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SFRA newsletter
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Science Fiction Research Association newsletter
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Science Fiction Research Association
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Science fiction -- History and criticism   ( lcsh )
Fantasy fiction -- History and criticism -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Science fiction -- Book reviews -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Fantasy fiction -- Book reviews -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
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usfldc doi - S67-00050-n158-1988-06_07
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The SFRA Newsletter lcn a ycar by The Sciencc Ficlion Rcsearch Assodaliun. Copyrighl :C by lhc SFRA. Auurcss cuilorial corn:spon ucncc 10 SFRA Ncwsit.:llcr, English Dcpl., Floriua Atlanlic University, Boca Ralon, FL 33B1. Editor. Rotll:rt A. Collins; Associate Editor: Cathcrinc Fischcr; Rel'iL'w Editor: Rob Latham; Film Editor: Ted Krulik; Book M:ws EtiitOl:' Marlin A. Schneiucr; E,litol1ol Assistant: Jcanellc Lawson. Scnu changcs of auurcss 10 lhc Secretary, enquiries conccrning subscriptions to lhc lisleu below. SFRA Executive Committee William H. III Dcparlmcnt Miami Uni\'crsity OxJuru, UH 45U56 Marlin H. Gn.:cnberg Colkgc of Community Scicnccs Uni\'. of Ba), Grccn Bay, WI 543U2 Eliwbelh Anne Hull Liberal Arts Division William Raincy Harpn Cullcgc Palalinc, IL <>O()(17 ('hariullc P. 12115 South Clay Dcmel', CO H(211 ) Past President Donalu M. English Departlllcnt Kcnt Statc Uniwrsity Kcnt, OH 44242 Past Presidents of SFRA Thomas D. Clareson (11)70-76) Arthur 0, Lewis, Jr. (1977-78) Joe De Buh (1979-80) Jamcs GUIlIl (1981-82) Patricia S. Warrick (1983-84) Donalu M. Hassler (1985-86) Past Editors of the Newsletter Fred Lcrncr (11)71-74) BeVl:r1y Fricllli (1974-78) Ruald Twet.:l (11)78-81) Elizabcth Anne Hull (11)81-84) Richard W. Miller (1984-87) Pilgrim Award Winners J. O. Bailey (l9711) Marjorie Hope Nicholson (1971) Julius Kagarlitski (1972) Jack Williamson (1973) I. F. Clarkc (1974) Damon Knight (1975) James Gunn (1976) Thumas D. (,lareson (1977) Brian W. Aldiss (11}78) Darko Suvin (l(nl}) Peter Nichols (llJ80) Sam Moskowitz (11)81) Neil Barron (11)82) H. Brucc Franklin (1983) Everell Bleiler (1984) Samud R. Ddany (1985) Georgc Slusser (1986) Gary K. Wolk (Il)H7)


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 President's Message Decently, a few members have differed with opinions expressed in some .I.'-of the Ncws/cller's book reviews; lIlore recently, other members have disagreed with Bob Collins's remarks in the last issue ahout Harlan Ellison's participation in the 1985 International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. I'd like to take this space to comment on the relationship between SFRA as an association and the contents of the NCII'slcller. SFRA strives to be impartial, neither promoting nor aHacking a hook, a writer, a conference, or another association. However, its Ncwslclla is wrillen by and for people with opinions --opinions that aren't necessarily mine, yours, or anyone's but the writt:r's. The N(,lI'sleut'I' has several oJj/cial functions: our Bylaws designate it as the medium of communication with the members in mailers regarding the annual business meeting, the meetings of the Executive Commillee, and the election of officers. But everything else which appears in the NelVsleuer is 111 wJjicitl I. For example, there's a President's Column in each issue; but except on rare it is the thoughts of the president on current issUt.:s. Usually, too, the Editor has a column, but again it just expresses his or her opinion on some tupic. Among other unoflicial material, editors have published conference plans, informatiun about new books, I'l:search in progress, and reports un news of interesttll members (the Pilgrim's an:cptance speech usually ap pears here, for instance). The quantity and mix uf such materials have been discretionary with each: Bob Collins has, for example, added to the News!euel' a much-exJl

SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 Soviet Science Fiction: The Flip Side of Socialist Realism By Floy(i Largellt The literature of the Societ Union is dominated by the concept of reali!>m, that oflicialliterary doctrine which demands that all worb of fiction he "n:alistic in form, socialist in content." That is, Russian liltional works must express a certain optimistic yet realistic view of SU\'ict life and society, and must contribute to the ultimate goals of the SO\'iet government, in order to he accepted as publishable hy the powers that be. This practice has, until recent years, left lillie room for artistic de\'iation within the field of literature; when restrictions were eased in the late I%Os, the field expanded with dizzying rapidity as individual writers began to experiment with radical new styles, forms and genres. One of the most popular of these heretofore neglected genres was science fiction. Science fiction has been a thriving subdivision of American popular lih:rature for at least sixty years, and has existed in a lower key for a hundred and IIfty or more. As a result, Amaican SF has developed a rich and varied thematic background that such insular genres as mystery or western liction cannot hope to rival. It is the literature of speCUlation, of science and technology and investigation into what makes us human, and it den:lops and changes as our society evol\"es. Ideas build on ideas; as old concepb become outdated, as possibilities are explored and the ac cumulatiuns of plausible plots arc exhausted, old l"l>l1cepts arc discarded and new ones come to the fore. Vigorous and forceful, SF has come to accepted as an important part of American literature. It prepares us for and helps diffuse the culture shm:k that is ine\'itable in a Post-Industrial Age. In fact, we have, in many cases, come to take it for granted, since much of what we see around us today was IIrst introduced in SF twenty, thirty, IIfty years ago. Science fiction as a means of social expression is here to stay; it is a highly-evolved literary genre that has been around a long time. Nut so in the Soviet Union. Russian SF literature is often quite primi tive when compared to that of till: U.S. Under the strictly enforced doctrine of "socialist realism," writers in the USSR were, until recently, rarely allowed to explore science-llctional topics. Only now are they entering with any seriousness into the field. And in the USSR, the writers


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 of this genre are generally Ilnf writers who work strictly in SF. A prime example of this is B. Anar, whose novel C01lfaCf (involving a brief amI con. fusing contact with a mysterious extraterrestrial civilization) represent<;. according to the literary review magazine Lifcmafmoye ohmr('fliye. the author's first venture into the field of SF. The Soviet SF writer's major field of endeavor might be the social historical novel, rural romance. whatever; Soviet writers often merely dahhle and/or experiment in SF. I ndeed. many Russian SF writers complain that, since they are already we 11-established in other genres. many critics homhard them with endless variants of the same question: "You know how to write real literature, so why do you write science fiction?" It is obvious, t hen, that most Soviet SF writers are not as well-steeped in the values. themes, and ideas of science fiction as most American and Western European writers. who commonly concentrate on SF and related fields. As a result, Soviet science fiction displays the naivete of thought and idea common to American SF during its developmental stage fifty to sixty years ago. Though Soviet SF is a powerful and rapidly expanding lield. it has its naws. In many cases, it seems to lack a certain freshness, an up-to-date newness, that all American SF IIlllSf have in ordcr to he successful. The themes and ideas are often antiquated, unacceptahle in modern American SF. We see, quite often, what American editors and writers refer to as the "nying saucer ahduction" story: here. the protagonist --often a scien tist or cosmonaut --is captured by extraterrestrial heings who almost al ways resemhle humans but are inordinately superior scientifically and morally to the common run of humanity, and who nevertheless require the aid of the Earth people in order to survi,"C. The protagonist is then transported to their home planet, where he is involved in various won drous adventures .... And so on. This is a very old and overused motif dating back to Cyrano de Bergerac's speculative works of the 17th century and even further. to various works hy ancient Greek writers. Yet. astonishingly. one ohserves Soviet writers and critics treating the idea as though it were something new. This renects a lack of sophistication in Soviet SF that is, no douht. due simply to its lack of proper development. Prohahly the ideas and themes will grow fresher with time. Still. it seems odd to the more sophisticated American SF reader to encounter glowing rcviews of tales such as Chingiz Aitmanov's novel A Day L01lger 17'01' A1I Age or E. Bulychev's story "Half a Life." which deal with just such alien ahductions and encounters, on thc pages of Soviet literary review magazines when such works would prohahly he dismal failures in the modern American SF market. Scicnce fiction does. howcver, serve some laudahle purposes. there in


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 the Soviet Union as well as hcre in the United As Sovict authors Y. Brandis and Vladimir Dmitrc\Tsky put it, their SF provides them with "one means of investi/Zating reality through art." Yuri Smc1k{lv claims, quite justly. that one of SF's maim missions is the "artistic prognno;tication of the futurc": others peing. tlf course, hI glorify and populari7e scien tific achievement nOli to illuminate new facets and/or pnlhlems wncerning "man and the scientific and revolutitlO." Science fiction in this manner helps the masses to adjust to the radical technical and so cial changes hrou!,!ht ahout hy the onslaught of the PostIndustrial Age. Many works fall into this categtlry: one notahle example is V. Savchenko's recent SF-detective novel, "Self Disco,'Cry," which chronicles the impact of a major scientific discovery upon Sm-ict society. And, of course. SF has always been useful as a vehicle for "safe" social commentary and critkism. Want hI write n scathing critique of local Party poss Strugatskii without having him send you to the Siherian ice quarries ftlr life? Simply change his name to likstragurts. set him on an alien planet where conditions are similar, and write away. Sharp-eyed readcrs will know who you'rc talking ahout. If the Party hoss himself even reali7cs ytllI're mocking him. it is dlluhtful he would tltl anything ahout it. Aftcr all, most readers won't comprehend t he sat ire. and ,vhat person would want to explain it to them hy equating himself. in the puhlic eye. with a sentient slime-mold from Planct X? On a morc scrious notc, Sovict SF allows a forum for a sort of gentle criticism of thc Sovict rcgime. One of the characters in Aitmanov's aforementioned novel. f(1r example. looks forward 10 an ideal time when scientific advances will allow the government to bioclcctrieally control people's hehavior: that is, to make them work. make love, and die on cue, all involuntarily. Elsewhere. Aitmanov introduces the conccpt of the "man kurt," a minor go'crnment functionary who has heen deprived oft he memories of his former life and is made indifferent to the pain and suf fering of others. This. considering the dchumani7ing aspects of all pureau-cracies in general and of the Sll,iet hureaucracy in particular. can he seen as biting satire. It is an old idea in American SF, hut it serves its purposes well here. Other works. such as Yefremov's n,l' A"dromcda Nchllla, foresee a model. idealistic future where modern Communism along with capitalism -is conspicuously ahsent. Like all goodliction, Soviet SF works 'Try well as escapist literature. It entertains as well as instructs. This can he seen hy the fact that SF is ex tremrly popular in the USSR. particularly among .o;tlH.lents and those people involved with "creative work" -scientists, technicians, artists. and the like. As Y. Smelkov states in a May, 1f/77 Prm'da article, "World of F ant asy," for popular literary works the "suhheading sciellce fiction in and


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 of itself assures them a large readership." Authors and puhlishers of all stripes have heen quick to reali7e this, and have nooded the market: indeed. they have. as Smclkov expresses it. "ahused the popularity of the genre." And. hecause many of the often well-known writers have no prior experience in SF, the case has hecome something like what would happen if Sidney Sheldon or Louis L'Amour were to puhlish SF nvoels here in America: they might produce interesting hooks, but these works would suffer from lack of involvement with the field. This temporary froth on the marketplace will undouhtedly settle, however, as the field continues to develop. As a developing and profitahle field, Soviet SF suffers from various literary problems. American SF has more or less won its hardfought strug gle to be accepted as legitimate literature, although there are still a stodgy few who deny it this stat us; SO\iet SF has only recently hegun the fight. In the strictest sense, it is indeed literature: that is. it is puhlished prose in fictional form. But is it literature in the classical sense? Many Soviet critics do not consider it to be such. They cite a poverty of ideas. as well as a lack of originality and repetition in form and content, in their argu ments --and these arc serious charges. considering the fact that SF is sup posed to he the literature of all ideas, with an inexhaustihle supply of original story lines. In the rush to cash in on the SF phenomenon. authors and publishers have decided, apparently. to hank on what has proven to be popUlar, rather than to gamhle on experimental writings. In addition. the language is poor. the heroes monotonously derivative. and the prose possesses a "c1unkiness" of style and form t hat mayor may not have much to do with translation. These qualities have often heen hemortned hy critics of American SF as well. but not as often lately as they were just twenty years ago. American SF has become respectable; Russian SF has yet to reach this stage. To summari7c, the current state of Soviet SF is a somewhat primitive one, analogous in many ways to the earlier stages in the development of American SF approximately fifty to sixty years ago. The prose is lacking in some respects. as is often true of genre fiction in any language: hut this is not to say that the field lacks merit. It serves as a safety valve hy pn)\"id ing an acceptable form of intellectual escapism. as well as what is. per haps. the freest arena for ideas and veiled social criticism that Soviet litera ture has ever seen. In addition. it helps people adjust to future shock hy accustoming thcm to the weird and wonderful, and allows tantali7ing glimpses into futures --utopian and dystopian -that might yet come to pass. Despite its faults, science fiction is fast hecoming a major and in nuential part of daily life for many writers and readers in the USSR. -tj /988 Floyd Lorgr'TIf 7


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 By Neil Barron A Clockwork Orange Rewound "Oh, it was gorgeosity and yumyumyum. When it came to the Scherzo I could \'iddy myself very clear running and running on like very light and mysterious nogas, ean'in/! the ",Iwle litso of the creeching world with my cullhn)at hrit'a. And there wns the slow mo"emcnt and the 1<)\'c1y last singing movement still to come. I was cured all ri/!ht." That's the way the American edition of Burgess's famous nm'el ends, and it may he the version (Norton, Ballantine, 19(5) you've heen using. Well. my droogs. you owc your students an appy polly loggy for using a text not approvcd hy the autlwr. Norton saw the light last year, and in April Ballantine reprinted the complete edition. with a new intro duction hy Bllfgess --quite "aluahle -and a lame puhlisher's note. All the editions except the American included the 21st chapter (3 sections of 7 chapters each = 21. an age of matllfity, no?). So now you have it. But don't discard the earlier edition. for as one hand giveth, the other taketh away. The new. complete edition omits the glossary of Nadsatlanguage and Stanley Edgar Hyman's afterword found in the earlier one. "What's it goinl;! to he then, eh'!" Bargains for LUMPies Mere YUPPIES might tolerate Puhlishers Clearing HOllse catalogs. But if you're a memher of the fa"ored new class of LUMPies --Literary Untenured Ma\'enslPloshers --you'lI want to request the summer 1988 catalog from Daedalus Books. B{)x Hyattsville, MD 20781-9132. This lists hoth new and recent hooks at ahout 10% off list (offsetting the postage, and tax for DC and M D residents), plus carefully selected remainders from trade and university prcsses. The selections are intel Iil;!cnl. the annotations full and informativc. Ahout 200 titles in this sum mer catalog (go()d thnHlgh 15 September) -gardening. helle lett res, his tory. childrens. the exccllent Lihrary of America volumes. and the Black Li7ard series of hardhoiled detectivc fiction reprints. You heard it here first. Bulwer-L),tton Contest Winner Announced The "hest" of 11.000 entries in the most recent Bulwer-Lytton contest, what Scoll Rice of San .Jose State calls the Baltimore Orioles of literature,


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 was suhmitted hy a 20 year old journlliism student, Rachel Sheeley. of Franklin College, Indiana. Here it is: Like all expemil'e JI'011S car. jille-(l/Ilcd alld wellbllil(, PoT1ia was sieck, shape(\' and her red jllmpS/lil mOllldillR her body, which u'as as 11'01171 as (he scolC(}I'(,fJ ill JII(r. her hair as dark as nclV lires, her floshillg likc hll"COPS, alld Iter lip.f as rhe I) cads oJ Jresh raill 011 rhe hood; slrc was a lI'omOIl d,il'en -Jlleled IJY a single accelcranl--and she necdcd a mall, a mall who l\'ollldll'l slriJr Jrom his I'icll's, a mall (0 s(ecr Ircr alollg (he riglrr road: a man like AIJ Romco. Awards were also made in selected categories, This entry won in puns: 01lce a mon(h, w/r('ll (he 11/oml is JIIIl. RCl'('I'clld Jim Bleaker and his 10\'('wife Teddi ;'lI'i((' 11/cm"crs oJ (hc chllrelr (0 (he parsonage Jar an CI'('lIillg oJ hymn sinlin8. JollolI'ed ".I' cookics, (ca. and a Jrcnzied oT'l{\' on If'l' lawlI olllside, 11/aki1lg sllre. oJ COlII:se. (0 lake all 'he lIS1/al preCaliliollJ Jor soJe secls, New Canadian SF Imprint Announced Porccpic Books, 2J5-ViO Johnson St, Victoria, Be VRW has announced a new spcculativc fiction imprint. Tesseract Books, named after their two earlicr Canadian SF anthologies. TCHeracts and Tesseracts 2, The first title to he issued in the new series is Elisaheth Vonarhurg's 77re Silen( Ci(\', whose French version. La sile1lcc de 10 cil(;, won the Gra1ld Prir dc 10 ScienCl'-jic(ion FrOlIl;aise (1982 J, ,Ire Prix Arne (1982) and the Prix Bon;ol ( 1982 J, Alm 10 bc relcosed n<'.\1 Jail will "e an IIn(i(lcd cnllccliOlI "y Cmwdiall 11'I11cr Jane DOI:H'\'. A Note or thanks to all those who responded to my query in the April/May issue, For those who didn't know hut wondered. the tale is Cordwainer Smith's "A Planet Called Shayol," 1%1. The psycholo gist/San Diego State instructor was mos' pleased to learn of this and has located a copy, CORRECTIONS: Mar RR issue. p 17, hottom: author is Lllconia. not Luciano. April/May RR issue. p, D, hottom: the two Milford awards are given by the Eaton conference, not hy Borgo Press, (The special Milford award is irregularly awarded,) Recent and Forthcoming Books Achllleos. Chris. Medl/so. World/Paper Tiger. UK, June, IMp, ,95 cloth, n.95 trade paper. 70 color + o/w illustrations hy a well-regarded British illustrator whose earlier Paper Tiger hooks indude Sir('1/J and Beolln' alit! 'he Bcmt. as well as illustrations for Moorcock novels and Dr. Who mwelizations, Fanciers of Fantasv and SF ilQ


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 lust ration should know the extensive line from Dragon's World/Paper TigCT Books. \I) Hereford Square. LomltlO SW7 4TS. Hflrtter. Mflrthfl. TIle IVay to Groll/ld Zero; Tire Atomic Bomh ifl Am('l';call Scicflcc Fictiofl. ('reenwood. December. Hell. Joseph. William HOJlc HOtfgWII: Pirate, \' 1: Afl All/rotated Bihli0f;rap/'y of P,/Mis/,ed Works, IWI2-/1)87. Sort Books, Toronto, I <)R7. $9.<)5.41 p. Paper. stapled. HOtlZert'fllI. Lnurt'nt. 17lc DePalma CIIf. Demhner. October. HrOt'r. Ln\\Tt'nce R. Sallity Plea: .\clri:ol"lrellill ill "Ie N(II'c/s of KIII1 VOII' IIegllf. lIMI Research Press. Fall. $.N.1I5. Cflrter. L. D/'(/mla. 17lc Vampire (]lId tire Critics. UMI Re-search Press. Summer. $4.FJ5. Clflrk. Heverly Lynn. Lell'is C(]Imll. Starmnnt. July. Dlnls. J. Mfldisnll. Stmlislllil' Lem. Slarmonl. Seplemher. Douglfls. Droke. Hmmrs.' Viking Overlook. (lclohcr. Duheck. uroy W . SUlfInne E. P.lnshler. & "udlth E. Hoss. Sci<'IIn' ifl Cillema: Teacllillg Sciellce Fact tlrrollgll Sciellce Fictioll Films. Teachers College Press. Box I>3IJ. Wolfehoro. NH toll free ROO Y'i(l-()401J (Visa/Maslerchargc). Designed for secondary school or wllege science cnurses. il in deplh len popular SF films. includ ing FmNdd('// Plallet, 17le Dar til(' Em1/1 Stood Still and 171e A II dromeda Straill. wilh brief descript ions of 24 addil ional rilms, almost all available (10 ,idcntape. Detailed plot summaries and point-hy-point guides to the scientific issues raised hy the ten major films. Viva Gernsback. DuPont. Denise. ed. Womefl of Visiml. St. Martin's, Decemher. Elllsnn. Hflrlnn. Harlall Ellisoll's lI'arcllillg. UnderwoodMiller, July. Ewrts. R. Alnln. William Hope HOt/g.IVlI. Niglrl Pirate, I' 2.' Som<, Facts ill tI,e Case of WHH: Mastcr of PIrall tasy. Stlft Books. 11}R7. $R.95.25p. Paper. slapled. Fowler. Dntlglfls. Ira Le!'ill. Starmnnt. March. R7p. $9.95 paper. Grnhnme. Kenneth. Dmrcst MOllse: '17,c Willd ill tire Willow.s' Lett('/:5. Michael Joseph. UK, April. Grllss. Lotlls. Rcd

SFRA News/etter, No. 158, June/July 1988 May $25.95 hc. or $12.95 paper. Herbert, Frunk. 77rc NOlchooks of Frallk Herhert's DIIIIC, ed. hy Brian Herbert. Putnam Perigee, .Iune. Leranu, Saruh. /11 Ilrc CI,illks ofl/lc World Maclrille. Women's Press. UK . April. nIp. .95 paper. Very favorahly reviewed in June LoclIJ. Lentz, Harris 1\1. iii. ScicllcC Fictioll, HOImr & Falltasy Film mId Telc\'isioll Crcdits SlIpplcmclIf: TllrOIlRIr 1987. McFarland, summer (?) e. 740p. $55. Updates the 2v 19HJ list of credits. Magistrnle. Anthony. TI,c Moral of SlcplrCII Killg. Starmon!. August. Maltz, Don. First Mait;:: A Book of Selected 1I'()rks "." 0011 Mai,;:. Ursu<; Imprints. 55J() Jackson. Dept O. Kansas City, MO MUll. $2(,.(15 delivered ($45 for limited signed edition), IIJRFt McHurgue, Georgt'ss. 77,c Bcasts of !\'C\cr. Delacnrte, June. Mt'lnda. Ivnn. Slrelidall Lc Fa",1. Twayne. IIJR7, 142p. $21.95. l\1unstt'r. Rill. TI,c KOOlllz CllrOlliclcs. Starmont, Novemher. Nllpler, Elizabeth R .. 77,c Fai/urc of Gotlric: prohlcms of disjllllctiOlI ill 011 18t1r CCIlfWy lileraryf0l71l. Clarendon Press/Oxford UP, JlJR7. 165p., $42. Oppenheimt'r, Judy. P,il'ate DemOlIS: Tllc Lifc of Slrirley JackJOII. Put nam, .July. $22.95. Pllnshln. Alexei & Cory. TI,c Iflorld Beyolld 11,(, Hill, descrihed in SFRA Newsletter 142, June I

SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 Wlllinm F. Ray BratTI"IIY. Starmont. .July. Tom. b,(c11';cwr 1\';(/1 "B" Sc;cllce F;c(;ml alld HannI' Mm';(' MakcI'!;: W,j(cn, PmdllC('/:r, D;I'cclm:r, AcI01:r, Moglils alld Make-III'. Mc Farhmd. summer (?) c. .")Op. $21}.'}). Tim. TIlc Scimcc Ficlioll alld Fmlfa.n Worlds oJ Tim Jl'7lile. Dragon's World/Paper Tiger. lIK. May. n.'}) paper. .95 doth. Corl1llC1j1l,l,'C U(opia" Dialccl;cs ;11 ComIC"'I'0rary Cml/nts (a ret it ling of Ula/I;ml Dialcclics). UM I Research Press. Spring. Wllllnms. J. A World oJ Words: LmlF:'tagc & Dis!,laccm('1l( ill (/,e F;climl Edgar A{{ml Poe. Duke llni\' Press. March. $21J50. & CnssldJ'. TI,c lIIlIslraled His(01Y oJ SciC1lce Fic(;01I. ('rossroad/ll ngar. December, Yntenm. SImron. cd. More Ilrall '00 11"0"'<'11 Seielle!' Fic(io1l W,j(ers: All A1IIIolaled BiT,lil/gmt"'." Crossing Press, Box 104R, Freedom, CA ')OI'J. April. $YJ.IJ). Cnrl n .. cd. PI/(}('1IirJrolllllrc AllIes: TIlc LiI('m(lIr(' oJ (/Ie Remade World. ('reenwood. published. $YJ.'). Znkl. Hodn M. Plrm'IIi.\' RC1lclI'ed. Starmtmt .July. Zipes. Jnck. TIlc Bmllrers Gli",,,,: Fro", Ellcflmlfcd Fores(.r (ollIe Modem World. Met huen. spring. Journalism of the Future Loren Ghiglione is guest curator for a Lihrary nf Congress exhibit on the American jtlllrnalist; shc would decply appreciate our help in trying to locate novels. short stories. movies and othcr fiction -as well as dis playahlc objccts -concerning t he role. values and impact of print and ele<.tronicjournalists in future societies. A hook-length catalnguc will accompany the exhihit. Some examples of fiction alrcady ohtained: Aigis Bmlrys. Mic1,ael",as; Nnrman Srinrad. BIIKJack BmT01I; .I.G. Ballard. Day of Crcalio1l; D.G. Compton. TIlc Cmlfi1llIOlIJ Kallle'Ijll<' Mm1011/ro('/77le Unsle'cpillg Eye'. Please contact: Lorcn (;hi/!Iione. Editor and Puolisher. The News, 2) Elm Street. Southhrid/!c. MA (1))0. -Neil BmT011 Members Note: Fmmdaliml sUhscription ratc for SFRA members is now $14. surface (instead of $l7); $2 I. airmail. I n<.lex remains $(1. 12


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 U. S. Commercial Fiction Releases Jul)' Paperbacks: ANDERSON, POUL. nl<' Del'il's Gamc. $2.95. Baen Books rcissue. Science Fantasy. BEESE, P. J. amI TODD CAMERON HAMILTON. nre Gltard.mrml. $2.95. Pageant Books. SF. BRETNOR. RE(,INALD, cd. T7re Flltrlrc at War: Vol. II: nrc Spears (lJ Mm:r. Baen Books, previously an Ace paperback. SF --anthology. CAREY. DIANE. Star Trck: nrc /\'('.\'t GClleratioll #2: Glrmt Slrip. $3.f)5. Pocket Books. SF. CHALKER, JACK. Dallcc Balld (III tire Titallic. $3.95. Del Rey. SF -collection. CHERR YH. C. .I. T7rc Paladill. no price listed. Baen Books. Fantasy. ---------. Bmtlrcn oj Em11r. $3.1)5. DA W reissue. COLANDER. VALERIE NIEMAN. Ncclla Gatlrelillg. $2.95. Pageant Books. SF. FOSTER. ALAN DEAN. Flinr in FIll.\'. $.l')5. Del Rey. SF. ---------. Del Rey is reissuing allthe Pip and Flinx Ad\'Cnturcs. $350 each: F(lr LOI'(' oj Mot/rer-Not. T7/(' TorA iym Krmrg, Olplrmr Star, T7re Elld oj tire Mattcr. and Bloodlly!,c. (,EMMEL, DAVID. T7lc Jell/salclI/ Mall. $3.)5. Baen Books. Science Fantasv. GERROLD, DAVID. Star Trck: n,c Next Gelleration: Ellcolllrterat Farpoillt. $3.95. Pocket Books. SF. LACKEY, MERCEDES. nrc Oatlrholllrd. $3.50. DA W Books. Fantasy. LlZNER, GORDON. nrc Trollpe. $350. Pocket Books. Horror. McKINNEY, JACK. nrc Selltillels #4: World Killers. $2.95. Del Rey. SF -advcnture. MILLS, CRAI(;. T7re Dreamer ill Discord. $350. Del Rcy. Fantasy. ---------. T7rc Ballc oj Lord Caladml. $3.50. Del Rey. Fantasy. POURNELLE .IERRY. cd. 1/'(11' World: !'i)I. I: T71(' Brmr;IIf? Eye. S3.1)5. Baen Books. SF --shared world anthology. REICHERT. MICKEY ZUCKER. Slradml' Climher. second in Thc Bifrost (;uardians Trilogy. $3.50. DA W Books. Fantasy. ---------. Gods/oyer. $2.C)5. DA W reissue. Fantasy. SAKERS, DON. T7rc Lean's (lJ OctO/I('/'. $2.95. Baen Books. SF. SHEFFIELD, CHARLES. Betll'CCII tire Strokes oj Nif?lrt. $3.50. Baen Books reissue. SF.


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 SIMAK, CLIFFORD D. All tire TraI's of E(1I11r. $.150. Avon reissue. SFcollection. SMITH. GUY N. Cra/IS Oil tIle Rampage. $3.50. Dell reissue. Horror. SMITH. STEPHANIE A. SIIOII'-E\"I''\". $.1.50. DA W Books. previously an Atheneum he. Fantasy. S( )MT( )W. S. P. Stars"ip alld Haikll. $J51l. Del Rey. previously a Pocket B(loks raperhack. SF. SULLIVAN. TIM. Dcstill.,

SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 Rey. SF. NORMAN, JOHN. I\fagiciallS oI (jor. $4.(}). DA W Books. Fantasy . SIMAK, CLIFFORD D. Hig/llray oI Etc/7/;ty. $3.50. Del Rey reissue. SF. ---------. Reissues from Del Rey: Slrakl'spearc's Plallct, $2.95, SF, 771c Visitors, $2.95, SF, and 1I'11er(' Eril DII'clls, $3.5(}, Fantasy. SMITH, GUY N. Crabs'!\fooll. $3.50. Dell reissue. Horror. WELLS, H. G. 77le Islmld of Dr. /Horeall, w/ afterward by Brian Aldiss. $2.50. Signet reissue. SF. WHITE, .lAMES. Fcderatioll World. $3.50. Del Rey. SF. WOLLHEIM. DONALD A., cd. 77,e 1988AIIIlllallVorlcf's Best SF. $3.50. DA W Books. SF -antholog.y. WYLDE, THOMAS. Rog('l' ZclazII.I".\ Ali('fl Specdway: Vol. /II: 77lc Weh. $4.50. Bantam/Spectra. SF. Trade Books: ASHERMAN. ALLAN. 77,e Star Trek /II/('/1'iell' Book. $7.95 trade paper. Pocket Books. July 19RR. BUTLER, OCT A VIA E. Adultlrood Rites, second in the Xenogenesis Trilo!!y. $1(1.<>5 he. Warner Bo()ks. SF. June Hi. I(IRR DOUGLAS. CAROLE NELSON. Heir oI Rellgm11r. $17.95 he. Tor Books. Fantasy. June 20. IlJXX. KING, BERNARD. Vargr-!\foOlI. $ \(i.95 hc. St. Martin's Press. Fantasy. June 20, 1<)88. McHAR(jU E, G EOR(j ES. 771c BeaslS of Nel'cr. $21.95 he. Delta Bonks. Fantasy -Y A. ,1une 3, 19RR. MEACHAM, BETH, cd. T('I7y's UII;,cr.H'. $1(1.95 he. Tor Books. SF -anthology. SPRUILL, STEPHEN. Parae/ox Plalle/. $14.()5 he. Douhleday. SF. June fi, JI'8R. SCHENCK, HILBERT. ChrOllOscqlll'IIcc. $ 17.()) he. Tor Books. SF. July 5, II/RR. SHAW, BOB. 77/1' Woociell Sl'acnhi[1s. $15.95 he. Baen Books. SF. July P)XX. SHINER, LEWIS. Dcse/1cd Cities of the HCat1. $17.95 he. Douhleday .I une h, I <)RR. STAPLEDON. OLAF. Last alld First Mell. $(}.(}5 trade paper. Jeremy P. Tareher, Inc. SF reissue. May IR, l'JRK WAUGH. CHARLES, MARTIN GREENBERG, and FRANK McSHERRY, cds. Yallkee Witd,cs. $1O.()5 trade paper. Horror --anthology. WILLARD, NANCY. Firehrat. $11.95 he. Knopf Books. Fantasy -YA. WINTER. DOlH iLAS, cd. Prime El'il. $IB.95 he. NAL. Horror -ant hol15


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 ogy. May ZEBROWSKI, ('EOR

SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 ing, frankly. As far as Mane's offenses against Ellison are concerned, Ellison's address detailed a great many misrepresentations and failed promises beyo.nd the single headline you cite. Whether or not it was rhetorically good strategy for Ellison to devote so much of his talk to Mabe's article, the fact is that the announced topic of his speech -"Condemned to the Gulag," as it is printed in the Conference program --related quite direct ly to the kind of pigeon-holing of which Mabe was guilty. Inadvertently. Mabe made himself a logical target by publishing, on the very day Ellison arrived, exactly the kind of article which Ellison honestly feels traps himself and other writers in what he calls "the Gulag." The examples he gave in his speech. by the way, ranged from Clive Barker to Dan Simmons. El lison was not merely complaining ahout his own experiences, but ahout what can happen to a wide variety of talented writers. Finally, your parenthetical accusation -with ahsolutcly no supporting evidence whatever --that "Harlan prohahly used the incident to hide the fact that he had. as usual. no prepared text" is the cheapest shot imaginable. and this alone deserves an apology, This sort of gratuitous in sult in what is supposed to he a conference report smells badly like a vendetta, and it docs not belong in the pages of the SFRA News/efter. One can deal with perceived insults by politely ignoring them or by openly having them out with the offender. I know you feel you've been insulted by Ellison (and I know he feels insulted by you), but by letting this interfere with your role as an editor, you've done what Ellison. so far, has at least had the grace to a\'oid. Except for lellers (which you chose to print) in Fa1lfasy Rel'iell' years ago, he has never. to my knowledge. taken ad vantage of his almost limitless opportunities to malign you in print and in public the way you're now trying to mali!!n him. --Gary K. Wolfe' Defendant Takes the Stand What I wrote in the NClI"s/c((cr I helieve to he entirely accurate and reasonably objective. (though extremely hrief for reasons of space) and I stand by it. It represents what several dozen conferees volunteered as their reaction to Harlan's performance, as well as my own experienced judgment; in fact. most of the comments I received about the article were nn the order of "very temperate." Despite your unnallering assumptions. hased on past connicts. I do not indulge in personal vendellas. In fact. until my ICFA9 report last issue. I had said, in print. nothing whatsoever ahout Harlan for at least five years: this is scarcely the modlls operandi of a vendella keeper. Your ohjection to the phrase "ahrasi\"e histrionics" cannot he taken 17


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 if you mean that the words misn:presellt the situation. Harlan ofknded, dramatieally and deliberatdy, a great many people, particular ly the Broward contingcnt who had worked hard to get local newspaper eo\erage. Press interest in academic conferences in South Florida is or dinarily less than zilch, yet the only reward for local sponsors is public rceognition. However, I it is unreasonable to suppose that "great cclenrities" should consider the interests of their local hosts. "Oh well, thaI's just Harlan," some people said. Of collrse.' Harlan's public persona has been widdy recognized, for many years, as calculated ly anrasive -raising hackles is his stock in trade! No one who has seen a few of his many appearances, before <:olkg.e audiences, fan conventions, tdnision audiences, or whatcver, could dispute that. If, likc undergraduate audienecs, who dote on his mockery of academics and laugh at his direct insults, you find the net result entertaining, you might use the term "provocative." But "abrasive" not out of line. Nor is "histrionics" --no soap opera could better the scene: here is the malefactor, not suspecting his imminent indictment, sitting at the dinner table, while the prosecutor, under cover of delivering a banquet address, suddenly singles him out and vilifies him to his rapidly reddening face before an audience of 200. Is that drama or isn't it? (What do you think "histrionics" means?) As for Mane's alleged transgn:ssions, he was perfectly justified in writ ing and punlishing the story Harlan attacked, at least in the eyes of fellow journalisb. There is a long tradition within the American press that a reporter has not only a right but a dilly to report the essential truth no mat ter how many self-serving promises a "source" allempts to extract from him. Let me supply a neutral analog: when a television evangelist turned presidential candidate attacks the press for calling him a television evan gelist, what is the news? The news is that the candidate doesn't want to be called a television evangelist. The fact that he is or was a television evangelist is not in dispute --it's a matter of public record. Harlan Ellison has published hundreds of stories in plainly labeled science fiction magazines, attended as featured performer dozens of dearly designated science fiction conventions, cheerfully accepted (and boasted of) dozens of awards for his tiction \"(lted and presented by science liction writers and science fiction fans. His association with science tic tion (however damaging he may now find it) is clearly a matter of record. For the interviewer who has looked up this record, the news nestled among Harlan's self-serving protestations is that this science fiction writer does n't want to be cal/('d a science liction writer. The fact that Harlan has been telling audiences (of science tictioJl fans) the same thing for nearly a IH


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 decade docsn't change a thing. In fact, when you apply a lillie hasic logic to the hanquet situation, his whole argument hecomes ludicrous! This is a public performance before 200 persons, including the press. Harlan Ellison is telling them, chapter and verse, how he doesn't want to he called a science fiction writer hecause such writers are condemned hl the Gulag! Meanwhile he is attack ing Mabe for reporting that Harlan Ellison doesn't want to he called a science fiction writer because such writers are condemned to the Gulag. His performance is, ironically, a perfect confirmation of the essential accuracy of Mahe's reporting. But so powerful and so devious arc Harlan's histrionics that he is convincing half the audience that Mahe is a degenerate crumb hecause he reported to his readers exactly what Harlan is telling us now! Mabe's only response was, "I stand hy my story." And so would any reporter with one iota of integrity. A reporter's loyalty is to the truth, not the private interests of the source. Critical Integrity And so is the critic's. And that hrings me to what I consider to be the most unhealthy part of all this. Harlan clearly believes he has the righl to control everything Ihal is written about him, at least if it doesn't suit. This applies to even the most hasic sorts of literary criticism. I heard him at IAFA telling scholars on a panel that they have no right to interpret "A Boy and His Dog" because it is part of a larger work as yetunpuhlished (and which may exist, as far as we know, only in Ilarian's imagination), and therefore all interpretations arc taken out of context. The fact that the story has existed for years in several independent texts and as a motion picture, none of which allude to this larger work, did not alter his ohjection. I have frequently heard him tell critics that their readings of his short were "dead "'Tong" because he "didn't remember" putting "anything like that" in them, "and if I didn't put it there it's not there."' As for news stories, if they don't represent him as he wishes to appenr, they arc in his view malicious, and their authors targets for vengeance and/or ahuse. Harlan's altitude is encouraged hy the ('D7Y worship which is de nRcur at fan convent ions, hut the involvement of academe in this kind of relationship is a tragic mistake. I have recently come to feel that the whole husi ness of luring "hig names" to academic conclaves is potentially com promising. The lionized artist comes to feci betrayed if anyone involved writes anything less (llall II.'1'erho{c ahout him or his works. In the case of especially prickly authors like Harlan. the price of an "authorized" criti cal hiography may well he t(ltal compromise of the critic's integrity. If 19


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 academic criticism is going to merit any reputation for objectivity and in dependent judgment, it must stop all this nonsense of deferring to the living author in questions of interpretation and evaluation. The texts ought to speak for themselves. Harlan can write his own puffery, if he likes, hut any hook of so-called crt icism t hat directly renects Harlan's own narrow concept of literature is goin!! to he patently laughahle. Ignoring tire Joke As for the "prepared texC remark, you arc apparently pretending to miss the joke. We all know Harlan almost never uses a prepared text, though he sometimes pretends to howe one so he can "depart" from it. When he hegan his talk by waving a hunk of paper and announcing he would "depart fwm his prepared text" to chastise Chauncey Mahe, the rest of us okltimers were all laughing. Some of us also rememhered when Harlan was (JoH at ICFA. He had pf(lmised to write a special essay for the conference, but when he arrived he said to me (as Conference Director) in the presence of a crowd of admirers, "I only had time to write one Do you want me to finish the speech or .just do my usual shtick? "Do your usual shtick, Harlan," chorused the crowd, hut 1 held out for the special essay, which was of course the wrong move entirely. What Harlan did was read a couple of paragraphs from this tattered sheet of typescript and t hen launch intll it long rehearsal of his haltles with editors, publishers, amI producers. At that time the money hehind the conference came from Margaret Gaines Swann (mother of fantasist Thomas Burnell Swann), a delightful hut somewhat delicate Southern gentlewoman of decidedly Victorian sen sihilities. Harlan knew this. So he peppered his speech with dialog designed to shrivel the petals of a nOWt'f child. After a dozen "mother fuckers" and ahout the same numher of "cock suckers" 1 gave up the count and prayed for the end. No luck. Harlan went on ftlr two and a half hours, hy which time Mrs. Swann's rigid little smile was clearly mortised with fatigue. When it was ovcr at last the .Iocal people skipped the official recepti(ln and gathered in Fred Ptlhrs suite for a general groaning ses sion. That was the closest the conference ever came to being officially canned. So, as you very well know, the hracketed aside was an insiders' joke, meant for oldtimt'fs only. To the extent that such insider's asides are still considered impolite, I apologi7e. --80b Colli1ls 20


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 Author Sees Ellison's Speech as "Brilliant" Dear Editor: If I had not pnrticipnted in the Ninth Annuallnlernational Conference on the Fantnstic (nnd seen my name mentioned ns one oft he writers in nl tendnnce), I would hnve heen hard putlo recogni7e the conference Ihat r a\tended from Boh Collins' description of it in the most recent issue of the SFRA Ncws!c((cr. I'm referring in particular to Mr. Collins' comments ahout Harlan Ellison's participation at the Conference. He was made to sounu as if he simply hree7ed in and hlew up. NOlhing: could he less accurale. Mr. El lison was one (If the most active memhers of Ihat conference. He took part in a panel on reviewing fanlasy nnd SF, which I W

SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 Ihal Ihe aUlhor's wishes arc of so lillie value Ihallhey can be overset and ridiculed. I found Mr. Ellison's speech brilliant; Ihe stereolyping that he descrihed and Ihe rclqWlion of whal I wrile 10 a cheapjack ghello have always infuriated me. Nol only Ihal; throughoullhe rest of the meeting, Mr. Ellison's speech provided Ihe suhject of some fascinating discussions wilh scholars who really wanled 10 know if Ihe wrilers presenl felt that way. We did; and we slill do; and we supported Mr. Ellison in his anger .fudging from Mr. Mahe's complele (and ralher self-righteous) lack of understanding why Mr. Ellison was so angry, I douht that he'll receive an apology from him. But in the interests of fairness, I think that he ought to ren:h-c an apology from the SFRA /\'('11'.1'/('((('1'. It is a slur on the profes sionalism that everyone at ICFA saw Ellison display to comment rather snidely that he hadn't prepared a speech. Morover, dismissing what he said with the type of fnrcedjocularity that R()hert Collins uses fails to address the very important issues that he raised. --SlIsa" SIIII'011z The Editor's Epilogue Writers have no lock on the "SF (iulag," Ms. Shwartz -most academics in this field arc aware of the stigma. After sixteen years of editing and research in fantasy and SF, I felt it keenly when my university president was forced to hand me an award for "excellence in teaching," yet managed to get through a five minute speech 01 praise without ol/ce mentioning fan t asy, science fiction, or t he Conference on the Fantast ic, which I founded, It wasn't that she didn't know (she had my Vita): she simply found the topic too embarrassing for a commencement audience, My defense of Mr. Mahe, hased on three years of professional experience as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, appears ahove, As for detailed coverage of Ellison's (or anyone else's) activities, there simply wasn't room in a <'()O word summary report. (For a more fannishIy fulsome account of the confcrence, including Mr. Ellison's participation, I recommend Joel Feimer's report in the IAFA Ncwsletter for Spring, I<)XR.) Howen:r, mv impression of r\'lr. Ellison's contrihution to the conference remains utterly at odds with yllllrS. In the panel you chaired for example, it was that 1\11'. Ellison spent most of his time attacking academic criticism and ridiculing academic prose, When se\'eral academics rose from the l100r to phject, particularly to Mr. Ellison's ear lier remark that teachers, safe in their "sinecures," knew npthing of the market place, Ellison tried to exonerate himself (later) hy claiming that he rCrllly hrldn't known what "sinecures" meant. As a former acadcmic turned fiet ion ,,,Titer, you might he expected to


SFRA Newsletter, No_ 158, June/July 1988 show a bruauer unuerstanuing. Shwarl/. Ncvertheless, you han: every right to your I GIIlIHlt aplllll!!i/C. however, for exprcss ing mine. My article was clcarly hylineu. and in no way repn:sentco any ofHcialjuugmcnt on the part ofSFRA. as Prc\idcnt Bill Haruesty explains once again on page 3; therefore thc association owes no apologies_ --Bo/} Col/illS lReviewsl INoles. My review of John Clutc's hOllk of Stmkcs, in last month's issue, bore an incorrcct publication datc. I wmtc thc re\ icw from unCllfrecteu proofs, which gave thc uatc as Dcccmhn JlJ'd7. Scrconia Press has since informed me thatthc titk has hcen delayeu until June of this year. Also. two months ago, in my rc\-iew of Larry Ml'Caffcry anu Sinoa Gregory's Alir(' (/lId II-iitil/g, I promised a rcvicw of McCaffery's PostlIIodem Fictiol/: A Bio-i,j/J/iogral,hic (iuide ((irecnwooo, Il)H(J) for April /May. Many pressing hunk-ns. inl'll/Jin!;! especially the breathless cul mination uf fuur years of study at the Uni\'esity of Flmioa, have cumpired to pre\'entmy writing that piece, which I now dder till next month's issue. Rob LatlwlII / Non-Fiction Flawed I\lodel Claresun. ThulUIIS U. Fredaik Po"l. Starmont House, Mercer Is., WA, Il)H7, x + 173. $17.l)) hc.Il-Il-9]02lh-34-X; $l).l)S traoe pb. -33-X. [Star mont ReaJer's GuiJe, No .-NI In many ways, this is a moJcl volume in the Starlllont House series of "Reaoer's Guides" to SF/F writers. It proviJes an excclientchrulllliogical uis(:ussion of FreJerik PohJ's work, from the P)4U's through the present (unlike many books in this series, Clareson's is totally up-to-Jate, the last of Pohl's works being AWlals 0It"e H('('c"t'C, pUblisheJ just last year); it also offers an informeo anJ sensiti\-e reading of the major themes anu iJeas which have uOl11inated that work. This literary uiscussion, moreover, uoes not take place in an historical vacuum: Clareson is wellverseJ in the evolution of SF fanJom anJ of SF publishing in the moJern period, anu he is able to offer penetrating assessments of Pohl's place within those schel11a.lnJeeJ, Pohl's work oilers almost a parauigm for the development of specifically "mooern" SF, with his emphasis on themes of


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 social satire ami critique in thc 50's. through his ideological dehates and retrenchments in the (,()'s, to his more sophisticated work in the 70's and ROs. Unlike. say, baac Asimov, who dcvclopcd a uniquc voice early on in his career from which he has never wavered. Pohl has heen almost protean. resisting at first the innm'atinns of the New Wave. then if not embracing, at least learning from thcm. C1areson is at his best when detailing Pohl's acth'ities as an editor in the W's and 70's, his positions at maga7ine and Bantam Books (where. it should be rememhered, Pohl oversaw puhlication of perhaps the greatest monument of Amercan New Wave SF, Samuel Delany's DalrlgrclI) aIIowed him to develop a com promise. syncretistic perspecti\T. blending Old Wave traditionalism with the contemporary penchant for experimentation. The solid thematic readings and exceIIcnt historical hackground make ('Iareson's hook of exceptional valuc to studcnts and tcachers of SF. Unfortunately. C1areson docs not stop there. hut is also concerned throughout his st udy to raise the nit ical stock of Pohl's SF. and t his concern leads him frequently to overrate his suhject. While one may agree with Clareson that Pohl has been nqdected. one wiII perhaps still demur from judgments such as that "the Hcechee Quartet marks one of the lincst accomplish ments of modern science fiction." comparahle tn Brian Aldiss' HeIIiconia series and (,ene Wolfe's Book (If lire N('II' SIll/. I ndeed. as the chronological discussion proceeds. Clareson's critical judgments hegin to get more and more suspect. as if the author (who is a friend of Pohl's) is unahle to contain his enthusiasm and partisanship. pohrs recent Black Slar Risi1lg is. one must a!!fee. "a delightfuIIy caustic satire." but can one rcaIIy conclude at this early stage that it desenTs comparison with OrweII. Huxley, and Swift. much less that it "surpasses anything thaI such oflPohrsl con temporaries as Ray Bradhurv and Kurt V onnegut have attempted"'! Such judgments seem motivated Illore hv partisan polemits than by calm criti cal assessment. --Jlleiillr Calloll Away From Realism Morse, Donald E .. cd. TIl(' F(//llcHlic ill World Lil('rat"r(! alld tire Al1s: Sel('ctcd E.uorsfrom IIr(' Fifllr /III(,l7IolioIlOI COIlfercllce Oil tire Falltastic ill lire Al1s. (ireenwood Press, Westport. CT. JIlin. 250p. $)9.95. 0-) IJ-2552(1-) This essay collect ion from the last (If the oric.inal series of conferences held in Boc;; Raton. Florida. is apprnpriately to Rnhert A. Collins. who directed them. Of the nHlre than 2:'11 papers m(lUnted that year. 1\1orse has selected sixteen. all of thelll suhstantial contrihutions to the field. 24


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 The opening section focuses on themes. with essays ranging from Peter Malekin's analysis of light symholism in (;ene Wolfe's Book of lIre Nell' SI/II. to Clara Juncker's allegorical reading of Astrid Lundgren's "death theme" in 771(' Limr/rem1. A second group of author studies illustrates the international scope of the conference. Ralph Yarrow presents a phenomenological reading of Jorge Luis Bor,Qes: Beverly Clark illustrates Lewis Carroll's f

SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 location symhol is shown, sometimes Sargent's personal collection (LTS) or otherwise unidentified private colkctions (PC). Author/title and title/author indexes (which include pseudonyms) provide access to the chron ol(ll!icallislinl!. I counled in Ihe Iwo lilk indcxes: ahoul 1 ROO in Ihe 1909 edilion, in Ihis new edition, of which roughly 5.50 arc in the 1<)76-1985 decade. ThaI's ahoul a 7W';' increase. Bul ulopia comes at a stiff price: $75 vcrsus $21-{ for I he (j .K. Hall edition, a J hX"; increase. The earlier edilion is Iypeset allli includes a nol-page unannotated multi-lingual seconof hooks, arlides and disserlnlion. The several hundred lihraries which arc I he markcl for I his hook should decide if it's worlh ahout a nickel each 10 have an eXira JolOO lilies. --Neil Ban'Oll Pleasant Rut Dispensable Schweitzer. Darrell. cd. Discol'cril/g H. P. Lo\"(crafl. Starmonl House, Mercer Is .. WA, )!IH7. I.5Jp. $)!I.II.5 he. O-IIJ(l7.12H2-7: $9.9.5lrade ph. 09]('7.12-HI-9. Milch of I his essay collect ion has heen culled rrom fanlines of t he IlnO's (Ihe remainder firsl appeared in a smaller collection by the same edilor in JlI7(,) and the result is decidedly a mixed hag. ST. Joshi's essay nn texlual prohkms in the Arkham editions is ohviously daled now Ihal his "dcfiniti\T" edition is oul. Olher such as Roberl Weinherg's com plainl ahoul LO\Tcraft's "pseudomal hemalics," and Richard Tierney's aSlrnlogical slar charts for Ihe earthquake in "The Call of Cthulhu," are mcre curiosit ies. The essays Ihat might he of usc 10 teachers arc few: Dirk Mosig's oul line or rour hasi(' interpretalions for "The ()utsider," Lovecrnft's most an Ihologiled is one: Schwciller"s chapler and versc demonstralion of Dunsany's innucncc on Lovecraft is anothL"r. (jcorgc Wet7el's "Genesis of Ihe Cthulhu Mythos" is less cOI1\'incing (he snys iI's hasically Greek hology) since ot hL"rS claim (convincingly) thc myt hos is really Augusl Derleth's neation. The remaining pieces, all vcry slight. nrc pkasanl but dispensahle, and none hUI completists need search this volulm: oul. --A tltial/ de Wil Aliens R Us Slusser. George E. nnd Erk Rnhkin, cds. A liclIS: n,e' AI/I"mpoloRI' of Sci<'1lCC FiCli01/. Sout hem Illinois 1I nive rsil y Press. Carhondale, 1987, xxi + 24.1p. $27. ll."i he. O-Hm.1-I.H.5-8. Thcse nrc Ihe papers from Ihe II/H(l Eaton Conference, and Ihey are 2/i


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 t he most generally entertainin!! yet puhlished in t his series. The topic. of course. is a central concern of SF fans. critics. and <,cholars: the attempt to conceive a sentient heing that is truly alien. The suhtitle. as the editors admit, is a contradiction in terms: is the study of man. The alien ... is something else: a/i('//s. other than ... man." Ne\"Crtheles<;. "man needs the alien:' hecause "throu!!h learning to relate to the alien, man has learned to study himself." Slusser and Rahkin do a ereditahle joh, in thi<; introduction. of placin!! the different approaches of the critics in a hroad lit crary perspect i\"C. Larry Niven leads off the yolume with .<;peculation ahout the existence of ETl's, and rcasons why none ha\c yet come yisit in!! cart h except in fic tion. (ire!!ory Bcnford is morc ('(lncerned with literary techniques: how docs the writer render the inclTahle scientifically concrete? His analy<;i<; casts douht upon most of t hc familiar SF techniqucs, opt ing finally fm the centrality of "style". In a \"Cry cleyer essay. "Border Patrols." Michael Bechler concentrates on the prohlem of the "illegal alien:' neither entirely externali7ed <1'; "the other" since it is inside man's domain (anthrnpoloflY), nm properly "internali7ed" eit hcr. Freud's "uncanny" alld Kant's "suhlime" pro\ide con ceptual examples. Colin Wilson's TI,c Milld Parasitcs and Stanislaw Lem's SO/ailS more concrete ones. Pascal Ducommun imist<;. howc\er, that "nothing imide a frame can state. or eYen ask. an:1hing ahout that frame." and that ''\ve arc caught in a vicious circle whencycr we try to h)ok at ourselves from the outside" -hence the alien. That all literary aliens are, in some essenlial way. !,!:Iimp<;es of oUf<;el\Ts is the general assumption of the majority of the critics. The secnnd group of essays this thesis through discIJ<;sions of the "friendly alien." Superman, telcpaths, rohots, un r<;. and mere "fmei!!ners." The la<;\ series views mankind itself as thc alien:lted part of nature, and thus <1.'\ the alien figure. Examples range from William (iihson's Nel/mmmlccr tn the Barhie dnll. This is a provocati\T essay collection. recommended to all. --Adriall de II 'it Gloom and Doom Slu!';!';er. George. C"lin Greenland. and Eric S. Rahkln, cds. Stoml lI'amScicllce Fictioll Cmrf/,(J//ts tI,C Flltl/,.c. Southern Illinois lIni\Trsity Press, Carbondale, 19R7, 27Rp. $26.f)5 he. 1:'76-fi. Here, quite belatedly. appear the essays from the Eaton Con ference, held in two parts: at the U-C campu<; in Riverside, California. ;lOd at North East L(mdon As with most I!JR4 SF conferences. the emphasis was on George Orwell's notorious 1984. Having now ploughed through at least a d07en paper collections from thnt yenr. this rc\icwer 27


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 confesses n certain 1'/11/11;. The sl'\"l'n essays in this section rnnge from Frederik Pohl's refreshingly nqrati\"C assessment of both Orwell's predic tive accurncy and his literary achievement. to pieces tracing thc innuence of the hook on ot hers. as in T.A. Shippey's "Variat ions on Ncwspeak." If then: is anyone left wit h the urge to compile comprehensive Bibliographies on (lrwell. this hook should he included. Orwell's novel is a dystopin. of course. a negative extrnpolation of a fu ture designeu to horrify. The fact that it dominated this conference on the future is unfortunate. George Slusser's survey of "the cultural forccs against future imagination," including critical stanccs from Marxism to structuralism to rostmOlkrn theory. sees in Orwell's "dosed future" a paradigm of critical approaches to the written ,,ord. Only the nnivc of an Isaac he says. can escape dystopian overtones. As far as this volume is concerned. he is correct. litopias and uystopias alike. (;regory Benford ohserves. arc rcact ionary: "t hey resemhle a warpeu. malignant form of t he past." Serious fut urism is thus inevitahly monitory; only the naive technophile dings to the notion of progress. The essay col lection ends with Frank McConnell's "Renections on the Apocalypse (;amc. Such a downheat \"(llume is surely not what futurists of the earlier half of our century ha\"l' expected. But. as Brian Aldiss has obscrvcd. we late twentieth centur\' writcrs and critics seem determined to replay the fi/l dl' s;ec/{' gloom and despair of t he IlJt h century. The SF estahlishment, like the White House. has Armageddon on its mind. "Ahandon hopc, all ye who enter here." --Adtiall de Wit Defi n it jye Wt'lis. II. G. 77,e Defill;ti\"{' Time /\fadl;lI<': A Ctit;cal Editioll of H. G. Wells 's R01/lmlCC IF;rfr Itrtrodl/ct;OfI alld Notes II." H017Y M. Grd//M. Indiana Uni\"Crsity Press. Bloomington. Oct(lher xi + 21Rp. $27 .'ifl h('. $ Ill. I l.'i trade rho 7711' Tillie Macfrine. which has never heen (luI of print since its firs! hook puhlication in liN:'i. remains onc of the scminal works of scientific im agination. This isn't the first critical edition. however. Keith Ncttle prerared one for foreigners learning En/:!Iish in 11)(,(, (Heinemann Educa tional BO\lks). and frank McConncll did a bellcr known edition of TIIf and 7711' War of rhe for Oxford in II)n. lInfort unately. McConncll corrupted texts (sec the detailed review hy David Y. Hughes in SC;('fICC Fict;on SrI/din. 4 puly 11177. pr. 1%-1<)7]). Geduld uses thc lcx! Wells himself approved. the 1>24 Atlantic edition. a slightly revised ver sion of t he I iN.'i Ileinemann edit ion (t he lir<,t Brit ish edit inn). which is the 28


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 one most readers know. introduction discusses the gestation. publication. structure. themes. and interpretations of the book. The authori7ed text. sixty-two pages, follows. Notes. keyed to the text. occupy thirty p;]ges. A selected. annotated bibliography (including David Smith's Jf/R(i hiography) is fol lowed hy a chronological list of fiction and drama ahouttime tr;]wl. Two pages list film. TV. hook. comic hook. LP ;]nd casselle versions. Omillnl are two direct sequels. Da\id J. Lake's 77,(' Mall 117/0 L(}I'cd Morlocks (19RI) and K. W .Jeter's Morlock !\';glll (J!/7f)). Perhaps most valuahle in this editi(ln arc the dOlen appendices. of them either reprint early versions or TM or correlate edit ions. Appen dix VII reprints an interesting unused fragment. from the Wells collection at the Uni\Trsity of Illinois. Other appendices reprint Alfred .Iarryc; "How to Construct a Time Machine." Terry Ramsaye's fascin(lting ess;]y on the innuence of early mtltion pictures (111 Wells. an excerpt from C. H. Hinton's "What Is the Fourth Dimension" (IRR4-Wi). (,cdulJ"s summ;]ry of parallels hetween TM and --arc you ready for this? -B(,OII1II/. ;]nd Louis Untermeyer's amusing: parody. "The Heaven of the TimeMa chine." Geduld. a profess(1r (If Ctlmparati\T literature at Indiana. has indeed provided a definitive edit inn. althou,gh no one will have the fln;]1 word nn this essential tale. --Nc;1 BarTOlI Fiction A British Cahino? Hallard. J.G. TIre Oa\" 0/ Crea/;mr. Farrar. Strause; 8:. (iiroux. NY. M;]y 254p. $)7.95 he. O-.H4-Jl527-4 .I.G. Ballard is assuredly one of the greatest of all British science fic tion writers. a \'isinnary talent to rank

SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 to more speculati\T motlcs. is sure to test his recent warm reception by mainstream critics. At the same time. its sophistication and complexity could militate against its sliccess with the average American SF fan. 771<' Day of CI'eal;oll is a coldly brilliant talc blending the rigorous descriptive realism of Emp;I'e with the dense metaphorical style of novels like Crash and 771e Ulllimited Dream CompmlL Its plot, while never rcalIy crossing inltl the literal fantastic. nonetheless retains throughout a sheen of hallucinatory st ran!!eness. a shimmer of madness and dream. This mood is sustainnl as much by the haroque intrkacy of Ballard's meta phors. which fuse --and COli fuse --suhjecti\'e and ohjective. natural and cult ural cate!!ories (at one point. the trickle and poolin!! of water seems till he narrator to "notch up a series (If coded messages. computerising it self around my feet"). as it is hy the fmei!!nness and brutality of the setting (a Central African nation Ilut of Raymond Roussel via (jraham (ireene).ln many of Ballard's early hooks. this extretne style had seemed at times awkward and overly elaborate. a programmatic surrealism that occasionally sank under the wei!!ht of its ecstatic ironies. But now there can hardl\' he douht that the author has completely mastered it. its every mandarin nuance and potent nonsequit UL This is the voicc of thc uncon scious captured and rat i(lnali7ed. and it is mesmerizing. The st(lry itself has the st ark. archetypal simplicity of myth --hut a grimly neurasthenic myth hdilling. our television age. Mallory. another in the long line of Ballard's hurnt-out. antiheroic professional men (this timc a doctor doing relief work in a blighted ex-colony). accidentally unlcashcs an underground aquifer which fmms into a torrential river, a "Third Nile" that swiftly revi\'ilies the dying landscape. Typically for a Ballardian protagonist, Mallory hecomes inexplicahly obsessed with this freshcreated spring -which he christem the River rVlallory -amI. accompanied hy a silently intense African girl named Noon, sets off on a quest to reach the river's source. Their pursuit is sometimes aided, somctimes hampered by the complex progress of a cidl war between the local policc and a band of Marxist guerillas. as well as by the intcrferencc of a documentary filmmaker committed to mediating Mallory's qucst to thc world at large. (Ballard shows a sharp eye in limning the character of lhis filmmaker, a seedy ex-professor named who "had spent so long in the worlds of puhlicity and self-promotion that... lal spontaneous insin cerity was as close as Ihel could come tothe truth.") All these officious strongmen, dour rehels. and TV hucksters compete to makc a social mockery of Mallory's intensely personal quest. In its exotic selling anti mordant tone. n,l' Dar of CI'Caf;mr evokes echoes of Joseph Conrad and (iraham (;reene, hut its polent musings on the pervasive media landscape and the icy allure of contemporary fame 30


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 also suggest Marshall McLuhan and Andy Warhol. Indeed. one of Ihe more facels t,f Ihis gemlike novel is Ihe fascinaling: dialollul' il eSlablishes bel\veen a deracinaled Brilish and a renascent in lernalional post modernism: here we lind Hcm1 of DarkllCu instanlaneously satelli7Cll around the ,I.!\ohe. a neocolonial alhTnt nrc storv serv ing as a prophecy of "I he elect mnic \vorld order to come." Typically. Ballard refuses 10 evaluate this confluence of Iradititm<;; instead he <;imply presents Ihe resultant ironies and contradictions for the reader to resnhT. Is Mallory a savior or a madman: the "channel" of Ihe life-givinll river merely the positive counterparl nflhe hanal and sterile "ch,1I1nels" ofT\'" Amid these enigmas. Ballard pnrsues his own Third Nile of lerrnr. obscssipn and ,,':onderml'nt. As ahvays. his tone is <,tarkly affect less. hut this chh of emot ion incites a tidal snr!!e of \'ision: t he desert hi noms under the authtlr's coldly lucid eye. And despite the rigorous proscription pf sentiment.lhe novc\ has the hite of a true moral commitment to the freeplay of the artistic imagination: Ihe laconic tone cannot di<;guise the fact that Ballard. like his neat nrc Mallory. fancies himself a healer. Tllc Day of CrCali"II is the work of a metafictional master --one might almost say, of a British Cal\'ino. It is destined to join Ballard's hesl work as an extended. elusive fahle of the space ,U!C, hut in the merll1time. it i<; one of the finest speculati\'c fictions to hc pllhli<;hed in English in recent years. -Ron Larl,a", Nightingale Sings Dnlkey. Knrn. Tllc Ace Books. NY, May 22lp. $)(i.9." he. 0-441-."7973-fl. Like the haiku with which she laces her stnry. Kara Dalkey's .Tllc Ni,;I,(i1l,;alc is a tightly woven creation filled wilh lovely images. One of the FairyTalcs Series published by Ace Bonk<;. Dalkey's no\'el is ha<;ed on the classic talc of the same title by Hans Chrislian Andersen, Like the other books in this series. TI,e Nightillgale retells a classic fairy tale for an adult audience. Kara Dalkey comhines this womlcrful old story with a knowledge of Japanese history amI religion to create a novel which Can he enjoyed on three Inc Is. First. Dalkey prm'ides the reader with a satisfying fairy tale peopled hy captivating characters. Those who remember I he det ails of the Ander<;en classic will enjoy disco\'ering the parallels as this new tale unfolds. The "nightingale" in the present case is a lo\'ely young girl named Uguisll. who. like Andersen's fahled hird. charms the Emperor with her hcautiful music. 31


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 Like the nightingale. Uguisu is found in the forest ami hrought to the palace where her Ollte playing makes her the favorite of the court. until she is replaced by an artificial "nightingale," the mysterious Chinese Oautist Su K'an. Again. as in the original. Uguisu's music is needed to help the Emperor when he is the yictim of an unusual disease. Second. Dalkey recreates the .I apanese cpurt of t he Heian period, 750I lOll A.D .. a court where the real political power is held not by the Empernr but hy the head of the powerful Fugiwara family. It is a court where rank is Kara Dalkey creates the atmosphere of the Japanese court hy describing the and of the latlies ami gentlemen. She writes the haiku they usc when sending love messages to each other. and sprinklcs her prose with Japanese wnrds (kicllO. hill'a. and slIIm) to hring the reader to this cxotic world. Third. Dalkey spins an unusual tale of the supernatural. The actions nf Uguisu and the ot her characters arc inlluenced hy kal7li. spirits of the dead in the Shinto religion. Kami may work for good or evil and hoth kinds figure in this story. From the ritual til sumlllon a kami on the night ofll-h\ln.t he Feslh'alof the Dead.tothe ordeal pf an exorcism performed hya young Buddhist monk. Dalke)' uses her klHlwledge pf Japanese cul tun: 10 create a suspenseful story. For readers who ImTd Andersen's lale as a child and for anyone who enjoys a good tale well told. n,c Niglttillgalc will be a delight. --Mmv A 1111 /\/dllt",r Nim" . For Fans Only El11slln, HarlUII. I Eds. Terry Dowling. Richard Delap and (iii Lamont.] n,e Essclltial Effisoll. Nemo Press. Omaha. NE, 19R7, 1019p. $29.95 hc. O-() 142(,1-0 1-0. Harlan Ellison's last collect inn. Stalkillg tlte Nightmare, was half reprint of his POll cnllect ion O\,('I' tlte Edge. half new material, and it was hard to believe Ihat some of the older slories had come from the same author. n,e ESSI'IItial EffisflII. a one-\,olullle collect ion of his wnrk as a science fiction and fantasy wriler. critic. essayist. and social commen tator for the past Ihirty-fi\'e years. supplies a context large enough to smooth O\'er such incongruities. One thin/! this hook makes de"r is that Ellison is a thematic writer. Thrllugh Ihe selections presented here. it's possihle to trace se\'eral ideas that unite his fiction and nonficlion as they e\'oh'e with his own growth from angry youn/! man in the fifties, to writer of some of the most potent fiction produced in the sixlies and early se\'enties. to occasional shaker and nHl\'Cf in recent years. That I he figure of t he Outsider dominates his work should come as nil surprise. since Ellison hecame a writer during 32


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 the eras of romantici7ClI and (later) organi/ed rehellion. The who

SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 now coming to his work. this book will serH: as a good (hut expensive) unPortahle Ellison. --S/(fml Dzicnria1loll1cz Frank Herbert's Last Novel Herbert. Frank and nm Runsnm. T7rc Ascellsioll FacIoI'. NY: Ace/Putnam. I ()RR. 3R I p. $1 R.J:'i hc. O-:N()-13224-4. Frank Herbcrt died hefore he and Bill Ransom could complete this fourth novel in the series sct on the marine planet Pandora. Though Ransom's style sometimes differs noticeably from Herbert's, this final col lahoration hears the stamp of Herbert's plotting and narrative energy. 17lc ASCCIIJiOll Fac(ortakes up the Pandoran adventure as the planet's sentient kelp is ahout to achieYe 1'1111 commllnication with the human colonists. In 77lc Lll::mT/J Effec( (1 CJH3). t he kelp estahlished limited commllnical ion. hut now it has learned t he power of holographic broadcasts. During this period (If develupment. a done from the original colonizing ship has gained control oYer the planet. Flattery was "designed" in part to prevent the mingling of life forms that might threaten humanity. His tyrannical policies arc aimed at preserving a remnant of genetically pure humans to colonize anothet planet. leaving hehind those who have been modified by the kelp. To achien: Ihis aim. he has set Pandorans against each other hy starving Ihem. Opposed 10 Flattery arc the shadll\vs -looscly organized rebels, who wanl to depose him wit hout adopt ing his methods or causing his deat h. The\' desire and peace on a new model suited to Pandora. As the rehellion becomes open and more violent. the kelp achieves holographic mass communication and helps the rehels succced on their own terms. The narration drives suspensefully toward the crisis, hut in a spiral that includes many characters. As in most Herhert novels. vignettes of life on Pandora and glimpses into many minds. including the kelp's, alternate with episodes inmlving the large cast of main characters. The characters range from Spider Nevi. Flattery's chief of security. through rehel hroadcasters. officials. and priests. to the mysteriolls Crista Galli, a human grown and educated hy the kelp until she was twenty. then found and held prisoner by Flattery. This Inst novel to come in part from Herbert's h

SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 A Certain Slant of Kress. Nancy, All AlicII LiR'''. NY: Arhm Hml<;e. January :nlp. $17.115 he. O-H77I).'i-')4(]-4. Alt hough her short science fiet inn has won a Nehula Award and <;he has puhlished three fanlasy nO\Tls. this is Kress's first full-length work of science fiction. All AlicII Llj{/rr is an excellent O()\"el and. although it's ton soon to make definite predictions, may well he a awards contender. The noyel takes place nn a harren hut earth-like planet .. ;here two primiti\"e city-states, Dclysia and .lela, engag.e in an incondusi,"C, on again/off-again war for the limited a!!ricultural resources which ,,:nn't quitc support both populations. Dclysians and .Ielitcs hate each other to the point of irrationality. Even when sun'ival is at stakc they ha\"C trouhle cooperating. Ayrys. exiled from Dclysia for thinking independently, wanders thc wasteland in uneasy alliance with the Jelite sister-warrior .lehane, seeking the Gray Wall. a mysterious structure at which. it is rumored. strange ewnts have heen occurring. Thc wall, Ayrys learns, sllfwuntls R'Frow, a city conc;tructed hy the alien race (jed. as a kind of rat ma7e within which they study humanity. The (Jed present themseh-cs as henevolent. as eager to teach the rudi ments of technology. We S(lon disc(l\"Cr. however. that hoth the Delysianc; and the .Jclites are the descendants of the crew of a human warship which crashed on the planet some hundreds of years ago during a space hattie hetwcen humanity and the (iet!. That war is still going on, humanity is winning. and the Ged, desperate to recoup their lo<;ses, hope to gain improved insight into humnn aggression through the people they hold cap tive in R'Frow. All Alic1I Liglrt is very well written, with engaging chamcters. hoth human and non-human. The claust rophobic city of R 'Frow is particular ly \'iell descrihed. as are the reacti(lIls of primiti\'e human heings til the wonders of technology. Kress hns some \"aluahle things to say ahout the advantages and disadyantages of human a!!wession. There's a lnt of suf fering and unhappiness in this novel -most of the main characters seem to spend their lives being terrified, angry. or in extreme physical pain but the book is well worth reading. Likc most people I tend to discntll1t t he often innated claims which publishers put on t he covers of their h()(lks. hut in this case David Hartwell's assertion that All AlieTl Lip,lrt "catapults Nancy Kress into the front ranks of SF no\Tlists" is clearly correc\. -Miclrael M. L('11'


SFRA Newsletter. No. 158, June/July 1988 Biopunk Head-on Collision Reed. Robert. 7711' /{o/7I/ol/c"lIIglc. NY: Dnnald I. Fine, February 2!JHp. $17.1)). 1-55(>I1-0(il-l}. Afler the last para!:!raph on the last page of Rohert Reed's second novel leis go of you while you're hlinking tI;l7(:dly like someone staggering out of Space Mountain for the first time. you may find yourself mumhling "Wow, some ride! But how did he do that?" One way 10 Iry 10 figure il oul mighl he 10 try placing: Reed in a literary tradition. Take Ihe Naturalists' depiction of limited, isolated characters trapped hy their heredily and environment, as in Norris's /lfCT('O!!.'IC, Add the nervpus energy of a crime thriller's plnt/cpunterplot, as in Burnell's A.fplwl( "lIIg/(' or the film Blood S;lIIplc. Pump in the information drenched almosphere pf cyherpunk, as in (iihson's Cmlll( Z('I'O, Swanwick's VaCIIIIII/ FIOI\'('!:5 or Sterling's Shaper-Mech slories. That mixture mav suggest the feel of 771(' HOI7I/{Jl/c Jill/gIl', But the novel docsn't read like an assemhlage of others' accomplishments: it reads like a young hut danlingly self-assured writer's tlisC\l\HV of something fresh ("hiopunk"?) yet deeply fcll. Another approach mighl he to try 10 summari/e the complex plot. That wpuldn'l he a good idea I hough, especially in a review, People who haven'l read Ihe hook desen-c to he startled hy the revelations Reed springs as the characters <:olIiJe with each olher while. exploring the possihilities of their terraformed solar system. That's one of the pleasures of a story like this -reali7ing how daring the extrapolalions arc and how neatly the pieces filtogether. And (lI1ce he has his system working believably, Reed is very good al cOf1\'incing you Ihal the mmt unexpected re\'crsal can emerge genuinely out of Iwo characters -which also means that he can suggest Ihat some characters have a choice whether or not to he C

SFRA Newsletter, No, 158, June/July 1988 Life in the "Cocoon" Silvel'berg. Robert. AI Willla's EI/d, NY: Warner Books, April 4H,p. $17.1)) he. U-+l(,-5L\i'\-PI. For !leven hundred thou!>and the Pcople have huddled in the tun nels of their stone crc(:he. waiting out tht: Long Winter of Earth. The gigantic meteor falls which a dcvastating pall over the world some millions of years hence, de!>troying the sentient species of The (ireat World, have finally ended. Now it is tillle for Kosmar's tribe to go out to reclaim the world. In the course of their adventures in a strange new en\'ironment, Silverberg's survivors will not only learn much aboutthemselves but also recapitulate \'arious social, political, and sexual connicts that plague humanity today. Like many of Silverberg'S ren:nt works -Ihe "Majipoor" non:b, for cxample -AI Willl('l''s Elld presenh usually sympathc.:lic charach.:r!l in a generally clearly-drawn Unfortunately, it docsn't give the reader much sense of Ihe cullectin: life and culture of the Peopk, especially prior to their exodus. Dt:spite the descriptions of sex and politics. we dC\'elop almost no feeling for tht: psychulogical, spiritual, or social forms that 700,11110 years of life in a reslraining "conlOn" hmt: imposed on this folk, (Could such people jusl walk out of their ca\'es'! Would their tribal customs and loyaltit:s break down so rapidly'!) Morcover, the rapidity wilh which thest: characters re-cnact perennial struggles( matriarchy/patriarchy. love/duty, age/youth. activism/fatalism, familiar/alien, ete.) seems forced, especially since it appears that this novel is the first of se\wal about thc Pcople. Although it doesn't rate as one of tht: prolific Sih'erherg's best works, AI Wimer's Elld is interesting and engaging, I look forward tothe sequels. However, at this price it is rt:commended primarily to public libraries and academic collections; indi\'iduals should consider waiting for the paperback. --Dal'' Mcad The Magic Games of Life Wutson, lUll. QllcC/llllagic, KillK/l/agic. NY: SI. Martin's Press, February 1988,20)p, $14.1)5 hc. U-312-01.'i03-X. As the title implies, most of this irreverent, willY, satiric fantasy is set on a chessboard world where, as in the game itself. there is constant war fare hetween white Bdlogard and hlack (as in Russian, the "magic" language of the novel) Chorny, t-.lost citizens of huth countries go through 37


SFRA Newsletter, No. 158, June/July 1988 their li\es protecteu by the magic -lilt: abililY to move as in chess --of ()ueens, Princes, Knights, anu pawn-squires. In Ihe Chequer Chamber of the castle, the ()ueen can call up eiuolons of Ihe players un hoth :-.ides and plan allack!> and counterallacks. As the hero, white pawn-squire Pedino, learns, "Without war where would be no energy to maintain exislence." Althuugh there is speculation Ihal a stakmate might prevent it, when the game is won by one side ur the other the worlu comes 10 an enu, anu the next cycle begins. Until a player makes a magic mon:, he or she remains invisible on the Chequer Chamber Board, and Peuino's own first move exposes the heroine, Sara. Before he realizes that she is the hiuen black pawn, the spy he seeks, they have fallen in Im'e, been forceu into halik, and parteu. Wat :-.ons lungUt.: is firmly in his check as he uescribes lheir next encounter when Peuino aU\'ances into Churny. Wishing 10 remain together, they ex ercise lheir magic in a new way to engineer escape inlo a sequence of other uni\ccses: thuse of Snakes and Lauuers, Monopoly, Go, anu finally, to new roles in re-crealeu Bellogaru-Chorny. Much of the nmd is a \'ery funny, longue-in-cheek senu-up of currenl science anu philosophy. The last few pages fall off somewhat from lhe high le\cl of the earlier au\entun:s, bUl the new Peuino is 100 clever anu lou learneu 10 re:-.l content. Ilhink I a sequel. --A/tlllll" O. Lel1-';s Better Than Average Space Opera Whitl', JUIIll'S. Code BIl/('-EIllt'r!-:('J/cv. Ballantine/Del Rey, NY, J uly 2OI)p. $2.1)) ph. IA Sectnr (;eneral Novell This is lhe lalest in Irish aUlhor James While's inlergalaclic hospilal series, an on-going space-opera centereJ upon inler-species meuics unu palients on an artilicial satellite serving as the Johns Hopkins of a galac tic empire. Like all :-.uch !>erie:-..the ingenious selling continues from book 10 book. While fn:shens it lhis time (lut by presenling the ship lhrough lhe eyes of an alien trainee, Cha TIHal, a six-armeu, fllllf-eyeu warrior :-.urgeon from Sommarau"a. On her native planet, a uoclor's sense of responsibility for a palient exlenus to suffering identical mutilalions if the patienl fails 10 recover. Cha Thrat':-. appointment has been political, anu she has /101 hau Ihe usual screening anu orientation. Thus the "eye for an eye" quirk peculiar 10 her nati\e medical training is unknown 10 her tutors, who immedialely urder her to perform an amputalion. When Cha Thral then amputales her own arm accoruing to the Sllmmarauva code, she becomes a pariah among lhe trainees.


SFRA Newsletter, No, 158, June/July 1988 The rest of the skillfully paced pillt remlves around the race between eha Thrat's continuing alienation of the;: huspital de;:spite;: recognilion of her increasingly brilliant accomplishments, and the;: search for a suitable place for her in Sector General. Along the way, there arc enough surprises 10 keep most readers amused. GlL/c Bille is a worthy ad dition to a beller-than-average space-opera series. "1"IIE 6E$ r LA<:'k CON\lIt.:floN, WHIt-IE -Adriall (Ie Wit THE V'IOtiT AtE FulL OF f!A$SIO",,,TE /NTcNs/rlJ, riA J-IA HA fill! __ .-=_ I if I, .. -' '( I /"oJ, .. 39


SFRA Newsletter No. 158 Robert A. Collins, Editor English Department Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL 33431 Nonprofit Organization U. S. POSTAGE PAID BOCA RATON, FLORIDA Permit No. 77 DATED MATERIAL PLEASE DO NOT DEL<\ Y

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SFRA newsletter.
n No. 158 (June/July, 1988)
1 3 246
Science Fiction Research Association newsletter
[Eugene, Ore. :
b Science Fiction Research Association]
c June/July, 1988
Place of publication varies.
Science fiction
x History and criticism
v Periodicals.
Fantasy fiction
History and criticism
Science fiction
Book reviews
Fantasy fiction
Book reviews
2 710
Science Fiction Research Association.
t SFRA Review
4 856