast. Even so, the strengths of this anthology are many. Hartwell and Cramer represent a tremendously useful erudition mistakenly thought by some to be long only in the academy. Without suggesting there is no useful erudition in the academy, it is folly to think wisdom of the sort displayed in these pages is restricted to the IVOry tower. Many have said before me that some literary criticism is an inbred art, produced by those who seek to get and retain academic rank for the consumption of those who have the power to grant academic rank. In science fiction (and associated literatures, such as fantasy and horror, what I have in the past argued is a romantic literature) the contributions of editors such as David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer are invaluable. Add them to the contributions of well-read fan/editors such as Cheryl Morgan (who recently announced she is ending publication of Hugo award-winning Emerald City) and Janine Stinson (Peregrine Nations) and the tip of a fresh iceberg appears, an iceberg savvy scholars will tap to help irrigate the desert of the real that is our modernist legacy in literature. The most useful bit of wisdom here is a savvy analysis of how the term space opera has been used by authors, critics, publishers, and reviewers over the years. Space opera, once a term of derision, is now a neutral or even a positive genre descriptor. The editors trace this evolution through decades of advertise ments, blurbs, interviews, reviews, and other sources. ",\n artful dance, the edi tors add their choreography to the show, authoritatively and effectively. The Nelv York Relz'elv oj Science Fiction is presenting "a collage of nine short essays focused on individual writers" drawn from the introductory pieces in the anthology. Presented in three parts, the first appeared in the August 2006 issue (Number 216, Vol. 18 No. 12). This collage an excellent opportunity or readers interested in previewing (in part) what the editors have to say about authors such as Hamilton, Brackett, and Jackson, the authors presented in the first install ment. At 35 bucks, The Space Opera RenaiJSance is both expensive and cheap. \'ie\vcd as a single volume, it seems like an expensive hardback. But its nearly 1000 pages hold a wide range of authors, and one would be hard pressed to purchase even half of these pieces individually (even if in print) for less than c _______________________________________


( twice the price. Hartwell and Cramer have done the world of teaching science fiction a great favor. Even the first half of this book would serve well as a course anthology. That the whole of it is under one cover is a marvel in today's publishing world, and one can imagine an arm was twis ted along the way to make this text a reality. No one text can contain everything. Though mentioned throughout in the introduction and lead-ins, C. J. Cherryh is absent, as is Vernor Vinge. The overall length of the text was clearly an issue, though of course the absence of a suitable piece to include may also have been a problem. The editors' overall aim, to redefine space opera, is effectively carried out by the items that did make it into print. Indeed, there are stories here that could have been left aside-but not many, and in any case no two readers will agree which stories they might be. One minor quibble: the text shows all the hallmarks of what must have been a heroic and time-consuming process of scanning text or translating computer files from one format to another. There are regrettable typos here, spread inconsistently throughout the text ... but not enough to cause more than an occasional raised eyebrow. For libraries, this text is a must. In one title is gained an introduction to writers who can be hard to find, such as Hamilton and Brackett. In one title one can meet both Honor Harrington and Miles Vorkosigan, mainstay of dozens of novels. In one titIe one finds a wealth of plain-spoken wisdom about the history and future of this significant element of science fiction, space opera. In one titIe one learns that today's space opera isn't our grandparent's space opera. Tbe Space Opera Renaissance is bodaciously big and scarily smart, the work of a pair of unique minds who have a strong and deep grasp of the subject matter (not to mention a house so densely packed with books it registers from space as a miniature black hole). Turns out I like space opera. Who knew? NONFICTION REVIEW Folkales Reold Amelia A. Rutledge Doughty, Arnie A. Folktales Retold: A Critical Ot'enielv of Stones Updated for Cbildren. Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company, 2006. ISBN 0-780786-425914 (paper). $35.00. The list of tales discussed in Folktales Retold. immediately signals a clash of definitions. For Doughty, "Ali Baba," "Beauty and tile Beast," "Chicken Little," Cinderella/ Aschenputtel;' "The Frog Prince," "Henny Penny," "Goldlocks," ''The Princess and the Pea," and "Rumpelstiltskin," among others, are to be designated as "folktales." Though the majority of the folktales discussed in tIlis work fit the subcat egory of fairy tale, not all of them do, thus necessitating the use of me term folktale. Often reference will be made to 'traditional folktales' or 'traditional folktale versions.' These labels do not generally mean oral \'ersions but the written version(s) that are established, usually tile yersions written by the Grimms or Perrault. This work exanlines misiof/s of folktales. (9) Doughty's implied audience of teachers and scholars is not well served by arbitrary designations based on a weak analogy to Steyen SWilll11 .lones's fairy-tale ta:.;:onomy and defended by a reference to the practices of the brothers Grimm in recording tales that had been influenced by written texts. Her discussion of the distinctions between folktales, fairy tales, and KllfIJtmdrclJ/'lI indicates that she is aware tIlat such distinctions are important, but her neglect of the distinction ( ____ 11_) Marie Tondreau 800B Brookridge Drive apt. 96 Valley Cottage NY 10989 email: D. Harlan Wilson 1145-307West Bank Road Celina OH 45822 email: Sha La Bare 71 I Frederick St. Santa Cruz CA 95062 Rosalyn Berne 2295 Milton Road Charlottesville VA 22902-7307 Marcia Blackburn 9 Pleasant Avenue Binghamton NY 1390 I Henry G. Franke III 606 Stonington Drive Fayetteville NC 283 I I Martin Loftus 41 Upper Close South Woodgate Birmingham B32 3SN United Kingdom Brian Taves 110 D Street S.E. #515 Washington D.C. 20003-1815 TerryWeyna 3620 Broadview Ct. San Mateo CA 94403-3960 Fred D. White 3620 Broadview Ct. San Mateo CA 94403-3960 )


) between traditional oral tales and KJlnstmarchen implicitly denies the power of "folk" origin and mediation of these tales. Doughty's chapters survey "revisions" in several categories, including "Humor," "Breaking the Picture Book Rules," "Feminist Folktale Revisions," "Postmodern Folktale Revisions," "Folktale Revisions on Film," and "Revising the Folktale Tradition." Some chapters, such as "Postmodern Folktale Revisions" rely heavily on synopsis after cursory theoretical intro ductions. Doughty cites Christine Bacchilega's Postmodern Fairy Tales: Gender and NarratilJe Strategies, but ignores the firmly cantext ill which postmodern fairy tales operate. Her discussion of the narrative potential of fairy tale's implied "anti text" (Bacchilega's term) as lesser characters assume prominence in the modern tales is of some interest, but the assertion that folklore as inherently postmodern is not warranted by Doughty's limited evidence. Doughty's chapter on picture books introduces an array of texts worthy of examination, but too often discussion is limited to the assertion that a picture-book "rule," treated as transparent and generally known, has been reversed. Although she cites [-JOJll Picftlrebooks Work by Maria Nikolajeva and Carole Scott, she does not mention or list the work of William Moebius or Perry Nodelman. Theory is not well integrated into the analysis, thus limiting the effectiveness of her discussions of Bruce Whatley'S Wait! No Paint! or David Wiesner's The Three Pigs. In the chapter "Narrative in Folktale Revsions," Doughty attempts to bridge the gap between traditional folktales and literary tales that her terminology denies. She argues that contemporary use of the historical present in Donna .10 Napoli's novel s reclaims some of the "vibrancy" stories lose when they are printed, claiming in each case that authors' use of present tense enhances their texts' "emotionalism" (113), but the latter term is neither rigorous nor well-defined. The chapter refers to some useful studies of narrative theory but does not use them to fullest advantage. The chapter on "Folktale Revisions on Film" moves quickly to cinematic versions of "Cinderella" after a very brief historical discussion, in which Doughty mentions a few very early films, "fractured fairy tales," and cartoon versions. The significant contribution to fairy-tale films by Tom Davenport is neither mentioned nor cited. She provides only passing references to the cultural contexts of cinematic production. The body of texts surveyed in Foktales Retold is impressive, but the discussion is not framed in ways that support the endeavor. j\ more demanding review in the early stages of the project would have resulted in more theoretical and termino logical rigor and more nuanced discussion. NONFICTION REVIEW Science Fact and Science Fiction Neil Barron Stableford, Brian. Science Fact and Science Fiction: An Encyclopedia. Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 270 Madison Ave, NY 10016, September 2006. xiv + 729 p. $165. 0-415-97460-7. I f you know much about this 1999 Pilgrim winner, you may know that he wrote the proto-science fiction entry for the second edition of the Clute/Nicholls Enryclopedia of Science Fiction, to which he was also a major contributor. He also contributed to a predecessor to this new study, The Science in Science Fiction (1982), a useful if somewhat dated account by Peter Nicholls, David L;mgford and Stableford. This account is briefly discussed in his introduction, where he notes that the 1982 study contrasted the "good" (rationally plausible) and bad examples of SF. In this new study "tlle principal flow of concern runs m the opposite direction ... [this study] attempts to start with science and works forward to its fictional representations, reflections ;U1d responses." The 300 entries are first listed and later arnmged alphabetically and range from acoustics to zoology, and from 400 to 4,000 words. The two column, 8.5xll inch pages each contain about 1,000 words. (The full list is at re f/ science fact). The alphabetical list is followed by a thematic list wlder 15 main headings, such as: concepts; leading figures; authors (34 names, tending toward hard SF writers); sciences; scientific models and tlleories; and technology. The entry on aeronautics clearly illustrates Stableford's extensive knowledge of proto-historical examples, works in non-English languages, ,mel more recent novels ;md magazine stories, whose links to the theme are noted, tllOugh necessarily very briefly. The entries on authors, by contrast, usually discuss mdividual works in more detail. Like every encyclopedia, the entries are extensively linked to one another. Stablcford uses asterisks before entries mentioned in parent entries to alert the reader to the links, e.g., ", \tom, a fundamental particle of 'matter, one of the key hypotheses of theoretical *physics." ( )


( ( The exceptionally broad scope of Stableford's knowledge is evident not only in the 300 entries but in the 12 page bibliography, which is divided into eight categories of books and articles and a flnallist of 14 websites. The book concludes with a very detailed analytical index comprising 140 pages. "\11 of the thousands of stories and novels mentioned in the entries are indexed here by author and tide. There is no book I know of which is a direct competitor to this encyclopedic study. The EuO'clopedia of Science Fictioll, 2nd ed, 1993, has far more entries (4360) devoted to subjects and authors, but they usually lack dle analytical rigor and detail that Stableford provides. Many of his valuable entries have no cowlterpart in the SF encyclopedia, and of course, vice versa. The Nicholls/Langford/Stableford 1982 study mentioned above is largely a popular science book, with some of the same subjects discussed in more detail in this new study-space travel, aliens, time travel, computers, robots, etc. I'd estimate this book's length at about 575,000 words for the entries alone. That makes for a very lengthy book, and the length apparently accounts for its hefty price, well above any other single volume work I know of (some multi-volume sets are pricier still). I'vlany serious scholars should acquire this as a tax-deductible professional expense. Larger academic libraries, if there is academic interest in SF, should carefully consider. NONFICTION REVIEW Our Space, Our Place Ed Higgins Sherry Ginn, Our Space, Our Place: Women in the Worldr of Science Fictiol1 Telerision. Lanham, Maryland: University Press oL\merica, 2005.196 pages. $31.00 paperbound, ISBN: 0761832157. As her sub tide announces, Ginn's text explores the various portrayals of female characters in several popular sf television programs, speciflcally The X-Fzies, Balrylon 5, Farscape, Star Trek, and Andromeda. Her topic drew my immediate attention as a long-time fan of most of the programs she covers and her gender focus struck me as interesting and likely useful in my own teaching and study of sf. But I am of two contrasting opinions about dlis book. On the one hand, I read with interest (and I think, proflt) Ginn's detailed summaries, interestingly culled bits and pieces from print interviews with the various female actors, her thought-provoking quotes, observations, and insights gleaned from print interviews with program writers and producers, and, additionally, quoted fan comments about female characters from various print and online sources. All these gathered-up resources offer useful perspectives regarding specific lead or supporting female characters in their various series. I particularly welcomed Ginn's overview synopses of series seasons for bodl their recall of programs I\-e enjoyed but also for her often insightful focus on the primary female characters making up her study-perspectives I generally missed. Nonetheless, I wasn't always convinced of Ginn's repeated assertion that for many of these strong women characters "the underlying psychological theme of dle program revolves around identity issues." Too often Ginn's analysis of a female character seems tied to her personal wish for that character's role to exhibit a necessary psychological change (in terms of Erikson's theory of development) as if these flctional characters were fully developing human (or humanoid) personalities. For example, in speaking of BaI?Jlon 5's Delenn, Gi1111 avers, "I like to think that JlvlS [J. 1'I1ichael Straczynski, who wrote mos t B5 episodes] was not trying to write her as a traditional femini.l1e-type character, nor relegate her to a minor role, but rather was writing her as a person trying to learn who she is." While such a "search for self" in the fictional female characters she discusses is indeed Ginn's oft stated thesis, the supporting analysis can sometimes be very loose indeed. In two initial chapters Ginn traces a brief history of "Psychology and Women" and "Women in the Worlds of Science Fiction." \\1hile perhaps useful in a classroom context both chapters offer only intro-level surveys of general psychology and, except for a brief personal narrative of her early love of science fiction film and TV and later her academic discovery of femil11st science flction, only the slimmest overview of sf's portrayal of women. After these introductory chapters Ginn turns to her main task of analyzing, in a chapter each, the particular series she has chosen and the specific major and minor characters she finds exhibit personal identity and choice in building relationships and fully navigating their particular worlds. Her chapters on B5 and Farscape gave dle fullest scope to her "meaning and identity in women's lives" dlesis. Of these two chapters dle FaI:fcapechapter interested me most, both as a fan of the series and because so litde academic attention seems to be paid to this interesting program. GUill is able to make a sowld case for FaI:fcape's several female characters as both "strong and faSCUlatlllg" and richly developed in their characterizations. :\s one might expect she focuses her attention on Chiana, Zhaan, and "\eryn Sun as "Women who were good and bad, positi\-e and negati\-e, and linng )


) on their own terms." For whatever I found disappointing, I still found much of interest in Ginn's chapters on each of her chosen TV series, and, in part, I suppose my disappointments have more to do with her seemingly intended audience. \Vhile she often falls back on her academic credentials as "a scientist and a psychologist," Ginn is more clearly reacting here as a fan of the programs she is reviewing and analyzing C ... as much as I love the programs I am discussing here, I will be critical. I will not be a cheerleader, and I will state my opinion. i\fter all, it's my book.") There is something of a special pleading here, as Ginn, clearly, is very much the cheerleader in the characters she favors and in her perceived quest for personality identity within these fictional characters. Still, what she does is interesting and frequently insightful, even while leaving the reader (at least this reader) dissatisfied that she doesn't spend more time making her case with a fuller literary analysis of what and where she has chosen to posit her perspective on crucial issues related to gender and identity. Still, I think Ginn's book should be of interest to even a scholarly audience, especially if one is teaching sf and using any of the series she examines. Ginn's bibliography is quite good and she has conveniently compiled many feminist sf studies for anyone wishing to trace out a more scholarly approach. Her intended audience is, as stated in her Preface, more fans than scholars, so her sometime "folksy" tone (as she calls it) can perhaps sometimes be overlooked by a more academic reader, although I found this difficult. Christine Mains in SFR4 R.'iew # 274 reviews two other recent studies of sf on TV \Vhile Ginn's study adds to this growing academic interest hers is a personally eccentric view filtered through a psychologist's theoretical training. But Ginn is an enthusiastic sf tv fan as well as a trained psychologist and her analysis is thoughtful and (mostly) interesting. NONFICTION REVIEW Full Metal Apache David N. Samuelson Takayuki Tatsumi. Fu!! Meta! Apacbe: Transactions between Cyberpunk Japan and AI/ant-Pop America. Durham: Duke UP, 2006. ISBN 0-8223-3774-6. $22.95 paper. 235 + xxlvpp. Post Contemporary Interventions series, ed. Stanley Fish and Fredric Jameson. Most Americans familiar with science fiction have little acquaintance with its Japanese counterparts, except maybe Godzilla, and Kobo Abe. As a leading Japanese expert on the subject, Takayuki Tatsumi would like to change that situation, in the process widening the lens through which readers see both cultures as well as science fiction. A professor of English at Keio University in Tokyo, Tatsumi has promulgated his versions of literary history and theory in many conferences ,md publications. Since his postgraduate studies at Cornell in the 1980s, a significant part of his career has been publishing in English and Jap;ulese articles interviews about intersections of American and Jap;ulese culture filtered through changing conceptions of sCIence fiction in both countnes. More precisely stated, he perceives a way of thinking common to science fiction as 111creas111gly part of both nations' cultural furniture. That is the loose thread more or less connecting most of the previously published articles collected in his first solo book published in English, pursuing his long-running argument tllat science fiction IS one of the best indices to show that the flow of influence from the United States to Japan has reversed, and now works in both directions. This postmodern Ole prefers "avant-pop," i.e., post-postmodern) exercise in cultural criticism discusses art and culture, Japan and .\menca, writing and film, reportage ;uld his own autobiography. Erasing many traditionalli.nes between fiction, drama. opera, film, advertis111g, and journalism, it explores primarily cross-cultural "transactions" since the American "openlIlg" of Japan to the outside world in the late 19"" century. In these transactions, misperceptions and misunderstandings abound. as illustrated 111 his explanation of the book's title. was appropriated from John Ford westerns by Japanese Journalists to st,md for a different kind of "rebel," postwar smugglers of used metal, after which the metaphor of "eating" metal was literalized in Jap;ulese sCIence fiction stories films. Tatsuml maintains that the defeated Jap;ulese turned the affliction of cultural masochism into a virtue, in accepting a subordinate feminized position to the macho military might and cultural hegemony of America (apparently accepting to some extent cancatures in the I tahan Madame Blltterfly ;uld English Mikado). The rise ofJ apan to a more equal footing in the world ( )


( ( IS) economy yielded technological and cultural elements adapted by cyberpunk writers, however, especially \Villiam Gibson, whose writings Tatsumi examines in several essays. Cyberpunk is certainly his best illustration of synchronous rnf1uence between the two nations as well as the collapse of distinctions between high and popular culture. Rooted in cultural diagnoses of postmodernism's "hyperconsumerism" by Frederic Jameson and Jean Baudrillard (filtered perhaps through Larry McCaffery, who wrote the foreword), this argument bears little or no relevance for writings (mostly Japanese) he treats from outside that time frame. Although he pays lip service to Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein, Tatsumi's heart doesn't seem to be in it. Identifying the largely pacifist (and English, or Sri Lankan) Clarke as the ''king of modem science fiction" (69) with "a straightforwardly imperialist ideology" is a stretch. Only at the most global and impersonal level of postcolonial hegemony can the "superevolution of humanity" in Childhood's End come close to representing "an ideology of productionist imperi alism" (57). Also included are debts owed by 20th century films to 19th century future war stories, about which he has written elsewhere, and symbolic readings of American Presidents Kennedy and Clinton. Relatively convincing in short space are his considerations of such "avant-pop" figures as Paul Auster, J.G. Ballard, Don Delillo, and Thomas Pynchon, along with "Lafcadio Hearne" and Japanese authors less known in the U.S. The book offers fascinating glimpses into Japanese culture and (para)literature, but Tatsumi arouses my suspicions with sweeping declarations inadequately supported by data, and long strings of polysyllabic adjectives full of trendy sounding neologisms and portmanteau words. He contends (rather than argues) that "metaphors of sadomasochism offer a penetrating angle in the avant-pop phenomena" (30) and that "metafiction and science fiction [are] the fate of postmodern literature that has characteristics of Japanese literary history" (54). ]\fore egregiously, he declares that "in the age of hypercapitalism, every binary opposition-including magic realism as ethnic fantasy/magic realism as W},SP nightmare, mainstream fiction/ science fiction, and avant-garde experimentation/popular culture, among others----must be deconstructed and exposed as a product of human subjectivity positioned to narrative metaliterary texts, that is, as a metadiscursive effect of a grand narrative" (39). How much he believes these ringing declamations is open to question since they don't always make logical or grammatical sense and he fails to build on them in writing about texts and authors. Like many practitioners of cultural criticism, in fact, he seems much less concerned with textual detail than with generalizations suggesting more than he substantiates. A separation into groupings of "theory," ''history,'' "aesthetics," "performance," and "representation" implies more continuity and cohesion than is actually present, especially given the appended dialogues with McCaffery and Richard Calder, an American sf writer resident in Thailand who is the subject of one of his essays. It may be unfair, however, to expect in a collection of articles a fully coherent scholarly argument dedicated to proving his points. Possibly Tatsumi has done that in books not translated into English, but this one is more a set of suggestions for how he "reads" literature and culture. I am generally skeptical, moreover, about deterministic arguments singling out historical event A as "the" obvious cause of literary event B or vice versa. Godzilla may have helped "the postwar Japanese reconstruct a national identify by making themselves into victims of and resisters against an outside threat" (13), but it's less clear to me that "Blade RJlllllerwas welcomed in Japan because it re-enacted for viewers both their own false memories of [prewar] democracy and the hybrid construction of their postwar selves" (20). Not being steeped in Japanese culture myself, I can not take for granted observations (which may be commonplace) about the centrality of cultural masochism and cyborgs to Japan, or even tlle market penetration of science fiction. Even as he conflates cyberpunk with mainstream (whatever we take those terms to mean) in Japan, it is not clear how popular or respected any kind of sf actually is there. From the evidence provided, moreover, and a special issue of Science Fictioll Studies he co-edited (29:3, November 2002), what passes there for sf seems to have a large amount of fantasy and folklore without benefit of science. Given Tatsumi's upbringing with one foot in Anglo-i\merican culture, I would like to trust him to be relatively sensitive to both languages, but I wonder if he is not perpetuating still more of the repeated and modulating misunderstandings and misinterpretations he attributes to both cultures in the past. )


) FICTION REVIEW Horizons Jeff D'Anastasio Rosenblum, j\Iary. Horizons. New York: Tor, 2006.316 pp. $24.95 hc, ISBN 0-765-31604-8. I began Mary Rosenblum's H01izonswith high hopes for her first science fiction novel since The Stone Garden (1994). Over the years I had sorely missed her ability to craft lived-in futures filled with gleaming cybertech and virtual realities, yet peopled with sensitive characters in gritty, world-in-disarray settings, who often wore their hearts (if not their computers) on their sleeves. Three stand-alone books in two years (DI],lands and Cbimera both 1993) culminated in the consistently sharp short story collection Synthesis and Other Virtual Realities (1996). Rosenblum granted the near future a remarkable immediacy, captivating readers with characters who stole hours online to try to further their education while working menial jobs, or, in desperation, applied for indentured subsistence labor at electronic kiosks, because running was better than staying. Her protagonists had the depth that critics argued was lacking in most near future cyber fiction, and even her privileged characters had, or gained, a conscience in her deft hands. Despite a premise that made perfect sense given the environmental concerns that openly informed her work, the gardening-mystery series she launched as Mary Freeman with Tbe Dud's Trumpet (1999) came across as too cozy and comfortable compared to her prior oeuvre. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to see her name on the cover of the March 2005 Asimot''s. While the story "Green Shift," featuring a secluded orbital garden on the New York Up Platform, seemed more like a prelude than a fully worked out talc, so be it, for that meant the then-titled novel Eternity Sbift would arrive soon. But the potential I sensed in that story, which comprises the first two chapters of the now-titled HonzollS, is never fully realized. In theory, this book should be much more exciting than it turns out to be. )\hni Huang is a young corporate heiress who can sense minds through her Class Nine empathic abilities. She helps thwart a radical environmentalist plot by the Earth-based Gaiists to destroy the orbital Platforms that hang above the Earth. In addition to her natural enhanced senses, she IS also able to Pause herself with an inner AI (no further explanation is provided). Along the way she uncovers her brother's betrayal of the family business dynasty, falls in love with a fellow empath, and learns about a new version of humanity evolving in the microG environment of the Platforms. The lack of any explanation for Huang's telepathic abilities, and the plot's reliance on cringe-inducing coincidental meetings, particularly between her and a minor character, take an early toll. While there is a sincere attempt to depict the ability of foes to manipulate the media, or to sway the public mood through biased electronic postings in The Con, a Platform community chatroom, these points seem dated and lack the punch of her earlier work. The backdrop of an Earth governed by a World Council that keeps the .American-dominated North American 1\lliance in its place also fails to ignite the plot beyond realpolitik cliches used to predictable effect in one "debate" scene. A world order based on ethnic enclaves whose oligarchs prefer to do business only within their groups adds little more than background noise, nor is it suggested any subversion is in order; indeed, the details of tl1e lavish privileges of inherited wealth enjoyed by Huang are presented as if to inspire awe. In the arena of near future worldbuilding, H01izons simply falls flat compared to the works of newer authors such as 1\1. 1\1. Buckner and Elizabeth Bear. [

( ( 17) FICTION REVIEW lIew Wyrd Michael M. Levy Bill Henry, ed. Neill Wyrd. Minneapolis: The Wyrdsmiths, 2006.118 pages. ISBN 1-59971-966-5, S6.99. The Wyrdsmiths are a Twin Cities-based writing group of considerable talent. The name you're most likely to know is that of Eleanor Amason, a guest at at least two SFRA conferences, who's been publishing short fiction since the early 1970s, maybe the late 1960s. Her novel, A Woman of the Iron People, won the first Tiptree Award and she's won or been nominated for a variety of other awards as well. Less well known but coming on strong are novelists Lyda Morehouse, who was a P.K.Dick Award runner up a couple of years ago for the theological cyberpunk novel Apoca!J.pse Arrq)', and Naomi lVitzer, author of the best-selling fantasies Fire of the Faithful and Turning the Storm. Kelly McCullough's first novel, U7ebAJage, has recently appeared to rave reviews. H. Courreges LeBlanc has also published a number of well-received short stories. The other writers in the group have just barely or not yet broken through to professional status, but all seem destined to make the leap. This small anthology features a number of fine stories, most of them original. Amason's "Big Black i\fama and Tentacle Man" is part of a series of jazzy, quasi-folktaIes in which the author deals with male chauvinism, body image stereotypes and similar idiocies. Naomi lVitzer's beautifully written "l\hsks," possibly the strongest story in the book, is set in a High Renaissance-like culture where heterosel\.'uality and marriage are rigorously enforced by a corrupt priesthood contain ing members of both sexes. The protagonist, a gay musician, is secretly having an affair with a member of the priesthood. Lyda Morehouse's of an Ass" takes the Bible story of Samson, but relocates it to contemporary Northern Ireland and features a protagonis t who, through no fault of her own, finds herself on the wrong side of the angels. Kelly l\IcCullough's hilarious fantasy "The Basilisk Hunter" is a send up of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom and the Australian series Crocodile Hunter. Sean M. Murphy's "Cloverleaf One" quite literally puts togetller research on the first cloverleaf interchange ever built and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle with considerable success. H. Courreges LeBlanc's "How Many Horses?" is a nicely done fairy tale with a message about the importance oflosing the things we love. Also included are short novel excerpts from works in progress by Wyrdsmith members Douglas Hulick, Rosalind Nelson, and William G. Henry. Hulick's "An Inconvenient Corpse" from his not yet published Dust and Steel, concerns a rather nasty professional enforcer in what appears to be a faid!' traditional medieval urban milieu. It has something of the feel of Steven Erikson's work about it and, based on the excerpt, seems likely to see publication sooner rather than later. The excerpts from novels in progress by Nelson, of Beasts" from I<;yna Zulie, and Henry, of Fire" from The Commission, are both nicely written, but too brief to pass judgment on. In short, this is an excellent anthology. The lVitzer story is worthy of at least a mention in Datlow, Link, and Grant's Years Best Fanta!} and Hon'or, and all of the stories are well worth reading. The book can be ordered at FICTION REVIEW Blindsiaht Dominick Grace Watts, Peter. Blindsight. New York: Tor, 2006.384 pages, cloth, 34.95. ISBN 0-765-31218-2. In an interview posted on the memetllerapy site ( Peter Watts self-deprecatingly and one hopes disingenuously describes himself as a hack writer. I doubt most serious SF writers would agree. His first novels, the Rifters trilogy (Staljisb, 1999, Maeistrom, 2002 and jfehemotb, 2004), established him as a major, albeit controversial (as evi denced by I..::irkus Reviews' description of jfelJelnotb as "horrific porn") new voice in hard SF. His new novel, Blil1dsight, shares the strengtlls of his earlier work while also carry111g him in some new directions. The Rifters trilogy banked on Watts's background Witll marine biology by using the deep ocean as a major plot element, as well as a major thematic one in the novels' explorations of umer space and tlle submerged depths of human consciousness. Blindsight turns to deep space but employs that environment with similar tllematic effect, using it to under score the novel's interest in alienation and the distance between even the most intimately related and involved people. Tim novel deals with big subjects, both literally (in the form of the alien artefact the space travellers discO\'er, a particularly disturbing manifestation of the Big Dumb Object) and thematically, and it deals with a lot of them. The no\'el is part )


( ) dystopian mghtmare, part first contact story, part military SF, part cyberpunk, and part horror story (it features vampires and "zombies"), among other things. Indeed, the novel is highly self-conscious about its status as narrative and specifically genre narrative, drawing attention to its status through echoes of various other SF and horror texts (e.g. the narrator is frequently described as a "pod person," an obvious nod to Im'asion oftbe Body Snatcbers, and attentive readers will notice echoes of everytl1ing from Alien to S olaris) as well as through the gradual emergence of the telling of the story itself as part of what the story is about. That is, the novel is also part recursive post-modem meta-narrative. All this sounds like the novel could be a mishmash of styles and subjects, but Watts expertly weaves his various clements together to create a challenging but coherent whole. The novel is set in the late 21 st century, when a jaded and exhausted humanity, attempting to flee its own consciousness by allowing its wealthy to migrate to a virtual environment Ironically called Heaven, discovers that aliens do exist. The bulk of the novel follows the expedition to investigate these aliens, as a motley crew (is there any other kind?) of misfits and oddities travel to the Oort Cloud and find an enormous, and mysterious, artefact under construction by enigmatic and ultimately unknowable (literally) aliens. Those familiar with Watts's work won't be surprised to discover that his characters are all profoundly damaged psychologically and/or physically. The Capta1l1 is an AI that remains behind the scenes for most of the novel, but the visible commander is a genetically grown vampire (vampires, we learn, were a real species that went extinct shortly after the begimling of recorded history and that have been resurrected in this nightmarish future, though neither how nor why-beyond the propensity of science to accomplish the horrific and massively foolish merely because it can in, Watts's pessimistic view-is made clear). Other crew members are all radically modified in one way or another, from the narrator, who had halfhis brain removed as a child to "cure" his epilepsy and who now is a synthesist, capable of reading the surface patterns of most people and determining what's going on inside, while lacking any real understanding of the emotional substrate, to the linguist, who has had multiple personalities surgically induced, or the biologist, who is so wired that he gets the majority of his sensory input from implants rather than human senses. While such modifications may in some respects be seen to enhance the human, creating superior post-humans, the novel, especially in its persistent imagery of violation, disease, and the grotesque, questions whether such advances enhance or eradicate the human. Indeed, despite its invocation of first contact, the puzzle of attempting to communicate with aliens, and the inevitable conflict with the aliens, this novel is less about the literal alien other than it is about the alien self and, more importantly, the limits of human p<::rception even to understand, let alone define, the self. The novel's title references a psychological condition in which the subject's eyes function normally but the brain is unable consciously to perceive visual stimuli. The novel enumerates a veritable shopping list of psychological ailments as well as physiological limitations that profoundly challenge the reliability of perception and of the ability of consciousness to exercise free will. The novel's ultimate thesis is that consciousness is not only not a requirement of intelligence but in fact antithetical to species survival. Watts calls the novel a "thought experiment" exploring this possibility (381) in the 20-odd pages of notes following the text proper. 'll1Cse notes are necessitated by the dense scientific content of the novel. Despite its strong focus on character, and its success 111 making such profoundly alien humans understandable and even sympathetic, this is a hard SF novel in which even passing elements are grounded in research (Watts indicates that even more extensive notes, cut from the published yersion for space considerations, can be found at his website). Even the most fantastic elements, such as the inclusion of yampires, are given a plausible-sounding scientific rationale (part of the fun of such SF, of course, is the creation of rationales that sound good). In short, this novel combines the extensive scientific grounding we expect of the best hard SF writers while also presenting complex and believable characters, still not generally a strength of hard SF, though many SF writers arc increasingly bridging that gap. This is an impressive book, with elements that should appeal to any serious SF reader as well as to fans of the myriad subgenres the book invokes and subverts. )


( FICTION REVIEW Zanesville Ritch Calvin ( Saknussemm, I-.Jis. Zanesville: A N01)eL New York: Villard, 2005. ISBN: 0-8129-7416-6. 496 pp. $14.95 (Reviewed from Uncorrected Proofs). I've always taken great pleasure in just browsing bookshelves, including the new release shelf at the local library. I generally think I keep up with new science fiction releases, but sometimes, a publication slips through. Imagine my surprise, the Ohio native that I am, to find a book on the new releases shelf entitled Zaneszille. That I'd never heard of the author comes as no surprise, since it is his (I checked his website to determine his gender) first novel. That I might not have heard of the title before wouldn't be surprising, either, since it's published by Villard, which is not exactly a well-known science fiction press (they have recently published HOIv to Stqy Bitter through the Happiest Times in Your life and HOlv to Heal the Hurt try Hatillg). Perhaps as much as anything else, it demonstrates the ways in which, as was considered at the 2006 SFRA conference, the genre of science fiction and its tropes have mutated and infected other genres of fiction. So, while the press materials supplied by Villard market the novel as "fiction," the press copy describes the setting as "post-apocalyptic." Perhaps that was enough to get the novel on the Science Fiction shelf at the library? Nevertheless, the novel is set in a future, dystopic United States, contains biomechanical beings, and is filled with complex communication and marketing technologies. The novel centers around two primary characters, Lloyd Meadhorn Sitturd and his son Elroy (the reference is deliberate). Sitturd was born in Zanesville, Ohio (the novel's only reference to the title), but ended up establishing a religious cult in Texas. After the prologue, Sitturd disappears for several hundred pages, until Elroy finds his way back to his father. Elroy awakens in New York City with a severe case of amnesia. After several close calls with the nasty, mechanized police force, he is taken into Fort Thoreau, the stronghold of a resistance group called the Satyagrahi. The US. government has effective been taken over by a large "cultporation," called Vitessa, which is business, government, and religion all in one. \Vhile the government has become authoritarian and fundamentalist, the business world has taken some very strange tums. For example, McDonald's has been overtaken by McTavish, which serves haggis (billions and billions) rather tllan hamburgers. Kentucky Fried Chicken has become Captain Chicken, which actually serves frogs. In the midst of this, the Satyagrahi fight Vitessa with their vast technological resources. They are "controlled" by a mysterious, absent figure, Parousia Head. Once they take in the amnesiac, they dub him Elijah Clearfather. But he is surrounded by anomalies, and they begin to fear that he is a spy, or "a weapon of mass information." In their paranoia, they begin to use various drugs and stealtll methods (tlle drugs from the very cultporation they are fighting). Aretha Nightingale, a drag queen and the leader at Fort Thoreau, argues that they are no longer any better than their enemies. After consulting the III Chings, they decide to send him to Pittsburgh, the home of Vitessa. \\!hat follows is a classic quest tale. A young man sets off in search of himself and, perhaps, the meaning of life. Along the way, he undergoes a series of surreal events, from Pittsburgh to OklallOma to Texas to LosVegas (most of California has disappeared into the ocean, leaving tlle western-most urban sprawl as a combination of Los j\ngeles and Las Vegas) to SOUtll Dakota. 'W'hile each location, each adventure brings him closer (geographically) to a resolution and closer (psychologically) to understanding who he really is, each encounter also raises as many questions as it answers. One of the remarkable elements of the novel is its obsession with Dick and dick. "\s for the former, Saknussemm clearly mines much of tlle same territory as Dick, Philip I--::indred. He explores the effects of rampant consumerism, the collusion of business and govemment, the paranoia of everyday life, tlle effects of extensive drug use, the shifting layers of reality. In addition, he makes numerous direct references, including the consultation of the III Chings. On the one hand, it refers to Dick's use of the I Ching as a divination tool in The Mall ill the High Castle. On the other hand, the three Chings (they are, in fact, three Chinese men) refer to the three figures in "lvIinority Report." In another instance, Sitturd describes a mystic/ cult figure, Lodema Honeyflute. He says, "'Her prophecy is based on tlle notion tlut tlle apparent reality of Green Pas tures IS an illusion and that behind the scenes lies a hidden reality'" (303). Sitturd was taken up into a tornado when he was young. While there, he got a glimpse into a higher reality. There, he discovered TUS, a vast, active, living intelligence that controls our level of existence. Sitturd has dedicated his 200 years of life to fighting TUS. The question of shifting realities also appears in tlle final confrontation between the Sitturds, though I'll not spoil the resolution. Finally, and perhaps most interestingly, is tlle obsession with finding a lost/ dead twin. Plill wrote over and m-er again about his dead twin sister. )


(20 ) /'dong the way, Elroy /Elijah meets a young autistic girl, Kokomo. When he has sex with her, she transforms into him ("They were indeed One" [305]). At that very moment, the evil dwarf Finderz Keeperz fires the electronic probe they'd implanted in Elroy /Elijah's head when he was in Fort Thoreau, but it fires in Kokomo's brain, not his. As soon as he'd found his twin, she gives her life for him. Perhaps more remarkable is the novel's phallocentrism-in all of its manifestations. For one, the novel is almost entirely male-centered. The two main characters, obviously. Females do occur, occasionally. There's the Supreme Court Justice who cas ts the deciding vote to allow Vitessa to take over the country; she's now doing penance by hauling shit down in the sewer system. There's the lesbian motorcycle gang that helps Elroy/Elijah get out of Oklahoma, who are another resistance group. There's Kokomo, who gives her life for Elroy/Elijah. And, finally; there's Maggie Kane, the good-hearted hooker with whom Elroy/Elijah plans to settle down, once he discovers that she's with child. But all of the female characters are quite tangential, quite stereotypical, and function in the service of Elroy/Elijah. More literally, however, is the obsession with penises, and very large ones, at that. Elroy/Elijah is endowed with an enormous schlong, and every person who views it (and they are many) is astounded. Elroy /Elijah has actually "inherited" his penis from (another) religious cult leader from Texas, Hosanna Freed. His penis had been removed and was being kept as a holy artifact, but it was stolen by Sitturd and, from that holy penis, Elroy/Elijah/Elohim (Sitturd's own name for his son) was created. He tends to wave his holy, magic scepter around, until he loses it, that is (I'll not spoil that, either). The converse is also true. The evil Finderz I(eeperz is under endowed, and his sexual partner insults him and his se}':ual abilities. Despite its carnal obsessions, Zanesville is a great deal of fun. It reads like a letter-day PKD, or, as the promotional copy states, "like Gullil'er's Tra,.e!s seen through the eyes of Terry Gilliam." It is provocative in, mostly, the good sense of the word. It certainly seems timely when Ralph Nader speaks of this nation's "corptocracy," and the battles over religion and politics heat up. It raises so many questions about the lI1ter-relations among government, business, and religion. It also raises key questions about the moral or ethical practices and, ultimately, the danger of fanaticism when engaging in battle with an "evil" entity. FICTION REVIEW Living Next Door to the God 0' Love Ritch Calvin Robson, .Jus tina. Lling Next Door to the God of Latle. New York: Bantam Books, 2006. 453 pages. Trade paper. $13.00. ISBN: 0-553-58742-0. Liling Next Door to the God of Lore is Justina Robson's fourth, and by far her most ambitious, novel. And that's saying something. Her first two novels, Si/rer Screen (1999) and Mappa Mlllidi (2001 garnered a great deal of critical attention for Robson. ,\.nd despite their differences, the two noyels were similar in that they were fast-paced page turners, centered around technological secrets and subterfuge. Her third novel, Natl/ral History (2005), was also expansive and fast-paced, but to my mind, signaled something of a shift inward (even as the action expanded out into the universe). Her fourth novel continues that trend inward, to the point that it is as much a novel of character(s) as anything else. The novel picks up after the events of Natl/ral History', though after some indeterminate lengtll of time. Natural [/i.-for)' offers the beginnings of the universe in which humans are separated into Forged and Unevolved, posthuman and human, and only provides glimpses into tlle alien presence, Unity, and Stuff, the alien technology that can be controlled, altered, and shaped by humans through Unity. In the narrative universe of L"'ing Next Door, Earth has been vastly trans formed by this Stuff. Through Unity technology, the "Unity Engine," "sidebars" are "4-D bubbles" that exist alongside "reality," in which the inhabitants em live out fantasies or create alternate realities. For example, in the opening chapter, the sidebar Gotham IS filled with l"ordic gods, Spidelmen, Batmobile Cruisers, etc. Unlike the virtual realities of so many cyberpunk texts, wherein characters exist in a virtual or digital space while their "meat" selves remain in 4-D reality, here, the Sidebars arc 4-D realities, arc physical spaces. ( The novel IS populated by Light .Angel Valkyrie Skuld, a Forged warrior; Hyperion, an Unofficial Forged; Da1l1ien, an elf; Theodore, the hum,m incarnation of Unity; Rita, a human who is Theodore's "partial" (which means that he takes over her bod, only occasIOnally). The three characters, however, are Dr. Greg Saxton, a human, an academic, studying the Sankhara Sidebar; Fnmcine, fourteen-year-old "Genie" (brenetically-engineered human), on the run, away from her mother and )


( ( step-father and in search of herself; and Jalaeka, a "splinter of Unity." The novel is fragmented into sixty-two sections, and each of the sections is told from the vantage point of one of these characters, thereby reinforcing the fragmentary nature of the character's lives and of "reality." While Nancy I(ress, in her Probability series, develops ideas drawn from super string theor:" in a very pragmatic, scientific way, here Robson uses some of those same ideas in much more poetic ways. Some of the characters live in 40, some in 70, and others in IlD. But it is not the nuts and bolts of the mechanics of the universe that interest Robson. Rather, it is the lives and loves of the inhabitants that are her focus. The Light Angel Valkyrie has lost her partner, Elinor, and the digital version that she keeps stored in Uluru is quickly deteriorating. She is devastated and searches desperately for ways to hold onto whatever scraps might remain. Katy, Greg's ex girlfriend, has left him for the Love Foundation, a quasi-spiritual organization that helps the lovelorn in Sankhara. Jalaeka is on the run from Unity, but is also running from his rather sordid past, from the loves of his life. He's hoping to find, or re find, the perfect love. Francine, a miserable teenager, runs away from her privileged, though ultimately desolate life, into the sidebar Sankhara. She feels alone, isolated, and alienated. Here Robson employs a metaphor similar to Le Guin's in The Lft Hand oj Darkness. In a sidebar to the Sankhara sidebar,Jalaeka has created a replica of the Winter Palace, which sen-es as a retreat for Jalaeka, Francine, and Greg. But as the events unfold, the landscape around the Palace becomes a vast, frigid tundra, approaching absolute zero. The primary characters must pass through this landscape, in literal and figurative ways, before the resolution: "perhaps the cold started with Francine's isolation, Greg's disillusion, with Sankhara's entire freight of loneliness" (438). The descriptions of Unity, at times, remind the reader of the Borg from Star Trek. As individuals are "translated," they join Unity, become part of that vast, collective entity. Theodore espouses his distaste for individuality, for separateness. And, indeed, when Unity "eats" or translates the whole of the Goth<= sidebar (millions of indi,-iduals), Theodore bluntly states that they aren't really dead but live on in Unity. So the fact thatJaleakahas broken off from Unity is distressing, and Unity is quite keen on re-assimilating him. But whereas the Star Trek formulation seems to be individual=good, collective=bad, tlle equation here is a good bit messier. On the one hand, assinlilation into Unity would seem to be quite bad (and the fact that Unity callously assimilates all of the Gotham sidebar reinforces that argument. J alaeka himself would be an example of the positive aspects of breaking free of the collective Unity. And, indeed, near the end of the novel,Jalaeka "eats" Rita, but then re-makes her, separate from Theo and from Unity. On the other hand, Jalaeka, Francine, Greg, and Valkyrie all mjJerfrom their isolation, and all of tllem seek the love and connection with another. For J alaeka, it comes down to will: "kate Uni(y. All lise, all separate, be slm'ed to notbing, no one. And if tbere is cause, tben be joined. Alld if not, then 110f' (327). Unlike her earlier novels, Next Dooris, I would suggest, an example of a writerly text. It requires a great deal of work from the reader to make sense of it. As Philip Snyder suggested in his review of Robson's third novel, Natl1ral HZJ"/ory (SFRA Refiew 271), one of the difficulties here is that the reader struggles to make sense of a universe tlut Robson herself seems to know too well. The first 100 pages leave the reader trying to understand who the players are, what all these kinds of beings are, what a sidebar is (which is explained in Chapter 24), and so on. But, Witll patience, and with work, these things do all become clear. Ratller tllan being a page-turner that one reads quickly and forgets, L'rillg Ne_\."! Door requires tllOught and effort, which makes it all the more memorable, in the end. FICTION REVIEW Melusine and The Virtu Christine Mains Monette, Sarah. Milusil1e. New York: /\.ce, 2005. $24.95. ISBN: 0-441-01286-8. The Vitt/l. New York: .\ce, 2006. $24.95. ISBN: 0-441-01404-6. Review from uncorrected proofs. Together, Melwine and The Virtll make up the first story in a projected series; The lvIiradoris expected in 2007, with S ummerdOlvl1 to follow in 2008. \Vhile the later volumes sound like traditional sequels, which will gather up some of the threads left loose and hanging at the conclusion of TlJe Virtu, the first two volumes are actually a duolog)" a single story split into two books. Originally, I had intended to review Milllsille in an earlier issue of the SFR4 Re1.ieJI'. As sometimes happens, I held back that review due to layout limitations, and by the time the next issue rolled around, I had received the second volume, Tbe Virtu, and read enough to realize that many of the questions and concerns I'd expressed about the first were answered in the )


) second. A little research on the author's blog informed me that the two books were always intended to be one, that the story had been split into two to accommodate the marketing concerns of the publisher. Reading both books together, it's clear that the second yolume IS not a sequel but rather the second half of the story; in 1I1iillsine, the characters journey away from the eponymous city, and in The Virtll they return. Storylines introduced and seemingly dropped in the first are picked up and resolved in the second. It seemed awkward, and a little unfair, to criticize the first volume for perceived weaknesses that actually resulted from a publishing decision rather than the author's creative choices, so I exercised my editorial power to abandon the first review and 111stead publish a single review of both volumes as one story. MilllSine is the first nm'el from author Sarah Monette, who possesses a Ph.D. in English literature and a passion for horror and darker fantasy. Her previous publications include a number of short stories, some published in Strange Horizons ,md Lady Cbllrc/;ill's Roseblld Lf/n'stlet; several have received honorable mentions in The Year's Best in Fantasy and Horror anthologies. Some of her work, including this duology, is a little rough around the edges, but that's an indication of journeyman-level work rather than lack of talent or skill. Although what follows in this review may sound like a series of complaints, I do think that this is an author at the very beginning of what promises to be a successful career. The setting of the story is the city of Melusine and its environs; Melusine is in some ways the typical decadent Renaissance-flavored cityscape of much recent fantasy, an urban environment reeking of a long history and with the ruins to prove it, populated by wizards and dukes at court and by thieves and prostitutes in the winding alleyways and slums. The dichotomy is familiar to readers of fantasy, the city as a site of both wealth and poverty, or, as the back cover blurb announces, "a city of secrets and lies, pleasure and pain, magic and corruption." Often, in this kind of fantasy world, much of the narrative takes place 111 the luxurious courts and temples and bedrooms of the upper class; often, as the story progresses, the veneer of wealth and pnvilege IS worn away to reveal the nastiness lurking at the heart of both city and its inhabitants, themati.cally suggesting the ultimate lack of difference between aristocrats at the top of the social ladder and the brutes at the bottom. M(;/lI.Iine breaks with this norm in a small but significant way; the veneer is brutally stripped off in the first few pages. \Ve're barely l11troduced to Felix Harrowgate, wizard, friend to the wealthy and lover of the Lord Protector's brother, before Malkar, l11s former master ,md a villain (unfortunately of the two-dimensional category), rapes him in a magic ritual that leaves him insane and that destroys the orb from which the city's wizards draw their power. Felix is blamed for tlus incident, imprisoned, ;md eventually exiled, leaving the city for the remainder of the first volume and much of the second. Because the life-altering disaster happens so suddenly, there's little opportunity for the reader to develop any real sense of the city and its people, to care about the way of life that's been destroyed. The reader doesn't really have a chance to invest anything in this world. Nor does the reader have a chance to develop much sympathy for Felix before he loses his mind. And this matters even more th,m it usually n1ight because Feli., is one of only two viewpoint characters tl1rough which the reader experiences tl1is world and its people. TI1e narrative IS structured as a series of alternating first-person accow1ts, told partly by Felix and partly by !\Iildmay the Fox, a thief and sometimes assassin making his way through the city's underworld (both figuratively and literally; much of the action takes place in crypts and underground labyrinths). Botl1 characters share a mysterious past, both share an undeniable physical resemblance, both ponder the possibility of being half-brotl1ers (which adds another level of either discomfort or 111terest to Felix's physical attraction to i\!ildmay). Monette does a masterful job of keeping their voices distinct and appropriate for thelf leyel of knowledge about their world; through Mildmay, we get a good sense of what the city's underbelly IS like, but because of Felix's madness, it's difficult to get that same feel for the upper classes. However, Felix's 111SaI11ty IS effectiyely conveyed; at one point, for instance, a number of other characters, some of whom Felix knows well, are convcrs111g With him ,md with each other while they try to bathe him, but what Felix sees and hears is filtered through his lllability to perceive them as they arc. Such scenes could easily become frustrating or irritating, but seldom do in tl1is work. It's sttll a relief, though, when Felix regains his sanity at the end of the first volume. But eYen then, he's not much of a sympatl1etic character. I t's natural for the reader journeying through a secondary world to reh on the yiewpoint character as a guide, to feel sympathetic towards that character; generally speaking, a first-person narrator should engage the reader's s)mpathies even more, given the level of access to tl1at character's most private thoughts and feelings. bTU after he reg;uns his Simity, Fehx IS selfish, cold, and at times cruel, to the point of casting a magical obligation on 1m half-brother that allows him to usc :,Iildmay like a slave, an extension of his own will. "'\nd while Mildmay is easier to get to know and care about, it's Impossible to Ignore the fact that he's a murderer. Unusually for much genre fantasy, tl1is is a story InuIt around character rather th,m around the pattem of the plot or the detailed construction of the secondary world. The story progresses more through moments of 1I1terpersonal conflict than by the usual incidents of adventure, of physical risk and ( )


( ( battle, which drive the plot of a typical fantasy. True, there is a joumey, first to find a place where Felix might be healed, and then a retum joumey to :-felusine where Felix might repair the damage for which he feels responsible. However, the joumey can hardly be considered a typical quest. and for the most part the land through which the characters travel remains unexplored and wldescribed. "\s for world building, the systems of magic that govem the wizards' actions seem as complex and intnguing as the little details that make up the daily lives of the city's inhabitants. Yet in neither case is the reader provided with the kind of information that most fantasists can't wait to share. I appreciate the lack of expository dumps, to be sure, and I actually enjoyed tlle experience of being immersed in a world without the aid of maps, glossaries, and you know, Bob" dialogues (and much is a\-ailable on the author's website, for those who really miss such information). However, given my interest in the workings of magic in fantasy worlds, I really would have liked a little more explanation, at least as far as the ilieories and principles and worldviews underlying the rival schools of magic operating in this world. Because of ilie ways in which Monette departs from the generic conventions, this might be an interesting selection in a class on writing fantasy (and Monette's website provides a link to an e-article in which she argues against the conventions of Tolkien-esque fantasy). Thematically, tllOugh, iliere's not much here for eiilier class discussion or in-deptll scholarship; much has been made of the fact iliat the protagonist is gay, but in the world of the story, that fact makes little difference in ilie characters' lives. On the whole, though, I was very impressed with this debut, and look forward to reading more of Monette's work in the future. )


Science Fici:ion Research Associai:ion www.s'ra.ora The SFRA is the oldest professional organization for the srudyof science fiction and fanL1.'Y Iirerature and film. Founded in 1970, the SFRA was organized to improve dalSroom reaching; to enrow-age and assist scholarship; and to evaluare and publicize llewbooksandl1l3b>azinesdealingwithfantasticlireratureand6lm, reachingmerhods and materials, and allied media pertOrrnances. Among the membership are people fium manyrowmies--srudenrs, reacher.;, professors, librarians, fUturologists, reader.;, authors, booksellers, editors, publisher.;, archivists, and scholars in many disciplines. Academic affiliation is nor a requirement for membership. Visir clle SFRA Websire ar dmp:llwww.s&>. ror a membership application, rontacr the SFRA Treasurer or see thewebsire. SFRA Benefits SFRA Optional Benefits FoundatWn. Disrounred subscription rate ror SFRAmembers. Three issues per year. British scholarly jownal, with critical, historical, and bibliographical articles, reviews, and letters. Add to dues: $31.50 surface; $39 airmail. The New York ReviewofScience FictWn. Disrounredsubscription rate for SFRA members. Twelve issues per year. Reviews and features. Add to dues: $26 domestic; $35 domesticfirsrdass; $28 domestic institutional; $32 Canada; $40 UK & Europe; $42 Pacific &AustraIia JOt/malo/the Fantastic in theArts OFAJ. Disrounted subscription rate for SFRA Extrapo!tuion. rour issues peryear: The oldest scholarly jownal in thefidd, with critical, members. rour issues per year. Sffiolarly journal, with critical and bibliollisrorical, and bibliographical articles, book reviews, letters, occasional special graphical articles and reviews. Add to dues: $30 domestic; $40 overseas. topic LlSUes, and an annual index. Science-Fldion Studies. Three is.<;ues per year. This scholarly jownal includes critical, historical, and bibliographical articles, review articles, reviews, notes, letters, international roverage, and an annual index. SFRAAmuuzi Directory One issue peryear: M=bers' names, addresses, phone, e-mail addresses, and special interests. SFRA RCliieUJ.. rour issues per year. -This newsletterljownal includes extensive book reviews of both nonficrion and fiction, review articles, listings of new and rorulroming books. 1heRtwew also prints newsabout SFRA internal aIlJirs, calls for papers, and updares on works in progress. Fen1SjJeC. Di.scountedsubscription rarerorSFRAmembers. Biannual publication. Critical and creative works. Add to dues: $25. SFRAListseru TheSFRAListservallowsuserswithe-mailacrountstoposte-mails to all subscribers of the listserv, round-robin style. It is used by SFRA members to discuss topics and news ofinteresr to the SF rommunity. To sign on to the listserv or to obtain further information, contacr the list manager, Len Hatfield, at> or . Hewill subscribeyou. An e-mail sent automatically to new subscribers gives more mro=tion about the list. SFRA Execui:ive Commii:i:ee President David G. Mead Vice President Bruce L. Rockwood Immediate Past President Peter Brigg Texas A&M Univ-Corpus Christi Corpus Christi, TX 78412 Dept. of Finance and Legal Studies Bloomsburg University 400 East Second Street Bloomsburg, PA 17815 #120 Budgell Terrace Toronto, ON M6S 1B4, Canada Treasurer Donald M. Hassler Department of English p. O. Box 5190 Kent State University Kent, OH 44242-0001 Science Fiction Research Association Secretary Warren Rochelle English, Linguistics, Speech University of Mary Washington 1301 College Avenue Fredericksburg, VA 22401-5358


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